Archive for January, 2012

Week 3 of Putting the Pieces Together : Lowering Your Grocery Bill

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Ok, here we are at Week 3…(granted it hasn’t been consecutive.  )

Are you ready to save some decent coin at the food store?  Do you have a love-hate relationship with food shopping ?  Does Extreme Couponing both fascinate & disturb you?  I do my grocery shopping once a week & spend around 20 minutes Saturday morning preparing my list.  (PS Shopping less = saving more…)

In your grocery shopping war, your best allies are the weekly circular, your computer & your coupon inserts stack. 

 

Step 1) Review your circular & look for sales on items you will use &/or need.  If you don’t like canned beets, who cares if they are on super special? Do you really need 10 bottles of relish?  Doubtful.

Step 2) Make your list and note the price & quantity.  You can even use this shopping list sheet I use… very convenient. 

Step 3) Check out a coupon database site (I use this one from Money Saving Mom).  I simply type the name of the product from my shopping list & see if there are any useful coupons available.  Then, I either print them or search for them in my stack.   (You will get the most bang for your buck when buying an item already on sale & using a coupon.  Click here if you need a ‘Coupon Refresher”)

Step 4) Note on your list which items you have a coupon (or two) to use.

Step 5) Head to the store with your game face on.  Only purchase the items on your list.  Impulse buys will raise your overall bill by 200% (actually, I am making that up, but you get the point.)

Step 6) Before checking out, make sure you have chosen the correct coupon/product combos.  I will put any products I have a “Free” Coupon for at the end of my order to make it easier for the cashier to find the product’s price.

Step 7) Delight in a job well done

I have reduced my grocery bill from $120 a week to $50-$70 a week.  Plus, I am getting more bang for my buck. As Mr. Sheen would say, WINNING….

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Paper Plate Gourmet : Homemade Chicken Stew

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Very easy & hearty for a chilly day!!!! 

The best part – add as much or as little of an ingredient you want!  There is really no right or wrong way to make this….

    • Whole Wheat Pasta
    • Carrots
    • Onion
    • Celery
    • Chicken Breast
    • 1 can of Chicken Stock
    • 1 can of Water
    • Minced Garlic
  1. Heat a pot on the stove on medium.
  2. Cut chicken into smallish pieces (I used 2 breasts).  Add to pot, stir occasionally until cooked through.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, chop the veggies.
  4. Remove the chicken, throw in the veggies until they get a nice brown to them.
  5. Stir
  6. Add the garlic, saute for a few minutes.
  7. Stir
  8. Add the can of chicken stock & can of water (add a bit more water if there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid)
  9. Stir
  10. Add Pasta
  11. Stir
  12. Cook everything until pasta is done
  13. Pour into a bowl
  14. Enjoy
   

 

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Free Kindle Books

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Granted, I am new to this whole Kindle Universe… but did you know Amazon has a list of free Kindle books you can download? 

This is very exciting since they change frequently… so bookmark the page.

 

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How To Be A Frosting Fool….

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I use these quick tricks to glam up my cupcakes….

 

Did you know pastry bags are a girls best friend? Yes they are! You can even use a zip lock if you cut off the tip. 

My biggest issue was trying to get the frosting into the bag & not all over the place… Well, thank you Paula Dean. 

Use a tall glass and put the zip lock edges over the rim.  Viola, easy as pie…. Fill ‘er up with your frosting & get started.

It is also a convienent resting place for the bag when you need a break to eat a freshly decorated cup cake….

 

I got a little crazy with that last one…. :)

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Paper Plate Gourmet : Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

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Um, double yum.  I got the basic recipe from SkinnyTaste.  What a great way to get some extra veggies!

Check out my shell-disaster here….

    • Sauce (I used Ragu Marinara)
    • 9 Shells (I had alot of stuffing left over, so you can up that to at least 18)
    • 2 Cups of Ricotta Cheese
    • 2 Ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
    • 1 Egg
    • 9 ounce package of frozen spinach
    • 1/4 cup  Peco Romano Cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 375
  2. Salt a pot of water & set to boil.
  3. Microwave the Spinach for a few minutes to thaw then squeeze the bejesus out of it.  You want as little water left as possible.
  4. Put the shells in the water & cook until they are al dente
  5. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, egg, & cheeses together.  Then mix in the spinach.
  6. Get a baking dish & cover the bottom with some delish sauce
  7. Once the shells are done & cooled, stuff those bad boys with your spinach mix & place them in your dish
  8. Shower them with some additional  sauce, cover with foil & cook for 40 minutes. 
  9. Now uncover & cook for 5 more
  10. Finally, ponder how fantastic they are while you eat them.
   

 

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How I Saved 400 Bucks By Making 2 Phone Calls

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Seriously, it pays to question your charges.  I recently received two bills in the mail – a $190 doctor’s bill for my little guy & a $306 contract agreement from my oil company.

Old Dizee would have just shook her head & paid the bills…  

New Dizee picked up the phone.

Turns out the doctor’s bill was an error & my bill was zeroed out (YEAH!)

As for the service agreement, my oil company’s agreement was always in the $200 range.  Also, I was supposed to have the variable oil price but was charged $4.79 per gallon! So, I called to complain – I didn’t know why the agreement was so high or why my oil price was crazy.

Well, turns out they wanted to keep my business.  They lowered my contract agreement to $160 & set my oil price to $3.79.  Best part is they adjusted my last oil delivery down to the new price – crediting my account by $52.03.

Total Oil Savings was just under $200!!