Author: Cheryl
•7:55 PM

SuperFresh had triples again this weekend and I really wasn't going to go until I saw a deal on Green Giant veggies and I can't pass up a chance to stock up on vegetables. So I checked out a few other deals there. Did pretty well.

SuperFresh

2 Frigo string cheese = $1.49 each after q's
2 pks of chicken thighs and wingettes = $1.82 and $1.70
3 Pillsbury Savorings = .75 each after q's
1 Wrigley's gum = Free with coupon in last week's paper
4 Kellogg's Raisin Bran/Crunch = .40 each after q's
10 Green Giant boxed veggies = .25 each after q's

Total before q's = $38.27
Total after q's = $7.37




My husband requested fruit and anytime he wants something healthy, I'm gonna encourage it. So I hit the produce market with my mom and brother today.

Vercchio's

2 bags of carrots
1 bag of red potatoes
1 bag of mushrooms
2 bags of bananas
2 bags of oranges
1 bag of apples
1 bag of lemons (his request, for lemon water)
1 bunch of grapes
and a loaf of bread on sale for .90

Total $17.00


Last but not least of course, ShopRite. I got there a little later due to being sick and knocked out cold from a dose of NyQuil. SR was a little crowded because we are supposed to get snow later today and anytime NJ gets snow people act like they are never going to be allowed out of the house for days. They love to overreact here.

ShopRite

4 pks of gum = Free with coupon from 2/22 paper
2 Tree Ripe OJ = $1.69 each
3 SR cheese singles = .99 each
2 pks shredded SR cheese = $1.25 each
2 Breyers ice cream = $1.99 each
1 Over The Moon FF chocolate milk = $1.89
1 shaving cream = $1.99 - .50 q's = .99
2 Glucerna cereals = $4.99 - $5.00 coupon = FREE
1 Perdue turkey meatballs = $2.21
2 Perdue Flavor Bites = $2.54 = $1.00 q's = $1.54
3 jalapeno peppers (husbands request) = .78
1 rotisserie chicken = $4.72

Total $26.85

Total spent for week $51.22, just a pinch over. That is because I grabbed one more bag of shredded cheese than originally planned. I know my husband and he will go through it this morning making his breakfast burritos.

Gayle, who has a great website call The Grocery Cart Challenge, was the original inspiration to me to try a budget with my grocery shopping. Please check out her site, to see how she does it and how some others who also have decided to try her challenge.

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Author: Cheryl
•5:58 AM

First of all, and for the first time in my life I am tired of the cold weather. I have always loved cold weather. But now I'm done with it. My skin is itchy, the skin on my fingers are split and they hurt and I can't get outside very much to exercise and I prefer to be outside to do it. I don't want summer however. Anything between a nice 50 and 70 degrees is perfect.

And to go along with that good weather, is a new endeavor that me and my husband are taking. We have started biking. Just regular pedal type bikes, not motorcycles. We need more exercise and we need something fun for us to do on the weekends together. Our weekend hobby used to consist of going out to lunch or dinner and then go shopping....hence our lack of savings and credit card debt that we had. Right now we are getting used to the bikes and getting our endurance up. Once that happens and the weather gets better we plan to start taking day trips to free trails and packing nice picnic lunches. So we get lots of exercise, spend lots of time together and it doesn't cost us very much at all. I'm excited.

The payments to the credit cards are moving along. Soon credit card #4 should be gone, baby, gone, and the mission continues to #5. One of the wonderful things about the first three cards that we paid off, is that I got my monthly statement on #3 the other day and for the first time I didn't dread opening up a statement. Because I knew it had no balance. It was so freeing and I felt so in control. Its an addictive feeling and something I want to feel with all the others.

Along with the biking I am making some more changes to my health. I am making myself drink more water everyday and am slowly lowering the amount of sugar I eat too. I do have a sugar addiction I admit it, but I am cutting it down little by little.

Hurry up Spring!


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Author: Cheryl
•10:12 AM

I didn't see too much that peaked my interest this week at CVS. But I did see a deal on NyQuil and DayQuil. We definitely use it and had none of it on hand. So we are stocked up now.

2 NyQuil $9.98
2 DayQuil $9.98

Coupons
(4) $1.50 off any NyQuil or DayQuil

Total ECB's used $10.00
Total oop $2.83 on gift card, $1.13 in cash
Total ECB's earned $10.00
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Author: Cheryl
•9:27 PM

I wish I could put all the groceries I buy with my $50 budget in one big impressive picture. However my stores don't start their sales on the same day.

Triples at SuperFresh this weekend. As I have said before this is always a little work, pulling all q's under $1.00, making a list of all of them. Having four columns of stuff to check out and only getting maybe a column at most. But when you get to the counter and you see your total after all the q's its always worth it.

My SuperFresh is always great and I got lots of overage this time. So I will take it.

SuperFresh

2 bags of Stacy's pita chips $2.99 - $1.50 q's = $1.49 each
4 Minute Rice brown rice 4 pks $1.79 - .50q's tripled = .29 each
2 boxes of Domino sugar $2.09 each - .65 off 2 tripled = $1.12 each
4 Fiber one yogurt 4pks $1.64 (clearance) - .50 q's tripled = .14 each!!
8 Lipton teas $2.00 - .60 q's tripled = .20 each
4 Celestial Seasoning teas $1.67 - .55 q's tripled = .02 each!!!
4 Blistex lip balms $1.39 - .35 q's tripled = .30 each
4 French's spicy mustards $1.69 - .75 q's tripled = FREE with overage
1 Suave shampoo $2.79 - Free Suave product Q in mail = FREE
1 Cascade rinse $3.59 - free Cascade rinse Q in mail = FREE
3 Heathly one lunchmeats $1.67 each - .75 q's tripled = FREE with overage
4 Mentos gum $1.49 each - .55 q's tripled = FREE
3 Betty Crocker Frostings $1.67 - .50q's tripled = .17 each
2 Suave deodorants $1.69 - .75 q's tripled = FREE
1 bag of NY croutons $1.59 - .55 q's tripled = FREE with overage
2 Ortega tortilla packs $1.99 - .75 q's off two tripled = .87 each
1 NY garlic breadsticks $3.49 - .50 q's tripled = $1.99
1 NY cheese ciabatta bread $3.19 - .50 q's tripled = $1.69
1 can of Del Monte no salt tomatoes $1.69 - free Del Monte can coupon = FREE

Total before q's $98.35

Total after q's $19.80



Couldn't resist, went back one more time Saturday morning.

SuperFresh

2 Fiber One yogurts
3 Celestial Seasoning teas
4 Mentos
2 Minute Rice
1 pk of reduced broccoli $1.50
4 bags of chex mix $1.25 each - .50 q's tripled = FREE
4 pouches of Ortega seasoning $1.49 - .75 q's off 2 tripled = .37 each
4 Viva paper towels $2.69 - .75 q's tripled = .44 each

Total before q's $56.91

Total after q's $10.17

On Sunday, to ShopRite for just a few things we needed. Would have been nice if I could have just gotten this stuff while I was SuperFresh, but outside of their triple coupons and some meats, ShopRite is just cheaper on everything else. And they had a sweet sale on Over The Moon milk. I said before that we don't need alot of milk in our house because my husband doesn't like it and we don't have kids, so I will freeze these 1/2 gallons. And they will last me quite a while.

ShopRite

2 Friendly's ice cream $1.99 each

2 Over The Moon 1/2 gallon milks $1.89 each - $1.50 off two q's = $1.14!!!

6 Campbell's tomato soups .69 each - .40 off three q's = .43 each

1 St. Ives body wash $1.99 - .75 q = .99

1 soy sauce $2.29

1 recyclable bag .88 - coupon for free bag = FREE

1 turkey breast = $3.14

Plus the last time I went to SR I earned $4.00 in coupons off my next order.

Total after q's $12.92

And earned another $1.50 off my next order


Total spent on budget $42.89. Under budget baby and got lots of stuff!!



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Author: Cheryl
•9:07 AM

While paying off all these credit cards, I made sure to check how many points we earned on each of them through their reward programs. With credit card companies making changes now everyday to rates and rules, I'm sure they are also going to or already have started adjusting rewards programs to give less benefits to card holders.

So to head that off I have been redeeming all of our points on these cards. I have gotten gift certificates, a free subscription to All You magazine and for the last one a wonderful anniversary present.

Our Amex card gives points for for travel, hotel, etc. We had enough points on my husband's Amex to get a $200 credit on a hotel room. Our 10 year wedding anniversary is in April. So last night we booked a super deluxe room in an awesome hotel in the city for that night. Total cost to us after the credit and taxes was $29.00 and we get free breakfast. Awesome.

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Author: Cheryl
•2:54 PM

People probably wonder in my grocery budget where is the food for the 7 pets I have. Well in our total budget for our two weeks I have a separate pet budget of about $10 or $20 to get their wet food, dry food, etc. Once in while I increase the budget for vet visits or flea or heart worm medicine. I have several categories in our total spending budget:

Groceries
Pets
Me
My Husband
Misc

Those are the main categories. But every paycheck I always think ahead to see if we need to add a category for that period. Oil changes, doctors co-pays, prescriptions, etc, are all figured into the budget that day so that we stay in the range we have to. I'm surprised at how much smaller this budget is than what we used to spend with our leftover paycheck money and we seem to have more food and be more content.

Milk. I see so many people having to buy 3 or 4 gallons of milk with their budget. I so feel for them, as they usually have several kids that I'm sure just tear through what they buy. In my household, there is only two us, and I am the only one that drinks milk and it is usually for my coffee or sometimes cereal. So we only need a 1/2 gallon of skim milk a week at the most. My husband hates milk. I won't even go into details of what he thinks it looks or tastes like. But having not to buy much of it, helps on the budget.

Thanks to our tax returns we made some huge strides this week. We sent a huge chunk of money to credit card #4. And as soon as our state returns come in we have it almost gone say minus a hundred or two.

We also sent a balance to our emergency fund to bring us up to $1000.00. Even though in these economic times $1000 in your emergency fund is not all you need, its $1000 more than we had before. So better late than never.

And remember when I told you that our rate on our Amex card went down and that I wasn't going to get too excited, cause I was sure the other foot would drop. Well it did, today I received notice from card #5 (good old &^$##% Chase), that the rate was raising by 4%. Which is more the reason to get working on getting that one down and gone as soon as I have #4 gone.

Nonetheless, I won't let that rain on our parade. We are still making strides and keeping on track to our goals. It has been 5 months since we started this marathon.
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Author: Cheryl
•1:20 PM

I have more toothpaste than the Colgate factory combined. I'm at the point where I am going to start donating it to some worthy causes. It goes on sale so much and my q's always make it free. I wanted to get another Gillette razor but they were all out. I always try to get my milk at CVS too so I can use the ECB's to make it free.

2 Colgates $2.99 each = $5.98
1 1/2 gallon of milk $2.59
1 CVS mouthwash $2.59
1 pk of gum (not in picture, needed a filler) $.99

Total$12.15

Coupons
(1) $1.50 off any Colgate
(1) $1.00 off any Colgate
(1) CVS CRT for a free CVS Mouthwash

Total ECB's used $6.49
Total oop .60 (put on my CVS gift card)
Total ECB's earned $5.98

Again not a huge moneymaker but I get my milk free and for me its worth it.
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Author: Cheryl
•2:21 PM

We needed bread and meat. The ShopRite deals are not looking that great this week. So I headed over to my favorite place for meats, SuperFresh and they did not disappoint. So I also checked out the bread there and took a few q's. I did pretty good with the brand names. I probably could have gotten the buns cheaper but again you live and learn.

2 pks seasoned chicken thighs $1.48 and $1.65
1 pk of steaks $3.44
1 pk of 8 boneless chicken breasts $8.66
2 pks of Shadybrook turkey burgers $1.49 each
2 Cornish hens $3.44
1 Gorton's popcorn shrimp $2.24 - $1.00 q = $1.24
1 pk hamburger buns $1.59
1 pk hot dog buns $1.59
1 12pk of King's Hawaiian sweet rolls $2.49 - $1.00 q = $1.49
1 Arnold 12 grain bread $1.99 - $1.00 q = .99
1 pk Thomas' english muffins $1.99 - $1.00 q = .99
1 large loaf of white bread $1.59

Total after q's $27.32




Over to ShopRite for a few remaining things to wrap up my budget for the week. We were out of vegetable oil again. My man is a fryer, let me tell you. They had a good deal on the Hunt's pasta sauce and if you bought 10 you got a $3.00 coupon for your next order. The box of dog biscuits was free from a coupon I found in Entertainment Weekly. Its the one with the cast of Twilight on it, if you happen to have one. And I got a coupon in the mail for a free 2 liter of Dr. Pepper. I did buy 3 boxes of Lean Pockets for the man, but he ate one as soon as I got home before I could take a picture.

I also had planned to get Hefty Gripper bags at $1.49 after coupons, but they were wiped out of them at 10am, yikes.

10 Hunts pasta sauce 10 for $8.00 - $1.00 off 4 q's = $6.00 or .60 each
1 Dr. Pepper .99 - Free coupon = FREE
1 container of vegetable oil $2.79
3 Lean pockets $2.00 each
4 Mrs. P's frozen pizza's .49 each
1 aluminum foil $1.99
1 box Milkbone biscuits $2.79 - Free coupon = FREE
2 packs of American cheese $1.99 each
2 packs of ravioli = $1.39 each
2 packs of gnocchi = $1.39 each

Total $26.70

Total spent $54.02. Which happened because I was unable to get the Hefty bags and improvised on the spot to get other things to take its place. But still not bad for all of that stuff.

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Author: Cheryl
•2:56 PM

Our emergency fund is over $700. Not too bad. Would like it to grow faster. We are going to use a small portion of our tax returns as soon as it comes in, to get it up at least to the $1000 mark. The rest will go to finally pay off the rest of credit card #4.

This is also our first payday where we didn't have that extra money coming in and I was still able to send half a decent snowball amount to card #4. And I am actually a little ahead in paying all our monthly bills, so much that I haven't gotten most of them in the mail yet. I just pay them online and save the confirmation e-mails for when they show up in the mail.

And weird thing too, all you hear about lately is credit card companies raising rates on people for no reason, even ones with no monthly carry over balances and those with good payment history. Well I was checking all my cards for their balances and rates, as I do so every few days and I noticed that one of my cards actually lowered their rate for us. I never asked them or did anything, but it lowered. So I will just keep my mouth shut and take it as finally some good karma. But I won't get too excited the others may try to even that out.


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Author: Cheryl
•1:57 PM
Sorry, I'm a little late with this. Lets just say the rest of my life is keeping me way busier than I would like right now.


Sunday - dinner at mother in law's for husband birthday

Monday - took husband out to dinner, saved up for it

Tuesday - Ginger and garlic chicken, rice and mixed veggies

Wednesday - baked pork chops, noodles and vegetables

Thursday - Baked pasta casserole with turkey meatballs

Friday - Marinated steaks with potatoes and vegetables
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Author: Cheryl
•10:26 AM

Was a strange trip to CVS this week. I had one deal in mind on something getting $10.00 in ECB's back, but they didn't have the item in stock and I didn't have my heart completely set on it. I had my $10.00 CVS gift card I earned on MyPoints, so I got some free Ritz and Wheat Thins, two cards for my husband and sister in law's b-days, milk, and dryer balls that I have wanted for a long time.

5 boxes Ritz crackers $1.00 each
5 boxes Wheat Thins $1.00 each
Dryer balls $3.00
2 cards .99 and $2.99
1 1/2 gallon of milk (I forgot to put it in the picture) $2.59

Total $19.57

Coupons
(5) $2.00 off any 2 Ritz or Wheat Thins crackers
(1) $3.00 off any purchase of $15.00 or more at CVS (last day to use it)

Total $6.57 all put on my CVS gift card
Total oop ZERO
Total ECB's ZERO

So nothing new earned, but nothing spent either and I got some stuff we needed. Still a good week.
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Author: Cheryl
•7:01 PM

Every few weeks I hit our local produce market and stock up on all kinds of veggies and some fruits. I chop most up into bite size pieces and freeze them for future recipes. I feel very fortunate to have places like this nearby and at such good prices. My brother moved away for a year and both places he lived in that time he said said fruits and veggies were so expensive and they had no good produce markets. He is really happy to be back to get those bargains.

So my husband and I stopped by our market this morning.

Vercchio's

1 bag of green beans
2 bags of bananas
1 bag of jalapeno peppers
1 small bag of garlic
2 bunches of scallions
1 bunch of asparagus
1 bag of oranges
3 bags of carrots
2 bags of celery
1 bag of onions
1 bag of green peppers
1 bag of potatoes
1 thing of ginger

Total $23.25



Then later I stopped by Acme when I found they were having a sale on Edy's. If you go on Acme's website and register your savings card you can get additional savings added to the card. Its called Avenue. Sometimes the extra savings are on top of items already on sale.

Acme

5 Edy's ice creams 3 for $10.00 - $2.00 each on Avenue savings. = $1.33 each!!!!

My limit on the Avenue deal was 5. But if it is still on there in the morning I can go for another trip.

And their sugar was on sale too and we were completely out. I know still not a cheap as it was on Thanksgiving. But that is something I learned the hard way.

3 bags of sugar $1.99 each

Total $12.62.


ShopRite was having what I would call a breakfast sale. Sale on eggs, OJ, bacon and coffee. I have enough coffee on stock, so I decided to stock up on the rest with the money left in the budget.

ShopRite

4 dozen Egglands' Best $1.49 - .35q's = .79 each

4 cartons of orange juice $1.49 each

2 packages of bacon $1.49 each

1 Ocean Spray juice $1.69 - .55q = .69

1 Crab Classic $1.74 - $1.00q = .74

2 Butterball turkey bacon $1.49 - $1.00q = .49 each

1 Colonna parmesan $1.49

6 Colgate toothpastes .99 - $1.00q = FREE

1 Rotisserie chicken $4.99

4 Geno's pizza's .99 each

Total $25.67

Total $61.54, whoops, went over budget quite a little bit. I seem to do much better when I stick to one store only. But I did get plenty of veggies to last us a while.

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Author: Cheryl
•6:39 PM

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday. We make sure, that we make a big deal out of each other's birthdays. So the celebration can last all weekend long.

We go to his mother's house tomorrow for dinner and then on Monday a night out that I put some money aside just for.

So happy birthday to the love of my life. I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else in the world.
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Author: Cheryl
•11:08 AM

I got my first reward the other day for using MyPoints. I earned over 1500 points just reading surveys and looking at sites. And that earned me a $10 CVS gift card. I can use that for a few weeks for my out of pocket expenses at CVS! So I will actually not be spending a thing there.

We go get our taxes done tonight. We should get a nice sum back and that will all go to card #4. Which should make it gone for good. Fingers crossed.

I switched banks about a month ago and the last thing going into my old account has finally transferred over to the new one. So we will go this weekend and cancel those two old accounts for good. Goodbye annoying bank with stupid fee's. Don't let the door hit you. So far I am loving my new bank.

It was about 14 degrees this morning and is expected to be almost in the 60's on Sunday. Its nice to know the weather has multiple personalities as well. For the first time in my life I am looking forward to warmer weather. Not hot though, just a nice 50 or 60 is perfect for me.


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Author: Cheryl
•9:03 PM

We have a couple of nights where one of us isn't home, so the menu is a little more lenient this week.

Monday - General Tso's chicken with white rice

Tuesday - seasoned chicken thighs with noodles and vegetables

Wednesday - Hubby works, so I am having leftover turkey and dumpling soup

Thursday - Getting our taxes done at 6pm, will stop after for pizza slices (in budget)

Friday - Hubby works again, so I will have tuna fish sandwiches on toast


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Author: Cheryl
•1:05 PM

One month down in 2009 and how did I do on my new goals for the year?

1.) Pay off credit cards # 4 and 5. I have paid over $1800 to card #4 and with our tax returns in the next few weeks #4 should be completely gone. And I'm glad cause it has an awful interest rate. #5 will take longer as all this extra money that was coming in is stopping.

2.) Have emergency fund at $1500 by end of year. We are up to $676.56 so far. We are still on track with $50 from each of my checks. When hubby gets back to work full time we will make it $100 each payday.

3.) Buy chest freezer and stock with deals for dinners at home. Mr. Freeze is more than happy and settled in our house. We try to keep him stocked with meats and prepared sauces.

4.) Stop buying certain pre-made products and make them from scratch at home.

Laundry Detergent
Fabric Softener
Household cleaners

I still have alot of these left from my former deals. Probably won't use them up until mid-summer.

Syrup
Pasta Sauce
Meatloaf

I have actually made the syrup several times. We love it and no longer buy pre-made syrup.
We do make homemade pasta sauce on occasion when we have all the ingredients but I still can't resist buying jars when they are real cheap. Meatloaf I plan to try soon. Need to find an awesome recipe.

5.) Clean out the garage and sell unnecessary things. I have actually cleaned a few things in there. But unfortunately my brother is moving back home with my parents due to the lovely economic crisis and I am the only one with a garage. So his stuff will be storing in my garage for while. So I don't see if being empty and clean any time soon.

I also decided to get my spare room organized. For the longest time it was a catch all for leftover furniture, my cats toys and my vacuum cleaner. I needed a place to call my own, do my bills, write my blog, organize my coupons and listen to my music. So you see below my little desk area we created. I was able to get my file cabinet out of my poor husband's office. And once we had this up, I reorganized my file cabinet with folders, labels. Our paperwork is real easy to find now and hubby knows where everything is anything ever happens to me.

Yes you can see my Yoda and Animals dolls. Two of my favorite toys I couldn't part with.

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Author: Cheryl
•12:53 PM

Last week and this week are really starting to rejuvinate me in the CVS deals again. It really does feel like old times when I first started getting good deals. I even met a person in the store doing the deals too and I have never met anymore before who did them.

For those of you who didn't know this before, I am a lucky girl in that my CVS takes expired coupons for a month. So I am able to get more stretch out of some of my coupons, especially the $3.00 off of $15.00 and this time the $4.00 off the razor.

I brought all of my Electrasol coupons I had left, not thinking they would have alot in stock. But ShopRite also had them on sale, so I was just going to get them there if CVS was out. But I was in luck. They had plenty and I left plenty for others.


2 L'Oreal Revitalift cleaner pads $5.99 each
5 Electrasol PowerTabs $2.99 each
1 Gillette Fusion Gamer razor $7.99
1 Excedrin 10 ct $2.49
1 1/2 gallon milk $2.69

Total $40.10

Coupons
(2) $2.00 off any Revitalift face product
(5) $2.50 off any Electrasol product
(1) $4.00 off any Gillette Fusion razor
(1) $1.00 off any Excedrin (CVS CRT)
(1) $3.00 off any purchase of $15.00 or more at CVS

ECB's used $15.00
Total oop $1.71
ECB's earned $16.49
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Author: Cheryl
•12:28 PM

Once again I skipped the other stores on Saturday, this time not to sleep in late but to take two of my cats to the vet for their yearly checkup. What an event that was, but that could be a whole post in itself.

I would say at least one week every month and half my mail carrier doesn't bring me any circulars on Thursday, I have no clue why. So thanks to an angel on HotCouponWorld.com who starting scanning the ShopRite ads each week and posts them by Wednesday, I am able to figure out my deals ahead of time.

Hit ShopRite bright and early Sunday, even though I was up late and got little sleep. I figured it would be crowded with people getting food for the SuperBowl, even though Eagles fans here are bitter they aren't in it.

I try to only pay .99 or under for any cereal after q's. But Life cereal is my favorite cereal in whole world and $1.49 is the best I have found it at yet. So I couldn't resist and got 2 boxes. I had a bowl for breakfast when I got home, YUM.

ShopRite
2 Turkey Hill ice creams $2.74 each
5 Bic Twin Select/Silky Touch razors $1.64 each - $2.00 q's = FREE and I got $1.80 overage
7 Sucrets lozenges $1.49 each - $1.50q's = FREE and got .07 overage
1 Clorox bleach $1.38
4 ShopRite butters packs $1.69 each
20 Dannon Light & Fit yogurts 10 for $3.90 - $1.00 off 10 q's = $2.90 for 10
2 Martinson's coffee $2.49 - $1.00 q's = $1.49
2 Life cereals $1.99 - $1.00 off 2 q's = $1.49 each
1 Smart Balance butter spread $2.49 - .50 q = $1.49
1 dozen eggs $2.69
4 Swanson frozen dinners (for the husband) .99 each
1 pk frozen burritos (again for the man) $2.99
2 - 8pks of pork chops $5.73 and $5.93
1 Perdue oven stuffer roaster $5.35

I also had $7.00 in catalina's from my last trip. So that came off my total.

Total after everything $43.41

Wow, I went under my budget and didn't even think I would. I actually would have gotten more. But I think I will save my $6.00 and change for Wednesday when ShopRite has their price break sale. They have OJ cheap and I am on my last container of it.
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