Sunday, July 31, 2011

Did you get your coupons today?

So... did you get your coupons today?

There sure were some good ones in there!!!!!

I hope everyone got there. Let me hear about your savings this week. I will be sure to post mine!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


This happens on occasion, so stock up while you can!

Go to and find the REACH FLOSS $1.00 off coupon. You can print it twice.

Floss is .97 cents at Walmart so there ya go--its FREE :)


Friday, July 29, 2011


Do you ever feel like your LIFE is consumed with finances? If you are a reader of this blog I think it's safe to say that at least to SOME degree your life is consumed by money. The need for it, lack of it, how awesome it is that you have some, or how in the heck you are going to get it!

I've mentioned before that I think the pre-paid credit cards are amazing! I think that was a super smart invention... I just wish that I had been the one that thought of it :)

Green Dot Credit Card is an amazing invention! It's a PRE-PAID credit card that allows YOU to put on the money that you are comfortable with. You need no credit check, no worrying about over the limits, or most fees. You just put on $200 bucks for example, use it like a credit card at the stores or online. See THATS the cool part...

In a lot of ways its like using cash only cash won't let you make a purchase online! :) You MUST some sort of card for that. Why not use a Green Dot Credit Card? It's easy, doesn't take up points on your credit report and allows you the flexibility of shopping with credit with YOU having all the control.

Times are tough. Credit is more important than EVER these days. It's harder to get a loan... keep your credit looking up! Pre paid cards are a GREAT way to do that.

What do you think of these cards? Have you used one?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pre-paid cards

We've all seen them. Those cards at the check-out line that look like a Mastercard of Visa, but they are pre-paid. I think you know my thoughts on this already but just in case...

I think its AWESOME! Especially if you are trying to teach a youngster about how to manage plastic. Even though it doesn't go on your credit, it's an excellent way to teach the responsibility to young ones. Don't you think?

Green Dot Card is pretty simple to figure out. You load the money on the card, and then you use it! You can reload the card as many times as you want and it can be used anywhere that credit cards are taken.

So think of this way... if you are a family that is TRYING (like we are) to get away from plastic and just simply live on cash--well, this is the same thing! Only it comes with the convenience of a card. Green Dot Card is a genious idea!! You can find them at local retailers in your area. Whether you are going on vaca, looking to teach the principal of finances to your children (or spouse for that matter--hehe) these cards have made that much simpler.

Everyone should budget. I believe everyone should live on cash. These pre-paid cards just make that cash part MUCH easier because you can even purchase online. Pretty cool, huh?

What do you think about these cards? Do you use them? Is it worth a shot? Let me know your thoughts!


Don't forget to head over to McAlister's today for a 32 oz sweet tea for FREE! No purchase necessary! Enjoy--best --tea---ever!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If only...

I have family that lives in Hawaii and I am TOTALLY jealous. It's such a beautiful place and I cannot imagine the sheer excitement and joy waking up EVERY morning knowing that you live here!

While looking at Hawaii Real Estate I found my dream home! It's beautiful, and hello!!!! It's in HAWAII!!!!

I hope that EVERYONE gets to some day at least visit there and simply stand in awe of the beauty of wonderful Hawaii. Makes me want to go put in "Aloha from Hawaii" real quick.

No credit cards?

You've seen them EVERY where you go. Those Visa or Mastercard cards that you can just fill up with money and use like a credit card! How cool is that?

Are these a do, or not to do?

I say.... DO!

Green Dot Card was created several years ago under a different company name. It's a super cool way to have a "Credit card" with you that requires no credit. Keep in mind that even though ANYONE can get one, they do NOT help your credit. But let's think about it like this... if you are going on vacation and you are scared to take your credit card, and aren't a fan of lots of cash, then you can purchase one of these cards at a lot of retailers (CVS, K-Mart, Walgreens) and put your money on there and not have to worry about your credit getting messed up or stolen or walking around with wads of cash.

This is a GENIOUS idea! Green Dot Card makes it easy for people to have the ease of swiping a card without worrying about credit. You can control how much is on there! This would be a great way to let a teenager get used to the idea of carrying a card and watching their spending without them having to mess up their credit at such a young age.

To me this is awesome. This is a cool invention that has provided ease and peace of mind without the hassle of having to have "Credit."

Stock trading online

I don't much about finances. I mean I understand how to create a budget and stick with it, but i'm not good at just overall understanding the concept of retirement plans, 401k's, stocks, bonds, etc.

I recently opened an IRA account and I am beginning to plan for my future. I don't know that social security will exist when I am old enough to retire so I can't plan on that.

I have heard a lot through the years about stocks, bonds, etc, but now the thing is to do the trading online. So what does that mean exactly?

Stocks are defined as: A type of security that signifies ownership in a corporation and represents a claim on part of the corporation's assets and earnings. I didn't know that until I began my research! :)

Online trading is not something that the average person knows much about. What if it could be something that allowed me to retire? What if this could be the thing to help me feel safe about my future instead of constantly wondering if saving money for retirement is doing enough? It's worth a looksy for sure. The neat thing about their site is that you can really spend time learning about stock trading online. You can do research, look at different options for retirement planning, decide whats right for YOU. Money is scary... this economy is scary... so if something like this will be helpful then come on folks! Let's get all the info we can and make a good, educated decision.

Learning all you can about stock trading is important. Know what your options are, educate yourself. I had no idea how EASY it is to get involved with stocks and you can simply do it online. The security measures taken to protect online stock trading is incredible. Your money is safe and you CAN call and speak to a real person if that makes you feel better.

The internet has become something we ALL use so much everyday. Why not take the ease in planning for your retirement or stock trading? In the comfort of your home you can look at all of the options that are available for you.

Online trading may not be something you have thought about before today. Until I began planning my retirement through opening an IRA I hadn't really given it much thought either. But if we can start while we are YOUNG, how much better off we will be then putting the process off for 20 years and then start thinking about it.

Again, i'm no financial genious, but in a scary economic world we are living in now is totally the time to begin planning for your future.

What ways are you prepaing for your future? How have you begun preparing for the day when you won't work anymore? Are you banking on social security... or have you decided its time to try something else?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I love Christmas. I love that time of year and I REALLLLY love getting it all done early :)

Today I found an AWESOME website. Click HERE to check it out!

I have printed out all of the sheets I could need. Gift planning, budget, meal planning, etc.

I hope that YOU find it as exciting as I did :) Get to shopping folks! The deals are happening NOW!


When do you quit stocking up?

Question folks--if you have been working on a stock pile for a few months...when do you quit stocking and live off of it?

I'm by NO means an extreme couponer, but I have managed to stock up on house hold items and keep them on hand for when I need them. But I guess I don't know when you actually start living off of the stock pile?

Any thoughts on this? When is enough-enough? When do you quit stocking up and live off of what you have already?


I LOVE All You magazine. I also subscribed to their emails so i'm constantly getting helpful tips in my inbox. :)

I am ALL about getting rid of unnecessary payments, unnecessary items in your life and house... but I WILL say that subscribing to ALL YOU magazine has seriously saved me more money than the magazine cost! PLUS there are lots of helpful hints in the magazine. It's so worth the $1.66 an issue.

So while you are de-cluttering your life and getting rid of unneccessary things, consider keeping OR adding ALL YOU magazine to your life.

Here's today's link... enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

$90.68 so far...

I'm PROUD to say that as of today, July 19th, we have spent $90.68 at the grocery store! WAHOO!!! That's awesome!

Okay-let me explain that the BIGGEST grocery run I made was $60 bucks. I bought a TON of meat and lots of frozen veggies that were on sale. And we STILL have meat left which is GREAT because I need to make one more week out of it. :)

It's about planning... I caught chicken on sale and came home and got it separated and frozen, and I planned meals using chicken. I think there's a million ways to use chicken so it doesn't bother me if we eat it every day!

We haven't had anything exotic or exciting to eat, per se, but I have tried lots of new things with chicken and noodles, and rice, etc... it's been fun.

Tonight I HAVE to go to the store (milk, orange juice, eggs, bread). I'm hoping that Jere won't distract me into finding OTHER stuff that are "must haves" in his book. :)

How have you done this month?

Have you thought anymore about...

A shopping ban?

I had a blogger friend of mine write a post a few months back about WHY to go on a shopping ban. Check that out HERE.

I've been thinking a LOT about this lately. I've looked at the calendar and tried to figure out WHEN I could do this... and since it's my ban I've been trying to decide what MY rules will be.

I have made a LIST of things that I know I will have to save for and purchase here in the next few months.

1- contacts. My plan is to buy 1 box a month for the next 8 months. That would be more than enough to last me over a year. I wear my glasses enough to allow my contacts to last longer. It gives me a different look and allows me to save a bit of money. It's easier to buy one box a month (just set aside that $30 bucks) then to do it all at once.

2-Ava's fall wardrobe. Rhea Lana consignment event is coming up in August so i've already begun saving for that! That is when I tend to get the majority of her clothes!!

3-Christmas. I still am about 6 gifts away from being done. I haven't added my total yet. I'm thinking I will need about $125 more dollars to complete my list. I'm putting money aside faithfully for that.

4-new tires. Unfortunately, I WILL need new tires before too long. If I can keep getting them rotated and replacing them with nicer, used tires ($20 bucks a piece-what a steal) I can make these last about 8 more months which means I HAVE to be super faithful to put that money aside. Otherwise there goes a big chunk of my savings and I do NOT want that!

Other than those items, oh AND I got some gift certificates for my birthday plus money so the items I buy with those doesn't count, :), I am trying my dangdest to not buy anything additional for 60 days. I already have Ava's birthday presents so I won't have to worry about saving for that or blowing my budget, and we are having a yard sale in September so any money I make there will just be extra.

Alright- i'm gonna do it. Other than necessities: food, items we HAVE to have, medicine, doctor visits, car insurance, etc... I will NOT purchase anything else. Oh and of course the above listed items. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

My summer of cheap and free fun!

I was thinking today about what a terrific summer this has been! I have read some great books, seen some great movies, gained a little culture in my life, enjoyed time with my friends and family... and have spent VERY little.

I go to the library weekly. If not to get books and movies for my daughter, i'm getting some for ME! :) I know I harp on the library a lot and probably gets annoying... but I have thoroughly enjoyed some good summer reads and just picked up one more :) I have saved money on rentals for my daughter by allowing to check out movies at the library AND I did Netflix. (That's another story... i'm mad about their price increase)

I have done some "museum-ing" which has been fun (and of course I have found coupons). I've been able to visit our local museum (family pass) and even the The William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. My husband and I went to the arkansas sports hall of fame museum (bought that on Groupon-super cheap).

We paid the $2.00 extra to add dvd rentals to Netflix and have spent the summer catching up on some great ones!

We have used the MESS out of our pool! It's free, and it's there... TADA! When I get down on us renting I think about the joys of having the pool and it makes me feel better! (of course some of my bf's just bought a house that happened to have a pool right next to it--lucky! i'm praying that will happen to us too!)

With the exception of using money available to me at the consigment shop (I had earned it through selling items) and birthday money I haven't really spent a dime on clothing. I've learned to trim my own bangs (and no, they don't look TERRIBLE, just not great) and have avoided that expense.

I guess my point is that we haven't missed out on ANYTHING and we have spent so VERY little this summer. It's been good. I'm proud of us. YAY Matthews family! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do I sense a case of the "I can't's?"

Later on this week in my other blog (, I plan to make a post about my top favorite blogs I read!!! I hope that you hop over and take a look at that blog from time to time :)

ONE of my favorite blogs is "SIMPLE MOM". Check it out HERE. Today's post was about perfectionism and how a lot of tend to think if I can't do it all, or do it perfect, or within a timely manner--then what's the point?

Which brings me to the point of the "I CAN'Ts"!! I get these a lot. If my goal is to set aside $400 dollars one month into savings and I realize that i'll barely be able to set aside $150... I tend to just forget it. I get the "I CAN'Ts" and spend the money elsewhere. If I can't pay CASH for something that i've been saving for and realize it may take me longer to save than I expected, I tend to think " I CANT!"

DO YOU DO THIS? Or maybe its all just me... I doubt it though. There are plenty of "us" out there that feel that way.

In SIMPLE MOM's post today she even talks about how if we don't have time to clean the WHOLE kitchen, do we just leave the dishes there over night?? YEP=-thats me! If I have a cleaning plan in mind and it doesn't happen for whatever reason, then I tend to just saw forget it and go about my evening being lazy instead of doing what I CAN do.

Her post struck home with me... I DEFINITLY act that way, and it's so childish of me. :) I've got to do better. I can't save as much as i'd like to this month, but I have to save what I can. It's all about ATTITUDE. It's all in how you look at it. Sometimes looking at the big picture is scary! looking at how much you spend every month freaks you out. Looking at how much you NEED to save makes your stomach turn... while looking at the BIG picture is important at times, I think it's most important to look simply at this week, this day, this month... what can you do THIS time?

Hope that offered up a little encouragement.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Helpful or hurtful?

Groupon. Living Social. Try it local. Half off Hot Springs. The list keeps going...

There are SO many options for buying gift certificates cheaper now a days. Have you noticed that? I've bought several of the Fandango movie passes through Living Social and LOVE them. I typically pay $8 bucks and get 2 movie passes. HELLO!??!?! That's a heck of a deal. But what about all the others? Are they good deals?--I think the answer to that is YES. But are they helpful for those of us who are on a budget?

That is the BIG question!

If you have gone ALL month while sticking with your budget and then you get a GROUPON notification that your favorite restaurant is on sale at HALF PRICE--do you buy it and blow your budget? Or do you pass it up just like you did the shoes in the mall earlier?

I think all of these "deals" are personally FANTASTIC! BUT--it can get overwhelming. It's like this... I have avoided the mall, I have REFUSED to look on ebay at all the cool stuff I could spend my money on. I've done GOOD! I've stuck to my budget, saved-saved-saved--and then BOOM! Out of nowhere my inbox is full of "Great deals" that I can't pass up.

Okay now its your turn to decide what YOU Think. ARe these "Deals" Helpful---or Hurtful?

I'd love to know what you think!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What causes you to FAIL?

I've thought a LOT recently about failures. Failures in relationships, failures with jobs, and of course those ever so present financial failures.

Let's just focus on the financial ones... my therapist helps me with the others :)


What are those things in your life that cause you to fail financially?

Some things cannot be helped.

*Job Loss
*Economic issues
*Unexpected moves
*Unexpected child

There are just some things in life that we CANNOT control. Actually, there is so MUCH in life that we cannot control. For people like me who consider themselves somewhat of a control freak(just a tad), it's hard for us to handle that. 2 options--sit back and panic everytime something unexpected happens OR prepare for it. I think we should chose the second option. It makes more sense.

We know that things happen so we MUST be prepared. I know that the economy is not doing so good. My husband and I BOTH have jobs that depend on other people and their businesses doing well. So with the economy on a huge down hill slope, that makes it scary. That also means I have to work harder to make sure that I don't let financial issues sneak up on me. I KNOW the economy is bad so when I do have a great huge massive paycheck... I have to pretend like it was just a plain ol' boring paycheck. Pay my bills, put the rest aside. That's called being smart.

BUT... there ARE some things that we CAN control!

*Weekend getaways
*Eating out too often
*Springing for the new shoes we didn't need

Why do we do these things? BECAUSE WE FEEL AS THOUGH WE DESERVE THEM!! I work hard for my money!! I deserve good things! I deserve to get away. In fact, you probably do. But your FAMILY deserves security. Your FAMILY deserves to have that money stashed away for protection.

I'm not saying don't have fun... and I realize that's how I am coming across. I had a terrific weekend and I just did the figures. I spent 12 bucks. That's it. Literally. My family had a good weekend without spending money.

One of the BIGGEST things I read from other bloggers and from readers that email me is this... WE LIKE TO SHOP WHEN WE ARE DOWN! It's like you've had a bad didn't make any money...or you got let go of your job...or you just found out you are about to have to spend 1k on your to get you OUT Of that funk you go shopping?!?! GUILTY-i've done that before. But it's been a LOOONNGGG time!! I still have to work at it. Heck, I work 30 seconds from the mall! It's easy to get down and think that shopping will make it all better, but it won't! That is only a temporary fix.

Read this blog... I love his writing style and just today he wrote an article about times in our lives that we spend the most. IT's very interesting and worth the read.

What causes ME to fail is things like this:

*birthdays that just SLIPPED up on me! So I go and blow 30 bucks real fast on something that I'm not even proud to give that person. (Let's put those on the calendar so that doesn't happen)
*Realizing I don't have a necklace to match my shirt. I hate that. So I run to the cheapest gaudy jewelry store I can find and since it's so CHEAP, i'll buy 6.
*Extra trips to the grocery store. So I forgot to get toothpaste... (bad example. That's the one thing I have a HUGE stock pile of...but you get the picture), i'll run in and grab that, and an extra tomato. Oh and a box of cookies for desert. My $2 dollar trip turned into $16 before I could count that high!
*Unprepared weekends. I don't have time during the week to do anything except work, but if I don't have my weekend plans layed out before me then I will DEFINITLEY screw up and find myself in a checkout line somewhere...buying something.

What slips you up? What could you change to make sure it doesn't happen anymore??

I'd love to hear from you!


I saw a post from the above blogger this morning on getting free SHOUT wipes through facebook! so I followed her advice and I got em! Now its your turn!

LIKE SHOUT on facebook and request a free sample of wipes. GO GET EM!

Running usual!

It's a terrible excuse but I literally have been SO busy that I have not kept up with my blogs well at all. OR at uploading pictures. I recently got myself a smart phone and I find myself using that as my camera so I am not taking the time to upload as many pictures. ANYWAYS....

For Father's Day, Ava and I made Jere (her step-dad) some candy treats :) Ava thought it was fun! I googled "crafty fathers day ideas" and found the idea!

I've decided that having kids make things like this is so much more fun then taking them shopping! :)

So next time you have a birthday, or any kind of event or holiday, consider something like this! It was a big hit! :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Minimalism... where to start?

First off i need to say that I HOPE the blogger that I am quoting and giving a link to is okay with that! :)


Becoming Minimalist is one of my FAVORITE blogs!! I have about 3 that I just can't stop reading... and THIS is one of them.

Please, PLEASE read this article before reading my blog any further.

Okay--you did that? Good! :)

PLEASE BEAR WITH ME... My thoughts are jumbled and I have a lot to say. Stay with me.

I have been doing LOTS of thinking. As I have mentioned before I am trying my hardest to live minimally. Since the guidelines of minimalistic living are not outlined before me, I am having to find my own way.

I realized the other day how badly I had failed. I was talking with Ava, my almost 6 year old, about her upcoming birthday and what she might want. I buy things ahead or at least try to plan ahead for financial purposes and so it seemed like having a 2 month notice on what she wants would be a good idea. I realized as we were talking that she didn't understand the concept of waiting. Whose fault is that? MINE! I have failed my daughter. She has learned that every other walmart trip or Dollar Store trips equals a new something or other. Never anything expensive, but a dollar here, or a dinosaur here, or gum here. The concept of waiting til her birthday for the things she had listed seemed overwhelming to her. That is my fault.

I remember as a child getting the JCPENNEY "WISH BOOK" in about October. I would go throw that so excited to look at all the new STUFF that was out. I would dog ear pages, circle items, and write down my wish list. My parents never stopped me or told me "Now wait, Cara! You can only pick out 4 things." They let me dream, and wish, as parents should let their children do. Looking back I am so appreciative of that. They allowed me to be a kid. As a child, I always had a run on list of things I wanted. Now flash forward...

My birthday is in ten days. I will be 27 years old. My parents, husband and friends have asked me what I want. I can't think of one thing. That sounds good, right? NOPE-wrong!!!! It's actually terrible. I can't think of one thing I want because if I want something... I GO BUY IT! I don't spend a lot of money on myself and there are times that I should be very proud of how frugal I live, but overall its sad... I no longer have a wish list. Like the writer of "Becoming Minimilist" writes...we have to quit shopping! We have to quit BUYING everything we want. I have not spend more than $30 dollars on myself in one shopping trip, so for that I am so proud of myself. I'm HUGE leaps away from where I was 3 years ago....but I still buy things. Little things here and there... it's sad to not have a wish list, so to speak.

I have decided to live on less. NOW, that being said, i can only get rid of things that i don't use, can't fit in, or my daughter has outgrown. I'm not going to sell everything I own. But I CAN decide not to buy more. i have actually done pretty good at that.

 Oh  and let me also say that just because I feel a certain way doesn't mean others should. It's sorta like politics... you can't force your beliefs on other people. If everyone friend and family member I have buys whatever they want-when they want it-more power to them. This is about ME, and me only. My beliefs and my opions only. Please hear me say that. I am not judging people that don't feel like I do...and i sincerely mean that.

That is so jumbled and i'm sorry. My thoughts are literally spinning around in my head. I feel very convicted about my spending and about the way I teach my daughter in regards to money. NO one in this world is going to teach her "Delayed gratification" except me. All she will learn through the world (and already has to some degree) is I WANT IT, I ASK FOR IT, I GET IT. That is my job as her mother to teach her otherwise. I feel like a spoiled brat. Last night I took Ava to her dads and I thought I would use this opportunity to clean her room. I mean literally SRUB THE FLOORS, SCRUB THE WALLS, CLEAN-CLEAN-CLEAN! As I am cleaning out from under her bed, in the nightstand, in the 2 toy boxes(yes... I said 2) I became overwhelmed. Then I went to the closet. Now in Ava's room it's a shared closet between my shirts and her clothes. Jere and my closet is only big enough for all of his clothes(he has sooooo many) and my pants. So I get to closet hop! That's always fun! :) Anyway, I am in the closet and i'm looking at shirts crammed together of mine. I have so many clothes yet what did I buy yesterday? A new shirt. WOW. Then I get to Ava's side and I see 5 things in there with THE TAGS ON THEM! I bought these clothes back in April!! SERIOUSLY? She hasn't even worn them.

I wish I knew where to start or what to finish. I'm slightly disgusted with myself over the way I have let "Stuff-itis" cloud my world. I was thinking last night while vaccuming that it would take me a LOT less time to clean if we had less stuff. I have to take EVERYTHING off the shelves to dust, move ALL the crap out of the floor to vaccum. My life would be simpler ...


Friday, July 1, 2011


I hope the KRAZY COUPON LADY is not mad at me because I am going to use a link from her site.

READ THIS!! You can send expired coupons over seas and they can be used up to 6 months after their dated expiration. This helps OUR military families! Please do this... don't trash em, help someone else out!

If you do it, lemme know! Mine are in the mail RIGHT NOW! YAY! I'm so glad to help others and get "My book" back to being organized. :)

Friday savings at Kroger and Wal-Mart

I wish I had my camera with me but I don't so you will have to take my word for it :)

I decided this morning it was time to get "My book" back in order. I ran across several coupons that were getting ready to expire and I had some extra time this morning so I sat out on a mission. I wanted to get as much as I could for less than $10.

First stop: WALMART

2-Nexcare 30 pk bandaids $1.00 each
1-Nexcare Scooby bandaids $1.86
2-Aquafresh Extreme clean trial size toothpaste $.97 each
1-Chapstick brand chapstick $.97
1-UP2U gum $1.29
2-Frosted Mini Wheats touch of fruit $3.50 each

I paid out of pocket: $6.49

I used:
 3-$1.00 off Nexcare product coupons (printed from their website about a month ago)
1-B1G1 free Touch of Fruit coupons
1-.97 off ANY size Aquafresh coupon (printed from their website)
1-.50 off a trial size Aquafresh coupon
1-1.00 off UP2U by mentos gum pack



I bought:

2-French's mustard (big size, not the small size. these are huge)-$1.49 each
1-Ronzoni pasta box -$1.00

The mustard was SUCH A steal. I went into the store to buy the bottles that are 12 oz I believe because they were on sale for $1.39. then they had a HUGE selection of markdowns on the BIG bottle. $1.49 for the big or $1.39 for the small...hmmm.... :) So I bought 2.

Coupons used:

2-.30 off any French's mustard product (they doubled, of course)
1-1.00 off any Ronzoni product

Total spent: $1.69

Overall I feel good about my purchases. We were out of bandaids and 3 boxes will last forever. And of course the Scooby ones were more expensive but it was worth .89 cents to see my daughter THRILLED! The mustard will last so long... but at that cheap of a price how could I NOT buy it? The pasta... well, that's just stinkin' awesome because we love our carbs at our house!!!