Saturday, August 25, 2007

Couponing can be hazardous to your budget...

I've been having such a blast with the couponing...but after tallying things up, I think (know) I've gone a little overboard.

I do have a REALLY nice set-up and stockpile, but I overspent a little bit. Luckily, it went over 2 paychecks (we get paid on the 20th of each month), so it isn't hurting as much as it could. Plus, we still have "extra" money coming in from side stuff. BUT...that doesn't help our overall debt-reduction plan.

Lesson learned: just because you get things cheap doesn't mean it's a good idea to save the money NOW. We are only two people. We do not need 5 tubes of toothpaste, even if I only paid a quarter a piece for them. Now, I know that $1.25 will not break us, but it's an example - and it all adds up.

So - no more coupon deals unless it's (1) free, or (2) a super-good deal (80% off+) and it's something we really use/need. That's it.

On a brighter note, we are closer to our BEF of $1000 - we are now at $767.74. We should have the $1000 within a few weeks. The September check will show my annual raise/step movement on the salary scale, and I'm still waiting for over $800 worth of reimbursements and honoraria.

So...we're still plugging away. I need to get on Quicken soon to pay the bills. Like, in the next 2 days.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Festivals and Carnivals!

This week's carnivals and festivals are up and running!

Here we go:

Festival of Frugality is up at The Happy Rock:

The Carnival of Debt Reduction is at I've Paid for this Twice Already - woop woop, girl! Great job!

The Carnival of Personal Finance is at The Simple Dollar -

And the Carnival of Money Stories is up at ...well, the Carnival of Money Stories!

So...seriously. Am I the only pf blogger that doesn't have a domain name? I mean, I know I'm not as high traffic as others, but jeez.... ;)

Have a great week! I'm hoping to post pics of my couponing glories and how I organized them. 'Cuz that's just what I've been doing. I should be able to finish tonight. Next job: ebay stuff. I have 7 days until I have to return to work, but 13 days before the kids come back. How much can I get done in 2 weeks? Hmmm....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I've soooo gotten into couponing. It's scary.

I honestly have gotten so much stuff for so little money the last ...oh, 3 weeks or so...that my dh has to put together a set of shelving for me to house it on, because I have no where to put it upstairs.

It started with the Living Like No One Else forums (for Dave Ramsey followers - go to - it's amazing!), and the suggestion to try couponing to cut back on the grocery bill. I scoffed...we live in Land of No Doubles (LOND) and all the coupons I see for food is weird stuff that we don't eat anyway. Plus, who has the time for that?'s been so much FUN! I know I won't be able to keep it up quite like this after school starts up again, but I've been cutting out coupons, buying multiple papers, and even buying off ebay (next time, I'll buy off - much cheaper). I'll cut out any coupon that I think MIGHT possibly be useful. I had to change my mindset on it. Instead of asking myself, "Would we really use this?" I'll ask "If I got this free, or close to it, would I use it?". It's been amazing.

I've even started keeping a little savings journal. I write down what the shelf price is, what the sale is, and how much I paid out of pocket (OOP). This is just for my own (prideful) ideas - I like to see how much I've saved. In the last few weeks, I've spent about $80 OOP (the good thing is, with the summer school check and all the extra stuff I've been doing, we had some money I could put aside to play with this). BUT - the shelf value of all that stuff (mostly health & beauty aids) is well over $600. Really!

A sample of what I've gotten for FREE with these deals: 2 Satin Care shave gels, 2 tubes of Crest toothpaste, 1-12 pack of men's Gillette razors, 2 large Head & Shoulders shampoos, 1 large Olay "Quench", 2 Venus 3-packs disposable razors, 1 large Pantene conditioner, 3 Old Spice bath & shower gel, 9-20 packs of Always liners, 10 super packs of Duracell batteries, 2 Gillette after-shave gels, 14 Vive Pro conditioners, 4 Vive Pro super conditioner gel, 2 Vive Pro shampoo, 6 men's Adidas deoderant, and 4 women's Adidas deoderant.

And...that's just what I got for FREE! I also got some great deals on other things - Dawn dishsoap for $.50 a bottle, Hamburger Helper for $.19 each, Suavitel fabric softener for $.89 each (and I'll be getting 8 more at $.75 each once they restock...rainchecks are cool...), Ragu spaghetti sauce for $.42 get the idea.

The trick is...get multiple coupons, scour the sales and match up the coupons. And it's so much fun!

If you're interested - start small. Try the forums at LLNOE. If you're a little braver, try the forums at . They are simply amazing. They'll preview the ads, match them up with coupons, and tell you just where the hottest deals are. Gotta love it.

I even tried CVS...the mother of all confusing programs, but with great rewards if you play it right. I spent $8.50 on tea bags I would have bought anyway (dh is a HUGE iced tea drinker) and $3 on something I wouldn't have, but got $3 + $3 in "Extra Care Bucks", good on any purchase, same as cash. I need to go check out the ads for next week...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Still here!

It's been a busy few weeks - finishing summer school, finishing curriculum work, and finishing the wedding dress/bridesmaids dresses I was contracted for. But that's all DONE!

I've been floating around the Living Like No One Else boards ( and really learning a lot. We have our Baby Emergency Fund up to $533.74! (Hey, just may actually be higher because of interest paid at the end of possibly a few cents (literally) more!) Soon - we'll have that up to $1000 and will start paying on the cc's.

I have a few goals before school starts up in a few weeks. They're pretty easy goals, it just depends on how much time I decide to set aside for them. :)

  • Linen closet tally. I took advantage of the great Kmart/Duracell/P&G coupon. Seriously, I did this quite a few times. You buy a package of batteries and 2 P&G products and receive a $10 giftcard immediately. No limits on the coupon, etc. S0 - basically, you buy some stuff, get the $10 and can do it again. We got approximately $200 retail worth of linen closet supplies for about $20 out of pocket. Not as good as some people, but a great deal for us. do I remember that I have 3 tubes of toothpaste and 7 bars of soap in the linen closet? I'm thinking I need a tally, or I will forget. I'm really good at that.
  • Freezer tally. I haven't seen the bottom of our chest freezer in ...ages. I'm not sure what's down there. 'nuff said - I need to find out what we have.
  • Pantry tally. Same thing.
  • Ebay. I need to get ebay stuff organized a little better as we go into Fall. I have a ton of autumn/winter/xmas stuff that will need to be posted starting in Sept/Oct. I have waaay too much stuff that has accumulated near my sewing studio that needs to be moved and/or listed to get it out.
  • Craigslist. I have at least two bigger things that I want to get on Craigslist - a large dorm fridge and a basement post. Neither is really ebayable, and I'd like them out.
  • Determine if we will do the flea market on Labor Day weekend. We have so much stuff that's not really rummage sale-able - it's too vintage and worth too much for a rummage sale, but would work nicely at a flea market. The market is about 2 miles away, so we wouldn't spend a lot with having to drive the truck out there. The real question I want to/do I have the time to organize and mark all of that stuff?
  • Get some articles done and posted for Associated Content, too. I need to get over myself and let them be exclusive. It pays better.
  • Gardening/canning/freezing. I have tomatoes and cucumbers coming in that need to be taken care of. 'nuff said there, too. :)

So...there's more, but that's a good start. Just so much to do...and so little time. I also know that I won't do some of that once school starts (like the linen closet/pantry/freezer tallies. They just won't happen).

Okay...obviously, none of that will happen with me sitting here playing on the computer. ..