Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Budget Boot Camp Challenge #4~ Collecting Coupons

I really didn't forget to do this challenge I just forgot to post about it!  Ugh.  I have been collecting coupons for 2 years.  I don't always use them but I have them all filed away and labeled.  I even upload coupons to my Smith's Fresh Values Card.  As many of you know I use the site Grocery Smarts to help me use my coupons and shop the sales.  It is so easy I feel like I practically do NO work.  All I have to do is check the site once a week and be sure I am getting the best deal and using the right coupons to match the sales.  I do not clip coupons unless they match a sale.  I file the entire packet from the Sunday paper each week into a file folder I bought at Walmart. I keep them for 5 months after that they are usually all expired.  Then each week when I check grocery smarts they tell me where to find my coupon either in my file folder or a site online.  It is fantastic and the only way I am successful with coupons.  I am not organized enough nor do I have the time to clip and file every single coupon it just doesn't seem worth it to me.

I know others have other methods but this one works for me and saves me money so I am sticking with it.

Do you clip coupons?  How do you organize them?  Share your tips here or go visit Beth and Clair for more advice.  Also be sure to check out our facebook page to see what the other challengers are doing!

First Grade Girl Style

First graders get to meet their teachers on the first day of school and then the second day of school is their first FULL day.  I am always more nervous than my children..... Ahhh motherhood.  

They were discussing shoes and backpacks which is of course one of the MOST important things when going back to school.

Modeling the new backpacks before leaving the house.  Why does the 3 year old have the biggest one?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back to School

First day of 2nd grade.  I feel a little bit nostalgic.  I can actually remember going to 2nd grade.  I remember my teacher was a MAN and I was so very nervous.  Clearly I survived.  I have some great memories from 2nd grade but I am pretty sure I started to like boys even though I know they had "cooties".   Not sure if I am ready for all that nonsense as a parent.  I prefer just watching my kids do things like this
Oh well I realize I can not stop it so I will just enjoy each moment!  
Oh I am guest posting over at In Good Cents.  I am actually giving some tips about going back to school.... head on over and check me out.  While you are there you can also see all the great back to school sales Beth has posted.

Sorry I have been unplugged for the past few days.  I had a little romantic get-away with my hubby before football season gets underway.  I am now back and promise to be back to blog commenting!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordful Wednesday~Vacation Style

Prepare yourselves it is a bunch of pictures of swimming children.  That is all we did.  Swim, relax, eat a lot of frozen yogurt it was over 100 degrees the entire week what else should we have done?  I told my husband I was like a bug the hotter it got the slower I moved.  I enjoyed every minute.  I did make time for a long overdue pedicure and my I already blogged about the fabulous massage I got.  So here are the pictures I couldn't download because I forgot my USB cord.

This was my view for most of the vacation. I enjoyed the SUN!

Linking up with Angie today over at Seven Clown Circus.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Budget Boot Camp Challenge #3

Challenge #3 was to try Generics.  Clair had some great tips and ideas.  I am not going to lie this is the HARDEST part for me.  In fact one of the main reasons I started coupon shopping to begin with was because I could get my name-brand stuff for a better deal and still buy the products I LOVE.  

I am going to have to say I probably failed this challenge.  I mean there are some things I just won't budge on.  I know have I mentioned I am stubborn?  

You will all be pleased to know that I did still make a list and followed it based on my menu planning.  Hooray for small victories.  I went to Smiths they are having a big sale on some things that I needed.  I mostly bought fresh vegetables I stocked up on toilet paper and mayo.  I just won't budge on TP sorry I have tried and it is one of those products I just can't buy the store brand.  I did however buy the brand that was on sale and I used a coupon.  I price matched the mayo and with the sale and my coupon it was cheaper to buy the name brand than the store brand so I stuck with my plan there.  I also got a great deal on some snacks and lunch items for my kids. 

Anyway I spent less this shopping trip around $78 and I saved just over $30.  I felt good about that considering I got all the food we will need for the week and stocked up on some items.

Items I will buy generic:  butter, some cheeses, cream cheese, milk (if the store brand is cheaper), garbage and storage bags.

Items I just won't budge on:  frozen and canned veggies I have tried the generic and I just can't eat them sorry, cleaning products and laundry detergent, and as I already mentioned toilet paper.  

I have found that a lot of generic items are just as good as the name-brand I have tried them and I still use them if I am out and my favorite brand is NOT on sale.  I do love getting name-brand stuff cheaper than generic though.  That is my favorite part of coupon shopping.

For more Budget tips visit Clair or Beth and see what the next challenge will be.  Also head on over to our facebook page for our latest updates and give-aways.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You know your a Mom When-sDAZE

Joining up with Arizona Mamma again today for you know you're a Mom When....

Family Vacations actually are more work than just staying at home.

You see your three year old put on swim goggles for the first time and you have a wave of emotion that can only be described with sounds not words.

You find great joy from kisses and hugs and you require them multiple times per day.

You go on vacation and the only pictures you take are of your kids swimming and you think they are all amazing.

You wish you would have brought the mini-USB cord for your camera so you could upload some of the above mentioned photos!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

5 Things Mom's Still Have to do on Vacation

Turns out when you go on family vacation you still have to do your MOM jobs.  This is not a surprise to me I have been on family vacations before just realized that even though it is technically a "vacation" and it involves things like this

And a lot of this
I still have to make sure that not only do we bring everything with us but that we still have to function as a family while on vacation.
Top 5 things you have to do as a MOM while vacationing as a family:
1. Pack for EVERYONE 
2. Make sure everyone still eats, sleeps, and hydrates enough
3. Clean up all the messes at condo, hotel, pool
4. Apply a LOT of sunscreen this duty can be shared but as the mom you needed to remember to PACK the sunscreen
5. Co-ordinate activities to keep everyone entertained (this means watch kids while husband enjoys multiple golf games to my one 50 minute massage)
Oh and one more thing PROMOTE family harmony.  This one is easier said than done.  Any tips??

photos courtesy of Green Valley Spa and Red Rock Golf Trail.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Budget Boot Camp Week 2

This weeks challenge was to make a shopping list and stick with it.  Really do people actually shop without lists?  I am so scatter brained I wouldn't remember ANYTHING I went in there for.  My problem is just buying ONLY what is on my list.  This requires a fair amount of planning which I know.  I have been coupon shopping off and on for the past 2-3 years.  
I went to one of my favorite sites GrocerySmarts.com.  You can read more about my couponing experiences if you really want!  
Anyway I went to my favorite site and I looked at the grocery lists and my menu.  Because remember I planned that last week.   I then matched the sales with my coupons (this was NOT part of the challenge but since I have some experience with it I did it anyway).  I double checked with the hubs to make  sure I didn't forget anything then I ventured out.  I was very lucky because my husband was home and I was able to go to the store with out three children in tow.  Believe me they are so distracting!  Anyway.... I am pleased to say I stuck to my list and I saved $90!  Just shopping the store sales and using coupons.  I spent around $125 but I stocked up on laundry detergent and bought almost all of the food for our vacation this week!
Just so you know my husband is not usually so involved in my budget adventures but he has been on vacation for the past few weeks and it is nice to have him around and help out.  It has made it easier on me.  I highly recommend involving your spouse in the budget.  I know that may sound obvious to most of you but at our house I am in charge of our budget, my mistake is not involving my husband in every purchase.  I am going to be much better about that from now on.
If you want to join me in this journey please click on the button above or head on over to Mummy Deals and In Good Cents to kick your budgets butt too!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Planning Success~Budget Boot Camp

Sorry I have been missing in action.  I have been enjoying some family time and I will have some posts about that soon.  Today I wanted to report on how the Budget Boot Camp is going.

Last week I posted about menu planning and my 90 day Budget Boot Camp.  Today I am posting about how that went this week.  I am happy to report that I had some success with menu planning.  I sat down with my husband and we planned out 3 weeks of meals.  This is atypical as my husband is on vacation (more about that soon) so he was involved which I found very helpful.  We planned meals that were sensible, healthy, and that we like as a family.  I made a shopping list and bought what we would need for the week and then stuck to it.  We did spend a little more than usual because we went out of town and had a large family BBQ for the holiday, but it was nice to have a plan and not run back to the store several times.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was and how if I plan ahead that I am less likely to give in and go out to eat which is where we waste a LOT of money. 

Did any of you join in?  Tell me how it went and what success or failures you had.  You can link up with Beth at In Good Sense and show us how it went for you too.
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