Couponing Trip: Target

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a couponing trip. Every once in a while, I see a good enough deal that I want to try it out. Last week, I went to Target to try my hand at scoring some free products.

couponing trip

Ignore the dirty floor…

1 gallon milk – on sale for $4.99 each (Normally $5.64 each)
Used $0.35/1 printable

6 Dial for Men Bodywash – $2.99 each (Buy 3, Get 1 Dial Hand Soap refill FREE)
Used 3 $2/2 printable

2 Dial Antibacterial Hand Soap Refill – $3.99 each (Free since I bought 6 Dial bodywash)
Used $1/2 printable

2 Suave shampoo – $0.94 each (FREE after coupons. My Target doesn’t give overages.)
Used $1/2 Target mobile coupon
Used 2 $0.50/1 printable

Used $5/$15 Target mobile coupon

Total before coupons and sales: $44.09

Total with tax after coupons, sales, and bag discount: $10.80 (savings of 67.6%)

I can also submit my receipt for the milk and Dial for a $1.25 credit with Ibotta.

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Freezer Cooking Day

Last week, I used my first day off for my new schedule to execute a freezer cooking day! A freezer cooking day is basically meal prep on steroids (the prepping, not the meals). In the past, I’ve done one hour or an entire afternoon of freezer cooking sessions, but never have I undertaken so much in a single day.

Why do freezer cooking? Here are my top 3 reasons:

  1. It saves time. Oh no! It’s 4:00 and you haven’t started dinner? No problem. Just pull something out of the freezer, throw it in the oven, make a salad, and you’ve got dinner ready. You can also double or triple batches of certain recipes in the same amount of time it would take to make one!
  2. It saves money. How many times do we order take-out or go through the drive-thru because it’s easy? Think of how expensive it is for a family of 4 to eat out. Homemade meals can be time consuming to make, but eating at home is a proven way to save hundreds of dollars a month. Many times we’ve had weeks where we’ll “eat from the pantry” in order to stretch our grocery budget. Since I’d been stocking up on pantry essentials for a few weeks now, I was able to plan my freezer cooking menu around what I had on hand. I spent less than $40 on my groceries that day.
  3. It saves your health. Convenience foods are expensive and terrible for your health. Yes, you can take a frozen pizza and have it ready to eat in 20 minutes. You can microwave Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, frozen burritos, etc. and have a hot meal in minutes. Those foods are packed full of preservatives and chemicals that wreak havoc on your body, not to mention how a serving size just isn’t quite enough to fill you up. By preparing homemade meals, you can avoid a large portion of those chemicals and have delicious, filling, and healthy foods available to eat at any moment.

How did I plan my freezer cooking day? I started by scouring Pinterest, cookbooks, and websites for freezer-friendly recipes. Most tutorials on freezer cooking involves making dinner recipes. Since I usually don’t have a problem planning dinners, my main focus was to find recipes that my husband would like to eat for breakfast, lunches, and snacks.

The day before my cooking day. I printed out this freezer cooking planner pack from Money Saving Mom for planning my day (hint – print enough copies of page 2 so you have enough recipe cards for your plan OR just print out each recipe so you have it on hand). I came up with about 30 recipes to try, which is far too many to attempt in one day. After I wrote down all my ideas, I ran them past my husband to see what he actually wanted to eat. This helped me bring my list down to 15 recipes (still a lofty list for one day of cooking by myself). When I settled on my final list, I printed out each recipe individually so I wouldn’t forget any ingredients. I decided to do my cooking day at my mom’s house, mostly because of her larger kitchen (along with the many dishes I would need), but also because she has a dishwasher!

My final recipe selection was (in no particular order):

 

The morning of, I started loading up my car at about 7am and headed to her house by 7:30. I had a rough idea of what ingredients I needed, but I hadn’t made a final list. I made a list on the computer, added up like ingredients (i.e. 6 cups of shredded cheddar cheese for the day instead of 3 recipes with 2 cups each), compared that list to what I had on hand, and came up with a final list of what I needed to buy. List in hand, I headed out to Winco to buy my groceries. In case you missed it before, I spent less than $40 because of stocking up ahead of time (I even have extra sugar, flour, and yeast leftover for next time)! I was able to return within an hour to start cooking.

After processing the dishes, I started on my cooking. Now, I didn’t keep an accurate record of what time I started each recipe, but I basically cooked from 10:15am till 9:30pm. I took an hour lunch break around 2pm, ran the dishwasher 4 times, and finally got home at 10:30pm after cleaning everything up. I had a 15-hour day!

Look what I came out with after my long day!

freezer cooking day

  • 22 breakfast burritos
  • 22 pasta lunches (each 1 serving of pasta + 1 serving of broccoli alfredo sauce)
  • 11 cups homemade pumpkin puree
  • 2 lbs shredded chicken taco meat
  • 1 lb plain shredded chicken
  • 1 Tex Mex lasagna
  • 1 Easy Baked Ziti
  • 1 Chicken Alfredo lasagna
  • 8 homemade bacon & cheese “hot pockets”
  • 8 garlic parmesan twist breadsticks
  • 6 balls of pizza dough
  • 3 1/4 dozen homemade energy bites (2 bites per serving)
  • 6 pints strawberry freezer jam
  • 3 banana bread loaves (9 servings per loaf)
  • 1 iced banana cake
  • 2 pumpkin cream cheese swirl bread loaves (9 servings per loaf)
  • 18 pumpkin cream cheese muffins (2 muffins per serving)

That’s enough for:

  • 22 breakfasts
  • 30 lunches
  • 17 dinners
  • 1 side dish
  • 65 snacks
  • 1 dessert

That’s 136 meals/sides PLUS:

  • 6 cans of pumpkin puree
  • 6 jars of jam

If you consider the $38 I spent on groceries, it breaks down to $0.28 per meal NOT including the pumpkin puree and jam. If you count the puree and jam as one “meal” each (making the total 148 meals), it breaks down to $0.27 per meal. Either way, it’s a huge savings!

Phew! This was a long post. Thanks for sticking with me! Have you ever tried freezer cooking? What’s your method?

Let’s Talk About Routines

2014-06-18 07.32.30

A few weeks ago, I shared how I plan out my days. While this has been working well for me the last couple of months, a change in schedule requires a look at my current system. If you missed my post yesterday, my work hours have been cut back. While the daily docket works well for work days, it simply leaves too much wiggle room for my days when I’m home.

One of the best ways to maximize time during the day is to get into a routine. If you’re looking for some good material on how to build a routine, I highly suggest this series from Money Saving Mom. I’m going to be trying out a different morning routine for work/non-work days, but otherwise my afternoon/evening routines will be the same. I’ll be checking back in next week to report on how these went. It takes 3 weeks to build a habit, so I’m planning on checking in for at least 4 weeks of trying the same thing before I attempt to add any more. The more you do a routine, the more streamlined your actions will be, thus creating more time for other things!

Work Days:

Morning routine

  • 5am Wakeup
  • Exercise
  • Shower, Dress
  • Coffee, Bible, Breakfast
  • Leave for work by 6:20

Afternoon routine

  • Lunch
  • BeachBody work
  • Housecleaning
  • Blog/Writing
  • Afternoon tasks/to-do list
  • Read

Evening routine

  • Pack lunch (if working the next day)
  • Tidy kitchen
  • Take pills
  • Lay out clothes
  • Fill out tomorrow’s daily docket

Home Days:

Morning routine

  • 6:30am Wakeup
  • Exercise
  • Coffee, Bible, Breakfast
  • Shower, Dress
  • Dishes/Housecleaning
  • Blog/Writing

Do you have a routine that works for you?

 

Menu Plan Monday

I’m back to meal planning! I did plan out our meals for last week, though I never posted about it. We’re going out of town this weekend, so we’re eating out of the freezer/pantry.

Here’s the plan for this week:

Breakfasts:

Cereal

Shakeology Mocha Frappuccinos

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Snacks:

Homemade Energy Bites

Banana Bread

Greek Yogurt

Fruit

Lunches:

Homemade Freezer Hot Pockets

Pasta with Broccoli Alfredo

Leftovers

Dinners:

Monday – Tex Mex Lasagna

Tuesday – Easy Baked Ziti, homemade freezer garlic twists

Wednesday – Chicken Soft Tacos

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – Sunday – Cabin trip!

6 Weekly Goals

This past week ushered in a new schedule for me. I’m down to working only 3 mornings a week. Needless to say, those two extra days threw me for a loop. One day off, I spent 15 hours doing a freezer cooking day (which I’ll post about later this week). The other day off, I spent the entire day on the couch, taking naps and binge-watching Friends. I made some progress on my goals, but I failed to complete many of them. I’m starting to implement more organization into my daily life to help me be more productive. Check back tomorrow for how I plan to do this!

I’m scaling down my goals this week to just 6 goals to keep it simple while I implement new routines.

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Plan a freezer cooking day
  4. Sign up for a childbirth class

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading 1 Samuel
  2. Exercise 4 days
  3. Schedule a dental appt

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 2 blogs
  2. Finish my BeachBody coach training
  3. Read 1 chapter of Drama Ministry

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading 1 Samuel
  2. Exercise 2 days
  3. Take a mini vacation

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Plan next month’s blogging schedule

What are your goals for the week?

 

10 Weekly Goals

I’m still recovering from my blogging hiatus over the last few weeks. My hours at work have been cut back as of this week, so I have some more time to dedicate to blogging.

I need to get back to my weekly goals. They keep me motivated throughout the week so I don’t just eat gallons of ice cream while watching Friends or take naps all day.

Since I haven’t posted my goals in a while, I’m starting with a fresh slate. I’m focusing on progress, not perfection.

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Plan a freezer cooking day
  4. Sign up for a childbirth class

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading 1 Samuel
  2. Exercise 4 days
  3. Schedule a dental appt

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 2 blogs
  2. Finish my BeachBody coach training
  3. Read 1 chapter of Drama Ministry

What are your goals for the week?

 

20 Weeks

07-18-14 20 weeks 02

Hello, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve updated. Since I blogged so heavily in June, I decided to take a short break (which turned into a 2.5 week break). I used to blog all the time, but I have a habit of burning myself out. While my goal is to blog more regularly, I’m still working on finding a pace that works well for me. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

How far along: 20 weeks! I can’t believe I’m halfway done already!

Gender: BOY!

Weight gained: This is one of my main frustrations this week. A month ago, the nurse told me I wasn’t gaining enough weight. The other day, she said I was gaining weight too rapidly. I’ve officially surpassed my highest weight ever. I need to monitor my weight gain extremely carefully over the remainder of my pregnancy in order to make sure I’m still healthy.

Workouts:  
Monday: Taught Zumba
Thursday: Taught Zumba
I just received the PiYo program in the mail yesterday, so I’m anxious to get started on that! Want to join me? Click here!

Clothing Choices:  Dresses, shorts & tanks, and pajamas when I’m at home.

Belly button: Inny

Sleep: I’m usually up at least once in the middle of the night, sometimes more. I’m also taking afternoon naps more often.

Best moment this week:  I officially became a BeachBody coach! I’m so excited to share my story with others and help them reach their fitness goals! Want to know more? Visit my coach website!

Hardest moment this week:  Other than the weight struggle, I was in a minor car accident last week, and I’ve been having a rough time dealing with the insurance company.

What I’m missing: Wine, bubbly, and raw cookie dough.

Movement: Feeling my baby move is literally my favorite thing in the entire world. I wait all day to feel those flutters!

Cravings:  I’m actually starting to have some food aversions. I did acquire some free pie pumpkins this week, so I’m excited to start making some pumpkin muffins and pancakes! I can’t wait for fall.

Queasy or sick: I’ve experienced some mild nausea every day over the past 5 days. I think it’s weird that it took until halfway through my pregnancy to start experiencing some of these symptoms. I think it might have something to do with my diet recently, but I can’t stand the smell/thought of eggs, chicken, or most meats lately. I still haven’t been sick, but the idea of these foods has almost put me over the edge a few times in the last few days.

Looking forward to: Having some quality alone time with my husband, settling down on a name for the baby, and seeing our baby again at my prenatal appt next week!

Strange Dreams:  Lots of weird dreams lately. My favorites were:
1) I was back in New Zealand. I was naked. I was completely okay with that.
2) I was in a talent show. My talent was making & eating raw cookie dough.