Thursday, September 27, 2012

Organizing Papers from School

 
I am sure your family is just like ours and always has a stack of school papers on the kitchen counter or on the dining room table. Here is a great way to organize all of the papers your children bring home from school everyday. I am always looking for ways to organize their paperwork because I want to save some of the things they bring home. This box is a great way to have everything in one place and you can use it throughout their entire school career. There are even some cute printables to help you organize the box. Who doesn't love that? Go get that stack of papers and start sorting and organizing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall is here!

 


Fall is my favorite time of the year and I can't believe that yesterday was the start of Fall 2012. Saw these yummy Pumpkin Brownies and will be trying these soon since they are super easy. Check out the recipe here. These would be great for Halloween or Thanksgiving! Happy Fall, Y'all!!!

Catching up....

It has been a crazy couple of weeks. My son started first grade and "big school," which was much easier for him than it was for me. However, one thing I never realized until it actually happened to us was how your life goes from easy peasy to CRAZINESS overnight once your children leave preschool and go to school all day! I felt like we used to have all the time in the world. Now by the time my son gets home and we do homework and have a snack it is time for supper and baths. We will adjust to this schedule and get the swing of things soon, but it has definitely been an adjustment.

Anywho...enough whining. We have a ton of fresh veggies to eat from our Farmer's Market supply so I am trying to find new ways to eat them. There are lots green beans so we will be eating those a couple of times this week.

Here is what we are eating this week:




Sunday--- Tomato Pie, Roasted Parm Green Beans- http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/11/roasted-parmesan-green-beans.html, faux fried pickles- http://www.thevanillatulip.com/2011/11/cilantro-garlic-ranch-fried-pickles-and.html

Monday--  http://www.stacymakescents.com/fix-and-forget-friday-crock-pot-chicken-fajitas - Crockpot chicken fajitas and Chips and salsa

Tuesday--- Balsamic Chicken- http://maggiesbites.tumblr.com/post/26365768602/balsamic-chicken-asparagus, stuffed sweet peppers- http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1508652/stuffed-sweet-peppers, and green beans (instead of the aspargus)

Wednesday--- Church Supper

Thursday — Homemade chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, Squash Casserole-http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/16220

Friday--- Eating out

 

Breakfast- http://travisjessjones.blogspot.com/2012/03/banana-oatmeal-muffins.html - banana oatmeal muffins. Made two batches of these for the week. I added some chocolate chips ton one batch per the request of my husband. I cut the sugar since I added the chocolate chips and they turned out yummy! Enjoy!! 

Happy Eating, Y'all!!
 

 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Little of This....A Little of That

Howdy y'all......here is what we have been up to lately and some frugal tips...

1- What are we eating this week? I wasn't really in the meal planning mood this week, so we are kinda flying by the seat of our pants. Ain't no shame in that game!

Monday— Basil Pesto in pasta and chicken, salad, bread
(This pesto was soooooooo yummy!!!!)

Tuesday--- Roast Beef sandwiches and fries---- Put a roast and 2 cans of beef consomme in the crock pot and let it cook all day. Shred the meat and reserve the liquid and you have french dip sandwiches. My kids love this and I love that it is super easy!

Wednesday— Chicken enchiladas--- Another super easy recipe: Brown beef with an onion and bell pepper. Mix in a block of cream cheese ( I always use fat free) and then divide and wrap the mixture in 8 whole wheat tortillas. Cover with 2 cans of enchilada sauce ( I use green sauce) and sprinkle with low fat Mexican cheese blend and bake until the cheese melts.

Thursday---  Leftovers

Friday---  Eat out

Saturday--- BBQ and party food

Go here to see what other folks are having this week at Organizing Junkie.

2. We are redecorating our house and I have been on the hunt for rugs. I have found an amazing web site with great rugs----Rugs USA! They have super prices and a great selection. Make sure to register with them and sign in each time you order a rug. You can earn points and use those points to save on future purchases.

Here is our new bedroom rug. I LOVE it!!!!


3. Spray paint is my new best friend!


This is going to go in the living room. We are getting some new furniture and redecorating this room and needed something at add a pop of color. This will definitely pop!


4. I took a sewing class this summer and I am loving being able to make things for a fraction of the cost. Throw pillows are out of control, y'all! For reals.....$65-$125 for a pillow? Umm, I don't think so. I have been making my own for our new sofa in the living room----now we just have to go to Charlotte and get the sofa! Make sure to sign up for coupons from Joanne's and Hobby Lobby and any other craft stores in your area. You can buy fabric for very little money and make things and get a designer look for a fraction of what it costs to buy them in the stores.


I would rather make my own and get exactly what I want for less any day!

5. One of my other sewing projects is window treatments. It is amazing what window treatments and a rug will do for a room----and you don't have to spend a fortune! It also helps that I have a wonderful and very talented friend that came over one morning and the children played while she taught me how to make a professional looking window treatment.

Here is one of my new valences for the kitchen----made from fabric from Walmart. Yes, you read that right....WALMART!


Needless to say....gettin' crafty is messy work so my dining room looks like this--


I am sure my husband loves that he spent all that time building me a table and making me a craft room and I still end up working at the dining room table. Oh well....he loves me anyway.

6. We came in $72 under budget last month......love it! I should be stashing that money away or putting it towards a bill. However, I am sure all of the fabric I have bought the past couple of weeks have taken care of that little chunk o'change. It's ok though because our little house is looking more and more put together. That makes this momma very happy!

7. If you are looking for a way to track what you eat and how much you exercise each day, check out My Fitness Pal. This site is great! You can also download an app that allows you to track on your phone. You can set your goals and MFP tells you how many calories you need to eat each day in order to meet your goals. My favorite part is the app allows you to scan foods and add them quickly to your daily journal. I have used other apps in the past that I paid a monthly membership to use and this is just as nice and useful as those.

Hope you are having a good summer. School will be starting soon here......I have very mixed emotions about that.

Happy deal hunting, y'all!!!!




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Staples Deals

I went to Staples on Sunday and found some more great deals. I love buying school supplies and always try to stock of for the year during the summer when the best sales take place.
I bought:

1 Ream of Copy Paper- $6.99
1 Pack of Pens- $4.00
2 Packs of erasers- $0.02
2 Packs of index cards- $0.02

Total= $11.03
The paper and pens qualify for a rebate and I will be getting $9.99 back! All of this only cost $1.04!!!

Make sure to check out Staples and other office stores each week this time of year. Most of them have rebates and special promotions. You can really stock up and save and by the time you get your child's school supply list, you will probably have most of the things you need.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gettin' Healthy!



I was on Pinterest earlier and found a pin of some great tips from Dr. Oz on ways to be healthier. He includes easy ways to improve your diet and as an added bonus-- shed a few pounds! Who doesn't want to do that? The two that I have started working on are giving up diet drinks and not eating after 8:00. It's really amazing how doing a few simple things can make a difference in how you feel and how your clothes fit. Gotta love that!

Menu Plan Monday


We got a wonderful box full of great fruit and veggies this weekend so I am trying out some new recipes this week! One thing we are going to try is eggplant. I have never been a fan of eggplant, but hopefully we can find a yummy way to eat it so we can enjoy it more.


Monday--- Grilled Pork Chops, corn, and Crustless Zucchini Pie
Dessert- Peach Blueberry Crisp - I switched out raspberries for the blueberries and it was tasty!

Tuesday--- Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan, salad, and bread (I may try the eggplant in this recipe instead of the chicken????)

Wednesday--- Beef and Eggplant Stew, salad, bread

Thursday— Skinny Enchilada Lasagna, chips and salsa

Friday--- Leftovers

Saturday--- Supper Out

What are you eating this week? Go to Organizing Junkie to see what other folks are eating to get some ideas and inspiration!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

This Week's Spending

Here is the lowdown for the spending last week. We didn't do as well as we have been doing with not eating out during the week. We ended up meeting friends for lunch one day this week and got a pizza Friday night for Family Game Night, however, we are still in budget for the month so all is well.

Here is the spending for the week:

Publix Trip #1-
Total Before Coupons: $29.96
Total Spent: $19.17
Total Saved: $10.79

Publix Trip #2-
Total Before Coupons: $58.59
Total Spent: $21.89
Total Saved: $36.70

Bi-Lo-
Total Before Coupons: $93.44
Total Spent: $53.27
Total Saved: $40.17
Earned $0.05 in Fuel Perks

Kroger-
Total Before Coupons: $40.73
Total Spent: $19.30
Total Saved: $21.43

Total Before Coupons: $222.72
Total Spent: $113.63
Total Saved: $109.09

Monthly Budget for Groceries and Household Items: $500
Monthly Budget Before This Week: $278.96
Monthly Budget After This Week: $165.33

Monday, July 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Squash and Ricotta Galette

I am getting back into menu planning now that we are not eating out as much. This has been great because we are saving money and we also know exactly what we are eating. Here is what we are eating this week.

Monday— Squash and Ricotta Galette, salad, and Lemon Bars

Tuesday--- Crockpot Sesame Chicken and edamame

Wednesday— Roast beef sandwiches, beans, and sweet potato fries

Thursday--- Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan, salad and bread

Friday--- Italian Burgers and sweet potato fries

Saturday--- Eat out

Lunch—grilled cheese, PB&J, leftovers

Breakfast- banana oatmeal muffins and cereal


Go visit Organizing Junkie to see what everyone else is cooking this week!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spend, Spend, Spend

We are continuing our spending fast this week and have kept the same challenge of no extra spending Sunday through Friday. I didn't give myself a set budget this week for groceries and household items. Since we are eating 3 meals at day at home, then I am not going to worry if we go over $100 for the week as long as we stay within our monthly budget. We have a budget of $500 for the month that we want to stick to for all groceries and household needs. I figure as long as I stick to that, then we are ok.

Weekly Totals for Groceries and Household spending:

Bi-Lo- Total before coupons: $131.89
            Total after coupons: $ 63.76 plus earned $0.20 in fuel perks
            Total savings: $ 68.13

CVS- Total before coupons: $ 36.25
          ECBs earned: $6.00
          Total after coupons: $ 10.15 after ECBs
          Total savings: $ 20.10

Publix- Total before coupons: $ 79.22
             Total after coupons:$ 48.06
             Total savings: $ 31.16

Other Spending:
Sunday: $0
Monday: $0
Tuesday: $0
Wednesday: $0
Thursday: $0

Total before coupons: $ 247.36
Total after coupons: $ 121.97
Total savings: $ 119.39

Monthly Budget for groceries and household needs: $500.00
Monthly Budget before this week: $398.35
Monthly Budget for the remainder of the month: $278.96

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

School Supply Deals!

This is such a fun time of year because there are tons of school supply deals. CVS will soon have one or two school items each week for FREE after ECBs. Another great place to shop this time of year is Staples. This was the first big week there and I found some great deals.

This is what I found this week:

3 Pack of 5 black Sharpie markers- $1 each for the first 4
Pack of 4 dry erase markers- $0.50 for the first 4
Scotch Super glue- $2.99 (FREE after rebate)
Ream of paper- $6.99 (FREE after rebate)
2 Staples glues- $0.02
2 Roseart 24ct crayons- $0.02

If you make a $5 purchase, you can get these items for $0.01 each:
Staples glue- limit 2
Roseart 24ct crayons- limit 2

My total was- $13.52
Rebate back from paper and super glue- $ 9.73
Total- $ 3.79

This is a great time to stock up on supplies. You will have more than enough for yourself. Use the extras to make fun gifts for your children's teachers or friends and you will still have plenty to donate to school supply drives.

Here is some more info about a great deal on BIC Mark-It markers at Walmart this week over at Hip 2 Save! Some folks said they couldn't print the coupon. I just printed mine without any problems.

Friday, July 6, 2012

We did it!

Our challenge for this week was to go on a spending fast. Our rules were not to go out to eat Sunday through Thursday of this week and spend as little as possible on anything else. I was surprised that it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I gave myself $100 and did a big shopping trip on Sunday to prepare so there was no need to go out for meals.


How did it go?
Number of times we went out to eat Sunday-Thursday- 0
Monday- Spent $1.00 on parking meters downtown so we could go to the library and see a FREE movie. My husband did have to run to the grocery store to get marinade and chicken. We had some friends over for dinner Monday night and I was worried at the last minute that we might need more and we needed marinade for a dish we were taking to our 4th of July dinner. That cost around $13.
Tuesday- NOTHING SPENT!!!!
Wednesday- Had to make an unexpected trip to CVS to get advil and benedryl for my children and spent $1.78 after coupons and ECB's.
Thursday- NOTHING SPENT!!!!!

All in all I think this was a great start and we will now do this more often and for longer periods of time. Normally we go out to eat at least 2 or 3 times a week and I go to the grocery store a couple of times a week. We were definitely more aware of what we were spending-- or more importantly, not spending--- than we normally are during any given week. Now we are ready for our next challenge....hmmmm, what to do? What to do?

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Spending Fast

Ok, so we all know that there are very few folks rolling in the dough these days. My husband and I are doing little things here and there to cut down spending and pay down debt. It is amazing how every little step we make pays off big in the end. You think, "Oh, I am only spending $20 a week on lunches out and a coke here or there or a snack in the afternoon." However, if you and your spouse are doing the same thing, that $20 a week turns into $40 a week, which turns into $160 a month, and $2,080 a year!!!!! WOW! I know I would much rather do something other than buy snacks and drinks every now and then with that $2000. In order to keep finding ways to save money and cut back, we now have days where we each agree to a spending freeze! Yesterday we started our challenge for this week which is not eating out for a single meal before Friday. This is hard for us because there are nights each week where I have a meeting or my husband has something after work and it is just easier to load the kids up and go out for a quick meal. However, I keep reminding myself that if we give up a few meals out now we will be able to pay off our debt, take nice trips later on, send our children to the colleges of their choice, and one day pay off our mortgage!!! That makes these little challenges along the way much easier.

Want to give this a try? Here is what we do:

1- Decide when you will have your spending freeze and make a plan.

2- Set a budget for this time. We are trying not to spend any extra money at all during this week. That includes no extras for the children like movies or activities. This also teaches our children some pretty valuable lessons. For example, they don't need 24 hour organized entertainment. They have been playing with two moving boxes for over an hour this morning in the garage--- I think they will survive this week afterall and figure out ways to keep themselves entertained. We are also using more of the free activities available to us at the library and other places.

3- Meal plan for the week. This is a great way to save money no matter what. Pick one day each week, I ususally do Sunday afternoons, to look through the pantry and decide what you want to eat for the week. Make your grocery list and plan meals based on what you have on hand and what the sales are at the grocery store.

4- Shop one time each week. I do not like to take my children to the grocery store because we suddenly NEED all of these things we didn't need when I made my list. I like to shop in the evening or on the weekends when my husband can watch the children--- not always the best time to shop because of crowds, but it works better than having to explain 100 times why we will not be buying pop tarts and skittles. I also set a budget for my shopping trip. I normally spend between $60-$70 a week at the grocery store. This week I made a budget of $100 for all of our food for the week and some household things we needed.
Here is how we did:
Publix- Total= $83.76  After Coupons= $50.90  Saved= $32.86
Bi-Lo- Total= $53.72 After Coupons= $25.79  Saved= $27.93
CVS- Total= $71.55  After Coupons= 24.96   Saved= $46.59 and got $1ECB and a $10 gas card
Total spent= $101.65--- I was $1.65 over budget, but I don't feel too badly about that since we will not need to do anymore shopping for the week.

5- Use coupons. I know it takes time and can be a pain to cut them out and remember to take them to the store. However, for things like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, condiments, and yogurt it can really lower your grocery bill. We are by no means the healthiest family on the block, but I also don't buy tons of snack foods and junk. There are a lot of coupons for processed foods, so you have to decide what you will and will not buy for your family. If there are coupons for the things you want, use them! When you find a sale on mustard and have a coupon-- paying 20 cents is a heck of a lot better than paying $2. Plus, you can use that extra savings towards fresh fruit or meat.

6- Most important make sure you can stick to the plan and make a commitment as a family to do so. If you are going on vacation, that is not the week to go on a spending freeze. However,if everyone is on board it can be a fun game to see how little you spend in a week. Challenge your husband or children to see who can spend the least amount. That way it feels more like a game instead of a chore and who doesn't like a game where everyone wins in the end?

Have you and your family ever done something like this? Do you have any tips or tricks that worked well for you in paying down debt?

Have fun with it and SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Need Fabric?

There are some great online resources for fabric. Centsational Girl has a wonderful list of online fabric sources here. Most of these sites have sale pages with some really great deals. However, if you are like me, everything that you love will be on all the other pages. FYI---Centsational Girl is a great website for ways to decorate your home for less! She has lots of amazing DIY tutorials and fun ideas.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Saturday ONLY- $1 Flip Flops

Old Navy has all of their solid color flip flops on sale for $1 tomorrow in their stores. There is a limit of 5 per customer and only while supplies last....so make sure to go early!