Friday, July 23, 2010

Eight Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use Coupons... and my arguments against them.

This article has stirred up the she-bear in a lot of my coupon-savvy blogging friends. Just for kicks, I thought I'd go ahead an post my $.02 worth.

The article says... "You have to buy a newspaper."
I say... Yep. I subscribe and have 2 delivered every Sunday. But I get a LOT more coupons for free, because my MIL gets her neighbors inserts. Each week, the savings I get using coupons is FAR greater than the expense of the papers.

The article says... "Clipping coupons takes time."
I say... and what doesn't take time? I could stop nursing Susannah because that takes time. Or I could stop folding the laundry (*ahem*) because that takes time. I spend maybe an hour on average each week clipping my coupons.

The article says... "Getting the newspaper invites lots of additional advertising into your home."
I say... that's what the trash can and self control is for. We don't browse through the ads, or even read the newspaper (because we don't want to). I open the the papers, pull out the coupon inserts and maybe the grocery store fliers, and the rest goes straight to the trash. I know I can't afford all the pretties that are advertised, so I don't even look.

The article says... "Many coupons are for things you neither need nor want."
I say... I sure do need or want: Toilet paper! And toothpaste! And Miracle Whip (or Mayonnaise if you're Daniel)! And Nestle's Chocolate Chips! And cheese! And eggs! And bodywash (you use some type of bodywash, right??)! Not to mention other baking goods, meats, canned fruits and vegetables, toiletries and I could go on and on!

The article says... "Coupons can tempt you to spend your grocery dollars on things you shouldn't."
I say... Yes, I admit there are times where I will splurge on something because I have a coupon for it when I normally wouldn't buy that item... but again it's about self control. Just because there's a coupon for Oreos or Ice Cream, I don't buy those items. Would I like to? You bet! Those are yummy, yummy things!! That's where self control comes in again.

The article says... "The same coupons tend to be offered over and over again" with the idea that you might want to try different things or experiment other items.
I say... Ummm....yup, we still use toilet paper here daily! And Daniel still gets his egg & cheese sandwich every morning... and his lunch sandwich every day... and we still take baths :) Oh, and I don't always buy the same brand of toilet paper every time. It depends on what's cheapest when combining the sale and current available coupon. Same with Mayonnaise... sometimes it's Kraft, sometimes it's Dukes, sometimes it's Hellmans. I think we experience variety while using coupons!

The article says... "You might become a slave to coupons" mentioning that you might not buy something if you don't have a coupon for it.
I say... I do not starve or inconvenience my family because there is not a coupon. If it is a splurge item (say... bacon) or a convenience item (like... paper towels), I will probably not buy it if I don't have a good coupon and a sale. And really, it's not often that I have to buy something without a coupon (that I would normally buy w/ a coupon) because I stockpile.

And last but not least:
The article says... "Shopping takes longer."
I say... Eh, not really. Yes, the first couple times I went with coupons it did take me longer... but everything takes longer the first time you do it.

The article's bottom line is that if you don't clip coupons, don't bother with starting.

My bottom line is I have no doubt that I have saved us piles and piles of money by clipping coupons. For instance, this week's shopping trip, in just the paper coupons alone, I saved $25.06, not counting the coupon doubles, store promotions or sales. I'd say $25 savings in one week because I spent $3 on newspapers and maybe 45 min. clipping? Yup... if you haven't started yet, what are you waiting for? Besides, the "couponing high" you get when the numbers drop like flies at the register? Worth it :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Big Grocery Shopping Trip 7-22-10

Well, this was a very big grocery shopping week. A couple things were so very low-low priced that it only made sense to stock up. I haven't totalled everything up yet, so we'll see how I did!

(and because it's kinda hard to see, I'll just subtly point out that the bottom layer of Gatorade is 3 wide, and the Mayo is stacked 2 deep :P )


(25) 32oz. Gatorade - $.49 ea.
(14) 22oz. Mayonnaise - $.94 ea.
(6) 22oz. Miracle Whip - $.94 ea. (1 not pictured)
(3) Ghiradelli Brownie Mixes - $1.49 ea.
(5) Cream Cheese - $.49 ea.
(5) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese - $.49 ea.
Large Rolled Oats - $2.50
(4) lg. Baby Cereal - $2.95 ea.
(4) 2pk. Baby Food - $.78 ea.
4lb. Sugar - $1.99
1lb. Raisins - $1.99
Tombstone Pizza - $2.49
Orange Juice - $2.99
Applesauce - $2.69 (Baby Food :) )
(2) lb. Turkey Sausage - $1.79 ea. - Manager's Special
B/S Chicken Breasts - $3.52 ($1.99/lb.)
Beef Shoulder Roast - $9.90 ($2.99/lb.)

(2) Large Roasting Pans - $.50 ea. (NYD 2011 :) )
(2) 2pk "Lasagna" Pans - $.50 ea.
12pk. double roll TP - $3.99
(6) Shaving Gel - $.94 ea.
Softsoap Hand Soap - FREE
(4) Crest Toothpaste - FREE

(Since everything pictured plus a couple other items are all on one receipt, these are roughly what the totals are.)

Food: $88.20
Non-Food - $14.48
Total OOP(ish) - $102.68

Total Savings for Food & Non-Food: $146.70 / 59%
Plus I got $7 back in coupons for my next purchase!

A couple things didn't go quite as planned with this trip. The Kraft cheeses that I bought are supposed to be part of a Kraft promotion where I should've gotten (2) $5 catalinas (coupons for $ off your next order) and I only got one. I may or may not research that one. The other $2 in Cats were nice surprises from Gerber. Speaking of Gerber and baby food... yes, I plan to make most of Susannah's baby food (unless I can get it free!), but I had coupons and these will be good for the trips we make. The pizza would've been $.49 but the local Kroger stores no longer take IPQ's over $1.00 b/c of high fraud activity :( Since it was part of the 40 items I was getting for the Mega Event sale, I left it in as opposed to trekking back through the store to get another Mega Event item.

How'd'ya like the Mayo stockpile?? After stock-piling last summer and running out, I didn't want to pay full price again! I acquired coupons from e-bay (that coupon wasn't in our paper) and stocked up! We'll see if we run out till next summer ;) Daniel figures this Gatorade supply should last for most of the remaining hot season.

I did talk to Daniel before spending so much on groceries. Because we are now stocked up on Gatorade I should be able to lower our weekly grocery budget back down to $30-$35, and I know there will be weeks that I won't go at all, or will only get a couple items. In the end, I think it'll all even out. I'm realy happy with how it all turned out :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yay for Me Wednesday!

Courtney over at Living Peacefully Less Stressed (my latest gem-of-a-blog find!) is hosting a "Yay for Me Wednesday!" carnival.

Thank you, Courtney, for reminding me to celebrate the "Yay!" things and not just dwell on the "but I didn'ts." I have so many "but I didn'ts" at the front of my head that I had to think a bit to come up with some "yay's!" but I did!!

~ I scored a reclining, strap-on high-chair for FREE! Susannah's not strong enough to sit up in a regular one yet, and I was not looking forwards to feeding her her solid food kneeling on the floor in front of her swing. Yay for me!!!

~ Speaking of Susannah and solid food... every time I feed her she is liking it better and better, and last night and today she's starting to open her mouth for the spoon. Yay for me! (for persevering) and Yay for Susannah!!

~ I folded the couch full of laundry. Yay for me!!

~ Last week I scored a Spiral Cut Brown Sugared Ham off the Manager's Special. Yuummmmm! Yay for me!!!

~ I've stayed on top of the dishes and counters every day this week. Yay for me!!!

~ I went to bed before midnight last night. Yay for me!!!

~ I've started making and taking time to play the piano again. I really enjoy it and I want Susannah to grow up hearing me play, like I remember my mom playing when I was little. Yay for me!!

~ I exercised Monday night. Yay for me!!

Go check out Courtney's post and cheer her on!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

While the Cat's Away...

The mice play. Or not.

Every year Daniel's dad and several of his dad's brothers and a nephew or two go on a "man-vacation" to a lake house owned by one of their buddies. This year Daniel really wanted to go and it suited for him to, so he took 2 days of vacation and went :)

While he was gone I decided to zoom in and focus on doing some much needed cleaning. I didn't get the whole house done like I would've liked to, but I knew that wasn't realistic thinking. Susannah had her 4 month checkup one morning, and after that we did our grocery run. That took a big chunk out of the day. Between that afternoon and the next morning I did give the kitchen a thorough cleaning - wiping down the cabinet fronts, the ceiling fan, and decluttering the major catch-all area of counterspace that had been too-long just shoved to the side. That evening I unearthed the dining room table. And instead of "piling it" I actually "filed it."

That was last weekend. This weekend he is at a men's retreat hosted by good friends of ours. He left late yesterday afternoon and I didn't get gobs done... kinda took a mini vacation myself (an excuse to be, uh, lazy :) ). The kitchen and dining room table need a quick clean-up, then we'll resume the deep cleaning, moving on to the china hutch (dude, you can pile a bunch of stuff on that flat surface!), the floor (don't look), and then the living room. And the bed is a growing Mt. Washmore of clean laundry that needs FAPA'd (folded and put away).

I hope to get the main gist of the house back to a state of orderliness so I can do maintenance cleaning instead of tripping over piles of baby stuff (not toy-stuff, other stuff that just needs a place to be stored).

Friday, July 16, 2010

18 Weeks

Sunday was Susannah's 4 month birthday, and yesterday she was 18 weeks old. It is so hard to imagine!! She was such an itty bitty bundle that slept all.the.time, who had me convinced I was going to get gray hair, false teeth and grow feeble from old age before she was finished nursing for a feeding.

I guess it was about 3 weeks ago the switch flipped and she's usually done eating in 10-15 minutes. I can like this :)

Her hand-eye coordination is getting better each day. She loves to reach out and explore anything dangling; she hasn't started to reach out while she's on her tummy yet. She also rolls over from back to front quite easily and without complaining as of this week. Now she just complains trying to get rolled back onto her back!

Her sitting up muscles and neck muscles are strong enough now that she can sit in her Bumbo seat pretty well. She can't do it for a long length of time, but she doesn't flop over anymore :)

She loves her Daddy!! She's almost a fast with a grin for him as she is for me, and Daniel sure does love it :)

In the last week or so she started waking early out of her naps. Most of the time she wouldn't fully wake up and would go back to sleep if I gave her her paci... then once last week and twice this week she woke up in the middle of the night. Twice she went back to sleep and once she did not - she was hungry. Putting all of those together we decided it was time to start her on Rice Cereal :)

Last night was her first taste of it :) She did not like it!! She fussed and fussed but we managed to get some in her (we think, anyway). But... she slept straight through the night, and didn't wake up until 7:30 this morning. Ahhh :) This evening after her last feeding I mixed up about 1 Tbsp. again and she still didn't like it, but she didn't fuss this time, and she ate everything that didn't get on her face :) Now I just get to look forwards to her first "solid food" poopy diaper! Haha!!

And so a new adventure in parenthood begins :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blog Award :)

I had a sweet surprise waiting for me last week when Angel gave me the "Sweet Blog" blog award!! Thank you, Angel!

I am supposed to pass the award on to 10 blogs, but I can't think of 10 right off the bat, so I'm going to give this award to my top favs (in no specific order, ladies!) :

Phoebe at Cents to Get Debt Free
~Phoebe and I met IRL (In Real Life) pretty much 1 year ago exactly. She's awesome and I wish we lived closer together! She also had a super cute baby boy a couple weeks ago!!!

Davene at Life On Sylvan Drive
~I wanna be like her when I grow up!! Wow, she inspires me with her graceful and gentle spirit as a Mom.

Courtney at Living Peacefully Less Stressed
~Wow again. Courtney's blog has probably changed my life. Too bad she lives a couple states away :)

Elizabeth at Home Is Where The Coffee Is
~Elizabeth is HIGH on my "I wanna meet her" list!! She's one of my best blogging buds :)

These ladies have all impacted my life in one way or the other. Thanks, gals! ((hugs))

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Day At The Lake

This past weekend was both a very busy and a very relaxing one. Thursday and Friday Daniel went with several of his uncles, his dad, his brother and a cousin (all guys) to the annual man-vacation to Lake Gaston. The man-vacation was for the whole weekend, but Daniel wanted to come back Friday night so that he could go with me to a large family reunion on Saturday. It's the kind of reunion where you want to go every year because that could easily be the last time to see your great - aunt/uncle so-and-so. Well, at least for me it is. My great aunts and uncles on my dad's side used to come visit us often when I was little, so they are definitely on my friends list, holding a special place in my memories. It is sad to see them further declining in mental and physical health each time I see them, when I remember my great aunts (2 in particular) trotting around, helping my mom pick peas or beans, and then sitting and visiting while we shelled or snapped... and my great uncles were always fun to visit with, listening to their stories about when they and my Granddaddy were boys. Of course my Granddaddy was a very serious man and didn't tell stories the same way they would :)

We had a good time at the reunion overall. It was a warm day (thankfully not BLAZING) and the reunion was outside. Susannah was not a happy camper for a period of time, a combination of being hot, tired and hungry. I finally figured out the hungry part and fed her, and that helped. She made me happy when she actually did fall asleep on a blanket we spread on the ground for her. I wasn't sure if she was going to sleep or not as she'd never slept outside before, plus there was lots of talking, clapping and whatnot going on. She didn't take a super long nap, but long enough to be her cheerful self for a bit before we had to leave. I wasn't able to visit with nearly everyone I wanted to, but we were able to chat with my Grandma for a little bit.

After the reunion we went to Rachel & Ted's (my sister and bro-in-law house, and then Gail, James & Bobby (another sister, bro-in-law and nephew) came later in the afternoon. Ted, James and Daniel went manly bonding, aka, groundhog hunting and Rachel, Gail and I visited and Bobby (4) played and looked at machinery books. It was really nice to visit with Rachel and Gail without a bunch of commotion :)

We spent the night at Rachel and Ted's and then on Sunday a bunch of my family (and us) went water skiing. It was a really nice day back at the lake! Wasn't too hot, wasn't too cool, and the water was a really nice temperature. It was cool to get in the first time, but didn't take but a minute to get used to it, and you weren't cold when you got out, either.

I'm not sure if we went to the lake in '08 or not, but last year ('09) just I went with my folks, but I didn't water ski since I was pregnant (but nobody knew that). So it's been at least 2 years since I skied. Make that 2 years, a pregnancy and LOTS of pounds have happened since I water skied last!! I really wanted to ski this year and I did, but wow, my muscles are wimpy! I think I finally got up on the 4th try and was totally pooped till we finished the round and made it back. Next year I'll have to remember to work on push-ups and pull-ups before we go to get those muscles working again. I was pretty sore Monday and am still "feelin' it!" today in my arms and one shoulder. But I skied! And it was great!! And I wish we loved closer so we could go again :)

The highlight (for me) was Susannah enjoying the lake :) She loves her baths, so I knew she would most likely enjoy getting wet, and she did :)

She went "swimming" twice, with a nap and meal between the two times.

Susannah "swimming" :)
The water was so nice, she never got chilly. She never fussed the whole time I had her there in the water! Now, next year she'll be a little older, and might actually realize how BIG the lake is and not like it quite as much, but I hope she'll still enjoy it :) We might go to a pool with my MOPS group on Thursday, and if we do I want to take her in with me. I wanted to take her into the lake, but of course I know better than to do that. The bottom's rocky and uneven, you can't see where you're stepping, and it would just be too much of a chance for ME to slip and drop her. In a pool however... :) (And yes, swimming lessons are in my plans for her in the next couple years!)

On our way back over the mountain, Daniel stopped and took some pictures. Here are some of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains :) How I miss them!! He said he could see 8 ranges from the overlook we were stopped at.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grocery Shopping Trip 6/8/10

This week I upped our grocery budget by $5, from $35 to $40. Most weeks Daniel will continue to get $5 to spend on drinks or snacks, but since he didn't get that this week it was all spent at the grocery store :)

(3) Pepsi (1 not pictured) - $3.00/ea.
10 lbs. Bread Flour - $1.34/5lb.
10 lbs. All Purpose Flour - $1.34/5lb.
(5) pks. Chicken Breasts - $1.79/lb.
(2) 18ct. Eggs - $1.50/ea.
(2) Green Chilies - $1.09/ea.
Cottage Cheese - $1.00
Sour Cream - $1.00
(2) 8ct. Flour Tortillas - $1.00/ea.
Brown Sugar - $1.89

Totall OOP - $40.79

I'm not sure what my savings are as Daniel bought the sodas and I already threw out that receipt.

My little blogging assistant is ready to go to bed, so I must go give her clean pants and tuck her in :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Construction Dust

Please 'scuse my mess while I'm playing around with my blog!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

All In A Day's Work!!

Not much explanation needed ;)

(This 2nd picture does not do the mess justice! It was ALL the way around her back.)

Whew, that was a lot of work!

(They should make onesies that button down the front for situations like this.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Weekly Grocery Trip 7/1/10

I didn't realize anyone was missing my grocery posts, but Mary asked me this morning if I was going to post :) I think about doing blog posts a lot more than I actually get them done, but we'll get there eventually.

From Martin's and Kroger:

(6) Gatorade - $.69/ea.
(2) doz. Eggs - $.50/ea.
1/2 gal. Milk - $1.79
5lbs. Kroger bread flour - $1.34 (I made bread Tues with this flour and it turned out great!)
(2) Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie (w/ Walnuts) mixes - $.94/ea.
Mayonnaise - $1.00
Kroger Peanut Butter - $2.19
Gerber Rice Cereal - $1.81
Kroger Salt - $.39
(2) Dole Pineapple Crushed - $.50/ea.
Mustard - $.49
(4) Ball Park Hotdogs - $.69/ea (limit 4, boo! :P )
1.91 lbs. 80/20 Ground Beef - $3.80
Split Chic. Breasts - $3.24 ($.99/lb)
(4) Corn - $.17/ea.
(2) Vidalia Onions - $1.44 ($.99/lb)

(2) 30ct. Solo Cups - $.99/ea.
Huggies Sz. 2 Jumbo pk - $6.19 (a little more than I normally pay, but still cheap!)

Total OOP - $34.05
~ Food - $25.55
~ Non-Food - $8.50

Or something like that :P Because of a promotional sale I had to buy the non-food and food stuff in the same transaction to get the discount, and I'm too lazy to figure out all the coupons and discounts and taxes on everything down to the nitty gritty. I know my total OOP is right :P
ETA: I did use $4 in "On Your Next Order" coupons that I got one of the last times I was at Kroger, so that helped bring my OOP down :)

Last week I did buy about $10 worth of Gatorade... we were about out and a blazin' hot week was coming up. I took that $ out of this weeks grocery budget. I think we're going to up our summer grocery budget to allow for the Gatorade that Daniel needs. (Yes, I know it's cheaper to buy the powder and DIY, but drinking it mixed from powder makes him sneeze a lot for some reason.)

I'm still not a big fan of Martin's (they recently bought out a local grocery chain). My biggest beef with them is that they will only double 1 "like" coupon per transaction, so I can't load up on cheap mustard in one transaction, or whatever. My second biggest beef is that they took down Ukrops "with small children" parking signs, so now you're just lucky if you get to park close to the door... and they have no cart returns in the parking lot (at least @Ashland), so I had to carry Susannah to the store, then back from the store after I took my cart back. I recently discovered Kroger's "with small children" parking spaces, and I like to use them :) And Kroger will double however many coupons I want to use :) :)