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I've been away....and why

September 15th, 2006 at 02:40 pm

Man, I've missed this place!

Last week, my aunt had a VERY bad accident at work, which left all of our family scrambling while we awaited news of whether she would lose her leg or not. So far, it looks like not, the surgery went well, and they are hoping the leg will heal well. She will have LOTS and LOTS of physical therapy, and will more likely than not be disabled for the rest of her life. This is really bad, because her husband had an accident at work years ago which left him permanently disabled (he had 2K degree oil spilled on his entire leg). It's been a very stressful 2 weeks!

But, now I'm back, life is getting back on track, the wedding is in ACK 3 weeks! I need to find out train information and get that back on the rail (sorry all!), I have tons and tons of ebay stuff to list, and I need to unearth my house lol. Gas was a financial killer this last bit, but at least prices are finally coming down, it's hovering between 2.17 and 2.24 around here thank goodness!

Target coupons again and wedding food!

September 6th, 2006 at 03:46 pm

Well, Target has had a coupon out for a bit now for $2 off any Archer farms deli purchase over $2. You know what that means right? Free deli stuff!!!

Well, the downside for me is, there are NO Super Targets in the Louisville area. The closest one is an hour and a half north of us by Indianapolis. Last weekend we had to take the kids to my parents house, and also paint the area for the wedding, so we decided to head up to Supertarget after that was done. We got LOTS of packages of deli meat (about 1/3 lb packages), and cheese, plus some salads and fruit packages. Total before coupons was well over $100, after coupons was less than $20 (including the rest of the painting supplies, etc.). We were planning on using all of this for our wedding food, then my mom told me she had found someone who will do 100 lbs. of BBQ pork for $80. And a friend of hers wants to cater the rest of the wedding for the cost of food only, as her gift to us. So we accepted that offer, adn will use the lunchmeat for school lunches, etc.

Gotta love those Target coupons!!!

Debt Balances

September 4th, 2006 at 05:30 pm

As those of you who follow my blog may realize, my fiancee and I have no credit card debt, thank god! LOL! BUT, we do have a couple of small-ish loans, and one car loan to conquer. Debt balances as of the end of August are as follows:

My parents: $4,555 (various loans after I had my youngest son via C-section with no health insurance)
DBF's grandmother: $2,600 (loan for house downpayment, was originally $3K in July)
DBF's dad: $750 (finally got us a truck! we bought his old one, a 96 Dodge Dakota that works great!)
Mortgage: $62,956.10
DBF's car: $4,700 (this is an estimate, I'll get exact figures next week. Seems high for a 95, but it was his dream car so I don't give him crap about it lol)

Total Debt: $75.561.10

Major thing first is to get his grandmother paid off, we send her $200 a month right now, but want to pay her off by January so we need to step that up quite a bit after the wedding. That would be $800 a month, and I don't know if that's doable, but we're gonna try!!!

Breakdown of repayment is as follows:
Mortgage: Payment is $534.XX a month, but I'm sending $550 at least. watching that large interest amount go down is a good thing!
My parents: $100 a month until other debts (excluding mortgage) are paid off.
His grandmother: discussed above
His dad: This one's not a priority at the moment, dad's attitude is whenever whatever, so we're looking at starting payments probably in November or December, and paying it off quickly due to small amount.
His car: right now payment is $131 every two weeks, this is an auto debit, and no interest is charged (or so DBF says, I need to check into that), so will need to look into getting that amount upped after other debts are lowered a bit.

Misunderstanding

August 30th, 2006 at 04:38 pm

Apparantly last week we had a big ole misunderstanding. Myself and the other parties involved have straightened it out amongst ourselves, and all is well. Soooo....

After SO much support, the tips will come back, I will be implementing some of the ideas I received, and also always willing to address any questions, etc.

I want to thank everyone so much for their support and everything. Helped my slightly bruised ego .

With a heavy heart: Tips are gone

August 23rd, 2006 at 06:10 pm

After reading a few comments, and a thread on the boards, let alone a few emails I received. I'm going to go with the minority.

I won't be writing the tips anymore. My goal when I started doing that was not to annoy or irritate anyone. But was to round out things not only for myself, but for those learning about couponing, and that spot has been covered very well by flash and gsg. Although the detail I went into was appreciated by most of you, I do not want to annoy others as well!

So I've been thinking on this all evening, and have decided that I will take the tips portion out of my blog, and will go back to only blogging about my general stuff. If anyone ever has any questions about stuff, please feel free to email me!

Deal of the Week: walgreens and Planters Trail Mix

August 23rd, 2006 at 12:36 pm

My kids LOVE trail mix. And I love that because its HEALTHY!!! Well, this week Walgreens is making my kids VERY happy.

In their sale flyer this week is a coupon for Planters Trail Mix for .99, a decent deal within itself, but wait it gets better!

When you buy 3, a coupon for $2 off your next shopping order prints out. Most cashiers will just scan it off that purchase, so you get 3 packages for .97!!!

Now wait, it gets better! How could that be you say??? Well, in the paper last weekend was a $10 rebate form from Nabisco. One of the qualifying items is, you guessed it Sherlock, Planters Trail Mix. Works like this, go to Walgreens, do 4 orders of 3 Trail Mix each, your total out of pocket payment will be $3.88. Send in those receipts and the UPC symbols, and get a $10 check back. Final Profit = $6.12 and you also have 12 bags of trail mix.

Happy Hunting everyone!

What do you want to see?

August 23rd, 2006 at 12:27 pm

As I try to tailor my blog to fit within the niche Flash has created with teaching others about couponing, etc. I wonder what topics YOU guys would like to see. I will do research if needed, tirelessly (or well, at least until midnight) seeking out the answers.

Seriously though, what have YOUR questions always been, what would you like to learn about couponing and refunding?

The suggestion box is open!

Tip of the Day: Coupon Organization part #1

August 23rd, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Spurred on by another blogger, I decided today's tip should be about coupon organization. After typing this up I realized that this is only one of a few aspects that should be covered, so I'll do the next part tomorrow.

I've always been a bit of a perfectionisty, and my coupon organizing is no place to slouch. A few months ago I realized MY strategy was costing me deals, I wouldn't be able to find a certain coupon I knew I had until I got home, and thus didn't get that item free or for pennies.

I have never been of the "category" organizer school, my brain doesn't generally work that way. I've always been an alphabetical organizer, whichever actual method of transportation my coupons had (from envelopes, to a box, and now to a binder). Well, when I realized how many deals I was missing, I started a complete overhaul of my binders. I now have them organized into rough categories, and by store aisle (all stores are roughly the same), and then alphabetized within those categories.

I guess first off I should give some background..no matter what, if an item is free, I will pick it up. It will either go into my own personal stockpile, get passed on to either my parents, my sister or my neighbor, donated to a worthy cause on my next run, or sold in my yard sale for 1/4 to 1/2 of retail price. So I always cut and file ALL coupons, I rarely trade due to time constraints mostly, but am still hoping to get a train going!!!!!

Now, on to my own favorite method of coupon organization, THE BINDER. I have 2 binders actually because I have so many coupons. The first is a 3" ring binder by Case It, it zips shut (a MUST!!!) and has an accordion style organizer on one side in which I put my store rain checks, store specific coupons, etc. I would really like to get a bit more organized on this one and put my lists in each of these with the coupons I KNOW I will need. This binder contains all my non food coupons (amazingly enough larger than the actual food coupons..huh). Within the binder I use baseball card protector sheets, and file one coupon type to each slot. Each page has 9 slots. Some don't like these pages, because you do have to cut your coupons close, and sometimes fold them. There are LOTS of different varieties of "item holder" pages at any office supply store, everything from floppy disks to CD's and more, use what is comfortable for YOU, and makes it easy for you to keep your coupons organized and handy.

My second binder is a plain jane zippered binder, with 1 1/2 inch rings. I use this one for food coupons with the same pages inside.

This is just a start to organizing things, and I certainly hope I've explained the binder method to you clear enough. As usual, any questions, give me a hollar!

Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins

August 22nd, 2006 at 03:16 pm

This was requested last week, and I'm just getting to it..SORRY!!! But, its good, so here goes!

Ingredients:

1 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 C. quick cooking oats
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 C. milk
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/2 C. mashed ripe banana
1 egg, beaten
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla extract

Topping:
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. packed brown sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. In smaller bowl whisk together milk, peanut butter, banana, egg, oil and vanilla. Add mixture to dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

In a small bowl, stir together topping ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.

Bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

Thanks to allrecipes.com for this one!

PS....throw some strawberry jam on them and YUMMMYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Tip of the Day: Your stores coupon policy

August 21st, 2006 at 02:20 pm

The first thing you need to do when learning to shop to save is learn your local grocery stores coupon policies.

1) If an item rings up incorrectly, what do they do? At one local store (Kroger), if something rings up wrong you get it FREE!! Doesn't matter if it's diapers or a gallon of milk, if it's priced wrong, it's free. Some places do nothing, and there are policies everywhere in the middle.

2) Do they double or triple coupons, and what are their limits? Meijer in my area doubles coupons up to a .99 face value every day, with a limit of 2 of the same coupons. Example: Act 2 popcorn was recently on sale for $1 a box. I had .50 coupons, which they doubled to $1, so after a few trips, I amassed about 15 boxes of popcorn for free!

3) What are their sale cycles? Some places run their ads Sunday to Saturday, some Wednesday to Tuesday. Plan your shopping accordingly.

Hope this helps you!!!

8 mile

August 21st, 2006 at 02:03 pm

I can now say that I have been on the street that Eminimem grew up on. I've seen the trailer park, etc. Eminiem is one of very few rap artists I like, but is one of my favorite artists overall. So that was rather cool.

The downside? We took a QUITE unexpected trip to Detroit this weekend, an 8 hour drive!!! My fiancees family lives up there, and his father had a truck he was trying to get rid of. We agreed to buy it from him for $1,500 (not bad for a '96 extended cab, etc etc), but not until after the wedding.

Well, he called Saturday night and said, go ahead and come get it, we'll work out payments later. OK! We initially planned to go next weekend, but remembered my mom is having surgery this week so I really don't want to go out of town. So we headed up Saturday night, and came home yesterday. His father also told us to knock $750 off the price he originally quoted us!!!! YA!!!!!!!!!!

I got to meet the family up there, and that was really nice. All in all a good, but tiring, weekend. Sorry I missed a few days tips, but I didn't have computer access, or the energy, to blog. ButI'm back and rarin to save!

Our weekend

August 19th, 2006 at 10:07 am

Well, the visit with my parents last night got cancelled due to moms medical issues (she has lupus, and all the problems that come with that, and is having a partial mastectomy next week), so I took the kids to them.

This morning DF and I went yardsaling for a little while, and spent $8 on ebay stock. He's at work now, then this evening we're going on a date night!!!

We havent been able to do this since we moved, due to not having a sitter for YDS, but our new neighbors daughter volunteered. She's 16 and pregnant, so not only will it be good experience for her, but she needs the money as well (let me add, she's great with the kids, and I know she'll be fine with the baby).

We're going to dinner, probably at our favorite local discovery restaurant, and using free movie tickets. If I'm lucky, afterwards we'll go play some pool. Ya!

Tomorrow will be spent at home, getting little projects done. I need to track down the people we bought the house from and see about the repairs.

A paid survey!

August 18th, 2006 at 07:36 pm

I've signed up with MULTIPLE pay to survey sites in the last few months, and have been earning points, etc etc. Well, Greenfield Online has become notorious for doing mostly "one entry to win 10 million dollars types of things, but I read on someones blog that those surveys sometimes lead to ones that actually pay money. So I started filling them out instead of just deleting them like I had been lol.

Well, today in my box I got a survey to do with my son that paid $7! WOOHOO! So once received, that will go in my challenge as well!

Visits from my parents!

August 18th, 2006 at 12:15 pm

My parents are coming over for a sleepover tonight! We moved almost 3 months ago an hour south of where I'm from, so visits with my parents have been pretty limited.

My mom has alot of medical stuff going on right now, so I thought to help keep her mind off things, she could come stay the night. Well, dad wants to come to!

So, we're going to clip coupons, watch movies, and just hang out. The boys are SUPER excited, I am too, I miss my mom!!!

Info of the day: Free websites to get the coupon deals!

August 18th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

Motivated by Uncommon Cents' blog entry for today regarding the grocery game, I decided today's tip will be to list some of my favorite, and most useful coupon sites.

www.hotcouponworld.com

Lists are laid out by store, with any hot deals listed by a user who sees it. You can discuss deals, ask questions, etc. The forum is extremely helpful for anyone pro or newbie to find the deals and make the most out of their money in many arenas.

www.families.com

Same as above, layout is quite similar, forum based.

www.refundcents.com

Now, this IS a subscription access site, BUT it is not limited to coupon deals. Members discuss sweepstakes, online shopping deals, clearance found at various stores, super double coupons, etc. etc. The magazine that sisters the site is awesome, filled with readers stories, ads to get more coupons or forms from other traders, listings of rebate forms, etc. If anyone wants more information on this one before subscribing, please let me know!!! And if you decide to subscribe, let them know I sent you because I do earn referral credits.

So my tip is..spread your frugal wings! There are lots of great places out there to help you learn to coupon for FREE!!!!!