Friday, February 24, 2012

Less Moolah, More Style!

Ok, so I have become a Pinterest addict. I especially love cruising the Pins from Polyvore. My ladies know what I'm saying. Ever come across that perfect outfit that you just love, follow the Pin to Polyvore, and it tells you that your perfect "casual" outfit is $443?!?! That happened to me yesterday, but I pinned it anyway hoping someday I could find something like it. Well, about 2 dozen strangers repined it making me think, why can't we all have this outfit? So here's the original for $443:weekend

$65 -

Leopard print pumps
£20 -

J Crew leather belt
$40 -

$14 -

And here's my version for $111.68 (of course you don't have to get all the pieces, but I actually like my accessories better than the original!:

pastedGraphic.pdf$11.50 at Forever 21 (Long Sleeve Striped Sweater)

pastedGraphic_1.pdf$24.50 at Forever 21 (Destroyed Slim Fit Jeans)

pastedGraphic_2.pdfpastedGraphic_3.pdfpastedGraphic_4.pdf $22.94 at Old Navy (Women’s Ballet Flat in Yellow)

pastedGraphic_5.pdf$15.50 at Forever 21 (Braided Buckle Crossbody in Tan)

pastedGraphic_6.pdf $14 at (Risky Business in Johnny)

pastedGraphic_7.pdf$1.50 at Forever 21 (Anchors Aweigh Earrings)

pastedGraphic_8.pdf$4.80 at Forever 21 (Police Whistle Necklace)

pastedGraphic_9.pdf $16.94 at Old Navy (Women’s Multi-strand Rope-leather belt in Natural)

What do you think? Like the outfit? Helpful post?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mommy's Little Helper- $49.86 plus tax

Ok, so I've had a lot of requests to post my personal shopping lists, coupons used, and menu. However, I'm working from a stockpile of frozen and shelf-stable items as well as a binder and file-box full of coupons that you, my reader, may not have on hand. Therefore...I've decided to do a post called "Mommy's Little Helper." Below is a grocery list, coupon source, and menu plan for the current sales week. These deals are good through Tuesday, Feb 28th unless specified otherwise. I hope this helps all you mommies who have no time for coupon clipping, menu planning, or how-you-say "bathing regularly." Hehe. I've been there. Still there some days.

First let's do the shopping. ...
You'll notice that I have you going to multiple stores. That's the way to get the best deals if you have no stockpile and no plethora of coupons. While it's true that FoodMaxx and Walmart will price-match, they can't honor other stores' coupons or store brand prices. So, I've truly comprised the best prices possible this week. M-kay? Get Daddy to watch baby or get a cushy cart cover. Here we go...

Albertsons ($14.58)

(5lbs= $5)Albertsons Chicken Split Breasts or Thighs- $.99/lb

(12= $6) Essential Everyday or Albertsons Canned Beans 15oz, Tomatoes 10-15oz, or Vegetables 11-15.25oz- $.50 each with in ad coupon (this is a coupon that was mailed to you with the weekly ad/circular)

Coupon Only Valid 2/24-2/26

limit 12

Only Valid 2/24-2/26
limit 12
*stock-up price

(2lbs= $0.80) Cantaloupe- $.39/lb

(1= $2) Strawberries 1/lb, Blueberries 6oz, or Blackberries 5.6oz- $1.99 each

Foods Co ($24.14)

(2lbs- $2.74)Pork Sirloin End Chops- $1.37/lb

(6lbs= $2) Russet Potatoes- $.33/lb

(3lbs= $2.34) Fuji Apples- $.78/lb

(3lbs= $2.34) Broccoli Crowns- $.78/lb

(4= $2.72) StarKist Chunk Light Tuna, 5oz can- $.68 each

Use $1.00/4 from here

Final Price= $.43 each when you buy 4

Bread- approx $2

Oats (not instant)- approx $2

Milk- approx $3

Digiorno Pizza- approx $5

Smart & Final ($4)

First Street Long Grain Rice, 10/lb bag- $3.99

(like paying $.40/lb)

SaveMart ($7.14)

(1= $1.45) Sue Bee Aunt Sue Raw While Natural Honey, 12oz- $1.99 with in ad coupon

limit 2

Use $.55/1 from here

Final Price= as low as $1.45

(1= $1.29) Kellogg’s Krave Cereal- $1.99 with in ad coupon

limit 3

Use $.70/1 from here or 2/19 RP

Final Price= $1.29

(get 2 of each= $3) Cucumbers, Green or Red Bell Peppers- $.50 each

Wednesday- they are running this deal every Wed thru March. Pick up the other items and circle back on Wed for eggs

(2= $1.40) Sunnyside Eggs, 1 dozen- $.69 each

limit 2

Now, here's what I would make....


Breakfasts- Krave Cereal w/ milk and blueberries

Baked Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal

Scrambled eggs with cantaloupe

Lunches- leftovers

Tuna sandwiches with apples

Dinners- Pork Chops (fry in skillet or bake in oven) with homemade crockpot applesauce (peel, chop, and cook for 4-5 hours, then blend and potatoes (any way you choose)

Orange Chicken with rice

Sesame chicken with rice and broccoli

Six can chicken tortilla soup (this uses canned chicken, so you'll just sub in fresh chicken, m-kay?)

Frittata (save all the little leftovers of potato, onion, bell pepper, etc. and sauté in a oven-proof pan. Add 5 beaten eggs. Cook over medium heat till almost set. Add cheese if you've got it, then throw it in the oven under the broiler until set in the middle.)
Digiorno Pizza
Go to your parents' house and make them feed you ;)

You should a few cans of vegetables, beans, and some extra produce, and a whole lot of rice leftover. Use this to supplement your week. Get creative to make additional meals, or just roll it over to next week's ingredients. Hope this helps. Leave comments with any questions! Happy Homemaking!

Note: These recipes assume that you have a few basic items in your pantry- flour, spices, etc. To be sure that you are ready, please print out the recipes before you go shopping and add any missing items to your list.

Increasing Income- Ebates

Have you tried yet? No? Well, get on it. I just got my first check from them (pictured above) and it was so easy. Here's how it works:

1. Sign up- You don't even have to give them your address, etc. until later. You just provide a name and working email, and you're in.
2. Shop online- Start at, login (of course), select the store you want to shop online, click that store, and Ebates will open a "ticket number" which tracks how much you spend at that online store. They then credit your Ebates account with a percentage of your purchase price back! I've seen percentages anywhere from 1-20%!!! You earn money back on every purchase made through Ebates.
3. Get paid- When you're ready, provide your mailing address, etc., and they will mail you a check for all the money you've earned.

Now, I don't recommend shopping online just to get cash back. You often won't be able to use coupons or coupon codes to get the best deal possible. (Although, if you search, you might find a coupon code to use.) If, however, you need to buy online, or you find a killer deal, why not sweeten the steal by earning money back?

I'll take my $5.12 and have a latte, thank you very much....Actually, it will probably buy something more practical and cost effective, but you know what I'm saying. Shop happy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What a weekend!

We did it! My sis and I completed the Pasadena Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon benefitting Cure Mito!!! All in, our team raised over $11K to fund research into Mitochondrial Disease. And...we didn't die! In fact, we did our personal bests- 3hrs, 8min. Now, if you're a runner, this may not impress you, but for people who have very little time to train (and who planned to walk the whole way), this is pretty freakin' awesome! I will confess that I had to take a little trip to the medical tent afterwards for almost fainting/dehydration. Ya. I blame the shirts. They gave us these Shaq-sized tank jerseys to wear for the Cure Mito team. Hi. It's 50 degrees outside. So we wore long-sleeved shirts underneath. Plus, we had to be in our corral to begin by 7am. How do you hydrate that early? So, whatevs. I'm fine and so proud to have done it with my sister. We had a blast, and while our feet are a bit blistered, we are already talking about next year.

Now that this is over, I'd best get back into the swing of things with frugal tips, coupon trips, and losing weight. I have not even dared to step on the scale post-race for fear that my swollen calves and feet will weigh me down. Ha! So, I'll have to get a results post up this weekend.

P.S. On Monday night, we tried Hungry Girl's Eggplant Parmesan found here. I absolutely loved it as did our 17 month old (go figure), but Dahubs was not such a fan. I neglected to take pictures because we were so hungry, but why don't you try it yourself and send me a picture of yours? ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last Minute Valentine's Decor Post

So, Dahubby and I really aren't big on Valentine's Day. It's not that we have anything against it- we think it's great to have a special day that's not your anniversary set aside to be extra special romantic together. Unfortunately, when it's everyone else's day too...well, that gets crowded and expensive. That's why we have our extra special romantic day on St. Patrick's Day. And that's always been fine with me. In years past, I've babysat for other couples or hosted something for single friends or done girls night out. But, this year, something compelled me to make it cool again....Must be my extra special Valentine, my B-bear. Anyway, I don't have a budget line for holiday decorating, so I had to get creative. I started by gathering everything in our house that was red, had hearts or flowers, or otherwise seemed appropriate. I laid down a red shawl that we picked up in Israel a few years ago and started arranging until I was happy. I spent $0 on this tablescape, and realized that I had inadvertently gathered super lovey-dovey stuff- a framed picture of flowers that Dahubs took, a bottle that contained a letter he wrote me on our first St. Patty's day, a "B" for his last name that is mine now too, a candle, a heart box from a friend, a lamp that we got as newlyweds, a flower-shaped candle, and last but not least- my wedding bouquet! Isn't it funny how God chooses to bless us when we honor him with our finances?

BTW- I don't typically do tablescapes on my actual dining table because that is where I sit to coupon, etc. Also, here's a shot of my mantle- I wasn't sure what to do in here with green walls-pink? Well, I'm not a pink gal, so there's no existing decor to recycle. I like just seeing our cards there along side an engagement picture and a shot from our wedding. Sweet and simple.

Hope you all have a fab V-day! Hugs from the Dahoney!

Monday, February 6, 2012

What a weekend!

Good heavens! What a weekend! Here's what we were up to:

Increasing Income- Cashed in 2 bags of plastic bottles, and 1 bag of cans= $5.88 which went towards my FoodsCo shopping trip.
Making beans from scratch- This was my first successful attempt at doing this. Go here to get all the details on different methods. I soaked mine overnight (1 part beans to 2 parts water approximately), then covered them with an inch of water in the crockpot and cooked on high for 6 hours. Perfect! It's so much less expensive ($5.99/10lbs at Smart & Final right now) and a lot less sodium and preservatives than canned beans.
Discovered the loveliness of Chocolate Covered Katie- I made these Chocolate Mousse Frosting Shots (recipe here) as well as some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip (recipe here) from her website. Gluten Free, no white sugar, and sooooooo delicious!!! Everyone at our family Super Bowl party was amazed at the dip- made with chickpeas! What?!?! Don't be scared. It's ah-mah-zing!
Freezer Cooking- I may be stalking Save At Home Mommy. I made her Frozen Burritos which you can find here. They are ginormous and tasty and easy and cheap and everything else that you could want in a throw-together, super handy meal. They may not be the super healthiest on the planet, but I guarantee this is going to save us from eating out and it's definitely healthier than that. Plus, I got all the ingredients on the cheap- Beans at Smart & Final- $5.99 for 10lbs, Rice at Winco- $9.98 for 20lbs, Shredded Cheese at Target with coupon- $3.00 for 4 cups, Tortillas at Winco- $1.88 for 10 count. I figured it out to be about $0.60 per burrito!!! It only used like a gagillionth of my beans and rice.

What were you up to? Hope you had fun watching the Super Bowl!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Target Trip- Spent $78.45, Saved $68.49 (46%)

I am so bummed that I couldn't get my Target Red Debit card to work today to get me an additional 5% off. That would have pushed me over the edge of saving more than I spent. Oh well! You can't look a gift horse in the mouth, and today's deals were a gift! It took 4 transactions and 2 stores to get it all but so worth it! I will not have to buy diapers or wipes for like 6 weeks....well, unless they hit stockpile prices again. :)

Here's some of my fav deals and how to get them:

Buy 2 Huggies Value Pack Diapers $29.99= $59.98
Use 2 $2.00/1 Huggies Little Movers from SS 1/15 (exp 2/11)
And Use 2 $5.00/1 Huggies 92 ct+ Little Movers or Snug & Dry Diapers, Target Coupon
Pay $45.98, Receive a $15.00 Target Gift Card

Buy 2 Huggies Wipes Refills ($12.49) = $24.98
-$1.50 (use two .75/1 Huggies Wipes 64 ct+ 1-15-12 SS x2/11)

Pay $23.48, Receive a $5 Gift Card Back (wyb 2)

Since getting gift cards to Target is basically cash to me, I subtract the amount I'm given back from the total. This means I paid essentially $30.98 for 234 diapers ($0.13 each). Also, I chose the Huggies Natural Care Wipes that had an extra 96 inside! That's $17.48 for 1200 wipes ($0.01 per wipe!) That's hands down the best deal ever on wipes I think. They were out of the bonus boxes at the Stockdale store, but I left plenty on the shelves at Rosedale, so hurry up!

I also loved:

Market Pantry Mac and Cheese, $0.67 each regular price

Use $1/1 coupon from

Price- Free after coupon

Knorr Rice Sides, $0.96, Price Cut through 2/18 (regularly $1.09 each)

Use $0.50/2 Knorr Rice Side from RP 1/29

And use $0.50/2 Knorr Rice Side from

Price- $0.46 each when you buy 2

Vons Trip- Spent $10.37, Saved $17.20!

I love it when a deal comes together! Though I was bummed to see that our Vons was out of POM juice (hoping to get it for free), I was able to score some sweet deals. So here's what I got and how:

(4)Hass Avocados- $.50 each

(2)Digiorno Original Pizza, 12.6-34.2oz- $3.49

Thursday Only

limit 2

Use $2/2 Digiorno Large Pizza, exp. 2/5/12 (RP 01/29/12 #2)

Final Price= $2.49 each when you buy 2

(4) 2-Liter refreshe Soda- $.69 each

If you can't tell, we love Digiorno pizzas around here! It's a great stay-at-home date-night dinner. Pop in a movie or some Dr. Who on Amazon Prime and you're set! If you want to get this Digiorno deal, though, you'd better's today only!!!

Albertsons Trip- Spent $21.76, Saved $38.17

First, let me say that I got robbed at Albertsons. I bought things that were part of the buy 10, save $5 instantly, but I did not receive my savings. So, they owe me $5, and I will be going back for it tomorrow when they start their $1.79/lb chicken deal. So there! But I still got a great haul for very little money.

Second, let me say that I love it when the people behind me at the grocery store make comments about the quantities I buy. Ha! The dude behind me asked if I was shopping for the Super Bowl and was I doing a big spaghetti dinner for everyone. I said, "No, I just wait until things go down to their rock-bottom prices, and I get a lot of them." To which he replied, "My girlfriend does the same, but I always thought she was crazy. I guess it kind of makes sense. I should start shopping like you." Then his jaw dropped as my savings exceeded my out of pocket by almost twice as much. (And that's with getting robbed.) "Ya, you really should listen to your girl."

So, here's what I got and how:

The first two items are part of a Buy 10, get $5 off instantly promotion:

(6) Ragu Pasta Sauce 16-24oz, or Kraft BBQ Sauce 18oz- $.99 after discount

Use $1.00/2 Ragu Pasta Sauce, exp. 2/26/12 (RP 01/29/12)

Final Price= $.49 each or FREE with doubler, used two here and got all 6 for $0.94 total!!!

(4) Pace Picante Sauce or Salsa, 16oz- $1.49 after discount

Use $0.75/2 Pace Product, exp. 4/15/12 (SS 01/22/12 R) or

Final Price= as low as $1.12 each when you buy 2; got all 4 for $4.48

(2)Buy Digiorno Original Pizzas- $5.00 each, Get 1 Dreyer's Ice Cream 1.5qt FREE

Use $2/2 Digiorno Large Pizza, exp. 2/5/12 (RP 01/29/12 #2)

Final Price= $4.00 each for pizza + FREE ice cream!; paid $8 for 2 pizzas and 1 ice cream

(1) Bandarita Tortilla, 10count of soft taco size- $0.99 with in ad coupon

(2) Farm Stand Baby Carrots, 1lb bags- $0.69 ea with in ad coupon= $1.38

(1) Cranberries, fresh bag- $0.99

Should have been $16.78 and will be after they make a correction tomorrow, but even paying $21.76 for $59.93 worth of groceries isn't too shabby!

Month 1- Results Show

Well, I can only say good things about January. Isn't it always the best month when it comes to New Year's resolutions? If you're just joining us, you can read about the challenge I issued to myself here.

So how'd I do?

5 pounds lost!!!
How? P90X 3-4 times a week, Walking 3 miles at least 4 times a week, Cooking primarily Hungry Girl recipes. I ate out, ate pizza, and ate ice cream. Not exactly what I would recommend, but when you're on a long-term journey, sometimes you have to allow yourself pit-stops. I never once felt deprived. By being good most of the time, my slip-ups and poor choices are offset. Then, by exercising, I make progress. The more consistent my healthy choices, the quicker I'll get to goal, so that's something to work on in February.

$950.oo in unexpected income!!!
(This doesn't include Dahubby's guitar lessons or my babysitting.)
How? Selling things on Ebay (old phones, CDs, DVDs, and books), Selling unwanted furniture on Craig's List, Selling clothes at Plato's Closet

As far as the things we did not do so well, it's worth mentioning that we went over budget in several areas, but most significantly in the area of fast food. We need to get better at having convenience foods and freezer meals ready to go in the house so that we are not tempted. We've been busting our butts to make extra money and save on our expenses. That equals tired Mommy and Daddy which equals lazy cooks. But, as we are a work in process, I am very happy with the results of our efforts. And, God seems to be blessing them, so what more could I ask for?

Looking forward to February, I intend to continue doing my whole Julie/Julia thing with Hungry Girl recipes. And, as my 1/2 marathon is coming up this month (read more about that here), I anticipate more intensive training and lots of extra calories burned. Traveling may add to the eating out budget, but we'll have to do our best.

How are your resolutions coming along? Feel free to leave a comment!