Sunday, January 14, 2024

My blog has moved

Hi everyone

I have decided to move my blog. I tried to sign up for ads several years ago, only to to discover that the ex already owned an account. I tried to change the phone number associated with this blog, but had no luck & the ex didn't want to share his Adsense account. I then decided to start a new blog, but then covid & divorce happened and I never got around to it. I'm hoping that I'll be able to sign up for ads again in due time, so I can earn a little extra income. 

Please be sure to check out my new blog at Living well the frugal way (it's still a WIP, so please bear with me)

I'll post the menu plan on there tomorrow.

Thank you & have a wonderful evening peeps!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Saving on restaurant & fast food

I've been trying to cut down our restaurant & fast food expenses for years. The constant rising prices have made me take a long hard look at ways to reduce our spending in this category, while still enjoying the occasional treat. 

I've mentioned before that I purchased Red Robin gcs at 25% off at Costco. I'm so glad I did, because those gcs disappeared from their site shortly thereafter. I'm not sure if they're just OOS or have stopped selling RR gcs. Over the holiday season, I also stocked up on fast food gcs for DS. I really don't need fast food, but my kiddo's set in his ways. 

Sams Pizza 

I've been craving Sam's pizza for a while, but that cafΓ© line is out the wazoo every time I'm at Sams. I finally had success on Thursday, so I ordered 2 pizzas.

2 pizzas = $19.00 (give or take with tax)

20 slices total. If you've never had Sams pizza, it's huge and delicious! DS normally eats 2 slices & I eat 1, which means we get roughly 7 meals out of it. 

$19.00 divided by 7 meals = $2.71  per meal. 

I just add a side salad (we always have salad fixings ready)



A burger averages around $6 around here. Add fries and it's another $3. That's $9 + tax for one person, so $18 for the 2 of us. That's a whopping $15 price difference between fast food & pizza!

Sams Burgers

I used to buy those precooked angus patties at Sams years ago. I can't remember why I stopped, but decided to try it again. I like those patties for their flame grilled taste. 

12 pk = $19.00 ($1.58 each)

When I opened the package to place the patties into ziploc bags for easy freezing, I saw that I got a baker's dozen. That's an extra meal for one of us. Yay!

Aldi Brioche hamburger rolls = $4.00 or $0.67 each

I can't blame DS. Brioche anything is so yummy! I'll gladly pay more for these vs regular rolls/buns.

Again, we always have salad fixings and cheese slices available. I also have Arby's, CFA (my favorite) & Red Robin  sauce in the fridge. I also have a jumbo bag of French's onions (I buy it at Sams every year, cause it's way cheaper than purchasing the small cans at the grocery store. Besides, I love this stuff)

That's $2.25 (let's call it around $3 with all the fixings) per burger


Red Robin

Gourmet burger & fries start at $13.99 each. With tax, it's almost $15

We don't pay tax on grocery food items, but we do pay tax on restaurant & fast food. 

There's another $12 price difference & they don't even add all the produce items that I do. Of course, there's no fries, but I can make my own or just order fries to go. 

So, this is how we did this weekend. Thursday night we had pizza and salad. Neither of us wanted leftovers once we smelled the pizza πŸ˜‚ I buy the deluxe one that's loaded with veggies, pepperoni & Italian sausage. You can't get such a good pizza for $9 at any pizza place. They're going to charge you for each extra topping. 

Friday Night

Burgers - Patties, rolls, cheese of choice, spinach, tomato, red onion, cucumber and sauce of choice.

I did order fries, so that was a $6 expense. This girl needs her fries πŸ˜‚


2 x Red Robin gourmet burgers & fries for DS = $15 (I used my 25% off gc, so it actually cost $10.50 + tax = $11.30)

I had a free burger offer (every 10th burger is free) and will save one meal for him for tomorrow

I had the same dinner as last night minus the brioche roll. I fixed a salad instead and added some of DS's fries. Easy peasy.

Did you know that you can ask for extra fries on a RR carry out order (I'm not sure if it still works, but it's worth a try. It worked pre-pandemic), because they offer bottomless fries. I'm gonna give it a try next time. 

Normally this Friday/Saturday dinner would've cost me $33.37 RR (25% discounted gc) + $15-$20 fast food. Roughly $50 for just 2 dinners & 2 lunches (I usually get extra for lunch for him the next day). My cost for this weekend's meals = $21 (the rest is included in our grocery budget. We had pizza for lunch today). I just saved myself $29 and we both enjoyed our version of 'fast food'. 

My plan going forward. We can get fast food/carry out every other weekend. I don't mind ordering just fries to keep DS happy when we eat our own food. Saving $50-70 per month is a big deal. I can put that money to good use in another area. 

I also like to check various fast food places to see who has the best offer. 

Arby's likes to offer 2/$7 sandwiches and there's normally a $3 off $10 offer in my account. 

Wendy's also offers lots of different discounts and you earn points for every purchase. I noticed they have fries & sandwich redemption offers. I'm all for a free sandwich πŸ˜‚ I can keep DS happy without breaking the bank.

Burger King & Taco Bell have become far too expensive. Besides, my mexican food tastes far better than TB.

We do dine out too, but haven't done so in a while. I took DS to my favorite brewery over summer and our bill came to $70! That's just for the 2 of us. The food is good though, so I can't complain. I really don't mind paying for good food. Saving in other areas allows me to splurge like that from time to time. 

Have a wonderful weekend peeps! Stay healthy, safe & warm. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Stockpiling items of the week 01/08/24

Hi everyone

Here's just a few good stockpiling items for this week.


Spend $30 on Kimberley Clark products earn $10 CAT (coupon that prints at register)

I just knew that I had to do the Kleenex deal when I saw the ad, because Kleenex has become rather pricey over the years. Well, I'm a tissues junkie. I cannot live without this stuff. I like to have a box at my fingertips.  I did a bunch of calculations to see which scenario would give me the best bang for my buck & this is what I came up with (I always calculate unit costs). 

2 x 6pk Kleenex @ $9.49 ea  $18.98

2 x 4pk Kleenex @ $6.99 ea  13.98

Less DQ (0.50)

Less DQ (1.00)

OOP $31.46 + tax

Earned $10 CAT

Total cost after reward = $21.46 or $1.07 per box

I had $8 Mperks rewards, so that reduced my OOP.

Gone are the days when you can score Kleenex for $1 or less. I miss that, but Meijer made up for it this week πŸ˜‚This is a great price, because I pay $14.98 for a 12pk ($1.24) store brand tissues at Sams. Be sure to check the box sizes. I always purchase the 160ct boxes. I'm not going to pay the same price for half the quantity, just because the box/packaging looks cute. 

If you have a Wags account, clip the $5 WYB 2 beauty products q. Wags currently has major clearance on cosmetics so there are many ways to get free or near free products (if you can find any). 

Wags also has 90% off Christmas and that's how I ended up not hitting all the stores I wanted to yesterday πŸ˜‚ I stopped at Wags on my way to Aldi, saw that they had a decent amount of Christmas items available and didn't even make it to Aldi. I just decided to hit the main stores since Aldi items aren't a need. 

I did the following scenario:

1 x Almay mascara (clearance) $7.59
1 x Almay mascara B1G50% off 2nd 3.79
4 x 2pk Nivea lip balm 19.96
1 x Nivea lip balm 3.99
1 x Christmas clearance Kit Kat 1.49
Tax 2.12
OOP $38.94

Earned $22 WC ($10 Nivea, $5 WYB 2 Beauty, $7 WYS $35) + $8 Ibotta (Almay)
Total earned $30.00

The Nivea is Spend $20 earn $10 (you can combine it with whatever digital boosters are available on your account. see my earnings above)). I didn't earn my points and contacted CS. Looks like the single Nivea isn't included  (this was all my store had available), but they still honored the deal and added the points. There are lots of other Nivea products included in this deal (ends 01/27/24), but I wanted the lip balm. You can mix & match. There's a Nivea lotion Ibotta rebate and DQs for select items. 

The mascaras were clearanced and I wasn't sure if the BOGO deal would apply, but I'm happy it did. 

You can just do the mascara deal as follows:

1 x Almay mascara (clearance) $7.59
1 x Almay mascara B1G50% off 2nd 3.79
OOP $11.38
Earn $5 WC + $8 Ibotta
$1.62 MM

At another store. There wasn't much Christmas left, but they did have a good amount of candy. Food was 75% off, so I did the following:

14 x Ghirardelli $20.86
1 x Hallmark gift wrap 0.44 (BF will be happy)
Less WC (20.00)
Tax 0.03
OOP $1.33

The candy is for Valentine's for DS's classmates. At $1.49 per bag (4.5 oz bags), I wasn't passing up this deal. It's Valentine's colors after allπŸ˜‚ I made sure to not grab any snowman ones. 

I also bought myself a 15 oz bag of Lint peppermint chocolate for $4 (I love mint chocolate anything). Who pays $16 for a bag of chocolate?  I've wanted this flavor for a while now & was happy to find a bag. Bought a few Christmas things for my guys too, so I'm not sharing my chocolate with anyone. They can eat Ghirardelli πŸ˜‚

I purchased $314.07 worth of items for $53.52 OOP and earned back $33. It was a good day at Wags


I'm very happy to see blueberries on sale this week, because I've been paying an arm & a leg for it. I'm stocking up. 

I'm not ignoring anyone's blogs. I'm still sick. I'm feeling really really rough right now. I've got all kinds of symptoms and I'm just about ready for bed. I'll check back when I feel better.

Have a great evening peeps!

Monday, January 8, 2024

Menu Plan Monday 01/08/24

I woke up feeling great this morning. After spending most of the weekend in bed, I was all gung ho to get things done. Got the beef into the slow cooker, cooked the beans in instant pot, started a load of laundry, did a 20 minute run in place. By the time DS left for school, I had lost all steam. As much as I would've liked a nap, I needed to run errands (more on that tomorrow). On to the menu plan:

Monday : Slow cooker roast beef, mashed potatoes & gravy, veggies

Tuesday : Chicken pot pie, salad & veggies

Wednesday : Same as Monday

Thursday : Same as Tuesday

Friday : Chicken burritos with salad

Breakfasts : Carrot gingerbread muffins, bagels with cream cheese, cereal, eggs or omelets, toast, cranberry orange pancakes

Lunch : Leftovers or protein from freezer with salad

Dessert : No dessert cause I overate on that Christmas dessert & cookies

There's always a large variety of fresh fruit, veggies & salad fixings available

If anyone has a Sams membership, check your stores for sale ham. I had a package of ham lunch meat in my cart last week, when I spotted a fridge full of hams with a sign that said '$8 off each'. So I checked the prices, found one for $20.xx and put the lunch meat back on the shelf. When I checked out, the register deducted $12 (not $8 as stated). That was an 8lb ham for $8.xx and it's the same price as the package of lunch meat I would've bought. I still need to dice & freeze the ham (tomorrow). If I had my own place & a freezer, I would've turned right around to buy another ham or 2. 

I'm ready for an early night, cause I'm not fully recovered yet. 

Have a wonderful evening peeps. Stay healthy, safe & warm

Friday, January 5, 2024

2024 Goals

Happy 2024 everyone!

It's almost hard to believe that we've almost reached the end of the first week of the year. It's crazy how time just seems to fly by.

The good news is that DS finally went back to school this week. The bad news is that he needs surgery. The other bad news is that I'm now sick and I'm pretty sure (99%) that I have Covid. I felt terrible yesterday and went to bed at 9. Today I'm even worse. I have very mild cold symptoms, but the fatigue & sore body are overwhelming. I've had Covid enough times to know what the fatigue means. I slept most of the day and I'm going back to bed after this post. 

I only have a few goals to share, because BF & I need to discuss our plans for our future together. We're both on the same page about what we want, we just need to figure out our plan. Here are a few things I've decided on.

  • Move! well, this is a no brainer & part of that discussion with BF.

  • $600 (average) monthly grocery budget for 3 (DS, BF & myself). This includes HBA & cleaning products. I'm going to show BF how we can live well on a little. We're fully stocked on HBA, so there won't  be much spending in that category. I'm hoping to come in at $500 p/m, but the ever increasing grocery prices make it hard. 

    Heck, throw in another $100-200 per person to cover dining out/entertainment & clothing. That's $300-400 pp for food (meals at home & school/work. I cook from scratch, so there's no junk involved), dining out/entertainment, personal care (HBA), cleaning products & clothing. I can make it work πŸ˜‰

  • Zero $ clothing budget for me. We can probably do this for all of us, but I don't know what BF's needs/wants are in this category. DS & I don't need ANY more clothing. I mean it! I have so much stuff, I actually find it hard to spend the current rewards I have (that's a first for me πŸ˜‚). I guess it's a good problem to have. The only thing I'll be on the lookout for, is new athletic shoes. I still have a few new pairs, but I need to find a new brand for when these wear out. So, if we need anything, it's got to be paid for with our sold personal items income. I really don't want to spend any other cash on clothes or shoes. 

  • Our sold personal items also has to cover Christmas gifts this year. My budget is $1000 again. I'm a little ahead this year. I, once again, set aside $200 discounted Target gcs & have other gcs (I need to do an inventory of everything I have). 

  • Save all my change, $1 & $5 bills. Not sure what I'll do with this, but it can probably help pay for vacation. I need a vacation this year. DS & I miss the beach, cause we didn't go on vacation last year. I don't plan on skipping vacation again this year. We're both very happy at the water. 

  • Take full advantage of all drugstore deals this year. The drugstores (HBA & cleaning) will help offset those high grocery prices. I have a large amount of Wags rewards and I plan on rolling it into more. I'm doing the same with RA. I need to build up my BC (I only have a small amount from the BCC I earned), so I'll be buying more gcs to earn free money. My goal is $0 OOP at RA this year. Gonna be interesting to see how much I can get without spending any money. 

  • Try to earn at least $10 p/m at P&G. If I can do it every month, then I can add another $120 to my Christmas fund. 

  • Use CC points for discounted gcs to be added to Christmas fund. 

  • Add all Rakuten checks (I'm expecting a 'Big Fat Check' next month, thank so all those 10-20% Rakuten offers) & rebates to Christmas fund. At this rate I'm going to have a big Christmas fund πŸ˜‚

  • Earn as much as I can on point earning sites. It's hard to do since the offers are pretty much non-existent. I'm trying to maximise my Microsoft rewards searches every day. I've been slacking with that, but I'm determined to get back into earning again. Every $ counts. 

  • Try to do a "Stockpiling items of the week post" every week, so others can stock up at low prices too. 

  • Plant a garden. I missed doing it last year. There's nothing better than eating homegrown produce. 

  • Less food waste. I already eat leftovers for lunch, but I'm going to try to do a lot better with this. This normally goes sideways when one of us are ill. I need to plan better for those times.

  • Lose weight & maintain new weight. I'm hoping to reach my target weight by the end of the month. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but I know how easy it is for me to lose weight when I stick to my plan (not starving myself or cutting out carbs). I gained 4 lbs over the holidays (that darned dessert & cookies were too good πŸ˜‚). Thankfully, I'm down 2 lbs since Wednesday. 

That's all I can think of for now. Have a wonderful evening peeps!

My blog has moved

Hi everyone I have decided to move my blog. I tried to sign up for ads several years ago, only to to discover that the ex already owned an a...