Friday, May 27, 2011

Taco Buffet = Quick Meal for Lots of People

This meal is so easy anyone can make it. This will feed at least 4 people with possible left overs.

You can prepare any combination of the ingredients below to make a Taco Buffet:


1 can of black beans

1 can of whole kernel corn

3 roma tomatoes diced up

1 avocado diced up. Add a few squirts of lemon or lime juice and some salt to prevent it from turning brown.

1 sweet green, red, or yellow peppers diced up

If you like things spicy, get some jalapenos or jarred hot peppers

Cooked rice (if you like it Chipotlse style, use jasmine rice and cook it with some lime juice. When it is done cooking add a ton of chopped cilantro. Recipes for this kind of rice can be found online.)

Shredded lettuce

Chopped Cilantro

1 packet of taco seasoning to be mixed into the meat of your choice.

2 lbs of the meat of your choice. In my case I used ground beef. Any kind of shredded meat works good.

Any kind of seasoning you like to use when cooking your meat.

1 bag of shredded Mexican style cheese

Sour Cream

Hot Sauce

Tortillas of your choice

Taco shells of your choice

There is probably much more that can be added to this list so be creative. This meal is so easy to pull off because the only thing you really need to cook is your meat. I like to use some taco seasoning because it gives my meat an extra touch, but you can do with just some salt and pepper. In the directions below I do steam my flour tortillas so they are more pliable without breaking, and I heat up my corn and black beans. But you don't need to do all this. You can heat things up via microwave, and steam the tortillas by wrapping them with some lightly moistened paper towels and microwave for about 30 seconds.


I begin by cooking 1 tsp of minced garlic in 3 tbs of olive oil. I cook this on low heat for about 3 minutes until the garlic turns translucent. Make sure you cook on low heat because the garlic will burn very quickly at high temperatures.

Next I add my choice of meat. In this case I had 2 lbs of ground beef. Add your choice of seasonings. I used some dried herbs, garlic salt, and the taco seasoning. If you decided to make some rice now would be the time to get started on that. Cook the meat until it is done and easy to shred with a fork.

Now heat up any items from the ingredients list that you would like to be hot. I cooked my corn and black beans together because I eat them together anyways. To make the corn and black beans extra special you can add some ground black pepper and lots of chopped cilantro.

Cut up any other ingredients you will be using in your taco buffet. I chose to have both soft flour tortillas and crunchy taco shells. I used a steam basket to steam the soft tortillas so that they would not break when forming a burrito. I steamed them for 1 minute on each side.Or use the microwave technique if you don't have a steamer basket.

Assemble all your ingredients in its own individual container. Provide small spoons for each ingredient because usually you only use a little bit of each thing. You don't want to over stuff your burrito or it will be hard and messy to eat.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Messing up at Walgreens

I just discovered how difficult it is to go couponing at Walgreens versus other drug stores. Their system for accepting coupons messes me up all the time. These mess ups cost me more money than it should have so be careful when your trying to coupon at Walgreens.

This happened to me at various Walgreen stores in my area. Maybe you have done the same things described below and was successful. Let me know if you didnt have problems so next time I go in there I can defend myself.

Transaction #1:Get $3 register rewards when you buy 3 of the following prodcuts: Old Spice, Zest, or Gillette Body wash at $3.33 each.

This was a great deal I could not let go, especially since I had a ton of buy one get one free and $1 off Old Spice and Zest body wash coupons. So I got 2 Old Spice body washes and 1 Zest body wash. I used a buy one get one free on the Old Spice so I was going to end up paying only for two of the body washes. But the register did not take these 3 items together so that I could get the register rewards because one of them was for free. So I ended up paying the regular sales price of the body wash (which is more than $3.33) for one old spice, got another old spice free, and paid the normal price for the Zest body wash. Since it did not take the 3 items together I did not get the sales price or the register rewards. I really messed up.

Then I tried to return the items so I could grab 3 Old Spice and 1 Zest, getting one of the Old Spice for free, but still having the 3 I needed to get the $3 register rewards. They told me that they could not return coupons. So I lost out big time on that. I spent some where between $4-$6 more from this little mistake.

So I learned that buy one get one free items will not count towards the required amount of items to get the register rewards, and that they cant return coupons once they have been scanned (supposedly or maybe they lied to me because they didn't want to go through the whole process?).

Transaction #2: I made another mistake which I caught before they finished scanning all my items so I quit the transactions and said forget it. They told me that I could use the coupons they scanned again because I never went to the check out phase and paid for my items. So basically it was like it never happened.

Later I went to another Walgreens and tried to use the same coupon and the cashier told me that it has been used before. I was shocked because I lost a great coupon, (buy one Gillette Body wash get a free Gillette deodorant) which I never got to use. 

What I learned was if a coupon is ever scanned, even if you end up canceling your transactions, it is gone forever. Be careful when you use your coupons.

Transaction #3: Get $7.99 register rewards when you buy Complete contact solution at $7.99. So you get this item for free.

I use contacts so I went crazy over this deal especially since contact solution is so expensive. I went to one Walgreens and bought my first contact solution and got my $7.99 register reward. Later I went to another Walgreens and bought a second contact solution and used my $7.99 register reward from the last transaction so I wouldn't have to pay for anything. My total came out to $0 but I did not get my $7.99 register reward from the second item. In reality, instead of getting both for free I got 2 for $7.99.

I found out later that you cant use the same register reward on the same item. I had other register rewards that I got from some hair bands, and body wash that I could have used to knock my total to $0 and I could have got the $7.99 register reward I was expecting. So beware.

All in all, it is kind of confusing at Walgreens unless you know all the ins and outs.

CVS Experience

For the first time since I have started couponing I tried out CVS. I was reluctant to try them out because they have an extra care bucks (ECB) reward system and I thought they would expire in about 2 weeks like the ones at Walgreens. I did not want to have to worry about expiring money rewards for two different stores because then I would be compelled to hurry up and buy stuff just so I could use them before they expire. However, I found out their ECB expire in about a month after you get it not 2 weeks like Walgreens. Plus you can use them on any items you want. At the end of the receipt it is printed very clearly what extra care buck rewards you have got and from what items.  Plus CVS has a coupon machine that gives you a free daily coupon when you scan your CVS card on it. Furthermore, there is a green leaf shaped bag tag for $0.99 which you attach to a reusable shopping bag and for every 4 purchases you make at CVS you get $1 back. Now I am hooked on CVS.

Yesterday I got some great deals at CVS.

Revelon nail polish get $4 ECB when you buy it at $4.99. You end up getting it for $0.99. What makes this deal even better is that a few weeks ago there was some $2 off any Revlon color products. So I actually got the item for free plus a $1 credit towards my purchase.

Stride gum was on sale for $0.99, plus you get back $0.99 ECB so it was free.

Purex 50oz detergent was on sale for $1.99. I had a $1 off manufactures coupon, so I got it for $0.99.

So I got all these items for free. Of course you have to pay for the items now, to get the ECB rewards which are applied to your next purchase.

My receipt total was $4.96 with out taxes. I got back $4.99 in ECB rewards.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Make Money Couponing and Grab These Deals Now

How to Make Money Couponing:

Yesterday I had very interesting results when I went couponing for a few items at Walgreens. I looked at my receipt and noticed that I actually made around $5. How did this happen? Rebates.

I went to Walgreens and got the following:

1- Nexcare band aids for $2.99, Free with mail in rebate for $2.99

1- SunBurnt Gel 2.5 oz for $3.99, Free with mail in rebate of $3.99, but I also had a $0.50 coupon for this item so I made $0.50 cents from this transaction.

1-Renu Probiotic at $15.00 Free with $15.00 mail in rebate. I had a $2 coupon for this product too, so I made $2 from this transaction. I don't use probiotics, but if I get it for free and make money too, why not?

1- Tylenol Precise, on sale for $4.59 if I remember correctly. I had a manufactures coupon for $5 off and a Walgreen coupon for $3 off so I made an estimated $2.41 from this transaction.

2- Lysol toilet bowl cleaners, B1G1 at $2.99, plus I had a $1 off 2 coupon, which made them $0.99 each.

So I made almost $5 from couponing. Of course I need to wait about 6-8 weeks for my rebates to come in the mail, but all in all it was a neat outcome.What I learned: if you see an item with a rebate see if you can find any coupons to go with it, therefore making it a money generator.

***Tips About Rebates*** 

Tip #1: If your going to buy something because it has a rebate, make sure that you immediately fill out the rebate form and include what ever it asks for (a copy of the sales receipt, or cut out the products bar code, etc..) right away. I saw a statistic out there that more than 50% of people never complete the rebate form and end up paying for the item. Plus, if you wait too long you might accidently throw away the receipt like I did. So in other words, if your not diligent then do not buy an item just because it has a rebate or your not saving money. So this time I immediately came home and filled out the forms and got them ready to mail.

Tip #2: Hopefully you have easy access to a copy machine or scanner, because like in my case I had two of the rebate items on the same receipt so I had to make copies of it. Or be smart and buy each rebate item by itself so you get a receipt just for that item.

Grab These Deals Now:

Winn Dixie May 11th to May 17th:

L.A. Looks hair styling gels B1G1 for $2.59. Plus I just received coupons for $1 off L.A. Looks gel products in my newspaper inserts today. I had 2 of these coupons and used one on each gel bottle. Therefore I paid $0.59 for both, or about $0.30 each. I gave the gel to my little brother who was so happy. I found these coupons in the May 15th edition of SmartSource insert in my local newspaper. I buy two newspapers every Sunday so I get 2 coupons for each item. Plus, my Mom and Grandmother give me their coupons since they don't use them. So I end up with 4 coupons of the same item. Also, you can go to and print them. Coupons vary by region so I may not have the same ones as you.

Walgreens May 15th to May 21st:

3 for $10 selection of Old Spice, Zest, or Gillette body wash.
- $3 register rewards
= $7 for 3 body washes.
If you have 3 coupons for $2 off Gillette body wash found in the May 15th Redplum insert, the price drops down to $1 for the 3 body washes. This is a great deal, but to make it even better find 3 coupons for buy one Gillette body wash get one Gillette deodorant free. These coupons are found in the Proctor and Gamble booklet, which I have yet to see. I got mine from an eBay purchase of 100 coupons. If you have all 6 coupons, you get 6 items for $1 or $0.17 each! Stock up while you can.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

$3.99 1/yr subscription to Better Homes & Gardens

Right now you can get 1 to 3 years max subscription for Better Homes & Gardens, or Weight Watchers magazines. This makes a great gift for the ladies in your life.

Also, I heard Better Homes & Gardens has some great coupons in them, so of course I got a 1 year subscription for myself. I don't know if Weight Watchers has coupons in it...

Just click here and type in the discount code "HOMES" for the Better Homes & Garden magazine.

Or click here and type in the discount code "WEIGHT" for the Weight Watchers magazine.

I believe you can use the discount codes to renew your subscription too, if you all ready receive the magazine.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Get These Deals Before They Pass

Just very quickly:

Today is the last day you can use any Publix store coupons for $2 off John Freida products. Combine these coupons with the $3 off John Frieda manufactures coupons found in newspaper inserts and you get them for $0.49, if they are priced at $5.49 like the ones at my local Publix.

Another great deal is the buy one get one free Welches juice. If you get two of the $1.00 off coupons (use one for each bottle of juice) you get the price down to $0.99 each. This deal is good until May 15th I think.

If you are interested in more information about couponing visit these websites that I use all the time: is an awesome site because they post about other deals going on online such as discounts on clothes, special sales, and restaurant deals. For example, type on the code TASTY when you check out of's restaurant gift card website to get 70% off. Basically you can score a $25 gift certificate for just $3. This offer expires tomorrow. I'm definitely going to stock up.

If you know of any other great couponing themed websites or blogs please comment below.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Awesome Coffee Deal and FREE Cookies

Today I am reporting on two more great deals I scored.

First up, buy one get one free Eight'O Clock coffee at Publix. This deal is awesome because many of the coffee bags themselves have a free Milano cookies coupon attached to them. So you also get two free bags of cookies. To top this deal off, go to the Eight'O Clock coffee website at and click on the $2 off coupon at the upper right corner. This coupon drops the price for each coffee bag to $2 and some cents. The original price for one bag of this coffee is $6 and some some cents. So I bought 4 bags of coffee to stock up, and got 4 bags of free Milano cookies. Everything came out to around $8.00.

There are three bags of Milano cookies missing from this picture. Two I gave away and one I ate...

My second deal expired today along with the Winn Dixie sales flyer. They had buy one get one free Ronzoni pasta. So you get 2 boxes of pasta for $2 with their customer card. On the Ronzoni website you can print a ton of coupons for $1 off 2 boxes of pasta. Therefore you get 2 boxes of pasta for $1, or $0.50 each! I bought a ton of this to stock up since I cook a lot of pasta dishes. I never tried their Garden Delight pasta so I only got two of those since I'm not sure what it tastes like.

There are eight boxes in the photo, they are just all stacked up. Also the Right Guard Mens body wash was on sale at $0.50 off with the Winn Dixie card. I had a buy one get one free manufacturers coupon for this product so I got two for around $3.40, that is $1.70 each.

Just a heads up on an awesome deal starting tomorrow May 11th to May 17th at Publix: Kraft's Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese Dinners are buy one get one free at $2.59 for both. If you print two of the $1.00 off coupons (found on this website             it is the 7th item down, click on the print link) you get both items for just $0.59, or $0.29 each.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My 1st & 2nd Couponing Experiences

Last week I tried couponing for the first time. Mind you, couponing is very time consuming and it takes a while for you to collect enough coupons from different sources to really start scoring good deals. So since I just started collecting coupons, there are a bunch of deals I could not do because the coupons for them were in previous flyers that I all ready threw away.

The deals I got last week ended Saturday so they are not available anymore. However, they are good examples of how much you can save by couponing. Everything in this post was purchased at Walgreens.

BIC Soleil Razor Pack on sale for $5.99
     -$3.00 Manufacturers coupon
     -$2.00 Register Rewards
      = $0.99
Lysol Disinfectant Spray on sale for $3.49
      -$1.00 Manufactuers Coupon
      -$1.00 Register Rewards
      = $1.49
Glade Automatic Spray Kit on sale for $8.99
      -$4.00 Manufacturers Coupon
      -$3.00 Register Rewards
      = $1.99

That is what I got the first time I went couponing. I was kind of confused about how all this works so it was a good time to get familiarized with the coupon policy at Wal Greens.

My second time couponing was again at Walgreens. This time I was more prepared and finally scored my first free items! I believe these items will be as priced until the end of this week.

Nexcare 20 ct flexible band aids $2.99
          -$2.99 mail in rebate found on the package
          = FREE
Carefree Pantyliners on sale for $0.99   
          -$0.99 Manufactures coupon.
          = FREE
 I had two of these coupons so I was able to get 2 packs.
Tylenol Precise Products $7.99
           -$3.00 Walgreens coupon foun in their     May coupon booklet
            -$5.00 Manufactuers coupon found on their website
            = FREE

Colgate Toothpaste 4.0 (red ones in the photos) 2 for $6
             -$4 Register Rewards
             -$1.00 Manufacturers coupon
              = 2 for $1.00
Renu Sensitive Contact Solution on sale at my local Walgreens for $8.99
              -$3.00 manufactures coupon
              = $5.99
Smaller Colagates: I have no idea what I did here.I think I had a buy one get one free manufactuers coupon because on the recipet it shows a discount off the price of one of them. So I got 2 for $2.79, which is $1.40 each.

Listerine 1 qt on sale for $4.49
             -$1.00 Manufactuers coupon found on  their website
               = $3.49
I'm not sure how much 1qt of Listerine normally costs, but I ran out of it at home so I was going to buy some anyways.    
Dial B1G1 2 for $5.99, thus $2.50 each. This is not a sale at all because I find them at Walmart or Target for this price. However I was completely out of body wash so I got them at the normal price. One had a free travel size lotion, so I guess I got something for free.

Lets add it all up:

Without Coupons             

Listerine                                          $4.49
Nexcare band aids                           $2.99
CareFree Pantyliners  2x $0.99=     $1.98
Tylenol Precsie                                $7.99
BIC Soleil Razors                           $5.99
Lysol Spray                                     $3.49
Glade Kit                                         $8.99
Colgate (red ones @ $3 ea              $6.00
Colgate (white ones 2x $2.79 ea)   $5.58
Renu                                                $8.99

=                                                      $56.49, excluding taxes

With Coupons             

Listerine                                          $3.49
Nexcare band aids                          $0.00
CareFree Pantyliners                      $0.00
Tylenol Precsie                               $0.00
BIC Soleil Razors                          $0.99
Lysol Spray                                    $1.49
Glade Kit                                       $1.99
Colgate (red ones)                         $1.00
Colgate (white ones)                     $2.78
Renu                                              $5.99

=                                                   $17.73, excluding taxes

So I got all this stuff for $17.73.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Couponing: Who is With Me!

So I finally decided to do some research on this quickly becoming popular way of saving money- Couponing. On YouTube there are tons of videos of how people do this and various tips. The best on I have found is the southernsavers channel. I watched her Introduction to couponing videos and got tons of information.

Watch part 1 by following this link:

After watching several videos I immediaetly did the following:

1. Signed up for Publix's free magazines

2. After being disappointed that the nearest big city Sunday newspaper will cost me $20 per month, I decided instead to get a $19.92 subscription to AllYou magazine. Supposedly there are tons of manufacturers coupons in there.

3. I signed up for Nestle's e-mail notifications. Soon I will be signing up for other top brand items such as Pillsbury, General Mills, Post, Kraft, Little Debbies etc... and any more major brands I can think of to get manufactures coupons.

Manufacturers coupons are awesome because you can pair them up with a store coupon for the same item and get both discounts. This is called "stacking". Lets say you have 2 manufactures coupons for an item that is buy on get one free, you can use 1 coupon on each of the 2 items. When an item is buy one get one free, you are basically getting a 50% discount, so adding a coupon in there gets you greater discounts.

4. Visit these popular websites that let you print their coupons:,, and

Like I have mentioned before, I buy all my groceries for about $50 per week at my local Aldi. This is great, but if I can get brand name stuff that I love for about the same price or less, that is even better.

I also found this website that is all about Publix coupons:
Aparently Publix accepts competitor coupons so this site lists a whole bunch of coupons from other stores that you can print and use at Publix. Just be aware that sometime in the next month or so Publix will be making changes to their coupon policy.

I'm going to start getting organized and give this a try. I will post my first couponing shopping experience when I finally get enough coupons to make it work. If anyone has any ideas about couponing or great websites to find coupons let me know.

Sorry for the lack of photos in the last couple of posts. Since I had to reformat my computer I have not had the chance to reinstall Photoshop.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I wish it was a virus...

Since my last blog I discussed my computer problems. We thought I had some type of virus that was not detectable by ANY kind of virus software. So we formatted our computer back to brand new which of course is a very sad choice to have to make for anyone.

After it was done reformatting we thought it would be virus free. However, once we connected it to the internet we got the same problem again! Any website related to Google such as, and YouTube was being redirected to various websites or advertisements that we simply did not search for to begin with. Even if I used our iPod or my phone it was getting redirected.

After days of research we came to this conclusion: Someone hacked into our internet server boxes or altered our IP address, kind of like putting a bot on our internet to redirect us to their advertisements so they could make money off from us.  Apparently this happens a lot and people who don't know much about computers do not even realize it.

My husband finally figured out how to log into our linksys wireless internet router and reset it. Also he fixed the fact that our internet server was being redirected so we had to look up the correct server name of our internet provider and change it back. As of right now we think we are ok.

We learned a big lesson- put a password on your internet and make it as hard and random as possible. We had no password on ours because it just made it easier to connect other devices to our WiFi without having to put the password in every time. Put a hard password because people also use programs that will guess passwords and every combination of characters until it gets the right one and they get into your internet.

Also do not get Embarq/Century Link as your internet service provider. They absolutely suck at anything and everything. They did not want to help us at all because they wanted us to buy a $14.99 a month tech support plan with a contract of one year. All I wanted them to do was reset my internet box or IP address. This is nothing difficult to do.

I figured I would post about this really quick because it took us days to find just the tiniest bit of information about this. If anyone knows anything about this kind of hacking please comment about it here. I hope this information will help others who have a similar problem and are having a hard time finding answers.