Sunday, February 28, 2010

Printable coupons

Don't forget to print your coupons from There are a few awesome coupons right now that may be gone tomorrow. Don't forget to print the pepperidge farm goldfish coupon $0.75/1. This will make for some very inexpensive snacking.

Living for less: Clothes

I was putting away laundry today (or just about any day). But, today inspired me to write a post about how we save money on clothes. I love clothes. Especially kid clothes. When Isaac was born I went way overboard buying him clothes. I've learned a few lessons since then, so I thought I would share them with you.

Know your clothes.
Know what you have and what you need. One of the biggest mistakes I made was buying too many of something and not enough of something else. Since I buy out of season (we'll talk about that in a minute) I have to keep track of what I have and need to make this work. If I realize I have 15 T shirts for next summer I don't need to buy more. Even if it is a really good deal.

Keep in mind what you need for your lifestyle. I am a stay at home mom when I buy clothes for myself I have to keep in mind my profession. It doesn't make sense for me to have all dry clean only blouses when I will be covered in snot and puke by noon. (sorry for the visual) So I stay on the look out for cotton T's and lots of them. I go through a lot of shirts so if I can find a really good deal I snatch it up. Our church does not dress up for our weekend gatherings. I like to have nice clothes, but we are not in need of suits for the boys or lots of dresses for me. My husband, however, wears shirts and ties to work with dress pants so I watch for those things for him.

You have to know what works for you. For my boys I like to have variety. I usually have around 7 pair of jeans and 15 play shirts, 4-6 dress outfits (Khakis and polos or sweaters), some really gross play clothes for painting or muddy days, and of course sweat pants and comfy clothes.

Buying ahead

Saving money on clothes is not hard, but it requires some planning. Watch clearance aisles for  off season merchandise. Typically a child will be in a size for a full year (2T and up). If your child seems to grow quickly take that into account.

This is where knowing what you have and need comes into play. If you are just getting started have a good idea of the types of clothes you need in a wardrobe. If you are just filling in blank spots  have an idea of how many of each item you need. Also, keep in mind color. Do you want all pink or all blue? I try to have some bright colors for when we are out in public. (It's easier to see my kid at a play ground if they are in neon. )

Coat, swimsuits, backpacks, and other seasonal items are especially good to find at the end of each season. These items can get pricey, but drop dramatically when on clearance because they want to move them out quickly.

Also, keep in mind special events. Asher is going to be a ringbearer in his Aunt's wedding. So you better believe after Easter I will be at those clearance racks looking for a suit or tux for cheap. I also try to buy Easter and Christmas outfit after each holiday. Watch for sets because sometimes they are super cheap and you can break them down into pieces you may use more often. One year I found sets at JC Penney's for $6. They had dress pants, dress shirts, and dress coats. Isaac wore his wool peacoat today to church.

Some of my fave places to catch sales are:
Children's Place- There stuff goes from the floor to clearance very quickly. Plus they have lots of coupons floating around to sweeten the deal. If you have one close check out the outlets. I have found some amazing deals there. Bonus, super super cute.

JCPenney- Not going to lie, this is my fave place for me. I find some really good deal on clearance here. Again, lots of coupons. Their kids section is also great. If you need play clothes. Watch the okie dokie brand I find it under $1 frequently.

Target- I love just about anything at Target. Some of the sales are awesome, some not so much. Really watch what discount you are getting. They do switch through things quickly though so if you love it. Grab it. It may not be there next time.

Hand me down happiness. 

This may be a no brainer, but accept hand me downs!  I'm fairly picky, but we have been given some great stuff secondhand. Spread the word that you are happy to take handmedowns. A lot of people would rather pass on out grown goodies then send it to Goodwill. I have been surprised by who it is that has given us stuff. We have been given entire wardrobes for a full size. What a blessing. Plus, if you get a lot for free it gives you more freedom to splurge on something you LOVE that isn't on sale.

Don't underestimate the wonder of a garage sale. Holy cow, I have found some great stuff at a garage sale. Just remember to really look at an item. Is it torn, stained or damaged? If you wouldn't buy it in a store don't buy it at a garage sale. Just becase it is cheap doesn't mean you have to take it home. Remember to know what you need and stick with that.

Thrift stores are honestly a great way to save, but my least favorite. I hate taking the time to sort through everything, and honestly I have found better deals on clearance racks some times. Don't get me wrong. There are deals to be had. And lots of them. Just be aware it may take more time to find what you are looking for.

How do you save money on clothes? Do you have any great tips? I'd love to hear how others keep this end of their budget down.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cheap lunch+good cause= YUMMY

Noodles & company is offering a great deal! If you live in Cinci, Dayton, or Columbus you can get a very cheap lunch for a good cause tomorrow and Monday (2/28 & 3/1). Bring in a jar of Peanut butter or Jelly and get a FREE sandwich duo. All the donations will go to local food banks. Go here for more details. I know I'm excited. I've been wanting to check out Noodles & company so this looks like a great time to do it.

Thanks, Amy!

Lowe's buil and grow workshop

Today Isaac and Dan went to Lowe's for a build and grow workshop. Isaac had a blast. They built a Lowebot which is a car that turns into a robot. Isaac was very excited that he got to use a hammer. (Scary, I know). Isaac could not stop talking about what a great time he had. Plus, time alone with Daddy is very special. 

The only problem I had was that we preregistered, and still we missed the first class. I wish they would have let you know that more than 50 could register and you just have to get there early to get a spot. Dan got there on time, but he was 2 people away from being in the first class. Luckily they did have another class immediately following. ( I didn't know that there were two classes.)

I did love that it was FREE. What a great deal it was too. Isaac got an apron, safety goggles, a certificate, a badge for completion, and of course the project itself. Aside from the wait this was an awesome time for the guys. I am signing  him up for the next workshop. Which is a table top basket ball hoop. I know that will be a hit as well.  

If you have a little one who would enjoy this check out the site for a participating Lowe's near you.

Thanks, Amy

Freezer way

I love the idea of freezer cooking. I love cooking so a day full of cooking doesn't sound all that daunting, but coming up with recipes I like that freeze well does seem daunting. I do like casseroles, but we aren't eating as much as we used to now that we are watching our weight and eating healthier. I really don't mind cooking and most days it fits well into my schedule. So, I don't really need a freezer full of ready to put in the oven food. However, I can make my life easier by pre cutting chicken, doubling a recipe and freezing half, or soaking beans to freeze and use. Essentially, I'm making my own convenience foods. So all that being said, here is my plan for a freezer day.

Pot pies (X2)
cubed and cooked chicken breast (4 bags)
Vegetable stir fry (1 bag)
Cookie mix (X4)
Baked potato soup (X2)
Black beans (1 bag)

This may not seem like much, but it will be helpful for times when I need a few less steps. My plan is to get these done by Monday. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Watching my weight the saga continues

Well, I'm really not seeing a huge change in numbers. So far my grand total lost is 15lbs. That is a good start. I would like to see at least 45 more lost by Thanksgiving, but we will see. I know that healthy weight loss is about a pound a week. I"m trying to remember that. I am enjoying eating some healthier foods and working out more. I'm hoping to get to the gym more than I have lately. I have not been good about going with the snow. Just wanted to keep an update as I go. Hopefully, soon there will be more to report.

Grocery budget check up

This year I have been tracking my savings to see exactly how much I am spending and how much I am saving. After evaluating our budget and goals we have decided to up our budget to $250 monthly. Now that Levi is fully on formula we needed some wiggle room. Plus, with trying to eat a bit healthier and switch to more organics (specifically dairy). I was curious to see how I would do.

In January we spent a total of $258.87 with a savings of 43%. This month we spent $275.66 with a savings of 51%. I did stock up on a lot of meat this month so I think that is where my overage is. Hopefully this coming month will be a little better. I have noticed that I'm making a lot healthier meals. I noticed the junk food shelf of my stock pile has gone down while the health food section is growing. I'm glad to feed my family food that is better for them. It is definitely worth a little extra. 

Little blessings

Isaac had Tuesday school today. So that means we have to be out the door no later than 8 to pick up Brody and get there in time to unload and have my train of children in class. I was so tired, and I would have over slept, but Bayley decided to bark at something and wake me up. May not seem like a blessing, but I needed it.

Then we get everyone to school and I got to go to the gym and have a few minutes just to move a bit. That is just a nice feeling. Then we went and got Asher's haircut. They didn't have time on the books, but we sat for a few minutes and the appointment didn't show so he got a hair cut. (He looks so handsome now.) That is a blessing because had we not got in we would have had to come back and messed up naps making the rest of the day poopy.

Once we got to Tuesday school to pick up the boys one of my friends had a bag of bottles and formula samples for me. YAY!!! Then when I was waiting in line another friend asked me if I liked coffee because Starbucks gave her a free caramel cappuccino. HOORAY! Asher started throwing a temper tantrum so I was attempting to carry him out in one hand and levi in the other while still trying to herd the older boys to the van. So, by the time I got to my van I could have been very frustrated, but I had coffee so the screaming from the little ones in the back was almost completely drown out by the YUM of my drink. I didn't want to even think about how many points were in the cup until I looked at the label and it said LIGHT.   AMAZING!!

Plus, the boys went down pretty well for a nap and I got to watch a show on DVR so today has been full of little blessings. God is good in everything. Even the little things.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Free Bible for busy mom

Hurry and check this out. The first 5,000 moms who register will receive a free bible for busy moms. I'm a busy mom who loves the Bible so this looked pretty exciting. :)

Thanks Beth!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hooked on Phonics deals!

I love hooked on Phonics! They have wonderful products that are fun for kids and easy teaching tools for parents. Right now they have this 1st grade math and science kit for just $29.95 (down from $127.95). Plus, use the code slick50 for an additional 50% off your order. Check out the clearance section for some other great deals!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Betty crocker, chex mix, and salad, OH MY!

I know I just posted about the lack of sales this week, but I have found a few freebies. Freebies always make me happy. This week at Meijer when you buy5 select Betty Crocker products you get a $3 catalina. Right now BC potatoes are on sale 5/$3. So, buy 5 get a $3 coupon. Buy 5 more use your coupon. Lather rinse repeat. Free potatoes!

Chex mix is on sale 5/$5 use $.50 coupon here doubles to $1. Free Chex mix! We love this because we have students over and it's a quick snack to share with them. At my Meijer only 2 coupons double at a time so do several transactions if needed.

Dole salad is on sale for $1 also. Use $.75 coupon here to get it free as well. It is only the iceburg lettuce, but hey it's free!

Monday, February 15, 2010

sales stink

Well, this is the second week in a row that sales are not too exciting. Luckily I have a stockpile and this has been a good time to work through this. It has also been good to just get a handful of dairy and produce items. I'm still trying to figure out what eating healthy within our budget looks like. I've had several different people give me some great ideas. Now it is learning how to apply what works for our family and in our budget. I've been able to find a lot of organics at decent prices. Meijer has an organic brand and it tends to be pretty competitively priced. As I was looking at this week's menu there is a lot of pizza or pizza type foods. But that is a lot of what I have had on hand so it is what we will eat this week. I'm also hoping to get some serious soup cooking done this week. We have been eating through most of what I had frozen and I've been given some really good recipes I want to try. So here is my meal plan for the week:

French toast
PBJ, raisins, cheese
BBQ chicken pizza, fruit salad, peas

Chicken nuggets, cottage cheese, green beans
Stuffed bread

Pigs in a blanket, carrot sticks, string cheese
House church

Bagel pizzas, applesauce, peas
Potato soup

Cinnamon rolls
Pot pie or leftovers
Pizza (Isaac's birthday)


youth group

I'm planning on hopefully doing a day of cooking and freezing soup too. Here is my list to make
Baked Potato x2
Tortilla x2
Chicken noodle
chicken broth

Whole wheat bread rolls
Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

So the sales stink, but we will still have lots to eat and hopefully I can clean out my pantry to prepare for some good sales to come. Positive thinking, right?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wags deal

Moneysavingmom has the scoop on how to get 15% off at Walgreens tomorrow and get a free photo collage. Check it out here.

Isaac says the funniest things!

So, last night we were on our way to house church. We were going to a friend's house who didn't have kids so each of the boys picked a toy to take. Isaac took his laptop. During the trip Isaac started asking questions

Isaac- Dad, are we going to house church tonight.
Dan- Yes, Isaac.
Isaac- Are we going to talk about Jesus?
Dan-We can talk about Jesus with you tonight, yes.
Isaac- Oh, no, I forgot my Bible! Oh, that's ok (opens toy laptop) I'll just go to and then we can talk about Jesus. Ok, Dad.

No, we have never said anything about Where does he get this stuff?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Weight watching update

Ok, so I haven't updated much because, well there hasn't been much to update. I took a week off last week from counting points, but stayed the same weight. The weeks before that I was counting points and working out...stayed the same weight. I'm a little frustrated. Especially since my hubby who joined me on this has lost almost 20lbs and is where he was when we got married... I'm not bitter, why? Anyway, Plugging along working toward a on so forth.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Need more coupons?

Check out this post on how to get 5 that's right 5 $30 coupon books! There are some great coupons in this book so snag yours quick.

Menu vs. Money

So, on my quest to be the woman I want to be I find a dilemma. I love to menu plan. I enjoy cooking, I enjoy the grocery list and the coupons, (I know I 'm a freak). I love the thrill of getting a boat load of groceries for under $20. I find myself almost giddy to bring home a freebie even if I don't need it. If there is a sample I sign up for it. IF there is a coupon I print it, clip it, or load it. I do a pretty good job of sticking to my $50/week goal. I feel confident in my budget. I love stockpiling and yada yada yada.

However, I find myself asking if I am eating the best I can on my budget. I used to have some hard fast rules that were never broken that I find myself bending when I can get it for free. No high fructose corn syrup, unless, of course, it is free. Then I'll take ten. Only whole wheat bread, unless the other stuff is on sale and I can bring it home for 1/10 the cost of the whole wheat. So, what is a girl to do? Sacrifice health for budget or vice versa...

I realize that at this stage I'm not sure we can afford to go completely organic cutting out all antibiotic, hormones, and steroids. But is there a middle ground some where between whole food and junk food? Balance has never been my strong point. I get really wound up and I am kind of all or nothing. And unfortunately, if I fall off my bandwagon I fall hard and fast. I go from diet to eating the whole pint of ice cream in one sitting.

So, I am starting on a quest to see if I can eat well within my budget. I'm going to start by going back to some basics. Whole grains (we still do this most of the time anyway.), no high fructose corn syrup (unless it is already in my house.), eat as fresh as possible and organic when affordable. I know this doesn't sound very drastic, and honestly it isn't. I just want to be more aware of the food I am feeding myself and my family. I want to do a better job of just being aware of what I am eating and how it could affect our health. Ok, I'm getting off my soap box. Time to make dinner. :")

This weeks grocery bill...

This week was a fun week for sales. Combine the free cheese at Meijer on Sunday. Plus, the mega event at Kroger, and of course the pillsbury catalina at Meijer and it made for a good savings week. My total before coupons was $146.95 and I spent $32.74. With that I also stocked up on a month's worth of chicken. YAY! Not too bad. I didn't get pictures taken this week, but I wanted to share how I did anyway.

Free food

Tomorrow it is rumored that Burger King is giving away free breakfast sandwiches during breakfast hours. I'm pretty pumped about this because there is a playplace in our BK so I can wear the kids out pre nap. YAY! As always call ahead to make sure your BK is participating.