Saving Challenge Update #3

savings challenge

 

At the beginning of the month, I challenged our family to 3 month savings challenge – A couple of weeks ago, we did some contemplating about getting rid of our iphones and haven’t done much more thinking about it. Last week was just a super busy week for us but I plan to get back to bugging my husband about the phone situation this week. :)

Snip20150323_621

Here is what we saved last week:

Total Savings $253.42!

Snip20150323_620

 

We’ve been busy busy with building a area for our veggie garden (which will eventually have a door) and can’t wait to get started with planting!

Snip20150323_631

 

How much have you been able to save so far?

Why your newspaper subscription is worthless

Why your newspaper subscription is worthless

Recently, there has been a influx of newspaper subscriptions that haven’t received coupon inserts. The LA Times has claimed to several SCS readers (via customer support) that there has been a shortage of inserts and people are not getting them.

before we get into why this could be.. let us go back 3 or 4 years ago..

I once wrote constantly about why you should get a newspaper subscription. If you want to get your weekly coupons, I suggest skipping the newspaper stands or stores and getting a paper delivered. I suggested this because coupon theft was on the rise. Yes. People steal coupons.

Snip20150323_626

During the extreme couponing hype– I was subjected to coupon theft quite often. I would go to the newsstand to purchase a paper or two, only to find that the entire stack of papers were gone.. or to find that the papers had been searched through and coupon inserts missing. At that point, I assumed that people were catching on to couponing and didn’t want to pay $3 per paper for just the inserts (because when you are a couponer– you don’t READ the paper! ;) ) So, I got several subscriptions that were delivered to my home…

Makes sense doesn’t it? Go right to the source to insure that the money I spend to get inserts is sent right to me. That way, I no longer need to worry about people stealing coupons I need to help support my family.

After awhile, the newspaper companies caught on to the theft in newsstands and stopped putting them in those boxes that you put your money in and made sure to sell them only in the grocery stores. problem solved? nope.

Current day:

Getting your newspaper delivered is no longer a sure bet of getting inserts. Now those that stole from coupons and papers from the newsstands have stepped it up a bit and are going directly to the supplier.

On Instagram–you see several “coupon fairies” posting daily “stops” of where you can pick up and purchase multiple inserts. Then there is a long list of people commenting and supporting the purchase of inserts. No questions being asked of WHERE this person got a trunkful of coupon inserts.  People are making coupon selling a business. Why?

All because you might purchase from them. 

Facebook recently closed a slew of private facebook groups do to coupon selling and purchasing. So, I ask you.. don’t you think there is a problem?

Those that are purchasing papers and trying to obtain coupon inserts the right way will eventually suffer. eventually, you will find that you will no longer be able to get coupons in the paper and your newspaper subscription will be worthless.

This post isn’t meant to deter you from couponing or getting a subscription. It is simply meant to bring awareness that the more we purchase from these “coupon fairies” the more you support and contribute to it, the more the demand will become. They will continue to steal and you will continue to buy. Where the demand becomes so great that those who purchase the newspaper will get exactly what you they are paying for.. just a newspaper.

Nowadays, I still get a paper– it is a hit or miss when I do get inserts but I have stopped fighting it. I no longer ask for redelivery because it never comes.

How do I coupon now? 

Printable coupons 

Cash back offers

Are you noticing this trend? 

What is the big deal with Essential oils?

essential oils

Considering Essential Oils? Be sure to join a informational Facebook group HERE

If you’ve been around the blog for awhile–you know that I’ve started looking at more organic/natural lifestyle. There is a big reason for this.. that I will get into in a later post. One part of my all natural journey is to figure out what the heck is the big deal over essential oils! Through the recommendation of a friend and lots of research… I decided to take the plunge.

Have you dipped your toe in the ocean of essential oils or jumped in headfirst? They have quickly become a go to item for many, and while it may seem like its a new trend truly they have been around for a long time- as far back as ancient Egypt.  Oils like Frankincense, Myrrh, Cinnamon, Lavender, and Cedar wood were given as gifts to kings and other high ranking officials. They were valuable and treasured- for very good reason! Used for everything like bathing, embalming, aromatherapy, cosmetics, medicine, beauty treatments, and massage they were a staple of life even back then.

What can they be used for today?

  • Beauty products- face and body cleansers, shampoos, lotions, bath salts, toothpaste  massage oils, sugar scrubs, and more.
  • Medicinally- For head and toothaches, ear pain, sore muscles, nausea, building up your family’s immunity and on and on.
  • Cooking- Add peppermint to your tea, lavender to lemonade , basil in pasta dishes,  lemon over fish,  nutmeg to cocoa or to your other favorite dishes and beverages for a delightful flavor.
  • Cleaning- Many oils naturally contain antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, disinfecting, and deodorizing properties without toxic side effects! Not to mention they smell 10 times better than their chemical laden counterpart.
  • I have a couple of  posts on all natural cleaning products that I’ve incorporated with Essential oils. Check them out HERE

How do you use them?

First of all I recommend you  use a 100% Therapeutic Grade oil like Young Living. These are proven safe to use orally, topically, or aromatically.

  • Topically- Applied to your body for a variety of internal and external ailments, or just prevention. Got an ache or pain? Young living has an oil for that! Some are meant to be added to a carrier oil such as almond or coconut and some are ok to apply directly.
  • Aromatherapy- Use single oils or a combination to diffuse throughout your home to relax, uplift, or purify. You can also inhale them directly from the bottle or add to the collar of clothing.
  • Internally- Oils can also be used in cooking, homemade medicinal concoctions, oral problems, and more. Use caution and do your research some oils should not be ingested.

[Read more…]

Sorry honey, I can’t be frugal this month

frugal this month

 

Have you ever had one of those weeks (or month) when you feel like you’ve spent too much money? Or everyone is trying to get money from you somehow?

Our family tries to be as frugal as possible.. We budget and save money using coupons. We build our savings and strive to live on less. This month, I have to say–sorry honey I can’t be frugal.

Why? because it just seems that everything is working against us.

I’ll be truthful here.. This month has been brutal:

  • We just found out that we owe quite a bit of money to the IRS (we own a business and are required to fill taxes by 3/15)
  • I got into a accident and have to pay a $500 deductible.
  • We have THREE birthdays this month– which just so happen to be one day after the other.
  • Just got a new property tax bill (special assessment bill that was made after we bought our house)

and don’t forget everyday living bills!

Even though we try to live as frugal as possible– the truth us,  I sometimes end up going to the store without coupons, paying too much for Toilet paper or spending $6 for a pack of Hebrew National hotdogs (yes, that happen) 

I guess my point is, even though there are bad months where it is hard to be frugal — I feel blessed that we are even able to afford the things that we can. While bills might pile up, we are grateful to be able to pay them. All because we were frugal most of the time and always watched where our money was going.

So, take a break. It’s okay if you can’t be frugal this month. :)

15 things you should never buy at a club store

things you should never buy at a club store

Warehouse stores, or club stores are huge for the budget savvy, but if you’re not careful, they can also be a huge money drain. Like it or not, there are just some things that you shouldn’t buy at these types of stores because you can generally find them cheaper elsewhere. Club stores can often charge more for items per unit or ounce and most people don’t notice. More packaging, more shelf space and everything else along those lines all lead to a higher cost for a lot of items. Aside from the outright cost increases, you can also stand to lose big money to waste when buying in bulk.  These 15 items should never be bought at a store like Sam’s Club or Costco…instead, look for deals elsewhere.

Condiments – Unless you have a huge family that really loves mayo- Buying a 3lb container of mayo will only result in waste. Not only will you be wasting the food, but you’ll end up wasting the money you spent as well.

Diapers and Wipes – Buying these in bulk is a good idea, however with coupons you can save a lot more per diaper than you will at a club store. If you’re not in the mood to use a coupon, even buying someplace like Amazon can save you over the club price. Use a membership like Amazon Mom and you’ll save even more. Even buying a generic brand at Walmart or Target will usually save you over a club membership price.

Detergents and cleaning supplies – Again, with coupons, you can usually find these for much cheaper per ounce than you’ll find in a club store. Not to mention the fact that cleaning supplies can lose their effectiveness after long periods of time so storing more than your family will reasonable use just isn’t a good idea.

Books, Music and DVD’s – Buying these entertainment items at a club store can cost you up to 20% more on average than if you used a site like Barnes & Noble, Amazon and especially a store like Half Priced Books.

Clothing and shoes – While it might be tempting to pick up that cute outfit for Little Susie the next time you’re at your club store of choice, don’t. Often, you’ll find that the quality of the item is significantly less than if you bought it at a regular store and by picking up a lower quality item, you’ve just about guaranteed that you’ll be spending money sooner to replace it.

Electronics - The next time you need a new computer, don’t head to Sam’s. Instead, use a site like Tiger Direct or Best Buy to get the best deal. The bundled aspect of the club stores price might seem like a great deal, but when you break it down, you’ll usually see that it isn’t.

Sunscreen – Sunscreen has a fairly short expiration date so again, unless you have a large family, it doesn’t make sense to purchase it in bulk. Instead, grab a bottle at Walmart or Walgreens with a coupon and call it a day. You’ll spend about the same amount of money, but you won’t be paying for quantity that you won’t use.

Paper towels or Toilet Paper  Instead of grabbing your household paper goods the next time you’re in Sam’s, watch your local sale ads. Generally you can grab them cheaper per unit than at the warehouse store. If you’re especially savvy, you can shop Walgreens or CVS and use ECB to get them “free” out of pocket.

Cereal – Warehouse stores are typically right on par with regular grocery stores for cereal prices. Instead of buying in bulk and risking waste, wait until your local stores have a sale and pair with coupons and rewards to save the most money.

Produce – Fresh fruits and veggies might be needed in your menu, but swing by the grocery store to grab it instead. Aside from buying more than you need, warehouse prices don’t change throughout the year…even when something is in season. Instead, the grocery store will lower the price as it comes in season, allowing you to pick it up cheaper.

Canned Goods – Unless you absolutely need a huge amount of canned pasta, picking them up in large sizes will cost you more than you think. Instead, wait until your grocery store puts them on sale and stock up on regular sized cans instead. There is one exception to this one; occasionally you’ll find the regular sized cans in value packs that are a good deal. For these, take the total cost of the package and divide by the number of cans. If your cost is less than what your regular store charges, pick it up. If it’s more, swing by the grocery on your way home.

Ice Cream – Ice cream has a really short freezer life, but most people don’t realize that. After a couple of weeks it starts to taste old and stale so picking it up in large packages isn’t a good idea. Cost wise, you’ll also pay more for it at a club store than you would if you waited for it to go on sale.

Office and School Supplies – Things like printer paper and other office supplies are inflated at club stores. For printer paper, sign up for something like Staples Rewards and use that to get yours cheap. For regular office supplies, wait for back to school sales and stock up on what you’ll need then. You’ll save in the long run by stocking up when they’re cheap.

Furniture – Along the same lines of electronics, picking up furniture at a warehouse store should be on your “no-no” list. To find the deal you want on the pieces you need, check thrift stores and even your local Facebook buy/sell groups instead. If you absolutely must have a brand new item, wait for the furniture stores to have a themed sale, like a President’s Day or Memorial Day sale to get the best savings on new.

Bleach – Did you know that bleach is only good for about 6 months? After that it loses most of its disinfecting properties and can even turn your clothes yellow instead of white. Unless you use bleach every day, buying the large bottle at club prices doesn’t make sense. Instead, pick up a smaller sized bottle that you’ll be able to use before it goes bad.

what do you think? Do you agree with my list?

Savings Challenge Update #2 — Up $262

savings challenge

Two weeks ago, I challenged my family and yours to a savings challenge. Last week, we added $210 cash to our savings account by selling things.

If you are just joining us– we are finding ways to add CASH to our savings accounts. This is a three month challenge that goes beyond couponing.

This week, we added $100 to our savings account and we have $162 in our Digit savings account. (check it out! This is a great way to save cash without thinking about it)   I sold even more items this week. I wasn’t as profitable as last week– but I’ll take $100!

Week #2 results:

Snip20150315_554

 

End of the week total savings is $1038! 

 

Snip20150315_555

 

My next project is to get rid of these two beauties. I’m still in the process of trying to convince my husband to get rid of our iphones. We pay over $200 a month for our phones–and while we loved our iphones– I’m just over them. Saving $200 a month could go a long way– plus, I could sell our phones and get some cash money for them. ;)

We’ve been researching different plans and I’m on my way to convincing him that he can live without. :) I will have to update you on my progress ;)

Want to join the challenge? Check it out HERE

did you sell anything this week? Did you join Digit?

When you choose to be happy, rather than rich (How you can live on one income)

How to live on one income

 

There are many families who actively choose to have one parent stay at home with the children while the other works outside the home.  Can You Find Financial Freedom On One Income? Quite simply the answer is yes you can. However, the sacrifices involved in this choice may be tough for some families. It is a matter of what is ultimately the most important thing to you. Would you rather do without some things now for financial peace later, or struggle with finances both now and later?

Snip20150310_494

 

Many years ago, I struggled with this. I longed to stay home with my kids and watch them grow–  it was just something that I wanted to do. My husband was working full-time and made about $40,000 a year… not bad for a family of four, with one car, in a two bedroom apartment. I was also working in a restaurant and had to work long nights, all holidays and missed spending that time with my two boys.

So, we made the choice. I chose to be happy (something that was important to me) rather than live on two incomes and be able to afford the luxuries of life. No, we couldn’t buy EVERYTHING we wanted.. but we did just fine living on one income and most importantly, we were happy.

This post is not about the single parent, or single individual operating on a singular income. This is about the family with children who chooses to have one parent working full time while the other parent stays at home to raise the children. These suggestions, thoughts and recommendations are made with that in mind.

What it took for us to live on $40,000 a year:

Learn to do without frivolous expenses. There are a lot of things that we get accustomed to having that simply are not necessary. Things like the weekly take out, or going out to a new release movie. New clothes every season, or a fun pair of shoes that you saw on sale. While these are not unreasonable items to spend your money on, they are items that you are not going to suffer without. You will be able to enjoy life and have fun without them. You’ll just have to do so in different ways.

Seriously stay within your budget. Often we set a budget but have wiggle room, or skip outside the lines from time to time. This is a time when you really must stay within your budget. One small slip could send you into a financial tail spin. With the goal of savings and finding financial freedom in mind, it is important to focus on the big picture and not just the immediate desires.

Change spending habits. This is the time when you really have to look at your spending habits with an honest eye. Look at what you spend money on that could be considered conveniences. Work to communicate with your spouse about better choices and put them into place. Hold each other accountable in the process. We also started couponing– and saved thousands of dollars over the course of 5 years.  It took a couple of months to learn how to really save–but after we learned, we were saving all the time.

When you choose to live on one income, you are already getting your spouse and children involved in your financial life. Everyone must be on board to make this work. You must also be willing to make some sacrifices to find financial freedom on one income. The end result will be a much more rewarding life with your family.

Have you taken the leap to live on one income?