Friday, October 5, 2012

Why I coupon

I started clipping coupons way before it was the cool thing to do. My family would tease me to no end. I was, and still am okay with that!

I might spend a couple of hours, per month, clipping coupons and checking sales flyers. The pay off is so very worth the time spent.

I also "buy" coupons from Ebay. I watch for coupons on items I use quite often buy extras, and stock up. The most recent example is Yakisoba. My family loves those things! At $1.29 each, I'm not always a fan. So, I bought 20 coupons for $2.00, and waited for the sale. (I've noticed they go on sale soon after the coupon comes out) They are now on sale for $1.09. I'm saving $1.00 per box, then add in the $.10 to buy the coupon, and I'm now spending $0.19 per box of Yakisoba. A much better deal.

I will never be an "extreme couponer", I just dont have a desire to hoard groceries. I do love a good deal, and love to save money. I just don't want to be obsessive.

This week, I bought $302.00 worth of groceries. (2-3 weeks worth) I spent $249.00, meaning my clipped coupons saved me $53.00. (I didn't calculate the actual original price, the price shown is after store card reductions) I'm okay with this amount, it's right at budget.

I once tried to be the crazy coupon lady, but found it to be too stressful. I like how it is now.

Have a happy day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Year round veggie gardening!!!

With the hot, dry, garden killing summer I was pretty sad about the very small harvest. I did go to the farmers market so we have some veggies in the freezer, but it just isn't the same. Besides paying for food I normally grow for free,(we have an irrigation well to water, so we just pay for seeds) I miss the actual ritual of the harvest.
. It is just so satisfying to pick and pull up the food that you have grown. I have a special basket just for this purpose. Nothing else ever goes into this basket. It sits all year, in silent anticipation, waiting for it's turn to be used. I like to take pictures of the days haul. Pretty pictures with carrot tops and herbs falling over the top of the basket. *sigh*
. The hardest part of watching your veggies wither and die? The fact that most of them were grown from seed, right here in my kitchen. Lovingly watered, talked to and fed. *another sigh*
. Well, enter loving hubby! I just finished with a new book by Niki Jabbour called The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener. Wow! I loved it! So full of info and beautiful photos. My sweet hubby has decided to build a cold frame for me. The book has all of the instructions. He's been researching frugal ways to accomplish this. I'm so proud! This is the right time to plant a fall garden, but we are expecting snow this weekend, so he'd better get a move on! Ha ha.
. Have a happy day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Fall Y'all

In the past 4 months, I have:
*Bought a new car...I know, not very frugal, and Dave Ramsey would say not to buy it...but...I plan to have it paid off in one year. So far, we have paid $5900 towards the balance. Not too shabby! And I LOVE it! My first brand new car. Yay!!!
*Learned a new craft. I am making gifts for my kids, for Christmas. Can't say what the craft is, or the gift just yet!
*A brand new family member. I'm a grandma!!!! My son and daughter in law are amazing parents!
*Not really stayed on budget, but we are getting back on track.
*Went on our first family vacation in 10 years!!! Fully funded by savings, no debt!
*Survived the hottest, driest Spring/Summer on record. My garden, however did not. I had a very small harvest. I just planted some seeds hoping to have a fall harvest. *fingers crossed*.
*Taught my kids the joys of couponing...again, and they are finally getting involved! Yay! My dil saved $40 on her first grocery shopping trip.
*Have a happy day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What I am doing right now...

Following Purposely Frugal's post today, "What are you doing right now?" Right now: I am planning my budget for the next month. I am doing laundry. I am boiling water for tea. I am watering my lawn and garden. I am trying to pay attention to the dogs, so they stop jumping up on me. Ha ha I am reading a few of my favorite blogs and trying to catch up on email.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh, hello there!

Where on Earth have I been? I have been so busy with life, I just didn't have time for the Internet. I have just a few minutes and just decided to stop by. How have you been, blogging world? I haven't even read any of my favorite blogs. I really need to catch up on everyone's lives! As for me: I have paid all consumer debt and only owe the mortgage. I have potatoes, beans, herbs and berry bushes planted. I have been going to the gym and am feeling stronger. I have blown my grocery budget for the past 3 months. I still work part time. We have leftovers and sandwiches at least once per week. I am so tired and worn out that some days I want to cry. I've decided that it's time to replace my car and am saving and researching. I plan to get my budget back under control. I went to the grocery store yesterday and came in under budget by $7! I saved $17 with coupons. Today I will plan my menu for the next two weeks. I feel like getting back on track and it makes me happy. Time to prioritize and get my life back. Let the dust accumulate. I need this. I will be back, better than ever!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Misc updates

Since I have been quite absent from my blog as of late, I thought that I'd take a moment for a brief update.

It has been so incredibly warm here lately, but I just haven't had time to turn my garden over. I hope to get to that this next week. I have some herbs and veggies growing in my family room. Quite a few have come up and I talk to them daily. I look forward to the yummy home grown foods that they will provide for me. I'm hoping to get potatoes, peas and lettuce seeds planted within a week.

I'm still enjoying my new work out routine and have lost another pound. My energy level is higher and I just feel happier! That winter blues thing really does exist. Sunshine and exercise have brought me out of my funk!

We are hoping to have the last debt paid off within the month. After that, we will tackle the mortgage with gusto! I hope to be completely debt free within 4-5 years. I look forward to that!

I have not stayed on budget with the groceries. I'm still trying to find a balance between working and homemaking. It is a challenge. One that I plan to conquer. I need to get back to menu planning. Time to get back on track.

Hope all is well with you. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just ran out....

I have just used the last Ziploc bags of shredded zucchini, from last years garden. I have soup simmering on the stove. I'm a little bit sad about that. ( the end of my home grown veggies, not the simmering soup. Ha ha)

I have 2 more 2 cup bags of pumpkin left. After that is gone, I will no longer have home grown goodness in my freezer. ( insert sad face here)

I have my seedlings growing, in the family room, and I have high hopes for this years garden. Hopefully, we won't experience such a devastating summer storm this year. I would love to have produce, in the freezer, well into the following summer.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I did what I said I would not do....

Yes, I joined a gym. For so long I was completely against gyms. The frugal girl in me couldn't justify the expense. I didn't want to use sweaty equipment. I didn't want people seeing me all sweaty and gross.

I have a stationary bike, hand weights, stairs to climb and work out videos. I was doing so well. I lost almost 19 pounds on my own! I walked and worked out at home. So, what happened?

I got a job. For that reason, when I was home, I was either catching up on chores or the kids needed my attention. Either that or the dogs and cats needed attention. There are too many distractions. I've tried to work out, and then I would notice I didn't vacuum yet. Oh, and I need to throw that load of laundry in. Oh yeah, gotta take the trash to the curb, etc. I haven't really worked out in months! I feel yucky and tired all of the time. I'm getting cranky. My digestion is angry.

Hubby told me his gym was running a special, to add on a family member. I know, I've not been supportive of hubby belonging to 3 gyms. Why spend so much money, when you can just run around the neighborhood? Yes, I am eating crow. I admit defeat. So, for $10 a month I will now be a member of a gym. Ta-da! Did I like it the first time? I actually did. My preconceived notions of going to a gym were wrong. Its actually pretty fun. And, after 2 weeks, I feel good again. Less cranky. Lost 2 pounds. I'm sitting here, waiting for hubby to wake up, so we can go!

Sometimes, you have to spend money for your health. Sometimes, you have to come out of your comfort zone, and try something new.

Monday, March 5, 2012

You know that it's been awhile when...

You forget your blogs password! Ha ha

Well, I've been beyond busy with work and home life. I am sooooooo exhausted. My to do list get keeps growing. I need a nap.

The good news about being so busy, is that you don't have time to go shopping, thus keeping you on budget. The bad news is that you don't always have time to clip coupons, make a grocery list or plan a menu. Hubby has been great about making dinners, but he will just go to the store and spend $30 or so for one meal! yikes!

My temp job, that was to end on Dec. 31st, is still going strong. Unfortunately, I was just informed that if sales do not increase, I will be laid off. So, here's my dilemma. Am I happy or sad about this news? I'm not too sure. I miss being a stay at home mom and my chores are a bit behind. I also like having the extra money and a place to have grown up conversations. I do enjoy working hard and being part of a team. There comes a sense of happiness and satisfaction with both positions.

I have absolutely no influence on keeping or losing my job. I just can't decide how to feel about this news.

On an unrelated note, my heirloom veggie seeds just arrived. I have been saving yogurt and produce cups for seed starting. I'm off tomorrow. I think that I will start my planting. It's a beautiful sunny and 60 degree day today. It will be the same tomorrow. I know that snow is coming again, in a few days, but I still am enjoying my Spring fever!

Here's to you, Spring. I will be waiting for you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Time wasters

It is so easy to lose track of time. Mostly, I do that when online. Yikes!

Facebook, Pinterest, email, blogs, You tube etc. You could literally spend hours online! It's a challenge to get other tasks accomplished that way. Facebook has become what soap operas used to be to house wives! Seriously. I'm an addict! Pinterest and my favorite blogs as well.

As of this writing, I am putting myself on an Internet diet. I will spend a total of no more than 1 hour per day, online. That is a total for the entire day. Since I am still working part time, I have less time to complete my to-do lists. I will also scale down the amount of blogs that I follow. If I see another interesting blog, I will have to delete one to make room. This needs to happen.

Gotta go. I have less than 15 minutes left for the day. I want to use that later. Pinterest will be how I end my day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

fun website

Yes I, along with all of America, am in love with Pinterest. But, I also love this site, Fave Crafts. They email me daily with some really fun, and sometimes "green" crafts! I also just like to wander around there, just looking for things.

Today, I found
a link for a free e-book

It has some really cute ideas inside! I love to try and reuse items if I can. I'm not a hoarder, but I have been known to hang on to something for a while. If I just can't find a new use for it, it goes into the recycling bin.

Check it out, you might fine some really great idea!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Misc ramblings.....

My temporary, seasonal job has been extended indefinitely. That's good news for our budget. It's bad news for my sanity and health. I am exhausted! It's only a 20 or so hour per week job, but I still have all of my home duties. I'm still the carpool mom. I'm still the chief cook and bottle washer. My family has been amazing. When I work an all day shift, hubby will cook and the kids will do the dishes. I appreciate that. They just don't do other tasks like: laundry, grooming dogs, dusting, sweeping, clipping coupons, grocery shopping, ironing etc. When I work the evening shift, I clean all day and prepare dinner ahead of time. My family just needs to reheat.

I need a nap.


I went to Target yesterday, and I left with these items and spent $1.06!

How? oh so easy. There was a coupon, in the paper, for $5 off of any two frozen snack items. I found Taquitos and green bean fries on sale. I had a coupon for $1 off of a purchase of $1 or more of fruits. I also had one for $1 off veggies. I had a coupon for $1 off of 1 Morningstar item. I had a Target cpn for $1 off of Barilla pasta as well as a manufacturer cpn. {stacked them} I also had a store refund card in the amount of $7.37. So, I saved $18.98! My kiddos were pretty happy about the frozen foods, they don't get them very often.


This is the kale that I have been roasting into kale chips. You have to be very careful not to over cook them. They won't taste very good if they are brown. You want them to remain green, but with just a slight crunch.

I also am behind in my daily devotions. I barely have time to read the cooking directions on a box of dry pasta. I'm still looking for a new home church. I really need that fellowship time. I miss weekly Bible study groups. I miss ladies' retreat weekends.

I'm going to have to re prioritize. I need to find a way to take care of myself before I "crash and burn." I find myself still doing chores at 10:00 PM. And to top it off, I seem to have a touch of insomnia! Oh geez.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yes, it's only January...

But I've got a bad case of Spring Fever!

It was 60 degrees today! Oh my goodness, it was beautiful. I did some yard clean up and sat daydreaming. Thinking of everything in bloom.

So, when I came back inside, I did what any normal person would do. I logged onto YouTube and watched homesteading/gardening videos. I just love to watch the video blogs. It makes me long for Spring. I start planning my garden. I look through gardening catalogs. I don't think of the 4 months or so of cold weather still ahead of me.

I also spent time cleaning out my files and my desk today. All of that shreded paper will be composted. I sprinkled it all over my garden. The melting snow helped to keep it from flying away. In the Spring, it will be turned under with the tiller.

Oh, Spring. Will you please hurry up?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Checking in

There are 13 days left in the month. That would make me over halfway through my budget. As part of my accountability, I will share where I am as of today.

All bills due the first half of the month were paid in full and on time.

For variable expenses:

grocery: I have my menu plans for the next 3 weeks, and just went shopping for all necessary ingredients. I have $117.30 left in my envelope. Yay!

Clothing: I've bought socks for the kiddo and a pair of pants for me. Total spent $15.56, I have $24.44 left.

Pets: we've had a very sick dog. We are way over our $200 budget. We've spent $617 so far.

My blow money: I've spent $14.08 so far. That leaves me $35.92.

Entertainment: we went bowling! That was fun we budget $40 a month. Bowling cost $35.96. Under budget!

Eating out: we've spent $48.98 of our $50 budgeted amount.

Hubby has spent $16.86 of his blow money.

And we are at $58.53 of budgeted $100 for misc expenses.

So, we are pretty much done eating out and going places for the month. That's okay, we have library DVDs and popcorn.

With the exception of vet bills, we are right on target. It has been a long time since I've been able to say that. This feels good!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ways I saved money this week...

There are so many ways to save money. Use coupons, shop around, reuse items, repair items or maybe even don't spend money at all.

These are some of the ways that I saved money this past week:

*I was so sick and wanted to just pick up dinner somewhere, but I made dinner!
*I was so tired after work, and wanted to order out, but I made dinner!
*I used up end bread pieces and buns, in place of making/buying rolls for dinner
*I made my lunch, on the two days that I worked, instead of buying lunch
*Instead of buying glass stove top cleaner, I used baking soda and vinegar. It looks like new!
*I was tempted to order a magazine subscription, but checked to see if my library carries it. They do!
*I need new dark pants for work, but I am going to wait until Monday. The thrift stores are having 50%
off sales for the holiday.
*I didn't do any shopping this week. I received a bunch of email ads as well as print ads and I didn't even look at them.
What I don't know about won't hurt me! Every little bit of saving adds up!

Ways I didn't save money? Major vet bills. Bummer.

We are almost halfway through the month. We are over budget on pet expenses, but under budget on everything else! I'll take it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting ready for the holidays...all of them!

Since we have tightened our budget even further for 2012, many more gifts will be thrifted or homemade. For that reason, and not wanting to get stressed at the last minute, I've decided to start early.

I just went to the library and checked out many books on crafting, holidays and money saving. I will research and take notes. I will make many copies. I will get started next week, preparing for Valentines Day. The next gift giving holiday will be Easter and then summer birthdays.

I plan to be prepared this year. No more stressing out two weeks before Christmas when my crafting has barely begun. I will have my Christmas cards made by the end of summer.

Oh yes, I will!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dollar a day food challenges

I just finished watching this DVD, "Food Stamped" and am almost through reading this book, "On A Dollar A Day". If you are at all curious about how we spend money on our food, then I highly recommend both of these.

The DVD was not only informative, but also entertaining. {I confess to skipping through some of the statistical parts} I found this movie while browsing through my library. I was curious and checked it out. I'm glad that I did. The filmmakers took part in an experiment to see if they could live on what the government gives folks, in food stamp benefits, to live on for a week. They did not want to buy the cheap convenience foods, but wanted to continue to live on an organic healthy diet.

The book is similar. It is a another couple wanting to see if they could live on just $1.00 per person a day for food. {The movie had the couple living on $1.00 per meal.} The couple in the book are really struggling with hunger and exhaustion. So far, they are making it work. They also have a blog, but I haven't searched for it yet.

I do not plan to try either of these experiments, but it is eye opening. It made me take stock of how much was in my kitchen, that was considered non healthy convenience foods. I will confess to buying what some would call "crap". My family requests most of it, and I find coupons for it. I do plan on finding healthy, homemade alternatives. Watching the DVD did give me some great ideas as to ways to make cheap healthy meals.

I'm starting today. I plan to make chips from kale, snack bars from dates {similar to Larabars} and cookies and bread made from bananas. I am also planning to go through my recipe file and purge any non healthy recipes. I owe that much to my family. Some recipes and foods may be cheap, but the health of my family is more important. And I need to do this while staying under budget. Good luck me!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Um, so do you ever find yourself on a nice run or walk, and think hey..I can make it a few extra blocks/steps/yards/miles? Then you wake up the next morning and wish you hadn't done that?

That's me. And that's today.

Hello Advil, my old friend. Meet heating pad, my new friend.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 recap

To follow up on my sidebar goals...
2011 personal goals:

Pay extra on mortgage: goal ($1200) $667.36 poor planning and over spending prevented this
Pay student loans goal ($15,636) $13,073 and this from happening
Pay extra into savings $2330 {goal- $1200} got it!
Pay extra into IRA $440 {goal- $600} so close...
20 minute workout every day I will get this this year!
eat out only once per month we did spend less than the previous year!
expand veggie garden done!
preserve more foods from garden even though we lost the garden in a storm, I was able to replant and harvest some!
spend more time with friends did this!
new grocery budget...$525.00 per month! This remains a challenge, but it is far better than the $400 that I started the year out with!
20 minute devos daily: I need to prioritize and make time for myself daily, I am starting a new daily devotional today. I can do this!
read the Bible in a year: I finished with just about an hour to spare in the year!! Yay me!

I have really enjoyed this blog. I love how it makes you accountable. Someone is going to read your goals and wonder how you are doing. Its so awesome when someone comments. That makes my day.

I plan to work up new goals for the year and I think I will try to have monthy goals as well. I will try to post a few times per week. I love reading blogs, but can confess to not making time for my own.

I plan to increase my health. I want to lose those stubborn 5 pounds and increase my energy. I want to run up those stairs or ride my bike without being too winded! I can do this!

Happy New Year!

I did it!!!

I started out 2011 with the goal of reading the Bible in a year. I have studied books of the Bible, in a small group, and have studied Bible stories during church and independent study. I have tried before to complete this task, but life sometimes gets in the way and I fall behind. It's a real commitment, to say that you are going to read the Bible every day. I will be the first to admit that I don't remember or have time for daily devotions.

I have an hour left in 2011, and I just read the final book, Revelation!

I'm so proud of me.

Happy New Year!