Monday, January 31

Keys to Couponing

#1 KNOW your prices- There are many ways to do a price book. You can keep it simple or really detailed. I'm still working on the best format for me but here is a great explanation of the price book AND a template to get you started from Centsablemomma.  

#2- STOCK UP when the prices are at their rock bottom low. This means you need to get familiar with sale cyles. (hence the importance of the price book)  I have learned to buy LOTS and LOTS canned veggies in November when they drop to 50cents (or less) per can. NEVER buy them when they are over 75 cents. I'm in the process here but what I have started to do is jot down when the big sales hit (like buy 1 get 1 on roast at HT) so I know how many to purchase in order to fill my need until the next sale.

#3- Know what you can get for FREE. You should rarely to never pay money for toothpaste or dental floss. If you aren't picky about brands you should also be able to get dishwashing soap, hand soap, and deodorant for free. There are some things I am a brand snob about (Charmin toilet paper for one!) I will probably never find Charmin for free but I can keep track and make sure I only buy it when it is priced at the bottom of the cycle. 

#4- Stock up but don't overstock. I am fully aware that many die hards would disagree here (have you ever watched Extreme Couponing on TLC?) but I don't think anyone needs 500 toothbrushes. I don't care if they are free! The stockpile should be enough to keep you supplied until the next sale cycle not until the next millennium

#5- Treat it like a game. Maybe this is where I cross the line but there is a high that comes with walking out of the store with free (or incredibly cheap) products. What other high is legal, good for your finances, and doesn't harm your health in any way? Make it a game and celebrate your success by splurging in another area.
Some people save for the sake of saving. For me, I like to save money on the necessities so that we can have splurges in other areas. We love vacations. We love the beach. We love Disney. The coupon game makes those splurges even sweeter. 

That's about as much knowledge as I have on the subject. I'm not one of the gurus out there but I think I know enough to be a decent gamer. What about you? Have any other tips to share?

Sunday, January 30

Bargain Update

I've recently renewed my couponing commitment.  It was sorta like starting over because I had forgotten so many tricks. As I get back into it I am weeding out my sources. I have found that a good site basically has contributions from other good sites so you don't have to visit them all. Per Ashley's request- here is my updated hit list:

Deal Seeking Mom- This is an all time favorite. Mom has a little bit of everything. She is on top of it. The only con is the amount of posts. I suggest that you subscribe to her daily newsletter. This allows you to scan all her daily posts in your inbox. You don't miss anything AND you don't waste any time. 

Coupon Teacher- Teacher does super matchups.  I love that about her site! She covers both CVS and Walgreens as well as Harris Teeter. The only con is she doesn't cover Lowes Foods. In addition to the match ups she also posts coupon finds, freebies, and basic points of interest in the coupon world.***update--Coupon Teacher DOES cover Lowes Foods!***

I Heart the Mart- This guy has WalMart covered top to bottom.  I snagged some fabulous deals on tissue paper, gift boxes, and other random Christmas stock from his tips.  He has a great $1 section too. No cons with this site.

Totally Target- Just as the title suggests, this couponer keeps us up to date on all things Target.  She covers other deals to an extent but it pretty much is all about Target. Thanks to her tips I have enough mac and cheese for the next 4 months. Some of it I paid a minimal amount for and some of it was FREE. 

There are many many many other sites out there but these have become my main sources of info. I've also started a price list so that I can keep track of rock bottom prices. It's amazing how HT will advertise a "hot deal" that isn't as cheap as WalMarts daily price. 

I'll give you some time to visit these sites and post my key couponing concepts tomorrow. 

Saturday, January 29

Thanks Lisa!

While I would love to take credit for this wasn't my find. Several days ago Lisa (whom I usually just call Crosby) sent me this link. It is an easy peasy set up. Weekly menus are available  for an entire year- complete in a downloadable form WITH a shopping list that is divided by produce, meat, etc. etc. If only she had coupon match ups...

I know what you are thinking....and yes they do look like good recipes. They are simple and *normal type* foods. My love affair started when I read her post about Ro-Tel. Any chick that loves rotel is a friend of mine. The deal was sealed when I saw her recipe for 50s Prime Time meatloaf. Yep. THAT 50s Prime Time diner. Rotel and Disney- the way to my heart. 

Head on over for a  visit. Tiffany will have you cooking up something good every night this week!

Tuesday, January 11

Before / After

 I'll have to go back and see if I can find true "before" pictures. The mantel was brown when we moved in. We didn't waste any time painting that but it took awhile to figure out how we wanted to replace the tile/rock.


This wasn't an "easy" job. Removing the tile was tedious and difficult. However, it seemed easy as Brad moved on to getting the rock off the top. But ya'll know Brad- he gets it done! He gets it done right. 

 And here is the "after." We love love love it. I wish you could see the texture and variance of the stones in the picture. Some are marble. Some are black glass. Some are sea glass. The photos don't do it justice. (yes, I'm going to have to paint those tall candles...we're thinking of a crackled gold--but we can't get to Walmart today because of this ICE storm!!!)

A before close up...
and finally...a fireplace we love to go with a house we love!