Friday, July 30, 2010

Garden Update

Here's some of the things we've just picked from the garden:
From left to right: banana peppers, cilantro, carrots, radishes, chives and broccoli.  These are all wrapped up and ready to go up to my brother.  He loves veggies and I know when I give him this it will be eaten up quickly.

Here's most of the 17 tomato plants we have-they kind of look like huge weeds, but they are doing well, and we're seeing signs of many tomatoes in the future!
 Here's the beans, lettuce, cabbage, celery, and peppers.
Radish, more lettuce, carrots, basil, chives, potatoes and peas in the way back.
Blackberries, not from our backyard, but nearby Bodacious Berries in Greenbluff.  Thanks to my in-laws for picking all these!  We plan to make jam, juice concentrate and pies and freeze some for cobblers and smoothies.

July Grocery Totals

A little higher than I'd like this month, but I'll tell you what I gained.

Total Spent on Food: $324.98
Store Savings: $88.63
Manufacturer's Coupons Used: $ 116.59

Phew!  My coupon use was a little down this month, and I did freezer cooking for the first time, which I did not shop for, and in turn did not use from my stockpile to make the recipes.  However, I'm am beyond thrilled to have three other gals to cook with and a freezer full of dinners for about half the month!  This is the first time I could ever find anyone who was interested in doing freezer cooking regularly.

I have been the canning queen as well!  We have put up several jars of raspberry-honey jam and cherry-honey jam all made with local berries/cherries and honey from Greenbluff.  If you're hankering for blackberries, they're ready right now, and here's where we get all our berries.  The Deitz family is just fabulous and they have wonderful fruit.  We love it there, and feel good about supporting our local growers.

I also (and anyone who has an educator as a spouse will understand this) have a husband home all summer with me!  I feel like I have my long lost teammate back!  We've been having a ball with our kiddos, friends, each other and family. 

While it's higher than I'd like for my totals, I'm within budget ($400 for food/household for a family of 7) and that is what matters.  Less extra for debt, yes, but I gained a whole lot this month.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Crooked Toes

Tomorrow morning at 6am we'll be at Shriners.  Ugh.  I'm dreading this little trip as we're checking our youngest daughter in for minor surgery on her sweet little toes.  She was born with an overlapping little toe and as she's grown it's causing blisters when she wears shoes.  She also has 'curly' toes-those are toes that curl sideways and under her other ones.  So, most likely she'll just need a dressing post-surgery, but if they need to put a pin in, she'll have a cast and a possible overnight stay.

The part where you have to leave your child in their little hospital gown that's too big and turn away is the most awful feeling in the world.  But we've got this little girl covered in prayer and I'm thankful that we can help her have feet that will fit into shoes!

I have to add that Shriners is an amazing place.  The staff we have worked with have all been professional and took their time with us.  When we went in for the first time, they had a hand made blanket waiting just for our daughter that she got to take home with her.  It is such a blessing to have a resource like this in our city as all the services received are free of charge. Their generosity is just amazing!

*Here's an update of how her toes look today (3/30/11) after healing for 8 months:
The left foot has less scarring

Her right foot has more scarring, but not too bad.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Being Frugal Summary

I'm loving this summer!  We've been so busy with family, house and friend stuff.  No boring days around here this year.  So here's some of the ways I've saved recently:

Everything was free (or I made money on it) except the sippy cups-they were $2/1 at Fred Meyer.  My mother in law found that deal and we both stocked up since these were the Platex insulated type-you never find them that cheap!

I love my rebates!  All rebates around here get dumped right on debt, and as you can see, it really adds up!  I also got a free coupon for Huggies as part of a Rite Aid purchase.  The larger check is from Shop at Home.  Whenever I shop online I go through them and get a % back on my purchase.  When your cash back total reaches $20 or more, they cut you a check.  Click here to find out more about Shop At Home.

Ohh, this one was a while ago at Target, but I love it because we were getting low on shampoo, and I was able to stock up for free (except the jeans).  So here's what happened-I knew I'd have overage since I had a rain check for the shampoo @ $2.57/1 and my coupons were $3/1.  So I grabbed the jeans that were on clearance for $4.48 to absorb some of that overage, but when I got to the register the cashier adjusted down the coupon to $2.57, which still made them free, but no overage.  Cheap jeans, still, but not almost free!  So, in the end, I paid for the jeans, but everything else was free.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Another House Party!!!

Woohoo!  This morning I got an email stating that I was a finalist for a Boboli House Party!  I'm so excited, because here's what I'm getting:

The FREE party pack includes:
  1. 1 Letter explaining the process
  2. 8 - $5 off coupons for Boboli Pizza Crust for the host 
  3. 1 Food tent for your pizza
  4. 14 - $2 off coupons for Boboli Pizza Crust for the guests
  5. 15 Boboli photo frame magnets
  6. 15 Boboli grocery totes
  7. 15 Boboli pizza grilling recipe card sets (3 recipes in each set)
  8. 15 Boboli pizza grilling tips and nutritional information 
Yep, I get to grill pizza!  This is something I've always wanted to try-I can't wait!

Not only did I get picked to host this party (this is my second time being picked to host a House Party-the first time was for Ball Canning Co.), so did my mother in law!  My neighbor also got picked to host a Kleenex party that we'll be going to soon (hmm, should we all have colds as a requirement to go to that one?:).  If you've never checked out House Party, click here to find out more.  You are not selling anything: I suck at that and am not too crazy about that kind of thing anyway.  It's a way for companies to get their product out in a fun way and you benefit from all the free stuff they send you.  A win-win situation.  I'm using this House Party to invite my extended family for a huge pizza night!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today's Groupon: Auntie's Books!

Just had to quickly share this:  Groupon's coupon of the day is $20 worth of stuff at Auntie's Book Store for only $10!!!!  You can buy one for yourself and up to 4 as gifts.  I'm getting one for my brother who has a birthday the day after mine.  He'll love it, and I love the price!  This deal is good only to purchase today as tomorrow there will be another new offer (although the actual coupon to Auntie's doesn't expire until 1/16/11).  Just click on this link to check it out.

Groupon is all around the country and ours just started up on the 12th!  You only get the deal if enough people buy it that day (the Auntie's deal is already tipped-so if you buy it now, it's guaranteed).  I'm so excited about it!

***Update: I just printed out my coupon, and it went perfectly!  It was delivered to my inbox within 20 minutes of purchase.

Where a Few G's are Headed

I hope your summer is going well!  We've been busy since school's been out and my husband is home (he works in a high school) doing all the fun things you can do with five kids.  So, I don't feel too bad that I haven't posted in a while:).  Still have tons to share, just a little slow on getting it out there.

With this summer, comes lots of dust at our house, and the entire neighborhood.  Unfortunately, for us, that also means a longer time till we're debt-free.  Here's where about $10,000 of our cash is going to have to go:
Into a giant 30 ft. deep hole!  Our area is still on septic, but the county decided that it was time for us to have sewer.  How kind.  I wouldn't mind, but what a fabulous way for the county to make money off of us forever!  Aside from the obvious, such as having our septic fail, it  is very inexpensive for us to maintain.

Since it's our goal to never borrow money again, we made the decision early on to pay for the entire amount up front.  $5,700 to the county and with only one estimate so far for hookup at $3,800, we're coming in close to $10,000!  Also, $45 per month to the county as a utility fee as long as we live at this house.  Oh, the debt we could pay down with $10G!  So, we keep a positive outlook, forge ahead and are thankful for all we've paid off in 8 months, money we've saved for the sewer, and the things we've been able to do without adding any new debt since November '09.

p.s.- my 4 year old son just loves all the heavy equipment!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Like Your Envelopes....

I was at Fred Meyer yesterday picking up a DV tape for my husband who was asked last minute to film a wedding that evening.  As I rifled through my envelopes looking for the right one, the cashier says to me "I like your envelopes.  Dave Ramsey, right?"  Yep!  She shared with me how she's ridding her debt as well and uses the envelope system too.  We related with each other how much money we're both saving every month because of how the physical power of giving up your cash helps control spending (that, and having a budget).  It was good to get a little boost from someone who's on the same path!

image credit: photoxpress/Ewe Degiampetro

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Grocery Totals

 I was afraid that this month wasn't going very well since by the end, I was pretty low on cash.  I combine our household and food money into the same envelope.  I was able to stock up on diapers and some other non-edible necessities, which sucked up some of the cash.  I might be re-thinking that and separating them into two categories.

So here it is:

Total Spent On Food: $257.53
Store Savings: $111.03
Manufacturer's Coupons Used: $149.98
 image credit: photoxpress/greg