Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New blog to share... The Prudent Homemaker

As always, I click and click and click and have no clue how I got to where I go to but tonight I found this post about stockpiling.  Wow.  What an awesome story! 

And she shares what a well-stocked pantry looks like. 

This one is going on the favorites list - there is so much information here and not enough time to tonight to read it all.  There is a LOT of information here - I hope you can find some good out of it.  I know I will.

Week of 7/30 through week of 8/20 grocery budget

So I actually should have shared this sometime last week but I'm a bit behind on this.  I hadn't printed out my current budget sheet (which I keep in my checkbook) which means I hadn't taken last months out and gathered all my receipts together to share.  And I feel like I'm missing a trip - this just doesn't seem right for some reason.  I've gone through the history on the blog here though and looked through all of my receipts.  As far as I can tell - this is right.  Go us!

7/31 Kroger - 18.47, saved 32.74 (66%)
8/1 Marsh - 30.45, saved 13.03 (30%)
8/7 Walmart - 7.49, saved 6.00 (in coupons, clearance saved me 6.00 also) (?)
8/8 Marsh - 50.13, saved 14.80 (23%)
8/14 Walmart - 6.94, saved 6.04, (50%)
8/14 Marsh - 14.48, saved 1.89 (12%)
8/14 Walmart - 12.36, saved 1.01 (?)
8/15 Marsh - 62.25, saved 40.72 (40%)
8/22 Marsh - 84.14, saved 23.00 (22%)

Total spent for the month:  286.71
Total saved for the month:  145.49
Appx savings for the month:  34%

So - under budget (as far as I can tell) and pathetic savings - not a bad combo I guess!  Here's hoping for a better month this time around.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly shopping at Marsh - not bad but not exactly good either.

We shopped kidless yesterday!  She's such a good shopper though, I actually kind of missed her.  She doesn't make us buy anymore (or spend any less).  Here's what we got:

2 Doritos was $7.98 for $3.99 (B1G1 FREE)
2 Wavy Lays was $7.98 for $4.00 (2/$4.00)
4 Food Club shredded cheese was $11.56 for $6.68
2 Lipton Rice and Beans was $2.60 for $1.98

We also bought garlic toast, taco season, sour cream, biscuits, lunch meat, yogurt, milk, buns, Coke Zero and fresh fruits and veggies.

Total spent: 52.28
Total saved: 25.98
Percent saved: 34%

And the Coke Zero killed us! It was on sale three 12pks for $10.98 which is something I'd NEVER pay. But on the end of each 12pk was a coupon that said $1.00 off Coke Zero. I read it and reread it... It seemed to good to be true. So I was going to get three 12pks for $7.98 which is pretty much my goal price ($2.50 or less per 12pk). BUT only one coupon worked (of the three) so I paid $9.98 for three 12pks which is normally what I'd pay for FOUR 12pks. Grrrrr. Next time I'm reading the coupon better!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not to Baby Step 7 yet, but I still enjoy giving.

So, one day last week at work a co-worker stopped by my desk and we got to talking about coupons (which is a joy for me!). She had questions about doubling and which stores in our town double and using multiple coupons (for multiple items). I tried to explain the P&G $.50 Crest coupons and how those coupons got me FREE Crest at Kroger in the week or two prior. She was pretty much shocked (and excited) that such transactions could be done and wanted to know more and about my Dave Ramsey journey but had to leave for an appointment.

Tuesday I found her in a work room loading a cart and decided to stop and ask her how she was doing. We got to talking again about coupons and then about Dave Ramsey and Brian and I's 12 months of working the "Dave Ramsey diet". I found out that she's had a rough go of things lately. I had heard bits and pieces here and there but had no clue all that she was facing (and still don't - but she did share a bit more with me than I had heard prior).

At that point I knew that one of the sets of books I had recently purchased from the Dave Ramsey Store was meant for her. When I purchase extra books I never have a set person in mind. I keep them in the basement until I hear someone's story and it lays on my heart that this one person is the person I should be helping.

And that is exactly how I felt after speaking with her Tuesday morning. I felt pressed to give her both a Total Money Makeover book and the TMMO workbook so that she too can know what peace and freedom Brian and I are experiencing (even with another year to go on our debt snowball).

When I went back to work after lunch, I took her these two books. I told her, "I buy these and keep them until I hear someone speak that needs them and I want to give these to you." She tried to say she'd give them back but I told her I wanted her to mark in them...to USE the workbook and make it her own...to read it at her pace and refer back to it again and again as needed on this journey.

It isn't an easy journey. It's hard. And it takes a lot of work. But you know what? The weight that has been lifted off Brian and I (in just the last 12 months, with another 12 months to go) has been exhilarating. We can breathe.

I had an email this morning from my co-worker. She said,
"I can’t begin to thank you enough. Your thoughts, kind words and compassion are amazing and an inspiration. I can’t wait to finally start that book tonight – this is one book I’m going to really take my time in reading and studying. I’m so encouraged and can’t wait to start seeing some changes. Once again... thank you."
And THAT is why I give these books away and share everything (openly and honestly) about what we've gone through, what we are doing and how we've done it. If you have any questions about how we've faced this journey, please ask. Comment here with your email address and I'll email you back or email me straight up at kcbonly@hotmail.com - I want to be able to help everyone feel the same sense of peace that Brian and I feel.

Record your Life - 10th grade was all about a PARTY!

Ahhhhh...10th grade. That was the year I turned 16 - and I got to have a P.A.R.T.Y! Now, don't get me wrong - I had always had birthday parties but this one...this year stands out.

I had a group of really, really close friends in high school. There were about 20 of us who hung out at school, after school, at work and on the weekends. Our parents all knew each other (well, everyone knew my parents - my dad is a teacher and my mom has worked for the schools for 20+ years) so many times you could come to our house and find a whole gaggle of teenagers hanging around. My parents always preferred us (my brother and I) to hang at home with our friends than be out running around.

So this year in particular, I was able to have an evening party at our house and everyone got to come over. By the end of the night there was a broken picture, blood (but not from the broken picture), trampled plants and newspaper EVERYWHERE. We also had some tears, a fight and a break-up/make-up too (we were 16 - remember!?).

The night started off innocently enough. I don't remember it really. I'm sure we ordered pizzas and had them delivered and ate cake and opened presents. I remember getting a leather jacket that I had been dying for from my parents. I still have many of the birthday cards my friends gave me from that year - a girl only turns 16 once you know! The excitement really began when my two girlfriends B and T showed up.

B has two little brothers. Apparently they had spent the whole week prior to my party tearing the daily newspaper up into tiny, itty-bitty confetti type pieces. There was a whole black trashbag FULL of newspaper confetti. I swear - it took both B and T to carry that bag into the house (and T was no wimp - she was a shot put and discus throwin' mama!). It was FULL. Like - if you moved it just a smidge the bag opened a bit and a little piece would flutter to the floor. FULL.

So these two girls showing up with this big bag of confetti made the party go from laid back and calm to crazy in about 10 minutes. L (a guy friend who I started school with in kingergarten) grabbed a handful of confetti and stuffed it down B's shirt. Then another friend grab another handful and put it down another friend's shirt. Well before too long there were piles of confetti on the blades of the ceiling fan and the fan got turned on. Those pieces landed in the food and drinks and in people's hair and just about everywhere else. At one point D picked up a handful to put down S's shirt and she took off sprinting for my bedroom. Well, my door was shut so she kept running down the hallway. She ended up in my parents room (hiding by the bed...which my dad was sprawled out on watching TV) and D just threw that handful towards S. My parent's bed, their floor and their dresser was covered in confetti. It ended up in the toilet. It ended up IN the floor vents. It ended up in my bedroom and my brother's bedroom (both doors closed). It was outside. It was inside. It was in our clothes, our hair, our mouths. It was a mess!!! It was so much fun though!

Later that night, L and D decided to have a wrestling match. It was all cool until L threw D over the back of the couch (which was a "wall" between the living room and dining room) and D's foot hit the wall as he fell over it and a picture fell off the wall, breaking the glass and causing a bunch of us to just about die laughing because just 10 seconds before everyone was all loud and rambunctious but in that second you could have heard a pin drop.

Also at the end of our street is a creek (the road ended in a cul-de-sac) and there was a pipe that crossed the creek. Several of the guys crossed it and a few of the girls too - one girl fell though on the little path to get there and split her knee open. I was thinking the worst and expecting a trip to the ER but my mom fixed her up with a butterfly Band-Aid and she was good to go.

After we got back to my house from crossing the creek pipe some of the guys were being dumb and kept trying to moon those of us inside the house from outside (through the big picture window). Little did they know they were trampling my dad's hostas under that window. Needless to say - that was probably the thing that upset my dad the most about everything!

And then of course there was the drama that always involved 16-year-olds. A break-up and a make-up. To be honest...I was excited about the break-up 'cause that boy was CUTE. But M and N made up before the night was over and I was happy really because N was a good friend and I hated to see her cry.

For the next ten years, if my parents moved furniture (or when they bought new furniture and moved the old out) there would be itty-bitty pieces of newspaper confetti hidden away somewhere that fluttered to the floor and reminded them of the craziest birthday party I ever had.

This is my twelfth post with Mommy's Piggy Tales recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my ninth grade memories are all about a boy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marsh ad highlights - 8/26 through 9/1

Marsh has got their Under a Dollar Event going on!  Lots and lots of items for $.99 (or less!).

Marsh hamburger or hot dog buns
Bar-S jumbo or bun length franks
Armour LunchMakers
Eckrich Loaf or sliced pepperoni
Betty Crocker potatoes or Suddenly Salad
Kraft Mac & Cheese - $.58
Bush's beans - $.79
Tommy Atkins mangoes
Food Club canned veggies - $.68
Lipton Sides
Hamburger Helper
Kool-Aid Bursts
Buddig chipped meats
El Monterey burritos or chimichangas
MaMa Rosa's deluxe or pepperoni pizzas
Fresh limes - 3/$.99
Red Roma tomatoes
Nestle or Skinny Cow - 1ct items
Propel Fitness water - $.79
Cousin Willie's microwave popcorn
Dole Pineapple or Tropical Fruit salad
Food Club marshmallows
Food Club pudding snacks - $.88
Food Club relish - $.98
Easy Mac or Velveeta
Frusion smoothies - $.88
V05 hair care - $.98
2-liter Pepsi

What else can you watch for?
40% off all Fresh Perdue chicken
Food Club cheese (slices, chunks or shredded) - $1.67
Hormel cooked ham (deli meat) - $3.99
Marsh milk - 2/$4
red or green seedless grapes - $.99/lb
Doritos - B1G1 FREE
6-pack Pepsi - 4/$8.88
Powerade - 10/$10
Aunt Millie's bread or buns - B1G1 FREE (free item must be same kind as purchased item)
Thomas' English Muffins - B1G1 FREE
Crystal Light mix - B1G1 FREE
Bounty and Charmin - $5.99

And that's about it for me.  Just like last week - I'm thinking there isn't too much exciting stuff going on this week but with my luck - I'll blow the budget.  Again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shout out for Mommy's Piggy Tales!

So, if you visit me regularly you've seen my posts on Thursdays recording my life with Mommy's Piggy Tales.  Well, each week she also features some of us who link up to her and this week - I was included!  What a rush. 

So what is this Record your Youth thing that Janna's got going on?  Check out this info here and if you're interested, get started on the next session which begins on October 7th.

For now though, you can keep checking back here to see how the last four weeks of my life unfold as I remember it.  For me it is getting easier and easier to remember things to share!  Remembering things from pre-school and kindergarten was a little difficult! 

Thanks again Janna for the shout out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekly Marsh shopping trip...it was bad.

We completely blew the budget.  Completely!  And I thought for sure that we were going to be under budget.  Ugh.  We bought several items that weren't on sale (but we bought Food Club brand - we needed things like butter, sour cream, cheese slices, OJ, yogurt, cream cheese, and eggs).  We bought one item that had the tag listed as $1.77 but rang $2.99 (and I didn't go back because I was too tired to fight over $1.22).  And then I only had three coupons...

1 each Charmin and Bounty - $5.49 for each (used two coupons for these two items)
1 Aunt Millie's Slimwiches was $2.99 for $1.34 (this was the other item I had a coupon for)

And along with other items like cottage cheese, Pillsbury dough items (for two different meals this week), milk, western ribs, black beans, fresh fruits and veggies, lunch meat from the deli, some pasta salad and some Lipton soup onion mix (for meatloaf this week) and we spent $84.14 - almost $10 over budget!  Our savings were $23.00 or a measly 22% - sad, huh?

Here's hoping for a better week next week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Record your life - ninth grade was all about a boy...

Who at the time I thought I was gonna marry.

I know, right!?

Oddly enough - I saw that boy tonight, at a viewing for his aunt who had passed away this past Monday.  I hadn't actually seen him in at least five years.  It's probably even been more - I just know the last time I saw him I was at my previous job and I've been where I'm at now almost five years.

Anyways, this boy in ninth grade actually happened in the summer between eighth and ninth grade.  I was a band nerd (yep!) and started playing trumpet in sixth grade.  Every four years our high school band group went to Disney World at Christmas break to march in the New Years Day Parade (it was amazing!).  In order to save money up for that trip, we worked at our local newspaper stuffing the "guts" of the paper in (the ads and inserts).  We never actually received any money - we just tracked our time and the newspaper paid the money directly to the band director (well, probably a secretary but we never saw the cash).  We did this starting June that summer...because my class was going to get to go that Christmas!  So my freshman year of high school, I was able to go to Disney World with my fellow band mates (mostly my best friends!) and had an absolute blast.

So while working at the newspaper, I got to know some of the upperclassmen (they had to work too - I'm sure there was a certain requirement but then I think you could also go above and beyond to not have to pay any out of pocket).  One of the upperclassmen was a guy - C.  He was going to be a SENIOR.  Yeah, I thought I was hot stuff.

We got to know each other pretty well and by August that year (my freshman year, his senior) he asked me to be his girlfriend and gave me his class ring (which I think I wore more than he ever did!).  My parents weren't SUPER excited about it...he was 2 1/2 years older than me (I was an old one in my class and he was a young one) and he d.r.o.v.e.  A car.  Mmmhmmm.  It wasn't until I turned 15-years-old in November that they would let me ride with him...and then it wasn't to be outside of the town limits (which isn't very far).

We spent a lot of time together that year.  Because we were so involved with band - we spent the whole summer together (band camp you know...like six hours a day - preparing for State Fair competition) and then into the fall was football games and then pep band through the winter for basketball.  Then spring rolled around and it was time for him to graduate. 

I'm sure at the time I was devastated.  I loved him (as much as a 15-year-old can love someone) and didn't want him to go away.  I don't remember now when we broke up for sure...  I know we dated through is first semester at ISU and maybe even that whole year and maybe even after that.  I think I'd have to go find my old diary to remember for sure.

Anyways - he was a great guy and today when I saw him...I didn't say a word to him.  See, he married this girl (sometime in the spring of 1995, which I only remember because when I went to his sister's graduation open house he "wasn't allowed" to talk to me) and well, she doesn't like me.  Not sure why but she doesn't.  So today at the funeral home I gave hugs to his sister (who was like a sister to me!) and his parents (whom I still love to pieces and even told them so) and kinda walked right past him.  It pretty much sucked.  We spent the better part of two years...probably even closer to three together. 

So ninth grade was all about C.  He meant the world to me!

This is my eleventh post with Mommy's Piggy Tales recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my eighth grade memories are about nothing!  Okay, so maybe nothing but it certainly wasn't much in the memory department!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Marsh ad highlights - 8/19 to 8/25

Need some frozen stuff?  Check out Marsh's Frozen Food Sale!  Three days only...Thursday, Friday and Saturday you can get some great deals on frozen items like:

Marsh ice cream - $1.59
Food Club veggies - $.89
Tony's Original pizzas - $1.69 (use the in-ad coupon to get these for only $.99!) - read the details for more info!
Healthy Choice entrees - $1.79 (use the in-ad coupon to get these for only $.99!) - read the details for more info!
Ocean Eclipse seafood portions - $.89
Food Club garlic bread - $1.39
Hot or Lean Pockets - $1.69
Toaster Strudels - $1.49

Now - I'll admit I'm not sure if some of these prices are decent or not.  And there is a Limit 10 on each of the above items!
For the rest of the ad you can find things like:

Boneless English roast - $1.98/lb (save $2.51/lb)
5lb box Michigan Red Haven peaches - $3.99 (save $3.00)
Perdue whole chicken - $.87/lb (save $1.12/lb)
Libby's canned veggies - 2/$1
Nabisco Chips Ahoy! cookies - 2/$4
Bounty or Charmin - $5.99 (match with recent $.25 coupons from the August P&G insert for $5.49 final price)
Hershey's or Nesquik milk (look for Shamrock Farms too!) - 5/$5 (if you find the Shamrock Farms, match with recent $.50 coupons for FREE milk!)
Get a $10 Rebate Check by mail when you purchase any 10 Kelloggs, Keebler, Sunshine, Morningstar or Eggo products - see the ad for details.
Aunt Millie's bread or buns - $1.29
Aunt Millie's Slimwiches - $1.89 (yay!  LOVE these - match with recent $.55 coupons for $1.34 final price)
Orville Redenbacher popcorn - B1G1 FREE
Hostess Donettes - B1G1 FREE
Uncle Ben's Ready Rice - $1.99
Creamette pasta - 10/$10

Did I miss anything good!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I was looking for a blog topic tonight...

and so I asked LeeAnn about money (and saving it).  Here's what she had to say:

What is money?
I don't know.
How do Mommy and Daddy spend money?
By saving.
What is a coupon?
Well, a coupon is some stuff that we cut that we buy stuff that we show on the list that is on sale.
Where is Mommy's favorite store to shop?
Grocery store.
What do you do when you get money?
Do you ever spend your money?
To buy toys and candy.
What else should I know about money?
Money is great to save. 
Because so we can save them so we can buy groceries and cars and trucks and toys and games and movies and coloring books and back packs and markers and crayons and pencils and paper doll toys.  That was a lot I said!Anything else I should know?
Um.  If something, or your house gets on fire - you just buy a new one. 
Anything else?
I want you to think about some stuff.

Ahhhhh - the brain workings of a four-and-a-half-year old!  I'd like to think that Brian and I do a pretty good job of talking about money with LeeAnn, but maybe there are some things we need to change. 

She is right that a coupon is something we cut and then use to make a list...sometimes, in order to get her excited about shopping (although she normally does just fine), I will take pictures (from an ad or from the coupon) and tape them to a paper and then list how many we need of each (she's been working on learning her numbers) and then she is in charge of those items at the store.  It does take us a little bit longer (she thinks she has to get EXACTLY what is on the pictures) but she thoroughly enjoys being in charge of the shopping for those items!

And she does save her money - every penny she gets goes into her piggy bank.  We do take some out on occasion to hit up the store with (or the garage sales).  And she's right - she usually buys a toy (but rarely candy...not sure where that came from!).  And she is certainly right that money is great to save!  As you can see - she is also on a school supply kick (although she got no new school supplies this year - she's just going to preschool).

As for the buy a new house after a fire...  We were just discussing this evening that we need to go through her toy room and weed out what she doesn't use.  Last fall - there was a fire at the home of a young girl we do Girl Scouts with and so we went through LeeAnn's clothes to give them some.  So now - whenever we discuss giving to someone in need, she correlates that to giving to someone who has had a fire.  I don't know exactly where she came up with buying a new house though.

So - I think for being 4 1/2 it's a good thing she doesn't think money grows on trees.  And saving money is good!

Monday, August 16, 2010

And we can't forget about Marsh - a quick trip and regular weekly shopping!

Saturday after work I swung by Marsh to see what meat was on sale, but after Brian working until 5am (Friday night shift...ended Saturday morning) and getting next to no sleep, he decided fried chicken from the deli was just as good.  I got fried chicken, pasta salad and a chef salad from the deli and a gallon of milk for $14.48, saving $1.89 or 12%.  This is just another reason to make me really want to try out e-mealz!

Our regular weekly shopping on Sunday went pretty well.

6 Mentos gum was $9.54 for $2.94
3 Barilla pastas was $4.29 for $3.00
9 Kellogg's cereal (Frosted Mini Wheats and Frosted Flakes) was $35.37 for $13.41 (plus am getting a $10 mail in rebate for purchasing 10 Kellogg's items)
2 Kellogg's Eggo waffles was $5.10 for $2.55 (B1G1 FREE)
2 Frank's hot sauce was $2.50 for -$1.00 (yep, got paid $.50 for each bottle)

And of course we got things like canned tuna, canned tomatoes (Red Gold 10/$10), yogurt, lunch meat, frozen corn, mac 'n' cheese, black beans, jelly, Food Club jalapeno dressing, taco seasoning, fresh fruits and veggies and more milk too. 

Of course, after so many trips to Walmart and Marsh already (and having had extra money from the last two weeks) we were down to just $62 in the grocery envelope.  I was actually kinda sweatin' it when we were checking out.  Our total? 


Yep, we had to dig a quarter out of Brian's pocket to finish out trip.

We saved:  $40.72 or 40% - not the best but honestly, better than I was expecting.

So I'm planning on setting back $15 from the next budget and getting a three-month subscription to e-mealz.  I'll let you know how it goes!

When there is pricing matching involved we head to Walmart

or Brian does for me.  Meijer had Post cereals - Cocoa Pebbles (and probably the other Pebbles cereals as well) for only $.99 for the 11oz boxes Saturday only this past weekend.  So Brian (being the awesome husband he is) hit up Walmart at 5:43am on Saturday morning (after working Friday night/Saturday morning) and got:

krab salad (?) for $2.98
4 Cocoa Pebbles was $10.00 (at Walmart price) for $3.96

Total spent:  6.94
Total saved (price matching):  $6.04
Percentage:  almost 50%

Second trip was me and three kids (I know...not my brightest moment) to get some more cereal, sadly they were out.  So we picked up dinner and dessert instead - popcorn chicken, General Tso's chicken, chicken strips and some mozzarella sticks from the deli and Edy's (price matched for $1.99 from Mejier) all for $12.36 - not our cheapest meal ever that's for sure but it saved me time and effort in the kitchen.

Usually I hate Walmart but sometimes it just fill the spot.

So many trips to the store this weekend!

Meijer had a one-day sale that I wanted to price match a few items on and we had regularly weekly shopping too...  Here come two posts (that include four trips) from just Saturday and Sunday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Record your life...eighth grade - must have been boring

because I've got NOTHING exciting.  There are a bunch of small things but nothing that really stands out.  The one memory that does stick actually happened the summer prior to eighth grade.

I was still very involved in Girl Scouts and that summer was able to take my first bus trip.  Juliette Low founded Girl Scouts in 1912 in Savannah, GA so as a Girl Scout the best place to go visit is where it all started.  When you fill a travel bus with a bunch of pre-teen and teen girls...you get a lot of noise and a lot of fun.

On this trip, we actually went to Space Camp in Alabama first (well, a shortened version of Space Camp) and then went over to Savannah. 

We were able to see the home where Juliette Low lived (and is now a museum) and visit places like Tybee Island and all the parks/cemeteries in Savannah that are just beautiful.

I made this trip a few more times and one of those trips sticks in my mind even more than this one does...but for eighth grade (or almost eighth grade) this is my big memory of that time.  Now...I've got some stories of the summer after my eighth grade year but I think I'll save those for next week!

This is my tenth post with Mommy's Piggy Tales recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my seventh grade memories are about becoming a teenager, being asthmatic and losing my grandpa to lung cancer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Marsh ad highlights - 8/12 through 8/18

I'm looking forward to a few things at Marsh this week!
Whole seedless watermelons - $2.99
In-husk bi-color corn - 8/$2
Vine ripe or red roma tomatoes - $.99/lb (save up to $1.50/lb) - yay for pico!
Jumbo green bell peppers - $.69
Green beans - $.99/lb
Purple eggplant - $.99/lb

Center cut pork chops - $1.98/lb (save $2.01/lb)
Perdue split breasts - $.98/lb (save $2.31/lb) - limit three
Boneless chuck steak - $1.98/lb (save $2.41/lb)
Green or black seedless grapes - $.99/lb
Marsh 18ct large eggs - $1.48
Marsh gallon milk - 2/$4
Hostess snacks - $1.99 (save $2.00)
Sara Lee deli lunch meat - $5.99/lb (save $1.70/lb)
Sargento shredded cheese - 50% off
Red Gold tomatoes - 10/$10
Barilla pasta - 10/$10
Manwich - 10/$10
Betty Crocker cake mixes - 10/$10
Chef Boyardee pasta - 10/$10
Hunt's Snack Pack - 10/$10
Quaker rice cakes - 10/$10

Kelloggs, Keebler, Sunshine, MorningStar and Eggo products are ON SALE and you can get a $10 rebate check by mail when you purchase any ten items.  This usually nets me FREE Kellogg's cereals so make sure you read the details and purchase all 10 items in one transaction.

Peter Pan peanut butter - $1.49
Home Pride wheat bread - B1G1 FREE
Pampers baby wipes - $1.99 (and if there are any $2.00 coupons left out there - this would mean more FREE wipes!)
Del Monte Gold pineapple - $2.99

And that's it for me.  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So the blog world is buzzing about Swagbucks right now...

Or at least the blog world I'm in is!  Money Saving Mom, Life as Mom and Bargain Briana have all blogged in the last few days about the Back to School promo Swag Bucks is pushing right now. 

Right now if you join Swag Bucks you'll earn 70 Swag Bucks right off the bat (instead of the normal 30).  What is Swag Bucks?  It is a search engine that "pays" you in Swag Bucks for doing searches, taking surveys, answering daily polls and sometimes just because.  These bucks can be saved to purchase things like Amazon.com gift cards or an iTunes gift card (along with a WHOLE LOTTA other stuff).

Just over the weekend I replaced the search bar on our Internet Explorer window with the Swag Bucks search bar and have earned 100 Swag Bucks just like that!

C'mon - what are you waiting for!?  Click here to get in on a great thing!  Any questions about it?  Let me know and I'll try to answer them for you.  The best way to find out about it is to just go and look it over.  Good luck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I have NOT been feeling Marsh here lately.

Heck.  Who am I kidding?  I haven't been feeling any deals here lately.  No CVS, no Kroger (well on occasion).  I did hit up Walgreens last week but that's been about it.  We've got to Marsh with no plan, no coupons pulled, no nothing.  And it shows...

I didn't even get anything to really "brag" about.  Ugh.  We bought Marsh shredded cheese, fresh fruit and veggies, deli lunch meat, Cheddar Pasta salad (for the girl!), Mentos, pizza crust (and then remembered when we got home that our oven DOESN'T work), yogurt, baking potatoes, Kellogg's cereals, eggs, sour cream, milk and pork loin.

All said we spent $50.13 and saved $14.80 - a measly 23%.  See - there is something wrong with me!  e-mealz is looking better and better all the time - a menu plan already made up with the shopping list included?  Yeah - sounds like my kinda plan right now.

Quick trip to Walmart...

I had to get Brian some socks and weed killer (which came from different envelopes and there was no savings there, so no sharing on them).

I went for one other specific thing though - Crystal Light Pure Fitness flavored-water packets.  I had some $2.00 coupons from VocalPoint (thanks Jillian!!!) and wanted to use them before they expired on the 15th.

3 Pure Fit lemonade was $7.41 for $1.41

I also found some Take A Longs from Rubbermaid in the clearance section - five count bowls (and lids) for only $.50 - I think the original price was $2.24 (I don't remember).  But $.10 each for both that could be pitched at work (if needed) is a great deal.  I usually buy the cheapies at the $1 store and am happy to get them for $.25 each. 

So my total spent was $7.49 (also got buns and Kraft cheese - no coupons or match ups) and I saved $6.00 in coupons, plus the discount on the bowls (I'm guessing $1.75 each or $5.25).

Got a quick deal to share from Walgreens...

So I read this post about these awesome ideas for index card cases at Money Saving Mom last week and immediately ran to Walgreens to scoop up some of them!

10 index card cases @ $.39 = $3.90

I saved $8.00 and so far have only used three of them.  I turned one into my cash envelope for my purse.  I was going through a standard paper envelope in just a few weeks.  This thing is way better and I can separate my store cards and receipts and cash out!  Love it.

The other two I've started on some back-to-school emergency kits for LeeAnn's preschool teachers.  So far I have mini hand sanitizers (free from Bath and Body Works), some floss and a Blistex raspberry lemonade.  I plan on adding a small pack of gum, container of TicTacs, a finger nail file, some coins (for the Coke machine) and a flavored-water packet. 

I think I'm going to turn another into a mini first aid kit for my car (and one for Brian's truck) and the rest (for now) are going to hang until a brilliant idea strikes! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Record your life - seventh grade...I was a teenager!

Seventh grade. When I first started thinking about what I was going to share about seventh grade my mind was blank. I couldn't think of anything worth sharing. Then I remembered that was the year I turned 13 and the year I lost my grandpa to lung cancer and the year that I hyperventilated at a church camp outing. What a year!

The year started like any other. I was 12-years-old and liked a boy (which just so happened to be the boy from the prior year...my best friend and the boy I "dated" off and on for the next eight years). I don't remember who asked who but we finally ended up being boyfriend and girlfriend again. And of course...how much can you really be boyfriend and girlfriend in 7th grade? We held hands at football games and smooched behind closed doors (shhhh - don't tell my mom!). When I turned 13 on November 15th I didn't expect anything from my boyfriend. But when I unwrapped a gold bracelet with 13 C's and 13 hearts on it - I was so surprised! I still have that bracelet. It hangs in my jewelry box with the necklace he got me the next year (after we'd broken up and gotten back together).

He is one of those guys that will always have a little special place in my heart...when we went out for dinner last week we even reminisced some about things like meeting at the park between our two houses and going to the waterfall - we'd sit for hours on a stone wall and talk about school and our parents and our siblings (his older sister and my younger brother). The fact that I have known him all of his life (he's a month and four days younger than me) has created a very special bond between us.

In January of that year our youth group went on weekend camping trip. I wanted to go but then again I didn't. My mom and brother and I had been spending every weekend with my grandparents. My grandpa was battling lung cancer and we went every weekend to see him and to stay the night. I didn't want to miss a weekend with my grandpa but then again I didn't want to miss the camping trip either.

So I'm at this camping trip... I don't remember many details really - other than the fact that I thought I was going to die. As an asthmatic, I could come up tight-chested and wheezing just because. I could be watching TV and suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I remember the youth group leader (or maybe he was just a parent along for the trip) giving me a paper bag and breathing into it. I'm sure I had my inhaler with me (I still don't leave the house without it) but it just wasn't cutting it that night. I finally was able to get calmed down and breathe again. It was a bit scary there for a while though.

Shortly after that camping trip, we lost my grandpa to lung cancer. It was February 15, 1991 and it is a day I'll never forget. There at the end, my mom wouldn't allow my brother or I to go to the hospital. She wouldn't let us go into the funeral parlor for the family open casket time either. She wanted us to remember him how he was before he got sick. Sometimes now I forget how he looks...I have to find a picture to see him better. I don't remember how he smelled anymore either. He is one of the reasons I'm so involved with Relay for Life.

And the afternoon of the burial service...I just about had a heart attack. My grandpa was one of 14 kids - a huge family and the boys all looked the same. There were no twins, but they could all pass for each other. Actually, one of the stories goes that my grandpa and family went "home" to Kentucky (they moved to northern Indiana when my mom was in elementary school) and one of the brothers had moved and my grandpa didn't know the new address. So he stopped at the old neighbor's house, asking for his brother's new house. The people in the house gave him the information and as he turned to walk away, he could hear through the screen door, "Well that Belt is so drunk he doesn't even know where his new house is." My grandpa said it was the funniest thing ever...he didn't even go back to set them straight either.

Anyways, after the burial service and family dinner, all of the family went back to the house and were just spending time together. I walked into my grandparent's bedroom and there my grandpa sat at the end of the bed. I gasped out loud, turned white as a sheet and slowly turned to walk out (my brain was all fuzzy I couldn't think to even move my feet hardly). He said, "Casie, it's okay...it's me, Alton."

Whoa. Relief. It was my great-uncle Alton, one of my grandpa's "twin" brothers. That was one ghost-like experience I'll never forget.

This is my ninth post with Mommy's Piggy Tales recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my sixth grade memories are about growing up, Girl Scouts and puppy love.

Kroger ad highlights - 8/5 through 8/9

Well, I'm thinking the four-day sale at Kroger is going to be a GOOD one when coupon match-ups are figured out. Thursday, August 5th through Sunday, August 8th select General Mills and Quaker products are on sale for 50% off. That's my goal price a lot of times...matched up with coupons - this could be a real nice deal.

They also have some good Back to School savings.
Crayola crayons - $.25
Office Works pencils (10ct) - $.50
Top Flight filler paper (150ct) - $.75
Crayola Classic markers (10ct) - $1.00
Top Flight notebook (70 sheets) - $.15
Oxford Portfolio (two pocket) - $.15
Top Flight (80ct) - 10/$10
Bic Cristal pens - $.79
Crayola colored pencils (12ct) - $1.50

I'm not sure how it compares to other stores sales but Kerri over at Save at Home Mommy has a comparison chart to make it easier to find the best savings!
As for the rest of the ad (and the rest of the week):
California seedless grapes - $.88/lb
Pork spareribs - $1.47/lb
Lay's - $1.98
Kraft singles - $1.79
Kroger cheese - 2/$3
Kroger frozen veggies - 10/$10
P&G items - mix and match and four items and save $4.00 - you can get FREE Gillette body wash with this sale!
Boneless pork sirloin chops or roasts - $1.79/lb
Oscar Mayer wieners or franks - B1G1 FREE

If you get any good General Mills or Quaker deals - do share!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Marsh ad highlights - 8/5 through 8/9

I was so excited to see pork loin on sale at Marsh I sent Brian a message as soon as I saw it!  He's just as pumped as I am.  What else can you look for this week?

Whole boneless center cut pork loin - $1.77/lb (save $2.22/lb)
Tyson frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts - B1G1 FREE (save $8.99 on two)
5lb box peaches - $2.99 (save $4.00)
In-husk bi-color corn - $.25/ear (save $.25/ear)
Eckrich smoked sausage - $1.88 (save $2.01)Tennessee Pride roll sausage - $1.98 (save $2.01)
Red, yellow or orange bell peppers - 5/$5 (save $4.95 on five)
Boneless rump or round roast - $1.98/lb (save $2.21/lb)
T-bone steaks - $5.98/lb (save $6.01/lb)
2lb strawberries - $2.98 (save $2.91)
Aunt Millie's - 10/$10 (save $14.90 or more on ten)
Jumbo bunch broccoli - $1.48 (save $.71)
General Mills cereals - $1.99 (when you buy four)
Food Club cheese - $1.68
Oscar Mayer truckload sale - lots of Oscar Mayer products on sale
Land O' Frost lunch meats - B1G1 FREE
Kellogg's Mega Sale - buy six items, save $3 (Keebler Zesta saltines or Cheez-Its - $1.49 final price; Kellogg's or Keebler's treats - $1.99 final price)
Kraft salad dressing - $1.79
Taco Bell or Don Pancho - 25% off
Crystal Light - B1G1 FREE
Rice A Roni - 10/$10
Hunt's pasta sauce - 10/$10
Ken's marinades or salad dressings - B1G1 FREE
2-liter Pepsi - $.86 (buy four get two FREE)
Red seedless or globe grapes - $1.69/lb

LOTS of good stuff...lots of stuff that will match up with coupons.  This could be a really, really good week for some of us!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Found another blog I like! I had to share...

As always, I will click through and click through and click through on blogs and then suddenly I land on one I really like and I have no idea how I got there.

Budgets are the New Black is another website just like that.  The blog says they are, "striving to live a debt-free, credit-free, clutter-free life.  (One day at a time.)

They have a great page that is quotes and verses about money.

They also have a great page that links to others on the debt-free journey through life.

All-in-all, Budgets are the New Black is a good blog I think!

Booking It update - my last couple of weeks...

So I put down The Stormchasers in a matter of days. Mmmm...maybe more like a few hours (spread over three days).  If I could have just sat down and read it...it is one that would have gone down in just one day's time.  It was GOOD.

The Stormchasers was written by Jenna Blum.  The reviews of her other books were glowing and this book deserves just as many positive accolades!  A book about twins, the incredible bond between them and what happens when life separates them - this book was amazing.  I know some twins (well, went to school with some twins) but don't KNOW know any twins.  I've always imagined that the "twindar" that Karena experiences with Charles is a real knowledge and that having that built in best friend would lead to an amazing relationship between two siblings. 

If you're looking for a good read, I'd highly recommend this.  If you're interested in Mother Nature, storms and weather then this will be a definite treat for you.

Another book I picked up is Good Grief by Lolly Winston.  Part of my current job requires me to visit competitor's websites, gather some information and then send that information out to others I work with.  In the process of sending this info out, I like to include a quote or "didyaknow" fact or something and last week I shared a quote about reading, "Charlie "Tremendous" Jones said, "You are the same today as you'll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet" (from Dave Ramsey's website).

So anyways, in this process one of my co-workers said, if you like reading then you need to read the book Good Grief.  So I picked it up that night.  It has been a very good read.  When thirty-six-year-old Sophie Stanton finds herself widowed, she realizes she is more losing it than being a graceful widow (like Jackie Kennedy was and like she wants to be).

Some of the scenes hurt my heart.  I sit and think...how could I function if I lost Brian?  How could I get up and make it to work (which Sophie does one day...in her robe!) or take care of myself (which Sophie does...eating ice cream for breakfast and over-medicating on tranquilizers) or any of that.  I think about my cousin who, with a one-week-old daughter, lost her husband while he was playing softball.  He was 32-years-old.  And she was alone...a widow at a young age with a newborn daughter too.  How does one function?  How does one get by?

Part funny and part solemn, this book has made me laugh and cry.  I haven't quite finished it yet but will probably do so tonight or tomorrow and I can't wait to see how Sophie gets herself pulled together (if she even does!).

And next on my list...the very personal Captivating by John and Stasi Edwards.  This will not be an easy read for me, I'm sure.  This one is going to involve some soul searching.  I hope to be back next week with a good report on it.

For now...happy reading!

Monday, August 2, 2010

And our regular weekly Marsh trip

was almost a bust.  Brian still isn't feeling well (going on day 11 now) and there just wasn't much that I even wanted sale wise.  I was going to buy some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pound them thinner (because they are so thick) and then freeze in baggies with marinade but Brian thought that'd be a bad idea.  I didn't want to tell him, "the girls on the Internet do it" because then he'd just roll his eyes at me.  So we got some basics and few other things...

2 gallons Marsh milk was $5.38 for $4.00
4 Knorr rice products was $5.20 for $3.00
1 Vlasic dill pickle for $2.50
2 Ragu pasta sauces was $5.56 for $3.70
1 Aunt Millie bread was $2.99 for $1.70

Along with orange juice, sour cream, canned pineapple, bananas, canned veggies, 2ct Sharpie marker (1/2 price) and some Bounty paper towel (used rain check and coupon to get 8roll pack for only $4.99) and spent a total of $30.45.  We saved $13.03 or 30% all together - this does not include the savings on the paper towel though because Marsh rings rain checks funky).

And once again - it is times like these I am SO thankful for our stockpile.

A quick trip into Kroger on Saturday

saved me a bundle of money!
4 40ct Tampax was $29.36 for $15.96
4 Gillette body wash was $17.16 for $-.04 (yep, got paid $.04 to buy the Gillette)
1 Crest toothpaste was $2.39 for $.25

Total paid:  $18.47
Total saved:  $32.74
Percentage saved:  66%

And the body wash and toothpaste are going into the 'giveaway' box.  You can't beat giving away free things!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The final budget update - 12 months of hard work!

A few days ago I posted about how far we'd come in getting our debt paid down.

So here is the final listing of balances for the last twelve months (and this is just consumer debt...no mortgage in these figures):
09/09: $22058.63
10/09: $26704.15
11/09: $25712.43
12/09: $24485.66
01/10: $24658.07
02/10: $23569.55
03/10: $22456.59
04/10: $21101.42
05/10: $19588.84
06/10: $18856.25
07/10: $17591.38
08/10: $17077.91
09/10: $16202.50

So from high point to low point, we've paid off $10501.65 - a LOT of debt (and a lot of worry and angst gone too).  BUT just one month prior to tracking all this - we still owned a motorcycle.  It was Brian's "other woman" and he loved that bike.  It was a Suzuki Boulevard M109R and we owed probably $10K on it.  In a matter of a few hours, Brian decided to put it on Craigslist, listed it, got some interested buyers and it was sold less than 24 hours later.  Brian has said that if he hadn't gone so quickly he might have never sold it.  But that huge step for him lopped $10K off our debt almost immediately.  So, let's look at that as more like $20K that's GONE forever.

Plus...we've paid CASH for things like:
Dr Johnson - $1000.00
St Vincent - $521.48
Arnett - $389.40
LeeAnn's dance lessons - $285.00
Clarian Arnett - $782.04
roof repair - $800 (appx)
Brian's short term disability (had to use some extra cash to "make up" his paychecks) - $200.00
Giving to someone who really needed it - $162.80
Witham Hospital - $212.77
Burgett Eye Care - $90.00
St Vincent Physicians - $50
St Vincent - $73.14
Anesthesia of Indy - $91.83
Johnson and Deitch - $247.39
Creekside OB/GYN - $25.60

Which totals up to $4931.85 - another LARGE chunk of cash.  Depending on how you look at it (I look at it without the motorcycle debt - it was gone before I started tracking), we've paid off and paid in cash $15433.50- plus we saved (and still have) the $1000 baby emergency fund when we first started. 

Now, there could be some miscalculations - I could have added one thing too many (although I tried very hard not too) or not added enough (which I don't think I've missed anything) but really?  Really!?  Just over $15K in 12 months?  That's like 1/4 of our income! 

It couldn't have been done without the knowledge we learned in our Financial Peace University class (if you haven't taken one - do it!), the committment that we made to each other and ourselves and a lot of hard work (both actually at work and at home). 

Want to know how we did it?  Let me know - I'd be glad to share our story!