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Archive for January, 2009

Recently, I made a new coupon organizer:

coupon-binder-10

Click here to view How to Make a Coupon Binder, Part 1.

Click here to view How to Make a Coupon Binder, Part 2.

Click here to view How to Make a Coupon Binder, Part 3.

For those of you that don’t have a sewing machine, I recommend buying a large photo album from the dollar store for your coupon organizer. I had decided to make my coupon binder for free, while shopping at home, instead of spending a dollar and saving myself a lot of time.  Plus, I was able to customize my binder, making color-coded sections for canned goods, refrigerated/frozen items, cleaning/hygiene/paper products, and CVS/Walgreens/restaurant coupons.

After I made the coupon binder, with see-through slots for coupons, I discovered The Fun with Food Storage Network.  One of the sites that links to this is The Obsessive Shopper.

The Obsessive Shopper has an even better way to keep track of coupons.  You acquire multiple sets of coupons, date and file them in hanging files, type information about coupons you’ll use in an Excel spreadsheet, and only cut coupons as you need them.

In the past, I’ve laboriously cut tons of coupons, only to have them expire before I use them.  I would get behind and coupon booklets would pile up.  Now, I have a sortable and searchable spreadsheet of coupons I’ll use.  Listed in my spreadsheet are expiration dates and which coupon books/weeks the coupons are from.

Now, when an item goes on sale (or more often in my case, when I just need to buy a certain item), I search my spreadsheet, find listed coupons, pull the appropriate coupon booklet from my hanging files, cut out only the coupons I need, and go to the store.

Now, many of you know that you get to the store with coupons in hand and often find:

  • A.  The item your coupon is good for is not in the store (not present, wrong size package, etc.)
  • B.  The store has a better price on a different brand, usually the store brand.

So, there you are, back from your shopping trip, with several unused coupons.  What to do with them?  Well, I put my unused coupons in my lovely, new coupon binder.  That way, they’re organized for the next time I need that item (or it actually goes on sale and my store is actually carrying the correct size!).

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Groceries – January 26

baggu

I’ve not been too happy with my grocery savings.  I used $7 in coupons this week, but I haven’t found items on sale that match my coupons, thus preventing my from buying in bulk, on sale, with multiple coupons, which is my goal.  I know that I need to be patient about these sales…

I also need to keep in mind that we’re now eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner from home every day, with the exception of eating 1-2 meals out on weekends.  That means that we will require more groceries and that we’ll run out of them faster.  I just need to remember how much we’re saving from not going out to restaurants so much!  Still, I am starting to crave sushi again…

This week, I stocked up on frozen chicken, shrimp, and fish.  There was also a better price on a family size (as opposed to reg. size) of pork chops, so I bought more than I needed for my recipe.  I’ll probably freeze the extra pieces for another week.  I don’t anticipate buying as much meat, poultry, or seafood for a while.  I’ll only need to buy beef or pork roasts.

Groceries for the week of January 26 (with $7 in coupons):

  • Frozen Ciabatta Loaf 2.79
  • Frozen Blueberries 3.49
  • Frozen seasoned peas & mushrooms 1.89 (and coupon)
  • Refrigerated crescent rolls 1.69 (I’m ticked, because a coupon came out in this Sunday’s paper, yet I shopped the day before!)
  • Grands biscuits 1.17 x 3 (and coupons)
  • Frozen waffle fries 1.79
  • 4 cups HEB Shredded cheese 4.69 (I had coupons for Kraft 4 cup pkg, but HEB did not carry that size.)
  • Frozen Breaded Tilapia 5.99 x 3 (on sale at store, plus 3.99 store coupon when buy 3)
  • 4 lbs Frozen chicken breasts 7.96
  • 1 lb Frozen, peeled shrimp 7.99
  • 1 slice bacon .50 (to cook with green beans – Yum!)
  • Frozen flounder fillets 5.99
  • 1 lb Ground beef 3.19 x 2
  • Boneless pork chops 8.90
  • 24 oz cottage cheese 3.49 (and coupon)
  • Cool Whip Can 2.00 (and coupon)
  • Sliced mushrooms 1.99
  • Orange juice 1.43
  • Instant chocolate pudding box .39
  • Paprika 2.59
  • Hot chocolate boxes 2.34 x 2 (with coupon)
  • 1 gallon milk 3.89
  • Baking mix 1.92
  • 1 Tomato .36
  • 1 Cucumber .88
  • Bananas 1.00
  • Washed Lettuce 3.79

Total = $97 (Yikes!)

For more grocery buys, go to The Grocery Cart Challenge.

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Menu Plan Monday

We’ve cooked at home 3 weeks now, only eating out on weekends.  We also work on leftovers on the weekends.

Menu for the week of January 26:

  • Baked Spaghetti
  • Salad
  • Homemade Egg Bread
  • Honey Carrots
  • Baked Chicken
  • Brown Rice
  • Sliced Cucumbers and tomatoes
  • Homemade Egg Bread
  • Pork chop Packets with onions and bell peppers
  • Brown Rice
  • Salad
  • Breaded Flounder Filets
  • Sauteed green beans and mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Salad

For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

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Exercise

I finally got around to jogging again.  The last time I jogged was January 2.  With busy hours at school and nasty allergies, running has not been happening.  I have taken up ballet again, and today was the first day that I was able to move the day after a ballet class!  I guess I’m getting a bit more into shape.  I would like to improve my strength and flexibility in ballet.  I’ve got a ways to go.

I’ve gotten myself back on the Wii Fit this weekend, using the strength exercises for my abs – plank and some sort of ‘V’ sit-up exercises are what I do first.  I’ve learned to set 2 pounds in 2 week goals on the Wii Fit.  Otherwise, you get discouraged, especially when you start going up in weight again!

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Groceries – January 19

baggu

This week, we stocked up.  Boy, did we stock up.  We went to Costco and Wal-Mart.  I had a list, but I forgot frozen chicken breasts.  Plus, I couldn’t find a few other items I needed at a good price, so I’ll hit HEB later in the week.

Click here to see my menu for this week.

Costco:

  • 2 boxes Grape Nuts
  • Jet Dry
  • Cascade
  • Personal Items
  • Stewed Tomatoes
  • Canned Stew

Wal-Mart:

  • Frozen cauliflower
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Totino’s pizzas
  • Ice cream
  • Spaghetti-O’s
  • Canned green beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Salad dressing (used $2 in coupons; had another, but it didn’t get scanned)
  • Flour
  • Bananas
  • Clementines
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Turkey Sausage

For more grocery buys, go to The Grocery Cart Challenge.

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Menu Plan Monday

For two weeks, we’ve been cooking at home during the week, eating out once or twice over the weekend, and finishing leftovers over the weekend as well.  I’d like this trend to continue!

Menu for the Week of January 19:

  • breaded pork chops
  • raw carrots
  • sauteed onions
  • baked potatoes
  • salad
  • spaghetti
  • turkey sausage
  • garlic bread
  • salad
  • homemade pepperoni pizza
  • salad
  • parmesan baked fish packets
  • salad
  • rolls/bread

For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

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This is Day 3 of How to Make a Coupon Binder.

Click here to view Part 1.

Click here to view Part 2.

Last week, I got fed up with my previous coupon organizer and decided to create a new one to fit my needs.  I needed a coupon organizer that allowed me to view every variation of coupon in it’s own see-through pocket.  If I had coupons for $0.25 off 1, $0.50 off 2 and $0.75 off 3, then I needed a pocket for each one.

Today, I’m showing the next steps in making a homemade coupon organizer.  Remember that I shopped at home for this project.  I could have bought a large photo album at a discount store, but I decided to make one for free at home!  I know that many people use baseball card holder sleeves, but those can cost $3 a page!  Plus, if you have long coupons, they really stick out from the pockets.  I like my new coupon organizer, because it meets my specific organizational needs and it was ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!

Here are the final steps to making a coupon binder:

coupon-binder-06Step 4 – After cutting slits in the sheet protector in Step 3 (see previous post), insert a sheet of printer paper into the sheet protector.  By cutting the slits first, you don’t have to worry about cutting holes in the paper.  This way, you’ll end up with a front and back side to your finished coupon organizer page.

You might find it helpful to color code your pages.  Remember that many coupons will blend in with white paper.  Here is my color-coded system:

  • Pink – grocery items
  • Yellow – refrigerated or frozen items
  • Green – cleaning items, baggies, hygiene, etc.
  • Gray – restaurant coupons, CVS/Walgreens, etc. coupons

    coupon-binder-07

Step 5 – Using the crease lines you made from folding the sheet protector in Step 1, use your sewing machine to form pockets.  In the picture above, I am sewing on the crease lines.  You will need to sew both vertical and horizontal lines.

coupon-binder-08Step 6 – Repeat Steps 1- 5 with several sheet protectors and different colors of printer paper.  I recommend running several sheet protectors through your sewing machine, one after the other.  That way, you don’t have to keep stopping, cutting, and restarting your machine.  When one finishes going through, you just put the next one in after it.  Then, all you do is cut the thread between the sheet protectors.

coupon-binder-09Step 7 – Put your sheet protectors in a binder. Insert coupons in the pockets.  Notice that each sheet protector is double-sided, allowing you 8 pockets per sheet protector.

coupon-binder-10For items that have several coupons in the same category, such as cereal, toothcare, etc., you can use facing pages of your coupon binder.

coupon-binder-12By color-coding my pages, I can instantly go to the correct section of my coupon binder.  I can also add tabbed flags to the sheet protectors, divider-style.

Congratulations!  You made a homemade coupon organizer and you used materials that you had at home!  If you make a coupon binder, make a post on your blog, mention learningtobefrugal.com in your post, and write a comment on this page!!

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