Monday, February 28, 2011

$100 bucks!

Can I do it?... I just don't know!

My goal for the month of March is to spend $100 bucks on groceries and thats IT! WHOA! I know, right? But... i'm dang sure gonna try.

I have gone through receipts from the past few months and am trying to figure out how much everything costs.

I have gone through my recipe book and my mental list of meals I know how to cook and I am trying so hard to figure out if I can do it or not.

Spaghetti, tacos, grilled chicken, sandwhiches, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwhiches, sloppy joes.... can I make all these meals on $100 bucks? ... I guess we will find out! I'll keep you posted. Could you do that?

FIRST couponing experience

Alrighty--I did it!!! I went on my first "couponing" trip. It felt like a fiasco b/c my coupons are NOT organized enough for this mess BUT they will be soon and very soon!

First let me say that my goal was NOT to leave with tons of free stuff. I'm too new for that to be happening but I had told Jere that I wanted to at LEAST save about 50 bucks a month on "household stuff". That stuff to me is TP, paper towels, laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc. Make sense? So anyway thats exactly what I did!

I purchased:
2 bottles of arm and hammer detergent
1 package of always(new) pads
2 boxes of Kotex tampons
1 box Tampaz pearl tampons
2 bottles of childrens pain relief (1 tylenol, 1 ibuoprofen)
1 bottle colgate whitening toothpaste
1 package of 6 VIVA paper towels
1 package of 6 double roll Charmin Ultra
1 bottle of Simply Orange(not was in the fridge)

I spent : $33.47

My ORIGNAL total was $68.49 before I gave her my coupons. AND I left with $8 dollars in Walgreens Bucks. (register rewards)

Let me break it down... I had extra coupons of Kotex, Tampax, Charmin, Viva, Arm and Hammer and the Simply Orange.

Simply Orange was on sale for $3.00 and I had a $1.00 off coupon.
I had a $2.00 off ANY tampax product and these tampons were on the "Discount isle." Don't know why...but they were already marked down. Kotex was 2 for $6 and I had a $2.00 off coupon. VIVA towels were on sale PLUS an instore coupon and I printed off an addtional coupon. Arm and Hammer was already $4 bucks off each bottle AND I had a coupon for $2.00 off any 2. SO I got those 2 bottles (normally 6.99 each) for $4 bucks TOTAL! Crest whitening toothpaste(which I NEVER buy b/c its $$$) was on sale already for $2.99 PLUS a $2.99 register rewards AND I had a $1.00 off coupon.

I can't remember it all...its a blur. :) I went in with my pile of coupons and notes and AGGGHHH!!! I found myself walking around in circles. PROBABLY would have been easier to go in for 2 or 3 items but I didn't. BASICALLY I got almost $70 bucks of stuff for $22 if you take off the "register reward" bucks that I left with. NOW the smart thing to do is head back and stock up on TP or paper towels while they are on sale. Oh and laundry detergent. What a bargain!

I didn't leave with a weeks full of food at all. BUT I bought enough detergent to last me a while (I had already had a stock pile of 3 bottles b/c they were on sale a few weeks back) AND I added to my stock pile of tp. Don't plan on going over board BUT I am so glad that I took the time to figure this out.

Happy shopping!

"gonna live like i'm..." poor!

February was our "Free month". We did pretty good. We didn't do any activities that cost money. We hit up the parks, library, free coupons at redbox, free Netflix... so all in all we did GREAT! We ate out one time and used a gift certificate but we still owed some money. We TRIED and I am so proud of Jere and I. It was NOT easy. I even managed to buy some clothes using credit at my consignment shop so it wasn't like the worst month ever. We still had a BLAST :)

We have had a trip planned to Canton, Texas for this coming weekend and I am so pumped about it! I have NEVER been and it will be a lot of fun. I have cash saved up and thats all I can spend. BUT that does throw a damper on my "poor month".

Free month was fun and just a TASTE of whats to come... I feel VERY strongly about cutting back on expenses. I have begun couponing, we have cut down on our cell bill... little things that we never thought much about we have tried to get rid of. BUT...what if we actually had a month where we spent NOTHING above and beyond the necessities? NO $1.00 movies. NO going out to eat...?? What would THAT be like?

Well... I have a feeling that it will be fun! I love stuff like this, but its hard to keep the WHOLE fam on board. My goal is to try. Every month I feel sick at my stomach when writing out the bills and I gripe about being so broke, yet somehow I manage to rent a movie, grab a lunch to go, buy a new shirt, go here-go there... so I am NOT actually living broke enough. After 1 month of living poor...paying car, insurance, home, electricity, water, tv and food...what if I spent NOTHING over that for 1 month? Would it be like a HUGE wake-up call or would it be like "Eh, whatever." I'm guessing we will find out.

March 7th-April 7th is poor month at the Matthews household. We will have a home, tv, food, water, electricity, and we can go to the museum(since thats paid for), the library, parks, go walk downtown, grill out our meals, and STILL have fun with our friends playing card games, or riding the 4-wheeler, whatever. But we are going to live BROKE.

So here we go... get ready for lots of progress updates!

Along this journey you need friends

Going through the journey of getting rid of debt, and living frugally, you need friends to help you along. It's so easy to get caught up in WANTING what someone has purchased and you so want to but know that you shouldn't. Well, just like any journey you need someone there along the way.

I'm a people hearing peoples experiences helps keep my mind on track. So... for that reason I am sharing some blogs that I subscribe to so that I an have their input and watch someone else down the road.

PLEASE take the time to read these blogs... I wouldn't tell you if they weren't worth it.

I promise its worth your time to check them out!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Getting the hang of coupons- Day 1

There are all sorts of neat blogs that help get you ready to shop with coupons. I personally love "The Krazy Coupon Lady". She makes everything seem so simple.

so hear I sit on a Sunday morning lookin' puzzled and irritated. I went to the store and bought my paper full of coupons this morning, came home and cut them all out. Then I got out all of the ads and went through my coupons again to see which items I had coupons for. Some things are actually gonna be a pretty good deal. OTHER thigns are making me mad. To get the MOST use out of these coupons I need to go somewhere that they can be doubled which would be basically any store besides Walmart. BUT if you do go to another store and its a household item(anything other than food) it's going to be more expensive other places.

So right now I am trying to get the hang of coupons. I know its a process and it takes time and energy and research to get your "Game plan" down.

Don't get discouraged. Follow me on this journey as I try to figure out how to save lots of money with coupons.

Day #1- Cut out coupons. Go through Walmart, Target and Walgreens ads. Figure out what stuff will be free. THEN figure out what everything else will cost with coupons.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ramsey Steps

#1  $1,000 in savings
#2  Debt Snowball
#3 Finish the savings-3-6 months of bills in savings

#1 is pretty easy or at least for me it was. I set out to do it... I saved every extra dime I had, sold some things on ebay and at the consignment shop and I did it quick!

#2 Snowballing your debt is the LONG step. You start with the smallest balances first. Forget interest rates and I KNOW thats hard to do b/c to you it makes sense. BUT TRUST ME... those small balances going away make you feel accomplished and keep you on track. This step can take YEARS!

#3  I'm working on that... not there yet but I will be by the end of the year. That is my goal!

#4  Retirement--if I can start this step by the time I hit 30 I will be doing good. That gives me 3 years to get a LOT done.

The steps aren't easy...they take a while, but its such a good feeling even when you just accomplish one of them!

Money questions to ponder...

What would you be willing to do to become DEBT FREE?

*sell your car?
*cut up your cards?
*Have a yard sale?
*Get an extra job?
*Move to a cheaper place?
*Not eat out?
*Eat ramen noodles for a year?
*Cut your cell service?
*Get rid of your home phone?
*GIve up going to the movies for 6 months?

There are LOTS of things you can do. What are YOU willing to do to become debt free and build wealth for yourself and your family?

These are questions Jere and I have had to ask ourselves. We are happy, healthy and have fun as a family but we have really given up a LOT of luxuries... b/c the truth is they aren't luxuries if they come back to haunt you later!

How I saved on Car, Car insurance, and well, anything car!

I can't lower my car payment. I can't do much about my insurance. Gas is ridiculously high again. I don't have the money to be pouring it ALL into my vehicle. Boo on that.

So here's what I did. And its not rocket science.

*I split up my car payments. It's due on the 1st and I get paid on the 15th and the 30th. SO... I take them a partial payment on the 15th and one on the 30th. It saves me interest in the long run and makes me not feel broke all at once. At the end of my car note I will have saved myself around a full payment. Hey-i'll take it! Especially since i'm not really DOING anything.

*I quit speeding. Now I drive like an old lady. Well, old lady for me. No more speeding, cruise control is my best friend. I have a second by second gas monitor on my nav system that I can press. WHen I am at a stop light and it turns green and I start accelerating I can see that at that moment I get about 3 miles to the galon. When I speed up and get to around 40 I'm at 25 miles per hour.. so on and so forth. I try to make it a game to drive the speed limit and keep my level around 30 miles to the galon. I'm not late anywhere b/c if we have had enough tickets we have gone to defensive driving and learned that speeding by 10 miles per hour actually gets us somewhere about 45 seconds before the person not speeding. I had to grow up and realize that fact. Also by not speeding and not feeling in a hurry I just FEEL better and don't hate driving so bad. My gas is lasting longer and I haven't gotten in a ticket in over a year. Woop woop :)

* I drive my car insurance company crazy. I KNOW when tickets are supposed to be dropping off and I CALL Them and ask "hey what is my rate gonna be... hey how much is my insurance going down"... I make them aware that I KNOW its supposed to going down so not to even think about trying to pull one over on me.

* oil changes, tire rotations...blah blah. I hate that stuff. I wish my husband would do it for me, but since he doesn't I have to be on top of it.

All in all I KNOW I have saved several hundred dollars a year by being aware of how much gas I am burning, what I am spending on gas and insurance. IT's like a water hole that I am throwing money in every month and it blows...but we gotta have a car.

How are you gonna save on cars?

Where does our money go?!

I subscribed to the blog "Yes, I am cheap" And recieve an email everyday from this person. Makes me laugh. Very witty and sarcastic but chocked full of TRUTH.

I will try to imbed this picture in the blog but if not I also have a link. It's a graph of where our money goes! And its insane...totally makes you think!!!!!

Click here to see it better if you need to.

It makes you think... we aren't very smart with our money, are we?

Clothes swapping party!

I'm excited to announce that in just a few short weeks I am attending my first "clothes swapping party"! My friend Rachel got the idea and now i'm addicted to the idea. You could probably have a jewelry swap party, dishes, kids clothes, toys, Christmas decorations... like I am may be all over this :)

Anyway, ours is "Lucky 13" so you have to bring 13 items. I don't have the email in front of me but I want to say a purse, one piece of jewelry, 2 shirts, 1 skirt... and so on. What a NEAT idea! Now I DO realize that you all have to be around the same size for it to work. AND you have to go into the party with "no hard feelings"rule. If I DONT find a shirt that I want to pick then I will try to get something else. But I also may decide that my shoes are the only shoes that fit and I can't part with them! ha! Me and my shoes...

Anyway, thats an idea that my friend came up with and I think its going to be awesome. THere will be about 5 of us which is the perfect amount. 

Just a thought.. maybe something that you'd want to try. It's a great way to get new items without spending a dime.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February Free Month success!

I had told you that February was going to be our "Free month" and that my plan was to have about 3 of these a year! Well... it went GREAT! I was so worried about how it would go down, and about falling off the wagon and being frustrated. But nope-it went great!

yes, we spent SOME money. We had to buy groceries, we ran through MCd's once... but seriously this was NOT hard at all! We didn't go out to eat period (ok the mcd's probably does count), we didn't get take out. I cooked (or Jere grilled) every meal we ate! And ya know what? I got spoiled! That was such a bonding time for us, and Ava got to help cook some things--and it was just a great family time for us. We watched LOTS of Netflix since its free still. :) We cleaned out our DVR. We used Redbox codes to get free movies. We borrowed movies from friends. We had friends over to our house instead of going out. This was honestly a SUPER fun month!!! And i'm' so proud of us.

Another thing that makes me super pumped is that I added it up this morning... and we spent $128.16 at Walmart/Kroger for the entire month!!! i know right?! I clipped coupons, and bought on sale items! I ALSO made a list of everything that was in our fridge, freezer and cabinets and stared at that list til I could invent some kind of meal out of it. :) Yes... we need to go to the store but honestly its for things like peanut butter, and relish(we eat lots of tuna) ... its not for meal items. THOSE items we have.

I'm proud. We didn't save thousands of dollars this month but we did prove that we can live a fun life having a good time without spending a lot of money... and I am soooo so proud of us :)

give it a try. What would it hurt to try and spend NO extra money for one month? You will find yourself enjoying the challenge!

Simple little things...

The other night I was talking with my friend Rachel about HOW much we spend on groceries and HOW much we hate spending it!! She and I both (and probably most people) would rather have that money to go do something FUN! We all have our little things that we do to save a little bit here and there... some are CRAZY over the top like diving through dumpsters, and others well... some of us just....

**I always keep an empty bottle of windex around... I buy a new bottle and pour half in the other bottle and add water. So now I have 2 full bottles of windex and its not as strong of an odor when you use it but it cleans JUST as well.**

**I don't buy shaving cream... I buy conditioner. Conditioner is SUPER cheap and lasts forever. Most people just use a TAD bit of conditioner on their hair anyway and if you think about what conditioner does to your HEAD, imagine what it would do to the hairs on your legs. Make them softer, smoother, silkier. It's awesome..and it saves a few bucks a month!**

**I buy lotion and vaseline at the dollar store. I put them on together. So it makes my skin softer and smoother (I have excema so thats why i'm all about skin stuff), and it's 2 bucks for 2 things and the combination is AWESOME and cheaper than buying the Eucerin lotion by about 8 bucks**

I can't save the world a dollar at a time... but I can try :) What do YOU do to save money? and TELL ME !:)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My cheap outfit #2

Again here I am feeling vain for putting up this picture so please keep in mind its JUST to show you it CAN be done.

Also--several of the stores I have lots of clothes from are no longer in business. So you will have to improvise. :)

Shirt: Consigment shop for $2.99
Stretch pants: Walmart for $4.00
Shoes: HYP(awesome boutique) $17.50.(These were on the half price sale! YAY!)

Necklace and Earrings: Charmed $1.00 each!

The most expensive part of this outfit was the shoes. What can I say? I'm a shoe hound! I have a fabulous collection of shoes(and I am working on a blog to shoe them off...again, probably sooo vain but I have to do it) but I have bought ALLLLL of them at next to nothing. Ladies--it CAN be done!

Practically FREE spaghetti sauce!

Click HERE and print off a 45 cent off coupon on HUNT'S spaghetti sauce. Here's the cool part... Kroger, Harvest Foods and some other stores double up to 60 cents. SO... since Walmart, Kroger AND Harvest Foods keep their Hunt's spaghetti sauce at either .99 cents or $1.00... you are getting it PRACTICALLY free!

I love spaghetti... and I love the fact that I can go buy 3 or 4 cans and have spent a quarter! YESSSS.... i'm back in the game! :)

Don't forget to print it off AND you can totally print more than one. Trust me... I just printed 7!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Old Navy reciepts

Be sure and check your Old Navy reciepts! MOST of the time they gave you an additional sheet of paper that has a code on it and a website. These are FOR REAL! You get 10% off for completing this little survey. It takes about 3 minutes and you can save 10% on your next purchase.

so BE SURE and do these surveys. If not, you are just throwing away money! :)

This is a GREAT website! PLEASE go check it out!

When you become a member you get to browse through samples and figure out which ones you want. I got mine today! Now I will say that I filled this out about a month ago so don't expect it tomorrow. I got a sample of tampons, shampoo (Pantene and Head and Shoulders) And a few coupons!

PLEASE check it out! Its worth it and you will enjoy getting the free goodies :)

Old Navy, Sears AND your local consignment shop!

I was VERY excited when I realized that Old Navy and Sears are having HUGE sales. IT's funny... b/c they don't really advertise that very much! They rarely let you become aware of how CHEAP things are.

On a whim I ran into Old Navy when I was waiting for my sister and dad to show up for our lunch date. Rows and ROWS of winter AND summer clothes on sale for men, women and children. I didn't buy anything for me.. man I wanted to!~ But I did get some things for my daughter. 3/4 length shirts that are perfect for this time of year are marked down to $3.00 in the childrens section.

Sears had racks and racks of winter pea coats, nice thick furry vests, jeans, pants, summer tank tops, winter sweaters, belts, and more!

I don't know what your local store has but i'm telling you... this is THE time to be shopping for summer! Stores have stock rooms full of last years clothes and they have to get rid of them. Also a GREAT time to be looking ahead at winter.

your local consignment shop... this is the time when people "Spring Clean." And since most shops(the good ones anyway) only take clothes that are in season or are about to be in season you can find a nice selection of spring and summer clothes RIGHT NOW!

So quit reading, and go save a buck or two :)

Frustrated but can't give up!

This is one of those VERY frustrating moments when I am TRYING to be good and save money but just can't seem to do it...

I have blogged before about "Extreme Couponing" show I saw on TLC. One lady was called the "krazy coupon lady" and today I found her website thanks to my friend Rachel. :) I was excited to read what she had to say.

Cara's Disclosure... I do NOT want to be a binder holder full of coupons kinda lady BUT I would like to pay WAY less for the items I use the most of. :)

So anyway... I looked through her list of coupons(theres a TON) and printed off the ones that made me happy. $1.00 off any Velveeta product, $1.00 off Simply Orange, and some Garnier Fructis coupons. I walked around and looked a prices and was super stoked to find out that with the already low prices PLUS my doubled coupons I could get about 14 items for $5 bucks! WOW! I was in coupon clippin' heaven.

I knew I couldn't buy everything just then b/c I had to get back to work but I had my plan mapped out for tonight. On the way out the door I ran into a worker and said "now y'all double coupons up to $1.00 right?" She said... gulp..."Only up to .60 cents". WHATT???? My throat closed and I felt light headed. SIXTY CENTS? How could this be? All of my walking around Kroger in my high heeled leopard shoes with my toes hurting each second all of a sudden did NOT seem worth it.

I got out to the car and called Jere. He is so good to me. "It's okay Cara. We will find a grocery store that doubles. AT least you are trying." He's so awesome. ANYWAY... I got back to work and googled all of the grocery stores in Hot Springs and called. NO ONE doubles coupons. Let alone triples. Thats just bogus. When I worked at Brookshires in Arkadelphia we tripled up to $1.00 one day a week. This is ridiculous!

So I even broke down and called good ol' Arkadelphia. NOPE. Not anymore. Triple up to .50 cents. Wow. How awesome of you--NOT!!!

So I am frustrated. I have hit this wall that is making me NUTS b/c all of these amazing writers that live and breathe coupons talk about getting things for free. Well my friends... that ain't gonna happen if they don't double up to $1.00. I just don't see how its possible.

If you have any ideas please let me know b/c right now I am thinking that maybe couponing is JUST not for me!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shopping out of season

Probably one of the BIGGEST lessons I have learned is shopping out of season. Doing that for your kids is not a good thing... trust me. You will have piles of stuff for the yard sale or consignment shop. But for YOU...this is PERFECT! Chances are your size will not change.

Hit up after summer sales and get a whole new wardrobe for next year. Buy swimsuits in January. This is the only way I have the amount of clothes I have. I can buy 8 shirts at Sears for summer, but I buy them in February, and spend a whopping $26.00. (I did this last week. I'm still on a high from it.)

You HAVE to be smart. You have to know that things WILL go on sale...and you must be ready for them. Save a little bit each month to hit up those after season sales. And when you do... TELL me about it :) I want to hear!

Cheap outfits...can it be done?!

i am NOT a vain person so for me to talk about myself is not easy for me... much to some's suprise. :) thing I LOVE to talk about is how cheap I got my clothes! I have TONS of clothes and shoes, and jewelry, and purses... all for next to nothing.

One thing people ask me a lot is HOW do I do it?! Well... it's an art. You have to shop out of season, you have to DIG, you have to be willing to go to places that may look sketchy.

This for example is an outfit that cost NEXT to nothing. The beauty of it is that I can wear all of these things with other items. *Thats a key point... don't buy something that ONLY goes with one thing. That makes no sense. Buy things can be switched around, changed from casual to dressy.*

Not a fabulous picture of me....BUT... its a cheap and fun outift.

Shirt: TJ MAXX in the dead of winter so buying a short sleeve shirt made it $4.00.

Pants: $12.00 at TJ MAXX in September so they were blowing out their "Summer" stuff.

Shoes: Charlotte Russe $5.00. Bought them in January. Evidentally summer wedges are marked down then. :)

Earrings: Charmed. $1.00. same goes for the necklace.

So add that up... $23.00 bucks on an outfit. Thats more than my usual outfits BUT I have worn this short with dressy pants to work, I have worn dressy shirts with these pants, I can wear these shoes with ANYTHING.

Just an example of how it CAN be done. and I would love NOTHING more than to shop with you and help you find these bargains :)

FREE movie for one night!

Okay so Redbox has done it again! "LIKE" them on their facebook page by clicking here and wait for the envelope to open with your one night free code to be used on February 24th.

What are you waiting for? Go claim that FREE movie :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fine line between bargains and hoarding

That's right. I said it. You KNOW you were thinking it! :) There is a FINE line between keeping up with bargains and becoming a HOARDER.

So you probably saw the show "Extreme Couponing." That stuff is NUTS! WHO DOES THAT? Who "dumpster dives" to save a buck or two?

So... how do we find that balance???

It's like this... you have to keep up with what YOUR family uses the most. It's so important. I can't speak for anyone but me so ... I have ezcema. That means only certain soaps, detergents and fabric softeners. The ONLY brand that does not break me out is PUREX.  When Purex goes on sale I buy it up! Now I don't buy 50, but I may be 3 or 4. This week at Kroger Purex liquid (which smells amazing by the way) was on sale for $2.69. HOLY COWZERS! Of COURSE I bought that stuff up. I bought 3. I didn't buy 50 and start a "stock pile" in my garage *that is insane* but I did buy enough that we have it for a while. And I saved a good bit of money.

What about foods?!!?!?!

No different. If you KNOW that you use cans of cream of chicken soup on average of 4 days a week and they are typically $1.09 but you find them on sale for $.69... you are a fool if you don't buy those suckers up! Don't buy so many that you can't fit your kids in the car, or that you can't shut your cabinets--basically use common sense.

It's really sad that I have to write this blog, but after seeing that show and realizing how many people jeopardize their safety and sanity by buying way too much b/c its "on sale"... that just made me sad.

Be smart. Shop the sales. Use coupons. Save money. Just don't lose your head in the process.

#1--Know which items your family uses a LOT of. Keep a list of these items and the "typical" prices for them THAT way you KNOW if its actually a bargain when you see it on sale.

#2--Know how MUCH of that item you use. That way you don't buy 30 of something that you only needed 6 of. Be smart. Keep lists of what you need, what you use the most, and look for it on sale.

#3--Stock up...but don't STACK up. If you don't have room for it...don't buy it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Entertaining the family for cheap!

So its apparent that I am a cheap-o. But I STILL have a 5 year old and a husband to entertain and that comes with a price tag for sure. I am content to sit at home and watch the same tv show OVER and OVER where as they are not so much apt to do that.

So...I signed up for Netflix. It's free for 30 days and I don't get dvds in the mail... I watch them INSTANTLY on my computer! My daughter can pick out a Scooby movie or watch Princess and the Frog from the computer. INSTANTLY. And at this point it is FREE! Jere and I can log in and watch episodes of 24, or catch up on chick flicks! :)

And it costs us nothing. Since renting movies is expensive if you can actually find a movie store, OR you get them for a buck at Redbox but you have to have it back by 9 pm... it makes it soooo convenient to have thousands of movies and tv shows at our finger tips.

Give it a try. At LEAST try the 30 days. If you find that taking your computer around the house to watch a movie is NOT something you will do than at least you know and found it out before it costs you anything. AND if you find out that snuggling in bed so you can both see the computer screen becomes part of your nightly routine then TADA! :) It can be yours free for 30 days AND after that just $7.99 a month. Not a bad price to pay for entertainment...

Go to Netflix website and check it out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The story of a frugal mommy

That's me. I'm the frugal mommy. The mommy that ALWAYS hunts for a bargain. BUT... i'm also the mommy that wants my kid to be dressed as cute as a bug every day and I myself like my clothes :) SO... how does this work?

I had always been one that shopped for bargains. My mom taught me that. I never in my life went to a store without going to the sales rack first. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she would say "No Cara. We aren't buying that. It WILL go on sale and we can get it then." Especially as a teenager I would get SO mad. Thats why I got odd jobs like babysitting, and working for my friend's mom at a gift shop and even took a job as a checker at the grocery store. I wanted to have MY money to buy what I wanted. I remember a fight with my mom in our local JCPenney store when I was so rude and said to her "I can't WAIT to grow up. I will NEVER buy anything on sale!" Wow did I eat my words. :)

I would work and save my money to go buy whatever cute shirt I had seen wherever but after a while I would get to the store to buy it and my stomach would knot up. I would see myself taking my hard owned money from changing diapers, and checking out peoples disgusting groceries **Worst part was when the blood from whatever meat they bought got on my hands. GAG* and it was really hard to watch that money go away so fast. So I found myself looking for bargains. I realized that I could buy so much MORE stuff if I waited til it was on sale. I would get excited to run into my favorite store *Keep in mind I grew up in a town of 10,000 people so there were 2 stores to chose from* and check to see if my shirt was on sale. It became a game to see how cheap I could get things!

I have splurged a time or two in my life on something that I REALLY wanted but I can safely say that everything in my closet came from a major store sale *major=wayyyy more than 50% off*, a consignment shop or a garage sale. And i'm not gonna lie... I got some cute stuff :)

Then enters my daughter. This precious little girl that I want to dress head to toe in pink, and hairbows, and the cutest shoes ever! WOW--thats expensive! I had to learn to hit the sales, consignment shops, put it out there on facebook *Hey friends! anyone have any 4t stuff they wanna get rid of??* Saying that stuff doesn't make me cheap it makes me SMART! I have managed to buy my daughter a TON of cute clothes, awesome winter coats perfect for all this Arkansas snow we have experienced this year AND some cute clothes just because they are cute and on sale.

It's been a journey and its not over. I have to put back a LOT of fun things that I want. I love jewelry. Costume jewelry can fix ANY boring outfit... but I still have to watch my money closely. My journey is not over because I am learning more and more ways to shop frugally, and still have what we need and a few wants.

Thank you for following me on this journey... I hope it helps you see that it CAN be done.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Want a smelly good house for FREE?! Well, it ends up being free anyway.... :)

Go to Febreze's website and look at all the details. Basically it goes like this...go to the store and buy a febrezae noticeable, keep your receipt, mail it to Febreze and they send you a refund check! Ta-da!

PERFECT way to keep that house smelling good.... for FREE! WHAT a bargain!

Saving on photos

EVERY week I could make a post about what Walgreens is promoting this week.. Or... you could sign up yourself! :)

Go to Walgreens website and set up an account. It's free! You can upload all of your photos so they are ALWAYS in a safe place and are only one click away to being ordered. you can set up the Walgreens that you use the most. You can order prescriptions, recieve emails when your medicine is ready, and the same for photos.

I have made photo books from the website, had them ordered and delivered all from home! Walgreens mails out an email EVERY Sunday morning that has either 10 cent photos, or buy 25 and get 25 free! DEFINITLEY worth signing up.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February free month progress

Today is February 8th which means we are 8 days into our "Free Month". I set aside this month to be free because I knew it would be cold, dreary and not a lot going on. So far, so good.

Even though its been FREE, thats not to say we haven't had a good 8 days! We have... used free vouchers at Oaklawn, played video games at a friends house one night, caught up on DVR, CLEANED like mad people,  had a Phase Ten game night, walked around the flea market and JUST looked, and enjoyed some good ol' duck gumbo with our hunting pals! It's been good... I had forgotten that I haven't swiped my debit card in quite some time til I got online to check my banking and realized that NOTHING new was there or pending :) It was kind of a nice feeling.

We aren't making any extra money by doing this, but we sure aren't spending any. It's nice to know that when I wrote out my checks, mailed them off, there was money left that I wasn't going to spend. I can't do this EVERY single month, but a few times a year I can handle. There are so many fun things to do in Hot Springs, so much that a couple can do together that doesn't require money. It's been nice to remember that... I have had my boring moments. (Jere can testify to that). Sometimes you just want to leave your house! But when you do you have to have a plan. If you don't, you will stop by the mall, run to Sonic, rent a movie and before long you realize that your "boredom"cost you $35 bucks!

It's been fun. I encourage you try it. THanks for following us on our journey through frugality!

Learning the hard way

I learn EVERYthing the hard way. I have great intentions. I wake up refreshed and am ready to start the day and find new ways to save! Doesn't sound like a problem... but it sure can be.

When it comes to saving money and learning to cut back it can become overwhelming. I know it is for me! You can't do it all. You can't be the coupon queen, you can't drive all over town looking for the best deal. SO... you have to decide what is important to you! If coupons is your thing, then go attack it. If finding freebies is your thing then DO it! But trying to do them all takes TIME! Its hard to do it all.

The 3 things I focus on are:

#1-making a budget and sticking to it
#2-planning out my meals, lists, and sticking to it
#3-NOT overspending on clothes for me or Ava

Those are the three things I have chosen to stick to it. There are so many ways to save, so many sites you can join to help you out (some free, some rather costly) but overall it comes down to what do YOU want to see done. I have learned that we can plan out our meals and grocery lists and save around $200 bucks a month at the grocery store. I use my kroger card and upload coupons to it on an almost every day basis. I have learned that having a budget and paying bills on a SET date every month keeps me from ever being short and ever being behind.

What are your three things?

I try to post coupons and discounts that I hear of, but there are PLENTY of sites that do that. I enjoy sharing these things but I want to help people focus on the daily, small things they can do. Such as budgeting, meal planning, etc.

I welcome your feedback, opinions, and tips!: ) Thanks for reading!

Sites to save

I have a wonderful friend who is always encouraging me in my blogging business. :) She has introduced to me to some amazing websites such as which has been a LIFE saver! Or at least a time saver!

A few more for you to check out for tips on savings, coupons, and more are;

Check them out!

Valentines Day

Just being honest... we aren't big "V-Day" people at our house. I always get my daughter something small just so that she doesn't think I forgot, but as far as me and my husband... not so much. I've been married 9 years out of my life already and I can't think of a good Valentines Day yet. And then before THAT of course it was high school drama and I just never liked the holiday.

BUT... doesn't really matter if I personally celebrate it or not, this is a HUGE holiday to many and a very large money maker! It's also a time to completely BLOW your budget.

SO... how are you going to celebrate this magnificent holiday with your lovely significant other without breaking the bank? HOPEFULLY you already planned this out but just in case....

**Write each other love letters
**Google old poetry and find one thats perfect, and re-write it for your lover
**Watch HIS favorite movie with him (that you already own, of course)
**Send him a text during the day with a promising suprise waiting at home. The suprise can be YOU... doesn't have to cost a dime.
**make a cd using the songs you downloaded from limewire long before they got rid of it :)
**Tell your spouse that you love them, cook supper TOGETHER, watch a movie TOGETHER, and just enjoy being TOGETHER

I'm sure have other ideas that will work as well. I have some REALLY good ones, but this blog is meant to help people stay on their budgets, not to improve their love lives. :)

I sincerely hope that you have a marvelous Valentines Day and that you get to spend it with the one you love.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Okay so this is about our journey... and Jere and I have BLOWN our grocery store trips so many times. But i didn't really know how to do it. I have tried so hard to spend time making our list, preparing what I need to make whatever meal it is, convincing Jere that we need to NOT go out and eat... and we have DONE it! And I am so proud.

Jere and I for a while ate out about 3 nights a week... it wasn't meant to happen... it just did. I'd get home late, he'd be tired, we'd be out of some random ingredient and just run to a restaurant instead. But we have got our act together now! I spent about 2 hours, if not longer, preparing menus, grocery lists, and also preparing for what I thought the cost would be. I'm SOOOOO glad I did that!

We successfully went to Kroger AND Walmart (didn't waste money on gas b/c we had to pass Walmart anyway) and purchased EXACTLY what we need for one weeks meals. I had a few coupons, my Kroger card in hand, and with the exception of 3 items that Jere added to the cart (not mad at him.. he was right I had just forgotten) we stayed on budget and are SET for the week! I am SOOOO proud :)

It's hard ya know. We used to go to the grocery store with no list, no meals planned. We'd just walk up and down the isles going "hmm that sounds good, yea add that . Get two just in case.". We would have SOOO many bags to unload and at the end of the day we had no real meals to cook.

It took time, longer than I wanted to spend, but I know the next time it won't take as long. :) I set out a plan, found some new recipes, bought the ingredients and stuck to my BUDGET! I am soooo proud :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays

Ruby Tuesdays is not my favorite restaurant ever... BUT...they deliver some amazing coupons! And if dining out is something that is important to you, you want to try and save as much money as possible.

I receive random coupons in the mail for $10 bucks off my meal, and today I got 2 entrees for $20. BUT... it gets better. Go to ruby tuesdays website by clicking here  and sign up for "so connected". You receive LOTS more coupons, notifications of upcoming new items AND discounts. Also you get a free burger on your birthday!

Check it out. It's worth saving a few...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Wendy's has introduced the BEST fries ever. Natural cut with sea salt. So must try them. Cheap is good is better. Click here for the coupon. You have to have the coupon application downloaded in your computer and this link will allow you to ad that. Don't worry... it won't mess up your computer. It won't add a tool bar. It just allows coupons to print for ANY place and allows the barcode to be accepted when you use it.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ramsey style

As many of you already know I have a love-hate relationship with Dave Ramsey. He is a financial genious in my opinion, but he makes me crazy because he puts a kink in my plan sometimes! :)

If you have not already, I encourage you to read "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. This book is full of a very simple plan. Now just because I said simple does NOT mean its a quick plan. Don't let those two things get confused. I do best when talking about crockpots because that is my main source of cooking. :) I google "Simple crockpot recipes" on a regular basis. These recipes just involve a few things to sprinkle in, pour in, and you chunk your meat in as well. Put the lid on, turn it on low and leave the house for 8 hours, come home and eat. Its SIMPLE...but not quick. So I don't want you to begin the process thinking that by simple I mean quick. Okay, glad we got THAT out of the way.

Dave Ramsey does not play games. He tells it like it is. Quit spending, start saving, sell everything from your clothes to plasma and put that money away!

I have always been good at getting to the FIRST step of Dave Ramsey's plan... and that is to save $1000. That part always comes easy, but then somethign happens and I need some of the money and I am always starting over. BUT... get that part out of the way. Save that money! It makes you feel so good when you do. I saved that money in less than 3 months. I was saving completely on my own, being solely dependant for all my bills so this was ME buckling down. This was me selling some leftover furniture that I needed to get rid of, having a yard sale, not keeping ANY extra money out of my paychecks to spend but transferring it ALL into savings. It CAN be done. So start with that.

We will get into the other steps later...right now I want you to save $1,000 bucks and go to your local library and check out "THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER". Don't buy it... wouldn't that defeat the purpose!? :)

**Side note... since Jere and I BOTH work, we BOTH are going to save $1,000. So our emergency fund has just been doubled but its only fitting since we rely on two incomes.**

There's no place like home...

I love Wizard of Oz, and I love being at home. I am definitley a home body! I like to have fun nights with my friends, and date nights with my hubs on occasion but I can honestly say for the most part I am okay with being at home.

My husband and I met years ago when I worked for him. He owned a furniture store and I was hired on as a salesperson. So for nearly 4 years I spent my days helping others decorate their homes. It's so much fun to do that when its not YOUR money. So with my husbands background in home furnishings and my experience you can only IMAGINE what the two of us are like walking through a furniture store :) It's quite comical. We BOTH have good taste, we get bored of furniture easy(its soooo easy to do that when you worked in a furniture store and saw the same pieces day after day and sometimes year after year), so we like to try and buy things cheap or at least things that we can move to another room or something!

Even store like Kirklands are hard for us to go in! We both have really good ideas of how to decorate our home but we want to do it right and CHEAP of course.

There is such a thing as doing it too cheap. I know right? Can't believe I said that either. Let me give you a good example...I was wanting some shelves to go over our tv in the living room. We have like 10 foot ceilings and the walls are white. We rent, so painting is not out of the question, but I don't want to ever think about having to paint it back. So anyway, I wanted to do something for the walls because they looked so sad, pitiful, and tall. I began looking for things to put on the walls. I would find something online at Lowe's and then run and look at it and it never was as big as I had pictured or as they made it seem. And EXPENSIVE! Stuff for your walls is NOT cheap. So I began looking for shelves... that was fun! Every shelf I could find was in a box and had to be put together, looked like plastic(it probably was) and most wouldn't even allow you to mount on the wall.

So... I called a good friend who happens to be a construction worker and asked him if he could make shelves. He could. :) He made me REAL wood shelves, only charged me for the parts that he had to buy and they are fabulous! These babies are heavy, solid, sturdy and it cost me $30 bucks for 2 shelves. I couldn't have bought anything of significance for my walls for $30 bucks.

My point... you can live frugally, save a dime and not give up quality. You have to think deep. You have to ask questions. Do you know anyone that could do that for you? Do you have a friend who paints? You don't just go to the store and settle, nor do you spend $35 bucks in gas driving around town to save a buck or two. It's about planning and thinking before you actually DO!

Here are my shelves. I'm so proud of them!

Just what my wall needed! Some shelves and some color!! 

Dressing frugally...or just down right cheap!

Alright its time to get to the things that women WANT to hear... dressing on a budget! It can be tough but I have found it to be simple and quite fun!

I have never had the luxury of going to any store and buying whatever clothes I wanted. From a young age I knew to look for the sale racks and dig through there because buying something that was NOT on sale was probably not going to happen. I THANK my mom for teaching me this at an early age. Much easier to have spent your entire life shopping that way then having to learn it out of necessity at an older age. (Hard to teach old dogs new tricks). So with always shopping for things on sale and understanding how to stretch a dollar from a very early age, shopping has always been FUN to me but it's also been the time to DIG for that best bargain.

I've always wanted to be able to go to the mall and know that money was no object. That I could just spend and spend and spend! But... the truth is i'm way too far gone for that. Jere suprised me with a shopping spree a few months ago. I had quite a bit of cash in my pocket to go buy whatever. He BEGGED me not to make price an object and just to buy whatever but i still caught myself going to sale racks, looking at the tags, asking if they had instore coupons and so on! And though I worried Jere would be mad he actually was impressed. I managed to buy myself two pairs of shoes, a shirt, curtains and a curtain rod, a picture frame that I ended up dressing up and giving to my parents for Christmas, a cute picture frame for our house (Which I will show you later), a pair of earrings AND... I came home with $72.00 in my pocket. Jere had given me $200 to spend on ME...and I came home with enough to get my oil changed, buy Ava a few things at the consignment shop, treat her to a new dinosaur from Tuesday morning and still have a little blow money left!

My point... it CAN be done. You can have NICE things, cute clothes, awesome accessories, a well decorated home and NOT have to take out a second mortgage!!!!

Back to dressing frugally... it takes practice. It takes the ability to look at a shirt that you may not be in LOVE with and think about all that you could wear it with, what you could do to jazz it up... if the shirt is kinda cute and its only $2.00...YOU BUY IT! And you got home and empty our your tank top drawer, empty out your stash of necklaces and you play dress up!

The shirt-dress thing I have on today I bought at our local Goodwill store. It still had a price tag on it. It's not the cutest thing ever. But it works. It's different, a funky pattern and something that I won't be wearing a LOT but it's a fun piece to break up the monotoity of black pants and black shirts. :)

My husband took the pic for me. He chopped my head off and somehow managed to get the trashcan in the picture but, well, you get the idea. :)