Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gas prices are rising again...UGH

2004-2007 Nissan Titan photographed in USA. Ca...Image via Wikipedia
      Has anyone noticed that the gas prices are slowly creeping up again? I drive a big truck (Nissan Titan), so I've noticed regular unleaded is $2.89 in my area. It will probably be $3.00 in a few more weeks. I'm writing to remind you that you can use your Kroger card at the pump to save on the cost of gas. I'm already aware that you may be thinking,  a few cents off each gallon doesn't really help. I want you to maximize your savings by using coupons while you are in the store. You see, Kroger will give you 10 cents to use towards gas for every $100 you spend. In my case, I have a 22 gallon tank, so I save $2.20 each time I fill up.

      I am mentioning Kroger because, for those of you that don't use coupons,  not only are you losing money in the store, you are losing money at the pump. You see, the 10 cents that Kroger gives to you to use toward gas, that comes from the total cost of your groceries before the coupons have been deducted. You don't actually spend the higher amount,  you just get the points to use toward your next gas purchase. I have noticed that since I've been using coupons for the last 5 years, I have unused points that could be used for gas that roll over toward the next month to use.  These points are used by both my husband and I, and on occasion if I'm riding with someone else and they need gas; I allow them to take advantage of my points at the pump.

      Now if any of you have any suggestions on how to save money at the pump, they will be greatly appreciated. We can all use the help.
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Extreme Couponing

A young girl and her mother shop for chicken e...

I'm not sure if any of you have already seen the show Extreme Couponing on TLC, I saw the first episode last night. Now I'm not new to couponing, I use my binder to organize my coupons, and I do have a stockpile. I found this episode to be a little scary. I also know about the "rush" you feel when you have a significant amount of food for minimal money. I only got that in the beginning when I first started to use coupons. Now I pretty much know what I'm going to pay and the percent I've saved. The amount of merchandise these people have in their homes is incredible, and they continue to shop for more stuff. My jaw dropped open when I saw how much toilet paper was in the first person's stockpile. There was the "Crazy Coupon Lady" as she called herself, I was impressed with how well her son behaved while she shopped. I tend to get distracted by my kids when I take them with me shopping. Mr. Coupon  actually converted his entire garage into what appeared to look like a grocery store.

I'm not judging, don't get me wrong, if it works for them, then more power to them, but my family would call an intervention if I ever got to that point. I found it a little scary in that I do a lot of what they do on the show.

1. Do your research online (I use several online sources)
2. Clip and organize your coupons in a binder (It is purple and everyone has seen it at least once)
3. Stockpile your groceries (I keep an inventory sheet)
4. Know the terminology/lingo (I "stack", "stockpile" and "haul")
5. Know your math (I love numbers!)
6. Shop at Kroger (I love Kroger!)
7. Talk about couponing to others (I've posted my receipts on Facebook)

So the question is, did I enjoy it? Absolutely!! I will watch the entire series! Will you see me on the show? Nope, I'm not that good at it! I like to spend time with my family, I try to fit the couponing into my family life. It will never be the other way around. I do have some people ask me about couponing from time to time. If it happens during my shopping trips, I am willing to help. Do any of you use coupons? I would love to hear if you are an Extreme Coupon person or not, and the experiences that you have had.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Do You Want $15,000.00!!

I called my sister on my way out and she told me that I had many blessings coming my way. I had no idea that it would happen that same night. You see, that evening I had no idea that I would be at a restaurant where the food was prepared right in front of you, and would be served on a piping hot plate. I was treated like royalty, I had about 7-10 servers at a time bringing me fresh coffee, clean silverware, clearing the table as soon as I was finished, only to bring me another helping. I felt a little overwhelmed, I mean I could not keep up with this never ending feast!

I was given soup, coffee, fresh bread, hamburgers, salad, juice, spaghetti and would make anything for me per my request! I was amazed at how quickly they were able to prepare the food and also clean the kitchen and utensils, this was a feat in itself. Every single person working there had such a pleasant attitude, and made my time there very enjoyable. I was sipping my coffee when the girl at the cash register showed up already calculating my bill. I started to become concerned, she actually placed the register on the table and sat down beside me. She stopped calculating and looked at me with such joy and excitement in her face, and said, "Do you want $15,000.00!!"... I couldn't believe what I just heard, she waited for my answer with a big smile. As what I just heard continued to sink in, I sat there speechless looking at her two Afro-puffs, her eyebrows moved up and down and her finger was hovering over the cash register keys ready to press another one.

She gave me a little nod, and I said "$15,000.00? Sure! I could use $15,000.00!"... She pressed a few more numbers on the cash register, and it popped open. She took out $15,000.00 and simply handed the money to me. I took it, and I must have hesitated, because she told me to put it into my pocket. I did, and the food continued to come. A minute must have gone by, and she asked me if I wanted $1,000.00 more. Again I said yes, and she gave it to me. This was probably the best night out I've had in years, and it is truly one I will remember for a long time! I went home with a big smile and made several phone calls to people to tell them about it!

You see, I am volunteering at my church, and I am working with 3 year olds. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was blessed by every kid that was there that night! They were so excited to have someone there that was willing to give them well deserved attention. I know that their parents have been served those same dishes, and have enjoyed them too. I just think they liked the fact that they could test out the dishes on someone new. It is a blessing work with children, I do agree with my sister. I truly have been blessed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

I hope that everyone has had a fabulous start to the new year. I've had a pretty good start to the new year and I'm hoping that this year will be the year that I can truly say WE DID IT, WE ARE DEBT FREE!!

So I need to give everyone an update: I still have credit cards that I'm paying off (one of which is a balance transfer with a lower interest rate), we paid off my husband's truck last year but we still need to pay off my truck, he still has credit cards to pay off, and I'm also trying to plan a Graduation Party or dinner for my eldest son.

Needless to say, I'm going back to work. I'll be working part-time for less money less than a mile from home. I'll be able to take my daughter to and from school to avoid the expense of the bus service.  I'll have less of a commute and more time with my family. I also was able to do a lot of research online since I have been home. There are a lot of organizational tools for working moms to use that I know will be a lifesaver for me when I go back to work.

I found an index card organizational system that I plan on using on a daily basis. For some reason, this is a system that everyone in the family is willing to try, and it will allow everyone to have some variety when it comes to the household chores. Each one of us will draw two cards daily.

Some of you may already know that I follow I strongly suggest that you either follow her or sign up for her twitter alerts, she helped me save a lot of money this past holiday season. I think that is how I kept my sanity knowing that I did not have any money coming in.  I also learned how to menu plan (I'm not very good at it, but I'm working on it still). Now she uses plain old pen and paper when she does her meal planning. That is too complicated for me ( I know it may sound crazy, but I just can't wrap my head around it).  So I did some more research, and I found a simpler way to do it using Google calendar. Now let me keep it real for those who really know me. I'm still not planning my meals in advance, I'm letting the calendar do it for me. I can't keep the sale papers away from the baby long enough to look at without getting torn, so I'm doing what works for me. I've tried a couple of recipes from I enter what we have eaten as an event into my Google menu planning calendar, and if it is a hit, I make the event repeat itself. I just ask my family when they would like to have it again, and make the adjustment in my calendar. I guess you could say that I'm taking baby steps to the menu planning concept. It is working though, I know what I'm having for dinner at least 3 days a week, and I know what I need to buy from the grocery store to prepare the meals.

Lastly I would like to add that we finally got some rain to fill up my rain barrel! I thought I was going to get a lot of rebellion from my husband, but surprisingly he is on board too! I think once he saw how much 55 gallons of water looked like, he realized, we could actually save a little money! I have used the water for 4 loads of laundry (wash cycle only), washed all of my windows, and I saw him putting some on the over sized flame he created after grilling some steaks we bought on sale. I still have water that I can use to water our indoor plants and clean out the cat litter.

I can honestly say that even though I'm going to be making less money than I did before, I may be able to save and pay off my debts more effectively than before! I hope all of you can do the same, what are you doing this year to save money or reduce debt?
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