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Walgreens Coupon

January 30th, 2008 at 05:21 pm

I just got a $5 off a $20 purchase coupon in my inbox for Walgreens good only on Jan. 31. Sounds like a good time to get free after rebate items! YEAH! I LOVE saving money!

Still no decision on the rolex. I can't even begin to describe how embarrassed I am that I'm writing that someone in my family is even considering purchasing this. We are not rolex people! Our combined income is slightly less than $100,00 a year...we have debt...and virtually no EF. Don't even ask about retirement!

Insurance Check

January 29th, 2008 at 09:55 am

DH received an insurance check in the mail for a significant amount of money. About a year ago he was injured at work and spent months in pain. We tried physical therapy to no avail...it acutally made the pain consistently worse.

We're a little worried that this money might be the company's attempt to buy us off and wash their hands of the injury. We're in the process of finding out more information, but at the same time planning what we might do with the money.

DH, the big spender, has always wanted a rolex. I would like to pay off the debt. I feel a tightening in my chest when I think about him getting a rolex...I can't think of anything more ridiculous. To me it is frivolous and ostentatious, but for some reason it has always been a goal of his to get one. Some times it is all I can do be supportive (I don't want anyone shooting down my dream!). At the same time, I thought we were on the same page for our financial goals. Kinda frustrating.

Romance in the air...midmonth financial chat approaching

January 14th, 2008 at 07:45 pm

I've been working on reducing the mountain of toys that surrounds me everyday be selling on Craigslist. I've considered using ebay for some of the stuff, but I can't see a point in paying those fees and all the hassle of shipping when you can list for free and the buyer comes to you!

I've sold a few things already. The kids were so upset to see these things go...they never cared about these things until they saw someone else taking it away.

I'll be using the proceeds to finish framing the art I bought to decorate this house. We've been here about 6 months and have not done much to it at all.

In other news, DH and I will be having our first financial midmonth chat tomorrow evening. Don't you just love romance after 7 years of marriage? I'm excited, but worried that the things I have to suggest won't be well received. Among the bad news, we're not saving as much at the end of each month as we used to and I'm proposing we cut our monthly personal budgets in half (cut $100 to $50 each). In addition, we should disconnect the extra phone we have. I'm always proposing he get a new job with more a more predictable schedule so that we can reduce or even eliminate the amount we spend on our nanny ($1,180/ month), but I can't push too much. Changing jobs is easier said than done.

There are a few other categories we could cut also.

Wish us luck!...and good fortune!

Do you subscribe?

January 13th, 2008 at 07:43 am

Does anyone subscribe to Cheapskate Monthly or The Home Economizer? What do you think?

Best Way to...

January 11th, 2008 at 05:31 pm

gain weight just might be to bulk cook.

With all that access to ready-to-cook cookie dough...well, who could resist?

A Frugal Sight

January 10th, 2008 at 07:46 pm

I was doing dishes this evening when I looked over and saw my cookbooks. This reflects pretty well how frugal I am. The black binder is my compilation of recipes, the Betty Crocker cookbook along with Jessica Seinfeld's and my favorite Tighwad Gazette were all gifts. MIL gave me her old Better Homes and Garden (I love it's age!). I bought Make-a-Mix...I love them all!

Ironically, you'll notice in the picture my paper towel holder with the towels cut in half and the storage bags that I'll be washing and reusing.

Two years ago, I would have fell out of my chair laughing at someone who took the time to make a post like this. I couldn't be more proud today.

Summary and Dreams

January 3rd, 2008 at 11:03 am

2007 Year End Summary: (Doesn't include July data since I was off that month and didn't feel like keeping track of a darn thing)

Groceries: 3875.77
Household: 2597.09
Car Gas: 1925.99
DH Personal Budget: 1236.68
My Personal Budget: 1110.33
Recreation: 880.10
Medicine/Copays: 1054.16
Mortgage/Rent (bought house in July): 14329.40
Nanny: 11800.00
Electric: 1527.18
Water: 904.20
Gas: 157.74 (old house didn't have gas)
Student Loan: 3629.16
Auto Insurance: 1031.22
Phone: 1117.55

Do these totals strike anyone as odd? I'm concerned most about the household budget, phone, and gasoline.

Well, with a new year comes new goals. We decided to add savings accounts for certain areas that aren't budgeted for and have automatic deductions monthly. (life insurance, vacation, clothing, home improvement, and a new car)

I'm determined to take a real vacation this year. I've got a place picked out in Oklahoma, but DH thinks it's too far of a drive. We'll see.

After CC3 is paid by June, we'll begin looking at more goals. How to pay off those monstrous student loans, how much to allocate to our severly underfunded retirement, saving more vigorously for a new car?

Which brings me to my next more important point. I don't want to work anymore. More specifically, I don't want to work outside my home anymore. I want to be home with my sons and possibly try to have another. DH thinks it's a pipe dream as we can't live off his income. Even if we could cut our expenses so severely that we could manage on his income, we'd have to sell our house that we just bought in July '06, and we wouldn't be able to adequately fund our retirement, save up for a new car, pay off $49,000 in student loans, etc...The only way I got to stay home when the kiddos were babies was because I was in graduate school living off of student loans...hence the current massive student loan debt.

I've racked my brain for ideas. What I would really like to do is live on a remote piece of land and stay home with my kids. I could see myself running a resale shop part time.

Ah, dreams...will I be making this same complaint next January?

End of Year Summary??

November 28th, 2007 at 09:58 am

I'm working on an end of the year summary sheet so that at the end of December, I'll be able to get a big picture of what we spent during the year.

I'll be adding up all the monthly expenses for each category and getting a total, but where should I go from there?

I would like to be able to figure what percentage of my income went to each category...but unfortunately, math is not my forte. Any suggestions?

I really don't want to fool with Microsoft Money or Excel as I've tried those before and they just don't work for me.

Goal #3...Check!

November 27th, 2007 at 08:16 pm

Wow! We just paid off CC2..three months early. We are so determined to get rid of these debts that we've cut back on spending so much. We're able to dedicate so much more money to it. Boy it feels good!

We're thinking that CC3 could be paid off by at least June of '08 so I'll add that to our goals. Then we have to look at the big student loan. I don't even want to think about it.

Thanksgiving went pretty well. We had family in town but managed not to spend too much on eating. I got my 21 lb turkey for 29 cents a pound! Too bad we don't care too much for turkey, but I'm trying to force it down for lunch.

I'm rereading The Tightwad Gazette to hopefully inspire me to take the saving up a notch. I'm glad I did, because there's so many articles that I don't remember reading and I'm looking at them with a new eye.

So far we've spent about $250 on Christmas and we're nearing the end. I wound up buying a few items online, just for convenience. I figure it saves gas and time.

I am forgoing the additional sewing classes to save money and will just look for a used book. I can't be the first female to ever teach herself to sew. I am also receiving a used sewing machine for free from a fellow co-worker. It's broken, but I can look into getting it fixed, depending on the cost of course.

My Price Book

November 13th, 2007 at 03:42 pm

I decided that I should work on my price book. Last time I updated it was over 6 months ago. Since then, it feels like the price of groceries has increased and I've been spending more money at the checkout.

I love the price book because it makes me much more aware of the actual cost of things. I have been surprised many times to find that what I thought was a decent deal was really no deal at all.

The only problem with grocery pricing (beside the actual high price of groceries!) is that Wal-mart changes their sticker price often. It won't even be advertised as a "Rollback" but the price on the shelf varies. For example, great value all purpose flour is sometimes $1.06 for 5 lbs and sometimes it's $1.12. Granted a price book would help nonetheless, but one of the ideas behind it is that you become aware of pricing cycles. I don't think there is a cycle at Wal-mart.

I'd also like to join Sam's or Costco, but I just can't figure out whether I'd really save money there. I perused the shelves and took notes a few months ago and there is a savings for some of the items I buy, but can I justify the membership fee?

Any suggestions?

Coupon Discovery

November 7th, 2007 at 07:58 pm

I'm sure others already know this, but I discovered at Walgreens that I can use a coupons for an item that is free.

For example,

Walgreens is running a BOGO on St. Ives lotion and body wash. Buy the lotion get the body wash for free. I had a $1 coupon for each so I received $2 off my bill. I've done this before on shampoo and conditioner.

YEAH! I love saving money!

How I was able to save money by...

November 6th, 2007 at 07:35 pm

learning to keep an open mind.

As DH and I took a walk while MIL watched the kids, I pondered out loud how much I had changed in the last year and even in the last 5 to 10 years.

When we were first married, I never cooked. I didn't really know how and I didn't know what to cook. Nothing seemed to turn out well. I believe this is the second biggest cause of our current debt.
The first cause is poor financial planning while attending graduate school.

Since the inception of our budget last November, we've changed drastically. I got tired of DH complaining about us not being on a budget, his implications that I was the cause of our money problems, and tired of the same old..."well, we'll just spend less money this month!" So I took a day off work, and put all our financial info. into Mvelopes. We stopped using Mvelopes after about 2 months because I still didn't feel in control of the money. Then I started handrecording our expenses.

Then I happened upon a book called "The Tightwad Gazette." Although this book could be thought of as radical in some ways, it opened my mind to possibilities. I began to wonder why I was using baggies for everything, why I never turned off lights when I left the room, and why I never learned to cook. I spent a lot of time researching and reading.

I forced myself to keep an open mind. Since then, I've learned a lot about cooking and we eat things that I NEVER would have considered even a year ago. My sister thinks I'm absolutely insane for eating beans! Once I read that some people hang out their laundry, I was dumbfounded. It never occurred to me to do this. Now I've used the dryer twice since August. I cook in bulk and really enjoy it! I love providing homemade items like waffles, breakfast burritos, and other dishes for my family and doing this provides a real sense of accomplishment. I stopped buying all the convenience foods and saved a ton of money. I'm taking sewing classes. Once I opened my mind, I found liking things wasn't as hard as I imagined. It's really just a mindset that I developed growing up.

I look back a year and say WOW..I've really changed. I look back 5 years ago and say "What in the &*^$ was I thinking?"

A powerful lesson is learned. Be willing to try things you never imagined.

Our 1 year budget anniversary

October 24th, 2007 at 03:23 pm

Well, a new fiscal month is beginning here. Time to assess our spending for the previous and set goals for the upcoming.

We were over in the following categories:
DH personal budget = $100 but spent 132.04
Household = $175 but spent 299.18
Medical = $50 but spent 56.07
Grocery = $300 but spent 407.10

I am usually under in the grocery budget, but I bought a lot on sale this month.

I did meet many of my goals this month, like creating separate savings accounts for Christmas, my son's prepaid college tuition (due yearly), and life insurance (also due yearly). I got curtains hung up in one room (hopefully to save money on energy), and have saved over $80 by using coupons.

In November, I'm going to temporarily lay off using the coupons to get deals as I've got a huge stockpile of stuff and it's contributing to me overspending in the household budget category. I'm still saving for our energy efficient freezer and plan to hang up curtains in my other son's room. I've also signed up for my first sewing class so hopefully I'll eventually be able to make my own curtains, pillows, and Halloween costumes. We will also begin tackling a new project: a compost bin. I've recently begun keeping track of how many loads of laundry I dry outside; I know it's significant b/c our electric bill is down $30.

November also marks an important occasion in our family. It was one year ago this month, that my husband and I decided to put ourselves on a real budget. We started by using Mvelopes, but progressed to our much more primitive way of doing things...handrecording. It works so much better! I'm looking at last January's budget right now, when we first began handrecording, and we spent $600.48 on groceries, $303.04 on eating out, $394.20 on household items! We have come such a long way! Yes, there are times when we overspend, but the important part is now we are aware of what we are doing and see how it truly affects our money. Nothing is random any longer! We don't have much of a savings anymore since we bought our house in July, but our overall debt is down thousands!

The good, the bad, and the very ugly

October 21st, 2007 at 08:50 pm

The Good:

1. I hung out 4 loads of laundry this weekend.
2. I am taking my first sewing class this week.
3. DH and I are considering tackling a new project...a compost bin. I'm going to the library tomorrow for more research. Can I even start that in October?
4. I updated our debt and noticed it's gone down about $4,000 from sometime (I didn't write the date) I think it might have been August, but that seems like an awful lot of money for just a few months.
5. Got a free single jogger stroller from Freecycle.

The Bad:
1. Ate at McD's Sat night
2. We've gone over budget in many areas this month. Those categories include: DH personal budget, groceries, and household. The household budget is always the first thing to go; I should reconsider that amount.

The Ugly:
1. Medical technicians are coming to take blood and urine samples tomorrow because we bought a life insurance policy.
2. We have to pay our annual premimum for life insurance probably this week. I'll know to set aside money for this in the future.

You know, I feel pretty bad considering I have a lot more good stuff then bad stuff to report. I'm not sure what's wrong with me.

Goals, Goals, Goals...They're Everywhere!

October 15th, 2007 at 01:43 pm

Before I get to our goals...I've tallied up this month's coupons savings. So far (drum roll please) we've saved $78.17! I had no idea I was doing this well!

In other good news, the electric bill was down $30 as a result, I believe, of me using the clothesline instead of the dryer.

Here are some new/revised goals for our family to consider...

1 - Begin the $20 challenge. Use money saved from coupons, $2 per load of laundry air dried, and $2 per lunch eaten at home. Use $20 challenge money for ???.

2- Create a designated Christmas account. We have 2 places in which we save for this expensive holiday and I'd like to see it more efficiently done.

3 - Use Wal-mart giftcards to purchse gasoline for the month rather than use cash. Saves 3 cents per gallon.

4 - Finally put up the curtains, check the water heater temperature, and BUY A NEW FREEZER!

5 - Consider a family vacation to New York in a few years and the best way to save for that.