A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer

by Melody on January 23, 2012

Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

I will even be mentioning those methods that may seem insignificant to you.  I truly feel that anything that saves time is saving money in some form or another.

Do a little research

Our printer is a little bit older (4-5 years) and the software/drivers weren’t compatible with my new laptop and Windows 7.  We have hung on to our ancient laptop (that we actually could print from) until it went belly up last week.  I immediately panicked.  How will I print?  I need to print something now!  I actually didn’t, but was anticipating how sad I would be when I did need to print.  We started thinking about getting a new printer.  On top of the new washing machine we just bought.  And the new hand truck.  And a new laptop.  Ugh.

It took me a few days to realize that I could possibly just download new drivers.  I checked the HP website and sure enough, brand new drivers for Windows 7.  For free.  I printed something this morning just because I could.  Serious money and serious time saved.  Lesson learned?  There is often an alternative to buying something brand new if you’re willing to put a little time in.

Taking advantage of prescription transfer offers

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a good prescription transfer offer, but I received a great one from Safeway in the mail a few weeks ago.  Basically, the store is offering you a bonus coupon or gift card to transfer a prescription to their pharmacy.  I’ve done this at Rite Aid, Walgreens, Fred Meyer and now Safeway.

I happened to have a very basic prescription for my son that we fill every 2-3 months that needed refilled.  All I had to do was drop off the prescription bottle at Safeway and they did the rest.  When I went to pick it up, I gave them my transfer coupon and they handed me a $30 gift card to spend at Safeway.

We’ve been a little behind on the budget this month as I’ve basically been playing catch-up from a little overindulgence in December, so this was perfect timing.  I was able to get the following for just $.54 after my gift card:

    • 8 lbs of oranges
    • 5 lbs of apples
    • 4 lbs of cheese
    • Cilantro
    • 2 boxes Celestial Seasonings tea
    • Dozen eggs
    • Head of lettuce
    • Celery
    • 5 gallon water refill for our water dispenser

All I had to do was pay for a prescription we were going to pay for anyway.  Who says you can’t save money on produce?

My poor husband

I’m pretty sure I’ve never made his lunch for him.  It all started when I was working outside the home too and we were both leaving early.  We just took care of ourselves.  Some people were shocked that I didn’t get his lunch ready for him.  Is this a requirement when you get married?  He has 2 hands and is perfectly capable.

HOWEVER, I know how boring it can be to eat the same darn thing for lunch every day.  While I still won’t actually get up and pack his lunch for him (I use the precious morning hours to blog), I can do a few things to help him along his way.  This weekend, I made a double match of Ellie Krieger’s Minestrone Soup.  I saved half for leftovers and portioned out the rest in those small Ziploc containers to go in the freezer.  This way, my husband can grab one out in the morning and have something hot for lunch.  This helps beat the lunchtime boredom and saves money, he’s definitely not as tempted to go out to eat.

My other favorite thing to make for his lunches is these Brown Bag Burritos.  I won’t lie, I eat them sometimes too.

Our Zaycon Foods chicken pick-up

My husband braved the storm this week to pick up our 40 pounds of chicken from Zaycon Foods.  He got there right as the pick-up opened and it seems that everyone else had the same idea, get in and get out and get home.

Normally, I just trim the fat and freeze the breasts in gallon Ziploc bags, but I decided to put a little of the chicken to work for me this time.

I threw about 4 pounds in the crockpot to make Honey Sauced Chicken.  This recipe only takes about an hour and a half on high, so it was done about the same time I was.  I chopped up the cooked chicken, tossed it with the remaining sauce and then froze in quart size freezer bags.

I also threw about 4 pounds in the oven to bake.  I chopped up the cooked chicken when it was done, split between 3 quart sized freezer bags and covered with Cilantro Lime Pesto.  In to the freezer it went.

Another easy idea, if you don’t want to make a specific recipe, is to just throw a bunch of chicken in the crockpot without any added sauces or seasonings.  Cook until done, then either shred or chop and freeze in quart sized bags.  This will give you pre-cooked chicken to add to any recipe in the future, without much fuss and certainly less dishes.

For more ideas, check out my Zaycon Foods Pinterest board.

My freezer is now busting at the seams with chicken that cost me just $1.69/pound.  Anyone up for another Freezer Cooking Day?

I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week.  What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?

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