Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ibotta - I sure did!

Ok so as promised in my last post, today I am going to share my new coupon addiction - Ibotta!

Long story short it's an app you can download on your phone and they will send you certain items/deals that you can earn money back on if you purchase. 

Here's a shot of what it would look on your phone if you had the app open.  As you can see they give you offers for a few products and you earn money back on your purchase of said items if you follow the prompts for the deal.

For example, as shown below, if you buy Simply Orange Juice you click on that item and it may ask you to take a survey (which is only 1-2 questions) and they will give you .25 cents.  Then they may have a link for you to watch a quick 30 second commerical for the item, and if you watch that they will give you another .25 cents.  Then the third task could be to share on Facebook that you recently purchased this item and earned money back for it (Ibotta basically posts on your behalf) and you get an additional .25 cents off the item.

To get your rebates all you have to do is take a photo of your receipt and upload it through the app on your smart phone.  Within 24 hours they will acknowledge your purchase and deposit the money in to your Ibotta account.  By the way you have to purchase the items from participating retailers.  Don't worry though because I have yet to find a grocery store or retailer that I normally purchase items such as these at that was not on their retailer database.

Once they deposit the money in to your account you have the option of cashing out (they can send the money you earned to your Paypal account) or you can donate the money to the United Way or to a local school.

It's really pretty neat if you ask me.  Most of these items you would probably normally buy anyway.  It gets even more exciting if you have a manufacturers or store coupon  to use at the time of purchase as well to increase your savings. 

As you take advantage of the offers then will automatically add new product offers for you and there is no limit on the number of offers you can take advantage of.  The more you buy the more offers you will be sent meaning the more rebates ($) you can make!

Also, since I don't have a lot of time, I can endorse the fact that the .25 cent prompts such as the surveys, commercial watching, or Facebook posting takes no time at all so it's really easy.  I've been using the app for a week and I already have $4.75 in my account.  Once I have a balance of $5 I can request that they transfer the money to my Paypal account and then I can spend that money any way I want! 

(That means I will spend it online shopping for items for the new house most likely)

Anyway, it's a great app if you have a smartphone and you already like to coupon.  Even if you don't coupon at all, they GIVE you money to buy products you may already buy already anyway.  It's a win-win!

I will be purchasing a couple more items this weekend when I do my Super Doubles Coupon Event shopping at our local Lowes Foods. 

That's all for today.  I will probably very eagerly and excitedly post about my super double coupon shopping trip tomorrow and then couple that with a few other random tidbits of information as well.

Stay tuned and check out Ibotta if you haven't already!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week In Review

So much to blog about such little time...

Let's see, to wrap up this week:

1. I gained 1 pound - not surprising since it was my birthday last weekend, and then I traveled a couple of days for work so that usually hits the diet hard and naturally quite a few treats I don't normally have resulted in this weeks results....there's always next week!  When I tracked my weight for this week I was anticipating an animated "hey fatty put the Cheetos down and get your butt in gear" drill sergeant to pop up in my iPhone screen however instead it gave me a mini pep talk which was nice and I was much more appreciative of.

2. I made a homemade fresh mushroom, spinach and skim milk mozzarella cheese omelet for breakfast today.  Not the easiest task for impatient people like me...but it turned out to be delicious.  The WW point value was higher than I would have liked it to be but that's because I used whole eggs.  I need to use egg whites only going forward...but I'm making progress.

3.  I received notification from my loan officer that my loan was approved for the house so we close on 1/30/13!  Whohooo!  

4. My love muffin and I ventured to Home Depot yesterday to get paint for a couple of the bedrooms at the new house.  Color choices included Behr - Cozy Cottage and Refreshing Pool.  

5. I joined a new coupon addicting cult - ok I lied, it's not a cult.  But I did join Ibotta which is pretty cool, and is another means to my coupon addiction.  You might have noticed a couple of status message updates in the Facebook news feed regarding purchases.  I'm very excited to share all about it but I'll have to post a separate entry all about that so stay tuned.

6. I got a few great deals between Target and Harris Teeter coupon shopping this weekend.

 Pictured above are my Harris Teeter trip items.  

Skintimate Shaving Cream: 3.39 - .89 cent VIC special - $1.50 off coupon = $1.00 (great deal)
Sunkist Chunk Light tuna pouches: 1.65 - .40 cent VIC special - .55 (x2) cents off 2 = .70 cents each
Dole Sliced Strawberries & Whole Blueberries: 2.69 on sale 2/$4 - (2) $1.00 off 1 coupons = $1.00 each
Yoplait Greek Yogurt: 1.34 on sale 3/$4 - .40 cents (x2) off 2 =  .93 cents each
Silk PureAlmond Milk: 3.45 on sale for 2.89 - 1.00 off 1 coupon = $1.89
Simply Lemonade (ibotta deals)*: 2.65 - .75 cents ibotta rebate = $1.90
Simply Orange (ibotta deals)*: 3.89 on sale 2/$6, I purchased 1 @ $3.00 - .75 cents ibotta rebate = $2.25
Crest Toothpaste: 2.89 on sale for 1.99 - $1.00 off coupon = .99 cents
Sparkle Paper Towels (6 roll count): 9.99 on VIC special for $7.99 - $3.22 eVIC** coupon = $4.77
Purex Detergent (not pictured): 6.99 on VIC special for $5.99 - $1.00 off 1 = $4.99 

*ibotta info available on my next post
**eVIC (for those that don't know about it) info available on my next post

I bought a whole bunch of other weekly grocery items this trip however I spent $76.77 and saved $52.28 (not too bad!)  I usually aim to spend less than saved but I can't always do that every time.

Then today I made my weekly trip to Target.  I got a few decent deals there and have noticed lately that they have better prices on some of the things I like.  They even beat Kroger and Food Lion's pricing.  A good example would be the large bag of Blue Diamond All Natural Almonds.  They are about $7 every where else but at Target they are $5.79 every day (or $5.89, can't remember exactly).  So couple that with a coupon and you've got a pretty good deal even though Target does not double coupons.

 Pictured above are my Target items.

Honey Bunches of Oats NEW Greek Honey Crunch cereal: $2.75 (every day price) - $1.00 off 1 coupon = $1.75 each
NEW Splenda Nectresse all natural sweetener: $3.49 - $1.50 off 1 coupon = $1.99 (also the cheapest I have found this new Splenda item around town)
Crystal Light Energy On The Go: $2.04 - $1.00 ibotta rebate = $1.04
Finish Gel Packs (20 ct) Dish washing Detergent: $3.99 - $2.15 off coupon = $1.84 (Great Deal!)
Kardashian Kollection Nicole by OPI Nail Polish Pack: Regular price: $12.97 but was on clearance for $3.00 that is $1.50 each and this stuff is normally $7-8 a bottle.  Whohooo! 

That's all for my great deals this week.  Even without super doubles I still manage to rack up some great deals. 

And for some last minute randomness...

My Mom and I celebrated our birthdays last Sunday at The Cheesecake Factory.  Our waiter guessed it was my 25th and her 40th...kudos Waiter Guy for making sure you earned a little extra tip from our table :)

Anyway, I did not know this but they write your name on your plate in chocolate sauce for your birthday.  How cute is this?  Who knew?  In case you are wondering the cheesecake flavors shown below are the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake and the Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake (my favorite).  I'm guessing you are understanding that 1 pound weight gain this week now aren't you?)

So case you didn't know this, consider yourself enlightened.  And if you did already know this then humor me and make me think I just shared something life changing and profound with you. 

I'm done now...for real this time.

Stay tuned for my Ibotta post.  It's a really cool app if you ask me. 

Until next week....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Asian Lettuce Wraps & Baked Eggplant

OK so now I'm on this kick of trying to branch out in the kitchen because I always seem to cook the same ol' same ol' every time its my turn to cook.

Today I decided as per my last Facebook Status Message to try my own take on Asian Lettuce Wraps.  I've never made them before and quite honestly had no idea what I was doing.  I made the recipe up as I went along (I never used to do that because the idea scared me) but here goes...

1.5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup cubed fresh red pepper
1/4 cup cubed fresh yellow pepper
2 tsp of Ponzu sauce (Citrus flavored soy sauce, which is NOT Gluten Free)
 2 Tbs of Asian Thai Peanut Sauce (this IS Gluten Free)
chopped fresh red onion to taste (I used about 1/8 cup)

Dice chicken in to small cubes
Dice red pepper and yellow pepper in to small cubes
Dice onion in to small cubes
Place chicken, red pepper, yellow pepper and onion in pan (as shown below). 
Add 2 teaspoons of Ponzu Sauce

Side Note: *These are the sauces I had on hand but I'm sure you can find Gluten Free Ponzu sauce as well since they make a Gluten Free Soy Sauce. (For the GF ones reading)

Cook on medium high until chicken is completely cooked and peppers/onions are softened.  

It will look a little watery at first but as it cooks the liquid will cook out.  Make sure you keep an eye on it and stir frequently or it could burn and scorch the sauce to the bottom of the pan.

Once cooked thoroughly serve with iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce.  Add extra Ponzu or Thai Peanut sauce for flavor if desired.

I have to say these turned out pretty good considering I just made it up as I went along.  I feel like the recipe could use some tweaking though.  I feel like it almost needs something crunchy in it like the ones at PF Changs (I think they use peanuts?)  Anyway if anyone has any suggestions let me know but the Master Chef in my house thought they were good so if I got his approval then I'd say I'm not doing too bad.   (PS if they sucked he would definitely tell me)

Moving on

Paired with the Asian Lettuce Wraps, I also made Baked Eggplant as a side item.  This wasn't too difficult but I'll explain what I did below. 

Cut eggplant as desired.  I like to slice mine and then cut the slices in to cubes.

Lay flat on a non greased baking sheet (I didn't do too good of a job at making sure each piece was flat)

The next part is where I just kind of winged it.  I drizzled the eggplant with extra virgin olive oil.  Then I sprinkled it with Garlic Powder.  After that I added white pepper, crushed red pepper, and rosemary.  (And no I didn't measure this I just sprinkled across right out of the container)

Then I baked in the oven on 350 until done. 

I also leave the peeling on because I like it but I suppose you could remove it if you don't like it.  This picture below is what it looked like right before i placed it in the oven.

Here is my ready to eat dinner plate.  It was soooo good.  I haven't looked up the point values yet but most of the points will come from the sauces and olive oil as all the other ingredients were fresh non processed items so I'm pretty sure I didn't do too incredibly bad.

I followed dinner with a smoothie as a snack after my 30 minute workout a little while later.  Tonight's smoothie concoction was frozen organic blueberries, frozen strawberries, 1 medium banana, 1/2 cup of So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk, and 1 cup of fresh spinach.  It was mmm mmm good until Matt made fun of me for having spinach in my teeth.  That's why God made toothbrushes and dental floss. 

Anyone have any ideas for ways to make the Asian Lettuce Wraps better?  Or better yet, have a easy WW friendly recipe they can share?  If so please do! 

Until next time...

Please excuse me while I go floss my teeth.

Super Doubles & Other Random Tid Bits

It's that time again, that's right, the time I've been waiting for, you guessed it, SUPER DOUBLE COUPONS at Harris Teeter!  From now until 1/8/13 they will double up to 20 coupons per household a day of $2.00 value value or less.

Basically, $2.00 off coupons will double to $4.00 off but if you have a $3.00 off coupon they will NOT double that.  Considering most coupons are $1.00 - $2.00 off this is a great time to take advantage of the sales prices and coupon doubling.

Because no one cares about my savings I will try to keep the best deals I got this week short & sweet, I don't want my blog to be so boring no one wants to read it.  Also, after I highlight the best deals of the week I will mention a few other tid bits of information for those interested.

Don't go anywhere, the exciting part is coming.

On to my deals:

Look at this motha load I got yesterday.  Who hoo!.  It's so pretty I almost didn't want to put it away in the refrigerator/cabinets.  I think I was so excited about it because the deals were awesome!

Purex Detergent (Large Bottle): $11.99 / $9.99 / - $1.00 off x 2 = $7.99
Special K Vanilla Almond Cereal: $3.25 / 2 for $5 ($2.50) / - $1.00 off Purchase of 3 x 2 = $7.50 - $2.00 off in store promo on Kelloggs Products = $5.50 ($1.84 each)
Febreeze Set & Refresh Air Fresheners: $3.75 / $2.99 / $1 off x 2 = .99 cents each
Special K Chips (new product): $3.99 / 2 for $5.00 / - $1.00 x 2 = $3.00 ($1.50 each)
Angel Soft Toilet Paper: $3.99 / $2.99 / .45 cents off x 2 = $2.09
Almond Breeze Almond Milk: $3.15 / 2 for $5.00 / - $1.00 off x 2 = $3.00 ($1.50 each)
Aussie Shampoo: $3.99 / $2.99 / $1.00 off x 2 / =  .99 cents
Aussie Conditioner: $3.99 / $2.99 / $1.00 off x 2 / =  .99 cents
Herbal Esscences Waves Hair Spray:  $3.99 / $2.99 / $1.00 off x 2 / =  .99 cents
Secret Outlast Deodorant: $4.99 / $4.00 / $2.00 off purchase of 2 x 2 = $4.00 ($2.00 each)
Jimmy Deans Delights Breakfast Sandwiches: $7.69 / $5.97 / - $2.00 off (did not double per manufacturers request) = $3.97 (great price either way)
Classico Pasta Sauce: $2.99 / BOGO / $1.49 each / - $1.00 off purchase of 2 x 2 = .99 cents (.49 cents each)
Uncle Bens Rice Cups: $1.55 / - $1.00 off 2 x 2 / = $1.00 (.55 cents each)
Canned Diced Tomatoes: $3.98 / 2 for $3 / - $1.00 off 2 x 2 / = $1.00 (.50 cents each)
Starkist Tuna Creations: $2.59 / BOGO / $1.25 each / - .55 cents off 2 x 2 / =  $1.40 (.70 cents each)
Aquafresh Toothpaste: $2.59 / $1.50 / - $1.00 off x 2 / = FREE
Silk Fruit & Protein Juice Blend (Strawberry/Banana): $2.00 / on sale for $1.77 (no coupon but pretty good deal)
Bailey's Coffee Creamer (Creme Brulee): $2.39 / 2 for $3.00 / $1.50 / - .50 cents off x 2 / = .50 cents
Downey Infusions Fabric Softener: $5.89 / $4.99 / - $1 off x 2 / = $2.99

I did my weekly shopping while cashing in on my double coupons so not everything I purchased is pictured above.  However, I spent $80.00 and saved $70.92 so that's not too bad!

Now on to other random facts and tid bits of information...

1. I lost 3 lbs this week (go me) expected weight loss per week is only 1-2 lbs so I'm off to a good start.

2. I am going to attempt to make my own creative version of Asian Lettuce Wraps tonight for dinner.  I hope it is not an epic failure.  Either way I will post photos and a recipe and let you know how it goes.  I'm going to pair that with baked eggplant on the side.  I'm thinking cutting it in chunks drizzled with olive oil and garlic powder etc?  I don't know we will see.  I am making this up as I go along after all.  Either you can laugh at me or be inspired by me.  Only time will tell...

3. Adding 1 cup of fresh spinach to my daily smoothie snacks is not as gross as it sounded (thanks honey).  Don't get me wrong, I love spinach but the idea of putting it in my strawberry banana smoothie did not sound so delicious.  Turns out you can't even taste it and you sneak in an extra serving of green veggies for the day that way.  I will warn you that the color of your smoothie does appear off though after the addition of the spinach so it's mind over matter I guess. 

4. My new weekly addiction is having lunch at Whole Foods either on a Saturday or Sunday.  The salad bar there is amazing.  I haven't even had anything off the Hot Bar yet.  The Spicy Thai dressing they have is my favorite!  I honestly never imagined I'd be excited about weekly trips to Whole Foods.  What have I become?  I don't even recognize myself anymore. 

5. Last week when I posted that great deal I found on Annie's Lite Gingerly Salad Dressing at Kroger for only $1.74 a bottle...well I went back today and bought every bottle they had left.  I've priced this stuff all around town (Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Kroger, Whole Foods, etc) and this closeout price can't be beat...Matt is shaking his head at me right stock pile is growing everyone!

6. I still have not put the Christmas tree & decorations up yet.  Maybe I will wait until we start packing for the move to the new house ha ha.

7. I picked out paint colors for two of the bedrooms in the new house last night.  I can't wait to paint, I hope what I have envisioned in my head turns out half as great as I think it will. 

Ok that's all for this week.  Stay tuned for the Asian Lettuce Wrap post...