- Fall has officially arrived in North Carolina. Monday, the kids wore shorts and t-shirts to school. That afternoon, I heard complaints of how hot it was! The house temperature was 78. Today, the kids both are wearing long pants and long sleeves. The house temperature is currently and I am hopefully to avoid the heat til at least Saturday.
- We will have to dig up sweet potatoes and grab the last of viable veggies from the garden as we are predicted to get our first frost Sunday night.
- I planted some lettuce bottoms in May and after we ate some they ended up self seeding. We have really been enjoying this lettuce during September and October. I walked out this afternoon and grabbed enough lettuce for 6 salads! This is probably the third full meal we have gotten and I grab usually a salad a week for my lunch.
- I am coming to the realization that my job in Guam may never come about. I have already received notice that I need to renew my Guam license by Oct 26th for next year. I have yet to use this license so I am thinking that I will not renew and mark it up to a learning experience. The biggest issue is that I will need to re-do our budget in December and eliminate the need for that income.
- Dinner this week has been a challenge, as I have had after school meetings 4 out of 5 days. I am hoping to get a better/easier plan for next Monday and Tuesday. I also have a meeting on Monday evening so we may be ordering pizza after all.
- I have spent my grocery budget for the month so I am forced to say No to a really good sale at Harris Teeter.
- Going to end on a positive note, we currently are 1/3 of the way to have our Christmas completely paid for via Swagbucks. I am hopefully that by December we can purchase all large items using this free money!
We celebrate Easter but it is usually in a low key kind of way. Today was no exception. This morning we started with Easter Baskets at around 6:30am.
Basket and emoji toys are great things to pick up at the after Easter sales. I would wait until everything is 75% off. Candy is always a good deal at CVS with the ECB, another option is also Target. The Dollar spot at Target can be great for some small socks and stickers. Finally shop at Five Below to grab even more candy and Hot Wheels Cars if you need.
Easter outfits are always fun! Especially when you plan ahead. Lily and Kendall’s dress were purchased at Costco in February for $16. each. I order Matt and Zach’s matching purple shirts from JCPenny on sale for $9.99 each. Amanda found her dress at Goodwill and David’s shirt was another sale purchase. My outfit was the cheapest from my closet.
I planned ahead and purchased the ham at Aldi using a $5 off $30 coupon several weeks ago. We came home and enjoyed left-overs for dinner in addition to ham salad I made that will last for several weeks.
I am giving a huge sigh of relief as I type this. March was a long and busy month but I honestly don’t feel like I was overwhelmed by it. The best news of all is that we are ending the month on a good financial note. I still have to pay for pool dues for the year but other than that yearly expense, we are on track. We did not make major gains this month but we did not have major loss either. Personally I have spent several days this month working in the yard and even managed a walk one day. Spring appears to have finally arrived as well. The weather shows highs around 70 for much of the week. We did turn off the heat on Thursday, so my fingers are crossed for an entire month without heat or air.
Financial- We are attempting to use a cash only method for the first six month of the year in order to get us some better financial balance.
- Total paid to credit card debit $2096 total reduction in credit card debit approximately $200. Amanda purchased a new washer and dryer that she is paying for and has already covered over half of it. It is very difficult to get a good read on the actually numbers but we are basically at the same level of debit as we were in January. Slow and steady progress is the best method and unlike last year, in which we started increasing our debit in March and never looked back.
- Grocery budget $475- Total spent $726.27. Yikes, I did spend extra to purchase ground beef and had several trips to stock up on good deals. I have already discussed with Matt that we will be on a purchase only if we are out grocery budget for April. I am allowing my self 2 exceptions, chicken breast from Zaycon at the end of the money if we have enough remaining out of the very small $100 budget and purchasing Suddenly Salad if they go on sale for $1 or less a box.
- Gas budget- $280- Spent $261. This is really impressive since this was a 5 week month.
- Kid/Summer expenses : uggh lets just say Lily had a 3 night play that was $9 a ticket and Zach started Baseball along with several field trips and the purchase of year books for Zach and Kendall. I really don’t feel like finding a number but it was all covered.
- Earned $100- this is indeed a much lower amount than any of the previous months I have tracked but it is still extra money and I hope to see this number double in April.
- Blogging- 11 for the month. Super busy this month. I initially set the goal for 20 but 15 may be more realistic.
- Exercise- 4 total days for the month. a goal of 15 but not sure if that is realistic or not.
CVS and I have a love/hate relationship. It remains one of the stores that I always monitor sales at but it is also one that I can honestly walk into and walk out if I don’t get the coupon that I am looking for from the red machine. After leaving last Thursday without purchasing anything, Lily and I ventured back today. Lily did end up buying herself some make up but this does not count in my spending. I only supply the coupons that I have available.
Not a bad purchase for $4.85. I ended up doing a total of 3 transactions. Two of these transactions show 100% savings, which means I only paid tax on the purchases. The final receipt shows a saving of 73%, which is really above my goal of 70% each time. My overall saving was at 80%. I used a combination of paper coupons and those from the red machine. Back to loving CVS for the month of February.
I have often shared about our huge shopping trips to Costco in addition to great sales I find here and there. This week is a different week for us, we are not in need of many things and I could not find a great sale either, so I have spent less than $30 on groceries for the week.
First stop was Dollar General. We needed, like down to the last 2 rolls of cheap spare toilet paper needed, toilet paper this week. I did some research this morning and discovered that Dollar General had a $2 off 2 digital coupon on our favorite brand. The lesson learned is that you can not combine digital and paper coupons. Total spent $8.70
Next, was a quick trip across the street to Food Lion to grab some breakfast deals. They are currently having their Buy 2 Get 1 Free Sale. My receipt showed a 50% saving which is great for this store. I purchased 6 boxes of cereal, 3 boxes of pop-tarts, 6 bowls of instant noodle soup and 2 packs of hot dogs for $16.77
I did stop at CVS but did not receive the coupon I needed to get a great deal on hair styling products so zero spent there.
My last stop was Aldi to pick up the other two needed items milk and half and half. Matt uses the half and half as creamer. Total spent $3.01
How are you saving?
I have really slacked off with CVS over the past year. In fact, I usually only go every couple of weeks. One of the main reason is that they are making it difficult to save money. Just a few weeks ago I was greeted by a sign that stated “Limit of two transactions per household per day.” I asked and got a crazy explanation and thankful someone has at least told them that is not legit. Earlier this week, I stopped by to grab a good deal on deodorant that I found on Southern Savers. I ended up with 4 sticks of deodorant for $5.12 and 5 ECB to save.
Today, Matt and I made a quick trip to CVS to grab more deodorant on a different deal. I also had printed coupons for Campbell’s Soup, $0.80 off 4 cans. I did not realize that Tomato Soup was on sale.
Today I spent a total of $2.25 for 3 sticks of deodorant, 4 cans of Tomato soup, and 2 kit kat bars. I purchased the 3 sticks of deodorant in the first transaction using the 5 ECB from earlier in the week, and the soup with the 4 ECB I received back!
Matt should have enough deodorant for several months and Kendall is one happy girl with four cans of Tomato Soup!
As I have mentioned before, we are on a tight budget this month in hopes to get us on a good financial track for the year. I have been able to find some really good deals while staying on track this week.
CVS has the best sale that I have seen in a while. Add to the fact that Matt is completely out of deodorant and it was a definite stop. I was able to grab a tube of free toothpaste. Which BTW, I have not paid for toothpaste in at least two years. Matt ended up with one stick of deodorant, two were purchased for me and 2 bottles of shampoo. Total out of pocket was $6.38.
Lily had most of her Christmas money left so I took her to the stores of her choice today. I was able to grab Oreos on clearance along with a couple of items for Easter baskets at Target for $3.17. The overall best deal of the day was at “Five Below”, their Christmas items were discounted by 75%. I grabbed 7 rolls of Disney wrapping paper for $3.50, I also added a couple of items for Easter as well. So for a total of $8 between the two stores I am very pleased.
The final deal of the day, cost me the least. We continue to earn extra money through Swagbucks every month. This month, I was able to grab a $25 Bath and Body Works card. Bath and Body Works also has their semi annual clearance sale in January and July. I was able to use a coupon code in addition to the sale for 20% off. I ended up with 5 bottles of shower gel shipped for twenty four (yes $0.24) out of pocket.
I have not been stock piling since August. In fact, I have been trying to use anything and everything that we had in order to reduce our grocery budget. My rule for the last 3 months has been if we did not NEED it, we did not buy it. Things started to look a little bare around her and I became a lot uncomfortable. So the time has come for us to re-stock. I am going to say that I have learned what things we need and what thing we like to have around. I am hopefully that in the future, I can continue to reduce the budget by using things we have and only purchasing things that we NEED or things that we can use in the next couple of months.
One of the stores that I have not been shopping at is CVS. I have picked up some items here and there but am becoming more and more frustrated with the rules and how they feel like as an individual store they can make up certain rules. Currently, the rule is “2 transactions per person per day.” I have been able to do 4 transaction just by asking and got the explanation as to why the rule but it is stupid. Anyway, Zachary needed 6 pictures printed out for a project. I remember getting a $2 off photo coupon several weeks ago. I also had $2 ECB from a candy purchase. Sunday, I order the prints from home and had to add a seventh in order to be above $2. CVS also has a sale $0.99 for Hershey candy bars with a store coupon printing for $0.74 off one. Finally, I had a raincheck for a bottle of glue that was also needed for Zach’s project. I spent a total of $0.98 on 3 full size Hershey Candy Bars, a bottle of glue and 7 pictures. I also have 50 cent ECB that was associated with my raincheck. I am very pleased with this trip!
The next way, I am saving is using what we have. I used the last of the dog shampoo before our Disney trip. My Dad told me last year to use cheap shampoo instead. Of course, I went a step further and used a small bottle of shampoo from one of our hotel stays. The dog smells awesome and I did not spend any money!
This month, my focus has been not only saving money but specifically using up items in our pantry and freezers. Our stockpile runs over and I am starting to find some food that I know would not get used if I don’t force the issue or I had completely forgotten we have. It sounds strange to say that I am trying to use food we have on hand in addition to freezing items from our garden but this is definitely the case. I have a menu plan in place until the first Thursday of September. This has a lot of wiggle room as I don’t plan until the week of for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. We are starting to run low or completely out of some items that need to be replaced. I am trying to buy only what we are out of. After my purchased today, I am hopeful that we can avoid shopping all together till at least Mid August for even the basics. Today, I specifically used “free money” to purchase most of the items. I did end of spending a total of $3.50 between CVS and Walmart.
CVS will occasionally send me a survey to complete with the promise of 10 ECB. I was able to complete one of these surveys for the first time in at least six months last week. I checked the sales last week and decide to wait for a better sale. The better sale occurred this week. Today, I picked up: 2-24 packs of water, 2 small tins of Altoids, a can of hair spray, a can of mouse, Irish Spring body wash and Dial hand soap. My total out of pocket was $3.33 with $4.50 in ECB back. Because the reward was in ECB it does not cover tax so $.43 was actually sales tax. The only “need” on this list was for the waters and body wash.
I earned a $25 Walmart gift card by submitting my driving record on line. Matt used most of this card last week to purchase items that Lily needed to pack for her missions trip. I started the trip with $8.34 left on the card. Last night we discovered that we were completely out of several items, mayonnaise, Worchester sauce and cream cheese. I did a little bit of research and discovered that I could also purchase a large box of cereal for less than $1.50. I needed to add $1.08 to my gift card in order to purchase all four items however I claimed $1.00 worth of rebates from Ibotta.
I am very excited and proud to be able to purchase the needed item for less than $4.
We have been very fortunate this week to find and be given some great items. Since I have not done a post with bullet points in a long time this is a fun way to be random.
- Food Lion had a sale on “Suddenly Salad” $1 each. We discovered last year that we could add chicken, cucumbers and or tomatoes to make a great lunch or pepperoni and tomatoes for a very different but just as good lunch. I grabbed 10 with plans to use weekly this summer.
- Purchased tomato plants from a local nursery for 50 cent a plant.
- Found a couple of blueberry bushes on clearance at Walmart for $3 and onion starters for $2. We planted the blueberries and placed the onions under our house in storage for next spring.
- Use a $2 off coupon to purchase “Got2b ” hair spiking glue for $0.87 cent. I went to a CVS in High Point and the cashier tried to make me feel bad for using coupons. Didn’t work but seriously just scan coupons I promise they will work. We also grabbed Easter Twizzlers for $1.50 a bag.
- Used gift cards earned from Swagbucks to purchase drinks for everyone at Starbucks.
- Matt has been enjoying his birthday freebies including a drink from Dunkin Donuts
- I used office depot rewards to purchase a pack of AAA batteries and a notebook. Spent zero out of pocket and earned another $14 in rewards to spend later.
- We have been given several bags of clothes recently so the only purchase has been swim suits for swim team.
What are your good finds?