Archive for April, 2013

Insanity: Day 1: Fit Test

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Healthy Lifestyle

My husband started the Insanity workout program today. We currently can’t follow the meal plan, but that will be solved May 7th when my state food assistance help comes in (LINK). He’s trying to drop just 10 more pounds or loose just 2-3 inches off his waist to meet the body percentage he needs to join the Navy…22%.

Day 1 of the 60 day program is a Fit Test where you count how many you do of a specific exercise in one minute. There are 8 different ones (listed below with my numbers).  He tackled it with gusto, got a good sweat going…and wanted to do more! I told him we can go for a walk or something later…LOL!

I thought about it for a bit and decided to do the program with him as much as I can. A husband & wife support team! Thinking it’s a good thing for us both health and goal wise, plus make another solid brick for our marriage foundation.

I hopped to it and started the program. My hubby was behind me helping me count and cheering me on, as I did with him. (We only have enough room for one person at a time.)  I started off okay, but got tired quickly. I am SO out of shape, it isn’t funny any more. Plus, my legs were still a bit sore from the 4 hour hike we did this past Saturday.  Even so, I think I did okay. I got mad at myself during the Power Jacks because I can’t do push-ups, at least not normal, plank style. I usually do the girly ones with my knees on the floor. I cried in frustration, but controlled the tears because I knew I had one more to go and the cool down section.

We watched the video for tomorrow to mentally prep ourselves.  Good lord…we are going to be on floor sobbing for mercy or cursing at Shaun T. on the TV screen. (I already told him to shut-up during the fit test. LOL!) Hour long session…joy! Even so, I love that we can rest if we need to and there is a timer on the screen. Love the timer! If I’m feeling like “No…can’t do it”…I can look at the time and see I only have 15 seconds to go for that particular exercise and power through it to the start of the next one.  Greatest thing about the video, was all these fit, in shape people, towards the end started shaking their heads like “No…mommy, no” at some exercises and need to rest a bit before continuing.  I loved that because it made the whole workout more realistic.

Oh! I have to point this out. While watching video for tomorrow, we noticed this woman in the back row…she was so white, the light reflected off her! She was like one of those glow sticks. Almost blinding at times.

Well tomorrow is a brand new day to whip myself into a sexy cougar!

Here is my Fit Test numbers:

  • Switch Kicks:  40
  • Power Squats: 26
  • Power Knees: 43
  • Power Jumps: 12
  • Switch Jumps: 8
  • Suicide Jacks: 10
  • Push-up Jacks: 5
  • Low Plank Oblique: 10

I will try to keep a regular report on my progress with this program and if I end up admitting defeat…don’t plan on it!

Not a great before shot, but you get the point... that stomach. (Yes, slouching here).

Not a great before shot, but you get the point… that stomach. (Yes, slouching here).

At a local pond/lake. My son burying me in the sand.



Today was a complete off day when it comes to eating regular meals.  I awoke to a drizzly, misting spring day with a full sky of grey clouds.  I spent part of the morning just relaxing on my deck with my coffee.  Although drery looking, the day seemed beautiful.  When my hubby (Mr. Beefy) came home from the gym, he and I worked on the cat coop for outside for a few hours, but then my back started to stiffen up since the weather was getting wetter and colder.  I decided to go in the house to rest and he was able to work on the coop at this point on his own.

While I was dickering around the internet I glanced down at my desktop clock and noticed it was getting near supper time.  My silly butt forgot to get a meat out of the freezer to thaw for dinner!  My mind raced trying to think what to do…do I make Hamburger/Tuna Helper dinner? No, not very healthy and we had one 2 nights ago.  Dash to the grocery store with the last 20 bucks on my LINK card (state food assistance card) to get a meat? No…I want that for produce and Mr. Beefy needs more salad bags for his lunches.  Suddenly my brain went “Hey, stupid…what about that pork roast you took out of the freezer 3 days ago?”


I grabbed my glass roaster, plopped in the pork roast, toss on a can of garlic soup dinner starter from Campbell’s.  Opened up one can each of kernel corn, lima beans (yuk! but Mr. Beefy loves them), and sliced carrots.  Into the oven it went at 350 degrees for about an hour.  

I just made up some batter for Bisquick‘s biscuits using Heluva’s French onion dip.  I’m currently cooking it in small batches in my toaster oven. We’ll see how the first batch comes out.  I will probably finish off the batter in the oven shortly.

Welp, I need to go check on dinner.  Mr. Beefy just came in from the garage and announced to me that my “shit’s done”. LOL!  He wants help on finishing up the cat coop…the door needs to go on.

(NOTE: I did not complete this entry, it ended up being more of an idea then I could put into play, plus I ended up tossing out all the receipts recently, without thinking. Even so, you can still get an idea of what I was attempting and showing).

I spent a week planning for my shopping trip this past Saturday, March 2, 2013.  It was a successful trip and well worth the worry headaches of getting it right. I did splurge on a bunch of sugary foods, which a really shouldn’t have.  My theory on that was when I get cravings for chocolate or my hubby wants a bit of sweet sugar…I will have it in stock and for MUCH less then if I were to buy it at full price on random occasions. (Locally a regular sized candy bar can go from 75 cents to $1.25; king size candy is about $1.50 to $2).

I thought and thought on how I wanted to write this particular blog.  I know some readers are beginners at couponing, maybe still doing research, possibly wanting to know what is actually purchased during some of the more amazing savings trips. I decided that I wanted to make a complete list, rather lists, of what I purchased…along with what the before total was, the after total, and the savings amounts.  So be forewarned, this is a LONG blog, but it will be mostly lists to scan through.  Lists are great for readers, because you can just do quick skim over them, especially if they been alphabetized like I’m planning to do.

I shopped at different stores in Rockford, IL and one in Byron, IL (which was on my way home). The Rockford stores were Logli’s (4 transactions), Woodman’s, and Walmart.  The Byron store was County Market.  I went shopping with about $120-130 to spend.

My first list is a summary of my totals, then I will delve into each store!

Here is a key to my short hand in the lists:

  • B=before savings total (what I could have paid)
  • A=after savings total (what I DID paid)
  • I=items purchased
  • S=total savings (Walmart & Woodman’s don’t give a total savings on the reciept)
  • P=cost per item (averaged from after what I did pay divided by the items purchased, so A/I=P)

LOGLI’S (Rockford, IL)

Transaction 1:

  • B:  $95.87
  • A:  $61.92
  • I:   92
  • S:   $72.82 (after coupons, store daily coupon double special, and store sales
  • P:   67 cents

Transaction 2:

  • B:  $14.51
  • A:  $6.01
  • I:   17
  • S:   $18.12
  • P:   35 cents

Transaction 3:

  • B:  $9.50
  • A:  $3.50
  • I:    12
  • S:   $9
  • P:   29 cents

Transaction 4:

  • B:  $7.37
  • A:  $2.37
  • I:   9
  • S:   $7
  • P:   26 cents

So my Logli totals for all 4 transactions is:

  • before savings…$127.25
  • total paid after savings…$73.80
  • total savings from coupons, sales, and specials…$106.94
  • total items purchased…130 (56 cents per item)


  • B:  (does not give me a before on the reciept) ($15.73, see S below, added it to A)
  • A:  $4.55
  • I:    8
  • S:   $11.18 (or 71%…tells me right on there…love it!)
  • P:   57 cents

WALMART (Rockford, IL)

  • B:  $14.72 (no tax)
  • A:  $12.23 (after tax)
  • I:    15
  • S:   (no savings total listed, used 3 coupons for total of $3 off)
  • P:   82 cents

WOODMAN’S (Rockford, IL)

  • B:  (no before savings total given) ($30.91…see S below)
  • A:  $28.51
  • I:    20
  • S:   (no savings total listed, used 3 coupons for total of $2.40 off)
  • P:   $1.43

Totals for the all trips

  • B:  $188.61
  • A:  $119.09
  • I:    173
  • S:   $123.52
  • P:   69 cents

Whew!  That was number crunching and reciept reading! Now on to the next big set of lists…the longest ones! I am going to combine my reciept items from all 4 Logli’s trips into one list here.  I will do the lists in the same order as I listed the store summary totals.  I only listed the item name and the number of items I got of each.


Azteca Tortilla Shells 4
Baby Ruth 4
Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks 4
Butter Fingers 4
Cadbury Egg 18
Carnation Can Milk 2
Chex Mix 10
Crunch 4
Green Peppers 5
Hungry Jack Pancake Mix 1
Hungry Jack Syrup 1
Hunt’s Pasta Sauce 2
Koolaid Packets 10
Land’o’Lakes Butter 2
Progresso Soups 4
Progresso Starters 2
Red Peppers 5
Reese’s Egg 15
Renuzits 3
Schnucks Sugar Packets 1
Sliced Olives 5
Temptation Cat Treats 2
Tidy Cat Litter 1
Tortino’s Pizza Rolls 9
Velvetta Skillet Dinners 2
Yoplait Greek 6

I used 54 coupons total for all 4 transactions at Logli’s. The Logli store, part of the Schnuck’s/Highlander/Logli’s chain, doubles daily coupons 55 cents and under.  Occasionally they do coupon specials like Triple Coupon Week (55 cents or under triple) or Super Double Days ($1 or under doubles).  This trip was just a regular coupon doubling. They also have a store rule of only 3 like coupons per transactions, which is why I had 4 transactions.

I had some great deals at Logli’s.  The Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, and Crunch bars were all FREE with my coupons.  I had 12 coupons that were 50 cents off one Nestle’s single candy bar.  It doubled at Logli’s making them free (normal price there is $1).  The Reese’s PB Eggs and Cadbury eggs were on sale for Buy 2 Get 1 Free. I had 11 coupons that were 50 cents off 2, which doubled at Logli’s.  I spent .33 cents per candy egg or $11 total for 33 candy eggs.

My other great deal was the Chex Mix.  I had 5 coupons that were 50 cents off 2 bags, which doubled. They had a sale for Chex Mix, 10 for $10. I spent $5 for 10 bags of Chex Mix.

The Hungry Jack’s Syrup was on sale for 2/$5. I had a coupon for 55 cents off one and it doubled. I purchased only 1 because I only had one coupon. It cost me $1.40.  The bottle of syrup (large bottle) had a coupon on it, stating Buy 1 Syrup Get 1 box of HJ pancake mix…large box…FREE.

There were a few great deals on this list. I could do a whole blog just on those deals.  If you have questions about an item, ask me. I will do my best to answer.

I am certain there are people out there who are public aid or state for help getting food, a.k.a. food stamps (Illinois calls it LINK)…who do NOT use coupons! They probably think since they are sort of (not really) getting “free” food with their food stamps there is no need to bother saving even further with coupons, rebates, and sales. This could NOT be further from being saving savvy smart!

You should STILL search for the best deals even if your using food stamps…ESPECIALLY if you have a small amount or large family to feed or both, even with a large food stamp amount or a small family, saving while on food stamps is still must!

No…it’s NOT wrong to do this…get that thought out of your mind right now! No store will tell you can not use food stamps on transaction you use coupons on. (There are some stores that do not take coupons like Aldi.) All you are doing is maximizing your food stamps…therefore better able to feed your family and save the cash for non-food items like toilet paper, dish soap, clothes, diapers, etc! You will also be creating a stockpile, slowly building it from month to month. If you have not couponed before ending up with food stamps, NOW is the best time to start! You can learn to budget and save without using cash needed for other stuff and the good habits will be in place when the time comes that you get off of food stamps, you can weave them into the cash budgets!

Think about taking say $300 of food stamps and being able to double with sales and coupons (and rebates…those are good too, even if you only get them for store credit)!

APRIL 10, 2013: Update edit:

This past Sunday my hubby and I did a spur of the moment shopping trip. I had no lists prepared and scrambling to clip and file away food coupons from that mornings papers as we drove 45 minutes to Rockford, IL.  Why? Our LINK was reloaded with April’s funds Sunday!

Even so, I was still able to save a tad over $112 at Schnuck’s Highlander in Cherry Valley with their sales and about 20 or so coupons I used. That’s $112 in food MORE then I had on my food assistance.  I won’t say how much I get specifically for food stamps but here is an example…

$300 on LINK (food stamps), I spend, say, $200 (budgeting about $100 for rest of month for fresh produce or forgotten items). I saved $112 with sales and coupons…I basically got $312 worth of food for $200…or 12 bucks over the food stamp limit, and I didn’t even use it all. (REMEMBER this is an example…my actual LINK benefit is a private thing).

We did spend about $20 out of pocket for non-food items like toilet paper, deodorant, and a couple other items. I did have coupons for a couple of those items.

It does pay to use coupons and sales when on public assistance from your state. It helps you expand the amount you actually get, helping you save that assistance for other stuff or save your cash for non-food items. I do NOT get state aid for cash assistance, but if you are one of those people…AGAIN…use coupons, rebates, and sales as much as possible to stretch those dollars!

Savings spreadsheet photo

My spreadsheet of my shopping trip savings since mid-November.

I officially began couponing about mid-November 2012, about 5 months ago.  I had been saving my receipts from most of my shopping trips. Some I threw out before I considered doing a spreadsheet of my savings, but it wasn’t very many, mostly from like Dollar General or my local grocery store.

Last week I decided to finally make my spreadsheet of the receipts did have.  I have 8 columns in all.  They are DATE, STORE, BEFORE, PAID, Q TOTAL, SAVINGS, # ITEMS, and PER.  There is a TOTAL row at the bottom (highlighted in green in the photo). I figured these totals out using a calculator. I’m not savvy enough with Excel to know how to formulate a spreadsheet cell to do totals for me per column…eventually I will learn.

I am very proud of savings, I put a lot of hours and hard work into it. I can’t help bragging about it to others. Couponing and finding savings is something I am becoming very good at like some people are good at art or sports. One of the main reasons I did this spreadsheet was to show my husband visually just how much I have saved us and my time isn’t being wasted nor is the money I spend to buy newspapers or spend on gas or even the cash I spend on the groceries. He did know I was doing decent, but not how DECENT…know what I mean?

Now for an explanation of my column  titles: (Q stands for coupons)

DATE: the date of receipt, shopping trip

STORE: name of store shopped at…so I can see visually what stores I’m saving the most at

BEFORE: the purchase total before coupons

PAID: what I did pay after coupons

Q TOTAL: the total value of coupons I used, this includes double and triple coupon specials (I.E. when a 75 cent Q is worth $2.25, tripled)

SAVINGS: total savings shown on the receipts, includes store sales and specials

# ITEMS: number items purchase in the transaction

PER: the average price per item I purchased, formula is (PAID divided by # ITEMS = PER)


My totals as of March 29, 2013 (since November 16, 2012) is as follows:

BEFORE: 1009.64  (this is what I would have paid total before coupons over a 5 month period).

PAID: 589.31 (what I paid over the last 5 months after coupons)

Q TOTAL: 420.33 (coupon value total used in 5 months)

SAVINGS: 719.61 (not a paid savings amount in just 5 months)

# ITEMS: 702 purchased in the last 5 months, which I paid just 84 cents per item on average

I’m sitting here looking at my numbers and realized something…if you ad the SAVINGS to the PAID you get $1,308.92…which is about what I would have paid out in full withOUT coupons or store savings.  That’s pretty insane when put into perspective…I paid about $590 for about $1,300 in groceries.


I will be keeping track of as many of my receipts as I can, because I want to see what I save in a year’s time…and beyond.  If you have not started a spreadsheet of your own, do so…it very nice to see those totals when your getting tired or frustrated during your planning stages for a coupon trip.  If you don’t want to a computer spreadsheet, just use a notebook with whatever columns or totals you want to keep track of.  It really does help you put into perspective all your hard work!


Apology to my Readers

Posted: April 4, 2013 in In world of Me...

I want to say, “I am sorry.” to my readers for not posting for a couple of weeks. It kind of got away from me while living my daily life. I WILL be more vigilante with my blog. I need schedule in a slot of time each day to write an article, check in, etc. I do want to post at least 1-5 blogs a week depending on what interests me to write about or if my readers have any requests on topics…please let me know! 

Thank you for your time!