Monday, February 10, 2014

couponing again

I decided to start couponing again.  I used to be pretty good at it.
I had a great stockpiling going and then
I stopped.

I stopped because I starting making my own detergent and buying 
all natural cleaners and trying not to buy
processed food.

Well, I stopped buying all natural items because I couldn't afford it any longer.
I still make my own detergent and use vinegar and water but 
my hubby missed my stockpile of 

After bugging me and bugging me I decided to get back to it.

So, I am a beginner again without
Extra Care Bucks -ECB (CVS)
Register Rewards-RR (Walgreens)

First thing I did was try to build out my coupons and lucky for me we get a weekly free newspaper with the Smart Source.
So...I had my kids go and get them from the neighbors or pick them up from the road. (I figured if they are in the middle of the road
no one wanted them anymore)
Here are my first 3 back to couponing 
transactions.  I have used coupons here and there but not to build a stockpile like before.  

I went Walgreen's and worked 3 deals..all of which can be done as a newbie.  Make sure you sign up for the Balance Rewards card before these transactions if you haven't done so before.

Transaction 1
Buy Scope (1 liter) $3.49 and get $2 RR
I used a printable $1 off (this is a link to swagbucks coupons)  
you can also go to You have to search for it under personal care
Paid oop $2.49
Got back $2 RR (its like paying .49)

Transaction 2
Buy 2 Colgate 2/$6
Nice! sour heads $.99
Use 2-.75 off from 02/02/2014 SS (in the free newspaper)
Use $2.00 RR from previous transactions.
(note:  you need 1 item per coupon during check out.  I had 3 coupons technically with the RR so I got a bag of candy. You can use any filler instead. The cheaper the filler the better.)
Paid $3.49 OOP.
Got $4.00 RR
its like paying .51 cents for all that.
Remember if my filler was cheaper (bag of candy) it would have been less OOP (out of pocket) I promised the kids candy.  :P

Transaction 3
For this one you need the Red Plum from the 2/9/14 Sunday newspaper.  If you don't have that, I would save the RR for next week.

Buy 2 Nivea Lip A Kiss of Care and Color $5.29 Each (bogo 50%)
Used Redplum 02/09/2014 $3/2 lipcare
Used $4.00 RR
Paid 1.08
Received 2000 points on my Walgreen's balance rewards which is like $2 

If you stop at transaction 2 you will have $4 RR to use next week if you do all three you will not have $4 RR but you will have 2000 points.  When you reach 5000 points you can use on purchases.  That's like using $5.00

I paid out of pocket about $7 and got about $18.00 worth of merchandise.  Pretty good for a beginner.  Saved $11.00 

I hope my hubby is now happier with a budding stockpile of two toothpastes.  Lets see how this goes.

Hope Walgreen's doesn't mind me using their image.  But, we all love Walgreen's.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What are we reading?

I have been trying to read to the kids regularly as part of my goals.  Also, I signed up to read 52 books this year.  YIKES!!!  So?  What are we reading?

Personal:  I read a book from one of my favorite authors.  Fannie Flagg.

I really enjoyed this book.  I didn't realize it was about adoption, but it was.  I had my own reunion with my own birth parents not so long ago and it was tough and sad and awkward.  (but it had its good points, and I am at least still on talking terms with my bio dad).  This little surprise adoption story let me work through some of my own demons and see things from outside the pain of adoption/reunion.  

I purchased this book so I could find a way to "get" my hubby to take the spiritual lead in our home, but I learned much more about how I should act, what is expected of me, and how I can improve myself and support my hubby.  Its a great motivator.  

Traveling Light is also a wonderful book that has me using my pen on almost every page.  Normally, I just read a book and hope I remember what page I read anything worthwhile.  But, with this book, I am underlining, highlighting and adding some comments and ideas.  Also, great motivator to improve myself.

I am also reading a fluff book about Zombies, the second book in the Hunger Games (again), plus a couple of books I started but haven't gone back to just yet.

Oh, and of course the scriptures.

Family:  Besides scripture study we are reading Mary Poppins and will be starting The Tempest, Pagoo, a fairy tale book and a biography..leaning toward one about Ben Franklin.

For little one:  I am just trying to read as many good books as I can.  Eric Carle, and Margaret Wise and even some audio books.

That is what we are reading as of today.  I love reading and downloaded lots of free ebooks on my Kindle app just waiting for me.  :D  Most of them classics.

What are you reading?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January Goals

January  Goals.
My goals for January are pretty big but I am going to try to break them down into weekly goals.

Mothering/Family goals.
1. Read to younger kids each night
2. have scripture study daily
3.have one fun outing (free) each week with hubby

Personal Goals
1.  Memorize Scripture Mastery with Victoria.  One a week
2. Read scriptures each morning
3. Walk 3 miles
4. Read my 2014 book list

1. Follow our schedule 
2. Read a classic with kids
3. Work on my education buy studying Thomas Jefferson Education

Financial Goals
1.  save $200.00  by the end of the month
2.  Work on our menu planning
3.  Limit eating out

14 books for 2014

I started my list for the books I would like to read this year.  Many are books I started and never finished.  I intend to finish and tie up all loose ends.  

I divided my selections into 4 categories
1. Fiction
Pilgrims Progress-
Out of the silent planet-C.S Lewis
Water Babies
Bulfinch's Mythology

2. Non Fiction
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Law

I included the links on the Susan Bauer books because I really like them. 

3.Classics (some fiction might be classics too)
Don Quixote 

Self Help ( I decided to use this for Mother training)
A mother's heart- Jean Fleming
Psalms for mothers-
Traveling Light-Max Lucado
My Heart Belongs to Him (study with Victoria)

I left 2 as floaters and I am still looking but it might be two books by the Eyres.
1. I didn't plan to be a witch

I don't intend to only read these books, I will still read but my goal is to finish these.
I will also have a reading list to have as family reading.

Friday, November 29, 2013

End of the month review

After a wonderful Thanksgiving, its time to review my goals for November.
Mostly, I just wanted to reign in my grocery budget and I did better than last month.
Last month I spent over $1500 for groceries and eating out.
This month, (even though I have 1 more day to go), I made it closer to $1000.
I say that is a great step toward my $600 goal.  
I am trying hard to stop eating out.  I have to admit that I ate out more than I should have.
But, less than before.  
Many days we would just keep driving and I would come home and cook.
Even if it was at 9 pm at night.

Another goal I had was trying to get moving and exercise some.  
Did not happen.  I need to get healthier and fit but I am too lazy and busy to do it.
I know, excuses excuses.  

I also stopped volunteering at our homeschool bookstore, because now I get paid for the day I volunteer.
That's a little bit extra income coming into the home.  I think I will use it for my miscellaneous budget.

Another goal I have is to pay off my cars in 2 1/2 years.  
The van has about 13 months left on the note and I am paying extra on each payment.
If I continue I might shave off about 4 months.  After I pay that off I am adding extra to the second car.

Looking forward to December I know that I will have some budget busters like 
Basketball fees
I know Dave Ramsey would say that Christmas happens at the same time every year.  
But since we are just starting our financial journey I didn't quite plan for Christmas.

I will be posting my goals for December soon.
I am not going overboard.  Just a few goals in each area.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I am grateful for my hubby, who works so hard for us.
I am thankful for my children who are healthy and strong.
I am thankful for the strength that Heavenly Father gives me to care for my family.
I know I couldn't do it without His loving care.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Food Budget

My hardest goal to meet is our food budget.  I just can't seem to figure out what is normal for a family our size or what we can afford to spend.  I used to buy groceries before everything and blow our budget, now I buy after but still manage to blow our budget.
A few months ago I signed up for is a website that links to your accounts and keeps track of your spending.  Its free, so I signed up.  I linked the account I wanted to keep track of and maybe checked it a few times..then I forgot about it.
A week ago, I decided to log back in.  I then used one of the tools available that shows you in graph form where your money went.  I went back to October and checked our food expenditures.  Anything I labeled as food or was automatically labeled by the site as food purchases were added into the portion of the graph.  Wow, was I surprised when I saw the totals.  I had just commented to someone that maybe we spend $800 to $900 in food..including fast food..oh boy, was I wrong.  My total for the month of October was over $1500.
That is a lot of money.  Almost double the amount I though I had spent..DOUBLE.
What a rude awakening.  No wonder our budget is so out of control.  I had no idea it was so much.  I had no clue what I was spending.  
I made our December budget yesterday.  I only budgeted $600 for the whole month.  Is that reasonable, is it realistic?  I am not sure but I know it can't be much more because our goals to pay off debt are very important to us.  Very important.  I am hoping that $300 twice a month is going to cut it.  And only eating out 2 times a month. Hmmm..we don't have much luck with limiting the eating out.  But, we have to be strict.  
I'm a little curious about November, not because I expect much difference, but because I was becoming more aware of what I was spending.  Apparently, not as aware as I thought.  
It would be interesting to see though.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I hate when I start doubting myself.  I was so excited to start my plans to become a fiscally responsible person but last night I started to doubt myself.  I know it was stupid and I shouldn't even dwell on such things.

I know doubts are the adversaries way to derail you from your intended goal.  I think all the opposition I have been dealing with is also a sure sign that I should press forward.  My plans aren't necessarily spiritual but they can lead to some real spiritual gains. 
For example, if I can trim my expenses, pay tithing and and fast offering I accomplished a spiritual goal.
If I can have a generous savings and emergency found, we can help fund our son's mission.
If we can get completely out of debt, live within our means then I can help fund many missions.  That is my dream.  To help fund many missions.  

Short term goals are all about the money, honey..but my long term goals are all spiritual

I need to stop doubting my ability and just press forward.  I know I have a long road ahead, but its doable and I can sacrifice now for gains later.