Monday, February 7, 2011

I haven't disapperared.... Money Saving continues!

Sorry for my lack of posts recently.  I am not going to bother giving you all of my excuses.  But, do be assured that I have been working hard to save money.  Below are some of the things I have done to keep money in our pockets. 
  • I returned/exchanged the last of the Christmas gifts that were sitting around our house.  We had some duplicate gifts, a few that were the wrong size, and a couple of defective items.  All have been exchanged for new items or returned for store credit.  I have about $100 store credit at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and $86 store credit at Walmart.  I will save these to use them for things that we need in the future. 
  • I got an INCREDIBLE deal on diapers on the other day.  There were marked down.  Plus, I used the 30% discount for moms, and a 20% off coupon code that I got in American Baby magazine.  I used giftcards earned on Swagbucks to pay for the remainder, leaving with an OOP of $0.00!!!  A box of 250 Pampers for my son for $0.00 OOP... works for me! 
  • We went out to dinner the other night.  I brought a coupon for $5.00 off a purchase of $20.00 to use.  However, our meal took so long, that the manager gave it to us for free.  So, we saved the coupon and will use it another time. 
  • Last month our electric bill was around $115.  I was shocked at how high it was, as it has never been that high in the winter.  We have been trying really hard to conserve as much energy as possible this past month.  We just got our latest bill and it is down to $73.  That's much better, but I would still like to see it go down a little more. 
  • DH and I continue to take our lunch to work everyday and DH continues to carpool to work with a coworker to save on gas. 
  • I have fallen far behind with clipping and organizing my coupons.  So, I spent quite a bit of time clipping and organizing coupons while my two sons were napping on Sunday.  Hopefully I can stay on top of this more, so it doesn't take so long on the future. 
  • I had some bananas that were turning quite brown.  So rather than throw them out, I used them to make banana mini muffins.   My son loves to take these to preschool to have for his breakfast.  These are far cheaper and healthier than buying a store bought breakfast. 
  • I filled up with gas at the station that gives 10 cents off every gallon to teachers. 
  • I made a large batch of homemade baby food for my younger son.  This is far cheaper and healther than what I can buy at the store. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Money Saving Challenge- January 20, 2011

These are the things we have been doing to save money:
  • Both DH and I have been taking our lunch to work each day.  We have been eating leftovers as well as sandwiches.  This is so much cheaper than eating out. 
  • Made DH's grandmother's birthday card.  I was quite proud of how it turned out.  Back in December, Precious over at Frugal Makes Cents found a great deal on paper and supplies to create greeting cards.  The entire package cost less than $10 and I should be able to easily get all of my greeting cards for the year made with the supplies.  I figure most Hallmark cards average around $4.00 so these savings will definitely add up.
  • Filled up my gas tank with my teacher savings card.  The gas station near our house provides teachers with 10 cents off every gallon of gas.  I saved $1.32 with this fill-up. 
  • Dinner today will be chicken cordon bleu with noodles and a side salad. 
  • Last night we went out to dinner at Olive Garden.  We received a gift card as a Christmas gift.  I used a coupon for $4.00 off 2 dinner entrees and $30 in gift cards.  After the coupon and gift cards, we owed $0.78 plus tip.  Not bad for a tasty dinner that fed three of us. 
  • DH has been carpooling to work.  He drives every other day which saves a lot on gas. 
  • We got our budget set and organized for 2011.  Homemaking Expert has a wonderful Excel spreadsheet that is exactly what we were needing.  By tracking our expenses and savings, we will have a much better idea of what is coming in and what is leaking out. 
  • I have been going through the kids' clothes.  The clothes that my youngest son has outgrown are all being organized into a pile for the garage sale we plan to have this summer.  Clothes that my oldest have outgrown, are being organized into giant tubs so that we are prepared when my youngest is ready for them. 
  • I went through all of our files and shredded an old documents and bills that we no longer need.  I am VERY cautious with getting rid of any paperwork.  There is so much fraud and scamming going on out there that I don't take any chances.  Everything gets shredded at our house!
  • I organized our freezer so that I know what we have and could more easily find what I need. 
  • Yesterday I stopped by the mall to check out the clearance sales on childrens' clothes. I always buy my son's clothes on clearance for the next year.  So, I have my eyes open now for winter clothes for him to wear next year.  I found some really good deals at both Old Navy and Gymboree.  I got a total of 10 shirts, 2 sweaters, 2 pairs of pants, and a pair of underwear for about $25 OOP, thanks to coupons, gift cards, and store credit. 
  • Due to the snow storm, both DH and I are off work tomorrow!  So, no gas will be used tomorrow.  Hopefully we can get a few chores done around the house, and also enjoy lots of fun time with our boys. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goals for 2011

We are two weeks into the year, and I'm still thinking about and trying to finalize my goals for 2011.  There is quite a bit I want to tackle this year.  I have finalized my list to include the following:

  • Pay off our car loan (this is the only debt we have, other than our mortgage.)
  • Continue to fund our childrens' college funds.  We would like to deposit a minimum of $300 per month into each child's account.
  • Continue to fund our retirement funds
  • Keep our weekly food spending at no more than $75.  This includes grocery purchases, as well as dining out. 
  • Do a better job at "rolling" my register rewards at Walgreen's in order to minimize my out of pocket expenses. 
  • Keep my coupon binder organized and up to date so that I always know which coupons I have.  (With our hectic lives, I find this to be a very difficult thing.  I really want to do a better job at this.) 
  • Shop for the holidays throughout the entire year.  This is important to spread out expenses and be able to hit sales and clearances. 
  • Rather than purchasing greeting cards, I plan to make all greeting cards for birthdays and anniversaries (unless I already have a store-bought card on hand.)  Not only are handmade cards much cheaper, they are also much more personal.
  • Stockpile items when they are at rock bottom prices. 
  • Try not to waste any food.  When we have leftovers, I will try to take them to work for lunch the next day, use them to make a new dish, or  put them in the freezer in a timely manner so they don't spoil. 
  • Lose 15 pounds before the summer and "swim suit season."
  • Have a date night with DH at least once a month.  (Due to the nature of DH's job and our two young children, this can be very difficult at certain times of the year.  But, I really want to make this a priority for DH and I.)
  • Try to find time to do some scrapbooking (I am soooooo far behind on my kids' scrapbooks.  I would really like to make some progress with these.)
  • Find time to workout.  I would like to do this at least once a week, if not more. 
  • De-clutter and organize our second bedroom.
  • Have a garage sale in the spring/summer.  We have so much baby items that my kids have out grown.  It's time to clean house!!
  • Donate/Sell/Throw Out at least 500 items.  This may sound crazy, but I really don't think it will be hard to do.  We have accumulated so much stuff in the five years that we have lived in this house.  It is time to get organized!
I know there are some other things I was wanting to do, but I can't seem to think of them right now.  I think this will be a "work in progress."  I will try to update my goals and add to them as needed.

Friday, January 7, 2011

And it begins....

Welcome to my blog!  I created this blog to hold my self accountable and keep track of my frugal ways.  I spent a great deal of 2010 learning all I can about saving money, cutting expenses, couponing, and stockpiling.  And now that 2011 has arrived, I have decided to join Precious, at Frugal Makes Cents, and her Money Saving Challenge for 2011.  I plan to use this blog to report on the things I have done to save money and my frugal practices.  I hope you enjoy what I have to share and look forward to learning and saving with you!