Sunday, January 31, 2010

Second Car...To Buy Or Not To Buy?

January 31, 2010

How long does it take you to make a decision on a major purchase? I used to be pretty impulsive I have to admit. That might be why early on I made mistakes with money and credit. But, you know what they say about mistakes...learn from them! My husband on the other hand takes several months to decide on a new pair of sneakers...used to drive me crazy, but I have learned to appreciate his thoroughness.

So I think we are approaching a year on our discussion of whether or when to buy a second car! I have gotten much better at weighing out the impacts of every purchase we make and the time he takes to make a decision on a purchase has helped me improve that skill.

This is actually the second time in our married life that my hubby and I are sharing a car. We carpooled for about 2 years to work together and it wasn't a hardship gave us more chat time. Then we had a few years as a two car family and now we are full circle back with one car again for almost two years now. Seems we haven't had much luck with my husband's trucks!

The good things we have enjoyed from one car have been no car payments, lower car insurance and more family time. I batch my erands so I am not constantly running each day of the week. We have also been blessed with being able to manage between hubby's days off or help from my mom.

Obviously a second car would make things more convenient. We realize that eventually we will need to make that decision, but for now we are not rushing. Our goal is to not add a car payment to our budget. Patience, planning, saving and trusting is on our agenda.

I truly believe that God does not bring us to something that He will not bring us through! Sometimes we tell ourselves we can't manage without something and then He shows us yes we can!

I found a guest post on Money Saving Mom from Frugally Blonde about their one car family experience too!

I would love to hear from you...let me know your thoughts on one car familes!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kidz Pink Room In A Box One Day Deal

January 30, 2010

Is your girlie asking you for a room makeover? Mine is and she is only four...I am in trouble. I guess I need to reduce her HGTV time! Target has great One Day Deals with FREE Shipping online! This pretty pink set includes Storage Box, Memo Board, Lamp, Rug, Coat Hanger, & Clock for $ 65%.

Papa John's Pizza Savings!

Here's a deal for the big game...Papa John's Large Pizzas $10 each your choice of toppings! Order online and use promo code 12610ANY expires 2/7/10 so you should be able to use it that day for Superbowl pizzas!

Kohl's Valentine's Gift Shop Savings!

January 30, 2010

TODAY only take an extra 15% off online at Kohl's Valentine's Day Gift Shop! Use promo code LUV15OFF

Bath & Body Works 20% Savings!

January 30, 2010

Save 20% at Bath & Body Works this weekend only! Online use promo code 20PERCENT and in the store use this coupon! Thanks for passing on the deal Shea!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Grocery Savings Success!

January 29, 2010

I just got back from my grocery trip and for a change I am super excited with how much I spent! I have to thank Erin at $5 Dinners and my nifty new crock pot!

Shea at Will Jackson Eat Dinner? and myself tried the Pantry Challenge approach with our shopping this week. The idea is to use what you have, really dig in to that pantry, freezer and fridge and look for recipes to use it up and save on your grocery trip. That combined with crock pot meals which go farther saved me $118 on this trip! WAHOO! I do my grocery shopping every two weeks so I spent $132 for two weeks of three meals a day for a family of three! Shea shops weekly and saved $80!!

We only bought the items we needed to complete the recipes, using what is in our pantries already. We also used coupons...gotta love them, and deals the stores were running (Shea stocked up on pasta sauce at Target for .83 cents! Add to that the necessities (tp, etc) and we still did great!

I did shift my thinking on what I bought and that helped too! I have to admit it, I love convenience foods...packages of cookies, Easy Mac, you get the idea. So this time I did not spend the $12-$15 I normally do on packages of cookies (that's two weeks and my husband is the cookie monster!), instead I will be baking my own. I also skipped the Easy Mac which costs $3 and opted for the boxed cook it type for only $1.

The lesson here? There is always something to be learned and just when you think you can't trim your budget any further God blesses you with a money saving friend who teaches you that you can!

Are you up for the challenge? Try to clean out the pantry at least once a month and shift that saved money to boost your savings account!

Friday Follow Blog Hop #3

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

FREE Sample Yummo Dog Food

January 27, 2010

Check out my Freebies page to grab your free sample of dog food compliments of Rachel Ray! I use samples as treats for my doggie. Treat your pooch today!

Build-A-Bear Deal

January 27, 2010

Shopping at Build-A-Bear January 28-31? Spend $30 or more and get a Portuguese Water Dog for 1/2 price! You can also get this deal shopping online by entering 94795 promo code at checkout.

YouData MeFile LOVE IT

January 27, 2010

YouData is a really cool way to get paid for viewing ads! I created my MeFile which generates the ads for me to view geared to my preferences in my MeFile. You get paid for looking at what interests you...simple. They transfer what you make each week directly to your PayPal account. There is also a neat widget you can use that has your name and keeps track of your earnings with a "ding" sound for each view. You won't become a millionaire but as every smart mom knows every little bit adds up! Click here to learn more!

Works For Me Wednesday - Buyers Remorse or Stay The Course

January 27, 2010

I love to shop...our budget however is not as affectionate towards unbridled shopping trips. Inevitably I have experienced "buyer's remorse" on more than one occasion. It hits sometimes as I am walking away from the register or once I get in the car. If I am practicing denial that day it won't hit until I balance the checking account.

Now I am not a shopaholic, and no I am not in denial about that! I have learned some good lessons that work for me now though!

As part of our monthly budget my hubby and I have a spending allowance. He has his own checking account and I have mine to put our splurge money in. We do that so that our joint checking account is not seen as a bigger supply of spending money than it should be. Once that month's spending money is gone we have to wait until the next month to refund our spending accounts. This helps us to be a little more frugal with what we will spend our money on.
Part of my strategy for stretching my monthly spending money is to be sure I hit the clearance areas in all stores I visit. You never know what you will find! I bought the cutest dog collar and leash at Books-A-Million of all places and for only $5! I had to take the collar off of her to get the picture because she is like a fuzzy white bear right now!

Another tactic I employ is to take inventory of my cart before heading to the registers. I look at each item and ask myself some questions. How much is this? Is that a good value? How much do I really want this? Do I need this? I also do a total in my head of about how much I have in my cart to better motivate me to maybe put an item back on the shelf. No I am not the notorious person throwing stuff back on the closest shelf to where I am, though I have been tempted to do that, my little girl corrects me saying I have to put stuff back where it belongs and she won't be fooled either!
These little things help me to stay on budget and that always works for me!
I am linking up with We Are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday. Share what works for you by leaving a comment or linking up!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FREE Sample From Kashi

January 26, 2010

Checkout my Freebies page to get your FREE sample from Kashi...there is a yummy sounding dark chocolate coconut fruit and grain bar coming to my mailbox! Offer good through February 14th!

Monday, January 25, 2010

How To Create Your Own Signature For FREE

January 25, 2010

Have you noticed the nifty "signatures" on blogs, posts, e-mails, and websites? Of course they are always so much nicer than our own "real" signatures aren't they? I have seen some super cute ones on blogs and kudos to those ladies that make them as custom pieces.

As a mom who tries to be smart with our family's money I have learned to ask myself lots of questions when I am thinking about spending money. Do I need it? Do I really, really want it? Are there other alternatives that may be less expensive and still make me happy?

So of course I love the custom signatures...but I found an alternative and it is free! I am still exploring HTML code and haven't experimented with adding a picture yet, but I love tech stuff so maybe I will try that eventually. I know this won't be as fancy as the custom pieces but that brings me back to my questions...will this version still make me happy? Yes...for now. ;o)

To create your own signature visit My Live Signature and in a few simple easy steps you will have your own cool signature! Just bookmark the page with the HTML codes for use in blogs, posts, websites and e-mails so you can use it again & again!

I have also played a bit with creating your own buttons...stay tuned for a further post on that!

Mama Guilt Monday

January 25, 2010

I am joining Cop Mama for Mama Guilt Monday. Join in and leave your comments and you can share your own Mama Guilt and link up over at Cop Mama!

I have wanted to homeschool my daughter since before she was born. I love to teach...I've taught before in my previous corporate life. I totally believe in the principles and benefits of doing this with her. We have even done workbooks and had "school" since she was two. And now this fall will be our entry into the homeschool world officially as she will be a kindergartner!

So if I believe in doing this so much what's the problem? First, I am guilty and worried that I will be depriving her of social opportunities that kids get in school. You know like recess and lunch buddies.

Second, it is tough choosing this path when it is against what the majority do with their kids. I have had some friends tell me that they are just not equipped to homeschool their kids...patience is a biggie as I have seen already. I am thankful that we have the opportunity to do this...I just hope my guilt is replaced with reassurance...soon would be good!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blog Hop: Friday Follow Blog Hop #2

MckLinky Blog Hop

Five Question Friday

January 22, 2010

I am joining Mama M. at Five Crooked Halos for Five Question Friday!

Join along and let's get to know one another by answering today's questions:

1. What is better, growing old with out money or dying young and wealthy?
2. Who takes out the garbage at your house?
3. Have you ever had the same dream many times?
4. Can you play a musical instrument?
5. If you owned your own store, what would you sell?

Here I go:

1. What is better, growing old with out money or dying young and wealthy?

Definitely growing old without money! I pray daily that God blesses me with being here for my little girl and allowing me to see her grow up, get married to a Godly husband and have little ones of her own.

2. Who takes out the garbage at your house?

Well...I take it halfway! I get it out of the can and tied so hubby can take it to the can outside...what is that not halfway?

3. Have you ever had the same dream many times?

Yes! I think it is related to me feeling out of control or disorganized because I am driving down the same road and I look out the car window to the field on the side of the road and see multiple tornados coming towards me!

4. Can you play a musical instrument?

No, but I have been trying to play the guitar my daughter got for Christmas!

5. If you owned your own store, what would you sell?

Bags! Totally cute bags of all sizes, shapes and colors!

Thirty One Gifts Sale

January 22, 2010

I love bags! My husband gets nervous when we go in the "purse" department of a store...BUT I follow one rule: If it's not a great deal I won't buy it! So of course I had to pass on a sale on the cutest bags I recently was introduced to...Thirty One.

They have thermal lunch totes on sale for $10 and half off monogramming! Totally adorable stuff:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Deals For You & Helping Hearts In Action

January 21, 2010

Facebook Users: $50 Subway Card
Are you on Facebook? If you are grab your chance to win a $50 Subway Card by becoming a fan by 1/24/2010! There are 10 up for could be yours!

Kellogg's $10 Bonus Bucks
Check out my Rebates page for a great rebate good on electronics, toys, sporting goods, books, concessions and movies!

Kohl's Savings
Planning on shopping online at Kohl's this weekend? Use Promo Code MYJAN15 to save on your purchase!

Cheerios Helping Hearts In Action
Simply enter the codes found on specially marked boxes of Cheerios® cereal on their website. For each code entered, Cheerios®will donate $1.00 to WomenHeart: Providing disadvantaged women with the cholesterol screenings they need.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday

January 20, 2010

I am joining We Are THAT Family for Works-For-Me-Wednesday!

Does it ever amaze you how quickly your little one can "make a mess?" I think my girlie has the world record...within 10 minutes she can effectively cover every inch of the floor with toys of all sizes. This can be a bit traumatic for a neat freak like myself! I am not quite rubbing off enough on her, but I guess we are good for each other!

As a mom you know that it can take longer to clean up the mess than it does to make it! I have a love for many sizes and colors to choose from! Each room in our house has bins cleverly hidden to hold that room's toys. I have to give my girlie kudos...she KNOWS what category of toys each bin is for so when it is clean up time she puts stuff back in its assigned bin! This weekend she was even telling Daddy what toys go in which bins...and ya know how much he loved that!

Another love of mine is an item I can use beyond the next 12 months for her...combine that with bins and it's a love bonanza of organization! I was looking for more storage this month and once again found myself in Target looking at their wooden shelf thingy with the plastic bins. BUT it is $70 and has a pretty limited use for little ones stuff, when my girlie is older I would certainly be told it was too babyish for her anymore! So I didn't buy it again! I DID find a great solution that will grow with her for only $42!

These are pink crates I found in Walmart in the office supply area, four of them turned on their sides. Then I found these clear bins in different sizes in Walmart and added them to the crates leaving room on the bottom to add some books and her doctor gear! The great thing is these can be taken apart and used however and wherever she needs them as she grows! This definitely works for me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tummy Yummy & Saving Cents

January 19, 2010

Hi there! I added a fun recipe for some wafflewiches to my Recipe page. Get creative in the kitchen and change out ingredients to make them work for your family! My girlie is a good eater so we had some fun with cranberries and blueberries and yes this was dinner!

I also made an addition of some resources to my Faith page. I found a good deal on The Love Dare Book too...about 40% off at $8.79 that's a savings of $6! Here is a sample chapter from the book.

Vera Bradley's site is offering 25% off select styles and free shipping 1/20/2010 through 1/24/2010!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mama Guilt Monday

January 18, 2010

The Great Outdoors?

As moms we are all too familiar with "mama guilt". Sometimes the guilt comes from us, other times it comes out of our little one stating a simple fact about us. I got a double whammy as I have been carrying my own guilt about something and then my daughter stated the obvious and "ughh!"

Santa Clause brought my little girlie a pretty new bike this year! The one that has the bike on it for Barbie to ride along too! Santa had told me of his plan and so as the days approaching Christmas got closer I imagined us going for a ride on Christmas and bunches more times after that...I figured daily rides right? OK, at least weekly?

On Christmas morning her face was priceless...and she did get to ride her bike. Doesn't back and forth in a straight line on our lanai and in our family room count? Well, when Christmas night came I thought "shake it off, you can take her out tomorrow."

That bike has stared at me for a few weeks now, layering on the guilt, as we come and go through the garage. She has by the way gotten to do circle laps in the garage on it...I know still not the same.

So this weekend my sweet girlie looked at me and said "mama, you're not an outdoors person." At first I said "yeah, you are right!" Then after the moment passed I started to think about what she said and maybe why she said it. Maybe because I haven't ventured outdoors to ride bikes? I did rupture my spleen and end up in the ICU for a week...running from a bee! This was several years ago and I am better around bees...maybe next time it will be just a trip to the ER and home for me. Isn't it ironic that the stuff we love to do with our kids is easy, natural, and takes no effort or thought...but the stuff we don't particularly enjoy and thus don't partake in is what they really NEED to be doing with us?

What to do? I am a "to do" list person. I love checking off things and feeling a sense of accomplishment...yes even the simple tasks make it to my list so I can check them off! I am going to start making sure that my most important "task" of the day makes it on my to do list more than one time a day. Hopefully this will help me do what I need to be doing with her too, not just what I want to be doing. Wish me luck with the bees today!

Join in on the sharing by commenting or linking up at Cop Mama on Mama Guilt Mondays!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hungry For Knowledge?

January 17, 2010

Hi there! Here's the latest savings deals for you:

  • Get your FREE Taco Bell Fresco Taco...print the coupon from my Freebies page!
  • Check out these coupons on Campbell's soups, Chunky & V8 Fusion Juice!
  • Brainquest..."It's fun to be smart!" $3 Rebate from Kellog's & Brainquest...details on my Rebates page!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

FREE Samples & Coupons!

January 16, 2010

Hi there! You know me, if I don't have a coupon from the Sunday paper I am going online to find one! Here are some items I found to share with you:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helping Others

January 14, 2010

As we all know from the news stories there is a great need for help in Haiti after the quake. Samaritan's Purse was mentioned in an article as a legitimate organization to donate money for Haiti Quake Victims. I have added a link to my Helping Others page, every little bit helps!

I have had the joy in the past of being a part of organizing the collection of shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child for Samaritan's Purse. Simply hearing the radio announcers talk about the emotional experience of delivering these boxes to needy children had me crying in my car. I hope you too will become more familiar with the wonderful work they do and if you have another organization you would like me to add just let me know.

The Number Of The Day Is...

January 14, 2010

10...a little Sesame Street Street "number of the day" for you fun!

  • $10 Off Jeans or $10 Donation to the United Way from Kellogg's! Send five specially marked tokens and the official order form through December 31, 2010. No limit on number of submissions, just do one order form per enevelope. That's alot of pairs of jeans and donations you can take advantage of this year thanks to Kellogg's!

  • 10% off all Crocs orders now through 1/31/10 with code CROCSAFF10 that will maximize your savings on Crocs Deals of The Week PLUS Outlet BOGO offer is good through 1/17/10!

Check out my Blog Page for links to these and more savings deals!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lunch Note Promise!

January 10, 2010

Here is a sweet reminder to do for your kids AND it helps a child in need too! Lunchables is donating a free meal to a needy child for each mom's promise to drop a note in their kids lunch...PLUS they'll give you a $1 coupon too! Check out their site to make your promise and help someone!

Rebates, Coupons & Contests!

January 10, 2010

Hi there! Holiday preparation checklists are done what's next? Cold weather and "The Big Game" to do lists!

Cold Weather
With the cold weather I am sure you are busy keeping up with home and car maintenance...remember to make sure your filters are changed in your home to improve efficiency. I found a rebate for Filtrete Filters...check out my Rebates page.

The Big Game
Whether your Super Bowl Party will be large or small you still have lots to plan...check out this site for recipe ideas from Kraft, a $2 Coupon on Nabisco Crackers and a chance to enter daily for prizes and a chance to win a $44,000 home makover!

Turn Up The Heat...

January 10, 2010 the kitchen! Have you been enjoying some good comfort food with all of the chilly weather? I love finding and trying new I just added a Recipes page to my website to share my family favorites with all of you. It is a work in progress...send me your favorites too and I'll add them so we can all give them a try.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Smart Spending...Sales!

January 4, 2009

If you are going to spend money spend it wisely right? Look at clearance and if you are not shopping manufacturer websites you are missing deals!

Here is another Promo Code for Vera Bradley website purchases for an additional 10% off sale prices good through 1/12/10: winsale09

Bath & Body Works is having their semi-annual sale and are featuring Wall Flowers: 2-Pack Refills for $6 or you can get single bulbs for $3 in stores!

Do you and your kids love Crocs? Check out their website for weekly deals! They are also running BOGO (buy one, get one) Outlet Store sale through this Friday!

Check out the Disney Store online for super deals and clearance on holiday items and more! I found hoodies for kids for $8 - $9!

I hope your goals for the new year have made it to paper (or an electronic file on your computer)...break those big goals for the year down to small steps and post them where you will see them daily! What can you do TODAY towards your goals?
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