Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall is coming...

 I LOVE FALL! I love the leaves falling from the trees. I love the cooler weather which makes my infatuation with scarves ok. I love pumpkins and tea and soup. I love everything about fall! I am so eager to begin wearing my fall wardrobe and making more fall (cool weather) food. I CANNOT wait to decorate my house too! Call me a bit obsessed but I loev decorating the house! Most big holidays merit a big home overhaul... Every year its a bit different... Some years I go a little crazier than others but I think with my urge to decorate... Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be huge here! Which reminds me CHRISTMAS is headed our way quick! EEECK!!!

I will post pictures of the activities and decorations I do... Some with my daughters and some just me :). Hopefully for some who have lost their fall inspiration I will stir up a couple of ideas!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Her 1st day....

I'm sure our house is a lot like everyone else's the first day of school is scary! We try to make it a litte less nerve racking for our daughter by doing little things... a note in her lunch, a new outfit and lots of love and kisses! One thing that I have done in the past and have ready for this year is a sign for her as she walks down the stairs for breakfast... Also we take a picture under the sign to mark this new adeventure! It makes her feel special and excited to get to school :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

15 things that should always be free or darn close...

 I read an article on Yahoo this morning about "15 things you should never pay for". Now I agree with some of what they had to say but I have a few changes for a truly frugal person :)

1.  Exercise- Never pay a gym membership again! We have everything we need for a great wokout at home! If you have a good pair of tennis shoes then you are ready to go.
2. Tax Preparations- You truly don't need to go to all the trouble of spending a great amount of time and money on a tax prep service! We have used taxslayer.com they are great! They give step by step instructions and even better they make sure before you submit that your chances of acceptance the first time around is really high.
3. Shipping- If you make online purchases then I would suggest checking freeshipping.org for codes to your favorite sites.
4. Credit reports- As a quick FYI you should get an up to date credit repr annually, but you shouldn't have to pay for it! With annualcreditreport.com you get a report from all three agencies for free! Limited to once per year.
5. Anti-virus protecion- there are a ton of websites that offer fantastic ani-virus for free! We have Mc Afee and it works great for us... plus its free!
6. Books- with the price of a new book being SO high I encourage you to not pay it! Instead go to the library or Half Price Book Stores. You can either get greatly reduced or free books that way!
7. Budgeting- I know I have mentioned it before but Mint.com is amazing! I use it weekly or more to check our accouts next to our budget. We also are able to set up goals and know where we are on our debt freedom plan!
8. Cell phones- I don't necessarily think that getting a phone for completely free is a possibility but definitely check out your options! We were able to get a Blackberry for me and an Android phone for him two for the price of one! It was a great deal in my opinion!
9. Checking account- Why pay a bank to hold your money!? You can easily find banks that offer free checking, savings, online banking, and mobile banking too! Don't settle for a monthly fee.
10. Water- I have a hard time with drinking bottled water all the time when you can either drink tap water or buy a water filtration system for a fraction of what you would spend on bottles.
11. Pets- I know that not everyone agrees but why buy a full breed this or that when you can adopt an animal in need of a good family at the local pound?
12. Coupons- I personally think that the two dollars we spend each Sunday for our two newspapers is completely worth it considering the huge amounts of money those coupons save us! There are also other options too: smartsource.com, redplum.com, coupons.com, as well as many others and besides that there are many products that have coupons right on their website for us to print out! Savings Galore!
13. Health and Body items- with coupons and sales you should never pay more than a dollar or two for any body wash, shampoo, tooth paste etc.!
14. Activities- with a few bucks and an imagination you can do tons for cheap! Try learning about the area you live in, go to the park, the beach, the pool, but where ever you go have a great time!
15. Beauty treatments- You can mak trades with your hair dresser for cuts, ask a friend or husband to help color your locks, go to a beaty school, have a mani/pedi girls night, or even do your own... There are so many options to look good feel good and not pay a ton!

I may sound a little biased but honestly when you have a limited budget you have to learn how to stretch it to the fullest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I personally have found that with a little extra time and a few coupons in hand I can save my family A LOT of money every month! It isn't even a huge amount of time once you get the hang of it either!

The Basic rules are:
* Match Coupons with your stores sale prices for a truly great deal!
* Use Store Coupons in addition to manufatures coupons for an AWESOME price!
* Don't Get overwhelmed
* Shop around- A little

Here is a breakdown of the stores I frequent and what I purchase at each:
CVS- I LOVE CVS!!! I get our families hygiene products almost exclusively at CVS. Also medicines and diapers/pull-ups.
The reason CVS is such a huge savings is because of their Extra Care Bucks! For qualifying items each week you earn Easy Care Bucks or ECB these will print out at the bottom of your reciept and you can use them like cash on your next visit! The goal, however, is to keep buying items that give you ECB's so that you can roll over your current bucks! So between coupons, CVS store coupons (printed from the wonderful little machine) and ECB you can keep your OUT OF POCKET cost extremely low! We are able to spend on average 10-15 a week and save more that 75%!!!
Target- I love that Target is reasonable in general, add in the fact that you can use their online coupons and stack them with manufactures coupons means you can save a ton! Target is great for cleaning supplies, Laundry supplies, some food items (with sales and coupons) and also clothes!

Safeway- I only get things on sale. But you can get a great bargain sometimes!
Winco- The prices are lower and I LOVE that! We buy a good majority of our food at Winco and are able to spend a very small price for a basket full of food! (Our weekly food budget is $60)
99cent store- I love going and finding items here... A lot of times they have great food products, household items, Dove soaps etc. for just .99 cents!
Dollar Tree- I find things here all the time! We get tons of art projects, decorations, party decor and much more and you CAN'T beat the price!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Need a way to keep your coupons organized???


         I wanted to find a way to organize my coupons so that I could easily find them when was making my grocery and store shopping lists here is what I have found. This works great for my family and I am able to quickly add coupons on Sunday's from the newspaper and through out the week as I may get them as well.

 I used a plastic shoe box that we had at home and then I labeled legal sized envelopes and cut index card into strips and labeled them with the following...

Air Freshners/Candles (typically for Glade and Air wick)
Automotive (including the auto stores we go to)
Body Wash/Soap/Lotion
Bverages (juices, juice boxes, water)
Canned Foods
Cereal (we ALWAYS have a ton of cereal coupons so I decided it needed its own envelope)
Cleaners (household)
Food Storage/Batteries (ziploc bags, aluminum foil, plastic containers, etc.)
Hygiene -dental (tooth paste, tooth brushes, mouth wash)
Hygiene- other (razors, femine care, etc.)
Office Supplies
Paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues)
Pasta/ Rice
Salad Dressing/Sauce/Seasoning

Then a few envelopes for the most often shopped stores-

At the back I have two envelopes for-

 This system makes going through the cutting out and putting them away a snap! I also can easily go through and throw away unused/expired coupons too!

Organizing chaos....

  I personally feel that I cannot properly operate if I have a chaotic home, car, or life. I am one having everything nice and orderly. Good or bad that's me, I have been trying to get every area of our house back in order and cleaning out items that we simply don't need or use. In this I have found such a great feeling of release! In organizing and cleaning out our unused things even in a time where we are struggling God looks down and blesses us every step of the way! We have made a conscience effort as a family to donate one huge bag of items each month. We go through difficult times but we know all of our needs are always met so we need to help others meet their needs too!  We as a family are convicted to ALWAYS help others and this is one of the ways we outreach.

  I am sure that if everyone took a few days over the next few weeks to go through closets, toy boxes and drawers we could all donate A TON to help others! One persons unused items are another persons treasures, right!? So my challenge to all of you is this... Go through your things and donate so that another person can be a little closer to thriving!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I ♥ CVS!

 Ok... I have to tell you every trip to CVS and I am in completely shock at just how much I save our family! TODAY I bought:
4 pasta sauce
2 peanut butter
2 mouth wash
2 tooth paste
and a tooth brush

And you want to know how much I paid.... 7.35!!!! The total before coupons was nearly $50! I saved more than $40! Plus I made $13 ECB for my next trip!

What a great trip!