Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Coupon Update plus 2-11-13 Shopping Results.

Hello again friends. I am popping in to tell you how I have updated my coupon system (again) and to share the results of my last shopping trip.

I have not been on a major shopping trip since February 11th BUT I have been using coupons since then. We have been traveling around a  lot and eating at restaurants and fast food joints so there really isn't much to show since the last trip.

I did use coupons at the mall when we went. I used some coupons at Save-a-lot and got some bacon and sausage for $0.44 cents each. I also got some of those Downy Unstoppables for only $1.50 each.

I still love using my coupon Box instead of the binder or the expandable file folder methods I used.
The binder I found too time consuming. I had to organize the coupons every week. I had to sort and that thing was heavy. It was really hard to keep up with.

The box method I use is simple. Each category has a mini file folder

I purchased these from Amazon the link is above. I love the polka dotted ones. I also got some primary colored ones and some neon colored ones.
You can see from this picture that these little folders makes my box much neater.

This picture isn't that great BUT inside each folder (that needs sub-categories) is a larger index card with each sub category. Here you can see in my Breakfast folder..the first subcategory is Cereal.

I know hope some of you will take up couponing so I will give you a quick rundown of my method. 
First I purchased my tote from Family Dollar for $3. I spent $12 from Amazon for the file folders and around $2 for the index cards. Every Sunday I spend $10 on 5 newspapers. I check Sunday Coupon Preview through out the week to make sure there will be inserts in the Sunday Paper (Usually there aren't any inserts around national holidays). On Sunday after church and lunch I clip all the coupons from the inserts and either file them when I am finished or I wait until Monday to file the coupons in their folders. When I put the new coupons in the folders under their categories, they go behind the existing coupons. That way every month when I clean out the unused, expired coupons, they are right in the front of the folder/category.

The categories in my box are as followed:
(Numbered are Categories..dashes are subcategories)
1. Categories/Subcategories-I keep a list here
2.Free Items
3. Grocery/Pharmacy
-Community Market
4. Misc-this is where I place coupons that don't have a category.
5. Baking
-Baking Chocolates
-Oils and Sprays
-Sugar/Sugar subs
-Bagels, English Muffins
-Sandwich Bread
-Cereal Bars/poptarts
-Frozen Breakfast
-Oatmeal/Hot Cereal
10.Canned/Jarred Items
-Pasta Sauce/Tomatoes
11.Condiments/Salad Dressings
-Peanut Butter/Jelly/Jam
-Salad Dressings/Toppings
-Seasoning Packets/Spices/Vinegars
-Dips/Sour Cream
-Refrigerated Dough
-Whipped topping
-Coffee, Creamer, Hot Cocoa
-Meal Replacement
-Milk/ Milk Subs
14. Dry/Boxed Goods
-Dried Fruit/Veggies
-Prepared Meals
-Side Dishes
15. Fresh Meat/Produce
16.Frozen Food
-Frozen Dessert
-Frozen Dough
-Frozen Fruit
-Ice Cream
- Meals/Appetizers
17.Salty Snacks
19.Yogurt/Pudding/Fruit Cup
-Fruit Cup
-Dollar General
-Family Dollar
-Hobby Lobby
-Tanger Outlets
21.Air Fresheners
-Set/Plug ins
24. Beauty
-Cover girl
-Wet N Wild
-Lip Moisturizers
25.Canning/Food Saver
28.Dish Washing
29.Eye Care
30. Face Cleaners/Moisturizers
31.Feminine Hygiene
32.First Aid/Pain Relievers
-Pain Relievers
33. Hair Care
34. Hair Color
35. Laundry
36. Lotion/Powders
37. Meds
-Cold Sores
38. Nail Care
39.Office Supplies
-Light Bulbs
-Storage Containers
40.Oral Care
-Dental Floss
41. Outdoors
-Bug Repellants
42. Paper Products
-Paper Plates/Utensils/Cups
-Paper Towels/ Napkins
-Toilet Paper
44. Pets-Dog
-Foil/Cling Wrap/ Wax Paper/ Parchment
-Storage Bags
-Trash Bags
46. Shaving
47. Soap
-Body Wash/Bars
-Hand Soap
-Hand Sanitizer
49. Paperwork-where I keep the coupon policies of the stores I frequent
50. Receipts-Where I keep track of my savings
51.Restaurant/Fast Food

Whew..I know it is a lot but I hope it helps someone get started.

On with the process.....

Then whenever I get a chance I will check the sales papers for Kroger, Community Markets, Save-a-lot, Walmart, and the pharmacies.

I try to match the sales with the coupons I may have and I build my weekly menu around that. I make a list of the items I want to get at the various stores. I put the list for that store clipped to the coupons for that store in my pocketbook sized coupon organizer as seen in this post. And I go to the store/stores.

I also take my coupon box with me just in case I find an unadvertised deal that I cannot pass up.

Now for my last shopping trip. I went to Kroger to see if they had some of the Cat food I had a "free" coupon for and I picked up all of this stuff.

Here is my receipt. I paid $21.52 out of pocket. I saved $53.98 with my rewards card and my coupons.
So to break it down.
Total Cost: $74.50
Out of Pocket: $21.52
Total Savings: $53.98
75% savings...
Plus It gave me fuel points we will use to get 10 cents off per gallon of gas.

Ok my friends..there you have it. My last shopping trip and an update on my box.
I probably will NOT be changing this method anytime soon because I suits me.
I love how easy it is to keep up with and to file the coupons.

I have to say just in the past month or so I have saved nearly $500. I saved that much in just a few shopping trips and with getting extras of items I use. I have a nice stockpile of ziploc bags, toothpaste, and I have a few laundry products.

So I spend $40-$50 a month on papers and if I shopped with coupons every week I would probably save $1000-$2000 a month. Good deals.

Until next time
Be Blessed

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It is what it is

My friends. I don't really know how to start so I am going to just let the words flow out of my mind, through my fingers and on to this page.

My hubby decided last year that he wanted to go to Jacksonville, Florida this year to participate in the North Florida Scottish Highland games. He traced his genealogy back to Scotland. Found out which clan he lineage is (I think he said the Clan Gordon but I'm not sure) and he qualifies to participate in these games.
His nephew and his brother both participate.

These games are going on in Florida as I type this.

Well, the plans my hubby made was he was going to go to Tennessee to his sister's house and then follow her to Florida. The trip was going to be him alone because our kids have school.

Well the plan went from just him, to him and one of our sons (the only of our children who didn't have perfect attendance at school), to both of our sons, to 3 of our children, to everyone.

Well you all know that I have struggles with anxiety. I am able to do a lot more now than just a year or two ago but I have to make sure things are somewhat planned out and I know exactly what is going to happen.

Well, I found out just 3 days before we were supposed to leave that all of my children and my hubby would be going to Florida. I had a hard time trying to decide if I was ready for that long of a trip on such short notice with so little planning.

I went back and forth those three days on whether or not I should go. I would have panic attacks just thinking about it. I would cry like a baby because I was very scared. For three days.

Well on Thursday, the day we were to leave, I decided that I was going to try. I told myself the first goal was to get to Tennessee where my sister-in-law lives. We packed up and headed out.

Guess what...I made it all the way to Tennessee. It was the first time being that far from home, the first time I have driven in such craziness, and the first time staying away from home overnight. All these firsts since the anxiety began in 2003 with the exception of the staying overnight from home..the last time was 2005.

I was so proud of myself for not only driving to Tennessee but also for not being panicky.

Well, Thursday night I went to sleep (very late as my youngest slept a lot on the way down to Tennessee and he stayed awake until nearly 2 am). I woke up in full panic mode.

Now usually I can do a series of things and I can calm myself down and go on with my day. Yesterday was different. No matter what I did, I could not calm myself down. I just got worse.

Now I had told my hubby and kids that I didn't know if I was ready for it. The begged me to try to go. To conquer my fears. To just do it. So I did.

I would love to tell you that I am typing this from my phone while sitting in the warm Florida air watching my kids run around and my hubby participating in those Highland games in his Kilt but I'm not. 

I am typing this from my bed. In my own home. 

I couldn't drive to Florida. I did manage, only by the grace of God, to drive home. I was in such a panic I don't really remember the drive home. 

My hubby and my kids are very disappointed and were very mad at me because my in laws had told them they were going to take them to Disney tomorrow.

Because of me, we couldn't go see my hubby's family.
Because of me, hubby didn't get to participate in the highland games.
Because of me, My kids missed Disney...again.
Because of me, hubby's family is mad and disappointed.

His family is also mad because they feel I didn't even try to get to Florida. 
Hubby's sister wanted me to take an Ativan. That is prescribed to her.
I refused because it is Her prescription. She is twice my size. I didn't know how I would react.
Plus, I prefer to learn to deal and cope and cure instead of take meds that just mask the problem.

Words cannot express how badly I feel. How sorry I am for disappointing everyone.
I am disappointed in myself. I have apologized numerous times. 
I cry every time I think about it.

Today, I still feel weird. Yesterday, once I got home and finally calmed down, I felt like I was in a fog, in a dream like state. I was extremely tired. I hadn't slept or ate much since I found out we all were going.

Today, I still have a low level hum of anxiety. I am keeping it calm. I feel really weak and I still feel mentally, physically exhausted. I'm just taking it easy today.

My hubby is now willing to hug me, look at me, and talk to me again. My kids have forgiven me.

There are a few positives.
1. My hubby loves me unconditionally. He was very upset but he does understand. He knows that I would never intentionally do anything to disappoint or upset him or anyone else. 

2. My children now know what I have been battling for 10 years. They have seen it full force. My girls always just thought I used anxiety as my "get out of doing stuff I don't want to do" card. They now know it is a real thing that I battle every day.

3. My Faith in God is stronger. I know he got us home. Especially since I don't remember it and I was driving.

4. I have traveled farther than before (since anxiety started) I made it to Jonesborough, Tennessee. Before my furthest was Newport, Kentucky (just over the Ohio River). AND I spent the night.

5. It may not be the best way to do it but I have lost 9 pounds since becoming super stressed 5 days ago.

6. I know I'm getting better. This time last year I wouldn't have even attempted to go. 

7. My girls still have perfect attendance because an ice storm came through yesterday and cancelled school.

So, even though a lot of people are upset with me, and most don't understand what I have been through or how far I've come, I know it is getting better. I have made a promise to myself that I will make it to Jacksonville, Florida very soon. I will have to be on my own terms and in my own way. 

I am getting stronger, I know that one day, I will win my battle with anxiety and panic attacks!

Until next time,
Be Blessed,

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I've been up to......

Hello my faithful friends.
I know it has been a while since I have posted but we have been so busy lately.
We have had dances, volunteer work, house repairs.
We have been super busy.


You know, I love this time of year. One, Spring training in baseball begins. That means that spring and gardening season is right around the corner. Two and three, my birthday and Valentine's day. Four, TAX TIME.

I think we are really fortunate because we get a decent amount of money back at tax time.
We have enough to pay for our house payments, property taxes, and house insurance for an entire year.
Once we do that, we can spend the rest however we wish.

I do believe this is the very first year we haven't had to pay a ton of behind bills. 
We really stuck to our budget last year and it payed off.

So we have put a good bit of our tax money in savings and have spent the rest.
Wanna see our purchases?

First, I wanna show you some things we have done for the house.

We got put a new updated and less noisy ceiling fan in our living room

We took out the horrible chandelier thing in the kitchen and replaced it with a flush mount light.
We also updated the ceiling fan in our kitchen. The fixtures complement each other nicely.

We finally put on a new storm door. Our old one was missing an upper window because it got broken in a wind storm. We found out that our door jam is very crooked.

We replaced the faucet on the bathroom sink. 
(my boys just finished brushing their teeth..please excuse the toothpaste splatters)

And we have updated the shower head in our downstairs bathroom.

We have several projects left to do. Hubby got himself a pressure washer.
Once it warms up a bit we will be cleaning and re-vamping our deck using Restore deck restorer on the floor of our deck, front porch, and gazebo. We will be using a color matched water seal on the railings of our deck, porch and gazebo.

We also plan on painting our ceilings and our kitchen, dining room, and bathroom.

We will replace the tub faucet downstairs.

I will redo my garden beds.

And we plan on painting our house.

Sounds like we will be busy.


Valentine's day was just a few days ago.
My hubby got me this lovely red vase full of these beautiful salmon colored roses and the red card.
My youngest child made me the blue card.

I picked up these teeny mini rose bushes and their cute little pots at wal-mart. 
They bring me lots of joy while I do the dishes.

My girls, my hubby, and I also upgraded our phones.
Hubby and I got the Samsung Galaxy S III. It is A-mazing.


My birthday was the first of February.
I picked up a few things for myself.

One is this very cute sweater dress outfit.
I also got some jewelry.
I spent less than $40 for everything at the mall.
(I love sales)

I picked up a new makeup bag because mine was way too small.
( I also got a little new makeup....don't tell hubby)

I picked up the black Coach wristlet for super cheap.
It was 50% off plus the store was having an extra 30% off. 
Making this wristlet DIRT CHEAP.

I also bought this sleep pillow mist from Bath and Body works. It is lavender vanilla scented.
I have to say...it does help me sleep at night.
Oh and I got it dirt cheap as well with a coupon.

At one of the kitchen stores in the mall I picked up this spice rack. It fits perfectly by my stove.

And I picked up this cupcake decorating kit

My favorite gift of all is something I have wanted for seven years.

This KitchenAid Artisan mixer.

I also got this mixer on sale. I also used a 30% off coupon and a shipping coupon.
 I absolutely LOVE this mixer!!
I have made brownies, mashed potatoes, and even shredded chicken in it.

I use it every chance I get and I ADORE it.

Def worth the splurge.


Finally, I have been garden planning and starting my early spring seeds.
Here is my dining room table as we speak.

My hands, body, everything is itching to get out there to smell and feel the cool, musky earth.
I love this time of year.
This year I will be growing 50 or so different plants in my little yard!!!!

I cannot wait!!!

Well, I know this is a LONG post.
It has been a long time coming.

Until I post again.
Be Blessed.