Thursday, June 30, 2011

4th Of July LOVE




So you may wonder why a frugal freak like me feels free to just light money on fire right?  Sometimes even I wonder...

My mom used to put aside an entire paycheck for the 4th festivities, and when the tents opened on the 3rd, we were the first in line.  Our Honda was burgeoning with explosives just waiting to be lit.  And it's the one time of the year that I remember my mom actually buying beer.  Even though that 6 pack would fester in our fridge for the rest of the year, she'd always treat herself to one or two that special night. 

Plus I'll admit it, I'm a total sap.  And I fucking love America.  Not the money hungry, bi-partisan, egotistical United States, but the America that I hold in my heart.  That feeling when you've been in a foreign country and return home and feel a swelling of pride in your chest.  The tears that come to my eves every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner (no matter how poor the rendition).  I guess it's the hope that comes for the way we were raised and the honor that was instilled in us that America is a good place in all of us. 

Now really what does that have to do with hot dogs, gun powder and rock & roll?  Not much really.  But it's one traditon, no matter how silly that I'll happily pass on to my kids.  Be with your family this 4th of July, no matter how many or how few.  Laugh, enjoy a cold drink, eat a hot dog and some potato salad.  Watch those fireworks with childlike happiness and cry like a baby as Francis Scott Key's legacy plays on the radio.  Why?  Because we're proud to be Americans damn it.

Doctor Doctor Give Me the News, I've Got a Bad Case...of Grocery Blues

Someone recussitate me please!  I just spent almost $90 at Hy-Vee.  That is so unlike me and I don't think I've done that in almost 6 months.  The worst part is knowing that I still have fireworks to buy in a few days.  But I digress.  There are sometimes that it's worth spending that little extra, and for me the 4th of July is one of those times.

So the trip to Hy-Vee; now I can't feel TOO bad because that total includes:
15 Powerade
6 lbs of hamburger
2 lbs of chicken
2 tubs of hummus
1 can of formula
2 gallons of milk
Now all of that alone should have cost approximately $75 full retail price
I got produce and crackers and chips on top of all of that, so it's worth the up front cost to have what we need for a few weeks.  Plus, most suprising of all, I only used 5 coupons...WTF? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Great Gas-capade

So today I bought $10 worth of gas, and as we all know, that's not a lot these days.  It is my goal to make this last 2 weeks. 

You read that right, 2 whole weeks!

I will walk wherever we can and make an effort to maximize the trips we make and I'll let you know how we do. 

Since gas is undoubtedly one of the most expensive things we purchase , it's nice to take pride in how much you use rather than be ashamed of it.

Additionally, Josh will be starting his new job as Executive Sous Chef at the Lincoln Country Club next week.  At his current job he is spending upwards of $300 a month driving from 1 end of town to the other for work.  The Country Club, however, is located less than a mile from our house.  It will be so interesting to see how this changes our family's budget!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Binky Madness!!!

Lincoln Peeps, just passing on a HOT deal!  Super Saver @ 27th & Pine Lake has Gerber binkies, nipples & sippy cup valves on clearance for $1!!!

These are in the spooky, unlight aisle at the back of the store by the milk.  We are all supposed to be ashamed of shopping there, but I got some killer deals. 

The nipples and valves, some 68 cent pony tail holders, a $1 Scotch paper cutter and $2 Excedrin.  Thanks Super Saver, I'm Super Savin'!

Money Well Spent

So today the kids and I ventured downtown to have an afternoon snack with my wonderful Aunt Martha.  We met at the ol' Topper Popper and enjoyed some excellent ice cream, popcorn and Elliott in the fountain (aka Wet Pants McGee) antics.  Total Spent: Almost $7

We strolled back to her work and then stopped in at Nebraska Bookstore to try and find him some new shorts at least...alas, Husker logo or no, I refuse to pay $27 for a pair of shorts. 

Moving along now, we then stopped at A Novel Idea on our way back to the car.  Not only do they boast one of the kindest (and snuggliest) staffs in Lincoln, but also an excellent place to get a good used book.  So after poking around for a while we left with Tootle, a good Golden Books Classic.  Moreover, Elliott was so proud that he paid for the book (with my money of course), and had the change in his pocket. 

Finally on our way back to the car.  Crabby baby in the stroller and ansty boy walking alongside me we came upon 2 homeless folks on O Street.  Now just the day before Elliott had asked me what the word charity meant, this was the perfect time to show him.  I handed him $5 and asked him to give it to them along with the change in his pocket.  He looked so hurt when I asked him to give up that precious 17cents, but I said "They need it much more than we do" and he just looked at me, nodded and handed her the money.  The look on  her face made me cry and for her to tell him, not me, "thank you" and for him to say "you're welcome" was priceless.

So we came home with $2 and not much to show for it but a beat up book and full bellies, but very happy hearts.  And that, my friends, is money well spent.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What's In My Mailbox - Volume 3

So today I got a sample of Huggies flushable wipes - always handy when you're on the move with 2 kids. 
Even better...it came with a $2 coupon for a pop-up box of the same wipes, which Elliott uses every day.  At Target these are generally $1.98, so basically free wipes, can't beat that!?!

Blogging MIA

So I thought that by having more time at home I'd be able to blog tons more...as in 5 posts a day.  Hardy har har.  I didn't realize exactly how LITTLE time I'd actually have.  As soon as I sit down my kids decend on me like flies to a cow pie. 

For those of you that do follow this little endeavor of mine, it is not intentionally on the back burner, it will just come in time.
Also, as a follow up to one of my earlier posts, I will NOT be a full time mom starting in August.  I've decided it's in the best interest of my sanity (and our pocketbook) for me to work part time.  I'll be working form 5-9am, then having the day to spend with Zoe and picking Elliott up from school at 3pm.  My fingers are crossed that this all works out because it really is the best of both worlds!

Stuffy Nose...Bring it on!


Super stuffy nose score for me at Shopko today!  While wandering the store aimlessley after I couldn't find what I came for, I stumbled onto the bargain of the day!!!  A 10 pack of kleenex (totaling 1100 sheets of tissues) for $2.79!  Excuse me what?  Originally $10, marked down...oh happy day! 
So no matter what illness strikes for the rest of the year, I think we're covered.  Booyah.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Let there be (no) light

Somehow, someway, we had 9 lighbulbs burned out at home.  Holy cow!  Now I don't know if I never really thought about the cost of lightbulbs before, just blindly bought them and went about my merry way, but Jesus Mary & Joseph they are expensive!

I wanted very much to broaden my horizons and purchase the CFL bulbs, and try to cut costs, however some of the bulbs I needed didn't come that way.  Then I was stumped over the oddball wattage numbers.  Note to self: investigate or go to a store where someone can actually HELP  you.  Super Target with 2 kids may not have been my best idea when it came to this endeavor. 

Anyhoo, so I get up to the cashregister and ring up all my items, and about barf at the $78 total.  After coupons, $62...better; we're getting there.  Then I mentally subtract the $4 bubbles I got for Elliott and the $5 eye makeup remover I bought; $52, even better.  Then I got in the car and looked at my receipt.  For groceries including fruit, diapers, and the totally necessary dinosaur chicken nuggets and more, I only spent $17 after coupons.  Do you realize what this means?  I spent $35 on lightbulbs. 

I would rather sit in the dark and begin raising bees to make my own beeswax candles than spend $35 on lightbulbs.  But I will admit, actually being able to see inside my fridge is mighty nice. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This Post Is Bananas; B-A-N-A-N-A-S

So what do you get when you buy 3 lbs of bananas and put them on top of the fridge.  Brown fracking bananans.  I totally forgot the bunch was up there since we've been eating apples and berries like they are going out of style. 

Once these wrinkled abomonations were discovered I cursed my stupidity, until I remembered a blog I'd read that mentioned banana ice cream.  Sooooo... here's what became of our bananas.

3 were sliced onto wax paper and frozen.  Remove from the freezer & allow to thaw for 5 minutes and put into your blender (or food processor if you are lucky enough to have one).  I added a shot of blueberry pomegranate juice and voila - a tasty and healthy summer time treat.  We totally loved it and if you try it & have a better variation, please let me know!

The remaining 4 bananas will be made into banana bread today.  Elliott loves to help with this receipe since he can smash the bananas up and all the other ingredients are dry, so he can pour everything into the bowl. 

Pretty excellent use of less than $2 worth of produce!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The problem with couponing

So yes, there is a problem with couponing, you obsess...big time.  I dream about it.  I agonize when I didn't realize a coupon didn't go thru until I'm in the car.  I painstakingly plan our shopping trips and then line item my receipts to make sure they came out right.  I have probably a half hour worth of clipping and filing to do tonight. 

Why is that worth it you may ask?  Because in the last 2 days I saved approximately 60% on my groceries, spending just $70 total.  That is between both HyVee and Super Target and including a couple of mistakes and unplanned purchases. 

How dare you make unplanned purchases & mistakes you may ask?  Because I'm always shopping with Elliott and Zoe in tow.  And because I insist on walking down EVERY aisle of the store to make sure I didn't miss a sale.  Case in point, I didn't really need hamburger, but happened to see that 90/10 pounds were on sale for $2.99, so I helped myself to 3 pounds.  Also, Elliott tried a pork loin sample & loved it, so I bought a pound and a half for approximately $6; for a total of $15 unplanned spending.  Also @ Target I misread the sign and bought 2 packs of diapers when you needed to buy 3 to get the $5 gift card rebate.  Whoops.  And my yogurt coupon didn't go thru.  Double whoops.

But all the same, I saved $45 in coupons between the two stores and also turned in my baby bucks @ HyVee for an extra $10 off.  So is it worth the insanity?  As Sarah Palin would say...You Betcha!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunmart & Walgreens 6/5/11

So this isn't the haul of the year or anything...but not too bad as far as I'm concerned.  OOP: $29.49  Walgreens Register Rewards back: $7.45 for a grand total of $22.04

Here's what I got:
Walgreens:
5 Sobe Lifewaters - Free after RR
Maxwell House - $6.49 minus $2 coupon 
*Attention Coffee Drinkers - Prices are supposed to skyrocket in the next month, so stock up if you can!*
Roberts Gallon Milk $3.29 minus $0.55 coupon
2 bags Pretzel M & Ms - $2 on sale minus $1.50 coupon
Dawn dish soap - $0.99 sale minus $0.50 coupon
Bic Flex Razors $5.99 sale minus $3 coupon and $2 RR
Duracell Batteries $2.99 sale minus $1 coupon plus $1 RR
Jet Dry - $3.99 minus Walgreens Coupon $1.50 and $1.00 coupon

Sunmart
**Sunmart sent out a "Magnet Mailer" with 10 weeks of excellent sales, so that's why we went; otherwise I generally avoid this store like the plague**
Bananas
Ice Cream $0.99 with Magnet Mailer (Zoe's birthday party is next week, so $0.99 is a wonderful deal!)
Cereal $1.59
Hamburger Buns $1.59
Keebler Cookies $1.50 with Magnet Mailer
Mac N Cheese $0.49 with Magnet Mailer

What's In My Mailbox - June 4th

So remember when I posted about my complaint to Palermos about their pizza not having any sauce and they sent me a coupon for a free pizza?

Well much to my shock, when I check the mail yesterday, there was another coupon for $1 off 2 pizzas and a check for $6 from Palermos!  I don't know if they forgot they had already contacted me, but I'm not going to complain!  Yippee for free pizza!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Le Sigh

So today is my last full time day at work.  This is one of the strangest feelings I've ever had because I'm not leaving yet, but it will not be the same for the next 2 months that I'm here. 

And it's silly things that are getting to me, like eating lunch for the last time, or knowing that my time to see these people I've come to hold near and dear to my heart is fleeting.

But it's also surreal because I haven't been unemployed since I first started working at 14 years old.  The thought of being home all day with my kids is both exciting and terrifying.  And this will be nothing if not a test of my frugal muscle.

So as I sit here finishing up my charts for the day I have a tear in my eye and wonder...will it ever be this way again?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Fun!

http://www.lincolnlibraries.org/kids/summer_reading_program.htm

If you live in Lincoln, NE...check this link to the Lincoln Public Libraries out!  (Shout out to Kate Peace for the heads up!)  There is a great summer reading club with goodies for kids and tons of events throughout the city.  Now that my days will be free with my kids, I plan on attending the events at our near by library.  Hooray for free, educational fun!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Beginning of the Side Hustle

So, in an attempt to bring in some extra moolah during my unemployment, I shall now begin what my amiga at Live Rich and Free calls the "side hustle". 

My first move came about a week ago when I set up an account on http://www.swagbucks.com/  Basically there are tons of ways to earn swagbucks, but the easiest is just to use their search bar instead of google.  It generally works well, and about every 4th or 5th search you "win" extra bucks, I've won up to 15 at a time so far.  In the end, the bucks you earn can buy anything thru their site, my goal is to use mine for Amazon.com gift cards to buy Christmas and birthday presents for the kids without putting ourselves out.

Next, I've set up ads to be posted on my blog, I'M SORRY!!!   I'll just have to see how much I earn from this and report back to you.  But the theory is the more you blog the more you make, so prepare, dear reader, for an onslaught of posts!!!

I've got several other ideas, and I'll share them with you as we go and see whats worth it.   Now go out there and get your hustle on!

Stockpiling - Not Hoarding

So recently I've begun building a stockpile at home...this isn't as insane as it sounds; trust me.  First off, I only have 2 cupboards for my pantry items, so that becomes full awfully quick, causing me to resort to stashing stuff in every available spot. 

But also, with the whole "stay at home mom" situation on the immediate horizon, it's best for me to buy as much as I can when it's cheap so that theoretically I never have to pay full price for anything.  Fingers crossed on that one! 

So here are the pics of what I've accumulated thus far:
In the hallway built-in: paper towels, dishwashing detergent, swiffers, trash bags & in the boxes are cosmetics & beauty products like tooth paste & toothbrushes.  The bathroom cupboard picture didn't show up, but that is full of shower soap, shampoo, deoderant, baskets of free samples, razors etc...

Jammed in the corner of our office (much to my husband's chagrin), the first stockpile shelf...behold the beauty of money saved! 

Pasta, hamburger helper, pretzel chips, rice, coffee, cookies

Cereal, granola bars, macaroni, canned veggies, peanut butter & the chef

Powerade & condiments

Pop & dog treats

Now I'm not foolish enough to believe that this is the food I'll use to feed my family every day, or that having pop on hand makes me a better "home economist".  But knowing that I paid a fraction of the regular shelf price, and that I don't have to run to the store for these things makes me feel like I'm doing a pretty decent job overall. 

Couldn't have said it better myself

http://www.ivillage.com/extreme-couponing-tips/7-a-353540

Check out this great post from a fellow "not so extreme" couponer. 

I hate that because of this show, I get the evil eye when I go shopping and have my list and binder full of coupons handy.  I have never cleared a shelf of any product and I rarely get things for free because of some run of the mill coupons. 

Disclaimer: This is not my binder, this is insanity!

I'm just a gal with 2 kids, who is trying desperately to live a better life, saving 1 penny at a time.  And if that means holding you up in line while they ring up 30 coupons, so be it.