Thursday, April 26, 2012

Couponing you Can do!

Thrifty Thursday pt, 2

So you've heard about couponing and you're interested, but you're not sure you want to commit half your waking hours to clipping coupons, scouring grocery ads, comparing prices, driving store to store, etc. Well, I've found a system that works for our family and it only takes a little extra time and saves me at least 25% I would say.

Things to know about couponing before you start:

Coupons +sales = great deals! - the key to using coupons and really saving money is to use the coupons when items are already on sale
Stocking up is key - try for a 6-8 week supply if possible, consider a deep freeze (buy used from Craigslist, newspaper, yard sale or estate sale) however;
Don’t buy stuff if you won’t use it or it will go bad before you can use it, and
Don’t go overboard. However much money you save, it’s probably not worth having to buy a new house or putting all your kids in one room just to store all of your great bargains!
Understand sales - items tend to go on sale in cycles, ex. Frozen goods, paper goods, canned, etc. This is the reason to save coupons and stock up during a sale
Have target/goal prices for certain items - ex. $1 for cereal, 50cents toothpaste, $1 yogurt, etc. Stick to this as much as possible. Refuse to buy above a certain price and make do until a sale comes along again.

Take advantage of double coupons -
Get a rain check if necessary, also know when stores restock

My Personal Couponing Technique:

1.Start collecting coupons - can take a few weeks. Get Sunday paper & write date on front of coupon inserts. Keep in order.  Print off desired coupons.  Keep all coupons until they are expired! I keep all my coupons in a drawer at home. Here are some common coupon sources:
  • Sunday paper - RedPlum, Smart Source & Proctor&Gamble are the most common distrubutors of coupons. On the front on the coupon insert it will say which company they are from and the date is on the outside spine. These are used to identify the coupons when you use a web site to match up
  • Friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors can save extra coupons for you if they don't use them. Even those who do use coupons may not need the ones you do and you could exchange
  • Blinkies, tear pads & peelies - these are found either on the product or on the shelf next to the product. Sometimes you may know about these ahead of time but sometimes not
  • Home mailers - signing up on websites, using store card, etc.
  • Catalinas - coupons that print off after receipt, comes from buying certain products, normally I know about these ahead of time but sometimes I'm surprised!
  • Websites -,   - I don’t print my coupons until I’m ready to shop, unless I see a really good one that I know I will use. Some prefer to print any they may use at the beginning of the month. I don’t like to waste ink & paper on ones that will not be used…
  • Ecoupons - P&G esaver, cellfire (these coups don’t double)
  • Magazines - All You magazine
2.    Check store ads & match sales with coupons - coupon is a good one to start. I prefer to use Deal Seeking mom. On the blue navigation bar, far right is an option that says "store deals". I do 90% of my shopping at Kroger now and will use this to find the best deals currently at Kroger. All the work is done for me! I just select the deals I want and...     
3.    Make list then print off/clip any coupons needed.
4.    Shop & Save! Don’t forget to always use store card if applicable.   

Couponing can become a very practical way of life but it doesn’t need to be Extreme! Consider what your time is worth and do what works best for your family. If you take it too far, you will probably get burnt out eventually.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mothering Monday

there was an old woman who lived in a shoe...

I'm not going to do all my post titles with alliteration from now on, but it does make it slightly easier somehow. I guess it's just part of the preacher's daughter coming out in me too.

We had a great day in church yesterday. I mean not that it's ever bad, but yesterday for me was just exceptional. Sunday School & Sunday morning were great lessons, we didn't have nursery duty, so that's always a plus. Sunday evening we had our parenting class then the sermon Sunday night was just excellent. I tried to take notes but I think I just ended up writing the entire sermon down!

But what I want to talk about is our parenting class. It's four weeks and being taught by a couple who are missionaries at home on furlough (?) right now. They have four kids and wrote the curriculum themselves. This week's lesson was on discipline. Seriously, how can you condense the topic of discipline into one hour long lesson? But they actually did a really good job of hitting the high points. I know we could have stayed all night and as my friend commented, we needed to do the exact same lesson all over again next week just to let it sink in well! But afterwards I was really inspired to do a better job of training and disciplining our girls.

Then I talked to Nathan. He was so down. He was just overwhelmed. But I really feel that with a few changes on our part we can see big improvement in the girls' behavior.

So today I decided to work on two major areas on my part: being consistent and not yelling but remaining calm as I discipline. And to focus on a couple of specific behaviors with the kids - tantrums and fighting for the littles, and for Kaleigh back-talking and pestering. They were actually pretty good today but I did have some issues. I want to really stick with this and see some positive changes in our household. I think the problem I've had in the past is that I get on these "kicks" of really staying on them for a few days, their behavior does improve, then I slack off again. In no time things are back to wild.

And obviously one problem I have is that with housework I can't be quite as involved as I need to be. I also worked today on having the twins help pick up and clean up. It was a low-key day so I had some extra time which worked out well. If I can keep in my mind that this is all an investment in their future and ours, I think that will help a lot.

I'm also looking forward to really getting into some spiritual training with the kids. I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

I've been wanting to start this weekly segment for a while. It may just be this week, ha! But hopefully I can keep up with it somewhat. Maybe every other week, anyway. Those of you who know me & my hubby know that we are into saving $ bigtime! We don't really have a choice. He has a slightly above average paying job, I'm a stay at home mom, and we have 4 kids. I'm almost positive that people would assume that Nathan makes a lot more than he does, based on how we live and the fact that we have almost no debt, other than our mortgage. So those are our "credentials", so to speak. And when I do this "segment" I will share some of the things we do regularly to save money.

The first tip I want to share is

"BUY USED"- Buying used will almost always save you anywhere from 50% - 95% off of regular price. When I look around our house I see so many things that we got used. Here is a list of the kinds of things you can get used -
  • furniture
  • appliances, large & small
  • adult clothing
  • kids clothing
  • toys
  • home decor
  • recreational & exercise equipment
  • hobby items
  • collectables
  • etc,etc,etc...
You can see that aside from food, there's not much that isn't on this list.
And I don't think it's ever been easier to find the used things that you are looking for. There are so many ways to get secondhand items these days:
  • Garage & yard sales
  • craigslist
  • ebay
  • newspaper classifieds (also online!)
  • facebook online yard sales
  • thrift stores
  • consignment stores
  • consignment sales
  • flea markets
  • antique stores
  • Estate sales
  • asking people
  • etc, etc, etc...
 Some tips for buying bigger items 2ndhand:
  • When possible, view item first, look over carefully and ask for a lower price if necessary
  • If item was misrepresented, don't be afraid to ask for your $ back 
  • don't wait till you're desperate to start looking for something - if your fridge is 27 years old, start shopping now! Don't wait till it goes out and you have to pay full price at Sears.
  • be cautious with electronics - I probably wouldn't buy a used tv or camera unless I knew the person selling it & why which leads into my next point
  • Ask why they are selling the item, if you need to. Are they just upgrading or is something wrong with it? Maybe it's an easy fix, they just didn't want to mess with it. Or they had white & wanted stainless, etc.
  • Safety & quality - with fabrics & clothing I always look for non-smoking with children in the home. Also on toys & kids' items, if it's broken, damaged or old, it could be dangerous so be careful
When not to buy used:

I've heard it all on this, ranging from ridiculous "I just can't drive a used car". Oh really, is it not capable of taking you where you need to go? To reasonable "I can buy it new for just a little more and get exactly what I want." This is legit. And if you have the money and want to spend it, go for it. We've been married ten years and have yet to buy new living room furniture, but we will one day. We have the money now, but I prefer to let my 3 year olds and 2 year old ruin my $150 used sectional, not $2000 furniture! Once they're out of the spilled milk, potty accident, chocolate smearing stages, we will talk.  I've heard people say about appliances - I'd rather get a new one that will last than a used one that would go out sooner. Well, consider a washing machine - you can get on all day long for $150. You could replace that at least 4 times before paying what you would for a new one! Trust me, it's a no-brainer. Even if you do get burned a couple times. I try not to buy poor quality items either. If I'm in a hurry and get something home that is messed up, out it goes. It is a poor misconception that used=lower quality. If it makes you feel better, think of it as vintage or shabby chic!

So those are my thoughts. I'm interested in hearing what you think. Is any of this new to you? Any arguments? Our lifestyle may seem extreme to some, but I don't feel deprived in the least. We try to enjoy the process of saving money. It really can be fun! Sure, there are things that I would love to have and don't but I can't imagine anyone would say otherwise. Not anyone reading this blog anyway, ha!

For me it all comes back to being content & what the bible has to say about it.

Phillipians 4: 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

    Thursday, April 05, 2012

    Destined for Greatness...

    Doesn't every parent immediately wonder what their kids will be like/do when they grow up? Come on, admit it! I read my kids a Little Golden book "The Bunny Book".

    The people in the book all dream of what baby bunny will be when he grows up. I used to read this when I was a kid!

    So anyway, after it was over I asked all the kids what they wanted to be when they grow up...

    Avery said "a clown!" I'm thinking she could definitely pull this one off...

    Alexis said "a princess, a pretty princess". (not an ugly one,ha!)  I think she's already got this one down!

    Kaleigh said "a cheerleader when I'm a teenager, then a teacher". Very doable...

    And Baby Emory. What does she want to be? Well, she answered the question the way she answers all serious questions - with the answer that is almost always right.


    Okay, Emory. If you said you wanted to be like Jesus, we could get on board. But the title of Savior of the World is already taken :)