Sunday, January 31, 2010

More on Couponing

So I have shared my two secret weapons in couponing, a few posts back. Now I'll share my three favorite places to shop. Yes, I said three. Saving $$$ will have you going to more than one store on some weeks. It's really not that bad. Actually, your trips to each place are shorter than one big stop, so it works better for me. So here's where I shop, and how I save the most $$$. Remember, for my family of four I spend $75/week. This includes meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with cleaning supplies and tolietries. We rarely eat out. However, we do eat with family about once a week.

First off TAKE A QUARTER! You will need a quarter to get a cart (you'll get it back when you return it). You will also need to bring your own bags. At Aldi I buy my canned goods, frozen chicken breasts, some fruit, shredded cheeses, eggs, chips, granola bars, bread, and condiments. I have found that prices on these particular items are far less than regular grocery stores, and taste about the same too. With these items I leave paying about $25.

Before I even make a trip to Walmart, I first go through all the competitor ads. In our area, circular ads are mailed out every Tuesday. I make a list in a small spiral notebook, by store, of the item on sale, quantity, size, and price. Then if I have coupons to match those items I pull them out of my coupon binder and paper clip them to my list. Then in my same spiral, I make a separate list of all the items I need. Here is an example:

Competitor Ads List:
Warehouse Market
Drumsticks .69/lb
Washington Apples .79/lb
Jimmy Dean 1lb roll 1.99
Peter Pan PB 16.3 oz 1.39

Food Pyramid
Bone-In Pork Chops 1.29/lb
Bakery French Bread .99

May's Drugstore
Dawn Dish Detergent .75

Regular List:
ricotta cheese
sliced cheese
sausage- CA/C
pork chops-CA
spaghetti noodles-C
french bread-CA
peanut butter-CA/C

I have my list coded so I know when something is a competitor ad (CA), and when I have a coupon for something (C). Obviously, you save the most $ when you have coupons and a competitor ad.

When you are checking out at Walmart, they generally do not make you show the ad if you have them in your hands, but be prepared to. On occassion, they have asked. It will save you time and a lot of stress if you separate what's a competitor ad and what's not. I usually put mine on the belt last with one of those separator thingies. Tell the cashier you have a competitor ad for those items. As they are ringing it up, you can reference your Competitor Ad List to inform them of the new price. After everything has been rung up, hand over your coupons, and be amazed at your savings!

Target will also do competitor ads like Walmart, but you have to go to Customer Service to have them make the changes to your ticket. Here, you MUST show the item in the ad. A little more of a hassle, but worth it IF you have the following...
  • a Competitor Ad sale price
  • a manufacturer's coupon
  • a Target coupon

Here is where you save the most $$$. Target allows you to use one of their store coupons (found at, with a manufacturer's coupon. For example, I went to buy some Cheez-Its one time. Well, Food Pyramid had them on sale for $2/box. I had a $1 off Target coupon, and a $0.75 off manufacturer's coupon. So I left there paying $0.25/box. Great savings, because Cheez-Its are about $3/box.

Hopefully this helps you a little. Please feel free to post any questions, and I will try to answer them as best I can. I am by no means an expert at this, but I have learned how to shave down our bill. I strongly suggest you check out and for lessons in Ultimate Couponing!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Killer Donuts (literally)

So if you don't already have a recipe on homemade donuts that are sure to clog your arteries, I'm here to help. I first met these donuts when I was in second grade. It was love at first bite. I went home from school and told my mom she had to make more for me. Well, 20 some odd years later I finally made them for my family. It's really pretty simple, oh so tastey, and oh so bad for you. But, you only live once right?

Killer Donuts

1 roll of refrigerated biscuits
a ton of cooking oil
powdered sugar
  • In a deep fryer (I used an electric skillet), heat oil to frying temperature. You need enough oil to cover at least half of the biscuit.
  • While oil is heating, cut a circle out of the center of the biscuit. Cut out circle can be used for donut holes.
  • Place each biscuit in oil. Allow to cook until you see the bottom edges turn golden brown. Flip over, and allow the second side to brown.
  • Remove donuts from oil.
  • While donuts are cooling, Pour about a cup of powdered sugar in a bowl.
  • Slowly stir in milk until you get a thick icing consistency. If it's too runny, simply add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add more milk.
  • Dip each donut/donut hole, both side, in icing.
Eat, enjoy, clog your arteries. These aren't called Killer Donuts for nothing!
Happy Cooking!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Right after I quit teaching, I decided to try out this whole coupon thing. I've always been a pretty frugal shopper, so the idea of saving money on things I already buy was really appealing to me. So, I started researching. I came up with a couple of blogs that helped me know what stores would allow me to save the most $, and where to get the best coupons.

This woman is amazing! Along with reading how to coupon, you MUST read her story on how they manage their finances. Crazy, I tell you. Absolutely crazy. In a good way!

Coupon Gal!

Another great site to research how to coupon. At Christmas, she also posted some unbelievable deals on gifts.
Another fabulous site that lists the best deals at many different stores, along with high value coupons. She specifically lists out how and what coupons to use to get the most for your $.
There you have it. My secret weapons to couponing. Now, this isn't for everybody. It takes some time to plan. However, if you're trying to find some extra cash in your budget, this is a good way to go. In 6 months, I've shaved $300/month off our grocery/tolietry/cleaning supply bill. It's a wonderful feeling!

Friday, January 22, 2010

This Old House Part II

Our Old House is about to become someone's New House. After 8 days on the market, we received an offer we couldn't refuse. So even though I'm a little bummed about having to move in with family for 4 months, I'm super stoked to move on. No pun intended. We knew our house would sell, but I didn't think it would go this fast! God is good, and His plan is always better than our own. I just hope my wonderful father-in-law is ready for his grandkids!

Sausage Spinach Pockets

First off, this recipe was one of those 'gotta find something to eat even though I desperately need to go to the grocery store' meals. I had all these items on hand, and so this recipe was born.
Sausage Spinach Pockets

1 refrigerated pizza crust
1 lb sausage (I used turkey sausage)
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

  • Cook sausage (drain).
  • Put sausage back in pan and add spinach. Cook until spinach begins to wilt.
  • In a large bowl combine sausage/spinach with mozzarella cheese.
  • On a greased baking sheet, spread out pizza crust and cut into 4 large rectangles.
  • Begin to spoon 1/4 cup mixture* onto half of each rectangle. Fold crust over and seal the edges by pressing down with a fork around the entire pocket.
  • Brush the tops with olive oil for a nice brown crust. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese.
Bake @ 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
*You will have about half of the sausage mixture left over. Using one pizza crust serves 4, so I froze the remaining mixture for a quick meal on a busy night. If you have a big family, simply buy two pizza crusts and you're done!
Happy Cooking!

Top 3

Top Three Reasons Why I Love Staying Home
  1. Mason
  2. Addison
  3. Lincoln
Being a stay at home mom is not for everyone. Just as a working mom is not for everyone. I can honestly say I've experienced both sides, and I LOVE being a stay at home mom more. Why would I not? I have the opportunity to play with my kids all day (plus my lovable chunk of a nephew), get some housework done (on most days), and have 100% less stress than I did working. The biggest benefit of being home everyday is seeing the relationships develop between brother and sister, and cousins. Precious. Simply precious.

The Local Hangout
(aka the fireplace)

The day is never fully complete until there is some bed jumping. So here are my three little monkeys jumping on the bed. None fell off and bumped their heads.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This Old House

  • This old house is where we learned what it took to be homeowner's.
  • This old house is where we learned what it took to be husband and wife.
  • This old house is where I learned how to mow a lawn (that only happened once).
  • This old house is where we brought home our first son.
  • This old house is where we brought home our first daughter.
  • This old house has served us well.
  • This old house is on the market to be SOLD.
We have patiently waited for this day to come and after much consideration, and a year of looking at other properties, we know it is time to move. Yes, I did just quit my job less than a year ago. However, we are not crazy...just blessed. Last year (before I quit), Steven and I knew we would need a bigger house to accommodate our growing family. We decided to believe God for the means to purchase a new home, because we knew there was no possible way for us to do it with our current funds. Little by little, God began to show us how to readjust some of our funds, and turned me on to the idea of couponing. All of those things gave us just enough extra money for the exact house we wanted.
SOOOOO, what's in store for this Torres Family. We are building. Steven and I go to meet with the builder tomorrow to sign the contract. We have picked out our lot, and are very excited about this next chapter of our lives. We look forward to sharing with you this journey we are about to undergo; including some of the scriptures we prayed, and how couponing has helped me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Have you ever read a book that has really challenged the way you think? I started Same Kind of Different As Me around Thanksgiving time, and I still can't get it off my mind. Everyone has their preconceived notions to how people become homeless, but have you really taken the time to see a homeless person as a person, and not a problem of society? Has the thought crossed your mind that just maybe all people crave healthy relationships? That a person is still a person regardless of their address or lack there of? These are all questions that have weighed on me heavily. I have come to realize that other than serving in my own church, I am not sowing into God's Kingdom by serving all types of people. This is not about serving so I'll feel better about myself, but to develop relationships with people that I would not normally turn to for friendship. To show love like Christ shows love, without the expectation of anything in return. I really challenge you to read this book. If anything, you will desire to become a more 'serving' individual instead of looking for ways to be served.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Monterey Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 strips of bacon
1/4 onion sliced in rings
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
pepper to taste

  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil.
  • Sprinkle chicken with pepper on both sides. Cook in oil 7-8 minutes per side or until juices run clear. Remove chicken.
  • Cook bacon in the same skillet the chicken was cooked in, and remove.
  • Using the same skillet, add sliced onions and brown sugar. You will need to continually stir because the brown sugar will carmelize. Keep cooking onions until they are flimsy.
  • Place chicken on a baking sheet, and layer it with the cooked bacon, and carmalized onions. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake @ 350 degrees for 5 minutes.
Every time I make this recipe, people always rave about it. When you're finished it looks like you spent a whole lotta time, but it's really simple and quick. Not to mention D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!
Happy Cooking!!!