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 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 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)