Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Save Big Money at Menards

I have to admit that I've learned something new about saving money this week that I didn't quite know existed! I wasn't sure that was possible, but alas a new rock has been turned. It's a fun little thing called mail in rebates from Menards. I know not everyone in the country has Menards so let me fill you in on these smart folks. Menards is kind of like Lowe's, but they also have the typical Walmart like sections with food, drinks, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Every week, Menards has several items that will be free or just pennies after their mail in rebates. It gives you a store credit postcard to use just like $ at Menards. They also limit the amount that you can buy and receive a rebate for on each item (usually ranges from 3-20). You then take your postcard rebates and buy OTHER items that are free or almost free after rebate in order to roll your rebates just like ECBs or RRs at CVS or Walgreens. They also take coupons so it is definitely possible to get overages on your products. Yes it takes a little longer than a week to get your rebate, but you should ideally be able to do this once a month to get free items. You can even get free tools or building supplies as a part of this program!

My plan for this week will cost me about $20 to start, but will give me $27 in rebates back so I can buy other things later on this month or early August. I plan to use some of my rolling rebates to buy some school supplies for my classroom that I hope they will have on sale in the coming weeks :)

Have you discovered any new money saving tips lately? Even if you haven't, what are your tried and true tips to stretch your buck?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Lasagne

I've been experimenting with some cheap, yummy, healthy foods for summer. I've been trying to incorporate as many fresh ingredients as possible from my garden so I can save additional money on produce. Here is my ultimate favorite so far! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Summer Lasagne, found in Everyday Food magazine
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 lasagna noodles, broken into thirds, cooked and drained
1 minced garlic clove
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 30 tomatoes)
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup torn basil leaves

1. Combine ricotta, Parmesan and olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high and add garlic and tomatoes. Cook until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

3. Add zucchini to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes until tender. Transfer to another bowl.

4. Scatter a few tomatoes over four plates. Top with one noodle, a spoonful of ricotta mixture, zucchini and more tomatoes. Repeat layering twice, ending with noodle and tomatoes. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Garnish with basil and serve.

This recipe cost me approximately $3 to make and it made 4 generous servings. I used tomatoes, zucchini, and basil from my garden and I bought almost everything else with a coupon for a reduced price or at Aldi. Yes my Aldi has ricotta cheese :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer lovin'

Well as you can tell it has been another long absence. I always tend to underestimate what all will be on my plate. It seems that somehow summer has snuck halfway by on me. In about a month, we'll be back for another school year.....one that will hopefully be substantially less stressful and emotionally draining as last years was. Let me fill you in on how I have been spending my moderately relaxing summer.

1. At the gym: Yes I am trying to lose weight. So far...7 lbs gone. I wish it was substantially more considering that I spend almost 2 hours at the gym everyday. Unfortunately, I like beer so I guess that has come back to bite me in the butt...no probably the tummy.
2. Gardening: I had a major flop last year with my first year of gardening. Maybe it was the fact that it didn't rain for 28 days and the temperatures were so hot they made my tomatoes cry, but this year things (knock on wood) are going substantially better. I have 8 tomato plants of various kinds, 2 peppers, 1 eggplant, 1 onion, 6 cucumbers, a big patch of various types of lettuce, peas, and green beans. Lets hope things continue on the right track so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.
3. Enjoying time with friends: Not everyday, but at least 4 days a week I make an effort to spend time with friends and at least 1 day a week is all about family. I love the summer because every night is like a weekend so I don't feel bad if I'm tired on a Friday and don't want to go out because I could go out on Monday night and not even worry about it.
4. Watching the Women's World Cup: Not quite as many games as last summer's men's world cup, but I'm enjoying every minute of getting to watch the sport I love. I need to soak up as much sports time as possible because it looks like football and basketball will be out this next year...
5. Coaching: The one thing I feel like succeed at when all else fails. World Cup is making me set unrealistic standards for my girls, but what can you do? I love being a head coach and we've got some great plans for this season.

It is my hope that in the coming year I can balance my "cups" much more effectively. Last year, I did a great job filling my "work cup," but I severely lacked in my "personal cup" and "wellness cup." I've found that I am happiest when all of my cups are filled and balanced. This does not mean that I have to balance time between all things evenly, but I need to do so in a way that makes me happiest. For me, the "work cup" was such a huge focus due to (pardon my french) all the shit that hit the fan last year, that I need to set some serious limits this year. I've always felt that I was a fairly effective time manager so hopefully my 4th year will be much better than my 3rd. As much as I hate to say it....I'm not sure it could get worse so the only way to go is up :)

Friday, May 27, 2011


I really had absolutely NO idea how to explain my shopping trips today other than with a big, loud, "O...M....G!" I got to work this morning and my mom gave me maybe the coolest shopping news since I started this couponing experiment a little more than 18 months ago. Marsh, a local grocery store, was going to be tripling all coupons up to $1 this Friday-Monday. There were a few rules....1. Only 2 of the same coupon would triple. 2. No overages.

With that, I set my plan in action. I've been watching this Extreme Couponing show on TLC since it started and I've found it interesting that most of the people only have 10-20 actual items they buy, but the quantity is so out of control it's ridiculous. I am a single girl and I have no need for more than 5-10 of most items (yes I bought a couple hundred boxes of pasta for free, but I donated them so I don't count that!) so I don't consider any of my shopping trips to be extreme or over the top in the least.

I headed to Bargain Briana (my favorite for Marsh match ups) and looked up the best deals for the week. I printed and clipped what I needed to then headed to Marsh after work! This is my first transaction with about 20 minutes of planning and "winging it" at the store with the coupons I already had clipped in my coupon organizer.

This transaction includes 8 packages of hot dogs, 2 packages of breakfast burritos, 2 bottles of BBQ sauce, 2 bottles of salad dressing, 3 pasta sauces, 2 jamba smoothies, 2 pasta sides, 4 packages of gum, 2 tubs of lunch meat, 2 candybars, 2 dog treats, 2 packages of cheese, a lunchable, bacon, deoderant, sour cream, Helluva good dip, Mrs. Dash, 6 pack of popcorn, snack crackers, Franks red hot sauce, tortillas, chips, and Seventh Generation cleaner.

Total retail cost: $129.92
MFR Coupons Savings: $32.40
Bonus coupon savings: $62.85
Fresh idea savings: $24.49
Total savings of $119.74 (93%)

Total paid out of pocket: $10.18

I came home and went through all my coupons then decided to go back tonight because my mom had heard a cashier talking at another location about how they might end the promotion early because they were going broke! Duhhhh you gave me $62.85 in my first transaction...of course you're going broke! So I clipped from my newspaper coupons and back I went. Here is a picture of my 2nd trip.

This transaction includes 8 cans of Alpo, 4 Diet cokes, 4 packages of hot dogs, 2 buffalo wing sauces, 2 Worcestershire sauces, 2 packages of paper plates, 2 smoothies, 2 cottage cheese doubles, 2 tubs of lunch meat, 1 breakfast burrito package, 2 Asian sauces, ketchup, granola bards, 2 bags of chips, Tabasco, 2 salad dressings, fig newton cookies, instant cafe latte, laundry detergent, frebreeze, seventh generation cleaner, instant lunch, individual size pizza, dog treats, a Rubbermaid container, a thin crust pizza (not pictured...in my tummy :), and 2 packages of Aunt Millie's hot dog buns (not pictured).

Total retail value: $143.24
MFR coupon savings: $33.25

Bonus coupon savings: $64.69

Fresh idea savings: $27.67

Total savings of: $125.61 (88%)

Total out of pocket cost: $17.63

Total from both transactions: $27.81

HOLY COW!!!! This is by far and away the best and most extreme shopping trip I have ever had. I did get a lot of hot dogs, but about 3/4 of them are already in the freezer so I can enjoy them throughout the summer and fall. I got all 12 packages of them for free so you can't beat that for summer grilling and cookouts! I am going to go over my grocery budget for the month by about $5, but that is more than ok with me to get this many items for dirt cheap prices!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How Much Can I Save in a Year-April Update

Well my April update is a little late, but here goes nothing! I actually took the month off from a lot of shopping because I did an eat from the pantry challenge. I spent $10 a week and just got fresh foods or dairy products. I went over by $2.18 one week, but overall I did save money quite a bit by using up some of the pantry. I pretty much only bought extra things if I could get them for free or under $0.25 each. With as much working as I was doing after my actual job (reffing and coaching), I did find myself picking up dinner out a little more often which sucked so I am going to try to work at that a little better this month. So far, I have only been out to dinner twice in May and have cooked at home the other nights. It's my hope that I will be able to keep this up despite my busy schedule this month.

Here is what I got in April for free or less than $0.25!

6 pouches of Starkist Tuna-$1.00 each- (6) $.50 coupons (double)=6 free

Seventh Generation paper towels- $.89 on clearance-$1 coupon= FREE + .11 overage

Suave deodorant $1.06-.50 coupon (doubles)=$.06

2 tubes of Crest toothpaste-$1.00 each-(2) .50 coupons=2 FREE

2 Reach toothbrushes $1.00 each- $2/2 coupon=2 FREE

3 Reach floss-$1.00 each- (3) $1/1 coupons=3 FREE

Vasaline Sheer Infusion lotion-$1 on clearance-$1/1 coupon=FREE

Head and shoulders trial size shampoo $.97-$1/1 coupon=FREE

Degree deodorant $.97-$1/1 coupon=FREE

Heinz ketchup $1.99-$2/1 coupon=FREE

Grey Poupon $1.12 on clearance-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)=$.12

Well that's it for now. I promise I will get back to posting a lot more once school gets out in 10 days!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Murphy pays a visit

Well it has certainly been awhile since I last posted. As much as I hate to admit it, things have been a frenzy around here and I have had very little free time to find awesome deals and even more so to post. First an update: Job is going great! Thanks for the prayers and well wishes. In the one month since my last post, things have completely broken around my home! I blame that crazy guy named Murphy...him and his crazy laws. First my water heater needed to be replaced because my water pressure and hot water production was ummmm zero....cold showers are NOT fun! Murphy hit #1. Then we had some thunderstorms roll through one Sunday night in late February...weird I know, but they took out the motherboard on my refrigerator. Murphy hit #2. And now I patiently await Murphy hit #3....hoping so very much I can fool the sucker into only getting me twice. It has cost an arm and a leg, but what do you do? You thank Dave Ramsey for instilling the "emergency fund" idea into your head...or at least that is what I am doing! My emergency fund is pretty pathetic until I can ref some more soccer games to pad it back up so I'm hoping Murphy gives me a bit of time to recover! Has Murphy hit anyone else lately?

And now for some FANTASTIC DEALS I've gotten lately! I had some great luck this week at Kroger with a ton of free products after sale, $5 off instantly with the purchase of 10 items, and coupons. Don't believe me....see for yourself :)

There are 30 boxes of free pasta and 8 cans of Red Gold tomatoes. All were completely and utterly free. They are on sale yet again this coming week so I plan to return to Kroger to get about 30 more. You are probably thinking I am sounding like those INSANE people off the "Extreme Couponing" show on TLC because I plan to buy 60 boxes of pasta (but they're free right...)

I promise you that as absolutely extreme as it sounds, I have a plan for all that al dente goodness. Here it goes:

20 boxes of various pasta saved for me in my Ikea containers in the pantry-check out a pic of my pantry with the containers here

10 boxes of various pasta for my sister who is a poor college student at Butler (GO DAWGS!!!)

10 boxes of various pasta given to my best friend and her husband

20 boxes to the food shelter at another friend's church

One thing I have discovered about myself lately is how powerful this tool of couponing can be. I have taught co-workers about it and I feel blessed that I am sharing my knowledge with others. I told one of my co-workers today about the free pasta deal at Kroger. She is a struggling single mother of two teenagers who works 2 jobs to support them because she does not want to take federal assistance. She got insanely excited to find out about a deal like this and thanked me multiple times for telling her all about it. I told her where to find the coupons and explained the details of the deal. Now not only is this knowledge feeding me, my sister, my best friend's family, and some people who will receive the food at the food bank, it is benefiting a single mother and her family. She will more than likely share the deal with her friends as well. It is our own little version of pay it forward. I love the power of people, ideas, and frugality on our society. I am truly blessed to have found this way of life and how much it has taught me about being a wise steward of what we're given! In what ways do you feel blessed to have the knowledge and power of frugality?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Well there is much to say....I haven't posted because I have been swamped with work. I was presented with a fantastic opportunity at work that both inspires me and breaks my heart all at the same time. First let me give you a little background. There are some people who never really know what they are meant to do with their lives. For me, it became clear as glass for me my sophomore year of college while doing my teaching observation hours at Fern Creek Elementary in an EBD self contained classroom (emotional/behavioral disorders). That scatterbrained, impatient, crazy, irresponsible girl I was at 19 became the calm, cool, and collected woman I had been striving to become as an educator. I had found my calling. I was fortunate to be able to student teach in the same classroom. I left Louisville for Indianapolis after graduation and was offered a position at the high school I graduated from. I had NEVER worked a day in a high school prior to my first day of teaching and was totally outside my comfort zone, yet I found myself returning to the calm, cool, collected educator I hoped to be. At the end of my first year (where I was co-teaching), I found myself becoming scatterbrained and impatient because I was bored and unchallenged. That summer my boss approached my friend Meghan and I to start an alternative program for at risk drop outs to get them back on track. These were rough kids that most people had given up on and we were able to design a program to make it happen. I felt creative again...I was outside of my comfort zone....and most of all I felt calm and at peace with it all. The program was a success and I will be able to sit at graduation next year and actually see "the originals" (as they call themselves) walk across the stage to get their high school diplomas. I was RIFed and after a long drawn out process was given my job as the alternative teacher back for this year, although instead of splitting it with Meghan (she went to a job share) I'd be on my own. Once again I spent my time tweaking the program from last year as needed to meet the needs of the kids. Once again the program was effective and kids who had never been motivated to do well in school were being successful. Then last week, I was told I would be moving to the ED classroom because the teacher possibly being out for the rest of the year. I would be leaving my kids effective the day after....

This was the first time in my teaching career that I had ever been genuinely scared. Not for the new classroom or the new kids, but for what I knew would happen when I left my kids in the alternative program. I got donuts for the kids on Friday, cried when I told them, and spent the rest of the day playing basketball in the gym with them. I was not ok with this at first...I was upset...I mean like didn't-sleep-for-days-cried-through-two-boxes-of-tissue-could-hardly-eat upset. I made a plan of action, like the responsible girl I am should do, yet in my heart I knew only time could make my heart stop hurting. I was both excited about the new challenge and scared for my alternative kids to feel abandoned by yet another teacher. I didn't want them to feel like that and certainly not because of me. I spent last weekend buying up supplies and getting the classroom ready. By Sunday night, I was physically and emotionally drained. I walked into school on Monday ready to face this new challenge. The first week was pretty good. I missed my old kids for sure yet I also knew I couldn't focus on that or I'd be a mess. I am loving how well the students listen and how receptive they've been to the change. I'm blessed to be presented with this opportunity, yet its the first time I haven't been calm, cool, and collected about change. I'm almost there...and until I am fully there....God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

So until things slow down, I probably won't post much because things are a tad bit crazy. I hope to be back to it asap. Thanks for your prayers lately. I've definitely needed all the help I can get.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Prayer request

Dear Blogging Friends,
I am in need of some serious prayers right now. I have been presented with a wonderful opportunity and will not know for several weeks if it will actually happen. I can't share many details now, but this is something that would give me the opportunity to impact some young people in a very positive way. I am praying that God will allow this to happen as I can imagine it and I am hoping that your prayers will help too. You all have taught me so much over the past year about myself and the power of the Lord. Please keep me in your prayers as I take these new steps toward a great experience. Pray that the Lord moves the heart of others to allow me to positively impact the lives of some amazing young women.
Love and thanks,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

It has been an interesting week here in Indy! We are covered in ICE!!!! About 2-6 inches of ice has completely covered every surface in sight...which also means snow/ice days. We've been off school since Monday!! Although I am excited to have this unexpected vacation for my birthday, I am also starting to get stir crazy! I'm hoping to be able to go out tonight with my family for my birthday dinner at Ruby Tuesday's (SALAD BAR....HOLLA!!!!).

On to the real reason I am posting from inside my ice shelter...savings! I am one of the intelligent people who made the decision to go to the grocery store the weekend prior to what is being called Snowmagedon 2011...instead of the night before. I have weeks worth of food and a good most of it I got for free or under $1 thanks to some great sales at Kroger and coupons. I am linking up with Cait @theblessedlife to participate in her How much can I save in a year link up. I do not have the kind of planning or patience to be able to calculate how much I can save in a year....needless to say my response of "a lot" will suffice for the time being. I will however be participating every month by posting some of the best deals I've gotten for the month and a savings tip I find valuable. So here goes January!

All of these were part of the Mega Event Sale that gave you $5 off instantly when you bought 10 items (You must by in sets of 10....I bought 20)

(9) Honest Tea $.75 each- (9) $.50/1 coupons (my store doubles)=9 free +$2.25 overage

(2) Birdseye Steamfresh veggies -$1.49 each-$.50/2 coupon (doubled)=$.99 each

(1) Lean Pockets $1.60-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)=$.60 each

Silk Pure Almond Milk $1.99-$1/1 coupon=$.99

(3) Kraft 2% Milk Singles $1.49 each- (3) $1/1 coupons=$.49 each

Other sales

Wholey Guacamole $1.99-$1/1 coupon=$.99

(2) Helper products (chicken and hamburger) $1 each - (2) $.50/1 coupons (double)=2 FREE

(3) Tyson Anytizers $5.99 each -(3) $1/1 coupons=$4.99 each (Thats a $5 savings each off regular price!)

(9) Yoplait yogurts $.50 each -(2) $.50/4 coupons (double) and (1) Free cup coupon=about $.22 a cup

Plus: Free chocolate milk WYB Gallon of white milk

Ok now for a savings tip from the single girl. In order to maximize my budget at the grocery, I only buy marked down meat or poultry (or extremely good sales). In August, I found ground beef on markdown for about $.50/lb. What a great price! So I bought 20 lbs of it....$10. I came home and broke it up into 3 different size packages (1/2 lb, 3/4 lb, and 1 lb). I just finished my last package last week. I do the same with chicken and pork too. A few weeks ago I found boneless chicken thighs marked down to $.75/lb. I bought 5 packages for about $10. Just think of the stews, soups, and baked chicken dishes I can make with these. Yes I can't always predict what meat is going to be marked down, but I can plan all my meals around it. I might go a couple dollars over my grocery budget, but like the ground beef, I won't have to buy it again for several months. That kind of savings really adds up for me over the long run! It has allowed me to cut my grocery budget down to $10 or less some weeks. I am also planning on trying to spend $40 for the month of March by using stockpile stuff up and only buying fresh produce and dairy products. Hopefully I'll be able to do it!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Birthday freebies

Well lovely blogging friends, this is the week...the week of my quarter life crisis! On Thursday, I will be the ripe old age of 25. In preparation for this new step into the next quarter of my life, I figured I would share some of the best birthday freebies I have found so far! Some of these are new and some of them I have been signed up for for years!

Fazolis-free desert coupon

O'Charley's- free app for joining, special offer on your birthday

Houlihan's-free app for joining, free entree on your birthday

Macaroni Grill-free chocolate cake

Dunkin Donuts-free medium coffee on your birthday

Starbucks- free drink on your birthday when you register a giftcard

Papa Murphy's-free cookie dough for the month of your birthday

Red Robin-free burger

BD's Mongolian BBQ-not sure what this will be this year but it was free dinner last year

Ruby Tuesdays-free handcrafted burger

Red Lobster-special offer for your birthday

Quiznos-free cookie on your birthday

Arby's-free offer on your birthday

Chilis-free dessert on your birthday

I hope you get to sign up and enjoy some of these freebies when your birthday comes around. Let me know if you've found any other great freebies for birthdays lately!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Organization crazy

So my dear friend Shanon @ Modern Meets Traditional has been participating in the 21 days to getting Organized challenge from A Bowl Full of Lemons. Everyday they take on organizing one particular place in the house. Being the organization fool I am, I wanted to participate as well....then the actual challenge began! I have to admit that for the most part, my house is much more organized than even I realized as I've tried to work step by step through the challenge with her. I have nothing to do!!!! All of these spots in my home are organized, except for 1 lovely area which I STRUGGLE to tackle because lets be honest, I hate the chore! The Laundry room...thus my real challenge begins!

I will be sharing the organization takeover of my laundry room sometime in the next week because it is not going to be an easy project! I hate...despise...loath...dread...have some deep animosity for laundry. Mostly the folding part of laundry and the fact that I feel like I can NEVER stay up with it. It is the one chore that I (even though there is no one here to actually vouch for this) stomp my feet and pout about having to do. This will be interesting and will probably take me a lot of time to complete, but once it is done, it will be a goal of mine to keep up.

Ok enough negative talk. I've shared that I am insanely organized....now to prove it. I will now be sharing some of the areas that they have covered in the challenge that I have in my house. In these pictures contain my 3 favorite organizational tools (mini crates, stackable color crates, and fabric cubes). Hopefully you'll find them as useful as I do!

This is my pantry. A couple tips here: organize like items together, have a basket for snacks, and invest in some great pasta containers. Mine are the the 365 ones from Ikea. I absolutely love how organized it makes everything and that they are see through! I'm currently using one small shelf cabinet in my garage for my soup stockpile because it doesn't all fit! I guess that's what getting 50 cans of soup for free will do to you though!

This is my spice/tea cabinet. I keep all my spices in two mini crates I got at Dollar Tree(the black ones on the 2nd shelf). They make everything so easy to find and I don't have to dig through all the spices to find the ones I want. The top shelf is filled with extra cups, coffee filters, and cooking spray/olive oil. I can't reach this shelf without jumping so it is perfect for extra things I rarely need.

Under my master bathroom sink. These stackable color crates are MY FAVORITE ORGANIZATIONAL TOOL EVER! Look how much stuff I have in such a small space! They are perfect for under the sink and just $1 each at Dollar Tree. The other totes are great for holding some of my toiletry stockpile. I have to go through this sometime in the next month or so to donate a lot of these things because my stockpile closet is almost full. The front green basket is everyday use stuff so its perfect to grab when I need to get to those things!

The other side under my master bathroom sink. Curlers and the same mini crates that I use to hold my spices. These are also stackable. The bottom crate holds plug in and cone air fresheners and the top one holds extra soaps, Frebreeze, and Glade spray (all for FREE with coupons)

Movies in my entertainment center. Notice the fabric cubes that I use to organize movies. They are so convenient! Another one of my favorite organizational tools. They fold up and are easy to store if you aren't needing them at that moment too.

Under the guest bathroom sink. Some TP, TONS of boxes of Puffs with lotion I got last year, all the bathroom cleaning supplies in more mini crates, and the extra soap dispensers I have for when my foam one runs out.

The other side of the sink. More of the cleaning supplies in mini crates and my FAVORITE things! I keep extra shower stuff in the guest bath for guests to use if needed. Hair dryers, razors, etc.

My closet...although not spotless, this is pretty organized. I have all my shoes on the rack (with a few that don't fit....hmmm maybe I need to go through them) and my clothes are divided up on the rack by style (tank tops, short sleeve, button down, long sleeve, sweaters, dress jackets). The back rack has sweatshirts/sports jackets/jerseys on one end and dresses on the other. I also have a tote on the top rack(not pictured) where I put all my Goodwill donations as I decide to get rid of something. I love that everything has its place.

Ok yes...my underwear drawer. I love how organized the fabric cubes make it though! They are divided up by style (thongs, boy shorts, bikini, and then sports bras). So easy when I am putting laundry away!

This is the cart the TV in my bedroom is on. Its an awkward space so I put the cubes there to dress it up a bit because I already have a bookshelf in another room. I love how much extra hidden storage it adds. The top one has odds and ends in it (those things you don't really have a place for???), the bottom right one has thank you notes, the bottom left one has after Christmas clearance candy in it (so I can't see it....) and the middle one is currently empty. That normally has tea light candles in it.

I hope you have enjoyed my mini home organization tour. What tools do you love to use to keep your home organized and tidy?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday mega savings

I have to admit that I during the holidays I was not very good with my couponing. Partially because there weren't a lot of deals I was interested in, partially because I was preoccupied with other things. This is a new year and yes I am back on my game. I have to admit that have I have never really gotten good with Kroger. I don't know why, but I can never quite figure out the deals. Since I have 2 Krogers within a mile and a half of my house, I figured I BETTER figure this one out. Kroger has had some INSANELY amazing deals lately so I took about 30 minutes to plan this out and hit the store. I forgot to take a picture when I got home and put everything away so no picture on this one, but get ready for some awesome deals. All these deals run through next Wednesday here in Indy.

4 Kashi Go Lean Cereals-$2.99 each
-(4) $3/1 coupon (2 from Vocalpoint in the mail, 2 from Recyclebank account rewards)
-$4 off total order for buying 4 Kroger deal
=Free +$4 overage

Febreeze Air Effects-$2.79
-$1/1 Kroger eCoupon (loaded to plus card)
-$1/1 coupon from 12/27 P&G insert
-$1 off 4 P&G Kroger promotion
=Free + $.21 overage

2 Dawn plus Olay hand renewal Soap-$2.79
-$.50/1 Kroger eCoupon
-(2) $.50/1 coupon from 12/27 P&G insert (doubles)
-(2)$1 off 4 P&G Kroger promotion
=$.29 each

3 Secret deodorant-$2.29 each
-(3) $.50/1 coupon from 12/27 P&G insert (doubles)
-(3)$1 off 4 P&G Kroger promotion
=$.29 each

Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie packs-marked down to $1.29
-$1/1 wholly Guacamole coupon (no longer available)

10 Horizon Milk Singles-$1.00 each
-(10) $1/1 Horizon coupons
=10 Free

-$.35/1 coupon from 1/2 inserts (doubles)

Hormel All Natural Roast Beef-marked down to $1.99
-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)

ChiChis tortillas-$2.55
-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)

Tyson whole chicken-marked down to $3.29


Hoagies-marked down to $.79

Fresh salad-marked down to $1.49

1/2 gallon of milk-marked down to $.25 (scored the GREATEST DEAL on this! They mismarked milk that someone must have thought said Jan 8 because mine doesn't expire until 1/18!!!!)

Tax $.08

Saved 89% off regular price (not that I would EVER pay regular price for all that!)

I then got the BEST deal EVER on meds at CVS. So much so that I will not have to buy any sort of pain reliever for the next couple years...would be my guess! Back in December there were all kinds of coupons around the blogging world for free Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Migraine. I've gotten 5 of them in the mail so far (used one back in December at Walgreens). Here is the deal:

Excedrin (Buy $20 worth and get $10 ECB)
3 Excedrin Extra Strength-$5.79 (all mine had a bonus 8 pack of Excedrin PM attached at that price)
1 Excedrin Migraine-$4.79
-(3) Free Excedrin Extra Strength
-(1) Free Excedrin Migraine
=Free + $10 ECB

I have 5 bottles for free which is more than enough to suffice for quite sometime around here since I'm not too medicine happy. I am also happy to report that my migraines have all but disappeared with my new classroom (and its MASSIVE window this year). Get yourself out of florescent and into sunlight to become independent from medicine!

Tip from my sister the pharmacist: Check the active ingredients in your meds because both of these have the EXACT same(Extra Strength and Migraine)! Buy the cheapest ones with the same active ingredients and don't get caught up in the label with it :)

I hope you can capitalize on some of these great deals! I'll also be heading to Meijer afterwork tomorrow because I have some great coupons to go with their 10/10 sale that will make about 10-15 items completely free. Can't really beat that!

What great deals have you found this week?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Financial Peace household

Well today is the day I get to share my financial goals for 2011! I made some MAJOR strides this past year toward becoming the financially responsible woman I would like to be. I will review my goals for this past year and share the goals I have for this year. I have to date spent $24 so I am feeling AMAZING about my ability to control my spending even during the holidays.

2010 goals
1. Pay cash for a reliable car with under 50,000
2. Pay cash for a patio to replace the paver one
3. Pay cash for a fence to enclose my backyard
4. Save $250 per paycheck automatically
5. Start investing in my retirement plan
6. Save 6 months of living expenses
7. Build an emergency fund (Baby step #1---Thanks Dave Ramsey!)
8. Pay off all debt except my house and student loans (they are being forgiven bc of my teaching service so I am not paying anything on them currently)
9. Cut grocery budget to $20 weekly utilizing coupons

I actually achieved all of these goals without much extra effort! In July, I bought a new to me VW Jetta and traded in SuzieQ. Read about how I picked out the car here. In May, I added a new patio to the backyard and despite some lessons learned, it is wonderful after the repairs. In June, I added a fence to the backyard to make my lovely Sophie happy. The fence is literally the best thing I've done since moving into my house. Read about how I got great deals on both of these things here. I have also set my bank account to automatically save $250 per paycheck. Plus all of my extra money (from odd jobs, selling on eBay, and reffing) goes straight into my savings. Because of this, I have been able to save enough for 7 months of living expenses and have a $3,000 emergency fund. I love the idea from Dave Ramsey that there are no emergencies if you have a fund! I have also started investing 10% of my income for my retirement. My grocery budget is about $60-75 per month since I sometimes don't go to the store every week. I am proud to say I am completely debt free except for my mortgage and what is being forgiven on my student loans. I am a DEBT FREE 24 year old! THAT IS SO EXCITING FOR ME!!! What a year it has been!

My goals for 2011 will hopefully push me to feel a little more uncomfortable financially. I know I am capable of saving even more than I currently do and I know that this might mean some sacrifice, but I also know that I will continue to have fun despite this. I know it might be bad to use the word uncomfortable, but I think that is the best way to describe it. I think if I am more creative in the way I do things, I can cut corners even more. There is a quote in one of my favorite movies, "If you want big rewards, you've got to take big risks." How fitting is it that I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone for the upcoming year? My goals are the following:

1. Cut my monthly budget by additional $100-150 each month to go directly into savings
2. Bump up my retirement savings to 15% of my income
3. Pay cash for a new dishwasher
4. Pay cash for a new flat screen TV
5. Pay cash for a new sliding glass door or french doors
6. Fully fund my college fund for my masters program (approx $2,000)
7. Continue to follow my monthly budget strictly
8. Save for annual vacation to Gatlinburg with friends
9. Double my emergency fund so I have 12 months of living expenses in savings
10. Save 10% of the cost for a new car via automatic withdraw from my paycheck

So as I said I have some LOFTY goals this year...all of which I think are more than capable of happening. I have used my referee money to pay for many of my "pay cash for..." goals in the past. I think this year will continue the same trend. I also will begin to save for another car because I plan to buy used cars with cash for the rest of my life! If I can save $1,000 this year for a new car, I'll be well on my way to replacing Jetta in about 8-9 years!

Hopefully you are taking the time to put your goals into writing and being intentional with your money this year. Thank you all for your inspiration and support during this last year of transformation in my life! I am truly blessed!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kroger deals

So I had every intention of posting some amazing deals I got after the holiday, but alas I got sick and the posting did not happen. I'll do a full run down of my post holiday shopping before the end of the week, but boy am I excited about 2 fantastic deals I've found this week!


Horizon Organic Milk Single (8 oz) – $1
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupon
(I printed off 10 of these which means for 10 days I will be enjoying organic milk with my lunch!)

2 pack of Coast Bar Soap – $1
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupon

Plus if you have enough of these coupons, it will definitely be worth your while:

Secret Deodorant-$2.29 **Buy 4**
Use (4) $.50/1 coupons from 12/26/2010 P&G Insert (my store doubles each to $1)
Get $4 off instantly through P&G rebate
$.29 each after coupons and instant rebate

(The only catch is that you have to buy $4 in additional merchandise because it won't take it off the P&G items...shouldn't be a big deal if you are buying other things too)