No Dine Out January

no dine out JanuaryOn New Years day, I asked The Mister if he has made any resolutions.  “Yes”, he says.

Short pause…

Care to share those resolutions?” I asked.

“To get back on track, eat healthier, work out, you know…” He outlined a few things, which included eating out less.

Well, we should set a maximum number of how much we can eat out then.” I said.  “What do you think is a reasonable number of times to eat out in a month?  Two, maybe three times?”

Yeah, I think two times sounds good.  Anything less might be pushing it…”  See, even when I’m being ridiculously frugal, The Mister will still treat us to a dinner or lunch out once in a while.  It usually depends on his level of hunger, level of motivation, any particular cravings and is highly influenced by any coupons he may have in his possession.

I like to take things a step further and push the envelope a little.  “What if we vow to eat out ZERO times in the next month.  Think we could do it?” I asked.

Thoughtful pause.

“Yeah, I think we could.  Let’s not eat out at all in January.  It’s healthier and we’ll save money.  I think we can do it.”  Wow.  Didn’t see that one coming!  I figured he’d give me his famous you’re pushing it look and dismiss my proposal.

So, we vowed to eat out ZERO times in the next month. This includes going to the grocery store and buying a deli meal, which we’ve been known to do.  The only exception to that rule is if we find a great deli meal on clearance or we plan one into the meal plan.  I also had one caveat -  he has to join me in menu planning so that we can be ready.  Come to think about it, I don’t know if he actually ever agreed to that.

I tried to take things even further…”You know what we could do?  We could do our own version of ‘30 Days‘!  We could pick a random thing to cut out or try for 30 days.  It would be great!”

That’s when the famous you’re pushing it look came out.  That got shot down quickly.  That’s not to say I won’t try something like that.  I’d have to give it a little more thought though.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a poll.  What do you think?

Who’s with us?  Are you up for a New Years challenge?  Why not? You’ve got nothing to lose! Think about the money (and calories!) you’ll save if you spend 1  month eating only at home.

I’ll keep you updated on how we’re doing with this.  I think we can do it!

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The Secret to Successful Goal Setting

goal setting2It’s that time of year again.  A fresh beginning.  A new year to make everything right.  That time of year where everyone makes a resolution to do better this time.  When we wake up on January 1st, we have the best of intentions.  Yes, this year is going to be the year.

According to one statistic I’ve read, only 8% of people keep their resolutions!  That means 92% of people fail to keep those well-intentioned goals.  80% of those who make a resolution will give up by January 20th! Ugh.  Those are some gnarly statistics to be up against.

Do you want to be successful with your new years resolution or other goals?  Well, it’s not as hard as it may seem.  With a little know how, some organization & motivation, you can keep those goals and achieve what you set out to do.  Remember one thing – change can be hard. Even positive change is difficult to endure sometimes.  There WILL be slip ups and goofs.  There WILL be times of low motivation and decreased will power. Those things are inevitable.  It’s what you do afterward that really matters.  It’s how you move forward from those not-so-shining moments that counts.

So, how does one create manageable, achievable goals?

Make them SMART

Smart GoalsThis is a method of goal setting that can help you create goals that are manageable and doable. This method will force you to make the goals realistic.  Let’s take a more in-depth look at the SMART method.

Specific

By the time your goal is set, you want to have answered the who, what, when, where, why and how of your goal.   Avoid vague language that is open to interpretation.  If a perfect stranger looked at your goal, will they know exactly what you’re setting out to do?  Will they have a good idea of what it is you’re doing?

Measurable

How will you know when you’ve reached your goal?  Will you know when you’re done?  What will tell you that you’re done?  How will you know if you’re on the right track or you’ve fallen off course?  Make sure there is some form of measurement in the goal.

Attainable

Is this even realistic?   Is this a goal you honestly believe you can complete?  Make sure from the get-go that your goal is something that can actually happen.  If you set goals too lofty then you’re setting yourself up to fail.  Remember, baby steps are often the way to big achievements.

Relevant

Is this a goal that fits into your life now or that can fit into your life in the future?  Is this something that makes sense to do?  You want to keep your goals in line with the rest of your life, otherwise you’ll most likely fall of course.

Time-bound

What is your deadline?  When do you expect to realistically achieve this goal?  Give yourself a deadline to meet, otherwise you may never get around to actually doing it.

What does a SMART Goal look like?

Here’s an example of what a SMART goal might look like.

First, you want to state your problem specifically and WHY it’s a problem.  The addition of the why can help keep you motivated as it will remind you why you wanted to meet this goal in the first place.

Problem: I have $5,000 in credit card debt & the payments keep me from saving for emergencies.

Goal: I will pay off my $5,000 credit card debt by January 2014.

At its basic level, that is a SMART goal.  It’s Specific (pay off $5,000 credit card debt), Measurable (once $5,000 is paid, goal is met), Attainable (assuming numbers have been crunched), Relevant (I want to save for emergencies, so paying off the debt makes sense right now) & Time-bound (pay it off by Jan. 2014).

This large goal might seem a little overwhelming and a little vague.  We can always tack on a few little SMART goals to take ‘bite sized’ chunks out of the goal and to keep us motivated.  Doing this will make you really think about the smaller steps involved and give you a better idea of progress along the way, especially since the goal won’t be met for 1 year.

Let’s break it down even more..

Goal: I will pay off $5,000 credit card debt by January 2014.

1) I will pay $450 every month toward my credit card in order to pay it off by January 1, 2014.

a. I will stop buying coffee out to save an extra $20 per month and will apply that $20 to my credit card payment every month.
b.    I will only eat out 1 time per week to save $30 per week to apply toward my credit card payment monthly.
c. I will cancel my gym membership and apply the extra $50 per month toward my credit card payment monthly.

2)    I will check my progress toward my goal on the 30th of every month and adjust as needed.

Do you get the point?  Breaking that large goal into smaller increments and specific action steps can help you be even more specific about your intentions and give you information along the way as to whether you’re on the right track to meet your goal in the time allotted.  If you’ve fallen off course, you can make adjustments as you move forward.

Try not to take on too many goals at one time. It can be very difficult to change everything at once.  In fact, studies have shown that the rate of success is higher when we focus on one major life change at a time.  For example, if you want to lose weight, focus on that goal first and give yourself time before you try to tackle all your money woes.

It’s much easier to gain momentum on one problem and goal and add-on to that as you feel more confident. I’m sure we can all relate – we want to get our finances under control, eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, get a better job, make more money, find new hobbies…There are plenty of changes we probably all want to tackle, but taking on too many at once might lead to failing at all of them. Try to pick one problem and goal and go from there.

Happy Goal Setting!

Have you used the SMART method for setting goals before?  Did you find it helpful?  What are your biggest goals for 2013?

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Coconut Oil Moisturizer & Eczema Creme

A few months ago, this weird red (sometimes itchy) bump appeared on one of my knuckles.  I waited a while for it to disappear but after a few weeks went by I figured I should get a doctor’s opinion about how to deal with this weird bump.  When I went in, he told me it was eczema. I’ve always had some minor patches of eczema that tend to flare up when it gets really dry or I get stressed out, but it never looked like that.  He prescribed me some steroid cream and I was on my way.

Last week as I was on the plane headed back to Illinois for my grandmother’s funeral, I noticed a red, itchy bump on my pinkie.  “Weird…” I thought to myself.  After a week, it’s still there and it just dawned on me – it’s eczema!  Of course it’s eczema.

I took to google to find a home remedy…

That’s when I came across a recipe for a eczema cream.   The main ingredient was missing from my cabinet: coconut oil.  Coconut oil is one of those things that I’m pretty sure I knew existed but it’s never made its way into my universe.  I decided to take the plunge and spend the $7 (on sale) for a container of it.

If I’m going to spend $7 for a container of oil, you better bet I’m going to get my use out of it. I found TONS of websites that list a ridiculous amount of things one can do with coconut oil.  It’s moisturizing properties seem to be the most popular, aside from cooking/baking with it.

Moisturizer & Eczema Cream

Source: The Thrifty Couple

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of oatmeal/oats
  • 3/4 cup of coconut oil
  • Few drops of rosemary oil (I omitted this – for lack of owning any)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

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Directions

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Finely grind the oats using a blender or food processor.  It should be a powder/flour consistency.

 

 

 

 

 

Heat the coconut oil over low heat in a small pot

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20121229150842992Once melted, add the oat flour and stir until well blended. Add the olive oil and stir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transfer to a small container and let sit until firm.

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Once it’s hardened/firmed up, apply small amounts where needed to moisturize, including on patches of eczema.

A couple of lessons learned

This makes a TON of cream!  The jar I have is going to last until the end of eternity.  If you’re going to use it only for small spots or inconsistently, I suggest making a smaller container.  A little goes a long way!

As you can see from the photo, I don’t think I ground my oatmeal fine enough.  I used a blender and I think using a food processor would have been a better choice.  After it firmed up I took a knife and stirred it a bit to try to get the oatmeal goodness even.

I made this on Saturday night and started using it immediately. It seems to be helping, as the little bump on my pinkie looks a little smaller and a little less red.  However, it’s too early to tell.

Stay tuned as I explore the wonderful world of Coconut Oil.  I’ll be posting another ‘recipe’ for a general moisturizer and who knows what else I’ll start using this marvelous stuff for!

Have you had success with using coconut oil based remedies for eczema or other skin issues?  Got any other recipes to share? 

 

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Monday Morning Money 12.31.12

1389091_blursMonday Morning Money is a series, to help you check in with your spending & saving .  Please feel free to join in and answer the questions yourself , either in the comments below or on your own blog.

1. My biggest budget FAIL of the week was buying a few things in the name of organization that didn’t work out.  Poor planning on my part.  *most* of the items were returnable, thank goodness!

2. How did my spending last week reflect my values?  I spent a good bit of time, energy and some money this week reorganizing the apartment, finding new space & finding ways to use our space more effectively.  I value order and organization in my life and things feel better around here now!

3. The best way I saved a buck (or two) this week was staying home most of the week.  I didn’t have to fill up my gas tank at all and kept myself from impulsive purchases.

4.Something I wanted this week, but didn’t buy was this pan organizer for my kitchen cabinet.  I am on the look out at thrift stores for it now, as it seems like a great way to keep pans tidy and unscratched.

5. My #1 financial goal for the week is to get my *new & improved* budget up and running and to start tracking every penny in and out.

Bonus: Are you going to make a New Years resolution?  If yes, what is it? If no, why not.  Nah, I never do.  I have resolved to make some changes in my life, but I don’t need (or want) to tie them to a specific day of the year.  Why wait for the changing of the calendar?

Go ahead, answer the questions yourself…

  1. My biggest budget FAIL was…
  2. How did my spending last week reflect my values?
  3. The best way I saved a buck (or two) was…
  4. Something I wanted this week, but didn’t buy…
  5. My #1 financial goal for the week is…

Bonus: Are you going to make a New Years resolution?  If yes, what is it? If no, why not.

 

2012 Year in Review

Get ready for the obligatory Year In Review post…

Goodbye 2012

Some General Things…

2012 was definitely a memorable year. 

First of all, I became The Mister’s Misses in October.  It was a long year of wedding planning and when it came down to it, the wedding was perfect {at least I like to things so :)} My original hope of having a wedding that cost under $4000 was a little lofty, but I did manage to keep it under $8000.  This included decorations (for 2 receptions), dress alterations, the venue, alcohol, food, transportation, hotel room, travel arrangements for reception #2, etc.  I think we did a good job of balancing what we spent, what we wanted (and got) and what we had to sacrifice to keep everything in check.

Speaking of balance…

This year one of my goals was to have a more balance in my life.  This is always a tricky thing to do and it’s something that one must keep on top of to achieve.  You don’t just find balance and then move on.  You must cultivate it and work hard at it.  I wish it was an easy process, but alas it isn’t.  I think I did a decent job of striking some balance in my life in multiple areas.

I finally got within 10 pounds of my goal weight.  In all, over the last few years I’ve lost 90 pounds!  I had to plateau myself right before the wedding (for the sake of the dress) and haven’t lost any more since then.  I ran my first 5k in May, and threw in a couple more this summer. For being a relatively new runner, I was pleased with my 10 minute miles in these races.  I found some respect for running and I look forward to warmer weather so I can resume.  I’m definitely a fair weather runner.

Some fun experiences…

I got to go to Ikea for the first time EVER this year.  Man, that place just makes me want to have an Ikea home.  Maybe someday The Mister and I will be so financially stable that we can commission Ikea to design and build us a house.  Perhaps I’m a little grandiose…

I had my 2nd gig at the Denver Public Library in January.  I had a lot of fun giving the presentation and a friend of mine even helped me make some notebooks to give everyone.

I don’t know if this would generally count as a ‘fun experience’, but I took the leap and got a salad spinner this year.  I ate pounds of salad this summer and it was way cheaper to spin my own salad than it is to rely on those prewashed bag mixes. This truly revolutionized the way I ate this year.

I turned 30 this year and am finding that 30 is a great age.  It really put some things into perspective for me.  The Mister and I decided to stay put in our apartment for another 5 years so that we can start saving for a house (once my debt is paid off) and live as cheaply as possible.

This year a friend of mine and I discovered the joys of spending time together in a park.  We spent quite a few lovely Sunday afternoons there playing Frisbee, flying kites, doing cartwheels and enjoying life.

The Mister and I did a LOT of hiking this year.  We ventured to new heights (10,000+ ft in elevation) and went farther than we’ve ever gone (at least 1 10 mile hike done this year).  It was great to get out into nature and enjoy this beautiful state we live in.  Plus, most of it was FREE (except gas, of course!).

I got to go to New Orleans for the first time.  What a fun trip! This fun trip included a $10 haircut & shot at a bar.  My hairstylist was not impressed :)  I can’t wait to go back!

I was interviewed by The RedEye (A Chicago daily paper) about how debt affects relationships.

I got a promotion at work (woohoo) and that came with a decent little raise. :)

This year I really started to embrace DIY.  I started getting a little craftier and looking at things differently.  I feel like I became much more mindful of waste and have begun to look at new ways to cut waste and find new uses for old things.

Now Let’s Talk Money

My 2012 money goals were…

  • Save $4000 for the wedding - Rocked it!
  • Pay off another $5,000 of my loan. – Came so close!  I paid off $4,392.37 of my student loan.  My  next student loan payment is due in 2018.

My goals for 2013

  1.  The biggie is to pay off the rest of my private student loan.  I have a little over $14,000 left.  I know I can do this in 2013.
  2. Stick to my budgeting plan EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.  I always seem to have good intentions and I mean well, but somewhere I lose focus.  This year I want to stay on track.  This includes knowing exactly where my money is going and continually analyzing my spending.
  3. Go on a honeymoon.  The Mister and I didn’t go on a honeymoon.  The decision to wait was partly financial and partly because of time.  We decided that we’d do it in 2013 instead.
  4. Restart my regular exercise plan.  In the winter I usually go into hibernation mode and stop exercising for a while.  My goal is to exercise at least 4x/week.  Once spring comes I plan to run at least 5 days per week.

 What are your goals for 2013?

 

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It was a DIY Christmas

{I started writing this post on 12/19/12 and as I was writing it I got a call from my dad telling me my grandmother had passed away.  Suffice it to say, I stopped immediately and dealt with everything else that was going on.  I know it’s after Christmas, but I can’t not share what did.  Better late than never, right?}

My goal for this year was to spend under $50 for Christmas, total.  This included presents for my parents, brother, grandmother and co-workers.  I can confidently say that I was well below that $50 mark, in big part to the credit card rewards I’ve saved.

I got a $50 Hobby Lobby gift card from my rewards and went to town in their glass container aisle. I had a couple of things planned out when I went, but then as I stood there in Hobby Lobby, looking at all the wonderful glass items I found a little extra inspiration. For 5 co-workers, I did the following…

Brown Sugar Coffee Scrub

This is a super easy gift idea and always welcomed in the semi-arid Colorado climate.  You can find the recipe HERE.

I gathered up all my supplies…

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Coffee, brown sugar, olive oil, vitamin E, vanilla & honey

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And started throwing stuff in a bowl…

First up, brown sugar

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In goes the coffee

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And then some oil

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After stirring it all well, I threw in come vitamin E, vanilla and honey.  I didn’t bother measuring – it was all willy-nilly up in my kitchen!

Divide the scrub mixture into containers

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Next up – Labels!

I used Picmonkey to make the labels. I then inserted the jpeg labels into a word document and printed them on card stock. I cut ‘em out, punched a hole in them and attached them to the jars with yarn.

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Next gift…

The Good Juju Jar

Working in mental health, especially with the criminal justice population, is a VERY stressful job.  Lately, things have gotten way busier at work and morale seems to have dropped some.  Maybe it’s the increase in caseloads/referrals, maybe it’s the holidays, maybe it’s the weather change or a combination of all of those.  I hate to see my co-workers feeling this way, so I decided to give them each a ‘Good Juju Jar’.

This is an empty jar that they can fill with good juju anytime and then pull it out as needed.  When something happens they can write it down, put it in the jar and come back to it when they really need it.

201212152015366322012121520281227420121215202758585I did the same thing for the labels – picmonkey, word document, cut it out & attach with yarn.

{The day I gave these gifts, one of my co-workers told me that she looked at the jar while she was in session with a particularly difficult client and it reminded her to have more empathy because she knows she has so much to be thankful for.  Later that day, another co-worker got frustrated to the point of tears and said “…and I don’t even have anything in my damn juju jar!”  I immediately went back to my office and emailed her something to put in the jar.  I then realized I should have started each jar off with a few pieces of good juju.}

Bath Salts

I cheated here – I didn’t make the bath salts.  I had a stash of lavender & ‘cotton breeze’ salts for occasions such as this.  I placed them in a jar & attached a label.

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Picture Frame Quotes

This was a last-minute addition to my plan.  I found these great little picture frames while I was at Hobby Lobby and decided to make a picture for each person.  I found a quote for everyone that reminds me of them – something to hopefully keep them inspired throughout the day or remind them that things always get better.  I didn’t take pictures of each, but here’s how a couple of them turned out.

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I had a helluva time trying to get the pictures to turn out the right size and print accordingly.  That’s why there’s card stock behind them.  Some worked fine and others didn’t.

The Gift Bags

made my own gift bags for these presents. It’s so easy to make gift bags and it brought a little something extra to the gift (at least I think so!).

2012121807334967720121218073343400As for the other gifts…

I had enough rewards on my credit card to get a few gift cards for my family.  I also found a great double picture frame at the thrift store (new in the box, $2!) and put a couple of pictures from the wedding in there for my parents.

I also made a cute little ‘hug in a box’ for my grandmother.  Technically this is a children’s craft idea, but grandma’s always appreciate these sorts of things.  I forgot to take a picture of the ‘hug in a box’, but you can see an example HERE.  I used some tissue paper and my homemade Mod Podge to decorate a small box.  I then tied it up with a ribbon and added the little poem to it.

Even though this is late for this Christmas, perhaps this will give you inspiration for next Christmas (or birthday gift ideas).  I hope everyone had a delightful holiday season!

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Clearing Out the Cleaning Supplies

I took the rest of this week off from work, to recover from a very quick trip home to lay my grandmother to rest.  I’m still trying to deal with the emotions of the last week and the best way I know how to do that is to clean and organize my space.  I’ll come out of this emotional fog unsure where anything is, but everything will be in its proper place!

I decided to go through the kitchen cabinets to organize and get rid of things I no longer need or use.  The cabinet stocked full of various cleaning supplies was the first hit.  Most of the stuff in this cabinet has gone unused for at least a year, maybe a little more.  Since I discovered the versatility and awesomeness of cleaning with vinegar, I really haven’t bothered to use much else.

I gathered up everything I no longer use, put it in a box and sent The Mister downstairs with it to put it in ‘the free spot’ by the mail boxes.

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Now my cleaning cabinet has just vinegar, baking soda & some anti-bacterial wipes (I haven’t been able to quit using these for the bathroom).  Much more simple and a lot less cluttered!

Do you still use commercial cleaning supplies?  Have you ever estimated the cost of using these supplies versus switching to the simple, natural cleaning supplies generations before us used?

No Bake Apple Oatmeal Cookies

I have a sweet tooth.  A serious  sweet tooth.  When I get a sweets craving, I want to do something about it. like, 2 minutes ago.  Here’s the problem – I’ve only got 2 options when it comes to satisfying my sweet tooth.  I can…

a) Go buy something, which is not on my list of things I should be spending my money on or my list of things I should be eating.

b) Make something myself.  Anyone who knows me knows I don’t bake. It never turns out well.  Plus, I never have some of those important baking things on hand like baking powder.  I’ve never even bought baking powder in my life.  I rarely have eggs either.  I’m pretty much screwed in the baking department unless I make a concerted effort.

On Sunday, I decided to add a third option into the mix.

c) Find a ‘no bake’ recipe using things I already have in my pantry. This is clearly the winning option.

I knew I had oatmeal, sugar and butter.  I was hoping to find something that would satisfy my sweet tooth using these ingredients and hopefully something else I had lying around.  That’s when I found No Bake Apple Oatmeal Cookies.  Genius!

No Bake Apple Oatmeal Cookies.  To. Die. For.

No Bake Apple Oatmeal Cookies. To. Die. For.

Here’s the recipe from Once A Month Mom:

No Bake Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup peeled and grated apples
  • 1 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Mix in sugar, salt, cinnamon, and apples. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.  Add in oatmeal and walnuts.  Stir well.  Using a tablespoon, drop onto wax paper or nonstick pan.  Allow to harden and cool for 30 minutes.

This turned out AMAZING!  I omitted the chopped walnuts, because of a serious shortage of walnuts in my home.  I tried grating the apple with a cheese grater at first and that didn’t work out.  Don’t try that!  I put a chopped up apple in the blender instead and that seemed to do the trick.  I also don’t have quick cooking oatmeal, so I used regular rolled oats instead and it still turned out okay.  The Mister seems to think they would have held together a little better with the quick cooking kind, but what does he know? ;)

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Monday Morning Money 12.17.12

1277837_color_ribbon_and_bow_1Monday Morning Money is a series, to help you check in with your spending & saving on a weekly basis.  Please feel free to join in and answer the questions yourself , either in the comments below or on your own blog.  Please credit back to The Thrifty Social Worker.

1. My biggest budget FAIL of the week was buying groceries even though I said I wasn’t going to.  It was the perfect storm for failure – a great coupon opportunity coupled with 25% off bulk items at Sprouts.  On the upside, I did stock up on oatmeal – over 5 lbs for $4 :)

2. How did my spending last week reflect my values?  I value a good deal and saving money where I can and that’s what I did.

3. The best way I saved a buck (or two) this week was using coupons to get some recipe starters for FREE and hitting up the bulk sale at Sprouts to save on items such as brown sugar (for gifts), oatmeal, raisins, couscous and other items I eat regularly.

4. If I could tell last week’s me something this week it would be that really, good deals are always around the corner.  Sometimes you  have to suck it up and pass up a good deal.  It’ll be back, it’s just a matter of time.

5. My #1 financial goal for the week is to avoid grocery shopping, except for our Christmas dinner needs, which include a few choice items.  I will use my willpower to avoid any ridiculous savings because, the savings will be back eventually.

Bonus: The best part of giving (or getting) a homemade gift is knowing that a lot of thought and work was put into the gift.

Go ahead, answer the questions yourself…

  1. My biggest budget FAIL was…
  2. How did my spending last week reflect my values?
  3. The best way I saved a buck (or two) was…
  4. If I could tell last week’s me something this week it would be…
  5. My #1 financial goal for the week is…

Bonus: The best part of giving (or getting) a homemade gift is…

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My Latest Coupon Adventure

I really enjoy coupons.  It’s like FREE MONEY.  To avoid using coupons is a travesty, but I also think using coupons to extreme and stockpiling food you’re never going to use is also a travesty.  I’ve tried to find a sweet spot with using coupons – not too much, not too little.  Just enough to save a decent amount of money on items I need or want.

If you’re new to coupons, check out the guest post from Operation 40k earlier this year about coupon basics.  You can read that post HERE.

Last night, I was so proud of my coupon prowess at the store that I just have to share!

I realize on Monday I said I wasn’t going to go grocery shopping because I need to eat up the food that I already have.  Apparently I lied. :(  The Mister needed to run by the store, so I went with him.

I had seen a decent deal on Progress Soup, when coupled with some coupons was a better deal.  The original deal was 8 cans for $10.  This would come out to $1.25 per can.  Not too shabby, but still not great.  I had uploaded a coupon to my King Soopers card – $2 off 8 cans of soup.  Now the deal just got a bit sweeter.  Now we’re talking $1 per can.  But wait!  I also had 2 $1 off 4 cans, which I was able to use as well (digital coupons PLUS paper coupons, what an amazing stacking opportunity!). So now, we’re looking at $6 for 8 cans of soup.  Now the price has dropped to $.75 per can.  I bought 8 cans of soup and now I have lunches figured out for the next couple of weeks. Who can pass up a $.75 lunch?

Things only got better from there.  I noticed in the paper that King Soopers is doing one of their ‘buy 6 items, get $6 off’ promotions.  One of the listed items was Progresso Recipe Starters.  This item was listed as $.99 if you buy 6 participating items.  I had 3 $.55/1 coupons for these, which when doubled would make this item free.  I figured I would just take a look around and see if there was anything I actually needed from the other participating items and get these if I could justify buying the other 3 items.  But when I got to the recipe starters section I noticed the local ministry group had taped coupons to each can!  So, I loaded 5 of them in, took of the coupons and went on my way!  ALL FREE. (My 6th item was a bag of Gevalia coffee that we got for $4, with the 6 participating items deal plus a $1.50 off coupon.  Not too shabby).

DSCN0167Before the coupons our total was $40.  After coupons it was $26.71. We used a total of $29.62 worth of coupons and saved 52% on our total grocery bill.  And now, we have these yummy cans of ‘recipe starter’ to play with.

When we got into the car, I told The Mister that if I ever go over the edge with coupons that it’s his responsibility to pull me back into reality.  If I was of the ‘extreme’ variety, I would have filled my cart with as many of these as possible and added them to an unnecessary stockpile.  That’s no fun for anyone else who wants to grab this deal and I don’t have the room for so many cans.  So far, I think I’m in my sweet spot.

Do you have any recent coupon adventures to share?