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I have to admit my days are getting shorter and I need a Vacation from cooking. My husband would contend that I am on permanent vacation in fact for 10 years he didn’t know I could cook. Give me props for avoiding cooking for that long. I can cook very well in fact well not top chef well but good enough to have my husband and friends ask me to make them meals. I have so many friends who are having babies, need help, or deserve a meal but I do not have the time to make them. I needed to find a way to lend a hand quickly. We all know I have the budget in check so maybe I can get my schedule in check as well. I came across this wonderful article about freezer meals and I asked the author if I could share it with you. She agreed so here it is…
I love Freezer or OAMC (once a month cooking) meals. I fill my freezer with meals that are ready for the crockpot, no defrosting necessary. This really cuts down on the urge to eat out, since I have 15+ meals ready to go in the freezer. I stock-up on meat when it is on sale and then spend 1-2 days a month preparing these meals. I put them in Ziploc Freezer bags and lay them flat in the freezer. When I am ready to prepare a meal for dinner, I take it out of the freezer and run some hot water on the Ziploc bag (just enough so I can break it into a couple of pieces to fit in the crockpot). I then cook the meal in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. This really simplifies dinner. I can put the meal in the crockpot while I am preparing my son’s lunch and then at dinner time I make a side dish and/or veggie to go with the meal. I am amazed at how this has cut down on eating out. The main reason we were eating out was not because we really liked restaurant food but because I didn’t plan ahead for dinner. This has also cut down on our grocery bill since I plan the meals ahead of time, stick to my grocery list and buy everything at rock bottom prices. My husband jokes that we could go without grocery shopping (except milk and produce) for at least 6 months because of my Freezer Meals & stockpiling!
Here are some of my favorite freezer meal recipes:
Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings
Asian Lemon Pork Tenderloin (sometimes I substitute chicken in this recipe)
Cheesy Mexican Chicken
Burgundy Beef Tips
Creamy Italian Chicken
Creamy Tortilla Chicken
Garlic Basil Chicken
Italian Pear Chicken
Go here for more great Freezer Meal Recipes.
SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MEAL IDEA
For all of our newbie frugal friends, Gina from Fun, Frugal and Fabulous would like to share some of the terminology you will commonly see and what the abbreviations or terms mean. It can get quite confusing. This list is by no means all inclusive and we would love to hear form you if you have something to add.
Here is an alphabetical list of some of the terminology you will run into out there in the world of frugal living.
BOGO, B1G1F: “Buy 1, Get 1 Free”
Blinkies: coupons found in the little red boxes with blinking lights near the products in the grocery store
BTFE: Box Tops for Education
Catalinas: these coupons are typically generated at check-out for specific items, or to be used as cash on your next purchase.
ECB: Extra Care Bucks, these are printed on your receipt and can be used like cash at CVS, must be used with your CVS card, and other rules apply
Easy Saver Catalog: Walgreens own coupon book found right inside the door at Walgreens, contains coupons that are stackable with manufacturer’s coupons and rebate information FAR: Free after rebate
IVC, Instant Value Coupon: another name for an Easy Saver Catalog coupon from Walgreens
IP: Internet printable coupon
MFC, MFR : manufacturer’s coupon, I have been spelling this one out but will use the abbreviation from now on. These come from you guessed it manufacturers and are mostly found in your newspaper
MIR: Mail in Rebate
Peelie: coupons found stuck on product packaging that you peel off
P&G: Proctor and Gamble coupon insert from newspaper
OAS: “one any size” Some coupons specifically state on them that they can be used on any size product.
OOP: out of pocket expense, how much you actually paid for something
Overage: when you save more than the items costs, store policies vary and you may or may not get to “keep” your overage
RP: Red Plum coupon insert from newspaper
RR: Register Rewards: Walgreens version of the ECB (see above) spendable like cash at Walgreens, earned by purchasing specific products
SS: Smart Source coupon insert from newspaper
Stacking: Using a MFC with a store cpn or other deal on the same item (doable at CVS, Walgreens, and Target quite easily)
Store coupons : Store specific coupons
Tear Pad: pad of refund forms or coupons found hanging from a store shelf or display
V, Valassis: Same as Red Plum
WSL: while supply lasts.
WYB: when you buy
Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV): This one is new to me and basically means that your savings may be different then what is posted because of regional variances such as sale prices and cpn availability.
Hope this helps and let me know if you have some to add to my list, I will do an updated post with your additions.
We have been asked to speak at a financial freedom seminar. This is not a COUPON WORKSHOP it is however, a time to learn some tips on organization and the basics of saving money. Our coupon system will be available for purchase if you would like. We look forward to teaching you and remember; it is not what you save but what you spend that matters!
Please join us on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at the Double Tree Hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia for a completely FREE Financial Freedom Seminar sponsored by Divine Women of Destiny Ministries International. This seminar normally valued at $50 per person is being offered complimentary to you in order to launch you on the path to financial freedom.
The other featured speaker will be CYNTHIA MURRAY who will be speaking on practical, Biblically based financial principles to help you to increase personal and business wealth, become debt free, maximize your tax returns and more!
To obtain more information and sign up click HERE
Wateroos are all natural flavored water drinks for kids. There is a $10 mail in rebate (MIR) available on the purchase of (4) six packs. The MIR will consist of a $10 gift card to Toysrus, Babiesrus or Whole Foods. The best place to get the Wateroos is this week at Toysrus since they are on sale for buy one, get one 50% off. Thanks Money Saving Mom for this great deal!
With all that is going on in the world today, I have really been thinking about making the little things count. We hear a number of times, especially when we are stressed or under pressure, ” Don’t sweat the small stuff” but sometimes, it’s the small stuff that gets us through. ( In addition, stressed, is desserts spelled backwards :)The tips team and I have put together a number of ideas on how to have low to no cost time and experiences with not only your hubby but your kids in previous articles. Only recently, I realized that for all the planning and time and effort that may go into some of those times, my kids and I forget the small details of what happened.
So, how about having your kids make a scrapbook or perhaps the family making a scrapbook. It doesn’t have to be all *that* complicated. You can sometimes find theme photo albums that have the pretty paper as the back drop and all you have to do is insert the pictures. You can use photo graphs or your child(ren)’s drawings. You can also insert small index cards with text that your kids have written on about their experience or describing the picture nearby. You could also do something online. I have a photo blog link from Shutterfly. I periodically let my nine year old type about his experiences on there and can limit who sees these links to family and friends who have the link. This keeps them up to date on what we are doing – perhaps even see how a gift of a family membership to a children’s museum, amusement park, or movie gift card was being used.
Having your children journal their experiences may also be the start of a life-long activity that will hopefully show them the things that they have to be grateful for. It also creates a place of sanctuary that they can learn to write their feelings, hopes, and dreams. This can certainly be something that they will look back upon when they are older and marvel at if nothing more for the handwriting and spelling of words. My kids take a small journal pad with them when we take nature hikes. That way they can document (writing or drawing) what we saw, heard or even something that they may want to look up when we return home – such as an animal or type of leaf, etc.
Teaching your children to reach out and help others is another way that you can teach them how little things can have a big impact. Whether it is helping a neighbor or expectant mom with grocery shopping (obviously with your help) , helping to pick up sticks or leaves in someones yard who may have trouble doing it, or bringing in the trash can or recycle bin from the street for someone on vacation, etc. These are all little things that can help our children realize that the world does not revolve solely around them. Sit down with your kids and see if they can help with the brainstorming for ideas. You may be surprised at what your little ones notice or even think of as a way to help.
Let’s face it, if little things didn’t matter or add up, then the phrase “the straw that broke the camel’s back” wouldn’t be around. I challenge you to find what little ways you can your family can make a difference and possibly make the load a little lighter for someone else. Good luck!
Here are the Rock Bottom Deals for this week. The Buy $10 and get $3 off promotion is still running. Kroger doubles coupons up to $0.50. You can load electronic coupons on your Plus card through shortcuts, cellfire and Bring Hope. E-coupons do not double and they can be combined with paper coupons. Prices and coupons vary by region.
Non-Coupon Rock Bottom Deals
Kroger Grilling Sausage Links $1.99
Kroger Shrimp Ring BOGO
Center Cut half boneless pork loin $1.99/lb
Blueberries 18oz $2.99
Organic Blueberries 16oz $2.49
Organic Tomatoes on the vine $1.99/lb
Seedless English Cucumbers 10/$10
Organic Gold Delicious Apples 10 lbs/$10
Watermelon $3.38 each
Kroger Ice Cream $1.88
Kroger Bar and Shredded Cheese $1.33 each
Lays chips $1.88
Rock Bottom Deal Coupon Matchups
Kraft Singles Cheese .99¢ each wyb 5 in one transaction
-$1.00/2 coupon previously available to print
Oscar Mayer Meat Wieners .99¢ each
-$1.00/2 coupon from 6/7 SS, makes it .50¢ each
Tyson Fresh Chicken Leg Quarters $1.19/lb
-$1.00 coupon from 6/28 SS
Kraft Miracle Whip $1.97
-$1.00 coupon from coupons.com on out sidebar, makes it .97¢
Kraft Mayo $1.97
-$1/2 coupon from 6/21 SS, makes it $1.47 each
-.75¢ coupon from 6/21 SS, makes it $1.22
Bush’s Best Baked Beans $1.66 each
-$1.00/2 coupon HERE, makes it $1.16 each
Digirnio Pizza $5.00
-$1.25 Digirnio flatbread coupon HERE, makes it $3.75
Lean Cuisine $2.00
-buy2, get 1 free coupon from July All You magazine, makes it $1.33 each
Smart Water 20 oz $1.00
-$1.00/2 coupon from 6/28 SS, makes it .50¢ each
Aquafresh Toothpaste $1.00
-.75¢ coupon from recent insert, makes it .25¢
Buy 10, Get $3.00 off Promotion: Must buy 10 participating items in one transaction to get $3.00 off instantly (.30¢ per item). You can do this promotion (3) times per transaction; so 30 participating items. The price listed below reflects the promotional price.
- Chef Boyardee Cans or Cups .58¢
-.50¢/4 from 5/31 SS, makes it .33¢ each
- Manwich .58¢
-.40¢/2 from 5/31 SS, makes it .18¢ each
- Ragu $1.19
-.60/2 coupon from 5/17 RP, makes it .89¢ each
-$1.00/2 coupon HERE, makes it .69¢ each
- Oscar Mayer Meat Weiners .99¢
-$1.00/2 coupon from 6/21 SS, makes it .49¢ each
- Kraft BBQ Sauce .70¢
-.55¢ or .75¢ from 6/14 SS, makes it .15¢ to Free
- Orville Redenbacher’s Microwave Popcorn $1.70
-$1.00/2 coupon from 5/17 SS, makes it $1.20 each
- General Mills Cereal $2.19
-$1.00/2 coupon HERE, makes it $1.69 each
-$1.00/2 coupon from 6/14 SS
- Pop-Tarts $2.19
-.55¢ coupon from 6/14 SS, makes it $1.64
- Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $1.49
-.50¢/2 coupon HERE or HERE, makes it .99¢ each
- Betty Crocker Brownie or Muffin Mix $1.69
-$.75/2 coupon HERE, makes it $1.32 each
- Country Crock Margarine $1.99
-.55¢ coupon HERE, makes it $1.44
-.50¢ coupon from 5/17 RP, makes it .99¢
- Purex Laundrey Detergant or Softner $2.19
-.50¢ coupon IE or FF, makes it $1.19
-.35¢ coupon from 6/14 SS, makes it $1.49
- Breyers Ice Cream $1.99
-$1.00/2 coupon from 5/17 SS, makes it $1.49 each
Note: There are other items for the 10/$3.00 promotion. Check your circular and look for signs as you shop.