Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I've received 4 or 5 emails about where I think the best places to find coupons are, and about how I personally coupon. I think it's b/c it's still the first of the year that people are determined to start the year off saving some money. I emailed each of my friends back seperately with tips and tricks, but I thought I'd just go ahead and blog it for the rest of ya.
I'm not gonna lie.... I FLIPPIN' HATE couponing. I'm starting to hate it more and more b/c it's turning into a job. That being said, I'm quite good at it though. I only grocery shop twice a month and I save $50-$75 every shopping trip, so that's up to $150 month of savings from being inconvienenced throughtout the month.
Step 1. Stick to a budget no matter WHAT. My budget is ALWAYS $300 every two weeks. That sounds ASTRONOMICAL, I know.... but here's my breakdowns:
$150 a week in groceries for a family of 4
$21.50 per day for a family of 4
3 meals a day for each of us is only $2.50 per person PER meal,
AND! I have a second toddler that I also have to feed lunch to 4 days a week with babysitting too included in that and it also includes all my toiletries, diapers, lightbulbs, etc.
I allow myself some "extras" at the store too--- Wine, magazines, chocolate and yummy snacks. Since I'm holed up in the house all week long, dammit, I better have some goodies to keep me satisfied!
Step 2. Subscribe to a variety of different coupon websites. None of them have you do those lame surveys, and they are ALL totally legit. Some people use a second email address for spam stuff, but I DON'T recommend it for these particular sites (I do recommend it for others though). These sites send you reminders when New monthly coupons are up and reaady to be printed at home, and I am so busy that I NEED the reminders! Also- investing in a good printer is totally worth it and recommend. We bought a wireless one around Christmas time for $79, and I LOVE IT. It sounds cheesey, but it revolutionized my whole couponing!! All I have to do is click a button and it prints from the other room!
www.mummydeals.org --- site will keep you up to speed on all the new savings tips!
www.upromise.com (this site links e-coupons to your Jewel card and are all paperless)
Step 3. Subscribe to a Metropolitan Newspaper. I get the Chicago Tribune on JUST SUNDAYS. I think I paid $16 for 16 weeks. Go to this site to see what rates currently are-
The Metropolitan papers have 10 times the coupons that our local Region papers have on Sundays.... and not only that, they are WAAAAY higher value coupons with lots of BOGO offers (Buy 1 Get 1). They also have tons of coupons for TOTALLY FREE products that are just being introduced. Since I am also a News junkie, I get the Post-Tribune and Hammond Times as well, so we get Sunday coupons up the wha-zoo.
I also subscribe to All You discount tip magazine. It too is chocked full of coupons each month- up to $50 each month. You can go to www.allyou.com for subscription info.
Step 4. Make your grocery list. I start one as I see stuff we run out of... dish soap, cooking oil, etc. Then once I get my weekly grocery store ad, I see who's offering the best deals of the week according to what our needs are. Most of the time, I'm a Paylow or Jewels girl. Making my list is a pain and takes about a half hour b/c I try to meal plan as best as I can too.
Step 5. The step I HATE the most. I tend to print my coupons, and stack my Sunday coupons up all week, and then I cut them all up during nap-time or something. I bought a coupon organizer from the Dollar Store. I go thru EVERY SINGLE divider one coupon at a time to make sure I didn't miss anything and I pull it out and stick it in an envelope to take to the store with me. I also WRITE DOWN every coupon that I have on a seperate piece of paper (usually backside of my grocery list paper) so that I - a.) can price compare to see if coupon is even worth it, and b.)so I don't forget that I have it. This is the MOST time consuming process and it makes me very crabby.
Step 6. If your list has a few higher priced items on it that you DON'T have a coupon for... like Swifter Refill spray... just go to their website and see if they have any to download or print! This is also time consuming, but just about every consumer product has a website with coupons!! You can sign up for Bettycrocker.com, or kraft.com, or even www.febreeze.com. These kind of sites tend to send you a lot of junkmail, so I would recommend creating a junk email account for these... but again, TOTALLY WORTH IT!
All in all, I probably spend about 2.5 hours on my coupons every 14 days, and that time saves me almost $150 a month, so I guess it's all in a days work.
Plus, it's kinda cool when you have people oohing and ahhing behind you in line at the store. I've gotten to know the cashiers and they get excited to see what my savings are each time.
Hope that helps some of you all now!
Let me know if you have any tips for me!!!!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Well, this blog has been floating in my head for months. Literally. Some people call me overly sensitive.... and I guess that's a correct judgement.... however I think it more or less just stems from me being overly passionate, and sometimes my passion falls into ridiculous categories. Prime example is how often I get pissed off so easily. I mean REALLY pissed off. Sometimes i get so pissed that I bawl my eyes out b/c I don't know how NOT to be pissed and can't shut it off. It's no secret that 2009 was probably the worst hand that life gave me to play thus far, with a lot of disappointments (and subsequent pissy emotions thrown in). If there's anything that can be said about what '09's shit hand dealt to me is that you've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.
So 2010 is going to be my year to figure that out. I'm not trying to speak in riddles, I'm just trying to avoid any further drama for 2010. I've been deeply hurt and down-right disappointed by many of friend and family member in 2009.... and even sprinkle a few customer service representatives and health professionals in there as well. The bottom line is that virtually EVERYONE has been leaving me extremely unimpressed, hurt or upset in one way or another and I have been in a reactionary state for months and months. Definately not good for my psyche, nor my relationship with Adam, whom has to put up with the subsequent mood swings.
Two of my good friends have offered some advice, both that I've taken to heart. One says that I can't change everyone around me, nor their crappy behavior, but I can change my behavior and how I react to it. I totally get it, but that's much easier said than done
The other person, that has known me for more than half my life and knows me inside and out, had the most challenging bit of advice to give me: Lower my standards to what people CAN meet. I respect this person and her advice over just about anyone's, so I've been kicking this around in my head for a good long while now.
Her theory is that I live my life and hold people around me to too high of a set of standards. I wasn't offended at all by ANYTHING she said as she was merely truely trying to help me out of a dark, disappointed place. She was worried that if I continue to hold everyone around me... friend, family, co-worker, etc.... to a standard that is impossible to live by, than I would end up being a very lonely person as I grow older and will inevitably push some good people away from me. I took this to heart, and took some time to think about whether or not I am "too hard" on those around me.
So the New Year's here and I've come to a few conclusions. Nothing set in stone b/c I'm obviously still a young grasshopper and still learning as I go.... however I have made one concrete decision. It may be out of my innate stubbornness, or the fact that I'm a Scorpio, but I've decided that I absolutely CANNOT lower my standards. I can promise you that I have thought VERY long and VERY hard and have lost many a nights sleep pondering what ways I can give people a little wiggle room to screw up and not be upset, and in what ways I can relax my expectations of people.... and the final answer that I came up with is that I CANNOT bend. I cannot compromise my standards, nor the principles behind them, just to make OTHERS around me more comfortable. I WILL NOT.
However, as I recognize that this may alienate people further and very well could lead me to being even lonelier, I have also come to some conclusions in regards to this. I will try even harder to hold MYSELF to the same standards that I give the world and will try to not allow myself to be a hypocrite in anyway. I can't say that I've looked at myself under the same microscope that I've looked at the world, so I will start doing that as well. By doing this, I can hopefully lead a better example of what it is I want around me. I will follow through with plans, I will return phone calls and emails, I will be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will be more appreciative of the handful of people that are ALWAYS there to lend a hand, and will continue to be supportive of them.
I think that one of my greatest attributes is also my biggest fault : Loyalty. I have to learn to tone it down a bit, or at least learn better who to give the greater part of it to. People will make mistakes, and I will be forgiving of that, however I will not accept anyone's 2nd best when they are giving others their 1st on a consistant basis.
Here are some examples of what has upset me the lately, so there is no question of what it is that gets me all worked up :
Please be on time.... I'm sorry that I have children, one in particular, that absolutely HAS to be kept on a schedule. Trust me, it's not much fun for me either, but you really screw up my whole day when you show up an hour late. Please honor the fact that we are family as much as I do. It really hurts me that I feel you don't respect the term "family". Please don't tell me you'll babysit my kids only if they are not sick when I am really having an emergency and need a sitter. I know that everyone is broke, but it really hurt me when my son only received ONE Baptism card while my daughter has 25 in her baby book. And yes, it was only ONE. Please SHARE your free time with my kids. My son is 2 this week and has NEVER slept anywhere but at home and at Gramma and Grandpa Florida's. When one family member is having a crisis, don't take for granted that Adam and I will help pick up the pieces time after time. Call that person and offer help or some kind words too. I don't need to have Cheerleaders for everything positive that I do, but some simple acknowledgement would be nice now and then. I realize that I'm an adult and not a kid, but everyone needs a little pat on the back sometimes.
I will try to stifle my sensitivity, if you will try to increase your attentiveness. Maybe we can get half the world off of xanax and anti-depressants if we all raised our standards a bit and actually LIVED BY THEM. Oh, a girl can dream, no?
So here's to new beginnings..... I hope this is a resolution that I can stick to, and now that I've posted this, feel free to call me out on any future bullshit or hypocrypsies. (cuz now you know that I DEFINATELY will do that to you! ;)
NOT DONE YET!!!!
NOT DONE YET!!!!
Now, backing up to Adam.... who has been on one hell of a rollercoaster ride being married to me.... I have to say something special about him. I have to thank him for allowing me to be "me" for going on 9 years. This year we enter our 7 yr. itch in marriage... and it's more like a nasty rash. LOL! I love him just the same as I did nine years ago when we met, however I haven't had the time to show that to him as much as I used to. We've experienced more bad luck and unfortunate circumstances than most people experience in a lifetime of being married and we're still holding on strong. I think one of the reasons is because Adam always lets me be me and does not try to cage me in anyway. Lord knows I've had more Lucille Ball moments and should keep my mouth shut more often than I do, but he accepts me just as I am, and I hit the jackpot with that. He may seem quiet and soft-spoken to some of you, but believe me, he DOES hold me to his own higher set of standards as well and doesn't let me off the hook when I've screwed up either. I appreciate that about him too, as much as it also makes me want to ring his neck. No one should be in a relationship that isn't a comfy fit. Adam is that favorite pair of yoga pants w/o the drawstring. Ahhhhh.... a good, comfy fit. I couldn't get thru half the crap wearing an impossibly tight pair of muffin-top jeans. I also can't worry about fighting him while fighting half the world.