Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Review

Wow, I can't believe April is over already. It seemed to fly by. I spent most of the month trying to get the house in order and chasing Baby Girl non stop. I think I'm ready for a vacation. I wanted to keep tabs on more of our spending(not just groceries and household) so I've been in a constant state of chaos trying to keep every receipt together. I did good while Joe was gone to Florida but since he has been back, it's been more of a guessing game on his spending. I am seriously considering taking away his debit card because that man can blow some money. Not just $20 here and there, hundreds of dollars, folks.

Toshiba sent my laptop back UNFIXED. So much for a warranty. Joe said last night night he was probably just going to go get me a different laptop. I told him(pardon my language) to call Toshiba and have them fix the damn thing. I actually like the laptop. If there happen to be any Toshiba people out there, please honor your warranty and fix my laptop without charging us $500 for your defective equipment!!! . He went on about how it would just be easier to go buy a new one. He's taking Thing 1 to dance tonight and said he was going to Best Buy while she's in class(which means, he is going to spend an obscene amount of money on something)

ok, here are some of our numbers for the month

Grocery $356.82 $143.18 under budget I did a lot of stocking up this month with some of the great Kroger sales. I'm starting to buy more items from there and staying out of Walmart more

Household $178.97 $28.97 over budget grrrr a couple of factors here 1. kids were overfeeding the dogs and I ended up having to buy extra dog food(the birds loved all the Pedigree BTW) 2. I'm spending less on items but buying more. Please tell I'm not the only one. I think because I can get a great deal, it's ok to get more. It doesn't help there's practically a Walgreens on every corner of this city either. I'm TRYING. The best way I found to limit myself is not take my whole coupon binder with me when I go somewhere. I made out envelopes for CVS, Walgreen's and Walmart and only put what I need in there. Hopefully I can tame this beast. My whole point of doing this was to spend less, not more.

Gas $240 (just one truck) I can't drive Joe's work truck and since he has been home, we have been just using the Ford. We have been limiting our driving and try to only have 1 day where I go to the store.

Eating out $130...only 1 time did all of us eat out($35 of the bill), the rest is for little $3 and $5 trips to get sodas at Sonic or $1 biscuit at Mc D's. It doesn't help there are 4 fast food places between our house and the school, so temptation is great. I am seriously working on this and hopefully with school getting out in a month, this will be non existent.

Misc spending .. hold your hats, $1,600... that includes $200 plane ticket for Joe to fly back, $200 for 2 concealed weapons background checks, $800 for a shotgun Joe bought after he had been home for 2 days(his explanation was it is a $1,600 gun and the guy at the shop sold it to him half price over all the frustration he has had on getting a pistol fixed) ....plus $50 I spent on kid's clothes this month. The rest is odds and ends for tools, ammo, and whatever else Joe has bought in the short time he has been home. I seriously don't even want to know what he spent while he was in Florida for 2 weeks.

Good news for the month
Since we replaced out furnace last month, out gas bill was down $90 from usual. If it's still low this month, then I'll be happy and can justify spending the money on the new furnace.(one good side is that it doesn't sound like it is going to explode every time it kicks on now!)

I started doing little things to earn some money. I wasn't sure on how they would payout, so I just started out small. Here are the breakdowns on what I earned this month

cash crate $14.40
Pay Per Post $28.14
loose change $18.63
Pinecone Research $3.00
Money Revolution $25.00
gave my mom a haircut $5.00
Birthday $ from my grandma $20.00

total $114.37(over half of my daughter's dance bill)

I can not get the referral link for the money revolution to work for some reason. Anyone out there know any trick to get it to post right?


Rebates
$19.98 from Walgreens
$5 Handi Vac

I held off on the Cash Crate this month to make sure I would get paid. Now that I received a check , I will start back up on them. Pay Per Post is kind of hit and miss, I do have a pending referral so that will help. Anyone interested, click the link in my sidebar!

I have a ton of stuff I'm going to list on Craig's list instead of Ebay to avoid the fees. Hopefully, that'll add to my May income. Me and mom are planning to have a gigantic yard sale hopefully in June, so I'll keep everyone posted on that.I've never done less than $500 on one and this one should be extremely profitable because my grandmother, who's health has gone downhill a lot, wants to get rid of all of her stuff she has in storage, mainly very expensive holiday decorations and lots of odds and ends(minus whatever me and my mom want to keep)

Hopefully, everyone else is having a better time sticking with their budgets!

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, April 28, 2008

Make it yourself Monday





Angie at Thrifty Florida Mama is hosting "Make It Yourself Monday" to help our budgets by becoming less dependent on fast food drive thrus and convenience items at the store. My contribution this week is make your own cereal bars. I pretty much realized you can make these just like you do Rice Krispie treats to make morning rushes a little easier. Here's what you need:


Your favorite cereal (some ideas: Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Fruit Loops) experiment!


package of marshmallows or jar of marshmallow creme


1/4 stick of butter


favorite add-ins...raisins, dried cranberries, peanuts Get creative!


You make these like you do Rice Krispie treats


Melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the marshmallows or marshmallow creme. Continue stirring until melted. Remove from heat. Depending on how gooey you want your treats, it will take anywhere from 4-6 cups of cereal. Slowly stir in cereal. If you like, stir in some raisins or nuts for some extra nutrition.(Next time I make some I am going to try dried apple pieces) Spread out in 9x13 pan. Place in refrigerator until set up. When cool, slice into desired size bars. Place in Ziploc baggie and keep in the refrigerator. Now they are ready to grab and head out the door. Great for easy afternoon snack with a glass of milk and fruit.


Great way to use up cereal that is found really cheap. I haven't tried freezing these yet, but if anyone does, let me know if it works.


A box of 6 cereal bars run $3 or more here. This makes approx 12(depending on how they are cut) for less than $2(depending on how much your cereal cost, prob a lot of you less than a $1 a batch)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

menu for April 28-May 4



Hard to believe it's the end of the month already. Wow. In a month's time, my older 2 will be out of school racking up my grocery budget, lol. Saturday, me and Joe get to go out. BY OURSELVES! Now I need to think of something to do that doesn't involve Chuck E. Cheese or Toy's R Us. I don't think I know how to do grown up things anymore, lol. I have to spend all week figuring out what we can go do without toting kids along.(it's supposed to be for my belated birthday since he was in Florida at the time so I have to pick) I only have 6 dinners this week, since we are going out(and we will pick up McD's for the 3 Muskateers to eat at my mom's house)


Breakfasts

Cereal

Cinnamon Toast

Oatmeal

Eggs

plus a fruit daily


Lunches

Sandwiches

Salad

Soup

leftovers

plus a veggie and fruit daily


Dinners

Tuna Casserole, corn, biscuits

Polish sausage, fried potatoes, sauerkraut(didn't eat this last week)

Grilled pork chops, baked potatoes, green beans

chicken stir fry, fried rice

Manwiches, broccoli with cheese

Pizza, salad


Desserts

No bake cheesecake

Pudding

Homemade Cookies

Sunday Funnies


Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekly Recap

I forgot much work my 4th child is(Joe). Since he came home Monday, I swear he is more work than Baby Girl!


Only a couple trips to highlight this week

Walgreen's

I purchased these in 2 different transactions

4 Purex laundry soap
on sale 2/$5

2 360 toothbrushes
$3.99 each

Total before sales and coupons $32.76

OOP $12.40 plus I will get $7.98 back on Easysaver rebates

Walmart
I found 2 coupons for the Glade candles plus one for the BOGO Glade Spray expiring tomorrow so I picked these up when I stopped for formula

2 Glade candles $2 each
2 Glade Sprays $0.94 each

Total before coupons $5.88(w/o tax)
OOP $3.14(w/tax)



A local mom chat site is holding a contest until Tuesday for a $50 gift card. They pull 3 winners a day. So far, my name hasn't been chosen but I'm hoping! If the prize goes unclaimed(you have 30 minutes after your name is posted) it rolls over. One mom today won $250 in gas gift cards! At the end of the week, all the $50 winners go in for a chance to win a $500 gift card to a grocery store! Everyone send some good vibes my way please!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Make your Home a Haven Monday


(Isn't that so pretty? It would get broke in 2 minutes or less at my house, lol)
Crystal at Biblical Womanhood has issued a Clear Out the Clutter Challenge for this week. I surprised myself last week tackling several projects that I had been neglecting, so this week I'm going to take on one big one, our back storage room. This has so much junk in it I really don't know where to start. My deep freeze is piled up with computer equipment, boxes and boxes of just stuff, it is a big old pain in the backside just to get stuff out of it. My goal is to get this room cleaned out. I'm going to make a box of stuff to sale(Ebay and Yard sale), giveaway(I know there are several old trophies I can donate to somewhere), and put away neatly(in a Rubbermaid container in the basement). I'll post some pictures when I get started!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Menu for April 21-27



Joe is coming back today so I don't know what all we have to get done this week. I'll just list what choices are available without assigning a day this week.

Breakfast choices

Eggs

Toast

Cereal

Oatmeal

plus fruit daily

Lunches

Sandwiches

soup

salad

Ramen noodles

leftovers

plus a fruit and veggie daily

Dinners

Baked chicken, stove top stuffing, corn on the cob

Polish sausage, fried potatoes, sauerkraut

Pizza, salad

Cheeseburgers, homemade fries, green beans

Pancakes, sausage or bacon, fruit

leftovers

Desserts

Pineapple upside down cake

Peanut butter cookies

Puppy Chow

Sunday Funnies


glitter-graphics.com


Anyone have this problem, lol?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tagged again

Candace at A Garden of Blessings tagged me for 5 Budget Busters

Here I go(granted I have a lot more but here are the top ones off my head)

1. My daughter's dance. Her classes alone are $190 a month plus Troupe dues($50) plus leotards, tights, shoes(which never last), competition costumes, regular costumes($335 for this June's recital!), competition fees, extra classes, camp...and I can go on and on. She has been doing this since she was 3 and dearly loves it. She goes 10+ hours a week, not including performances and master classes, so it does make up for the lack of any physical motion in school. I do resale a lot of her stuff(shoes and costumes) but for only fractions of what they cost. They also do a lot of fundraisers where the girls get back 75% or more of the profits. Her Troupe leader also gives us a price sheet in September so we have a pretty good idea of how much we need. Hopefully in a couple years, she can start working as a teacher's assistant to help with the costs.

2. Our technological dependence/desire. 4 computers, 1 laptop, 1 big screen tv, new camcorder, 3 digital cameras, various game systems(consoles and handhelds), DVD players, DVR, my oh so fabulous digital washing machine(that Joe didn't tell me how much cost until after we lugged it down to the basement!), mp3 player, ugh, the list goes on and on. The only piece of technology that we haven't replaced in the last 6 months is my cell phone(it's 3 years old).

3. Kid items, in general. My older 2 came home with Spring Pictures from school that were $27 each PACKAGE! $54 for not even enough pictures to hand out to all the family. Did I buy them, uh, yes. Book orders, class pictures, field trips, extra snacks, class parties, I swear, the school system can nickel and dime a person to death. I also believe that kids clothes cost as much, if not more than,adults. It's less material, why the high price? Baby Girl still drinks formula once a day(she is so little, we just want to make sure she gets enough nutrients). There's $50 a month for formula. Don't get me wrong, I love my babies and would love 3 more, but retailers have us in a vice grip when it comes to kid stuff.

4. My slight obsession with crafts. I don't do one craft, I do ALL of them. I think I could manage if I just had one I liked but oh no, I have to try them all. Photography, hair bows, jewelry, painting, digital stuff, candle making, soap making, plus I really want to learn how to sew and my mother in law said she was going to teach me to crochet. I wish I could get the nerve up to sell some of the stuff I make or enter contests with my photography to try to support my rhinestone lovin', E-6000 stuck together, rainbow painted habit.

5. Gas. I know this is prob on everyones list. It's started to hit us pretty hard because 1. Joe is a self employed Brick Mason and a lot of jobs require a good drive(usually including the truck being weighed down with tools and equipment). He recently started to tack on extra fees for out of town jobs. Unfortunately, this may result in less jobs, but we'll have to wait and see on that and 2. He goes back and forth between here in Missouri to his dad's in Florida to work there when everything is slow here and to check on his dad who started treatment for leukemia in December. In November, all of us drove down. We came home right after Thanksgiving, and a week later Joe flew back down. Since the beginning of December, he has made 4 round trips there. In December, the base price for a ticket was $89(he pays extra to choose his seat and to check a firearm into baggage). His trip to come home Monday, base price $170!(His total for the extras came to just under $200 one way) Same airline we always use. Right now, it is still cheaper to fly and not drive(the cost was right around $300 in gas to drive 1 way back in November)

I'm sure I could come up with some more budget breakers if I sat down and thought about it. (these 5 gave me a headache)

On to the tagging:
Tasha at Comical Coupon Cents

Aimee at Journal of a Momma
and

the first person to read this that hasn't been tagged with it already!

Deals for the Week

I only went to Walgreens for a couple things this week and didn't even go to CVS. Instead, I started to work on rebuilding the kid's wardrobe. Thing 2 needed some new shoes, so we stopped by Sears. We found him a pair of Reeboks marked down to $24.99 from $45. He found a pair in his size and off we went. We made a stop in kid's clothes and I found some really great stuff on clearance. I looked in the girl's for some stuff for Thing 1, most of it was winter items, I thought long and hard about buying her some stuff for next year but the way she is growing(she turned 11 last month and is 5'2"!) I decided it probably wouldn't be a good idea. (I couldn't find any summer type stuff marked down). So we strolled over to boys and find some really good buys there. Most of their items were on clearance and then were marked off another 75% on top of that. I did try to find Thing 2 some jeans but they didn't have any in his size.


I paid $1.74 each for 3 shirts(one he threw in the laundry so he could wear it the next day) The total before clearance on these shirts $48, after $5.22!

A coat next winter for Baby Girl(I got a 4T) Regular price $36, Clearance $4.50

I had my eye on this back before Christmas. I got a 2T(Baby Girl is tiny, she's 15.5 months and can still wear 6-9 month clothes for the most part) Regular price $32, clearance $4!

Regular price of everything purchased at Sears(including the shoes) $161

OOP $38.71

A savings of $122.79 (76%)!

Our local Children's Orchard resale shop was hosting a coloring contest for Earth Day. For every entry, you received a $5 cache card to use in the store. The winners will receive a $50 savings bond. 3 kids=$15! We took our entries out(even Baby Girl had one) and while we were waiting I found this little beauty

Brand new for $4.99! Retailed for $22!

So my total for 2 days

Retail $183

OOP $43.70

Saved 76%

Plus I have $15 to buy some more!

Freebies in the mail this week

This week I have received these magazines:

O

Family Fun

American Baby

Country Home

All found free!

A coupon for a 5lb bag of Natural Choice Dog food and a free 4lb bag of their cat food

Free makeup

Free samples of Microwave Hamburger Helper

2 granola bars

Free tampons

A sample of Cat food

Friday, April 18, 2008

Anti Procrastination: Truck and DVD shelf

My camera died completely so no pics today. Hopefully tomorrow the kids will look for the battery charger. Done and done! The weather turned cold so my idea of washing the outside of the truck was put on hold. I manage to find a whole wash load of various coats and sweaters Thing 1 and 2 had in the backseat. Hopefully now, everyone can fit in the truck. The DVD shelf was a lot of fun(NOT!) The older 2 have a bad habit of putting movies back in the wrong cases. I think I got them all straight but ended up with several DVD's with missing cases. That will be a weekend task for the older ones along with searching for the battery charger.
It's nice to feel like I actually accomplished something. Joe will come home Monday to a slightly clutter free house(emphasis on the slightly!). I see that Crystal at Biblical Womanhood is going to have a Clutter Challenge and I look forward to participating. Thanks to Mrs. Byers for hosting this week, I'm glad I am not alone in the procrastination category!

Frugal Fridays


Check out Biblical Womanhood for some more great ideas


Dish soap, just not for your plates anymore!

With all the recent sales from Walgreens and Dillon's and several coupons, I have ended up with several, ok 13, bottles of Dawn dish soap. Yes, I said 13(plus my barely 1/4 empty ginormous bottle that I bought at Sam's). But, I paid less than $4 total for that 13. What am I going to do with all that dish soap. Ok some of the uses around my house


I get the best results from the good ole blue soap


Joe uses it to wash the dogs(and I get the oh so fun job of bathing the cats) He told me several years ago that Dawn is great to kill fleas. You know what, it is. We don't buy shampoos with pesticides, we just use Dawn.


When it says it cuts grease, it means it. Joe keeps a bottle in the garage to wash his hands, tools, and sometimes the occasional part off a vehicle.


Works good on really greasy hair and shampoo build up. I know it's gross but my oldest is starting to hit puberty and I swear she has oil leaking out her eyeballs. Her hair is especially bad after her dance class. I first make her use a small amount of Dawn to remove the oil, then she shampoos and conditions regularly.


Works good on clothes with grease. Put the grease covered clothes in separately, put in a little Dawn and your favorite laundry soap.

Here's a website that lists more ideas!

What's your favorite use?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Anti Procrastination: Couch and Pile #2


My mom watched Baby Girl today so I was actually able to get the 2 big tasks accomplished(sort of). I know that we are all put on this Earth with special talents that make us unique. I can safely say that operating the steam cleaner is not one of mine. Thank goodness for a manual, tee hee. Long story short, the stuff I could wash in the washing machine came out cleaner than the rest of the couch. Oh well, I tried anyways. Joe gets to redo when he comes home.



The couch in progress



Even scrubbed the lampshade

The couch after

I really need a new couch, I don't care much for light colors with children but it was given to use practically new(it was my mom's and when my grandmother moved in with her, she didn't have room for the couch and my grandmother's recliner, which has the lift on it to help her stand)

Pile #2

Pile before. When the basement flooded we had to scramble to save what we could and it all ended up in our room.

Pile gone! Everything that needed to go back to the basement is now there, stored safely in a Rubbermaid tote.

It was nice being able to get everything done that I needed too. I also cleaned up my 2 pantry cabinets but camera batteries died(again) so no pictures. Tomorrow I'm going to work on the DVD shelf and clean out the truck!

I've been tagged

Tasha at Comical Coupon Cents has tagged me for a 7 Things Meme

Here are the rules:
1. Link your tagger. Post the rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself (random or weird)
3. Tag 7 people
4. Leave a comment letting them know they have been tagged.

Ok, here I go.
1. I have food issues. I don't like tomatoes but I will eat tomato sauce. I can't stand potatoes(made anyway) after they start to cool down. I have to eat them first. I don't like soggy bread. Can't stand seafood(which everyone else in the house loves) and I eat strange food combos...bell peppers dipped in chocolate syrup, tuna(with no mayo) salted and peppered on Doritos. Told you, strange.

2. I'm a closet weirdo. Think Abby on NCIS. Some ladies at a daycare where I worked nearly fell over when I told them I liked Korn. They had me picked as the "Mom of the year" type who wears sweaters and always brings cookies to the soccer game. Hey, you can still be that mom with tattoos(2), piercings(ears and nose), and strange taste in music.

3. I listen to every kind of music from Mozart to Marilyn Manson to Timbaland to Norah Jones. Oh, and Johnny Cash. I crave music on a daily basis and I am glad that there is such a wide variety to fits everyone's mood at any given time. My children love music also. Thing 1 plays the viola and is a dancer, Thing 2 is learning the guitar and loves his harmonica, Baby Girl loves to Boogey Down to anything with a beat

4.I'm a Sci Fi junkie. I have been to a Star Trek convention. Twice. I have a dictionary in Klingon. I once considered a career in archeology because Daniel Jackson(Stargate SG-1) is just so hot. I'm in line at the midnight showing of sci-fi movies.

5. I love kids and would have a house full but I hate being pregnant. Extreme morning sickness, bloating, heartburn, acne, blech! Joe says I have an unnatural amount of patience. I can deal with 20 screaming 3 year olds and it doesn't work my nerves. In fact, it's kind of fun. I worked in daycare for several years and miss it dearly

6. My dream job is to do photography(you can see my shutter buggness on Wordless Wednesdays) In my spare time I like to look at camera catalogs. I hinted I want a 12 mega pixel for Mother's Day but not sure if I'll get it or not(I hope!) I take 100 or pictures a week then I like to play around with them with Photoshop but I'm not very knowledgeable how to work the program(I need a class!) Joe said I need to enter some in contests.

7. Despite all my weirdness, I'm quiet.(Joe is the loud and opinionated half) I really prefer to stay home with the kids and blow bubbles on the porch. or dance around the living room. or watch a good movie.


Now consider yourself tagged. Post the rules and your 7 things on your site and leave a comment here when it's up!

A couple contests to pass along

The first one is at Blessed Frugalness She is offering 2 coupon prizes, one for $500 worth of coupons, the other for $400. All you have to do is leave your best coupon story in the comment section. This ends April 17th(TODAY!) at 8 pm CST.


The second is at Shannon's blog and you can win, are you ready for this....$1,000! All you have to do is write a Haiku poem about your mom. Easy Peasy. Did I mention you can win $1000?Even for $1000 I put my lack of imagination out for everyone to see. This also ends at 8 pm CST, TONIGHT!

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Anti Procrastination: Coupons

Since Baby Girl was in a mood yesterday and I got behind on my daily chores, I took it a little easier today. I first caught up on the daily things, then while she was napping I got my coupons put in the binder. I have been clipping every single one but I switched to something easier. I just used plastic sheet protectors, one for Smart Source, Red Plum, P and G, and then one for Internet printed ones. All the coupons I had clipped already I put them where they needed to go. It'll prob take me awhile to figure out what works best for me on keeping them organized.(I didn't get any pics, batteries dies and I can't seem to find the charger)

I also repaired a couple toys that have been sitting on my shelf for a couple months and got started on a couple painting projects!

My mom is going to watch Baby Girl tomorrow so I can clean the couch, chair, and tackle Pile #2 in my bedroom(and the DVD shelf if I have time)

Works for me Wednesday





Check out Shannon's blog for more great ideas.


With all the recent sales from Walgreens and Dillon's and several coupons, I have ended up with several, ok 13, bottles of Dawn dish soap. Yes, I said 13(plus my barely 1/4 empty ginormous bottle that I bought at Sam's). But, I paid less than $4 total for that 13. What am I going to do with all that dish soap. Ok some of the uses around my house

I get the best results from the good ole blue soap

Joe uses it to wash the dogs(and I get the oh so fun job of bathing the cats) He told me several years ago that Dawn is great to kill fleas. You know what, it is. We don't buy shampoos with pesticides, we just use Dawn.

When it says it cuts grease, it means it. Joe keeps a bottle in the garage to wash his hands, tools, and sometimes the occasional part off a vehicle.

Works good on really greasy hair and shampoo build up. I know it's gross but my oldest is starting to hit puberty and I swear she has oil leaking out her eyeballs. Her hair is especially bad after her dance class. I first make her use a small amount of Dawn to remove the oil, then she shampoos and conditions regularly.

Works good on clothes with grease. Put the grease covered clothes in separately, put in a little Dawn and your favorite laundry soap.

Here's a website that lists some more ideas

Leave a comment with your favorite uses for Dawn soap!


Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Somebody catch me, before I faint



Plus







Equals me doing this

Here in my part of the country(SW Missouri) we have been spared some of the outrageous gas prices, until now! Regular is $3.12, Mid Grade is $3.22, and Premium(which Joe likes in the vehicles) is $3.32. I nearly fell over. The attendant asked me if I would like a free newspaper with my purchase. Well, duh! Granted it's only $0.52, but dang! I seriously need to invest in something economical, like a horse!
Update:
I just drove by the same gas station where I purchased it yesterday. It went up $0.13! I know it wasn't this high this morning. That's $3.25 for regular, $3.35 for mid grade and $3.45 for premium.

Anti Procrastination: Pile #1 in the bedroom

This was done yesterday


Our basement flood was a big pain in the backside. In efforts to save what we could, everything got dumped for the most part in our bedroom(which is the only room besides the kitchen and bathroom that Baby Girl doesn't play in) This spot is right by the door, so it makes for a bad catch all area.





Here's the before

This was mostly stuff I had stuck there to take to the Goodwill, so after a few minutes and a bag to put it all in, here's how it ended:



I have to have Joe hang that picture when he gets back because I'll end up knocking a hole in the wall or something.



Anti Procrastination: Top of Refrigerator

This was done today after Baby Girl crashed for her nap. She has been in one heck of a mood today and has made it difficult even to get daily tasks done!
One the items on my list was to clean off the top of the refrigerator. We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel(that had to be put on hold due to basement flooding and having to replace our furnace) so I lack some serious storage space(you know like 1/2 of my cabinets) Everything tends to get throwed on top of the fridge(the only other option right now is the floor) Multiply that by kids rummaging around for something to eat and things get ugly.
WARNING: If you have small children nearby, cover their eyes. In the words of INXS "It ain't pretty!!!!!"
SERIOUSLY!
Told you!

Ok, I pulled everything off, scrubbed it down with hot soapy water and some bleach, let it dry and then redid the mess. Just a note, everything that was scattered all over the top that was not in a sealed box, is now in the big blue thing. Now Thing 1 and Thing 2 have a handy dandy location for their goodies. All the items are now stacked neatly(most of the following where on the floor)



Hopefully by putting my paper towels up here, the cats will not shred anymore for fun(like they did with 2 rolls of my Bounty Basics I got at Walgreens for $0.29 each).


My Ghiradelli chocolates are separate from the snack box because those are Momma's only!

15 Free prints from Walgreens today!


Order 15 free 4x6 prints from Walgreens Photo today! Use coupon code TAXDAY!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Anti Procrastination Day and week

Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood has declared for today's Make Your Home a Haven be an Anti Procrastination Day, I seriously need this. I have a pile of little "piddly" chores I have been putting off that really need to be done. Mrs Byers at A Complete Pantry is hosting a whole procrastination week, complete with daily drawings! Here are some of the things I want to accomplish this week:

Clean out cabinet under sink. DONE!
Steam clean the couch and chair
Tackle 2 catch all spots in my bedroom 1 PILE DONE
Get my coupons back in order in progress
Clean out pantry
Organize DVD shelf
Clean off top of refrigerator DONE!

If I think of anymore I will list them in daily post!

ADDED TASKS

Clean out the truck

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Menu for April 14-20





Check I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great ideas! Joe is still gone for another week, so it's easy peasy meals for us!



Monday

eggs, leftover cornbread, bananas

sandwiches, chips, apples

Frito Pie, corn



Tuesday

Oatmeal, grapes

chili(if any left), saltines, strawberries

Hot dogs, mac and cheese, green beans



Wednesday

Cereal, apples

Salad, bananas

Baked Pork Chops, mashed potatoes, corn



Thursday

scrambled eggs, toast, strawberries

leftover pork chops, corn, grapes

tacos



Friday

waffles, apples

taco salad(using whats leftover from Thursday dinner), bananas

pizza, salad



Saturday

poptarts(we are getting up early to go to a big consignment sale!)

ramen noodles, grapes

clean out frig night



Sunday

pancakes, sausage, strawberries

sandwiches, chips, fruit

tuna casserole, corn, biscuits



Desserts for the week

Strawberry Shortcake

Homemade cookies

Pumpkin pie

Sunday Funnies


glitter-graphics.com

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lack of Organization= loss of time and money



Check out Biblical Womanhood for more great tips!

I suffer from chronic disorganization. I try, I really do, but I can't seem to keep it all together. I misplace everything. Hairbrushes, keys, $60 rebates(Joe still brings this one up), and most recently, a coupon for Crest Pro Health I received in the mail. I know it was for a good amount off(at least $1.50 if not more) and yesterday while I was at Walmart, there was a whole display of the big bottles with the smaller bottle attached to them for only $4. And now, I can't find my coupon. It's not in my coupon organizer(makes me chuckle because my desk looks like the Smart Source and Red Plum printers blew up on my desk) and I'm pretty sure Baby Girl didn't eat it. I spent the last hour looking for it. This was an hour I could have used to do some laundry, print out directions for my trip tomorrow, mopped a couple floors, anything but tear apart the house in search of the elusive coupon. Now I have a big mess and still no coupon. AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I don't know whether to go ahead and buy the stuff or wait. ~sigh~

My tip, in order to stay on the frugal track, be organized!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Walgreen's and Walmart

Nothing really grabbed my attention for the Easy saver rebates, besides the candles again. I rounded up my coupons and here's what I got:

Trip #1
I spent $11.11 OOP, earned $3 RR, and will get $6 in rebates
saved $37.93

Trip #2

I spent $11.74 OOP. earned $3 RR, and will get back $6 in rebates

saved $36.23

I couldn't figure out why one was more expensive than the other until I got home. On the first trip, I used $20 in coupons, $5 RR and on the second I used $22 in coupons, $5 RR. (only had 1 coupon for $2 off the candle holder) Store #2 charged me $2.12 in tax and store #1 only $0.75. Needless to say, I won't use store #2 again(it's on the "better" side of town, store 1 is close to my house) So to sum up, I bought $97.01 worth of stuff for only $22.85 plus $18 back(so I guess technically only $4.85)

Walmart

Since I started couponing, my Walmart trips are very rare. I am trying to stick to my weekly schedule to minimize gas expenses so I wasn't too surprised last night when Thing 2 said "Oh mom, I forgot, we are out of dog food" Thanks son. SO me and Baby girl had to go to Walmart to pick up some food for them. I was reading Money Saving Mom last night and there was a deal listed about the Old Spice travel size body washes. I knew I had 4 $2 off coupons so I picked up 8 of the body washes(free after coupons), plus 3 of the Gillette Shave Gel($.42 each after coupons), 2 bags of Malt O meal cereal(free after coupons), Ronzini Whole wheat Penne and Rotini($1 for 2 boxes after coupon), and my Reynolds Handy Vac for $6.98(minus $2 coupon and then get a $5 rebate)

Has anyone used their Handy Vac? I have 2 more coupons that I might go redeem later to give as gifts. My MIL and her friend goes fishing a lot and they freeze a lot of what they catch. If anyone has any insight on them, please let me know


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Anyone know where CVS Anonymous meets?

I know, the deal was for $25 worth of baby products, but those jumbo packs of diapers are $12 or more at our Walmart.

All ready to combat anything smelly, bad hair days, and headaches, lol

I NEED HELP!!!!!!!

(finding where to put it all!!!)

I spent $43.80 OOP, used $25.95 in ECBs, earned $41.95 ECBs

Saved $89.53

plus I can send in for the rebates on the diapers from The Caregiver's Marketplace making the per pack price $3.66 each!

Wait until I post my Walgreen's trip :P

Wordless Wednesdays


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday plus COUPON GIVEAWAY

For more great tips, check out Shannon's blog



Ok, in a post a couple days ago that I posted on resources I use for my couponing, I mentioned Ebay as a good place to find coupons. It is good if you have an item(s) you wish to stockpile(my example, Diapers) but don't have the means or the desire to purchase more papers. I just purchased 30 $1/1 Huggies coupons. Before I did this, I scoured the upcoming ads at Hot Coupon World to see if there were any upcoming sales. I searched the Ebay listings until I found one with coupons expiring after this weeks sale at CVS. My price for the coupons, less than $4. So my tip is to use Hot Coupon World and Ebay to maximize your savings!



Giveaway

I'm giving away 4 5 packs of Huggies coupons. All you have to do is leave your best piece of parenting(or grandmotherly or auntie) advice(or funny story) by Thursday, April 10th at 8 am(CST) so I can get the coupons in the mail ASAP(they expire April 20th). Please leave an email so I can get in contact with you so I can drop them all off at the Post Office Thursday afternoon!





My advice

Never let an 8 year old boy put the diaper on his very wiggly sibling before you leave for a nice dinner out. Trust me, it ain't pretty how it ends!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Menu for April 7- 13



Joe is leaving tomorrow afternoon for Florida, so me and the 3 monsters will prob have a lighter menu this week.

Monday
Boiled eggs, toast, bananas
All of us are eating lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant before he has to go to the airport
leftover Thai food

Tuesday
Oatmeal, grapes
Macaroni and cheese, carrot stick, apples
Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, celery

Wednesday
Yogurt, bananas
Salad with egg, cheese, ham, oranges, saltines
Chicken nachos, corn

Thursday
cinnamon toast, grapes
tuna sandwiches, pretzels, apples
scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon

Friday
cereal, bananas
baked potatoes with bacon and cheese, apples
Pizza, salad

Saturday
Thing 1 made it to state level in her gifted class for a skit they had to write and put on themselves so seeing how she has to be on the bus by 7 am for a 3 hour drive(and parent's have to drive separately), breakfast will be McDonald's...lunch for me, Thing 2(baby girl is going to my mom's) and my mother in law will hopefully be sandwiches and snacks from the cooler(if I remember to make them)...not sure about dinner, the competition is supposed to be over at 5 pm so it will prob be from the nearest drive thru.(Thing 1 gets all her meals provided)

Sunday
Poptarts or whatever the older 2 fix
Ramen noodles, fruit
chili and crackers

Desserts
Cinnamon rolls(from the fabulous Kroger sale this week)
Pudding
Cookies

glitter-graphics.com

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pictures

Thing 2 fishing at the lake



Thing 1 at the zoo

Baby Girl(10 months old here) Thanksgiving day 2007, Coquina Beach, Florida



Couponing

A couple people have asked for help on getting started using coupons. I am no where an expert yet but here are some resources I use on a regular basis.



http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ She has 2 posts, CVS 101 and Walgreens 101, that have helped me tremendously. I still refer back to these on occasion. Read her site daily. She offers scenarios, freebie links, and other great tips to help. Also, several people leave their links so you can get even more help. She breaks down ECB program at CVS and Walgreens Register Rewards and rebate deals that really makes it simple(and not so overwhelming).

Here are some other sites to check out
http://becentsable.blogspot.com/

http://frugalabundance.com/

http://bethriftylikeus.blogspot.com/

http://thecentsiblesawyer.blogspot.com/

http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums/index.php

http://www.thriftyfloridamama.net/

http://www.sisterlysavings.net/

Good ways to acquire coupons

Newspaper My mom and her friend save their inserts for me. Occasionally, one of our local gas stations run a deal where if you fill up with 8 gallons of gas, you get a free paper. With trucks, it's not hard to fill up with that much so I take one, fill up, get a paper, then Joe takes the other and does the same. So right now , I can get 2 Sunday papers. Next Sunday, it will suck because he is leaving at the beginning of this week and I can't drive his truck(it's a stick shift grrrr). Have your neighbors and friends save the inserts for you.

Online There are tons of online place to print coupons. So far, I haven't run into problems here with printed coupons. You might check store policies before you show up with a handful of them

Manufacturer sites Some you can print, some you can get mailed to you. Have a certain product you love, send an email! Most of the time, you can get free coupons. Have a complaint? Let them know. I bought some nasty cake frosting once(from a brand I use regularly) and I got the purchase price refunded and they sent me 2 coupons for free frosting.

Ebay This is good for massive amounts of coupons for stockpiling(and sharing!). I recently purchased 30 $1 off Huggies coupons for only $4. I used Hot Coupon World to find out about the upcoming sale tomorrow at CVS so I could make sure I had coupons(I used the last that I had on the last deal at CVS)

Magazines I have found several for Glade, lotions, and other things in magazines I subscribe too(also found free online!)

Like I said, I'm still learning. I know there are people out there much better at this than I am. The main thing to remember is to take baby steps and don't get frustrated. I does take time and you will make a few mistakes. I always try to look at the ads, then write down whats on sale and then do a rough total using the coupons I have. For CVS, I do all that and try to move everything around until I have the least out of pocket expense. Always take your list, your coupons organized in whatever matter works for you, a calculator, pen or pencil, and extra paper to write on. When I was first starting out, I found it easier if I could make the trip without Baby Girl. She can make a stressful situation even worse.

If anyone has any more suggestions, just leave a comment!

Take your time, and have fun!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesdays


I love sales and coupons!

I went to Dillons this morning after dropping Things 1 and 2 off at school. They were having their Mega event(it's a Kroger chain) that everyone else has already been enjoying. Here's what I bought

5 bags shredded cheese
5 packages cheese slices
8 pizza crusts
3 Grands biscuits
1 cinnamon roll
7 packages cookie mix
2 Au gratin potatoes
6 yogurts
6 cans Bumblebee Tuna
2 10 packs excedrin Free
1 pack cat treats Free
2 boxes Fruit snacks
3 Progresso Soup
2 boxes Brownies
2 cans Spam(Joe loves this stuff, blech)
6 Clorox wipes
1 20oz. Dr. Pepper
3 boxes Pop tarts

All for the grand total of $39.20

Now I need to clean out my refrigerator, lol.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Works for me Wednesday



Check out www.rocksinmydryer.net for more great tips. Ok, this is a repeat from Frugal Friday. I love tea, especially iced tea. I can put away a gallon a day(or more in the summer). Everyone in my family knows I like tea and for gifts I receive some really expensive teas. The problem with expensive teas(besides the expensive factor) is they come very few to a box. I found I can stretch the tea by blending it with inexpensive bags(usually great value black tea). It takes a couple trial and error times to figure out what works best for your taste buds. Right now, I'm using 3 GV tea bags and 3 Hedley Black Tea bags for a gallon. Sometimes with more fruity flavors, I have to reduce the GV bags down to 2 and use 3-4 of the other. Not only does this stretch my GV bags from 16 gallons(using 6 bags) to 33 gallons(using 3 bags), but it also stretches the more expensive teas that usually come in boxes of less than 50 bags.

Thank you CVS

Thank you CVS for having exactly what I went for in stock. I do want apologize for the comment "Holy s***, they actually have what I want" that I uttered after I found the Soft soap Spa(and all 5 bottles I was limited) I know, I need to watch my potty mouth. Again, thanks. I didn't have to block the aisle or try to rework my coupons and scenarios with my 15 month old doing acrobatics in the cart or running off. I only had a brief thought that this was some cruel April Fool's Day joke, but it didn't last long, especially after my very long receipts printed out! Thanks again CVS!


Here's what I got
1st transaction
3 Softsoap Spa
2 lady speedsticks

used 1 $1/1 Softsoap
2 $1/1 Speedstick
$14.95 ECB

OOP $2.36
earned $17.97 ECB plus
my $2 ECB for winter spending printed and
$10/$50(I see a lot of diapers in my future) and
$3/$12 for hair care

Trans #2
2 Soft Soap Spa

used $5.98 ECB
OOP$4.27
Earned $9.98 ECB and
another $10/$50

Phew!
Then I went to Walmart and got my free Glade oil warmers

And I got the flyer for our local Dillons(Kroger) and I see they are having the killer sale starting tomorrow that everyone else has been enjoying so far this week