Tuesday, June 29, 2010

American Eagle: $5 Independence Day Shirts

While I was waiting for my daughter's 2 hour appointment to finish up, I ran into Northtown and got one of these cute $5 4th shirts from American Eagle for her.  They have quite a few left, and about four other styles to choose from.

I have to add, here, that I'm kind of a word junkie, so thought I'd read the shirt (I know the Star Spangled Banner thanks to my high school history teacher, Mr. Ayers, who made us all recite it in front of the class-extra credit if you sang it).  As I'm reading it, there's two typos!  Ugh!  And I'm not even a perfectionist.  I guess it bugs me because it's our National Anthem and it really shouldn't be a question of getting it wrong.

Thanks Hip2Save.

Suckerpunched: Braces

In our old way of doing things, we would have paid for a couple of years on our daughter's braces that she got today.  I'm happy to report that with a bit of planning and saving, we were able to pay in full for her treatment today!  I actually considered coming in there with Monopoly money just to see what they'd do, but decided against it:)  Instead I forked over the real cash (did you know they don't make $1000 bills anymore?  That would have been so cool to fork over a couple of those)  So, I consider this a debt that never was: it's suckerpunched, baby!

image credit: PhotoXpress/hugy

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our First Camping Trip of the Season

We just got back yesterday from a couple of nights camping at Priest Lake, ID!  I always feel revived after one of our camping trips.  It's time well spent being jammed together in our tent, playing, getting dirty and eating camp food.

Camping was an area that we actually talked about nixing when we started out debt pay down.  Some people are so focused on getting a rid of their debt that they cut all unnecessary expenses which, in turn, gets them out of debt faster.  That really is the goal -work hard, concentrate our efforts, then reap the rewards of being debt-free.  I, for sure, would never knock someone who approaches their debt pay down this way.  These are the same folks that are able to not eat out, which I admire. 

After talking about it, we decided to come in somewhere in the middle: still camp, but stay closer to home.  No Oregon Coast beach camping for us for a while.  Also factoring into our decision were two things: you can't go back and re-create memories as a family.  They are always going to get older-you have one shot at it.  Secondly, we had bought most of the supplies we needed last summer (Yay!  Those items were actually paid for, not charged). We're able to borrow what ever else we need thanks to gracious friends and family.

So, I'm estimating that our trip this weekend cost us about $60, figuring gas and reservations.  For food, I'm my estimate is about $20.  Well worth it!

We plan on at least two more trips this summer.  One to see friends in Montana and another trip to  Farragut St. Park if we can get reservations.   I'm so glad we can camp in the middle of the week-we have a lot more flexibility!  In the end, camping, for us, fits within our budget and our debt pay-down.
Where do you like to go camping?  I'd love to hear about your favorite place!  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Family Garden

I'm just going to say that I'm not a green thumb.  I love the idea of a garden every year, but in the end, we're lucky if we have a planter of tomatoes.  Not this year!  My in-laws live on two acres and just had a fence put in for the garden.

During the spring, here and there, I'd go over to their house, let the kids have a blast turning into dirtballs, and help get the soil ready.

We are already reaping the rewards of our work!  Two days ago I was able to take home lettuce, radish and broccoli!  This is extremely gratifying.  What's even better, on Monday (that's our "food" day this summer-we have a theme/activity each day of the week to keep boredom at bay) nights we go out as a family and weed, harvest, or do whatever needs to be done.  I almost feel silly saying this, but our kids have never seen up close where a lot of their veggies come from.  My oldest two are all over it, and can't wait to help pick and clean whatever we can.

This is my first garden ever, and I'm enjoying every second of it!  A huge thanks to my in-laws, Bob and Mary, for providing the space, and wisdom.  Their generosity is much appreciated! Thanks, also, to all of you who encouraged us to plant a garden when we started our race towards a debt-free life.  The savings in the fresh food department will cut our grocery bill even further, allowing us to put more on debt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Strawberry Chips

With the loads of strawberries that I've gotten from Winco ($2.98 for 4lbs=$.75/lb-deal ended Sunday.) I have to say I was getting a little tired of making jam and thought I'd dehydrate one of my 4lb packages.  So here's what some of them look like:
The great thing is that I call them strawberry chips and the kids are all over them!  So for a recipe, there's not much to it.  We found that we can use the food processor to slice if you pulse rather than just run it continuously.  Then just lay them on your dehydrator and let it run all night and most of the day (or whatever directions say for your model).  I rotate the shelves so that they get done evenly.  Thanks to my mother in law who did this batch for me and gave me her dehydrator years ago!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Being Frugal: A 4 Week Summary

Here's some of the best deals I was able to track down these past few weeks.  I'd like to keep it as two week summary, but spring is busy with a house full of five kids!  I do my best:)
I got the above all for $1 at Target.  Thanks to my friend, Jorene, for telling me about the coffee!  She was so kind to give me another one, so we're giving two for donation this Saturday at the ladies tea to benefit City Gate ministy, and my husband will take one to work (they trade off bringing coffee).  Thanks to Confesstions of a Couponaholic for the other match-ups.

Canning!  I was picked to host a Ball canning House Party.  I received tons of great freebies such as the huge canner in the picture above.  It was a blast, and I now have some pepper jelly to serve over cream cheese-yum!  Also, Winco has 4lbs. of strawberries on sale for $2.98 right now, so last night until 1am my mother in law and I made 16lbs. of strawberry into jam.  This is what I got to take home.
  Free Gillette razor from a blog giveaway.
 $12.95 delivered, from the Disney Store.
Wipes on Roll-Back at Walmart: $1.97, I used the $2/1 x 4 from the 6/6 PG insert = free!
$3.25 for all three, shipped from Medco Health Store.  I used a $10 off any purchase code (I don't think the code's working any more, but here's the one I used: MHS10).

 So, some fun, some necessary things.  Next, I can't wait to show you the family garden!  When we started our debt pay down in November, there was a common theme in advice I got: plant a garden to stretch the budget.  I really took it to heart and the garden is well on it's way.

A special thanks to my friend, Joelle, for being so generous.  Being frugal allows generosity in ways I never imagined.  It's a  blessing to me to bless others by using my money wisely and not always worrying about it-all this even while paying down our debt.  We have truly changed how we handle money, and God is blessing our efforts!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just a Little Bite

Now don't get me wrong, I love broccoli, but when I'm forced to buy it, I don't love it.  What we have here is a crown of broccoli that my soon-to-be four year old son took a bite of at the store.  It happened so fast (well, I was rifling through my coupons) and he tried to put it back as soon as he saw my face:)  So, broccoli it is for snack!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Target: Littlest Pet Shop on Clearance!

I just got back from the Northpoint Target and picked up some Littlest Pet Shop toys on clearance for $1.48.  There were quite a few left and in the aisle with the rest of LPS stuff.

LPS, $1.48 x 4 = $5.92
-BOGO printable x 2
=$2.96  for all 4 + tax

I have two little nieces that I'm thinking will like these!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May Grocery Totals

Total Spent on Food: $234.73
Store Savings: $258.42 
Manufacturer's Coupons Used: $221.40 

My lowest month yet!  I knew by the last week of the month it was going to be low because I had quite a bit of money in my grocery envelope (that leftover got put on our current debt in the debt snowball-the car-yesterday!)  My goal is to come in at $200 for just one month.  Does $200/month to feed 7 sound unreasonable?   I think I could really do it!

image credit: photoxpress/isatori