Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Couponing and Cooking and Recycling

*Disclaimer - no kid pics this time and just a little randomness*

I am NOT one of those 
but I use them when I can.

I used to be a lot better at it than I am now.
But also used to get a lot more unnecessary items
than I do now.

I got tired of my unorganized accordion coupon file folder thingie.
So I joined the ranks of the women walking the 
grocery store aisles with those huge
3 ring binders full of coupons
in those clear pocket thingies.

I joined those ranks months ago while
we were still in NC, 
then proceeded to lose it during the move.
Finally found it again and revamped it.
(along with my meal planning and grocery shopping)

Down here - this coupon binder is not
as widely seen as it was back home.
I get stopped multiple times when 
I am in the store and asked about my
coupon binder
and complimented on my organization.
So I figured I would share.

Here is my handy dandy zipper closed 3 ring binder:

(yes its red, go Pack! - that and they didn't
have purple)

I *highly* recommend the zipper kind.
That way you can shove stuff in there and zip it in
and not risk it falling out everywhere.

I also recommend lots of pockets,
to put more stuff in:
pens, scissors,
unfiled coupons
(that you can file during dance class -
not that I ever have time to actually do it then)

(note on the scissors - make sure you keep
the whole thing out of reach of your 3 year old,
otherwise, she helps you cut out coupons
and decorates the outside of your binder
with a few cuts to the pocket and zipper,
leaving on of your zippered pockets

(that is not funk on the left side, its the flash - promise)

I found trading card holders at Staples.
You can use the business card ones
but these were a little bigger and
I could see the coupons better
and didn't have to fold them
as small..

Back home, I would go to the store
once a week.
Buy stuff that was on sale
and plan around that.
There were no real meals
I tried it but didn't stick with it 
and was ALWAYS making changes
based on what we did or didn't have on hand.
And did the typical 5pm
what's for dinner tonight
dance around the kitchen,
pantry fridge freezer, pantry fridge freezer
what do I have all the ingredients for??

Down here I plan out a full 2 week menu
and I buy accordingly.

While I am creating the menu
(in an excel file),  
I fill in a shopping list
on the same worksheet 
and have it categorized
and organized by how my store is laid out.

Then I keep a spiral notebook at the front of my coupon book
and hand write my grocery list on that.

I also have a paperclip attached at the top of the
grocery list page in the spiral
This is where I put my coupons as I
put the product in my cart.
Then when its time to pay...all of them are stacked right there.

I also make my list in one color
and mark it off in another.
Makes is easy to see the items I am missing,
cause even though I am shopping by myself,
I still somehow manage to skip items!

It takes an hour (at least)
to prep for my trips to the store.
The whole process takes up the majority of every other
Sunday afternoon.
it works!!!

On this week's menu:

Sun : Burgers, Carrots & Fruit
Mon: Fiesta Chicken & Rice
Tues: Honey Jalapeno Chicken with Soba Noodles
Wed: Leftovers
Thurs: Sizzling Korean Beef, Rice & Sesame Broccoli
Fri: Taquitos
Sat: Early Birthday Dinner for R
Sun: Mini Vacation
Mon: Mini Vacation
Tues: Mini Vacation
Wed: Mexican Confetti Casserole
Thurs: Coconut Ginger Chicken
Fri: Leftovers
Sat: Burgers, Carrots & Fruit
Sun: Rotisserie Chicken

So I will shop for the ingredients I don't have.
I overdid it a few weeks ago, so I have all
the chicken I need (except for the rotisserie).

And here it is Wednesday and I have rearranged
the list twice already,
not a big deal,
I have all the ingredients!

And when we go on our mini vacation,
I will take whatever I can to prevent us from
eating out for EVERY meal.
Cheese sticks (cheddar block cut into ~ 1oz sticks)
Cut up fruit
Muffins for breakfast
and probably a couple
parfait ingredients
(a total hit in this house now!!! -
we made pear/plum ones a couple of days ago)

This is the plan anyhow...
we will be back and forth
attending 3 different sporting games
on Saturday,
so we will see how much of the above I actually
get done before we leave.

Then, as crazy as this is...
I have to share.
I am a little ridiculous when it comes to recycling.
I am not the worst (er, best) at recycling,
but I try, really hard!

We have been using those little green bins for YEARS,
then I saw that some towns
have started using those bigger rolling containers.
I was so excited and wanted one!
My hubby was getting tired of the overflowing one
he had to put at the curb once a week.
So it arrived and I was SO excited!!!
The absolute best part...
it tells you on the lid
EXACTLY what they take!!!
Each city is different,
but this one gives pictures,
and descriptions
and numbers!

Last week,
we filled ours 3/4 of the way up!!
I was so excited!

And hubby likes it too,
he doesn't have to fight with the overflowing bin.
After the big thing was delivered,
he informed me that he
had been throwing the overflow in the trash.
The horror!!
I would have rather lived in the land of the
ignorant than known that.
Oh well...
I got my big ole rolling container now,
I am happy!

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