Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

We saw this little guy when we went outside tonight- he was feeding on my plant and we thought he was a little hummingbird at first. If you click on a pic it will bring the pics up in a shadow box and you can click through them at the bottom :)

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth.. The hummingbird hawk-moth is a species of Sphingidae. Its long proboscis and its hovering behaviour, accompanied by an audible humming noise, make it look remarkably like a hummingbird while feeding on flowers.




Friday, July 25, 2014

How YOU can save money too

Do you have an Albertsons/Jewel-Osco near you? They are all owned by the same company, and as far as I can tell from looking at each of their sales ads online, they have comparable sales. Whether you have these stores, or not, I urge you to at least start off by getting a sales ad from the grocers in your area and comparing their sales AND their regular prices. If you want to just shop at one store, you'll need to make sure the every day prices aren't too high, or just go to one store for the sales and go to another for other items you need. Either way, you need to make sure that however you choose to do it is going to be within your budget. Also, if you have a dollar store such as Dollar Tree near you, it helps save money to get some items there. 
I feed 4 of us on $400 a month. My son is on a 3000 cal/day diet, so he eats a LOT. I budget approximately $100 a week.
We have Albertsons and I do 99% of my grocery shopping there. They are more expensive than shopping at Walmart, UNLESS you shop their sales. For items that are not on sale, I usually go across the street to Walmart and pick up those things. For me it's cheaper and makes more sense to pick up things like shampoo, toilet paper (I am picky about my toilet paper) and ground beef. I try to get as much as I can from the Dollar Tree. Some of the items I pick up at the Dollar Tree are: Tortillas, jars of jalapenos, ketchup, mustard, cleaning products, foil, etc. Dollar Tree has quite a few name brand items, as well as off brand items that are just as good as name brand and you can get them for a fraction of the cost some where else.
I signed up on the Albertsons website (it appears you can do this for Jewel, and I know you can for Safeway as well- check the website of the store you choose and sign up on there) and I get an email every Tuesday with the new sales ad that will start on Wednesday. Check the sales paper for coupons for the week.They also have coupons you can print off. Safeway has coupons you can attach to your card and they will automatically come off when you swipe your card.
Once I get my email, I look through the ad, then think about what I would like to cook for the NEXT week. I make my list, being sure to add up the amounts so you know if you are staying within your budget. I go shopping on Saturday Mornings (go whenever is good for you of course). I try to only buy things that are on sale and on my list, but as you know we forget things and think about it as we walk by them at the store. To continue to stay within my budget, I usually only have about $85 worth of stuff on my list for the week, If the items I forgot to put on my list are cheaper somewhere else, I go to either Walmart of Dollar Tree to get them.
Every few weeks they have big sales on meat. Examples- packages of Seasoned chicken leg quarters will be on sale Buy One get TWO free. Same with seasoned boneless skinless chicken breasts, and seasoned boneless sirloin pork chops. There are usually 3 or 4 in a package of the chicken and 4 of the pork chops. If you buy a package of the leg quarters for 12.00 then you get 2 free you save 24.00. 
So when they have their big meat sale for the month I typically have mostly meat on my list. Then I'll get the other essentials like milk, bread, etc etc. On weeks meat isn't on sale, I'll get the other things we need through out the month. I also buy fresh fruit every week. Albertsons has 20 oz bowls of fresh cut up fruit on sale 3 for $10. I get the 3 for the sale and it lasts us all week.
I rarely buy junk. I always get the meats when on sale, fresh fruit and veggies each week and whatever I need to complete the meals I want to make over the next week.
Last week I got $184.87 worth of groceries at Albertsons and I only paid $117.21. Last week I got $150 worth of groceries and only paid $88. The week before that, I got $220 worth of groceries and I only paid $108.

In addition to shopping the sales, you can use coupons. I don't do extreme couponing, but I do like to use coupons on items I know we will use, if I can find a coupon for it. You can get coupons from your Sunday paper, or you can print them out. Most stores will take printable coupons as long as you don't cut off any of the coupon and the code is readable on their register.

Here are a few coupon sites I check each week to see if there is anything I can use. Some of them have some of the same coupons, but I go ahead and look through each site because sometimes I find different coupons.

You can use the Savings Catcher through Walmart also. You can use an app if you have a smart phone you can go to the website. Once you set up an account, you just enter your receipt code and the date you shopped. The web-site automatically compares the prices you paid with the same item at other stores. If there is a cheaper price, you get the difference. You "collect" the savings and then can redeem them. (This tip came from a reply to this post!) I myself just signed up and entered a receipt, so we'll see how I do :)

Lastly, I use my grocery shopping to save money on gasoline! My Albertsons gives coupons to a gas station here named Holiday StationStore. Depending on how much you spend at Albertsons, you can get coupons for 5¢ off, 10¢ off, or 25¢ off each gallon of gas up to 12 gallons. You can use up to 3 of these coupons at one time. 

Remember, you don't have to have these same stores in your area to save. You can do the same thing with whatever stores you have available to you.

Have some tips you want to share? Have a question about something? Just reply below!

Pencil Toppers

Tonight I was feeling creative and wanted to make something different so I decided to make some pencil toppers on the Rainbow Loom. These are fun little things to make while you are sitting relaxing and watching tv.

I made a piranha plant from Mario Bros., an evil minion from Despicable Me 2 and a minion from Despicable Me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Do you have a blog?

If you have a blog and you'd like more followers, then click follow to the right on my blog and share your blog with me. I'll follow you in return. Just post a link to your blog in a comment below!

Rainbow Loom

I just added some pics to my Rainbow Loom Creations page. I'll be posting more pics there later and will update as I make new things. If you would like to know how to make something I've posted, let me know what the name of the bracelet/charm is and I'll give you the link to the tutorial on Youtube!

This is my favorite thing I've made so far.

Ring tailed Lemur Pencil Hugger

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How can YOU save money?

I'll be posting a blog post in the next day or so on how YOU can save lots of money too :)

This week's grocery haul and savings

So, as I mentioned in my first post, I love saving money. It doesn't matter if it's a little money I save, or a lot. I just love to save money. I also like to spend it, which I get to enjoy a little more when I'm saving on things that have to be bought, like groceries and gasoline.

Today I got a huge haul of groceries. I had to buy some paper goods and stock up on snacks for the kids, so I spent a little more than I would have liked, but still within my budget for this week.


Here is what I got, what I spent and what I saved

1- Hamburger buns- 69¢
1- Hot Dog buns 69¢
Loaf of Shoppers brand bread 99¢
2- 4 pack pudding- $1.00
10- Kebbler and Nabisco brand snack cups- $10.00
4- Super Chill Soda 12 packs- $9.88
1- Mothers Animal cookies- $2.50
1- 8oz Essentials Mustard- $1.00
1- 24oz Hunts Ketchup- $1.00
3- Shoppers Value 100 sheet paper towels- $2.97
1- Ritz Crackers- $2.79
3- Old el Paso Taco Seasoning- $2.97
1- Essential Canned Butter Beans- $1.19
6- 32 oz Gatorade- $5.28
4- 32 oz Hawaiian Punch- $4.00
1- dozen large AA eggs- 59¢
1- 2% milk- $3.42
4- Hawan's Own frozen juice- $4.00
6- Jose Ole frozen burrito- $6.00
5- Box of Totino's Pizza Rolls- $5.00
2- Tip Steak- $6.98
4- 4 oz frozen salmon portion- $4.00
2- seasoned boneless skinless chicken breasts- $9.93
4- 5 oz frozen cod portions- $10.00
2- Bar S hotdogs- $1.38
1- Essentials brand 8 oz Pepperjack cheese- $2.99
1- 8 oz package fresh sliced mushrooms- $2.00
1- head iceburg lettuce- 99¢
1- 2.18 lbs vine ripe tomatoes- $3.90
1- 1.87 lbs green seedless grapes- $1.78
3- 20 oz bowls fresh cut fruit- pineapple and watermelon- $10.00
1- loaf of freshly baked garlic bread- 2.79

I had a total of $1.75 manufacture's coupons, $8.05 employee discount (my fiance works there),  and $57.86 in sales savings from shopping their weekly sales. I spent $117.21 and saved a total of $67.66. Not as much as the last 2 weeks, but I still saved.

I finally got both my freezers full and my pantry is stocked up. For the next 3 to 4 weeks I will only have to buy any sodas we want, fresh fruits and veggies and milk. I spent a total of  $313.00 (saving about $242.00)  during my last 3 shopping trips, with us eating off of those groceries over that time AND I have enough food to last about a month.

I'd say I did pretty well :)