Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh my!!!

It sure has been a long week! You know.... one of those weeks where you can't wait for it to end. Trial after trial at work....those weeks :) Sorry about not posting in a week, hopefully that will change now!

This week I put into practice the things that I learned from the coupon class that Allison from Fabulously Frugal Moms and I went to. The class was wonderful. It was held at a church about 25 minutes from where we live and provided free childcare. All we had to do was to bring a snack. So with my $2 box of crackers I headed into what was one of the most productive 3 hours I have had.

Through the class we learned about how to add coupons to current sales and get the most bang for your bucks. We learned about Buy 1 Get 1 Free. We learned about Extra Care Bucks.

Putting into practice the ideas we learned I headed to a local grocery store before work one day this week and got $38.33 worth of groceries for $12.26!!! That's right folks I saved 66% on my groceries for the week!!!!

For $12.26 I got:

2 boxes of Ritz crackers
6 cans of tomato sauce
1 box of oatmeal
2 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats
3 lbs. of potatoes
2 cans of Organic Spray Pam
1 package of cheese

I had not originally planned on getting cheese, but threw it in the buggy at the last minute. When I got to the register, I completely was having one of my savings highs! It was wonderful :)

After work I ran back to the same store to pick up some milk I didn't get that morning so I wouldn't have to put it in the refrigerator at work. I completely fell into the trap of buying things I don't need. Right after I had such a money saving morning I went back to the same store and spent $15.

For $15 I got:

I gallon of milk
1 pack of cheese sticks
1 soft drink
1 candy bar

Oh my!!!!!!

Two shopping trips to the same place in the same day with much different results!!!! This showed me the importance of making sure that I stick to my list and only my list the next time I go grocery shopping.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A day of rest

At a church my husband and I have been attending recently, the preacher was speaking about how he and his wife had really struggled with making Sunday a day of rest. Since then this has been something that I have been giving a lot of thought to.

I am a teacher and am typically at school around 45 hours a week along with all the work that I bring home to work on after my daughter has gone to bed. I am typically tired ALL of the time. Between work, being a mom and wife, and trying to be the homemaker I am called to be, I am exhausted.

When the weekend rolls around if Saturday is not jammed packed with activities I am cleaning house, grocery shopping, and catching up on my sleep. By the time Sunday comes I spend it trying to get ready for the upcoming week. This means lesson plans, menus and cooking for the week, and washing clothes and getting my daughter ready for daycare.

As I have been reading through the Bible (even though I am a few days behind the other ladies) this has really stuck out in my reading. Over and over God says that people need a day of rest. God recognizes that we need this time. Why do we put so much into our lives that we take away this day of rest that we given to us?

I have spent a lot of time in thought and prayer lately and have realized that if I spend Sunday as a day of worship and rest, the rest of the week will be much more productive. My Sundays should be spent worshipping not completing lesson plans. I should be taking a nap, not doing laundry.

So right now I am giving myself permission to take a nap tomorrow (even though I took a small one this evening). Tomorrow there will be no dish washing for me. There will be no laundry tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes what it was intended for: Worship and Rest :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kitty Litter Part 1

I love saving money! I understand that most people like saving money, but what makes me different from everyone is that I will go to some extreme limits to save money. My husband (as well as most of my family and most of my friends) thinks that I am a bit crazy in my money saving ideas, but I think that I'm being a good steward of what God has given me :) Let's take the kitty litter for example....

One of my goals this year was to make my own kitty litter. When my husband got our cat last month from our local humane society he had a coupon so he went and got some kitty litter. My goal was never to have to buy more when that ran out. At the humane society the cats are kept in cages lined with newspaper and a handful of shredded paper in the corner of the cage. At this point my cat was use to using shredded paper, why would I want to change this? Because I wasn't use to a newspaper filled litter box!

I started the journey by putting a small layer of litter in the bottom of the pan and then using shredded newspaper on top of the litter. This went beautifully and I almost thought about stopping my journey here. I pressed on however and for the last week I have been using no store bought litter whatsoever. The key to making this work: changing the litter every night (or sometimes more)!

Every night I line the pan with layers of newspaper and place the shredded paper on top. Sometimes this will last until the next night, sometimes I change the litter box the next morning: either way I'm saving some money.

Again, my husband thinks that I'm crazy (not to mention gross) to make my own kitty litter and you very well may think this too, but I'm ok with people thinking this. I'm a little bit of a better steward for it :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ever wonder what's in your stuff?

I have mentioned before that after I had my daughter I became much more aware of the things (chemicals) that I brought into my house. Many people think that I am crazy buying all natural and organic things, but I believe that it is super important to be aware of the things that you are being exposed to, especially on a regular basis.

A great resource to help with this is a website that I came across: Skin Deep. This website takes all soaps, makeup, lotions etc... and looks at each ingredient. It will then tell you the effects (affects?) that the various ingredients have been known to have.

Let's take a look at our soap. When you look at the website each product receives a number grade with the better more natural things having lower numbers. The soap that I use (used) had a grade of 5! The company found ingredients in the soap that have been linked to cancer and lots of other things. YIKES!!! As much as I love my soap I don't love it enough to risk hurting my family.

I encourage you to take a look at the website to look how what you are using stacks up with other things. Again, you may think I'm crazy, but at least I'm a little healthier than I use to be :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So.... I didn't realize that when you published a post that you had started on an earlier date it was published when you originally wrote it.

For some very interesting thoughts on dryer sheets scroll down to the post titled "Tennis Balls?"


Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Giveway

Hi All!

Passionate homemaking is having a book giveaway: Womanly Dominion: More Than A Gentle and Quiet Spirit. It has received wonderful reviews. If your interested click here to enter :)

Menu Planning January 18, 2010

Here's what on the menu for the week :)

Monday - Scrambled Eggs and toast (what an economical meal - this is the best!! Even if you get free range chicken eggs this meal is still super cheap)

Tuesday - Crock Pot Chili

Wednesday - Rice with cream of mushroom soup and veggies

Thursday - Pancakes

Friday - Eating out with a gift card we got for Christmas!!!!

For more lovely menus hop on over to Orgjunkie.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Super Excited

Tomorrow Allison from Fabulously Frugal Moms and I are going to a money saving class. The class is designed to teach you all about how to save money while grocery shopping. I can't wait to find out what new tricks and techniques I can learn to use to save some more money. This way we can continue to lower the amount of money we want to spend on groceries and put towards something else.

This leads me to my next big money saving technique. To give you a little background about myself I come from an extremely frugal (cheap) family. Seriously you would be amazed at just how tight my family is. While I have always been trying to save money in various ways this money saved would simply sit in the bank and then be spent on some trival, usually useless things. When we started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University he really focused on budgeting and paying for everything in cash. Once we started this we have really been able to use this to assign a place for all the money saved.

Now I'm learning to lower my grocery budget and the money that we are saving on groceries will be put towards building up our savings account. We now how a goal to put our pennies toward and having a goal and seeing it happen is a great place to be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Planning for January 11

Last week having a menu worked really well. We stuck to the menu mostly and what we didn't eat in came from gifts cards to restruants we got for Christmas. Those extra meals are on the menu again for this week ( Along with many other repeats or similar meals because my lack of culinary skills is incredible).

Here's what on my menu for the week :)

Sunday - Mac and Cheese

Monday - Chili

Tuesday - Eggs and Toast

Wednesday - Rice, Cream of Mushroom and Sausage

Thursday - Cheesy Beef Taco Meal

Friday - Spaghetti

For more wonderful menu ideas head on over to Orgjunkie.

Tennis Balls?

A few years back when my husband and I became serious about getting out of debt we looked at where we cut expenses and would put that money towards our current debt. As silly as is sounds we decided to cut dryer sheets out of our budget forever. Silly right? But if you think about how much money these costs you realize that this is an example of how nickels and dimes really add up.

Let's say you spend $3 a month when you buy a box of dryer sheets. Over the course of a year that is $36 we could put towards paying down our debt. That's without doing anything different! It's like a free $36, and who couldn't use that!

To begin life with out fabric softener with we started using white vinegar in the rinse cycle of the washing machine. This left our clothes just as soft as if we had been using dryer sheets. After a few months of buying vinegar I realized I wasn't saving to much so step 2 in the journey was to replace the vinegar with tennis balls in the dryer. Yes you heard right, we use tennis balls in the dryer.

What a wonderful solution this was. No more spending money on dryer sheets and we still get super soft clothes at the same time :)

P.S. I read about tennis from an online blog, but can't remember which one. If it was you I am truly sorry about not being able to give you credit. Email me and I will be sure to give credit to you!

P.P.S. For more info about the things (chemicals) found in dryer sheets go here.

For more Works For Me Wednesday hop on over here to We are that Family

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saving money on meat

When my husband and I first got married, we had hamburger helper every night. Seriously I mean EVERY night. When I went to the store I would buy 7 boxes of the stuff and some hamburger meat for the week.

During this time I would buy one package of bulk hamburger meat a week and buy the time the weekend rolled around we had eaten everything. While this was great for a person like me who can't cook, eating that much hamburger meat was not good for our health, pocketbooks, or the environment.

To help lower our carbon footprint and make our newly made grocery budget last a little bit longer, we are now eating considerable less hamburger meat. While this has been going wonderful, I still wanted to find a way to buy the meat that we do eat in bulk to save some money.

Here's what I do: Once a month now (instead of once a week) I buy a bulk size container of hamburger meat. When I come home from the grocery store I immediately brown all the meat. Once it is drained I separate the meat into sandwich size plastic baggies. Each plastic baggie holds about a pound of meat. These then go into the freezer and when I need hamburger meat I thaw one bag and am good to go.

Saving me both time and money :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A laugh at my expense

Today I decided to do a few loads of laundry. Normally everything other than diapers wait until Saturday, but with the chance of being snowed/iced in from work tomorrow I decided I was in a productive mood and decided to do a load of towels first. FYI.... out of all the laundry I do I love towels the most. I hate folding laundry, but absolutely LOVE folding towels.

As I was switching things from the washer to the dryer a towel hits the liquid detergent and down it goes straight into the dryer. Wouldn't you know this would be the time I had forgot to put the cap on and there is now detergent forming a giant puddle at the bottom the dryer.

It takes a good 30 minutes to mop up at least two cups of thick, slimy detergent. The entire time this is happening I am thinking that maybe the detergent has some chemical that is flammable under high temperatures and when I start the dryer again it will catch fire. Or maybe detergent is going down every nook and cranny (believe me there are more than you think inside a dryer) and is going to tear up the machine.

My husband had a good chuckle at my expense and then proceded to tell me I would not indeed burn the house down when I started the dryer. Even though, there was not a lot of comfort taken from those words because I am a person whose house burnt a total of 4 times when they were growing up. To make me feel better though he did put both fire extinguishers outside the laundry room in case we needed them :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A change in thought

For those of you who live near me you might have heard about a wreck that happened yesterday in front of a Grocery Store that is famous for wrecks tending to happening outside. Truly this is such a horrible intersection wrecks tend to happen far to often.

I came upon the aftermath of that wreck yesterday and it has been in my thoughts all day. Thinking about what I saw yesterday I have been thinking about somethings that God had laid on my heart. Previously when I drove up on a wreck my immediate response was to pray and ask that everyone was able to walk away from the accident and thank God that we have people that are willing to rush in and help those who need it.

One day a few years back I was driving to town and I saw a wreck happen and again my response was to thank God that we lived in a county where people were able and willing to help those who need it. As I was praying God immediately told me not to be as concerned about people physically, but to be concerned that someone might not have gotten to them with the Gospel before it was to late. I had been so worried about the physically well being of those who might have been injured that I wasn't at all thinking about their spiritual well being.

We never know when something might happen. We might be the last chance someone has to hear about the gospel. Why is it that we are willing to rush to someone's aid physically when they need it, but are not as eager to rush to their side to share the gospel, especially when that is so much more important.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Saving money on baby clothes

So, I absolutely love a good deal! When I find one I get what I call a "Savings high"! You know, the feeling you get when you know you are stretching your money a little bit further and doing better to serve your family while being a good steward of the money that God gave you. That feeling :)

Well I get that feeling every time a new season rolls around. That means it's time for Consignment Sale Shopping! I was introduced to a local consignment sale a while back from a friend that I work with and it was love at first sight. All the name brand, barely used clothes at a fraction of the price. It couldn't get any better than that.

The local consignment sale that I shop at happens twice a year and I can typically get my daughter's entire winter/summer wardrobe for around $75. Considering that I typically make that much when I sale her clothes/toys there you could say I get her wardrobe for free. It doesn't get much better than that!

For more wonderful ideas visit We Are That Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

P.S. I know it's Tuesday when I'm writing this, but I have to get up and go to work tomorrow. Sue me :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Planning January 4, 2010

After my experience at the grocery store on Saturday I knew that I needed to take what I had and put it into a menu quick so it wasn't eaten as people were looking for snacks :)

Here's what we're eating this week

Monday - Macaroni and Cheese with broccoli

Tuesday - Crock pot Chili

Wednesday - Chicken Fried Rice

Thursday - Rice with Cream of Mushroom Soup and Sausage

Friday - Spaghetti

For more menu planning take a look at Organizing Junkie's site

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saving money at the grocery store

Today I went grocery shopping. It was a disaster. Plans changed at the last minute and I didn't have time to make my menu for the week and to go with that the list for the grocery store. I know that making my menu for the week saves me money. As a matter of fact this concept alone has saved me more money than any other technique I have tried.

When I went today I decided that I would make my menu as I went. What a horrible idea! I ended up just putting things into the buggy that I know we will eat. By the end of the trip while I was still under budget I don't think the food will go as far as it would if I had planned ahead.

The best way to save money at the grocery store:

Plan your menu for the week and only buy what you need :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 1

So today I (along with many others) started The Bible in 90 Days study with the ladies over at momstoolbox. I began reading thinking of how overwhelming it would be to read so much every night. I barely have time to brush my teeth, yet alone read. As I began reading though this was not the case, I became so hooked on what I was reading that the time flew by. I got to read my Bible while my daughter sat beside me reading one of her books :)

One thing stuck out to me during my reading time was Genesis 7:7

"And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood".

As I am reading this I began to think about exactly what Noah and his family were going through. More specifically I began to think about how they felt knowing that they were inside the boat while members of their family were outside. We read in Genesis 5:30 that Noah had brothers and sisters. Noah sat inside the boat knowing that he was spared from certain death that will come with the flood while his brothers and sisters were not. That had to be heartbreaking for him to go through. What would it be like to know that you were saved from death while there were members of your family who were not?

I have been saved from eternal separation from God and there are many of my friends and family who have not. Does my heart break for them the way I think that Noah's heart broke for his family?

Please God give me a heart for the lost! Let me see them through your eyes! As I go about my day help me not to look at people through worldly eyes, but help me to see them as people "outside the boat".