Saturday, June 30, 2012

June in Review

Somehow the month of June is coming to an end and my youngest daughter turns 4 in 2 short hours WHAT?  I must have missed something!

Blogging: This actually marks the 10th post for the month.  I really don't know where the time has gone but moving on. I already have 2 blogs in my head so maybe July will be the month I hit my goal.  Matt is working on moving the blog to its own website, so more changes are definitely in store.
  The Goal: 15 per month
Devotions:  Goal met for the month of June! Yay Yay Yay!
Goal is 3 a week.

Groceries: We spent $950 on groceries this month.  This was a month that included stocking up on drinks, cereals as well as other staples such as sugar and flour.  I did also purchase 3 bags of diapers which hopefully will be the end of buying diapers. Matt and I have discussed several times this month that couponing is not as money saving as it was just a year ago. I have needed to purchase several items that a year ago, I was able to stock pile for free.  My stockpile is slowing growing again. We are going to challenge ourselves in the month of July to spend only on items that we need to significantly reduce this expense.
Grocery Budget is set at $800 per month, this includes diapers, cleaning supplies, food and toiletries.

Financially: I am going to continue to use real numbers not for sympathy but to keep myself accountable. June was the first month that Matt had no income in. We did manage to stay somewhat on budget and everything is paid for!  I am going to consider that goal met for the month. I have been unable to add to our emergency savings account or set aside additional monies for future expenses so we do have a ways to travel but so far God is GOOD!
Goal: To be Debt free except for mortgage by the end of the year. This was established prior to our learning of the significant financial changes that are occuring so I am trusting God to provide direction in this area. Currently we are focused on meeting budget each month!

Weight- No comment
Goal to exercise 3x a week and to be down to 150 by December by losing around 4 # a month.

My Harris Teeter Secrets

I had an awesome trip to Harris Teeter on Thursday. Here is what I purchased: 5 12packs Diet Coke, 1 Scotts Bath Tissue, 1 pack of Scott Paper Towels and 6 boxes of Suddenly Salads. Total cost $8.00 plus $2.00 catalina earned.

First some basic information about the way I shop Harris Teeter:
  •  Harris Teeter has an online shopping that is called Express Lane. I have been using this service for the past year. I LOVE using it even with the problems that it sometimes has. Basically, you go online and place your order, designate a time to pick up (must be at least 4 hours in advance). 
    • The normal charge is $4.95 per order. Often I receive coupons or other special promotions to offset this cost.  Currently all summer long all Express Lane orders are $1.95. In addition, I have received a coupon for basically $10 off $75 plus they waive the fee. I did not use this offer on this order. They also offer unlimited monthly shopping for around $16.00 a month but I have never used this because I usually only pick up at most 3 times a month.
    • Sale prices are the same online as they are in store EXCEPT you don't have to buy 5 to take advantage of Buy 2 Get 3 Free, the price for a single item indicates that you are buying the five. In addition BOGO show up at half price as well. Sale prices change around 8pm on Tuesday night for the new sales that start on Wednesday. If I am ordering for a Wednesday, I usually shop on line around 8:30pm.
    • Coupons are accepted but in the same way as ECB or RR. The coupons that you turn in today are used on your next order. This sound confusing but really this is how I was able to do the above purchase.
      • During Super Doubles or Triple Events, things get interesting.
        •  The coupons that are currently on file (from a previous trip) will automatically qualify for the event. Last Wednesday was the first day of Super Doubles so I had prepared an order of items that were excellent deals. I had previous left $9 in coupons, when I picked  up my order they Super Doubled to $20.
        • In addition the coupons you are leaving during the event will also qualify even after the event is over. Last Wednesday I left $40 in coupons. I always ask they write on the enevelope the name of the event.
  • Because the trip to Harris Teeter is around 60 miles round trip, I usually only shop during a special event such as Super Doubles or Triples. However, if we are planning to be in Winston and I can find some decent deals or coupons that can be used then it is not out of the way. This Thursday,we had an entire day planned so no extra gas was needed.
Now to the transaction I completed. I was running low on Diet Coke, the price on sale was $3.89 a 12 pack. Suddenly Salad was on an awesome sale 10 for $10. I had 2 coupons 0.55 each and 2  (0.50 off 2).   We also needed toliet paper and Paper Towels, neither of these items were on sale but I had $1.00 off coupons for each.  My total online prices was $48.10, with the use of $40 in coupons from last week total out of pocket was $8.00. I left the $2.00 catalina and $6.20 in coupons for my next trip.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Swim Team

Lily's very first swim meet!

She swam only one event, 25 meter freestyle. She stopped on the ropes several times with time of 1:33.

Lily's second swim meet. She actually swam a relay and her own event.

Lily only stopped one time during her event. Swimming time was 1:15.

Kendall and Zach enjoy unlimited snacks while at the Swim meet!
Lily climbing out exhausted after her event!
Finally have a few minute to get these pictures up.  I will be moving the blog to it's own website with some cool new features on July 1st. I am so excited to share!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Shopping

My favorite time to shop is on Sunday afternoons during nap time. This usually is the most stress free time for me plus the local CVS ad does not change till Sunday mornings so they usually have most items in stock still. Lily is growing up, in fact she is becoming so grown up that unless we have been our way late (9pm) several nights in a row, she doesn't need a nap during the day.  So I invited her to go along with me today.
Lily said that her favorite part was pushing the buggy at CVS.  My goal at CVS was to purchase 8 boxes of cereal at my stock up price of less than $2.  While reading blogs to plan ahead for my trip, I realized that the CVS ads were very different. I decided to check out mine prior to going. In addition to most of the items I had been reading about VO5 shampoo and conditioners were on sale for $0.66. The red machine gave Lily several coupons and I ended up purchasing 8 boxes of cereal, 3 bottles of shampoo, 2 bottles of conditioner, 2 boxes of eye patches and 2 bottles of body wash for $20, a saving of 73%.  I also obtained a rain check for the shampoo and conditioners since they only had 4 in stock.
Our next stop was Food Lion, a friend had told me of some interesting deals. I usually hate shopping at Food Lion simply because they are not coupon friendly and the prices are usually much higher. I was able to save 50% today using only coupons that were printed from their "red box" I am really pleased.
Overall I spent $41, saved 72 or 73%. The best part of the day was coming home, the little kids were so excited that we had sugary cereal, they all wanted cereal as snack! I even got a huge "thank you" from Zach for cereal! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our Summer Entertainment

As we discussed and debated, while trying to eliminate as much excess spending as possible from our budget over the past 6 months each activity was completely analyzed.  For entertainment this summer, we chose to continue paying our community pool dues. A look at strictly the numbers is: Pool dues $300 a year due in April, weekends available to use the pool 15 so a total of $20 a weekend.   This in reality is a lot cheaper for us than any other entertainment, I have found. In addition to the weekends the pool is open all week long. Some times we actually use the pool an addition 2-4 times during the week. Using just one additional trip each week the cost becomes $20 a week for unlimited swimming and fun. In addition to our family of 7 using this benefit, we have 8 guest pass that the older girls split. Out of town guest are free so that leave us pretty well set for the summer. This year, Lily is competing on the swim team and both Kendall and Zach will be receiving swim lesson for a week that are included with membership as well.  Over the past several weeks, we have spent at least 6 hours a weekend at the pool. The pool also provides a grill that can be used for dinner, no additional cost for gas!  I definitely thing that this is one activity that we will continue to enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Days of Summer

Summer officially begins around here the day that school ends. So this was our first weekend of summer....
Spending lots of time at the pool..where Lily is able to jump off the diving board with floats. She is even able to swim to the side unassisted!

New Haircuts for everyone.  There is  now no doubt what his last name is.

Lily lost another tooth on Saturday am~

Lots of fresh veggies are making up most of our meals!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where does the Time go?

6:25pm-Rush to clock out of work and head to the pool to pick up kids.
6:26pm- Attempt to call Matt, can't talk, Kendall hurt her lip at pool.
6:30pm-Call back from Matt, Kendall okay, decide to pick up a sandwich and fries for dinner.
6:50pm- Arrive at pool, share fries with everyone and eat sandwich.
7:00pm- Help Lily with shower so she can go to tumbling practice.
7:20pm- Attempt to leave pool with Kendall and Zach to come home for bedtime.  Zach is unhappy, screaming at the top of his lungs, long drive home.
7:30- Call my mom to drown out Zach's screaming in the car.
7:40-Arrive home, time to shower, dress and put Kendall and Zach to bed.

What does an hour look like at your house? Join in over at Stacey's Mothering Moments

Saturday, June 2, 2012


One of the consistent things you read as you search for ways to save money/get out of debit is to figure out where you are spending money that you are unsure of. For our family, most of the unaccounted spending is eating out. We like to eat out. This has been a pattern for our entire marriage. During the first years it was just easier for Matt and I to eat out especially on the weekend the girls were with their father. Then as a stay at home mom, I deserved to have a weekend off so it was easier for us to eat out or during the times when life gets crazy, with people going everywhere  grabbing something to eat meant we got to eat together. Even as the roles slowly changed, eating out was a way of life. A favorite activity was to spend time going out to eat with friends especially after church on Sundays.  Last summer a trip to the pool usually ended up with fast food or pizza. As I began to look at ways to reduce spending, I knew that eating out was a huge step but I will be the first to admit it has been one of the most difficult.  We worked on reducing it to once a week and as of May, it is down to special occasions and/or using found/unaccounted for money.

As I said this has been a difficult area for me to give up/reduce, especially on the weekend or when things are really busy. But I am glad to say that this week, we have managed to reduce and fight the urge!  Yes, we did eat out yesterday, with found money.  But we have had 3 delicious meals at home today!!  This morning, we started early with a trip to Lowes to replace the kitchen light that burn out another $30 bulb last week. We decided to just purchase a new light because of the frequency that we have to replace bulbs and considering how little light it actually put out.  We were able to find one on clearance so that helped. Matt fixed pancakes prior to going to Lowes. After coming home and installing the light, we decided on BLTs for lunch using our first home grown tomato, as well as fresh lettuce from the co-op box.  This afternoon, we spent time in the yard as well as cleaning out the insides of both cars. Our normal thing is that at the end of a really busy day, it is easier to order  pizza or fast food simply because we are both tired but not today.  I decided to fix fried chicken, made potato salad and cole slaw with all fresh ingredients again from the co-op box. I was excited because we even have enough to use as lunch tomorrow!  A weekend without eating out, slowly but surely we can do it!

Friday, June 1, 2012

National Donut Day!

Today, June 1st, is National Donut Day!  Krispy Kreme is offering a free donut of your choice just for going into the store. If you know me, you realize that these are one of my FAVORITE foods. I have been working long hours this week at work but unexpectedly was finished today a little after 4pm.  Earlier today, we planned a trip to Salisbury which included a meal out, stop at Krispy Kreme and then a quick trip to Harris Teeter.  I initially was not sure that all this would be possible but being able to arrive at the restaurant at 5pm made it so much easier!

Our stop at Krispy Kreme was the highlight of the whole trip, not only did we all get our free donuts, but the original glaze were hot, melt in your mouth, hot, I wish I could eat a whole box, hot!  I had debated on just how many to purchase, the cashier was so nice that after getting our 5 free donuts, a dozen hot glazed and a dozen assorted, she asked if I had a coupon. I didn't but her next response shocked me "that is okay I have some." Laying beside her register were BOGO coupons. So we ended up with 29 donuts for $8.55 or $.20 a donut. This is an 80% saving on my favorite food in the world!  So the only thing better than a free donut is a hot fresh free donut!

The stop at Harris Teeter yielded a saving of 55% but no free donuts. I did manage to stock up on bottled water, eggs and hair products.

Did you claim your free donut?