Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday 5-28-08

For the past several summers our boys have worked for my husband in his lawn business that he has on the side. Each summer they rake in the bucks. They tithe, save, and Seth is now paying his car insurance with this money. They also use it for some spending money for going out with friends to movies or out to eat.

However, our sweet baby girl is 14. She loves children and is very good with them. She has had a sweet gig for a family in our neighborhood this semester babysitting but we are not certain if it will continue through the summer months. She loves to shop and is hoping to make some extra cash this summer. This summer I am going to try something new with my daughter. She has asked if she can work for me around the house this summer. Now I could demand that she do certain things but I want her to have a great work ethic as the boys have and the only way to do so in my opinion is for the child to have something to work for...a goal.

Our girl is a great helper. She will make such a wonderful wife and mom one day. She has asked if she could do housework for me. We are coming up with a list for her to do each week and a wage that we will pay her. She is very excited. The only stipulation that we require is that she tithe 10% and save at least 20%. The rest is hers to use as she sees fit...within our family rules/guidelines.

She is so excited. Now I will be thrilled if she sticks it out. It can be very helpful but I also want her to have an awesome summer. Currently I am praying for wisdom in how to handle this with her and what tasks would be the best for her to take on. We are having an employee meeting on Friday night to discuss this 'job'. :)

I love it that our children are more independent when it comes to money and the things they want. They all certainly know that there is much more satisfaction in working for something than always having things handed to them.

As parents of four children, three who are teenagers and one who is 20, the costs continue to rise. A few things we have done with our kids that have taught them the value of the dollar over the years are as follows:

We pay up to 35.00 for athletic shoes/back to school shoes. If they want the latest and greatest athletic shoe for back to school, for example 100.00 shoes, they have to come up with the difference. This has taught them various ways to look for their shoes. We discovered our favorite shoe store, DSW, by looking for great places to shop. We were thrilled when Oklahoma City finally got a DSW last year. Also Ross Dress for Less has been the greatest place for us to find the boys football cleats.....TRULY....we have purchased Addidas or Nike football cleats the past two years at Ross that were a fraction of the cost at the Athletic stores.

We have really focused on the needs/wants with our children. They don't have all the latest and greatest when they first come out. We want to teach them contentment and patience.

Our children all have cell phones. Since the boys were earning money they paid up front last summer for a year of service for their cell phones. We still pay for our daughter, however, this summer she is paying for part of that service. They each picked out their phone and as long as it was free on our plan that was fine...or if there was a charge for the phone they paid for it. Each of them chose the free phone.

Where we find the greatest lack of contentment in their peers is with cell phones. Their friends change phones the way a lot of people buy shoes! It is amazing! Our teens have become resourceful because of their friends lack of contentment. Many times our children have gotten barely used phones from their friends either for free or a small charge (ten bucks). None of our three younger children still use the phone provided for them last summer...however they all have the 'hot' phones that parents are buying for their teens....only difference is our children have found a way to have the hot phones without the high price.

Same thing has happened with the iPod. We bought them inexpensive MP3 players one year for Christmas. However, as technology changes and new devices become available many teens do not want their 'old' ones. Our sixteen year old has a great 20g iPod from a friend that asked if he wanted it because he was getting the new 400.00 iPod. Is our son any less excited because he did not get it when it first came out? Maybe if he had been younger but now they have learned that if one is patient and saves for what they want....time is on their side.....it has been a great lesson.

There is so much more on this subject but for now these are some of the things that work for us in this ever changing world. For more Works for Me ideas drop by Rocks in My Dryer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Super Saving Saturday 5-24-08

This has been the most amazing week for savings in our family!!! I have no pictures but will tomorrow. Last week I had a couple of great CVS runs.

Tonight I just got back from getting three nail polish from Revlon, 2 Addidas deoderants and gave 12.00 in ECBs, 3/1.00 off of 1 coupons for the nail polish, and I had a free Addidas deoderant coupon. I paid 1.31 OOP and earned back 18.98 in ECBS! We now have a grand total of nearly 80.00 in ECBS from the past week of shopping! Last Saturday I had purchases that totaled 75.00 but when it was all said and done with coupons, ECBs I paid a little more OOP than normally 16.00 but earned back nearly 50.00 in ECBS! I will post pictures tomorrow morning! I have not had the 3/15.00 coupons to use but did have 10.00 ECBs from answering a couple of surveys.

This morning we hit the garage sales in our area. We were up and out early. We found some amazing deals! I had been wanting this tin sign at Hobby Lobby for my kitchen but was too frugal to pay 10.00 bucks for it. I looked at it each time it was half off but never bought it. Today at the first garage sale we went to I found it for .50 cents!!!!! Brand new!!!!! WOO HOO!!!! They also had an adorable tin bucket to plant my herbs in, a cute black bear yard ornament that I adore, a Red Rooster iron planter that I have seen at Hobby Lobby for 29.99 (paid 2.00 for it), and my husband bought a garden tool for a buck. We headed over to our next place and I found a great pine TV cabinet for 25.00, an old croquet set, plus the basket that picks up tennis balls, some picture frames (.50 cents each...nice heavy wood frames I am going to paint), and a blue and white child's tea set and we spent only around 33.00!

Oh and my husband found a brand new Brinkman Smoker for get this.....ONE DOLLAR at a garage sale!!!! Yea, we were excited!!!!!

Today our total at the garage sales was 36.00 and I earned 18.98 in ECBs...I'd say this week was a great time of savings!

For more savings head over to Money Saving Mom.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Frugal Friday 5-23-08

The great people at AMC sent the link for all of you to check out their Summer Camp! I have personally gone to this in the summer when my children were younger. It is awesome!

These are trying times we are living in. So many are buried under debt and feel they have no where to go. If there ever was a time for people to get serious about saving money.....NOW IS THE TIME!

I love that we are experiencing a time where frugality is not frowned upon but sought out and investigated. I believe those of us that have strived to live this lifestyle, whether it is buy reducing or eliminating our debt load, choosing to live life more simply, or finding ways to stretch our dollar have a great opportunity now to lead others in ways to experience the freedom and satisfaction we have found both in Christ and in living a more simple lifestyle.

School is almost here and many will have their children at home for the summer. Here are a few things that we have found that stretch our dollar in the summer:

1. Utilize the Library! Check your local library for summer programs for children and young teens. We go and LOAD up on books. Our local library has many neat programs we have used throughout the years.

2. Check out your local church for summer programs, VBS, and Fun Days. For minimal cash outlays (fun days) or free Vacation Bible School your children can have a great time learning about Christ and spend time with their friends.

3. Check your local movie theatre for summer fun packages. We have a local AMC theatre that in the past showed children's movies early in the day for much less than what a regular movie ticket costs.

4. Go to your local park. Pack a picnic lunch, take the baseball gloves, scooters, frisbees, and don't forget the sunscreen and have a great late morning/early afternoon adventure.

5. If you live near a university or college see what summer programs are available. Many have athletic camps that are very reasonable as do the local high schools as well. Many local universities or community colleges have drama programs, art, music academies, and various free concerts throughout the summer.

6. Plan your menus. I know that this is going to get more expensive this year with teenagers at home for the summer and two of them in football early in the morning all week for six weeks! PLAN YOUR MENUS! I am working on mine right now. I also am going to let them know what is for lunch and what they CANNOT touch. Last year many a evening meal had to be changed because they ate what I had planned for dinner. I am going to be ready this year!

7. Check with your local zoo to see if they have special rates certain times of the week. Take a group of friends and pack your lunches and water bottles.

8. We have a local video store that has free childrens movies to rent every day and first run movies are cheaper mid-week.

10. Make homemade popsicles with fruit juice or fruit and yogurt. Freeze in small paper cups that can be peeled away or in the old fashioned popsicle trays. A sweet, cool treat for a hot summer day for pennies on the dollar!

These are just a few things that will help keep your children active and their minds engaged this summer plus save you some green in the process.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Frugal Friday 5-16-2008

I seems as if it has been AGES since I posted a frugal friday post. I have been so busy with year-end activities, plays, musicals, birthdays, work, etc. My teenagers and college student have taken over the computer time lately with school projects. I am thankful to have the chance at a decent hour to create a post!

This is the time of year that I absolutely love! I love spring time/summer for many reasons but for my life of simplicity and frugality it is the time of year for wonderful garage sales and estate sales! I love, love, love them!

Last weekend my daughter and I hit the road early Saturday morning and after a Starbucks run for her we hit our first garage sale. My husband and three sons love to hunt. However, hunting is expensive to get outfitted with all the gear. Imagine my delight when I saw two familiar looking camo items at our first stop. The zippered bag/container had the expensive earphones that you see people using that shoot skeet or sporting clays. The zippered bag also had two full boxes of Remington 20 gauge shotgun shells. Then there was this vest thing that had big pouches on the front that were FULL of shotgun shells! I asked how much and the lady told me 10.00. I thought that was kinda high so I called my husband. When I told him what all it contained he kept saying, "BUY IT, BUY IT, BUY IT!" He told me later that the headphones alone are 40.00 at Academy and the bag is around 30.00...I did not pay much attention after that because I was so excited!! Ka Ching! Can you say SCORE!

Our next stop we found a few cute items my daughter liked. A beautiful framed picture and a couple of cute rooster prints for my kitchen. We scored again when we came across three black wrought iron bar stools with a cute curved back and red padded seats. They were so cute and would fit right in our kitchen. They wanted 40.00 for all three and I asked if they would take 30.00. SCORE! They are VERY nice quality and very sturdy. My husband could not believe it when he saw them. They look brand new!!

On another frugal note....One of my boys wanted to donate books for a leadership opportunity at school. They were to be childrens books new or gently used. Of course he told me at the LAST minute that he wanted to donate 50! Yes, let me repeat that for you....I said 50 books. He really wanted to do this and was going to pay for the books. I promised him I would take him to Dollar Tree in between dropping his sister off early for her performing arts night and our attending her last middle school performance. I had a total of FIFTEEN minute to do all of this.

We ran into Dollar Tree and I began counting out childrens books until I saw them....three books to a package and two books to a package! My frugal mind went nuts. I asked him if they could be any size of book and he told me that they could. I then told him that we were going to buy the groups of books. We began to count by two's and three's until we got to 50 total. We raced up front and he paid for them.....23.00! That was a savings of 27.00!!!! WOO HOO! We had the fifty books he really wanted to donate and they were perfect for small hands plus he learned a POWERFUL lesson on saving money in the midst of giving! I love it!!! Now it would have been awesome if he had not procrastinated and we could have gone to Goodwill or asked family members for any old books but he really wanted to give new ones. Thank you Lord for Dollar Tree!!!

For more Frugal Friday posts head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday 5-14-08

This is the time that many are experiencing graduation ceremonies, parties and the like. We will be attending the graduation of our niece on Friday night in Oklahoma City. This brings me to a timely post.

Two years ago our oldest graduated from high school. I remember the difficulty coming up with the addresses for the announcements and party invites. I also knew that I would not get my son to hand address his announcements like my mother had made me do oh so many years ago! So I created a mail merge in Microsoft Word and used a beautiful calligraphy font. I measured the announcement envelopes, set up the parameters and printed them off our ink jet printer!

Oh my goodness they looked beautiful and professional! I not only had the computer/printer address the envelopes but I also had it print out our return address. The time to set up the mail merge was not too bad and if one already had the addresses of family and friends in a Word or Excel file it would zip right along.
Our second child will graduate in 2010. I am already updating the address file so that when it is time to send his announcements it will be more like bada bing bada boom and viola….printed envelopes ready to go!

Also the past several months I have been buying the Forever Stamp from the US Postal Service. As many of you know the price went up to .42 cents on Monday. I purchased several hundred of the stamps at .41 cents. I have them put away for Christmas cards and graduation announcements. I believe in being prepared and frugal.

I saved the decorations from the graduation party two years ago. I will only need to buy new napkins and such. I plan on picking those up at the after graduation clearance sales. Two years later the same decorations are still in the stores.

Many of you may wonder if I will remember where I will store these items. I have a special box that has all the graduation supplies in it. I also have a special place that I am keeping it on the top shelf in my closet.

These things work for me! For more Works for Me Wednesday visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.