Friday, June 13, 2008

Frugal Friday 6-13-08

I have a a tip to share that will really help those of you that are living the frugal lifestyle before your children. Many times I wonder if my children 'get it'. We want them to understand why we are choosing to live life differently than those around us. Often I feel like our choices fall on deaf ears.

We have been huge fans and followers of Dave Ramsey. He is discussed frequently in our home. Our oldest is 20 years old. Two of our children are spendthrifts. Money just escapes through their hands. The oldest is one of those spendthrifts. Imagine my surprise when he told me he was halfway there with his emergency fund and was wondering if he could borrow my Dave Ramsey books. Uhh hello? I about fell over! He is in college and we have been trying to get him to see that he can do other things to pay for his college instead of taking out loans. We have preached and preached but then just decided to live our lives and see if they 'get it'.

My frugal tip to all you parents is to not GIVE UP! They do listen to you and more than that they watch what you do! We have been actively living this lifestyle for over seven years. More is caught than taught as my Daddy used to tell me. I would have never dreamed that our oldest would want to jump on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon. He has been the greatest naysayer about this choice of living. I am so proud of him!!

If you would like more frugal ideas check out Crystal's blog at Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WFMW 6-11-08

Healthy LifeStyle Notebook

Okay I admit it, I am a nut for notebooks of any kind. I have always been that type of gal that had a huge love of pen and paper. I mean when I was in the second grade I was designing clothes for my Barbie using my spiral notebook. Suffice it to say that I have a lot of organizational notebooks around my home and even more spiral notebooks! I buy them by the case when the back-to-school sales begin late summer. I justify it because I have four children that attend school and they usually need a notebook for each subject. A case is much cheaper. But I do digress…

Many of you have heard that if you just write down what you eat or drink it will help you keep track of your habits and calories for any given day. I have tried this in the past and have always given up the task. I found it at times to be too cumbersome or I would just plain forget to write down what I had eaten.

Last year I had a life changing event happen in my life and I decided to keep track of what I eat and how much I exercise. It worked wonderfully…..until I quit making time to do it! I am back on track now and I am so glad. I have finally figured out that for me I need the structure. It is also invaluable when you have an appointment with your doctor.

This is what I do:
I have found using an old fashioned steno pad is the best for me.

I write down everything that goes in my mouth. I also keep track of my blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight. I also put down how many minutes I have exercised (or not) and what I did for physical activity. I keep it near me at work and it comes out of my bag once I get home.

I have found now that it is like a dear old friend that I have missed. I write down my feelings or if I am really craving something I write that down and try to evaluate why I have such strong desires to deviate from my plan.

There are several online tracking sites that one can use but I have found that actually holdking the pen in hand and putting it to paper works best for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Super Savings Saturday 6-7-08

This past week has been an amazing time of savings for our family!! Let's start with last Saturday evening.

We went to Walmart first to use up some May 31st coupons. We ended up getting three boxes of free cereal, free shampoo, and used over 32.00 in coupons. Our savings at Walmart was thrilling. The grand total before coupons was over 89.00 but we paid less than 50.00! SCORE! On to CVS.

The above picture has only some of the items purchased that evening. Many others were in the fridge. We had an entire cart full of tuna, Ozarka water, deoderant marked down to .82 cents, detergent, dish soap, chex mix, makeup etc., etc. The total rang up to 79.00. I had several large ECBs that I needed to use or they would expire plus I had coupons for most of the items in our cart. After coupons and a 19.98 ECB, a 9.98 ECB, and a 2.00 ECB our grand total was 1.50! We carried all our loot out to the van and were so excited!

Wednesday night I made a quick run down the street back to Walmart. I had more expiring coupons plus I had read about the WalMart deals online. I had a mission and was in and out of there. I bought four pounds of bacon, four pounds of sausage, two Honey Bunches of Oats w/Chocolate, LiveActive cereal, Yogurt, and the only things I did not use any coupons for were four packages of hot dogs. The rest I had multiple coupons. The total before tax was 55.00. The total after my coupons was 24.00!!! The bacon cost me .50 a pound! The sausage .23 cents! I was very excited!!

My savings from those two trips was over 140.00! I had so many things in my cart that ended up being free. I had never had that experience at Walmart and was so thrilled!

Today we got up early and hit the garage sales. Our boys love to hunt. Our oldest has an awesome bow but had been looking for another type of bow. Well we came across two in awesome Cabela cases with arrows and all the gear that goes with them. One was obviously brand new and had never been used. The other was older. We are talking about archery bows that cost upwards of 500.00! The father just wanted to get rid of them. He told us the one had never even shot an arrow. His friend kept saying that it was a steal at 100.00 and that he kept telling his friend not to sell them at the garage sale. We KNEW it was a bargain. We called our son and told him what we found and that the one bow was brand new. It was priced at 100.00. He told us to buy it. The other case and bow was priced at 15.00. We took both! Later in the same neighborhood we found an awesome framed Michael Jordan poster from his very early years at Chicago. We bought it for our sixteen year old for 1.00. The day was awesome. While many may not understand the expense of the was a HUGE bargain! If we wanted to we could turn around and sell it easy for over 300.00 but our son will be using this in the fall.

We saw so many awesome things at the garage sales but the one constant today that really caused my husband and me to laugh was everyone was selling their old televisions. It was almost hysterical. Of course we still have ours and do not own the new flat screen yet but people are not going to buy these old televisions if they don't have the converter box or digital cable. EVERY garage sale had numerous televisions for sale.

If you would like to see more super savings visit Money Saving Mom.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Frugal Friday 6-6-08

I know many of you have already received your stimulus check from the Federal Government. I know that the purpose of the checks were to stimulate the economy but we put our big fat check in the bank. This summer we have purposed to really save. We are hoping to grow our savings and even surpass what the government sent our little family of six by the end of the summer.

Shortly after the new year I posted five ways we were saving a 100.00. I thought I would give an update:

My husband and I still share meals when we go out. We still enjoy going to Barnes and Noble after dinner to sit and read. I get to read all the magazines that I LOVE and I keep a little notebook with me in order to write down websites or recipes that I come across. I used to be a magazine NUT! I just could not help myself. Maybe it goes back to my young teen years when magazines were still safe to buy for your teen daughters. I remember my Mom coming home with the Back to School issue! It was so big and full of great ideas for that back to school wardrobe. I miss sharing this with my own daughter but just looking at the covers and the stories that are within those pages keep me from buying them for my teenager girl.

We are not keeping our thermostat around 77 during the day but after work it goes down to around 74. We never go below that at all. I have also now averaged not only our gas bill but our electric/water/sewage bill as well.

Since it is summer the kids are not in school and are eating at home. I have capitalized on my CVS ECBs and coupons to buy snack foods for the kids to have at home. It is crucial since the boys could eat us out of the house in ten seconds flat! They are in summer football and also have a lawn business....they are ALWAYS hungry.

We still keep away from the mall. We have gone from shopping as a pastime to shopping as a necessity. We keep detailed lists of what is needed/sizes etc. and score when we come across a much needed item at a reduced price!

I am going to post more about this Saturday but just this week alone I have saved our family more than 140.00 just buy planning, using my coupons, and working the CVS deals. 140.00!!!!! The cashier at WalMart last night told me I needed to give lessons. He could not believe that I got four pounds of bacon for a total of 2.00!!! Yes, I paid .50 cents for each package since I had four 2.00 off coupons! SCORE! Three pounds went into the freezer and one is ready for BLT sandwiches! Those tomatoes my father in law planted are looking great!!!

Saving money is hard today in this recession/non-recession but it can be done! It may take a little time and effort but it is paying off for my husband and me! We are so thankful and blessed! If you want to find more frugal ideas check out BiblicalWomanhood.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WFMW 6-4-08

Today over at Rocks in My Dryer, the topic is “Mom, I’m bored!” What do you do when your children announce they are bored?

For my family, I have always had to work so I have not been able to be home the entire summer. I always made sure there were plenty of activities and down-times as well. Now that they are teenagers I seem to hear I am bored more frequently on the weekends when their friends may be on vacation or they have lost rights to the television.

On the times that I was off work and if the boredom blues hit the kids these are a few standbys that always worked:

Creating something with the craft items I have on hand. Many times we have made Christmas ornaments in July or jewelry. Working on scrapbooks is another great pastime!

SWIMMING….WATER FIGHTS…..WATER BALLOON FIGHTS….WATER FUN!!! You can never fail with water fun….get some great sunscreen and have a blast!

Check out the library for activities for youth in the summer…these are always free and very educational.

We have had a movie fest before….watch every Mary Kate and Ashley movie or Star Wars…pop some popcorn throw some pillows on the floor and have a fun time watching movies together as a family.

In my experience when kids are bored they are really saying they want YOU and to spend time with YOU. That however is my own experience. Very rarely have I heard those words from my four children.

These are a few things that work for me! For more Works for Me Wednesday posts head over to Rocks in My Dryer.