I don’t always have it together…

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If you may notice– there are some days where I get quite a few blog posts up. Some days, I get just a few. You see.. I’m not the super woman that you might think I am :) The last few weeks, I’ve been putting in a lot more time in the gym (which takes away from blogging) and getting our garden together (huge deal for us to get those veggies growing) and sometimes things just don’t.work.out.

A lot of people ask.. How do you do it? How do you blog, manage a household AND go to the grocery store to find deals? The truth is……

 

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and sometimes, I drink coffee at 8pm to get caught up.

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I can be all things to all people…

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See these kids? They are my life.. They are everything that I inspire to be, I love them.

Lately, I’ve suffered a burden. The “I can be all things to all people” burden. Actually, the last five years I have suffered that– see, blogging is more than a full time job. Its almost a 24hour type of job. In the very beginning, as a deal blogger– you sat down at your computer for hours and hours at a time. Trying to be the first blogger to post a “HOT” new coupon… you always had to be the first to post something because if not, it would be old news– and no one would visit your blog. Truth is.. I sat down at my computer on average of 10 hours a day. 7 days a week. for almost five years. I’ll tell you what.. the pay of a blogger is not worth the 24 hour schedule.

Being a “deal blogger” as people like to refer it to– is actually a lot less popular now. People are moving on from coupons and finding new ways of saving money– I bet there are a couple deal blogs that you follow that have changed drastically within the last year. Why is this? because it is absolutely exhausting. 

So what have I done? I’m simply taking a step back from the daily grind of being a blogger.. I’m not going anywhere but I am going to post less– probably not answer my email fast enough. I will be working on more meaningful content. I don’t know if you’ve noticed–but I LOVE to write. I LOVE to garden and I am passionate about helping others use money wisely.  

I will still post deals–maybe 5 or 6 a day. Not nearly as much as last year (10-15 a day) and you will see more of ME.

However, I do have one announcement:

Sadly, last year was my LAST Black Friday/Cyber Monday adventure. I will no longer post endless deal after deal during that time. I won’t refrain completely but you might see one or two deals that I just can’t resist to not share. 

The reason for this is a hard one. Even though I’m happy to find these deals for you.. They are a true burden to me during the holidays. Sitting hour after hour waiting for the best deals on select hot items of the year.. I miss out on a lot during the holidays.  My days turn into 18 hour days.. my family suffers, my wellness suffers.

I totally understand if you aren’t interested in some of the things I have to say.. that is okay, I’ve tried to understand that I can’t help everyone.

Now you must know I am so very thankful for all of you – my readers, because when I’ve let  SCS slip a bit and not allow it to be the focus of my attention you all have been faithful to visit the blog and support me.  When I take hours off at at time on random days to do some crafting.. you told me you weren’t going anywhere.  So for that, I say a big HUGE thank you.     

 PS: everything will stay the same here on SCS. Just less posts and WAY less holiday deals.

I haven’t told you the whole story….

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Has there ever been a time in your life where something just makes sense? It makes so much sense that you wonder why the heck you didn’t see it in the first place? Maybe what some call an epiphany?

I realize that when I announced that SCS would be taking a more all natural/organic route, it was really abrupt and maybe confusing to you. However, I promise there is a reason for this! :)

8 months ago, we took our three boys to the dentist for a routine cleaning. Our oldest was the only one that I knew was going to have some issues– the poor guy has teeth that don’t fit his mouth and they are growing all over the place! During the exams, the dentist went through each boy and surprisingly, the oldest besides the obvious issue of him needing braces was checked out just fine.

The four year-old was another story.

The dentist let us know that he had a few cavities… okay, I was expecting one of the boys to have at least one– Teeth brushing is extremely important in our routine. Mostly because I am a freak about teeth and because I’ve always had a stigma about the dentist and not being blessed with the best teeth– I absolutely dread the dentist.

“He has eight cavities and it’s very possible that he needs a baby root canal” the words from the dentist.

WHAT?!

Honestly, I was about to cry. Firstly, I felt like a terrible mother– I don’t know what I had done wrong. Being that I was so diligent about the health of their teeth I felt like I failed. I hated the thought of my 4 year-old needing fillings and the thought of a root canal? I was pretty much terrified.

I had let the dentist know that we were doing everything right (or at least thought) and I asking him how we could avoid this for the future. Of course, he said the usual things like brushing/flossing..etc. As we were talking, I don’t know what had striked the conversation but he mentioned that he had several kids who had problems with cavities due to vitamins. Particularly gummy vitamins. I was thinking to myself.. what? how does that make sense–vitamins are supposed to be good for you! He went on about how he doesn’t suggest any type of gummy vitamin due the sugar content and the vitamin sticking to your child’s teeth. He said it takes only 20 minutes for bacteria to thrive and start spreading while on the leftover gummy vitamin pieces.

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Then it hit me. Every.single.day. we give our kids gummy vitamins– ugh. The most frustrating thing was that it was so obvious when he said it. How could I not realize this?? Worst of all, how could someone else control the fate my kids health? I gave my kids something that I thought would make them better.. instead it cost us quite a bit of money and pretty much erased all of the work we had done in trying to keep our kids teeth good. Even though it is a small thing, it is a big wake up call for us. It all made sense after that. We were feeding our kids unnatural sugars and dyes– I was letting them ingest things that shouldn’t be in something that you consume!

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Long story short.. our 4 year old had two root canals the next week. He also had to have 4 fillings… for me, the whole procedure wanted to make me cry.. He is a strong-willed little guy and didn’t do so well.

From that point on– I’ve decided to look more closely at what we are putting in our bodies. We’ve gotten rid of the vitamins .. I’m looking into more natural forms of preventive care and just trying to be more aware of what we are consuming. This is just one reason why we’ve decided to try Essential Oils and go more organic.

So there you have it. My epiphany.

After that experience, I continued to blog about things that I didn’t feel 100% about. Certain products and food items. it actually made me blog less. made me depressed. I won’t lie– most of the reason I continued to blog was because this blog is powered by YOU. I felt if I stopped talking about all the free pads, free marchuan bowls, free toothpaste that you  would stop visiting. If you stopped visiting the blog– it would probably shut down because it costs quite a bit of money to run… (If I didn’t post anything on the site–it would still cost around $500 a month to run, then when you add in other things like the coupon database and tech support.. it is upwards of $1000 a month) I personally don’t have that much money just to keep the blog running just because. So, I blogged about the things I know that you all liked seeing… so you would come back and help it keep running.

After awhile, I started to feel like a cheat and that I wasn’t being true to myself.  After several conversations with my husband, conversations with mentors and friends.. I decided to take a different turn.  and hope that you would stick around. :) It just made sense to me– with all the changes in couponing and store changes in So Cal I was ready to find different ways to save and coupon for less processed food items. Things I had control over.

That is my story. :)

feelings.

I’ve written this over and over in my head. I’ve deleted and re-written soooo many times in the last 2-3 months….  but for some reason I just can’t find the right words to to describe what I’ve been going through. I feel as though I will disappoint a lot of you after you read this.. But maybe some of you will appreciate the new direction that I will be taking.

Here is the story:

I started this blog because I longed to stay home with my little boys. At the time, I was pregnant with my-now 5 year old and I thrived to be a stay at home mom.  So, I did something crazy.. I quit my job to be a stay at home mom. A family of 5.. living on $35,000 a year. Did it happen? YES. Why? because I pinched every.single.penny. I blogged about how I pinched every penny. I blogged about how I paid less than $30 for a six month supply of diapers.  Even though no one was reading– I thought for sure that someone would and would find my posts helpful.

Fast forward to August 2011… Extreme Couponing became a HUGE turning stone for Southern Cali Saver. MANY of you found my little ole blog because of it and I’m grateful for that.  I wasn’t a fan of Extreme Couponing because it pretty much ruined the couponer name. There have been so many changes in the couponing world since the show aired– coincidental? I don’t think so.

Now, in 2015 things have changed. The “couponer” is something completely different compared to back in 2009 when I wanted to do nothing but take care of my family.

  • Couponers have a stigma of being greedy, demanding and aggressive.
  • It’s harder to collect coupons due to theft.
  • Couponers are going to jail due to fraud.
  • couponers rely on purchasing inserts and single coupons to get a deal.

You see, with all the negativity.. my passion for couponing has decreased almost more than ever. I’ve always promoted nothing but positive couponing and really try to teach people the RIGHT way to coupon but I think the negativity has overcome me at this point.

What does this all mean? 

I am ready to focus on MORE than couponing.. I have a NEED to help you save in other ways, like saving money by meal planning, how to eat organic  and how to help you budget . I want to go back to my roots of sharing my shopping trips and sharing more of my personal experiences with money.

I won’t stop couponing though. Just on a more milder level. I only buy what I NEED– I don’t run out and do every.single.deal. I will still share deals, match ups and coupons, meal plans, weekly wallet watch. The only difference is that you won’t see every money maker or freebie. One thing I want to focus on is saving money on organic and All natural. Our family is going through changes in our life and I’m trying to fit almost 90% organic into our budget. I’d love for you to join us in this journey! I also want to find more deals that don’t require coupons– like Amazon Food deals, which will come straight to your door! :)

 

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The picture above is my motivation wall in my office. The quote that sticks out A LOT to me is “do what you love, love what you do”.  I have this on my wall but I feel like I am a total hypocrite when I sit down to blog sometimes.

I’m excited for this “new” Southern Cali Saver. I imagine that a lot of you will not like this change–change is hard. This entire post is hard for me to even write. I know that I might lose some of you for what I’ve said but I can’t be true to myself If I’m living a lie.

 

 

 

Escrow, a trip and crazy life

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I just thought I’d take another quick moment to let you all know what’s been happenin’ in this crazy life of ours. I think the biggest part of it is that we are in ESCROW! and I might add that we are about 15 days away from closing… and our home is a new build! Meaning, it is brand spankin’ new… we looked at SO many homes and honestly, we weren’t happy with any of them. When we first started looking back in March, we looked into a new build and thought for sure that it was just too expensive due to high taxes on most of them…so we pretty much ruled new homes out.

Then, one day after we made an offer on a home, our realtor said– “lets go look at this other homes that supposedly, have lower taxes” Sure enough, the tax rate was just 1.6% instead of the 2% that most of the new homes in our area. This was great news for us as really wanted to a new home! Anyhoo– Here we are now.. just 15 days until closing–we are over the moon excited.

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Last month we took a trip to New Orleans where my husband is from. We took the kids and made a fun family vacation out of it. My husband is from a small town called Pointe a la Hache, which was severely damaged by hurricane Katrina. He hasn’t been there since and it was great to meet his extended family finally.

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We are also huge Saints fans an we got to see the Saints-Vikings Game in the Super dome which was an awesome experience as well.

Holidays…

Okay, so when did it suddenly become October?! This year has gone by so fast– and it is already time to start thinking about the holidays. Over the next few weeks, we will see more and more online deals, shopping discounts and next thing you know, we will be in full swing holiday shopping and drinking  hot pumpkin spice lattes. If you haven’t already, I urge you to join the Southern Cali Saver Black Friday Facebook group! I will be in full deal posting mode and sometimes there will be time sensitive stuff that I will post in that group only. So, if you don’t want to miss out–be sure to join here.

Also, thank you all for being such huge supporters of the site. SCS would not be what it is today if it weren’t for you! Everyday I am grateful for the time you spend sending me deals, email and just leaving comments. I am forever thankful for every single one of you.

Here for you always,

Josie 

Update on life: house, stuff and books

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If you’ve been following me for sometime–you know I like to add these little blurbs in on the blog about me. I don’t like to talk about myself much but I like to share pieces of my life with all of you to let you know that there is a person behind the computer… not some automated deal machine. ;)

I mentioned several weeks ago that our house hunt has been put on hold due to identify theft/tax fraud. Long story short, we had a house.. but found out right before closing that the loan could not be funded due to the fact that our 2013 tax transcripts were not available (who know there was such a thing?!) Tax transcripts are basically a piece of paper from the IRS clarifying that you filed your taxes however, it is the *official* taxes with finalized numbers of your income and such.

The reason the IRS had not provided a transcript was due to the fact that there were duplicate returns under my husbands social security number. Which means, someone had filed taxes under his name electronically BEFORE we could file our taxes. Anyway.. So our house hunt came to a complete stop. The good news is, the IRS has cleared the identity theft and allowed us to file our taxes… now, we are just waiting on a transcript.

The best part about this experience is that I’ve learned way more than I could ever want to know about taxes, home loans and mortgages. :D

Lately, I’ve been reading several great money books– In general, they are books about managing your money, saving money and just being plain BETTER with your money.

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Right now, I am reading: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence It really is a great book to open your eyes about where your money is going and what you should be doing with your money to achieve Financial independence.

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Summer break has been fun filled for my boys. We took them to Legoland for the first time last month– they were thrilled! I was also excited that they all could go on the same rides. Our 4 year-old was happy to be able to go on the rides with his big brothers. Unlike Disneyland where we can only go on rides that he is tall enough to go on.

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My husband and I really enjoy growing our own veggies– We had control over our tomato plants for about a month– but now they are growing EVERYwhere but we are excited to have plenty of tomatoes for the summer. Are you successfully growing anything this summer? We only have tomatoes at this point. We did have romaine and onions but they have since been eaten ;)

I also want you to know that I am so grateful to have you all in my life. I know you have a lot of wonderful blogs to choose from when it comes to deals and such. Southern Cali Saver wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for all of you!

It won’t always be perfect….

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Its hard to stay ahead in life. The last two weeks have been a crazy, financial fiasco for my family.  I thought this blog post would be appreciated here on Southern Cali Saver because it isn’t just about coupons and deals. Its about stretching your budget and being smart about your hard-earned money.

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Home buying journey — why do they make it look so great on HGTV?

We have dove head first into the housing market recently.. I swear, HGTV is hazardous to your health– because it isn’t as great as they make it seem on TV.  ;) house hunting has proven to make me a  crazy, almost psycho wife and mother– and is probably not good for my sanity either. Any tips?? I’d love to hear yours. :) 

Over the last couple of years we have been saving every penny that we could for a down payment. We’ve successfully paid down our student loan debt to less than $25,000 (see just how broke we were ) and I can thank it all to coupons and just being smarter about our money.

Great story, right? Just when you are at the point where life is good and you think you’ve caught up… life takes you in another direction. 

Our Volkswagon. Apparently, Volkswagons’ are very expensive to fix. (how come no one told my 22 year-old self that this car was expensive to fix?!) Our Jetta– 2006 with only 90,000 miles took a turn for the worse. I couldn’t tell you exactly what happen with it but it needed to be fixed ASAP.

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Took it to the dealership… and BAM. 6 days later there goes part of our emergency fund.

All this time, I was feeling like I had achieved a “calm” period in our finances. We got to “that” point where everything seems to feel like its going your way……

To top it off.. we find out the same day that our taxes can not be filed electronically because someone filed taxes under my husbands social security number. um……… shoot me now.  Fraud? an error? No clue. another set back that we need to watch closely.. especially since we are trying to purchase a home.

Besides all the financial drama… I’m thinking to myself: We are healthy. We are happy. While its frustrating to get over the financial issues– you have to realize that it won’t always be perfect.  You won’t always be in that “comfortable” situation. I also realize how lucky I am to have discovered the power behind couponing and saving money in general. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today in life if it weren’t for me willingness to grasp the whole couponing concept.

Why am I sharing all of this information about myself? Maybe because I felt the stress and realized that someone else may be going through the same situation as me.. or someone may have reached that point where they just don’t feel like they will ever get ahead… or maybe I just needed to vent?! :)

Whatever it is.. keep your head high.. it will pass. :)