Thursday, January 31, 2008

a year of savings Day 31 - coupons

This is the last day of January and lots of my coupons expired today. So if you use coupons, better go through your coupons today, take out the ones that expire today and either use them today or discard them. Cashiers are not usually amused when given expired coupons.
I keep my coupons in a zippered notebook, organized by category in baseball card pages. It does take longer to sort them this way, but it saves so much time in the store matching up products to coupons. And I would much rather spend that extra time in the comfort of my home than in a store.
I keep the current sales flyers in the front flap pocket. I also keep my grocery list fastened to the inside front and cross things off and make notes as I shop.
This notebook is pretty big and I rarely take both my big notebook and big purse into a store. When I coupon shop, I lock my purse in my car trunk and just take my notebook in the store. I keep my cell phone, ID and spending card in my pocket.
My spending goal for 2008 is to spend $100 or less weekly on all household items and groceries.
In January, I spent $432.57 (just a bit over my goal) and used coupons worth $226.09.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Valentines decorations

Today, I took down the snowmen and winter decorations and replaced them with hearts for Valentines day. I took these pictures on a sunny afternoon so the sun is making them a bit dark.
My mom crochet all of the hearts that are hung on the shutters. The little silver tree has felt and sequined ornaments I made last year.
To keep with my theme of saving this year, nothing is new. Everything came out of the storage box. I did window shop for Valentines things, but the Wal-mart stuff just looked cheaply made and by the time I looked at Hobby Lobby, their stock was really picked over. I don't think I needed anything anyway.

year of savings day 29 - wash your dog at home

Theo got a bath at home today. He is a pretty good sport about it. He sits by the tub and waits for the tub to fill up and he usually sits pretty still for the washing and rinsing. But his favorite part is after the bath when he goes to backyard and runs himself almost dry.

To save on the bathroom cleanup after a dog's bath, first move your rugs out the way and spread the floor with old towels, beach towels work great for this. I also dilute the shampoo and conditioner with a little water, then it seems to rinse out easier.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

year of savings day 28 - work day lunches

My husband takes his lunch and a morning snack to work 5 days a week. He likes to have a glass of juice and we re-use Tupperware tumblers with lids. A 64 ounce bottle of juice fills up 5 cups, just enough for a week full.
To save on time, I usually prepare several servings of fruit at once. This week, I peeled oranges and cut up some grapefruit. The oranges and grapefruits were stockpiled when Food Pyramid ran them on sale this month for 25 cents each.
Jeff also takes a bottle of water and his main course is usually a helping of our previous nights dinner. He has a microwave at this job site.
I usually work 4 or less hours each day so I don't need such a full lunch box. I just take a bottle of water or soda, a helping of fruit or a granola bar with me.
Our away from home meals cost very little and are much healthier than what we would get at the fast food stores all around our work places.
I started making my dad's lunch way back when I was very young, maybe 12 or so. He did not care what I put in it, he just liked for me to do it. My children took their lunches to school when we lived in California. I have been making lunches so long, it is just a part of our routine.

year of savings day 25 - use those coupons

I did some shopping at Walmart on Jan. 25 and used up all of my Electrasol $2.25 coupons
and some other coupons for LiveActive cheese, Colgate Total, Keebler. Without coupons, I never would of bought that many boxes of Electrasol at one time but because of that high value coupon, I think I have about a year supply.
My cashier was very careful with my coupons and made sure none of them stuck together. When she totaled it, the register required a CSM to approve the sale because of so many coupons. I asked if it was because the total number of the coupons (28) or the dollar total of the coupons.($50.33) They both just shrugged and said they did not know.
I am very happy that my neighborhood Wal-mart takes coupons without any hassle.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

would you vote for Zerbie? pretty please?

Nina has entered her puppy in a contest and I am shamelessly asking anyone who reads my blog to please click on this link and vote for her.
This is what Zerbie used to look like, now she weighs over 100 pounds and looks like a newborn quarter horse.
Nina and John need the winnings just to keep Zerbie in dog chow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A year of savings Day 23

Free toothpaste today. I used 2 $2.00 coupons on Aqua Fresh Advanced that is on sale this week at Walgreens. Well, almost free, I had to pay 35 cents sales tax.
I learned about this deal here,
Right after Christmas, I bought 3 turkeys on sale for 49 cents a pound. It is so cold here and having the oven on helps warm the house. So this seems like a great day to have turkey. This turkey is just about 12 pounds. We will have turkey and mashed potatoes tonight and turkey pot pie tomorrow. Our dog, Theo, is very fond of turkey so even if Jeff and I get tired of it, Theo will be a very happy dog to get turkey on his supper plate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A year of savings Day 22 - freezer paper

I usually get the best buys on meat when they are sold in big packages. I ran out of freezer bags a few months ago and needed to split and wrap some meat to freeze. I remembered I had this package of freezer paper that I bought a few years ago for a quilting applique project.
Freezer paper is now my first choice when packaging things for the freezer.
The box is pretty big and won't fit in the same drawer as the aluminum foil and wax paper, it has to live on the top shelf of the pantry. Freezer paper does a great job of freezer-burn protection. I am not an environmental expert, but I am guessing that freezer paper is easier on the environment than plastic bags too.
I bought 7 pounds of ground sirloin for $2 a pound today. I froze 5 pounds of it and used 2 pounds for a double recipe of porcupine meatballs that are baking in the oven right now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A year of savings Day 21 - finish projects

I have a lot of craft supplies. Some are from thrift stores, some are from my mother, alot of my "cool" stuff is from Nina and her friends, and some are things I bought. But I think I have too much stuff so my goal this year is to do projects with supplies I have on hand whenever possible, and only buy necessities like thread or glue needed to complete them.
So far this year, I made thank you cards for Christmas gifts, sympathy cards, recycled paper notebooks and 3 aprons, all from materials on hand. (and these projects did not even make a dent in my supplies)
Yesterday I finished up this plastic canvas project, an Easter bunny in a Leprechaun hat. I also restrung a bracelet, it was on a stretchy thread that lost its stretch.
I am still sewing on that strip quilt I started in the fall, I plan on just sewing until I run out the strips I cut and will that determine how big it will be.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A year of savings Days 15, 16 and 17

Jan 15. I had a pay-it-forward post last month on my blog. I made three aprons to send to the bloggers that signed up to also do a pay-it-forward. I found the pattern for the half apron online, I already had the flapper apron pattern as well as all the fabric. So the only cost to me for this fun giveaway was the postage.
Jan 16. I got a $5 coupon for Glucerna cereal in the mail. I find freebie sign ups on the forums at
Jan 17. Match up coupons with sales for maximum savings. Food Pyramid has Farmland bacon on sale for $2.50. I used $2 coupons that were in the Sunday paper 2 weekends ago and that brought the price down to just 50 cents.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A year of savings Day 14

On a recent Martha Stewart episode, Martha and one of her helpers made notebooks from paper in their recycling boxes. At my office, we have lots of misprinted paper so I tried this craft.
I think mine are a little simpler than Martha's. I took the used paper and folded each sheet in half with the printing on the inside. I used 13 sheets and stapled them together. Then I covered each a sheet of card stock and used glue stick to adhere the covers. My covers were just a bit short so I added a strip of scrapbook paper on the front edge and then a little more paper for
I think this would be a great craft for children or teens. They would like making the books and then they could have fun filling them up.
This is how Martha did hers.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nina and her place mats

Nina spent the afternoon with us today. It was really nice to see but I think she mostly came over because I have a sewing machine. :)
She made 6 reversible place mats, red and pink hearts on one side for Valentines and shamrocks on the other for St. Patrick's Day.
I think they are really cute.
It was her idea to make them reversible for 2 different holidays - saves on fabric by not having to buy lining and it will use up less room when she stores them away.

A year of savings Day 13 - free heat

If it is cold inside your home and sunny outside, open up your window coverings and let in some free sunshine. It will help heat the room. Even dogs know this trick. Theo is sleeping in the warm sunshine this morning.
He looks pretty comfy, doesn't he?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A year of savings Day 12 - cereal

Jeff spent most of today working on my car. When he finished, he needed to take it out for a test drive. I went with him and made a trip into Food Pyramid. They had the cereal on sale for 99 cents each, limit of one per flavor. The Cheerios had a peelie on the front for buy 3 BigG cereals, get any Nature Valley bars free. Four boxes for just $2.97 is a great deal.
I also needed bread and found coupons on the Sara Lee bread, save $1 on milk when you buy one loaf. So we got 1/2 gallon of milk too.
Our total was $7.00 - in Oklahoma, we have sales tax on everything!

Friday, January 11, 2008

advice to you all from my brother

Words of Wisdom from my brother, Dr. Bert,
""I’m not surprised that your Hobby Lobby didn’t have much left. They let the people on their email list know when they marked the Christmas stuff down 80 percent a day before it was in the paper. Mom told me about it, and I went to our Hobby Lobby the Saturday afternoon before it was in the Sunday paper. People were just going crazy. All the carts were out, and all the baskets were out. I picked up some things in my arms for a while before I finally managed to get a cart, and I got a ton of stuff for just $13. When I was checking out, the clerk said they had had at least 40 different items broken from people fighting over them. He said he saw two ladies both grab for some kind of Santa that was the last one, and both refused to let go. Finally, it broke from them squeezing too tight and all the pieces just fell to the floor. Tell the people on your blog one way to save money is not to waste it on Christmas decorations you had to pay for because you broke them while fighting over them at Hobby Lobby.""

A year of savings Day 11

This tip will not work for everyone but it works for us. Jeff is a mechanic and keeps all our vehicles maintained and repaired.
Today, he is replacing the timing belt and water pump on my car.
He planned to be finished already but while he was working on my car, Jimmy had a blow out, his spare was flat too and he was broke down along a busy highway. Jeff drove to help him and Bobby met up with them too. It is great to have him come to our rescue whenever something does go wrong with our vehicles too.

Changing a timing belt is not something everyone can do, but Jeff says most people could change their own oil and filters if they wanted to save a little.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A year of savings Day 10 - banking

We bank at a credit union and I think it saves us lots of money compared to a traditional bank. Our checking and savings accounts are completly free.
Our credit union has free online bill paying and I have been using it for about a year, so our 10 or so bills every month don't require a postage stamp or a paper check.
I guess we could but we don't use ATMs or have a debit card. We pretty much know how much cash we will need and we just get it bi-weekly at the credit union. I don't even write a check then, I just show my ID to the teller and get my cash.
Postage savings from online bill paying is about $45-50 dollars a year.
We do have to pay for our paper checks but a box lasts us so much longer now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A year of savings Day 9

I changed the filter on our central heating and air conditioning unit today. The manufacturers recommend the filters be changed monthly. I check mine monthly, but only change it when it is dirty.

Our is very easy to change, it just slides in and out. If you have never changed yours, you might want to check with your favorite mechanically minded person for a little help.

Using a clean filter will help your unit run more efficently and keep your home's air fresher.
In the picture, the old dirty filter is on the left and the clean new one is on the right.
About a year ago, I found a batch of filters at the thrift store that fit our unit for just 25 cents each. Sadly, we only have 1 of them left.
Filters can be bought at any home store or big discount store. The sizes vary so check yours before you buy new ones,

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A year of savings Day 8

Today's savings is a very simple one - just stay home and don't spend any money.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A year of savings Day 7 printable coupons

this site has links to lots of good printable coupons. I just printed off 2 $2 coupons for Kraft Live Active cheese. It sells at Wal-mart for $2.77. There is also a link there for a refund of the full purchase price for 2 packages.

There is also a link to get $2 coupons on Kashi snacks.
These links seem to all go through My computer happily prints them and they scan just fine at Wal-mart.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A year of savings Day 6 - coupons

I read about the coupons for this Sunday's paper here and was very happy to see that my local paper had all of the great coupons Money Common Sense talked about. On the way home from church, we stopped and bought 4 more papers.
The $1 Peter Pan coupon savings will pay for the extra papers.
My advice is to scrounge up some extra editions of today's paper if at all possible.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bobby and Bridgette's house in progress

Living room, lighting will be 4 wall sconces.
Bath room, Bobby is very proud of the glass block window he installed.
Laundry room, washer and dryer go behind the ladder.
More laundry room, there will be a sink and mirror here.
Bobby on the front porch
Kitchen, the sink, dishwasher and fridge will be on this wall.
Kitchen - stove will be on the left
Kitchen, every corner cabinet has a lazy susan on the top and bottom

Master bedroom
Patio on the south end of house, Bobby plans on installing a "man kitchen" her when he finishes the interior.
They have to stain, paint, lay tile and carpet, install countertops and plumbing and finish the electric. They hope to be finished and moved in by the end of January.

A year of savings Day 5 - Target

My town does not have a Target so I have never done the Target coupon deals before today. My son and his wife an hour away in a town with a Target. Jeff and I went to see the house they are remodeling and we stopped at a Target on the way home.
Target has their own store coupons that can make for great deals, almost free food. The coupons can be printed in the store and from a personal computer by going to the Target site
I used 2 save $1 on Target russet potato's, on sale for $1.50 so it was just 50 cents for 5 pounds of potatoes. I used 2 50 cents on Target butter in 1/2 pound packages, on sale for 1.19, making a pound of butter $1.38.
Target allows multiple uses of these coupons, so you can print as many as you need. And they can also be combined with manufacturers coupons.

We are not near Target often but I do hope to do more of these deals when I can.
Target had their Christmas clearance marked to 90% off while we were there. We got some great deals on roll wrap and cards.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Year of savings Day 4 - price matching

I frequently "price-match" at Wal-mart. There are 2 grocery stores in my town that mail out weekly ads on Wednesday. I always check the ads carefully to see what is good deal and that we need.

This week IGA had boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.49 a pound. Their ad did not list a specific brand of chicken so I knew Wal-mart would price it. I picked up 2 5 pound packages of chicken, that regularly sell for $14.18 and after the price match, they were $7.45. ($13.46 total savings)

My Wal-mart is very easy about price matching. I always show the ad to the cashier before he/she scans the item. If the ad mentions a specific brand, then you have to buy that specific brand. Things like produce and fresh meat that don't usually have brands are even easier to price match.
I know everyone is not fond of Wal-mart but I like mine.