Thursday, June 10, 2010

Super LAME-O

That's how I feel for totally neglecting my little debt blog. It's not that your layout and colors bother me, little blog, it's that I have two other little babies that can scream a lot louder than you and consequently get more attention. I'm sorry.

Anyhow, I did want to give an update on our pay-off progress. We've had a few little setbacks that were unforeseen to me: new car battery, hub deciding he really does want to learn how to change the oil in our van himself (not really a setback, but I think all the supplies are costing about as much as two oil changes), hub also deciding to go against our moneyless gift pact we made and get us a Vitamix and a Bosch mixer, new (still makes me cringe, but it was sweet) for my birthday and Mother's Day, and also plane tickets for the three of us over two, which was dampened with a few vouchers but still is considered a setback. No more weddings or funerals until our house is paid for (not to mention the student loans), okay family?

In spite of these things we are still making steady progress on the student loans. To date we have paid about 66% off, leaving about 34% left before our pay-off goal of Aug. 31st. It's so nice seeing the numbers go down, but I'll tell you what, it is getting harder and harder to be disciplined with the budget and to find ways to put things off for just a little longer.

I'm keeping up a steady couponing pace and doing surveys and all that jazz, and am prepping myself to try cloth diapering once we get back from our trip (which I am already planning out the ways of getting friends and family to eat in rather than out, in order to avoid the HUGE temptation to spend while on vacation and among peers. I'm thinking I might make a sign to hang around my neck that says, "No, really, I just ate a ton before I came so that it would be easier to not buy anything, because debt free will feel infinitely better than this would taste.")

Man, oh man. The hub says he has everything figured out and on schedule for the pay-off date, but it's still looking like there is more money owed than time left to pay it, but we'll see what happens. I'm not going to lose faith that we'll still hit our mark. Here's to hoping and finding alternatives!!

No, this is not me, in case you had any doubt. I do believe, however, that financial stress and strain will age you a few years ;).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Paper and Ink

Have you realized that once you start seriously couponing you start to go through a lot more paper and ink than you used to? Some of the best Qs are internet printables but sometimes you start to wonder if it's worth the cost. Well, it is, if you know where to shop. This week, for example, is a great week to stock up on paper, and to get some ink. For Earth Day Walgreens is refilling one black or color cartridge per person for $1. Awesome! Too bad I turned in my last empty cartridge to Staples for a $3 credit when I was in Miami a few weeks ago. I have a color one I can refill, I guess.

Also, since turning in three cartridges to Staples a few months ago, I received a $9 credit that is set to expire at the end of the month. I was stressing over getting a good deal on something without paying too much shipping (the nearest Staples is 3 hours away, boo!!). BUT, this morning I stumbled upon a great deal on moneysavingmom. This is what I did:

Two cases of Hammermill paper at the sale price: $49.98 (.02 shy of free shipping, but I added a .29 cent (cheapest thing I could find) tape dispenser replacement wheel to bring it to $50.27

$5 off/per box promo code: -$10

Ink recycling rewards: -$9

Total after tax: $33.61

Staples Easy Rewards for paper: $7.58

Staples Easy Rebate: $32.00 (will come in the form of two $16 prepaid Visa cards)

ShopAtHome 3% credit: $1.51

After all the total math: $-7.48

Did I just get paid (essentially) to have 20 reams of paper delivered to my doorstep tomorrow? :O That's me screaming excitedly :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

My first "Deals I've Scored" post

Alright, so, I'm supposed to take a friend grocery shopping tomorrow to show her the ropes, but I needed to go to the store today to get some stuff for our Chili Cook-Off tomorrow (woot!), so I figured I'd get my shopping out of the way so I can focus more on helping her get some sweet deals. I stopped off at Walgreens first, where I paid .10 for 5-5 lb. bags of Gold Medal flour, 2 Planters Trail Mixes and a Scotch Bubble Mailer.

Then I headed to Winn-Dixie to get some Kelloggs fruit snacks and ended up paying .98 for 4 boxes (there was a fluke with a Vocalpoint $1.50/1 I had; it rang up twice for the two boxes of the alphabet shaped snacks, weird, but the cashier didn't mind, sweet!).

Then I headed to KMart to test the $10/20 Q and do the Huggies Diaper deal. It worked after they entered it manually at Customer Service so I got 2 jumbo packs of Huggies and a Colgate toothpaste for $7.17, and supposedly a $3 credit is getting added to my rewards card so I can apply that to the twin air mattress I have to pick up tomorrow for camp. I kind of wish I would've gone ahead and gotten the mattresses today instead, now that they've fixed the coupon to list the locations it's valid at.

Finally, I headed to Publix, the big mama of the shopping day. There were a few really good deals I couldn't pass up. Seriously, it's really sad, but this month I'm already over budget (cringe). I know, I know. And I was doing the cash system and everything. I thought I was so disciplined. But, my rationalization is that if I get a few things now that are a STEAL, like diapers and the like, then I won't have to spend money on them in the coming months. Excuses, I know. There were just so many sale items that had MQs and SQs that I was going crazy. Ready for the total? Best yet:

Spent: $27.84 (most of which was stuff we had to get for LeRand to make a white chili for the thing tomorrow, and for me to make a dessert)

Saved: $141.12

A savings of: 83.5%

Good deal. And a lot of it was stuff we'd been needing for a while. So, yeah, I felt the need to post it this time. A man stopped me when he saw my binder open as I was shopping and he asked me a bunch of questions and was really interested. Then after my forever-long check-out, which I was apologizing profusely for, my cashier offhandedly mentioned that I needed to teach her how to save like that, to which I replied that I would LOVE to teach her and that I'll let her know when I'm teaching my class next month. How neat to have an actual Publix cashier there?

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Totals

Thanks to a big boost from our federal tax return we had a stellar month (no thanks to UT state tax, lame-o). We were able to pay a whopping 27.4% of the original total. That means that after two months we have 59.4% of the total to go. And we were thinking it was a stretch to pay it by Dec. 31st! Bah! We've moved our new goal up to the hub's birthday, July 25th. Which, if we attain, we won't be together to celebrate for, due to family vacation reasons. BUT, I'm more than happy to celebrate over the phone, or Skype, or any way, in this case. With his income alone (which is our only constant cash flow at the moment) the numbers don't add up, but we're confident that things will work out, as long as we continue to assess wants and needs and keep trying to sacrifice.

On to how I did this month with the budget:

Shelf cost: $918.30

Coupon savings: $352.79

Savings Rate: 79.22%

Amount remaining in budget: $1.00


Friday, February 19, 2010

January Totals

I realized I forgot to post the totals for January after keeping track of every dollar so meticulously. For now we decided that this is how our monthly grocery budget is going to work: we will set aside $180 for annies (which I am in the process of finding some way to reduce the cost, other than bringing in extra income), and then have $200 set aside for everything else, like diapers, other grocery items, CVS, Walgreens (for the occasional deal on something we absolutely need, otherwise I avoid them like the plague, at least until they revise their rewards program, which is rumored to be happening), and pretty much anything else we could possibly justify buying.

So, here are the totals for January:

Shelf cost of everything we bought: $808.06

Total savings from items on sale: $258.28

Total savings from coupons: $364.34

Total in qualifying rebates from this month: $28.46

Total spent (from the $200): $213.90 (oops)

I went a little over, but I deducted the overage from February's budget to make up for it.

For February I was able to earn $200+ from babysitting and cashing in some savings bonds so that we didn't have to take out any money from the ATM for the beginning of the month. Yay!!

We were also able to skip 3 weeks of Annie's since our garden was overflowing everywhere, so that saved us a bit as well. Thanks to our tax return our Feb. payment to the loans will be substantially larger than we thought.

While it's nice to be paying off debt, it hurts to think that this money could be going toward saving for a house. If only...but better late than never. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Publix Italian Days

If you have a Publix near you head over to to enter a $25 Publix gift card giveaway. Yay!

Also, yesterday I test drove the KIA Sorento and submitted the form for the $25 Visa giftcard. Nice car. Maybe one day when we're in the market again we'll consider one that's a couple years old. It's nice to know we'll never have to deal with dealerships again, ever. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Payment #1: January

Okay, as 1/10 comes to a close, it's time to report our first payment of the year to the student loan. The hub figured that in order to reach our goal of paying off the entire stupid thing by 12/31/10, we would have to make a payment of 8.6% of the total every month.

After a month of cutting back every way we could think of, watching the final moments of ebay listings coming to a close, not selling another book on 'til we've shipped the one already sold (Murphy's Law, craziest thing ever), eating from our garden and only buying milk, eggs, and free or overage items, walking instead of driving, hosting my in-laws for a week, driving to Miami and back twice, laughing at the CRAZY places money seems to appear, and coming to believe more in our goal, we were able to make a payment of...


If you could look at our finances you might be a bit more impressed, but for now, this'll have to do. I was impressed with ourselves. So far we're on the right track, but we're taking things a month (sometimes a day) at a time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Garden Secret

Okay, well, it's not really a secret, but one way to save a lot of money is by planting a garden. Before we moved from Utah we helped facilitate a neighborhood garden next to my mom's house. We weren't there long enough to see the "fruits" of our labors, but I heard a lot about it. After our square meter garden flop the year before, my faith was restored in my ability to plant something and have it grow (and taste good enough to eat). So, we decided to build another planter box from scratch, and this time to leave it without a bottom (I think that was our biggest mistake with the first one) so that the roots could extend as far as they needed to. We built a 4x8 box and planted garlic, beets, carrots, onions, green onions, spinach, escarole, and kale. I also decided to make one row along one of the longer sides into an herb garden, and planted basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, and parsley. There's nothing better than fresh herbs, and nothing more satisfying than getting them from your own backyard.

This formatting is weird, sorry, and I can't figure out how to change it. Anyway, almost everything has grown great. We planted with seeds we ordered from Burpee and Harris Seeds seed catalogs online (transplants scare me, although this next round I think I'll try growing a few of my own...oh wait, I live in FL, it's not cold outside). When all was said and done and the receipts were totaled, it came to about $90 for materials, soil, and seeds (everything). I told the hub that our goal was to have it pay for itself, by skipping at least two weeks of Annie's Buying Club ($45/wk.). I was skeptical, but after things started growing, and growing fast, I became more confident. So far we've been able to skip three weeks and are sticking to a biweekly schedule for a bit. The kale, escarole, and spinach just keep producing (how cool is that? You cut it off and it grows back, amazing!) as well as the herbs. I'm really looking forward to starting to dry a few of the herbs and have bottles of spices that I GREW! And with the cost of spices that makes it even more awesome. Also, it's a lot of fun involving Shiloh in the process. It'll be fun to take him out to pick carrots when they're ready.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


A couple days ago the hub told me about a baby shower we would be going to today. Hmm. Didn't plan for that in the budget. So I had to improvise. I've heard about the awesome sales going on online at Sears and Kmart, but the stuff wouldn't get here in time (and nothing I saw really stood out to me, even for .36, which is pretty incredible). So I decided to try to make something from material that I had on hand. I chose these cute booties from a neat little book by Amy Butler called "Little Stiches for Little Ones" (I think), because 1) they wouldn't take a lot of material, 2) they're cute, and 3) they seemed easy enough for even me. I set to work this morning and with the help of my neighbor/friend was able to finish them shortly after the shower (ha!).

This is my 1-yr.-old modeling.

I took them to her house after I'd finished and she and her husband liked them, so I was happy. I even learned that she sews as well, and am excited to share the book with her. It really is a great book and has the cutest things in it.

SO, here's to improvising and creating something from nothing (and saving money on a baby gift and still making it cute!)!

Also, tonight I ran into Walgreens (I've been avoiding it lately. I just like CVS and their ECB program so much better). I had two RRs expiring today and needed to use them up. They had a deal this week for Mac n' Cheese for .59 w/ in ad coupon, and I was going to get 8 and use 2 B3G1, and use my two RRs and pay about 1.50ish. However, when the cashier rang them up she took off $1.69 for each free box, which brought me lower than I was expecting. So I threw in two Snickers and paid .18 OOP. And I still haven't maxed out on our $200 budget for this month (I am getting painfully close, though ;) ).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Funny "coincidences"

So, I've seen instances of this throughout most of my life, but I just wanted to share these two from yesterday because they're relevant and funny.

I've always been a strong believer that if you set your mind to something that is good and right for you at that time in your life, then things will happen, many even beyond your power, that will help you to accomplish this thing that is right for you (which is part of the reason I fell in love with the book, "The Alchemist"). Paying off our student loans this year is something that is good, and from the things that have been happening, it appears to be right for us to be doing it at this time.

Recently I have discovered a new love I never knew I had: grapefruit sprinkled (I get carried away sometimes with the sprinkling) of sugar. It's been my new favorite breakfast lately, and luckily they are in season and relatively cheap right now. My only qualm with eating them is that I do not have the right utensil, so I just have to use a regular old dull spoon, which can be slightly tedious. But I've dealt, and have wondered about where I might get one of these special grapefruit spoons and how I could get it for cheap.

Yesterday I was surprised to find that another issue of Cosmopolitan had arrived in my mailbox. I got my first issue a couple weeks ago and was reminded as I was flipping through it how slimy it is. The hub asked if I had subscribed to it and I honestly was as surprised as he was to see in it our mailbox, and figured I must have signed up for it when it was on a free subscription promotion, thinking there might be a good coupon or two in it (there was a good one in the first issue I received, for $3 Olay Quench which ended up scoring me extra cash on a rebate!). So, I decided I would glance through this second issue just as quickly and look only for a bar code. I can't believe some of the junk in that magazine. Talk about objectifying women, and men for that matter, and taking something as special and sacred as sex and making it seem as ordinary as a handshake, and with the same amount of commitment (and this all came from just glancing through and not stopping to read anything, I can't imagine what else is in there). Ugh.

Anyway, after quickly leafing through the filthy thing I found a ray of sunshine. Before me were pictures of happy, healthy (and decently-clothed) young women enjoying some wonderful grapefruit. At the bottom of the ad was a mail-in form for 2 plastic grapefruit spoons when you buy a 3+ lb. bag of Florida grapefruit or a 58 oz.+ bottle of 100% FL grapefruit juice. Wouldn't ya' know I had joust bought a 5 lb. bag of grapefruit and 2 64. oz bottles of grapefruit juice. HA! Triple-qualified. But who needs 6 grapefruit spoons? I have learned to save my receipts for times such as this. SO, that's experience #1, where I was able to receive a small little gift for myself that I had so been wanting, and only have to pay a .44 cent stamp for it, which I already had, so I didn't have to milk .44 out of the budget. Small miracle. You can bet I'll be smiling the whole time I'm digging into one with one of those beauties. It almost makes me want to save my grapefruit just for that occasion, but I'm not sure they'd last the 4 weeks they'll take to get here ;).

Instance #2: I mentioned in the previous post that I was going to collect items for Haiti. Item #1 on my mental list of things to donate was going to be several of my several bottles of Tylenol PM or Extra Strength that I got at Publix a couple months ago. I'm pretty sure it would take all four of us a lifetime to go through that many bottles (8 or so). We just don't get that many aches. I was late to the donation site, as I mentioned, so I had to hang on to my Tylenol and other things. Lo and behold, yesterday I hear of a recall on Tylenol and other McNeil products. I figure I might as well check my bottles to see if any of them are on the list. Ready for this? All but ONE are on the list. So, 7 unopened and boxed bottles, one opened bottle. I called and talked to customer service yesterday. Apparently you can dispose of the bottles yourself and they'll send you an $8 coupon (which would allow you to score some MAJOR overage on a good sale), or you can mail them back to McNeil for a refund. At the end of my call the rep had decided to send me 2 coupons and have me mail the rest in. I planned on doing this 'til I got to wondering if that meant they were going to refund $8/bottle as well. So I called today to ask. This second rep told me to return the unopened bottles to the store I bought them at (confirmed this with Publix) and get a refund from them, and that that would be a much faster way of getting a refund. Hmm. I figure in the end, even if the manufacturer refund would be $8/bottle, which I think isn't too much more than the current Publix price, the difference would end up being about the cost of shipping, and it's more of a guarantee just taking it to Publix. The hub is going to take them tomorrow (they're less suspicious of him and don't know he's married to me, although they really have nothing to be suspicious of, of course, but you know how some people can get when you have coupons). So there's some more cash that nearly literally came from nowhere. It just makes me smile, not so much because we'll be able to make a bigger payment this month than anticipated, but moreso because it reminds me that Someone has everything under control, and is working in mysterious ways, to help us do what He encourages, asks, or commands us to. :) So crazy! At the same time it helps me to know that things like this are happening everywhere, that the world is in good hands, and everything will be alright.

UPDATE: The hub took the Tylenol to Publix and using his handsomeness was able to win over the customer service ladies and get the full refund of $60.62! Much better than waiting a few weeks for a refund check (although I'm all about getting rebates in the mail!).

Friday, January 15, 2010

To mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort...

As I was making my three trips to CVS today I was listening to the radio, and the DJ was talking about items that are being accepted as donations for the Haitian earthquake victims. I had been wondering about this, as we aren't in too much of a position to make a very large monetary donation (we managed to squeeze $10 for the red cross, not bad), but we do have a lot of things we won't be able to use up during this new decade that may be of use to those 600 miles south of us. The DJ listed off a bunch of things that are being accepted at one of the gov't. buildings here, and I started getting excited as I was thinking about all the things we could put together to donate.

Then tonight I was checking blogs and reading about the PLETHORA of bloggers who are making donations in behalf of people who are doing something to help Haiti and blogging about it, then linking it to their site. It then occurred to me the amount of money we could vicariously donate, and how amazing that would be, because we would all be working together.

So, come Tuesday (when the gov't. office reopens and I can see the list of items they're accepting) I will put together the stuff we're able to donate and will take a picture. It will be of stuff we don't have an immediate need for, and that I've gotten from great couponing deals over the past few months. It's been too easy for me lately to get upset about silly things and to take for granted the most important things in my life. I wish it didn't take things like this to remind me how easy I have it. May our thoughts and prayers lift the heavy hearts of those who had so little and lost so much. Stay tuned...

UPDATE: Still looking into donating a few things, but it seems money would be the best. I'm still going on Tuesday to see if there are things I can donate that are light-weight and really needed (have been reading a few comments from people who just returned from serving there as missionaries), but I might have to get a bit more creative and see if we can come up with extra cash somehow.

After linking this post to various blogs I was able to aid in the donation of $112.20, 1 hour of service, and a 1% increase in proceeds from a fund raiser going to Haiti. WaHoo!!

I was surprised to find two comments on this post (I thought I was still the only one who ever visited it, ha!!) and I'm also going to try to think of something to do for every comment that is left (if I get any more, hey, a girl can dream :) ). Couponing has taught me that a little effort and determination can go a VERY long way, so we'll see what I come up with. Keep staying tuned :).

Friday, January 8, 2010

Something you can do with recently expired coupons

I'd heard about something like this but wasn't sure what it was exactly. I read this post tonight, though, and thought I would share it:

Hello, my name is Darlene and I am the coupon volunteer for Incirlik,
AFB, Turkey.

There is an overseas coupon program for military families and I need
your help for our program here at Incirlik AFB, Turkey..We need your
coupons that you don't use or that are recently expired, as our
commissary will accept coupons for up to six months past expiration
date.. We need just manufacturer coupons..Please send to:

Incirlik Coupon Program
Unit 7505, Box 175
APO, AE 09824

Please package your sorted coupons in ziplock bags and it makes for
easier distribution here on base. Please send to the above address
and/or you can e-mail me for more information... Thanks from all the airforce families
here at Incirlik, Turkey

I had a box full of expired coupons that I was going to send to military families...until the hub mistook it for trash. Oh well, I'm sure I'll have another big box in 4 months.

UPDATE: Follow this link to get the address for a coordinator in the US who ships them over seas to different bases .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Staples and Indecision

We drove up to Miami today to pick up my in-laws, and of course I couldn't pass up the chance to hit up some stores they have there. Staples' sale this week is awesome, and I would've been at home moping the whole week had we not had the opportunity to get up there.

So, I went in armed with 2 coupons, .50 and .75, and left with:

2 reams of paper- 10.00
pack of 5 BIC mechanical pencils-1.00
Scotch pop-up tape dispenser-2.99
Pack of Pentel gel pens-3.99

OOP: 16.50 (for some reason the .75 coupon took off 2.24, and I pointed that out but the cashier seemed to think it was fine (score!)), and I'll get 14.98 in rebates, so $1.52 in the end. Oh, and I turned in 3 ink cartridges for $9 staples rewards credit for the next time they have a good sale and we're in town. Suh-weet!

Then we went to Wal-Mart to try to exchange a Christmas gift we received but weren't able to in the end, but I still bought "UP" and 2 AllYou Jan. magazines. Then this morning, being the indecisive person that I am, decided to buy "UP" for 14.99 off Amazon with the free Prime shipping and return the DVD next week, and one of the magazines, since I got a coupon in email today for one for a penny (do you ever return things and buy them again when you find a coupon?). It's like the Murphy's law of couponing: when you decide to buy something you need when it's not on sale, it inevitably goes on sale within the next week. Like when I bought my new coupon binder and dividers a couple weeks ago at Office Max, then the following week they started their 15% off "Fill the Bag" promo. Dang it!! I was sorely tempted (and prepared) to go and buy the same items I'd just bought for 15% off (identical colors and all) and then return them with the old receipt, to get back the difference. I wonder if that promotion is still going on...:)

Tomorrow is Publix day (it would've been today but the $5/50 from Albertsons starts tomorrow ;) ) and I'm a little afraid. With the in-laws here I've had to normalize the menu a bit, and make it not so vegetarian-ish (didn't want to scare them ;) ), and since we've suspended our co-op share for a few weeks we're running low on the produce we haven't grown ourselves. So tomorrow I'll be spending a lot on produce, and other things. It'll be okay, I just have to keep telling myself :).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going Postal

This past week we've listed a few items on Ebay that we've had around the house that we haven't used in a long time and don't plan on using, such as: 10 fuzzi bunz cloth diapers with inserts (I tried these once on each of the boys and didn't feel like they kept them dry enough, and with how full their diapers are in the morning I couldn't bring myself to have them in them overnight all the time, but they were worth a shot; I'd gotten them at a yard sale from a neighbor in the summer who hadn't used them much, either, some were brand new), a charcoal pea coat I bought last winter just before having Asher (can we say impulse buy? It was big enough to go around my round belly so sans full-term baby inside it turned out to be a little huge, plus I don't really need a wool blend coat out here, heh), two cute pair of toddler shoes that were also a yard sale special but since my boys take so long to walk I figured they probably won't fit Asher when he starts anyway, my Babyhawk carrier that I used a handful of times with each boy and neither of them liked it very much, and another little pair of baby shoes we'd gotten when Shiloh was born. It's so exciting watching your items on Ebay in the final minutes! Nothing really happened with ours, no bidding wars or anything, but it was still nice getting money for stuff we weren't using anyway, and dejunking the house a bit.

So, now to the point: a lot of the items ended over the weekend so the hub headed to the post office yesterday to mail everything. It was PACKED! It's a decent sized parking lot but I ended up taking the boys to the store with me and dropping the hub off, since I knew it was going to be a while.

We went to CVS first, and got some boxes of soyjoy bars and Oust, making a $5 ECB profit. One of my coupons beeped but I didn't want to haggle it with the boys in tow and a billion tourists behind me, so I let it go.

The hub still wasn't even close to being done when we finished so I took the boys to Publix to see about getting some free Wonka gummies and buying some baking cups for cupcakes for #2's birthday. The baking cups were 2.19-2.39 (even for the plain white ones), so I decided to hit up Albertsons for some Christmas ones I'd seen on clearance. We paid the .15 tax for the gummies and made it to Albertsons to find the cups for .44/pack, down from 1.79. Yay! I love it when an extra little trip is worth it.

In the end I could have used PAM instead of the cups, which I really should've done I guess but I was afraid of them sticking and then adding to my stress of the party. Sometimes it's worth the .44 to avoid a stress-imposed breakdown.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


It was a good day today. My neighbor/friend told me she wants me to teach her how to coupon (oh happy day!) and so this morning she accompanied me to CVS to get the huge paper (Sunday, early edition, .50 ea., huge blessing that I don't see lasting for long) with five inserts. We bought 10 papers (I left one, just to be nice, or maybe because it was an odd number ;) ), a big Olay Quench lotion, a box of SoyJoy bars, and a 24 ct. TUMS. I paid the .83 OOP (out of pocket) with a gift card I got from filling a prescription at their pharmacy, and got back 8 ECB's (Extra Care Bucks) and a $5/25. Oh, and there's an $8.99 rebate I'll be mailing in for the lotion. Cha-ching!

The coupons from the last PG (Protor and Gamble) insert came in the mail today (from Ebay, I had to outsource 'cause I got to Publix too late on Monday to get the Sunday paper the day after, since the Sat. paper didn't have the insert), just in time for me to run to Albertson's to snag two boxes of diapers, 4 4 pk. batteries, 3 3pk. soaps, two bags of flour, gallon of milk, sack of 'tayta's, one jar of baby food, jar of natural peanut butter, 2 packs of tortillas, and one single roll of paper towels, all so I could get the $5/50 and get it before Sunday, when it expires and I take my weekly break from touching all coupons. Call it my version of "fasting" if you will, since I'm still nursing and all. $36.90 total. Pretty good considering the diapers alone usually cost $19.99/box. I'm trying to buy them only when there's a really good deal and I can combine store and manufacturer coupons. In this case they were having a $10 off wyb (when you buy) $40 in PG products. And now I don't have to go back to the store this week for milk. Yay!

And I found this AWESOME Excel spreadsheet that is super user-friendly on this blog, to track all sorts of savings. This woman didn't leave anything out, she's great.

I hate you 19k!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

How will we ever make it without Wal-Mart?!?!

This was what I was thinking when we first moved to Key West about 6 mos. ago. In Utah, Wal-Mart was the closest grocery store to us, and we sometimes ended up there more than once a day. Not because I loved it, but more because it was convenient and I saw it as the cheapest place around.

I learned about couponing weeks before we were to move to FL, and realized the website I was planning on using out here didn't cover the stores in our area, so I was downtrodden. Not only was everything out here going to be more expensive, but it was looking like there wasn't going to be a way around it, other than trying to match coupons and sales myself. Until one day I stumbled upon a site called, and found the solution to my problem.

Since learning about the plethora of websites dedicated to couponing I've been able to save more than I've spent nearly every shopping trip, and have actually had food in the grocery bags I've brought home when I've stuck to our budget. $50 in KW does NOT go very far when you're paying full price for everything.

"The hub" and I have made a goal of getting out of debt ASAP. We want to be debt free. That is our resolution for this year. That is the reason for this blog (that, and not wanting to disappoint loved ones who read our family blog for updates on our kids and not on my shopping trips, which is what I've been dying to rave about lately; I've needed an outlet and I think I've found it here). This is not going to be a site where I update you on all the deals there are out there every day, or necessarily on how I get the deals I do, but more it's just a place for me to track our progress on achieving our goal. I think it'll be more motivating if I think that someone out there is keeping tabs on me, even if I don't have any idea who you are.

So here goes. As of this minute, this is where our debt lies, in all its miserable, interest-accruing glory:

So ugly. But motivating, at the same time. We will make you go away. We will make you turn from red to green. We will do it by 12/31/10. And we will have fun along the way. Here's to cutting ties with creditors, here's to sacrifice, here's to freedom!

(UPDATE: After talking it over with the hub, we decided it would be in our best interest to not disclose the (relatively) substantial amount of debt that we have, that in our American culture is deemed appropriate to have, but that doesn't in reality make it pleasant or acceptable to have. So, I think from here on out I will disclose the numbers I feel pertinent. My apologies if this has caused me to lose any of my loyal readers (ha!) .)