Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Are you looking to cut costs?




Cutting costs seems to be a consistent catch phrase, regardless of the decade. Families constantly seek to provide for themselves what they need and what they want, for less.

Having started beginning to raise a family right before the Recession hit, my husband and I weren't immune to this mentality. We had two children smack dab in the middle of the Great Recession. We even bought our first home mere months before that October day in 2008, and are still in that 2 bedroom home. It is inexpensive, and while our children still share a room in a home that we intended to move out of within a year, we still reside here because it is affordable, and allows us a small bit of freedom in our budget.

One thing that has kept me on track all these years is using coupons and shopping sales. I am able to feed my family the way I prefer, while allowing for special treats from time to time. I am able to spend merely pennies sometimes on things we need and use often, such as sunscreen, cleaning products, and laundry products. I am able to buy organic occasionally because I am able to save on staples that I've purchased inexpensively.

Learning how to coupon was never an issue for me; my mother taught me when I was a young child, so I grew up thinking everyone couponed, everyone knew how, and that it was normal! It wasn't until I started meeting new mom friends that I realized this is a skill that not everyone possesses, or even knows how to begin doing on their own!

As couponing has changed, and has adapted to our digital age, even an old dog like me can learn a few new tricks! Websites, e-courses, and online classes have all been a boon to my 'continuing education.' Grocery University is no different - I purchased it once on sale, and adored it then. Now, it is redesigned, and being offered at a sale price!

If you are interested, you can click the banner - not only will you receive a valuable education, you will learn a skill that can be passed down to your children, to other friends, and family.

**As an affiliate of Grocery University, I do receive a small commission for your purchase, and want you to know that ahead of time. That being said, I would endorse this product whether I received compensation or not - everyone should have access to this wonderful resource!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Survival Mode? No way!

It's been a while since I've had a chance to blog. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've gotten bogged down in life, and literally have lived in a state of survival mode since last October. Ugly things have happened - depression, a diagnosis of diabetes, leaving a job for a new one, job loss...it hasn't been easy here.

So I did what any "supermom" would do - I set it on cruise and shifted into Survival Mode. And let me tell you; that's not a fun holding pattern to be in. I hoped and prayed that things would change...I tried and tried, but it all stayed the same. It was pretty yucky, if you asked anyone in my house. It was downright ugly sometimes dealing with a new Type 1 diabetes diagnosis in one of my beautiful, darling children. Watching this child struggle with his new normal has been heartbreaking for us; trying to get him the best care possible isn't hard where we live...but it is time consuming. Worth it, but an hour to the hospital clinic, an hour or more at the clinic, and then an hour back, at least once a week? Tiring, to say the least.

Then, my friend Crystal had exciting news: she was releasing a new book, "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode". I cannot express how excited I was to see her publish a second book...nevermind that it is being released on January 21st, yours truly's birthday! I applied to be part of her launch team, and voila! I am a part of it. I get to help change someone's life from survival mode to LIVING in grace!!!

I received a promotional copy for my thoughts and consideration, but I won't lie...I bought a copy anyway. A PAPER copy...not a Kindle copy. PAPER, I tell you! A real, live book! (Those of you who know me know this is a huge deal, as I like to use my Kindle to hide my book addiction from my husband...who already knows of said addiction but pretends occasionally to be surprised by it anyway).

Anyhow...you really need to read this book if you are struggling with slowing down,with creating margin in your life, or even with the ability to say no. Crystal is raw, she's honest, and real. She's been there, and gets it. It spoke to me in a way most self help books haven't in the past - her experiences weren't abnormal, and her outcomes weren't unattainable for the average (real) mom.

So get ready ladies...say goodbye to survival mode! Say hello to LIVING!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Discipline. We all know what it means. But since Mr. Webster is my friend...I thought I'd provide you with the definition of discipline.

According to Merriam Webster, there are 6 definitions of discipline. They are, in order:

1: punishment
2:
obsolete : instruction
3
: a field of study
4
: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
5
a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order
b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
c : self-control
6
: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
(Source: www.m-w.com)

I think focusing on definitions 3, 4, 5c, and 6 are most apropos for the conversation we are about to have. But first, I have a confession to make: I am not disciplined. Not.at.all. I expect my children to obey me without question when issued an order, or are asked to do something. Me? Not so much. Those socks in my laundry basket? They have been there for MONTHS. We just pick from the basket. (Mom, if you're reading, I know, I know...you're cringing and you'll probably scold me when I see you next, but I really just HATE FOLDING SOCKS!!!)  Piles of random paperwork? Check. My "piling" habits drives my husband bonkers. But I keep doing it, much to his chagrin.

Sure, I'm great if I have something outside the home to do - I'm teaching some couponing courses right now, and my planning for those is stellar. I know what I want to say, cover, etc. But INSIDE my house? That's another story. Sure, I have two young kids. It may be a bit messy occasionally in the evenings because of the toys and all the play that has happened. My house is sanitary and clean. But the random stuff? Nope. Not even close. It gets pushed off, forgotten, neglected. My family deserves my best. I deserve my best!!!

So how can we apply the above definitions to our lives? Do we go read a bunch of self help books on organization and self improvement? Sure, you can...but they're not going to FIX the problem. They're just tools to help you fix that stinky ol' problem. But what IS the problem? 

As Crystal Paine says in her 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life ebook, it's me. I'M the problem. Cute, curly haired, little ol' me. I'm my own issue. (Dang it...glad I got those self help books from the library and didn't spend anything on them!) But how on Earth do I fix me!? 

Crystal's book isn't going to fix things overnight; it is 21 days after all. It will take a while to chuck those old habits, and learn new ones. But I can guarantee you that she'll walk you through what needs to be done to learn that new habit, and chuck the old ones. Little by little, bit by bit. 

Right now, I'm offering a free copy to the first 5 readers to comment with their greatest discipline struggles by the morning of October 26 - the ebook is only $.99 until then, and after that, it will go up to $4.99 (which, if you've followed Crystal's blogs or read her other ebooks, you know that this will be a great item to purchase!! And trust me...if you IMPLEMENT the suggestions in each day, you WILL see change.  (Please note, I was provided a free copy of this ebook to preview, and links to the item are my affiliate links.)


Friday, October 19, 2012

$3 off of Fresh Express Salad Coupon - HURRY! HIGH VALUE!

Wow! $3 off of Fresh Express salads! We don't see this often! Pick N Save/Copps shoppers - this should make for a free bag of salad, and some nice overage. Just make sure you grab something to cover the overage! :)

Hurry and get this coupon printed! You can sign up for the monthly email if you'd like - I did, so I don't forget. Next month, you get free bananas with two bags of Fresh Express salad purchased. We go through at least 2 bags a week here, so whoo hoo!

Quick! Hurry! GO! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Never Say Never

Today, I realized something while making binner for my kids. (What's binner, you ask? Breakfast + Dinner = binner. Otherwise known as, Mama's making pancakes, sausages, and fruit because she doesn't feel like cooking...)

After I enjoyed two nice homebrews yesterday, I said I wouldn't have any beer or wine the rest of the weekend.

I said I'd never have kids.

I said I'd never have credit card debt again.

I actually say a lot of nevers, all the time. And they're always subject to change. For example...I mentioned I made Binner for the kids tonight while the Hubster stepped out in search of a certain type of beer: we brew our own, and he wanted a professionally done version of what we brewed last night, for comparisons' sake. Whilst flipping hoecakes for the kids, my son says to me in his sweet little voice, "Mama, thank you for making this dinner for me. I love pancakes. Thank you for making dinner." When you say things like that, how could I possibly say no?

However, in the interest of full disclosure, yep. We have some credit card debt to pay off. Granted, I know a lot of people do. And I'm not a Dave Ramsey junkie like so many out there; yes, it's best to have as little debt as possible, I won't dispute that. But to not use credit cards at all if you are responsible with them? Thing is...we let things get away from us. It happens. LIFE happens. It is NOT realistic to expect to pay for your first house in cash - it IS realistic, however, to have enough cash for a hefty downpayment.

I never said I'd be a stay at home mom - those chicks waste their time!

Yeah. Right. I have multiple degrees, and I'm working on a double masters' degree right now  - it will be a few years yet before I'm completely done, defending my thesis, taking my comprehensive final, etc. But for now, this is okay. This is perfect. I do what I want, I write what I want, and I work when I want - I can work part time while my kids are at preschool, and operate my cleaning and dog walking business. I am my own boss.

Life is full of nevers...and smashing those nevers to bits is one of the best parts of life!
Pick N Save Deals (with matchups and links), 10/18 - 10/24

Don't forget every Wednesday and Saturday, you can double 5 coupons per order with a grocery order of $25! Thanks to Karen over at Creativecouponing.com for help with being on top of the Roundy's scene!



PRODUCE

 Roundy's Celery - $1.00
     Green Asparagus - $1.88
       Fresh Express 3 color Coleslaw - $1.00

        MEAT & SEAFOOD

         Roundy's Bratwurst, Polish or Italian Sausage 20 oz - $2.99
           USDA Choice Black Angus Beef Boneless Rump, Sirloin Tip or Eye or Round Roast - $3.88
             lunchables Lunch Combo's or Snack Dups - 5 for $5 wyb 5 more more (others $1.35
               Jennie O Frozen Hen or Tom Turkey - .79 lb

                DAIRY & REFRIGERATED

                 Roundy's Greek Yogurt - .88
                   Kraft Shredded Chunk or Big Slice Cheese - $1.88
                     Kemps Cottage Cheese - $1.50
                       Kemps Flavored Milk - $1.50
                         Kemps or Mid American Farms Sour Cream or Dip - $1.00
                           Land o Lakes Spreadable Butter - $1.50
                             Land or Lakes Margarine or Buttery Spread - .99

                              FROZEN

                               Roundy's Ice Cream 56 oz - $2.59
                                 Westpac Vegetables - $1.00
                                Buy $25 worth of product through 12/31 and get $5 catalina coupon
                                • .50/1 FlavRPac or Westpac Product, (exp 01/01/70) 9/9 SS
                                Final price: FREE after doubled coupon
                                 Palermos Thin Crust, hand Tossed or Flatbread Pizza - $3.99
                                Final price: as low as $1.99 after doubled coupon
                                 Newman's Own Pizza - 3 for $9.99 (must buy 3)
                                Final price: $1.33 each after 3 doubled coupons
                                 Stouffer's meals or French Bread Pizza - $2.20
                                Buy $50 worth Nestle Meals through 12/31 w/ card and Get a Coupon for $5 off
                                • $1/2 Stouffer's Entree, single serve, 21 oz 09/09/12 RP Insert (exp 12/31/12)
                                Final price: $1.20 each after doubled coupon
                                 De Wafel Bakkers Pancakes - $1.98
                                -Use $1 off in the in store flyer (not sure if it is manufacturer or store coupon)
                                  Final price: FREE after doubled coupon IF it is a manufacturer coupon or .98 if store coupon
                                   Rhodes Warm N Serv Rolls - $1.98
                                  • $1/2 Rhodes Warm & Serve Rolls 08/26/12 RP Insert (exp 10/21/12)
                                  Final price: .98 each after doubled coupon
                                   Old Orchard Apple, Cranberry or Pomegranate Juice Blends - $1.50
                                  Final price: $1.00 each after doubled coupon
                                   Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream or Greek Yogurt - $3.50
                                  Final price: $2.50 each after coupon

                                  GROCERY

                                   Progresso Classics Soup - .88
                                  • $1/4 Progresso Soup Cans 09/09/12 SS Insert (exp 11/03/12)
                                  • $1/4 Progresso Soup 10/07/12 GM Insert (exp 12/01/12)
                                  Final price: .38 each after doubled coupon
                                   Campbell's Chicken Noodle or Tomato Soup - .88
                                  Final price: as low as .48 each after doubled coupon
                                   Medium Red or Golden Delicious Apples - .88
                                     Roundy's Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns 8 ct - .88
                                       Hunt's Snack Pack pudding or gel - $1.00
                                      Buy 5 with card, Get 1 FREE instantly at checkout
                                        Final price: .83 each
                                         Barilla Pasta - $1.00
                                        • $1/2 Barilla, pasta AND sauce jar 09/30/12 SS Insert (exp 11/24/12)
                                         Trident Gum 18 ct - $1.00
                                        Final price: .33 each after doubled coupon
                                         Doritos, Sun Chips or Lay's Kettle Cooked Chips - $2.99
                                        • $1/2 Frito-Lay Lay's Kettle Cooked, 8 oz+ 09/30/12 Pepsico~ Moments to Save Insert (exp 10/20/12)
                                        • $0.55/1 Doritos Jacked Chips, 10.5 oz+ 09/30/12 Pepsico~ Moments to Save Insert (exp 10/20/12)
                                        Final price: as low as $1.89 after doubled coupon
                                         Hershey's or Mars LARGE Bag Candy 30-42 oz - $7.98
                                        Final price: $5.98 after doubled coupon
                                         Hershey's Snack Size, Mars or nestle Fun Size Candy 15-31 oz - $4.99
                                        Final price: as low as $2.99 each (if sizes are correct on product)
                                         Buy 4 Boxes of Post Cereal or Treats at Reg price and get $5 off instantly at Checkout with card PLUS get a coupon for a FREE gallon of milk
                                        -Basically take $1.25 off each box of cereal minus any coupons you have too
                                        • $1/2 Post ,Honey Bunches or Oats, 13 oz+ 10/07/12 SS Insert (exp 11/18/12)
                                         Betty Crocker, Ocean Spray or Mott's Fruit Snacks - $2.00
                                        • $0.50/2 Betty Crocker, Mott's, or Ocean Spray Fruit Snacks 10/07/12 GM Insert (exp 12/01/12)
                                        Final price: $1.50 each after doubled coupon
                                         Hamburger Helper - $1.25
                                        Final price: .75 each after doubled coupon
                                         General Mills Super Size Cereal (selected Kinds) - $3.50
                                         Hormel Chili with Beans - $1.50
                                        • $1/2 Hormel Chili Products 09/09/12 SS Insert (exp 11/05/12)
                                        Final price: .50 after doubled coupon

                                        Buy any 5 Participating Items, Save $5 Instantly

                                         Nabisco teddy Grahams - $2.79
                                          Final price: $1.79 after deal
                                           Nabisco Ritz Crackers - $2.79
                                            Final price: $1.79 after deal
                                             Nabisco Triscuit, Wheat Thins, Better Cheddars, Socialbles or Chicken in a Biskit Crackers - $2.79
                                              Final price: $1.79 after deal
                                               Ritz Crackerfuls - $2.79
                                              Final price: .79 each after doubled coupon and deal
                                               Nabisco Oreo Cookies - $2.99
                                                Final price: $1.99 after deal
                                                 Honey Maid Grahams - $2.99
                                                  Final price: $1.99 after deal
                                                   Nabisco Newton Cookies - $2.99
                                                    Final price: $1.99 after deal
                                                     Nabisco Toasted Chips - $2.99
                                                    Final price: .99 each after doubled coupon and deal
                                                     Kraft Easy Cheese - $2.99
                                                      Final price: $1.99 after deal
                                                       Nabisco Nilla Wafers - $2.99
                                                        Final price: $1.99 after deal
                                                         Nabisco Single Serve Snacks - $5.29
                                                          Final price: $4.29 after deal

                                                          PERSONAL CARE

                                                           Bic Disposable Shavers 3-10 ct - $4.49
                                                          Final price: 2.25 each
                                                           Aussie Products - $2.50
                                                          • $1/2 Aussie, excludes travel or trial 09/16/12 SS Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          • $1/2 Herbal Essences or Aussie 10/07/12 RP Insert (exp 11/30/12)
                                                          Final price: $1.50 each after doubled coupon
                                                           Always Pads or Liners - $3.24
                                                          • $1/2 Always, pads or liners, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          Final price: $2.24 each after doubled coupon
                                                           Vicks, Dayquil, Nyquil - $6.49
                                                          • $3/2 Vicks, excluding VaopDrops and ZZZQuil, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          • $1/1 Vicks, excluding VaopDrops and ZZZQuil, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                           Gillette, Old Spice, Ivory or Olay Body Wash - $3.49
                                                          • $3/2 Olay Body Wash, bars, excludes Simply Olay and travel or trial 09/16/12 SS Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          • $1/2 Gillette, body wash or deodorant, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                           Suave Deodorant - $2.00
                                                          • $0.50/1 Suave, deodorant 10/14/12 RP Insert (exp 11/11/12)
                                                          Final price: $1.00 each after doubled coupon
                                                           Suave 18 oz Lotion - $2.00
                                                          • $2/1 Suave, body lotion, 18 oz+ 10/14/12 RP Insert (exp 11/11/12)
                                                          Final price: FREE
                                                           Suave Shampoo / Conditioner - $2.00
                                                          • B1G1 Suave Professionals Styling Product WYB Shampoo AND Conditioner 09/30/12 RP Insert (exp 10/28/12)
                                                          • $0.50/2 Suave Professionals, shampoo or conditioner 10/14/12 RP Insert (exp 11/11/12)
                                                          Final price: as low as $1 each
                                                           Suave Body Wash - $2.00
                                                          • $0.75/3 Suave Naturals or Men, body wash 10/14/12 RP Insert (exp 11/11/12)
                                                          Final price: $1.50 each after doubled coupon

                                                          HOUSEHOLD

                                                           Febrese Air Effects or Set & Refresh - $2.79
                                                          • $1/1 Febreze Set & Refresh, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          • $1/1 Febreze Air Effects, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          Final price: .79 after doubled coupon
                                                           Lysol Household Cleaners - $2.50
                                                          Final price: as low as $1.50 after doubled coupon
                                                           Bounty Napkins - $2.99
                                                          • $0.25/1 Bounty Napkins, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          • $0.25/1 Bounty, towels or napkins 10/14/12 P&G Insert (exp 11/30/12)
                                                          Final price: $2.49 after doubled coupon
                                                           Bounce Dryer Sheets 80 ct - $3.99
                                                          • $0.50/1 Bounce, exclude trial/travel 09/30/12 P&G Insert (exp 10/31/12)
                                                          Final price: $2.99 after doubled coupon

                                                          Tuesday, November 8, 2011

                                                          Dear Little Blog

                                                          Dear Little Blog -

                                                          I've neglected you. I'm sorry. Life has been so busy, and I apologize! I set out to write daily, to use my hard-earned degrees, to expand my writing horizons. Instead, I neglect and ignore you, much like a potted plant that enters my home. For this, I apologize.


                                                          That being said...I'm starting a new series this month. Yeah, I know it's the 8th of November, and a rather arbitrary day in which to start a new series, but stuff like this just happens sometimes. Life happens. And that's what my series is about.

                                                          Without going into too much personal detail, I made the decision to start living and cooking on our stockpile. (Mom, if you're reading this, we're FINE....)

                                                          Why, you might ask? I know you coupon religiously, you say...

                                                          Well, yeah. I do. I coupon a LOT. And why? Well...basically, my stockpile is full to the brim. Money is tight, and one way I can 'find' some extra cash for a few months is to live from the stockpile, and sock that extra cash away. I understand that some folks literally have to live on their stockpile; it is the only way they keep their tables full. I do not want anyone to think that I mean to trivialize this: hunger in America occurs every day, and for this, I am thankful that even in lean times, coupons keep my family clean, fed, warm, and clothed.

                                                          My menu plan for the week is as follows:

                                                          Breakfasts:

                                                          yogurt with granola
                                                          pancakes
                                                          waffles with fruit
                                                          oatmeal
                                                          cold cereal
                                                          coffee for the Hubster and I

                                                          Lunches:

                                                          ham sandwiches with cheddar, carrot sticks, dried blueberries
                                                          peanut butter sandwiches with apples
                                                          mac and cheese with celery sticks
                                                          alphabet soup with bread
                                                          grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

                                                          Dinners:
                                                          cabbage rolls with rice, biscuits
                                                          Beer battered fish with french fries, mixed veggies
                                                          Baked chicken with stuffing, roasted carrots
                                                          Mustard maple baked ham, butternut squash, and green beans
                                                          Brats with sauerkraut, pork and beans, carrots and celery sticks
                                                          Pizza, salad
                                                          spaghetti and meatballs with italian sausage, salad

                                                          Snacks:
                                                          cheese slices and crackers
                                                          bacon grease popcorn (It's my mother in law's recipe...totally divine!)
                                                          fresh fruits and veggies
                                                          cold cereal
                                                          yogurts

                                                          Essentially, I'll be going to the grocery store to get anything that is free after coupon, milk, eggs, fresh produce that I have coupons for, and that's it. While this isn't a true "living off of food storage" experience as I get to go to the grocery still, it is a huge reduction in our monthly food budget. I'm looking forward to free frozen veggies starting this upcoming Saturday, as well as inexpensive produce that I have $1.50 off your next order coupons. I'll detail more of the budget and how I am going to accomplish this later tonight after Hubs gets home and we set a solid number of what we want the budget to be.