Thursday, November 27, 2008

walked in with $30 ECB left with $46.92

Okay.. in the grande scheme of CVS black weekend deals I didn't do THAT great.. they were out of a ton of stuff and they said they would give me rainchecks but I'm not sure if I'd ever be able to find the products again or if I would remember or if the coupons would still be good etc.

Here is what I wound up with.
♥1 universal remote $6.99 gave back $6.99 ECB FREEBIE
♥1 excederin $4.79 used $2 manu $3 CVS and got back $1 ECB FREEBIE = moneymaker
♥2 Loreal lip glosses $6.99 ea used $1 manus got back $6.99 ECB's each FREEBIE
♥2 Johnson Buddy bars $1.19 ea (fillers) used $1 manus
♥1 Sally Hanson nail polish $3.79 FORGOT TO GIVE A COUPON UGHH got back $3.79 ECB so still a FREEBIE but not a money maker
♥2 Hershey bars 50 cents each used BOGO bought the wrong bars, should have bought the king size so didn't get any ECB's oops
♥2 playtex tampons $3.99 each used $1 manus (could have used $2 ESC from WAGS??) got $3 ECB for each FREEBIE
♥3 Gatoraides $1.49 each no coupons got $1.49 ECB back each FREEBIE
♥Johnsons lotion $5.69 used $1 IP manu got back $5.69 ECB FREEBIE + moneymaker

used $3/$15 CVS I got in the mail, couldn't find my beauty coupon???? and then used a $10/$50 as well.
paid $1.33 OOP

It's funny how things have been coming to me when I need them.. maybe because I'm actually looking for them? not sure but the last couple days I've been looking at peoples stockpile pictures and realizing that everyone has a ton of TP and I have absolutely none! I'm down to my last few rolls and that was from a deal that I don't even remember that I know wasn't "that good" oh wait.. yeah it was at Menards of all places. Anyway.. so I finally found a deal that was ending today at Jewel $6.99 for Cotonelle 12 double roll pack. I had a $2 CAT for Cotonelle and a $5 CAT (left from my rolls at Jewel the last few weeks) so I paid 55 cents OOP for 12 double rolls of the TP we love. I'm good with that.

Then again tonight.. I wasn't going to go to CVS but then my husband talked me into it. I looked at the tampons thinking I could really use some. I was hoping that they would at least have one box even though I was seeing it was a max of 2.. and low and behold there was 2. It's just funny how since I've started hounding how putting myself out there things have come to me when I start thinking about them. It's a great hobby! lol!

UPDATE!! I went to Jewel today and asked about the bags I had purchased for $2 and the first girl at the Service Desk immediately said that I couldn't return them.. *sigh* I said they've never been used, they are still tagged and I'm going to rebuy them immediately.. do you need me to bring the bags in??? So she asks another girl who was just walking through and she says "yeah give her the $10 back" so the first lady I talked to said "you give her the $10 back I'll go do this" and grabs some stuff out of the 2nd ladies hands and walks away.. umm okay.. she cheerfully handed me $10.18 out of the drawer and that was that... I stood there with the receipts and said "shouldn't you MARK the reciepts?" ooh yeah.. lol! she marked them that I was refunded I took my $10 and was a happy camper!!

Even though I didn't get all the Black Weekend deals at CVS I wanted I was glad to get what I did get and with the help of my favorite store employee. He always tries to help me out and even says "let's just do this and if it doesn't work then I'll refund your $$" So as far as my deals today, I got things I actually needed and great customer service. Great day for me even though I didn't get much! lol!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


What would HOUNDERS do?

Okay.. remember all these??

Just found out these are going to be $1 starting tomorrow.. I paid $2 for each of them and had gut feeling they would drop to $1 each but wanted to make sure I got them before they sold out!! *sigh* so what would you do? Would you bring them all back tomorrow when the sale starts and get your $1 back for each? So far I've only found 2 of the receipts but it's for 10 of them. I believe I bought 12 total.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Okay this post could go a few ways.. don't ask how I got so much and don't ask how we got on this subject BUT a girlfriend and I somehow got on the topic of how much tea we have in our house. Seriously, how does this happen because the more people I talk to about it the more people flip open their cabinets to reveal just how much tea they have too! lol! So funny! So I decided to gather what tea I have in my house and take a pic.. somehow I decided to add in all the little cold tea packets I have, hot chocolate, coffee (I don't drink coffee but somehow I wound up with some), and juice mixes. Most of this stuff has been hounded so I figured it ties in with my blog! lol!

here goes

50 pack box of singles to go from Walgreens clearance I think I paid $2 for them
9 boxes of Crystal Light Peach tea singles $1 each on clearance at K-Mart during their first double coupon days
Kool Aid packets I bought so I could get other freebies like the Crystal Light tubs!
Miscellaneous teas/spiced ciders/coffee/ singles I have gotten through hounding, samples, gifts.

9 BOXES of Celestial Seasonings teas all FREEBIES at Wags a few weeks ago
9 boxes of Swiss Miss hot chocolate and 2 store brand
9 boxes of Lipton Pyramid teas all FREEBIE

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm a dope, but I found someone that is more of a dope..

I decided to run out and hit 3 stores today. Walgreens, CVS, and Jewel. All three transactions I could have done better. Don't get me wrong, I still got good deals on everything but... could have spent less OOP if I had thought about it. Also, I'm taking down the ticker because well.. IT'S MOCKING ME and my loser ability to fail miserably at a task within 3 days time.. nice huh? I've done better.. I've quit diets 9 minutes in before. I'm THAT good folks!

♥6 Glade scented square thingys $2.50 each used BOGO coupons
♥4 Duracell batteries $5.99 each used 75 cent coupons and $5/2 coupons

okay here is where I get dumb.. for some reason I was calculating what I had to spend to get the items trying to figure out if it was a better deal to do one or two transactions and whether I should grab other items. I didn't have any filler ideas or extra coupons so I said forget it and walked up to the cashier. Of course, as soon as I walk up to the empty front 5 people get in line behind me. My total comes to $42.xx before coupons and I'm thinking DOHHHHH I could have gotten $8 worth of stuff and used a $10/$50 coupon which I have several of! grr.. I didn't want to tick anyone off so I just dealt with it.

Used a $15 ECB which the cashier couldn't get to work, I know my first $15 ECB from Duracell also wouldn't work and the cashier had to key it in as three separate $5 ECBs. So this cashier decided she couldn't figure out how to get it to work so she calls over another cashier. He comes over and keys it in as I paid $15 cash. Okay that works. My total was $5.xx so I used my debit card. The drawer opens and the cashier is standing there asking ME WHY the drawer opened and I said "because he keyed my ECB in as CASH" she said "any other time I key something in as cash it doesn't open the drawer" so I asked her "okay how do you put CASH in the DRAWER when a customer PAYS WITH CASH?" and she waves at me like I wouldn't understand. {{rolling my eyes here}} anyway.. I got back another $15 ECB for Duracell and $5 ECB for glade.

♥7 Philadelphia cream cheese 99 cents each
used 3 .50/2 coupons
total OOP was $5.55 and got back a CAT for $4!! so these cream cheeses cost me roughly 22 cents each!! woot!

this was a Walgreens double dip deal that has been talked about all over for the past couple weeks in anticipation of monthly double dip days. Anyway, there weren't many double dip deals this month but I like this shampoo so I wanted in on this. The way that the deal read was that these shampoo/conditioners were 2/$20 there was an ESC from the new December book for $5 each and of course the ESR for $10 so I'm expecting free shampoo in the end of the deal. I get there and there are no December books. So I go to grab my poo and the shelf says 3/$20 not 2/$20. and in my head I'm like whooo hoo I'm gonna make $5 on this deal with that $5 off coupon. So I go to the front and ask for the book and the cashier finds one, I flip through and find a coupon and it's for $2 off not $5. I didn't see any other coupons so I had to pay $15 off my GC. I wasn't happy.. but i guess I got all three for $5 which isn't bad.. but I don't know what went wrong here.. ???

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


owned Pictures, Images and Photos
yup that's me.. today.. you see.. I ran a bunch of errands. Came home started taking pictures of my deals. Went outside to take pics of the the last deals and dropped my camera on the ground. Grr.. we've been looking for a new camera HOWEVER we don't have the $$ to be going off to buy a new one yet. when I take pics the screen looks normal but then the pic looks all weird. I figured maybe it was just the way the pictures were displaying. yeah no dice... I just loaded them and they look like this...

yeah not good.

Okay.. my run went like this

CVS (sorry it's impossible to see what is in the picture)
First Transaction
4 Glade candles $2.50 each used $1.50/2 coupons
paid $7.xx OOP got back $5 ECB

Second Transaction
4 batteries $5.99 each used 2 $5/2 and 75 cent coupons
4 Glade plug in refills $3.99 ea used BOGO coupons
2 Glade candles $2.50 each used $1.50/2 coupon
$5 ECB and $15 ECB from last trip
paid $3 OOP and got back a $15 ECB for Duracell and a $10 ECB for glade.

2 bagged salads 99 cents each used 75 cent coupons
1 clearance bag of rolls 99 cents
$1.52 OOP

First transaction
9 Swiss miss hot chocolates $1 each (regular price $2.35) used 2 30 cent coupons
1 (not pictured) Parmesan cheese $2.99
$10 CAT from last week
$1.60 OOP and got back $10 CAT

Second transaction
8 boxes cereal $3 each used $1/2 coupons
2 boxes chex mix bars $3 each used $1/2 coupons
$15 in CATS $9.53 OOP got back a free milk CAT (for next transaction) and $15 more in CATS.

Last transaction
1 milk $3 used $4.50 coupon gave overage
1 Dannon Yogart$2.29 Avenu coupon 75 cents
paid 12 cents for both

Okay so the question of the day is, do you know of any great deals on cameras? Bring em here if you do! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

*sigh* now I can't get rid of A&H TP!!

Okay.. here was my CVS deal yesterday. I went specifically for the batteries. I have plenty of coupons the CVS ones, ones from inserts, and the internet email CVS ones.. so combined I planned out a groovy easy deal.
4 Duracell batteries $5.99 each (not pictured) used two $5/2 coups and 4 $1 coups (we didn't the $1.50 coups?)
4 A&H TP clearance for $1 used 75 cent coupons
1 Johnson Buddies $1.19 used $1 coupon
11 Halloween chinese food style containers clearanced to 9 cents each
CVS $5/$30 coup plus $5 ECB
My original total came out to $37 which I thought I was right at $30?? not sure.. but then I gave her coupons and my total was $7.xx so I had figured I would have to spend $6.xx OOP so I might have been off here or there. I get the receipt and realize the A&H TP rang up as $1.99.. so she credited me back $8.xx to my debit card, rerang and my total came to $4.xx. So basically I got everything for $3 OOP in the end. I also got back a $15 ECB for this transaction which was good because I was down to one lonely little $5 ECB! lol!
Okay.. while I was there they were bringing out a ton of Halloween clearance items. TONS it was insane. I almost wanted to ask if they actually ever brought out any items during Halloween because there was the freebie plastic pumpkin and many other great buys during October.
So here is my question for the day. This lady was there and she was filling up 2 CARTS of this stuff plus baskets of candy and odds and ends. She had an envelope filled with coupons. It took a full 20 minutes for her to get rung up so while I was getting my issue cleared up she had finally gotten everything put back into the carts and had left. So I walked over to the cashier that had rung her up and said "out of plain curiosity what was her total" she says "she did 3 transactions and each was under $1" UMMM HOW? there is no way on god's green earth that she had coupons for most of that stuff... none of it was name brand anything.. so I was I asked the cashier "what coupons did she use" she showed me what she used and she was stacking $3/$15 (old expired ones), the $5/$20 halloween from scanner coup, then $4/$20 email ones and $5/$30. It still makes no sense how each transaction was over $30 and she got them all down below $1.. but does your CVS let you stack multiple of their coupons?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

oh but of course

Soooo yeah I failed miserably at my challenge.. just what 3 days in.. K-Mart was having double coupon days so I had to go. I wound up getting a few things I really needed that they had pretty good deals on. I got a new cat litter box, some pint jars for canning I want to start asap, a tea pot (my husband threw ours out or sold the one we had at our last house, I'm still mad about it) and cheese. The cheese was BOGO at $3.19 so I figured that was a good price for 2 8oz packages. Either way my original total was $115.xx and I walked out of there spending $40.xx so not bad..

Okay, I had so many errands to run the night I got the milk I didn't realize that Dominicks brand milk comes in different colors. I think I *knew* it as I have bought it before, and I *thought* I read the container, however it says LOW FAT.. meaning NOT SKIM which is what we normally drink! oops.. more fat.. great.

Also, I did not check my bank account before leaving the house on those errands. I figured I would get cash back from that transaction versus having to pay ATM fees to go out to dinner last night. So my total came to $24.05.. yeah I had $22 in my account by the time that transaction came through.. so that transaction cost me another $10.. ughh $14.05 for two gallons of milk that I don't even like.. *sigh*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ran a few errands tonight...

I had 2 REDBOX movies to return (freebies with Walgreen's text codes from yesterday) so I decided to grab some coupons and get in on the buy $20 get $10 Conagra deal. Sorry I had so many stops to make I didn't get pics of everything.

have you ever seen such a perfect HUNT'S diced tomato pyramid? The cream cheese couldn't make it to the cheering competitions tonight, sorry. and for heavens sake, will someone please little miss hunt's diced in the 2nd row from the top on the left to stop looking at her mom while we are taking pictures.. geez! I guess this is what Jon & Kate plus 8 feel like at family pic time!!
♥10 Hunts diced tomatoes regular price $1.80 sale $1 used 5 .40/2 manu coupons
♥1 Healthy Choice meal thingy regular price $3.95 sale price $3 used $1 manu
used two $5 CATS from last weeks trips paid tax for those items
♥2 Zone Perfect bars on sale for $1 ea used $1 manus FREEBIES
♥2 Jewel cream cheese on sale for $1 ea
paid $2.30 OOP for that entire order. Basically I paid for the cream cheese and everything else was free! OOH and I got another $10 CAT for my next purchase!!

yes, that is a Thomas Kinkade stained glass covering an outlet in my kitchen.. and yes, that is a phone jack with no phone.. the only phone jack in our house and there is no phone.. woot for being unplugged for 5 years and counting!
♥2 Fresh Express bag salads on sale for 99 cents each used 2 .75 coupons 24 cents each
♥1 lb Deli Salami $2.95
♥6 pack onion rolls day old sale $1.19
♥2 Banquet breakfast sausage 99 cent each
Total OOP $6.74


♥2 gallons of milk sale price $1.99
Total OOP $4.05 p.s. if you've never seen 2 gallons of milk together, raise your hand...

Okay so my total for the night is: $13.09 added on to my total from yesterday of 18 cents I'm at $13.27 for 2 days.. ughh not great.. but I've gotten items that will last.


Well of course on day 2 I found out about a couple things going on.. BEST of all KMART IS HAVING DOUBLE COUPON DAYS AGAIN.. BUT THIS TIME THE SUPER KMARTS ARE INVOLVED WHICH MEANS MORE GROCERIES!! Groceries are my hardest thing to hound so I'm actually going to make a day of it driving to another town a little over a half hour from here.

Okay.. so here it is..
♥Breakfast was cereal, bought it for 80 cents per box at Target last week
♥Lunch was soup/bread bought the soup during one of my Jewel raids and my son was home sick so he needed some good ol chicken soup
♥Dinner baked Spaghetti with homemade garlic bread made it from my 14 cent boxes of Smart Taste, Ragu from my Jewel raid last week, tomato paste and diced tomatoes I got from aldi for 45 cents, onion I got for 79cents for 3lbs, green/red pepper I got marked down for less than a quarter each, cheese I got 2/$4. I think that about sums it up.

I didn't take pictures but yesterday I went to Jewel just to get 4 more boxes of the Lipton Tea FREEBIES and a loaf of Italian Bread which I had one of those survey free coupons for FREEBIE. I've never made homemade garlic bread before and actually was happy at how easy it turned out to be. I have so much tea now I'm sure that these will be going in my Christmas bags this year! Last night my son decided he wanted to try some so I let him open 2 boxes. Now I have 4 boxes of open tea, which I know for some {{{ahhhhemmmmother}}}} isn't a lot.. but I normally only have maybe 1 at the most.

Originally we were supposed to be doing Subway for dinner but after announcing my stockpile challenge I decided it would be better to stay at home and eat. The catch was instead of just making dinner for my husband, my son, and myself added to that was my mom and my two nephews. We had to pick up my sister from the airport last night so I wanted to make a meal that was filling enough and easy to make for 6 people. It turned out good (minus my 10 yo nephew who has a gourmet chef for a father and said he didn't like it much and ate 4 bites). We had plenty of leftovers to boot which I just had for lunch YUMMYYYY!

Okay yesterday I spent a whopping 18 cents at Jewel for 4 boxes of tea and loaf of bread for dinner. So this is where I sit at right now, 18 cents.. I'm liking it up here. My excitement will be quickly fading with a CVS trip, a trip to Dominicks to get $1.99 milk x's 2, a Super Kmart run tomorrow along with putting together a deal at Wags to use that awesome $5/$20 good tomorrow and Saturday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mashed Potato Bar

You know.. I should have just explained this in the post.. but the post was getting too long. Mashed Potato bar is great for get togethers, any type.. just a fun little extra. I'm going to copy/paste some comments I answered in my post about it.

Mashed potato bar ~ Learned this from a great neighbor of mine ~ I know it's cheating but it's how I do it.. I make an entire small box of mashed potatoes in my small crock pot (I don't even know the size it's a tall round one, the inside is the circumference of a dollar bill I'd say??) then I put out goodies like bacon I make earlier and crush up, cheese, sour cream, green onions, regular onions, salsa, butter etc.

**when you pour the whole box of potato flakes in the crock pot you are probably going to be standing there thinking "geez there is no way the rest of the milk/water will fit" those potato flakes absorb it up quick so even if those flakes are 1" close to the top, it will probably all fit. Stirring it is never easy either because you have to dig down deep to get down to the bottom.**

I make it about an hour before the party so it has time to heat up. I make them per the regular directions with the same butter, salt, water, milk measurements the box tells you.

Then I put it on warm or low during the party. I try to keep an eye on it because eventually the bottom will start to burn. So mix it up from time to time and I've even turned it off for 20-30 min at a time. At the end of the night whatever is left I throw in little storage containers and freezer for dinners another night.

I think the steam and mash would probably work out in the crock pot.. you could probably steam/mash them and just throw them in the crock pot just minutes before guests arrive. My neighbor actually makes her own mashed potatoes. I would except it's a ton of work to be doing RIGHT before a party start, plus having to clean up a huge pot again right before the start of a party. I guess you could make your own the night before or hours before and just throw them in the crock pot with enough time for them to rewarm through.

Also, for this I usually put out little disposable bowls and separate spoons/forks because for some reason it just seems easier (and more fun) to build a little mashed potato meal for yourself. I wind up having like 3-4 bowls and eating nothing else just because I'm a mashed potato nut! lol!

25 days and counting down...

Okay.. so day 1 down! lol! I've been thinking about doing this challenge for awhile. In fact Mary over at
OWLHAVEN did this in September with her husband and 10 kids!! Yes you read that right 10 kids!! Her day to day blogs were inspiring as she has a huge garden so much canning was going on that month along with many other homemade items. Her goal was to spend under $200, however, she had spent an extra $200 the month before stockpiling items. She felt her pantry was full enough to give it a go, and she pulled it off!! Amazing.

Also over at another one of my favorite blogs Precious at Frugal makes Cents she had talked about the same thing I am here, using up her stockpile. She had some of the same guidelines that I did basically stating that if she could get something for rock bottom price she was going to get it. She is simply going to take the next 6 months to use her stockpile. Easy enough.

I have been banned from shampoo purchase and cleaning product purchase so that does leave me with less to coupon anyway. (I have bought some shampoo/cleaning products but only stuff I could get for free)

My first day at this!!
Yesterday was my first day, I hadn't announced it on my blog yet. I wanted to put some real thought into it. What rules/guidelines I wanted to follow and I still have to work on the budget for this. I've found plenty of milk for $1.99 so I'm confident that the maximum amount of milk will be $6 this month although sometimes my son goes through a ton of milk.. hmmm might be more like $10. still not bad. As far as Mary at Owlhaven goes I would have spent the $200 just in milk if I had 10 kids. I think she had gift cards and did some trades here and there if I remember correctly.. not for just milk but for other supplies as well.

Okay so Day 1 went like this.
Cereal or leftover big breakfast from Sunday

leftover dinner from Monday or Onion soup with bread and cookies

Shake and Bake Pork Chops, steam broccoli/cheese, cranberry sauce, and potatoes. The potatoes were supper yummy. A neighbor told me how she makes them and it came out really good. Basically she cubes up potatoes, mixes them with EVOO and a packet of onion soup mix. Bake at 350-400 (depends on your time frame) until tender. I decided to start using the stockpile so I scrounged up some salad dressing I had gotten awhile back for free. It's some Jalapeno red pepper ceasar, weird huh? It had some oil in it and some flavor with a kick.

Okay Day 1 done.. 24 to go and already I'm planning a few shopping trips.. one for today, a couple for tomorrow, and actually one for next week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My personal challenge.

Well.. it's come to my attention over the last couple days with all the shopping I did and trying to fit everything into the freezer and moving things around to make the stockpile shelves fit everything I bought that I really need to "dig in" to my stockpile. Seriously. (ok longest run on sentence followed by the shortest sentence ever) I still have most of the boxes of 100 cal packs I bought in August during Meijer's back to school deals.

Here is a list of my over abundance of goodies.

One of the first things I noticed yesterday is that I now have more pork than I know what to do with. Somehow I've ended up with I think 4 packages of just pork chops. I also have a pork roast. I also have a good stock of chicken. I have some burgers which I can make into other things such as chili, meatloaf, or for spaghetti. I'm going to aim to clean out the freezer first of meat and then I can start buying other meat. I probably have enough meat in there to last my 25 days.

OMG somehow I've managed to gather a ton of soup, and not just already made soup but those packets of soup, cup of soups (both little packets and little cups), not to mention Ramon noodles, chicken stock, bullion cubes and the like. whew.

Because of that sale I have a huge over abundance of frozen veggies. They are all in steam packages, however, I have been using them over the past few days in various other ways. I actually partially steamed the sugar snap peas and used them as dipping veggies. Didn't work out that great because they were limp and soggy, but it was a yummy treat with no chips! lol!

Those Smart Taste coupons came in handy and I used em! lol! It was BOGO at $2.29, so I got two boxes for 29 cents a couple weeks ago. The sale before that was 10/$10 and I used up what coupons I had at that time. Not to mention I started out with a good amount of pasta in the house. But now it's just out of control. Same with Pasta sauce. Lots of it!!

wow.. not sure where they all came from (yeah I do, don't let me fool you) but boy do I got boxed potatoes. I have plenty of mashed potatoes and au gratin potatoes to last a long while. I would say I would save these to use for the cookie exchange party, but I like making plain potatoes and letting everyone put their own toppings on. All the boxed mashed potatoes I got are all flavored.. hmmm guess I could use the cheese ones.. who doesn't like cheese? lol!

Currently I think we have around 15 boxes of cereal. Which for other hounders probably isn't a huge amount, but for us I think in 4 weeks we can make that last

As I mentioned above we have plenty of 100 cal packs and pretzels from 10/$10 sales and also a scary amount of tortilla chips.

I will allow myself to buy dairy. I know I'll need milk, sour cream, cream cheese, and regular cheese this month. Fresh produce mainly fruit but also a few veggie items like lettuce and cilantro for other meals. Meat I will allow myself once my stockpile gets smaller as I mentioned above.

One little strange thing about this is that my last day is the day before my cookie exchange in my neighborhood. I usually make PB balls and one or two other types of cookies. I've already bought the PB and I have a ton of chocolate. I'm pretty sure I have plenty of powdered sugar so I will be okay in that area. Maybe for my other cookie I'll make cake cookies from cake mix. Easy and yummy.

But the fun doesn't end there with the cookie party. It's a neighborhood fun night and I invite neighbors from my hood to come over, eat munchies, and spread Holiday cheer with the cookie exchange (this includes MEN!), ornament exchange, and usually lots of good ol fashion gossip and of course explaining our cookies to everyone else! Some years I've spent a ton of ca$h buying boxed appetizers and the like.. last year I pulled back the reigns because of credit card debt. This year I'm going to do my best to find some cheap 2 liters of pop and I have to do my mashed potato bar for sure. Included in this I will have to buy sour cream, bacon, cheese and veggies. I will do boxed mashed potatoes so I think just the food/drinks should be a pretty minimal amount.

This DOES NOT mean that if I can get something for 25 cents or less that I won't buy it.. it simply means that I need to cut back and start using the stockpile. There is no reason to have a stockpile if I'm not going to use it right?

I normally count my eating out into our food budget but I also combine our grocery budget with entertainment and household items because with hounding it's hard to separate what was cleaning products and what was food. I have SEVERAL coupons from that I had purchased so when my son is visiting (which is when we eat out the most) we'll have those to go out to eat with.

Luckily we have Thanksgiving tucked in there. This year my family is not celebrating basically because my sister/mom are both nurses and always work the holidays for the extra money. My mom will be out of state for Thanksgiving and my son is actually going out of state with his dad. My sisters boys will be with their father and his family out of state as well. We do have dinner with my husband's uncle on the 15th and of course Thanksgiving at his grandparents on Thanksgiving day. So both those days are automatic freebie days for us!

This is tricky.. because I really need to figure out what I've spent so far THIS MONTH on food. As I said I combine Entertainment and household items into our food budget so I'll have to figure this out tomorrow. I was originally thinking $80 for 25 days which I think is possible. I will need $6 for milk this month, $10 other dairy items, $10 produce, and between $14 & $20 for the cookie exchange party. This puts me roughly at $46 however this doesn't include my great deal buys of 25 cents or less.

I do have $15 in CATS from the Jewel shop and also around $40 on my WAGS card. That money I will not count towards this month. Those are essentially my freebie dollars.

As some of you already know, I get very excited when I make entire meals from the stockpile. I also try to figure out how much it cost me for the whole meal and each serving which sometimes is hard considering I don't remember exact prices. I'm going to try my best to blog daily to let you know how I did the day before!! Wish me luck!!

acts of kindness

Lindsay over at FRUGAL AND FABULOUS gave me this award!! I really love the comment she left about me and why she was giving me this award.

"Melissa @ I robbed that store legally! Melissa gets some really great deals week after week - and often goes to great lengths (and through many an awful cashier) to get them. But she's a trooper and never gives up! :)"

I really appreciate this comment because YES hounding/couponing is difficult, it's frustrating, it's not as easy as it looks, and it's addicting. I've made tons of mistakes and love to share them simply because I don't want other couponers out there (newbie or veteran) to think that I don't or that they can't make mistakes or that they are alone making mistakes.

Simply, we are here to save our families money. That is the bottom line. Whether we technically could afford $1,000 worth of groceries or not, we chose to go this route and yes it's tough but we all must keep swimming! lol!

Now I have to tell you six things that I am thankful for, and then I have to nominate six people with this award!

I am thankful for:

1. I'm thankful for my healthy normal son. He was born very ill, has had 3 brain surgeries in his 14 years of life amongst other bumps, bruises, stitches, bone breaks, and the like.

2. I am thankful for both my nephews.. both of whom bring light into my world.

3. I am thankful for my parents.. they've been married almost 40 years and through it all taught me a lot about life. They had a tough first 20 years of marriage, but they stuck it out.

4. I am thankful for my sister.. she's amazing.. she was like a 2nd mother to me when I was little and my mom was in nursing school. Even though I know I was a pest to her as kids, I always knew she loved me.

5. He isn't blood.. but I'm thankful for my husband.. I know weird he is coming in close to last. He's a grounded stable man.

6. I am thankful for my grandma. Next Tuesday will mark her death, it's been 5 years. I can't believe it's been that long. I can always spend time with her when I'm in my kitchen. I learned more about her, about life, about love, about family, and really best of all about cooking. For 10 years I made dinner almost every night with her. Her hands were too weak and sore from rheumatoid arthritis to lift the heavy iron pans or peel the potatoes. So she stood over me, or sat next to me and told me how to do them. While we prepared meals, we talked about everything from her relationship with my grandfather, her family (she was one of 11), her life growing up on the farm and moving to the big city (Chicago), and even sex! She was and still is an amazing woman!! Go Grandma!

Okay now that I'm sobbing my fool heart out... I've decided not to tag anyone because as always it seems everyone has already been tagged for this.. Anyone of blogs I stalk deserve this award! everyone of them puts their heart and soul into their blogs and I appreciate each of them!

Rock on Ladies!!

In closing....
Veterans Day Pictures, Images and Photos

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I feel like JC Wayatt in Baby Boom!

right around 1:37 minute through 2:20 she is making baby applesauce and putting it in the cabinet.. this was like me last night putting away all my Jewel deals!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My totals for my Jewel deals this week.

I have no idea when this deal even started, however, I got the flyer a week ago and didn't actually decide to get into it until Friday this week! I waited at least 5 days before getting in on it. I kept thinking "I don't need any of this stuff"

Total OOP $43.28

I don't have an exact total of how much each of these items would have cost without sales and coupons however I did 7 transactions over the last 3 days and I had to get over $30. A few transactions I was well over that $30 mark others by only a few dollars if that. So roughly I got $210 worth of groceries for $43.28 and I still have $15 CATS to use towards my next Jewel trip!! whoo hoo. Free milk here I come! :)

Okay.. my son saw the GoGurts in the sale and I had to go back!

No picture because I'm just too darn lazy. I left the house at 10:33 and got back around 11:12. This trip didn't go so well and I'm trying to figure out why because I added fillers just in case. I had everything worked out on paper, all the shelf prices were about 2-5 cents off.. nothing major. Anyway.. I wound up with

♥6 GoGurts (am I spelling that right?) yes my 14 yo son asked for them. they were 4/$10 normally $3.20 each used 75/2 coupons
♥3 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes $1 each normally $2.20 each used 35 cent coupons
♥2 Betty Crocker frostings 6/$10 sale or $1.67 each used 50 cent coupons
♥1 Betty Crocker cake mix this was a filler $1 each normally $2 each
3 $5 coupons
Total OOP $3.92 and no RRs/Cats whatever printed LOWER LIP POUT!! I was so sorta upset and the checker was like "was it suppossed to reprint more of those coupons?" (some young guy) so I said "yeah" as I was scanning and counting the before sale prices on the receipt to make sure I hit $30 which I did... hmm so he called the service desk girl over who shrugged and handed me my coupons back from the drawer that I just used!! are they going to work again??? no clue.. oh well..

I *think* this is my last Jewel deal.. however, the night is young..

♥ 6 All detergents 3/$10 used 2 $1 IP coupons and 2 $1/2 coupons
3 $5 CATS/RR's whatever you call them
$2.24 OOP received another 3 $5 CATS OYNO
**note I heard this deal works with only 5 All detergents.. but I figured the total would be $13.xx and I wanted to get over the $15 instead of having to find fillers. Plus I had also heard some people had issues when only buying 5. Either way it worked for me with 6 and I was happy! :)

these pics are sorta out of order.. but oh well.. My son needed to go to Wal-Mart and I had a few coupons I knew I could get some freebies with so I decided to quickly get some coupons together. This is what I got for a good deal/free/was paid to take. I didn't put everything in the picture. I did get a new pair of fuzzy boots, a thing of celery salt, my son got a bunch of fishing stuff (why we had to go fishing in WINTER IN CHICAGO.. UH HUH)and some more of those Tic Tac Chills which I found 2 more coupons for.

♥11 Johnson buddies (10 pictures my 14 yo son is showering with the last one as I type this!) 94 cents each used $1 coupons, some $3/3 coupons, and some IP coupons I had all in different places!
♥8 Well Patches 97 cents each used $1 coupons
♥2 Vlasic pickles $1.76 used $1 IP coupons horrible price for this size jar usually I get the huge jar for this price during rollback. My son is a pickle hound and I just gave my last huge jar to my mom to keep at her house so my pickle hound child can eat through those at her house instead of the ones she buys! lol!
♥3 Zone Perfect bars 97 cents each used $1 coupons (I had a ton more coupons but of course they had only 3 bars left)
♥All You Magazine $2.xx ughh I need to order a subscription! lol!

♥10 packs Wrigley gum $1.19 each WAGS BOGO coupon and BOGO manus FREEBIE
♥1 Celestial Seasonings tea $1.50 (my signs even at this WAGS said $2/5 I even took a pic with my camera phone this time) used $1 manu and had cashier scan ESC for the other 50 cents.

My total was 13 cents... I was digging in my purse and the cashier used the take penny/leave a penny fund which had a dime and several pennies. Done! I still have more BOGO Wrigley coupons however I didn't know how many they would allow me to buy at one time which is why throughout the week I started at 4 packs and moved up to 8 and now 10.

PB pasta sauce time???

I don't think that's how the song goes.. or saying.. whatever it is that my nephews and son say constantly PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME soooo annoying.
anyway.. again.. I woke this morning knowing that awesome Jewel deal would be over after today so I got together another small deal..

♥8 Skippy PB's normally $3.20 (shelf said $3.29) on sale 4/$10 used two .75/2 coupons =$17
♥4 Ragu normally $2.67 (the shelf price was different than this as well, it was higher) on sale 6/$10 or $1.67 each used 2 $1/2 coupon = $4.68
used 4 $5RR from yesterdays trips total OOP $2.14 and earned another $15 RR for my next trip!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I just couldn't resist.. another Jewel run!!!

I did two separate transactions just so I could roll the RRs and get the most for the least. Here goes

♥14 Green Giant veggies $1 each used 13 25 cent coupons.. not sure where the 14th went and boy was I mad! lol!
two $5 RR's from trip earlier today
57 cents!! booo yaa! Got 3 $5 RR's

♥12 Green Giant veggies $1 each used 12 25 cent coupons
♥5 Betty Crocker potatoes $1 ea used 35 cent coupons
♥2 Berry Crocker Frosting $1.66 used 50 cent coupons
♥1 Jewel Garlic bread $2 for dinner
♥2 Progresso chicken stock $1.66 used $1 coupons
3 $5 RR's from first transaction total OOP $3.33

walked out of store with $20 in RRs because the first transaction I only used 2 from earlier today!!
OHHHH yeahh!

****I had to use two Bertolli dinners for dinner tonight and take each of my veggies out of their boxes in order for them all to fit! I really need a 2nd freezer!!

whew, I'm exhausted!

This was my lunch after my hounding crawl!! ha ha I don't drink so instead of a pub crawl I do hounding crawls! nice!
Made it from my 99 cent chicken breast I had grilled and frozen and one of those Green Giant Veggies I got! whoo hoo
and now for my feature presentation.....

♥5 boxes of Kelloggs Cereal $2.75 used $1 coupons
♥4 Prego $1.67 each used $1/2 IP coupons and $1/3 coupon
$5 GC from a previous Target run
$6.67 OOP and I got back a $5 GC for nex time

2 stores, 2 transactions
first store
♥8 Celestial Seasons Tea the sign said $2/5 but they rang up as $1.50 each??? I read they were suppossed to be free after $1/2 ESC and $1 coupons and that's what I got them for FREEBIES
♥8 packs of gum $1.19 each used BOGO circular coupon and BOGO insert coups
total 29 cents

second store
♥8 packs of gum $1.19 each used BOGO circular coupon and BOGO insert coups
total 8 cents
**had to fight with the cashier on this one.. she tried to give me the "one per purchase" blah blah blah

♥10 Green Giant veggies $1 each used 25 cent coupons or 50 cent/2 coups
♥22 Pure Protein bars $1 each used $1.50/2 coupons
♥4 reusable bags $1 each (decided to do 4 more xmas bags)
♥4 Old Orchard Juices BOGO $3.49 used $1/2 coupons so 4/$5 I had read on another site that this was giving a $5 RR.. I didn't get it..??
♥2 Lipton teas $2.50 each used 60 cent coupons plus $2 ecoupons FREEBIE
♥4 Ranch dip packets $1.29
used $15 RR from last trip, total OOP $13.61 and I got $15 RR for the next trip!!

**this trip has made it impossible for me not to go back this afternoon HOWEVER I don't have the freezer room for all the free veggies I could get *sigh* So I'm going to try to work up just one more deal.. we'll see what I come up with.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

♫ ♫I wanna love you, squeeze you, wrap my arms around you♫ ♫

Yeah yeah yeah!!! I just had a great errand run.. and I know I'll have more tomorrow.. whoo hooo hooooooo!! Okay so the other day when I mentioned that I wasn't as organized as I could have been.. that was because I went to Jewel to get in on the spend $30 on specific products get $15 RR back.. um yeah.. I get there and realize I have coupons for the wrong protein bars! oops.. so I got all flustered and walked out.. because I knew I couldn't get another good deal together in a few minutes.

Okay two things.. I don't have my receipt up here with me, which I should, and my flyer blew away from Jewel so I don't have everything exact in front of me.. bear with me here.
♥6 Progresso chicken stocks $1.66 ea used $1 coupons
♥2 Progresso soups $1.66 ea used $1.10 coupons + THINGS TO WATCH FOR there was a peelie on one of them to save 50 cents if you bought that soup and one Progresso chicken stock
♥2 Lipton teas $2.50 ea used two 60 cents coupons + two e coupons $2 off EACH!! FREEBIE
♥4 Green Giant veggies $1 each used $1/2 IP coupons
♥2 Cubs reusable bags 2/$4 (realized I need 2 more the other night)
♥2 Banquet breakfast sausage BOGO $2.29 no coupons
♥2 Halloween napkins 50 cents each
♥Halloween headband 50 cents

My total came out to $17.38 (I think) and I got back $15. so minus out the bags, Halloween stuff, and the sausage I paid roughly $10 for all the buy $30 worth get $15 RR's!! Not a bad deal for all that. Plus I can ROLL these RR's I've heard. Also, this deal is based on SHELF PRICE not sale price and all items are on sale! whoooo hooo!!

BzzAgent sent me this!! whoo hoo! I can't wait to try it out!! Yeahh for BzzAgent.. but they also sent me these...

a whole book of $5 off coupons and buy 3 get one free refills! whoo hoo

last but not least I stopped at WAGS just to grab more FREE GUM and got this box of 50 Raspberry water mix ins for $2.50!! My total was $2.55, used GC!! Yeahh!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

still no camera back.. but some good deals I want to share

sorry about the pics.. I had to use *my* cell phone today.. *sigh* I think I should be getting my camera back from my sister today.. unless she plans on bringing it to Sweden with her. hmmmmm

Okay.. Quick run out and of course I thought I was pretty organized.. could have been better oganized.

Meijer Run
4 Jacks Pizzas 4/$10 used $2 mealbox coupon & 4 75 cent manu coupons
1 Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls $3.99 used FREEBIE coupon from Psst
1 Philadelphia cream cheese $1.25 used FREEBIE coupon from manu

total $5.17

Wags stop
4 pairs of gloves 75% off 49 cents each GLOW IN THE DARK
2 fleece blankets $3.99 BOGO
4 packs of gum BOGO wags coupon BOGO manu
1 pumpkin decoration 24 cents
Total was $6.xx used GC

CVS couldn't resist
10 Cube packs $1 each used 5 $1/2 coupons got back $5 ECB

$5.12 OOP

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

6 months 20 days PART TWO

Okay so I don't even know where I was at.. oh yeah we had just gotten the home equity loan against all advice from every direction. We had gotten that in June and I figured I could look at our budget and figure out where to trim the edges, however, that was impossible to do. We already had lowered everything over time to the bare necessities. There was nothing else we could go. We both had been saying for months that we needed to get 2nd jobs and that is just what we did.

We applied at a few places, left on our vacation at the beginning of October fully knowing that with the holidays approaching we could easily find second jobs at least for the holiday season. We landed in Miami from our trip to Punta Cana on our layover home and I turned on my phone and had a message from the nearby casino that they wanted me to come in. I waited until the next day when we were home to call back and both Tim and I had interviews lined up for that weekend. We had to get drug tested, a full background check, and take days off of work for our orientation but we made it and both started working October 28, 2007.

I got a job as a waitress in the bar outside the casino, sorta a pub type place. Low pay but pretty good tips. My husband got a job as a coat check person which turned out to be a perfect 2nd job for him. His full time job was labor intensive so this 2nd job was sitting on his butt for 3 hours per night. It was a great gig for him except he had to work 5 days per week and I only had to work 2. I worked 1 hour less than him a week as scheduled, but he usually wound up working more because he was the only part time coat check person so they always had to ask him to cover for other people.

We started paying off our debt finally in November sometime. It took me some time to get a little more caught up with bills and even pay my bills in advance which is where I like to be. I wasn't behind but I was paying my mortgage closer to the 15th rather than before the 1st for example. I had some repairs done on my car as well the first two weeks we were working 2 jobs. My car died on the way home from work one day. Not fun, and of course it always happens when you are trying to get ahead.

We started hacking away at our debt, found a savings account I had set aside I'd forgotten about and cashed that out, our grocery bill diminished simply because neither one of us was ever home. We ate for free at the boat so we took full advantage of that. (I also started gaining weight like you wouldn't believe). By January our debt snowball was really spinning. I was constantly making $1,000 payments to our home equity loan.

In January I found out my company was closing down in March.. this put a total tail spin on my life. Not wanting to lose out if my company found another place to pick us up I wasn't out looking for a new job. Luckily we got extended to April however now I was without a job. I went on unemployment and took what extra pay I got and threw that towards the debt as well.

In April we paid the last truck payment and had gotten a gift from Tim's parents of $5,000 which Tim gladly accepted. We could have paid off the debt entirely, however, we were short because Memorial Day weekend was coming up and we had a bunch of plans for the weekend. We basically needed $200 for that weekend. So we waited. We had a garage sale coming up in our neighborhood so with my extra time (being unemployed) I walked around the house looking for stuff I could get rid of, things I didn't care about, things we didn't use.

May 16th we went out to dinner with Tim's parents. They were in town to help do some wedding planning for one of Tim's brother and for Tim's cousins wedding. We sat down to eat and his dad made some joke type comment, laughing, and handing me some papers/envelopes. I think he said something like "okay maybe this will move up your debt payment a few hours". At that point every time I made a payment I would read just our budget trying to get our debt paid off as early as possible. So each time I would come up with an estimated date of when it would be paid in full.

I looked at what his dad handed me and it was savings bonds.. I was like "what?" they were Tim's from when he was a baby.. so Tim looked at them, we went home and figured out that they were worth more than their face value... they were only $25 bonds but remember we only needed another $200 for breathing room. After we figured out how much they were worth by looking them up on line, we called Tim's parents with me SCREECHING that we paid off our debt. As soon as I figured out we had that money to ride on, the money I was saving for Memorial Day weekend was moved directly over to that home equity loan. May 17th 2008.. it was the 5th best day of my life! lol! It was funny that Tim's dad's comment of "this should push you up a few hours" actually pushed us up 2 full weeks! What an amazing feeling.

I forgot to mention. I joined this amazing MSN group called Women In Red. The group helps women (and men) race to pay off debt. You race against yourself it's not a competition. It's split up by regions and you get to know the ladies in your region really quick. Everybody is very helpful and of course very supportive of one another. check them out here At Women In Red I joined a thread called the Grocery Challenge. I couldn't keep up with it, but what I did do was get a few websites that have directed me to the couponing world. I have stayed with the WIR group but now I've moved over to the SAVERS group and I'm racing to save.

I'm still unemployed, still looking for jobs every day.. my unemployment will be running out in 12 short weeks. I'm not as worried as I would have been a year ago considering I'm in way better place. I have a better handle on my money and actually a better relationship with my money.

I know I didn't give a break down of how we paid off the debt, but all I can say is that somehow we managed to scrape together every penny we had. When all was said and done we had no truck payment, no credit card debt, and no emergency fund because I used that as well. Somewhere in there was a tax refund, a stimulus check, my ESOP payout, and cash gifts from family/friends for our birthdays/Christmas. Somehow it all added up to $30,000 in 6 months 20 days.

Honestly, looking back I figured it would have been much harder, more grueling than it turned out to be. I had the help and support of pretty much everyone I personally knew family, friends, even neighbors as well as my online buddies who were going through the same experience. Believe me, it wasn't easy.. I didn't see my husband or son for a solid 6 months. My son especially because my weekends to have him over I was either working or sleeping. Tim and I were both exhausted all the time, the only time we had together was Sunday lunch. That was it.

I wish I had found couponing/grocery gaming long before, instead I learned to only shop at Aldi and shop sales for little extras here and there. I have learned so many things, things I never would have known about if it wasn't for this experience. It has really taught me how strong and motivated I can be when I set my mind to it. I've also learned so much about my marriage. It's strength, it's limits, even it's vulnerable places I didn't know existed.

I was already a "character" before this all happened, but I can tell you this.. I've gained more character, learned life lessons that are not taught in books, and was shown how important my relationship with my money really is to me. My entire life I've loved money, and debt took that from me.. my battle to win over debt has given me a renewed faith and I know I will not willingly go down that path in my lifetime again.

6 months 20 days PART ONE

There it is.. the time it took my husband and I to pay off $30,000 in debt.. and actually if I go back and look I think it was actually a bit less than 6 months but I started counting the day that we started our 2nd jobs to the day we paid it off. Here is the story...

Tim and I found ourselves in some major $30,000 worth of credit card debt.. something that for both of us was difficult. Both of us were raised CASH ON THE BARREL style where if you didn't have the cash you didn't get said item.. no matter what it was. Of course, in true American keep up with the Joneses style, we had to have certain things and have them now.. looking back at all of our debt we've paid off it was all for expenses I can't even account for.

$1,000 of that last $30,000 was actually a vacation, a debt vacation. We took it at the beginning of October 2007 because we knew once we got back we were both getting 2nd jobs and digging in our heels. We knew the next days, months, possibly years were not going to be easy and I wanted us to be connected, rested, clear minded for that journey. We found an Apple Vacation for $524 each to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). It was an all inclusive package so all food, beverages, water sports were all included and the airfare and transfers were included as well. We did upgrade our package for $70 each so get a bigger, right on the Caribbean sea room that included a whirlpool tub. It was worth it.

Going back in time to the beginning of our marriage even though we made WAYY less we did better with what money we did have. We bought a gigantic American Four Square just a month after we got married, moved in and basically only went out to work. We rarely went to see friends except to maybe rent a movie together. We didn't eat out, I shopped at Aldi and with cash because you couldn't use a debit card there. I loved that because I had the cash we had left for the week/month and if I didn't have enough I had to take things off my order. This helped me from buying the cookies, the chocolate, the ice cream, the chips. Just things we didn't need.

Around a year into our marriage things started to change drastically. I was working in the mortgage industry and things began to get busy again... I was making an INSANE amount of money and of course working a ton of hours. Most days were 7am-11pm bringing home 3 hours of work a night plus time over weekends. My husband was also very busy at his work. He worked a great amount of overtime because the work was there, overtime was available, and I wasn't home anyway.

There was no rest ever, there was always something to be done.. but those paychecks.. ughh I paid for brand new things for our old 100+ year old house like new water heaters, new fences, new windows, etc. I could easily pay in cash. I bought a new car and made $2,000 car payments just because I had the money in the checking account not doing anything. We ate out any meal we had together and most of my meals were paid for by my work because whomever needed a favor meaning I had to stay late was buying my dinner or lunch or whatever I needed just so I could stay planted in my seat and get their loan done.

Eventually my husband got sick of our old home that needed so many repairs. It was on a very busy intersection and having a drunk driver hit one of our trees or electrical poles was a weekly occurrence. We went without electricity for an entire Easter Sunday because of a drunk driver. My husband found some town homes that were going to be built in a town just North of us. A closer drive to where he worked at the time and the same distance from my work. We decided to build, put our house on the market, and moved into my parents Chicago home until our new house was done.

About the time we moved in March 2003 things started to slow down in the mortgage industry. IT was still busy but the long days grew shorter, no more overtime, no more bonuses. My husbands work decided to move everything to Mexico, the writing was on the wall and eventually he found a new job. We settled into our new subdivision which was filled with people around our age and we had a great time getting to know them. Our new subdivision was like college dorms, people milled about day in and day out.. someone was always grilling and inviting over all the neighbors.. most dinners wound up being a pot luck at someones house.. "ohh you are making burgers, I have this great salad I can make really quick I'll be right over" nights got longer, sleep became less, but we were having so much fun...

Unfortunately, our party time never gave time to make us think about pulling in those reigns on our budget. We spent THOUSANDS on peoples weddings who only spent less than $100 on ours (yes thousands), we ate out all the time with friends who didn't live in our neighborhood, we just spent and spent and spent as if the money was there like it had been. We had moved into the new town home with NO debt, 10 days later Tim went out and bought a new truck.. so now we had a $400/mo truck payment but no debt. Almost 3 years into living in the new town home I found us in a hole for $8,000. I decided to refi to pay off the debt. Because we decided to do save some of our earnings from the sale of our first home to help pay the down payment on our truck we had a 2nd mortgage so we could skip paying mortgage insurance. The refi paid off the 2nd mortgage and a PORTION of our debt but not all of it.

My broker (a good friend at the time) figured out with our tax refund we could easily pay off the remainder. Of course, that isn't how it worked out and I found us back at $8,000 in debt within MONTHS which sickened me. That amount just grew from there and no matter what I did I couldn't get it to stop growing. I would go to work and a co-worker of mine and I would laugh at each other and say "how much did your CC debt go up this month" and it was almost the same for each other each month.. between $1,000-$2,000. I was paying our BASIC bills ie mortgage, association, electric, car payment, gas, cable, cell phones (no house phone ever), credit card bills but there was NOTHING left over for the money I needed to pay for groceries or gas. So everything extra was put on our credit cards.

I take care of all the finances in our house. My husband wants very little or NOTHING to do with them. In fact, it's a running joke that he doesn't know if we have $5 or $5,000 in our checking account on any given day.. he doesn't. seriously. He's always trusted me to take care of it, never wanted anything to do with it. My way of making him have some responsibility was paying all the bills but making him file them. I figured this way he would at least see how much they were, that they were being paid on time, and if he filed our bank statements he could at least see a run down of what was what. Yeah that idea backfired on me all the time when he would leave stacks of paper to be filed for months and would just take a few hours to stack everything together and file them. He never looked at the bills.. just filed them.

The stress of this responsibility took it's toll and I would fight with my husband that he needed to be part of this, he needed to see, he needed to help! He would always say that once I got everything back on track he would take over, yeah right!! Finally in June of 2007 I decided to consolidate all of our credit card debt and get a home equity loan. I know, against all advice this is what I had to do. I cut up the credit cards, cancelled all but one, and lowered that one down to a max of $1,000 (again against all the advice because this was going to hurt our credit score). I had to do something drastic otherwise we would never see the light of day again.

Sorry.. I'll have to come back and finish this another day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Freebies at my local grocery store

I have this local store that doesn't take IP's what so ever. So walking in with this one coupon that was printed on regular paper but I had gotten mailed to me from the manufacturer I wasn't sure they would take it. In the end they did take it, but they had to double triple check with a managers manager or something..
♥ 5 KIDS Pert Plus Shampoo $1.99 each used $2 coupons for each. Did not even know these existed!! This is for the kids bags (of course) I have so much Pert for the adults!!
♥ 1 bag of Yesterdays News cat litter $5.49 used my freebie coupon.
I got a few other items.. nothing exciting.. some salsa, some cheese, and some hamburger buns.

I don't ♥ couponing today.. CVS run

Okay as posted below I figured out I had a $5 ECB expiring so I wanted to run and just spend that.. which is what I should have done because I wound up spending that $5 ECB a $5/$30 coupon I got from the scanner, then another $5 ECB and $4.98 ECB PLUS a $10 ECB I got from the scanner for doing a CVS survey! OOOOOOOhhh boy.. so now I have NO ECBS at all!! 0!! If I want to jump back in I'll have to earn them.. wow! First time since June I've had none! I usually try to keep $20 worth of them to roll.. but as one of the girls commented, my stockpile is so large right now there is really nothing I need. I have so much for Christmas gift bags for adults and kids alike.. although I have this weird feeling I'll get done putting them together and find that I bought nothing for the boys or nothing for the girls.. anyway.. here is what I wound up with over at CVS!

Had to use my husband camera phone again, but I did get a comment that his cell phone does take great pictures. It's pitch dark outside right now and I do my pics in the garage because a majority of my stockpile is there. I've found it's just easier to unload the car onto that little table, take the pic, and figure out where everything should go. Anyway... this pic didn't come out as great as my first one earlier today, I turned it on night mode and if I dare move the camera while it was taking the photo it came out really blurry! Oh well.. you get the jist of it.

CVS had some great clearance as well.. and I think everything I got except the candy for my son was actually clearance. All stuff I actually WANTED and some I NEEDED! So in the end I'm happy with what I've bought and have no pressure with ECBS in the coming weeks except now I'll find 100 deals that would have worked if I had a few ECBS to spare. oh well.

♥ 5 photo cubes 99 cents each.. couldn't resist! great "mom" xmas gifts
♥ 4 mini nail polish 49 cents each for the little girls on my xmas list (oops he charged me for 5)
♥ 4 flood lights I'VE BEEN LQQKING 4 ALL WEEK $1.99 each
♥ Witch braids $1.99 an easy "hand out candy costume"
♥ package of pumpkin Luminaria (sp?)$2.49 my path was quite dark
♥ 1 glow in the dark nail polish FOR ME 99 cents
♥ layered candle jar $4.99
♥ peeps 49 cents (ate them on the way home)
♥ Halloween plaque $2.49
♥ Halloween "caution" tape 49 cents
♥ pumpkin spoon rest $1.99
♥ 5 tic tac chills $1.79 each used $1 coupons

$5/$30, $5 ECB, $5 ECB, $4.98 ECB, $10 ECB $3.93 OOP.

my hearts just not in it right now.. do you go through this?

I have $5 ECB from CVS that expires today.. I've heard you can use them even after they've expired but then I've also heard you can't.. so I don't want to risk the chance of losing them HOWEVER, there is honestely NOTHING on either this weeks sale ad, next weeks sale ad (my stores combine on Saturday nights) or even the November ECB deal book that strikes my fancy. There is not one thing in my house I need desparately, and nothing I can think of that would help combine anything from my stockpile to make something amazing.

Sooo I've decided I'm going to take my box of coupons and leave my last month and half of un cut coupons at home and just see what I can dig up. I don't even know which CVS I'll hit considering I have hit/miss problems in all my stores.. so weird. A few stores are never stocked with anything, others it seems that some weeks the other hounders out there forget about a few stores.. but of course it's after I've hunted down that item at 5 other stores, finally got it and then see they've been all sitting happily at the last 7th store that I just didn't feel like driving too. Most of my CVS's are about the same driving distance so it's just a matter of which direction I want to drive... anyway.. I'm off.. let's see what I come back with..

I did take about an hour or longer to look through other sites to get some ideas maybe even a little encouragement.. and seriously.. I don't need anything on anybodies list of things they bought this week.

So the question.. do you have days/weeks/months like this where your heart is just not in it??

another k-mart run

whooo hoo for my husbands camera phone! I borrowed my sister our digital camera because she couldn't find hers and needed to take pics of her sons Halloween costume!

4 A & H Cat litter powders $1.99 $1 coups FREEBIES
4 pairs of Halloween socks $1.49 each (50% off $2.99)
1 pair of Halloween Joe Boxer pants for DH $5.49 (50% off $10.99)
1 Halloween Candle $2 ( 75% off $7.99)
1 Halloween long sleeve tshirt $5 ( 50% off $9.99)
1 Halloween candleholder (orange tube behind TP in pic) $2.49 (75% off)
2 Tweezers $1.99 ea $1 coupons FREEBIE
4 Dove body washes $4.79 $2 coups 79 cents ea
2 Vasaline lotions $2.99 ea $1.50 coups FREEBIE
2 A&H TP 2/$5 $1 coups 50 cents ea
1 Scrubbing Bubbles refill $2.99 $1 coup 99 cents
2 Busy Bone Mini $3.49 $1.50 coups 49 cents ea
2 tic tacs 99 cents .55/2 doubled basically B1G1 free
2 Gronola bars $2.99 ea $1 coups 99 cents each
1 Beef Jerky $3 (hubbie had a made taste for it)

Total was $37.59 ughh way more than I wanted to spend HOWEVER I spent $25 just in Halloween stuff and Beef Jerkey with no coupons. $4.07 just in tax.. so really.. I spent what $8 on everything else? not bad.