Saturday, January 31, 2009

Great deals at Walgreens

I purchased St. Ives Mineral Therapy Body wash, St. Ives smoothing body scrub, 3 bottles Dove Advanced conditioner for color treated hair, Sunsilk shampoo (with bonus mousse) and Sunsilk gel, 2 tubes of Colgate Maxfresh toothpaste, and 3 Cover Girl lipsticks (which are not in the picture because my daughters had already tried them on by the time I got around to taking this picture!)

Yesterday, the cashier at Walgreens dubbed me the "Bargain Champion of the Day". I was quite proud of myself. I went in to pick up some Colgate Toothpaste. It was on sale for $2.99 and I had a few $1.50/1 coupons. They were also offering a $2 RR on the toothpaste which means I actually make money! As I was walking through the aisles, I noticed they had tons of stuff marked way down. They had Cover Girl lipsticks for $1.50 each. They also had a promotion on St. Ives. As I was getting ready to check out, one of the other customers mentioned some other clearance stuff in the back of the store. When I headed back there, they had Dove conditioner for $1 a bottle. They also had some Sunsilk products on clearance. I had $2.50/2 and $1/1 Cover Girl coupons, as well as 3 $1.50/1 Dove hair product coupons, and a $2/2 Sunsilk products coupon in addition to my Colgate coupon. When all is said and done I paid $3.35 OOP (out of pocket) and got a $2 RR. There are tons of great items on clearance right now at Walgreens. Take your coupons with you when you go. You never know when you're going to get a smoking deal!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Friday Fun

Some of us find ourselves struggling with money after a life-altering change...a loss of a job, a birth of a child, an adoption, a major disaster, etc. For most of us, however, the reason we struggle with money is that we regularly buy stuff we can't afford or we have bought stuff in the past we couldn't afford and are now trying to pay for it! I find it amazing how much easier it is to say no to things I want when I have a budget in place and I am sticking to it. When my husband and I sat down to make our budget, we came up with what we thought was a decent budget. We have been meeting weekly to discuss it and have found that we are both much more motivated when we have a goal in mind. Our goal is to get out of debt...and the best way to get out of debt and stay out of debt is "Don't buy stuff you can't afford!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eat your veggies...they're good for you (and tonight they were free!)

Tonight I purchased 20 bags of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers (they have yummy veggie flavors!), a can of Campbells Select Harvest Soup, 2 Martha White muffin mixes, and 2 half gallons of skim milk. The grand total for my purchase at Kroger tonight was $3.50. By combining the sales at Kroger with coupons I had, I was able to get one heck of a deal. My total savings was $51.40 or 93%. The cashier who checked me out was genuinely surprised! He kept saying "Wow, that's a good way, of course." To see some of the other great deals at Kroger this week, check out Nickels -n- Dimes printable list!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I've decided to join "I'm an Organizing Junkie" in Menu Plan Monday, so you should be able to see my weekly menu here. I planned menus for the first 3 weeks of January and somehow neglected to plan for this week, so this weeks menu is a little strange. Since I've just begun stockpiling recently, we didn't have a ton of food to choose from. I had each of my girls come up with a meal made of only ingredients we had on hand.

This weeks dinners

Monday- whole wheat spaghetti and spaghetti sauce with turkey sausage mixed in
Tuesday- scrambled eggs, bacon, and homemade waffles
Wednesday- soft tacos with ground turkey, homemade salsa, onions, cheese and sour cream
Thursday- crescent roll baked spaghetti and mixed veggies
Friday- dinner with friends
Saturday- italian chicken, pastaroni, and green beans
Sunday- superbowl party

Developing a Working Budget

It is so easy to miss a category or expenditure when you begin making a budget or spending plan. For us, we have found that making a workable budget isn't a one-time deal. Our first budget was (although we didn't know it at the time) a rough draft or a work in progress. Even though we adhered to it faithfully, we found that at the end of the month, the numbers didn't line up. The biggest killer of our budget was automatic withdrawals! These are items or services that you sign up for and are automatically deducted from your account. As we went through our credit card and debit card statements, we found quite a few of these items...and we didn't even realize they were being taken out of our account each month! It's embarrassing to say this, but we had $120 worth of items that were being taken out of our accounts each month without us realizing it! If you are just starting a spending plan (or budget), make sure you take a look at your credit card and debit card statements! For free worksheets to help you develop a spending plan, click here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Steals and Deals at Williams-Sonoma

Today was a really good shopping day for me! I had a Williams-Sonoma gift card that I won in December and I decided to take advantage of their winter sale to purchase some fun kitchen stuff. I can always find things I like at Williams-Sonoma, but they tend to be out of my price range so today I was like a kid in a candy store. Almost everything I bought was on sale.

Check out these deals:
Original Price/ I Paid
Build a Bear Cake Pan $39.95/ $9.99
Dish Scrubbers (2@$9) $18.00/ $3.98
Silicone Whisk $16.00/ $4.99
Hand soap and lotion $25.00/ $11.98
Wire rack for above $15.00/ $6.99
Cookbook (2@$35) $70.00 / $9.98
Dishtowels (3@$18) $54.00/ $13.47
Microfiber dust mitt $8.00/ $8.00
Cutting board $24.95/ $9.99
Green tea candle $24.50 /$9.99
Grand total w/tax: $326.78/ $100.95

Since I had a $100 gift card, my OOP (out of pocket) expense for all this was 95 cents!!! I saved $225 off of the original prices...and got over $300 worth of fun kitchen stuff for less than a buck!

Saving money on every day phone calls!

Those of you who know me well know that I love to talk...and if I can't do it in person, I enjoy talking on the phone. With much of my family and close friends living out of state, long distance can get expensive. My husband also spends a lot of time on the phone (his is for business...he hates to talk on the phone!). Three years ago, we switched our phone service from our local provider to Vonage, a VoIP service. For $24.99, you get unlimited calling in the US as well as 5 European countries. It drastically reduced our phone bill. Then we discovered something even better...Skype! Skype allows you to make calls from your computer to other skype users for free or to landlines and cell phones for a small fee. You can also get a "SkypeIn" number, which is a phone number that people can call you on for $60/year. This plan has a $2.95 monthly charge which includes unlimited calls throughout the US and Canada as well as voicemail. This averages out to $7.95/month for phone usage and long distance. You can also purchase a Skype phone which is either a mobile phone or a cordless phone that is compatible with Skype and can be used as a household phone! Skype also allows you to do video conferencing as well. When my husband travels, he sets up his laptop with a built in camera and calls us and the kids and I get to see him! It's a great find! I will tell you that there website is not the easiest and most straight forward to navigate, but the savings definitely make it worth it! Click here to get an Unlimited US & Canada calling subscription from Skype - $2.95/month.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Great news Arizona...FREE CHIPOTLE!!!

Yes...I know that all caps is yelling, but I thought it was exciting enough to yell about! :-)

All Arizona Chipotle restaurants will offer a free burrito, taco, bowl or salad with no strings attached the day before the big game.

All you have to do is go to any Chipotle between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday January 31st wearing red.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Free Toilet Paper!!!

I love getting a good deal...and as far as deals go, it doesn't get much better than free! Cottonelle currently has $.50 off coupons available here and here. Kroger's every day price on 4 packs of Cottonelle is only 99 cents and since Kroger will double your 50 cent coupon, you get your toilet paper FREE! Each of the above links will allow you to print your coupon twice. That's a lot of free toilet paper! Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fun Freebie

Although my kids are well past the potty training age, I thought I'd pass this on to those of you who have little ones! Pampers is offering a Free Potty Training kit! It includes lots of fun stuff!
  • A free sample of Easy Ups Trainers
  • High Value Coupons
  • Fun Stickers and coloring pages
  • Step-by-step Potty Training tips
  • Potty Progress Chart
  • Dora or Diego Training Trophy
***You can expect your potty training kit in 4-6 weeks!***

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hotel rooms for $1 per night

According to this site, starting in January you will have 15 minutes, Monday - Friday for 2 weeks to buy any hotel for $1 per night. It sounds too good to be here's the catch! You won't know which 15 minutes you will be able to put those dollar bills to use, so you will have to sign up here to get their email hints. According to my first email hint, the contest will be starting soon!!!

Here's the scoop on terms and conditions: (to read them all, click here)
  • 1 reservation for 1 room per person during entire campaign
  • Maximum booking of 7 consecutive nights
  • To qualify the booking must be made online through
  • The booking must be completed within the 15 minute time frame
  • reserves the right to end the campaign at any time
Hopefully we'll all be able to do some travelling that doesn't break the bank!

Save our planet!

Erin has a great giveaway of super cute reusable grocery totes! Make sure you check out her giveaway at

Good luck!

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better...

I grew up in a very competitive family and that competitive spirit hasn't worn off! When I saw the USDA cost of food website and saw what a family of 4 was spending a month on food, I was bound and determined to do better than the average family in the "thrifty" category. If you have any suggestions on cutting down your grocery budget, I'd love to hear them!

Check out the USDA's Cost of Food for 2008. They have used the month of June as the average monthly expenditure, however, you can check it out month by month!

Fun Giveaways

Frugal Mommy of 2 girls has some great giveaways going on right now! Check out her blog! You won't regret it!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Specific goals

I've decided to post a few of my specific goals because that will give me some accountability. Not all of the goals I'm posted have to do with saving money, but they all revolve around living better!

::Declutter one room per month:: I do much better when I can break jobs down into manageable chunks!

::Meet weekly with my husband to discuss our finances:: It's important for us both to be on the same page and to make sure we remain focused on our goals!

::Reduce our grocery budget by $100/month:: Our budget is currently $500 for groceries and $100 for eating out. I'd like to be under $500 for both!

::Pay off all consumer debt besides our mortgage:: We used all of our savings and quite a bit of credit to adopt our 2 daughters in 2007 (and it was the best money we ever spent!!!!)

::Lose 50 pounds (or 1 lb per week)::

::Get certified as a Zumba instructor:: For those of you who have never heard of Zumba, it may be the most fun workout you'll ever try!

::Memorize Romans 1 and 2:: I need to get better about hiding God's word in my heart!

Getting started...

Every year as December comes to an end, I start taking inventory of my life and all the areas I want to improve in. Although I have quite a few areas that could use improvement, I'm really working on my finances. My husband and I are going through Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover program and are trying to get ourselves in shape financially. Since I tend to do most of the spending (grocery shopping, clothes shopping, school supplies, toiletries, etc), I have decided to tackle the task of saving as much as possible and reducing our budget in those areas as much as possible. I'll be blogging about our financial journey and posting money saving tips along the way. I'll also be posting freebies I come across (yesterday Suave was giving away free bottles of shampoo!) I hope you'll join me on this journey! Feel free to chime in if you have tips to share!

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