Thursday, June 30, 2011

Couponing: How I Love Thee

I watched the Extreme Couponing show on TLC in December.  I was hooked.  I watched Joanie Demer and thought, "I can do that!"  Now, I knew that the extreme couponing on the show was more then I cared to delve into.  I didn't have a desire to fill seven carts with groceries, buy hundreds of candy bars, or an entire cart full of deodorant.  But save money?  Yes please!  Stock up on diapers and laundry detergent?  Sign me up!  Help me be able to be a stay at home Mama?  Uhhh, DUH!  YES, YES, and YES!  So I started buying Sunday papers, bought a binder, subscribed to All You magazine, and starting surfing the internet for help on how to navigate this world of coupons.  It took a little time and I still have a lot to learn but I am saving!  I have a stockpile and it feels good to know that I have enough of some items to last a year or more.  I am not going to dedicate this entire blog to coupons and saving money, but I will share some shopping trips with you and share links for sites that have helped me.  My top three favorites are:

The Krazy Coupon Lady

Southern Savers

Melissa's Bargains

The Extreme Couponing show has many people asking how they do it and thinking that they too can save 99% at the grocery store.  And you can....if you want to devote hours and hours to it and spend money on clipped coupons.  But if you just want to save 50-70% on average, then start buying the sunday paper (I buy 2-4 papers each week, some folks buy more, but I've found that 3-4 is ideal for me) and printing some coupons from the internet and use a blog to help you match weekly sales with your coupons.  This is how you get the most bang for your buck.  My goal is usually to save at least 50%.  I also suggest choosing ONE drugstore to master if you are just beginning.  I think CVS is the easiest to get the hang of.  Basically, each week you can earn ExtraBucks for purchasing certain items and then you can use those ExtraBucks like cash for your next purchase.

I set a budget.  $40 a week for groceries, $20 a week for drugstore shopping.  Basically $60 a week for groceries, diapers, toiletries, make-up, etc.  I've been telling Chris that I was going to start this budget for months.  But I mean business now!  ;)  Last week was my first real attempt and I did pretty good.  My total for both was 64.78 (so 4.78 over, but pretty good for my first serious attempt!) for 178.26 worth of products.  So I saved 63%. Here's what I got:

This was my grocery store shopping, plus ice cream.  I spent $51.59 for $113.72 of product-for 55% savings.  I did buy 8 detergents but that's because they were 1.49 each.  Laundry detergent is my favorite item to stock up on.  For some reason my laundry quadrupled when I had a baby!  I can't imagine moms of twins, triplets, etc!

And this was my drug store shopping.  There was another Iced Coffee drink and there are two packs of Twizzlers (Chris' favorite candy!).  The coffee drinks and Dove Men Soap were free and the Brilliant tampons were a money maker!  I spent $13.19 for $61.54 of product-so I saved 79%!  I have $1 in +UP rewards for Rite Aid, 7RR for Walgreens, and 9.79 in ExtraBucks for CVS.  This will help to "roll over" to next weeks trips.

I am going to try my best to stick to this budget.  So that it feels more and more like a habit.  I will try to post my totals each week.


I've decided to share recipes that I try out.  Especially since I now have time to cook!  I missed cooking.  I didn't even realize I liked it.  Until I was a full-time working mom that barely had time to paint her toenails or finish all the laundry.  I would get home from work and feed Caleb, while Chris cooked dinner.  And he's pretty good at it honestly.  But since retiring from teaching for now, I have the gift of time given back to me.  Well, not really, but I do have much more of it now! 

Here's my latest attempt-fruit cobbler.  I've made it twice and it is DELICIOUS!  I'm pretty sure if you are from the south you are required to like cobbler.  I think it's a sin if you don't.  The recipe calls for peaches but you could substitute any fruit.  I made it with cherries, raspberries, and blueberries both times.  Add vanilla ice cream and you are in for a treat!  Oh, and it's super easy too!

Easy Fruit Cobbler Recipe

Before...looks very patriotic!  ;)

Voila!  YUM!


"Look Auntie Dani, I have a train and I'm standing!"

I never told him he could...he just did it anyway.  "Get big" that is.  I tell him from time to time, "I didn't tell you you could be this big.  I didn't tell you to grow up yet."  And yet, he's crawling, pulling up, cruising along furniture, has two teeth, and is cutting four more.

When I was pregnant, soooo many people told me to enjoy every second because it would go by so quickly.  I thought, "yeah, yeah" but WOW, guess what guys?  It has gone by SO quickly.  I swear he was just my newborn that snuggled and slept (and nursed) all day in my arms.  I didn't know it would make my heart a little sad to see him grow up so darn fast!  However, I also look forward to what's to come...for my sweet fella to take those first steps, wave bye-bye, and learn to dance, sing, and talk.  He is now saying "bye" (sometimes it's "bye," sometimes "bye-bye," and sometimes, "uhh-bye!").  I love him so.  Being a Mama fills me with unearthly joy.  I always knew I wanted to be a Mama.  It was a much harder path to get there then I ever imagined it would be and harder then I realized it would be, but Man-is the payoff BIG.  That smiling face instantly melts away any negative thoughts or feelings that I may be having.  There hasn't been a day that was all bad since he's been born. 

I've started thinking about his first birthday and planning a little.  I can't believe that it's already time to think about it! 

We planned on putting Caleb in his crib after a couple of months.  He was going to nap in his crib and sleep at night in his crib.  Um, it never happened.  Not really.  We didn't plan on co-sleeping but it's what we've done for bedtime and often during naptime also.  It works.  I would be away from him all day.  Cuddling at night was our way of reconnecting.  I nurse him to sleep and usually surf the internet on my phone and occasionally kiss his cheeks, hold his hand, stare at him until I decide I should've been asleep an hour ago...

We decided it was time.  That he needs to be in his crib.  That he can do it now.  So for about a week we did our routine at naps and bedtime.  We sang "I'm a little acorn," read a few books, nursed, laid him in the crib and let him cry.  Ugh.  No fun.  At all.  My child refuses, and I mean flat out refuses, to just LAY down.  So usually after an hour-ish this is what would happen...

Yep, he's asleep alright.  Slouched over, head against the rails.  I would watch his little back to make sure he was inhaling and exhaling and within two hours (at the most) he would be awake.  So after about a week of this, this is where we ended up...
Sorry, for the darkness of the photo.  If you can't tell, he's snuggled up next to me, sleeping peacefully.  I don't know where to go from here.  I'd like for Caleb to at least nap on his own in the crib.  But I'm not sure either of us are really ready to give up co-sleeping at night.  At least not quite yet.