Saturday, April 30, 2011


My husband found this video to show at our church this week. I found it to be very inspiring and challenging, so I'm sharing it with you too! It is about a 20 minute video, so plan to watch it when you have enough time to finish it.

Coupon Crazy!

If you want to be the next Krazy Coupon Lady, you're in luck! She has posted a tutorial on her method of couponing madness and you can learn to be just like her by checking out this link. After you have loaded up on 15 bags of diapers, 30 tubes of toothpaste and 25 bars of soap, remember to share the love!! :) I will take any of your 'overstock' for the rock bottom price you paid! ;)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Car Update

Thankfully it wasn't TOO bad of a car repair, but it still set us back $350! :-/ Not fun! We are very thankful that we have the emergency fund for these unexpected moments and for friends who are willing to drive us around in the meantime!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Extreme Couponing Article

Hereis an artcle about the TLC show, Extreme Couponing. Some of you may find it interesting or fuuny! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And the car won't start...

It has been busy, busy around here and there has been no time for blogging! I'm hoping to get caught up this week though, since now we will be staying in for a few days! The car is headed to the shop this morning. We are thankful for our emergency fund, but hate to have to use it. We will know the 'damage' later today probably. Watch for all kinds of great poats on their way! :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

What a blessing to celebrate that Christ conquered death by raising again! We have had a full couple weeks with a birthday party and Easter celebrations and I'll be sure to fill you all in soon. But today, I just wanted to say, "HAPPY EASTER!" There isn't a better reason to celebrate then the fact that we were all saved from our sins by Christ's death and resurrection! Enjoy your day remembering, thanking and loving all those around you. Blessings!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Debt Update

I know it's been a while since I've given y'all an update on the debt diet, so here is the quick update. We are down to ONE loan! Count them with me friends, ONE--yep, that's it! :) It is the largest, of course, because the way we've been paying them off is smallest to largest, but nonetheless, it's our LAST one!! :) Very exciting, very exciting!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tax Day!

It has been a full week for us. I look forward to getting back to posting more often, and I have lots to update and fill you all in on...BUT not today! Instead i will leave you with this great article from learn vest. It's full of some great tips to help you prepare for next years taxes!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The bulk method

I just went to Sam's Club the other day because I needed to restock something that were easier to get there. It's funny that I haven't been there in a long time, and not since really focusing on our budget. I did take a set amount of money to spend in there and did pretty well--good thing I had a calculator, I would totally overspent! I did notice a few things though that I hadn't fully been aware of before being so conscience of how much we are spending.

Some of my observations:
1. It's not ALWAYS cheaper to buy products at warehouse stores
-The reason I know this is because  most of the things they have are name brand, often times the generic version of those things cost less at the store even without being in bulk or on sale. (Of course this depends on where you shop, but for Walmart generic brand, this was true).
-Sometimes it is the same price as the store, but you have the benefit of getting it all in one large package, but don't confuse this with it costing less.

2. There are less choices to chose from
-Most of these stores only carry a few brands or packaging options for the things you'd like to get. Which can often times limit your use for them or how you'd like to store them.

3. It's easy to overspend
It's SOO easy to add things to your cart in those stores and not think it'll add up to much, especially if you're used to the grocery store pricing. After putting 3 things in my cart I was already close to $25! You really have to pay attention to budget and the prices there. If it's something you don't NEED to have in bulk or could get for cheaper at the grocery store, it makes more sense to put it off and stock up on your own price terms.

All that being said, I'm still a huge fan of these stores, because there are things that really are cheaper there. I've just become aware of somethings to keep in mind as I shop! :) If you don't have a membership currently, I wouldn't say it's a necessary thing unless you have some things in mind you know you'd use it for. If it's just for groceries, you can definitely do the stock up thing for less at your local stores watching their ads and buying generic brands.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My favorite tools at the store

While grocery shopping I go armed with two very special and important tools, both of which help keep me on budget.

Tools in my pocket:

1. My list
I'm sure you have heard before how important it is to follow a lost while shopping, but there are two things that make if effective. First is that you checked to make sure you actually NEED what is on the list. I can't tell you how many times I brought groceries home and while putting them away found what I had just purchased already in my fridge! Second, sticking to it. Stores actually market products to you by putting them in the aisles or prominent places so you will be tempted to buy them and they are usually NOT the cheapest variety of each product either.

2. Calculator
I am constantly using the calculator app on my phone while I am shopping. I use it to figure out unit prices-like I explained in a previous post. The other thing I use it for is to keep a running total of my purchases. Usually when I do that it keeps me from buying impluse items or over buying in general. If i know I have $X for that shopping trip and my total is getting there quickly and I still have a lot more items on my list, I know I will need to cut back on some things. It also keepa me from looking like a fool at the checkout counter when I don't have enough money to buy my groceries! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


We have been going a lot lately and we will have a full day tomorrow, as well as lots of stuff going on next week! So today turned out to be the perfect balance for tomorrow. We have had a chill day at home, enjoying a movie as a family, read books, snuggling and enjoying the smell of our roast for dinner filling the house.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Living on Love...I mean, what we got! ;)

We're doing a living on what we have kind of week again. I've done this before and here we are again. I have a limited amount of funds left to get me through the week and so I'm challenging myself to stay out of the store and life off our pantry, freezer and what we have in the fridge. I already made up a menu that is totally doable with what we have. In case some of you are wondering what's for dinner this week, steal away--ideas that is! ;)

Day One
Lasagna (Freezer-made on a bulk cooking day)
Vegetables (whatever is in the fridge! ;))
Garlic Bread (Bought day old 50% off french bread, prepared and froze)

Day Two
Santa Fe Chicken Casserole
Chips and Salsa
**I already made this for our family this week and they LOVED it. The kids each had seconds (large servings too) and the hubby said he could keep eating it, but had to stop. It's NOT spicy, but has some good flavor. Make it your own by adding something special you're family loves to it.

Day Three
Bruschetta Chicken Skillet
Vegetables (whatever is on hand)
Garlic Bread (same as above)

Day Four
Grilled Steaks (freezer supply)
Scalloped Potatoes

Day Five
Creamed Chicken on Toast

Day Six
Ham and Cheese Loaf

Day Seven
Beef Stroganoff

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grocery Budget Answer

I was asked a question in the comments section about my March grocery budget, so I figured I'd answer it for everyone as a post. Here is the question: How do you manage to stay so low with your budget? Is it because your pantry is so stocked? Or is it what you buy? And how you buy it? (in bulk, coupons, sales)

The short answer is : yes, yes and yes! First, it is not just my pantry that is so stocked, it is also my freezer. Due to the supply of food I have in those two places my grocery budget is only for things that we are out of, perishables, fresh items and to restock. The main savings happens with the meat. We buy our meats in bulk so I only buy meat a couple times a year (if that). Not having that expense in my monthly grocery budget makes a huge difference. I also have a lot of frozen produce from the summer and fall when things were much less expensive. As an example, I haven't bought bell peppers since last fall when I was getting them for prices like 8 for $2-3. Now they are $1.68 each, unless they are on sale for about $1 each. So having those things in my freezer has helped me save a bunch of money on a monthly basis! The pantry helps with saving for two reasons. 1. I've bought things for really low prices and stocked up, so I know that they were inexpensive from the start and now I have plenty on hand. 2. I go to the store much less often. I have enough to live off of between those two things to keep us from having to go to the store so often. 

Or is it what you buy? Yes, this too! As I've shared on here before I try (not always do, but try) to stay away from convenience items like frozen entrees, pre-cut fruit and vegetables, individually packaged snacks, etc. The other thing I make sure to buy FIRST is all the necessities. By that I mean, bread, milk, eggs, cheese and things that will make meals. I don't stock my grocery cart full of crackers, chips, snacks, cookies, pop and junk food and then not have anything left for the meals I need to fix. Now, I'm not saying I don't buy these things, because I do, I just make sure I have enough MEAL food and things I NEED to feed my family first and then get snacks & extras with what we have left. Finally, for ALL things I always buy the cheapest brand & cheapest unit price. The unit price is usually in a colored box (red, yellow or orange usually) somewhere on the price tag. The unit price is the price per ounces (or other measurement) and it is usually a cents amount written like this: 5.3 or 12.9, etc. So, I'll just give you an example (it will not necessary be correct math, just numbers I am making up to explain this). If you are buying yogurt and the price for one brand large tub (32 oz) is $2 and the same brand individual package containers is $2 for four (6oz each). The price is the same, but the unit price will not be. The unit price is figured by taking the price ($2) divided by the amount (32oz), for the large tub that would be 0.0625 (usually it would be displayed like this 6.25). The other container has a TOTAL of 24 oz, so that would be $2 divided by 24 is 0.0833 (displayed like this 8.3). Those two numbers will be displayed on the ticket price in the corner. I always look for the smallest UNIT price, not just the smallest price, because then I know I'm getting the cheapest price for the amount of food I'm buying. If it's not displayed for me or if I'm using a coupon, I'll do the math myself to see what the best value is. 

And how you buy it? (in bulk, coupons, sales)
Like I've said, I'm not a huge coupon-er, I just can't always make it worth my time and haven't mastered the 'art'. But I do love to price match to get the lowest price in town on things I'm buying. Again, it's WHAT I buy though too. Just because it's a good deal, doesn't mean you should buy it. And, buying bulk is my thing too. Not always in large packages, sometimes just buying A LOT of small packages when they are a fantastic deal. 

Hope that answers those questions! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

March Grocery Budget Update

WOW! March was a great month for our grocery budget, but NOT so great for our entertainment budget! ;) Both my husband and I celebrate our birthdays in March, so we had a lot of extra treats and eating out, more so then usual. Which did great things for our grocery expenses! This month's total grocery spending: $112.40. And, this week I made up for it by getting all kinds of groceries again! I'll let you know how April pans out at the end of the month.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cheap, Easy Dinner

This cheap, easy dinner came from the Philadelphia Cooking Creme's recipe book I got for hosting a party. It's called Chicken Primavera with Pasta and here's the run down:

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces $1.79
2 C frozen stir-fry vegetables $1
1 Tub (10oz) Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme $1.50 (if you use a coupon)
2 C cooked fettuccine $0.50 (estimating that's about 1/2 the box)

Total estimated cost for the dinner: $4.79

To make it cook and stir the chicken in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Add vegetables; cook 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add cooking creme, cook and stir 3 minutes. Stir in pasta. The recipe says it serves 4.

Our family thought the flavor was great, but the consistency of the creme is a little too think. I added some liquid (you could use milk or water) to water it down some, but it still seemed to be a little too thick. So, maybe I should've added even more...will do next time.

The great part is that it was a cheap and easy dinner though!
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