Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Typical Fun Day Here

Grocery/Out to Eat Challenge: Week 3

I have officially gone coupon crazy!

Last night I actually used coupons for our dinner at Hardee’s that we got in the mail yesterday in a flyer. The coupon was for a big cheeseburger for $1.99 and a big chicken sandwich for $2.99, and so we only spent $5 on dinner last night! I think these coupons last until April. I usually throw these flyers away because they have advertisements for satellite tv services on the outside, and I for some reason assume that the entire booklet was going to be about satellite dishes. Also, the reason I did not plan to cook any meals this week is because we tried this new lasagna last Monday night and that is what we all mainly threw up. We got so sick that I am still not completely ready to try new dishes. Additionally, we are keeping Jackson out of all childcare situations this week so he is nice and healthy for his stay with Gigi and Grand this weekend. I normally go to my Body Step and Body Combat classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 9:15 am, but this week because I did not want him to go to daycare so I went to both of my classes on Monday and Tuesday night.

Now, back to the coupons….Sunday’s paper has a ton of both store and manufacturer’s coupons. They always have a smart source booklet that has tons of manufacturer’s coupons (do not let the coupon on the outside for satellite dishes fool you!) Last Sunday, in the smart source booklet, they even had coupons for eggs, yogurt that we eat every week, and a coupon for Millie’s dog food. I put all coupons that are on items I know I will be buying in the next couple of weeks in a zip lock bag (this zip lock bag goes in the diaper bag whenever I leave the house) Then, I put the coupons on items I might not have money to buy in another zip lock bag that stays in my car.

Also, I am just really learning about Walgreen’s. They have a rebate program for selected items every week, (I think you can get these rebate flyers in the front of the store) and after you mail in your rebate with your receipt, you can get many items free. If you put your rebate money on a Walgreen’s gift card then you get 10% off your purchase there so you actually end up making money on your purchase. If you know more about it, let us know here! I will let you know what deals I try, but money saving mom always has a list of the best deals everywhere weekly on her blog:

Yesterday, I got all of our loose change in our bucket and took it to the Coinstar machine at Bi-low. I tried to role all of our change at the bank, but it was really hard and the tellers could not even really do it so I gave up. I actually got $11.70 back from Coinstar (I usually go to coinstar at least 1 time a year) but there was a $1.10 fee (so I would have had $12.80. While we were at Bi-low I did get a few things for Jackson. He was getting a little restless so I asked Jackson if he would like a cracker….the only probem was that I did not have any crackers! He was about to have a complete breakdown, so I decided to get these crackers made for toddlers…they are actually arrowroot cookies. I opened them right then and there and gave him one (I went to the self check out line so they would not see that I had already opened it). I have never in my life seen Jackson like something so much as these stupid cookies that I was mad I had to buy in the first place (these cookies were close to $2—I really was not paying much attention to this item when I bought it). Now, he looks high and low for them, and even cried for them yesterday saying his version of "cookie."I think he had like 7 of them yesterday and at 20 calories a cookie, that is a lot of calories for him. He is still eating his food well though. I know he lost weight last week, his pants are falling off of him, and so I am giving in some here. Do any of you have this problem with these Gerber made cookies? They are like crack for toddlers.

My plan for CVS this week is to buy (from money saving mom’s blog (she write so much that you now have to go to older post to see this post ): “$10 Worth of Assorted Nestle products, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)
*Assorted candy bars 2/$1
*SweetTarts Chicks, Ducks, and Bunnies $0.99

*Wonka Golden or Nestle Nest Eggs 2/$5

*Nestle theater pack or Nips $0.99

*Nestle 8 pack or giant bar, $0.99

*Deal Idea #1*
Buy 4 bags of Nestle Best Eggs at $2.50 each
Use 2 $1/2 coupons here
Spend $8
Get $5 ECBs back Is where you can get this coupon, and yes I did print these out.

The secret with CVS is that when they say you have to spend $10 you really do not have to spend $10 out of pocket to receive the deal. I cannot believe that let you do this, but they let you use coupons with these extra buck deals. So I will spend $8 not $10 when I use my candy coupons, and get $5 back to buy Jackson’s milk. I will turn right back around and get his milk and one other item off my grocery list. This makes me so excited!!!!!!! And we will have something sweet to eat for the next week. It seems that one week CVS has good deals on items that you need to stock up on like household products, and then the next week it is on candy.

I spent $126 on both out to eat food and grocery for this week and my goal was $120. But I am happy that I even got close to my goal! The reason I was able to do so well is that we did not eat hardly any of the food or drink the drinks we were planning to last week because we all got so sick. Therefore, I was able to only spend $30 at Kroger (the best and cheapest grocery store in the world). Next week my goal will be $110 which should be interesting (my week starts Thursdays and ends Wednesday). Once I get down to $105 for both groceries and dining out food, which is $5 a day per people in our family, I will try to stay there for a couple weeks. I think $75 will be the lowest we can go, but who knows? Nothing is impossible with God!

Some tips:

  1. Money Saving Mom says to try to keep 3-6 months worth of household products in stock. Stock up on them at CVS using these great deals. She buys all her household products (toilet paper, paper towels) at CVS and she uses CVS to spend $35 a week on grocery.
  2. I would not recommend going to Sam’s or any other wholesale club for a couple months when you first start this challenge. Try everything you can just to spend “x” amount for 7 days. If you are anything like me, you do not really know what a good deal is until you start really studying your grocery bill and looking for sales. I am saving $100 up to go to Sam’s and buy toilet paper, paper towels, wipes etc, in a couple month, but I want to first see if I can stock up on them at CVS.
  3. Shop at Kroger if at all possible. Everything they sale is at least 10 cents cheaper than a regular grocery store, and you get coupons for items you normally buy when you go to check out. Both Charlie and Jackson like to have one Yoplait yogurt at day and they are .69 each there and everywhere else they are like .79. Plus, I can usually find a .50 off coupons when you buy 6 Yoplait yogurts either in the Sunday paper or online (Betty believe it or not has this coupon there free to print). Lastly, their generic drinks are great! Thanks so much Lisa for telling me about them. Their 12 pack (of all sort of sodas) are $2.00 each and Kroger’s generic Diet Dr. Pepper tastes really good.
  4. If at all possible, shop with a calculator and your list. Also, calculate exactly how much you are going to spend before you go to the store (that is why I keep all my grocery/out to eat receipts in a zip lock bag).
  5. Last tip has to do with out to eat food. Just because you are trying to save does not mean you have to cook every meal at home and from scratch. Charlie still loves Subway and when he gets a foot-long sub (no drinks or chips) it is like $7. He can eat half for dinner that night, and then pack the rest of it for lunch the next day. Yeah! Also, if you live in Columbia, Egg Role Station in West Columbia is the best Chinese food you will ever get. We get house fried rice which tons of meat on it. We split this meal and I get an egg roll for $7 total price. They give you so much that one of us can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Also, if you love Zaxby’s, I believe Zaxby’s has a free snack meal if you go online and fill something out for this week. Chick Fila is also a great place for us to go, Jackson always gets to see so many kids, and if you do not get fries you can save a lot of money. Last out to eat tip is that if you go to McDonalds and get 3 cheeseburgers and a small fry, you will just spend $4 for dinner. For lunch, you might want to try making egg salad sandwiches for your husbands to take to lunch…they are delicious, filling, and cheap!. Finally, we love to make grill cheese sandwiches for dinner along with some good chicken noodle soup (total cost is really just a couple of dollars).

Me working so hard to save us money has really made me think twice about purchases other items out of miscellaneous budget. Bottom line, this challenge it has helped us clamp down on overspending on everything!

Anything else that has worked for you, I would love to hear!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"An Eternal Weight of Glory Beyond All Comparison"

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

God really does bless even small faithfulness. He spoke so clearly to me and gave me such comfort through His powerful Word. I really want to keep up with the most popular Biblical counsellings books, and this book, pictured above, topped last years list. I really did not have time to finish the book When Sinners Say ‘I do’ this weekend, but I chose to finish the book anyway and I am so glad that I did. The last chapter is about when sinners say goodbye. I guess with all the illnesses Jackson has gotten, I can get into a “woe is me” kind of attitude. This suffering here on earth is just momentary, and the glory of eternity is beyond all comparison, so much so that Paul could not even come up with a word for it. Am I really thinking and living for eternity and all its glory?

Here are a couple points, taken directly from this last chapter, that I think will help you, because we all suffer.

  1. My Loss is Slight. Paul here in 1 Corinthians does not mean “light” as easy or painless (John Piper affirms) but he means that “compared to the weight of glory coming, they are like feathers on a scale.” The death of a spouse is a defining moment that will be with us until we die, but compared to what we are headed for, “it is a slight change of course in the ocean of eternity.” I do not know about you, but these words give me such comfort when I think that if Jackson is always going to be sick then I am never going to be able to do minister to the children and parents at First Baptist or get to know them at all. Then of course I get frustrated but I remember that Jackson is sick for a reason. God is allowing him to be sick for my good and His glory even though I cannot fully understand it right now.
  2. My Trial is Momentary. Harvey explains that no trial seems momentary. There is a consuming quality that infects every trial. God urges us and invites us to view this trial from a different point of view! “When measured by eternity, this mortal life is but a breath, a vapor, a suspended cloud that quickly dissipates. Whatever trial you are in, it will end, and one day you will see it for what it truly is: momentary and slight.” I can attest these words. When we were going through fire and all the consequence of the fire, I thought that my life would never get back to normal. Now, it has not even been a year since we had the fire, and it already seems like a vapor. The other thing that helps me so much when I am going through a trial is that I try to realize how powerful my thought life is. If I choose to believe and view this trial as something that God is allowing to happen (for my good and His glory) it makes all the difference in the world. I do not know about you, but whenever I go through a trial my prayer life is the best it has ever been and isn’t that making me more like Christ?
  3. My Loss Is Preparatory. God invites us to view the pain of loss as preparation for something incomprehensible. “Our present loss doesn’t simply open the door to glory, it produces glory. This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17) What is more, this glory is beyond all comparison. What a spouse who remains can look forward to is Incomparable glory.

The last paragraph is this book is so beautifully put; I have to write it all out here:

“As real as our marriages are to us on this earth they are just a shadow of the reality we will experience when Christ comes to claim his bride. Then we will have a wedding feast to celebrate our union with Christ that is unlike any feast that has ever been celebrated before. The entire family of Christ will be there –not one missing from the whole earth. The joy at that feast will not be marred by sin, struggle, pain, or disappointment. We will be forever with Christ in our new home. What glory is set before us as sinners who said, “I do.”

I would highly recommend this book! When Sinners Say, ‘I do’ by Dave Harvey and you can get it at Westminster Bookstore for a great price. Click here:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Grocery/Out to Eat Challenge: Week 2

Well since we got the stomach flu, we did met our budget of $130 on our weekly out to eat and grocery bills, but it was really only because we all were on our death bed sick and all of us have not eaten much at all this week…it has not been pretty.

Because it was such a crazy week, I am not going to post much, because this week all I have made it to is CVS (yesterday)

I went to CVS and purchased I knew ahead of time that if I bought $30 worth of these certain items I would get $15 back

  1. 2 Hefty Zip bags 17 ct $5.00
  2. 2 Glade Infusio spray $3.00 (believe it or not we really needed this air freshener after the week we had) I was able to mix/match scents
  3. 2 Huggies Diapers/ Jumbo pack $8.99 each
  4. 1 Hug Wipes at $4.99

*Had 2 .20 cent coupons on the zip lock bags that were located on the box

7 items spent $32.71 and earned $15 back for buying items at CVS so after I purchase all these items I went right back to shopping with my same cart, yes in the same trip (this way I do not waste gas time coming back to use the $15)

Then, in the same trip I bought

  1. CVS fabric softener $3.49
  2. CVS foam plate $2.49
  3. CVS Sand Zip is $2.69
  4. 1 Heft CS talk garage bags that we needed $7.99
  5. 1 Gallon of Whole Milk $3.99
-$15.00 in extra bucks equaled $5.77 so I spent a total of $38.48 out of pocket ON BOTH PURCHASES, but I earned $15.00 and many items that I bought were on sale. CVS said I saved $9.26 on my first purchase so I guess I saved $24.26 on my 2 purchases at CVS….yeah! So I guess it was really more like $62 worth of items. I think, however, if I had extrabucks saved up I could have used them on my first purchase of $32.

This sale of buying $30.00 of these certain items and earning $15.00 (view them in this week’s CVS ad magazine you can get in the paper or at the beginning of the store) ends Saturday so if you want to do what I did this week better get into CVS soon!

These week is going to be tight because I have already spent $48.24 due to this CVS purchase and due to lack of planning because of us all being sick this week. So, I have around $60 left and I need to go plan out our eating schedule for this week. I really want to just spend $120 on both out to eat and grocery bill this week (I do not think this is unreasonable). I am not anywhere near the $35 a week that money saving mom spends, but I know it is a work in progress. My ultimate goal right now is to get down to $75 worth of spending for both groceries and out to eat. The plan for this week is that if I run out of paper towels this week, I am not going to buy more because it is not a "necessity." This the been the key for me so far, if I run out of something that is not a necessity like paper plates, I do not buy it until Thursday when my budget starts over. I only have "X" amount of money to spend and if it is an item that is not necessary and something I had not budgeted for, I have to be patient and use self control not to buy it.

Pray that I can meet my goal somehow this week! I would love to hear more suggestions on how I can do this (I am planning very plain meals (like soup) for us since our stomachs are still not back to "normal").

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Video of Jackson's First Time at the Zoo!

Reading Through the Bible in a Year

Well, this year I have done better than last year. After I had Jackson last year, it was not a habit to read the Bible every day. Habits, rather good or bad, stick. I have successfully read the Bible through in a year at least twice.

This year, I do not think I have missed a day of listening/reading the Bible (maybe I missed 1 day but made it up the next day). But, that does not mean it has not been without struggle. I have realized that I am so self centered/focused that I can daze off when I am reading Exodus and all the details of how the tabernacle should be. I think “what does this have to do with me?” Guess what, the world, and the Bible does not revolve around me. I guess I grew up reading the Bible for years from a “me” point of view and not from a point of view that saw the whole Bible as a story about Jesus. I was created to worship God, not myself, so I need to read about how to worship God and how to fear him.

I am now reading through Leviticus and it is interesting to read that when “the glory of the Lord” appeared to the Israelites they shouted for joy and fell facedown. Maybe that is what is going to be like in heaven. When we meet our maker we will shout for joy and fall facedown. Am I preparing for eternity today? Am I remembering to tremble and fall face down on the ground and realize how great and powerful our God is? Or am I spending all my time figuring out how to save money on our grocery bill? It is fine to spend time figuring out ways to cut back on our grocery bill (especially since I do not have a job and I look at this as my job) but when it becomes the only thing I think about and the only thing my heart and mind is set on, then that becomes idolatrous. I want to love God with my whole heart and mind no matter what is going on in my family’s life.

Leviticus has been a challenge - and I knew it would be - just because I knew I would be thinking “what does this have to do with me?” If I could have one word to describe this book is that God was very very concerned with the Israelites not being unclean. God really does have a lot to say about not being unclean.

Reading the Bible through in a year is a marathon not a sprint. But the rewards of learning what God has to say are more precious than jewels. Every year I read or notice something that God said that I did not notice the year before.

God has been teaching me so much this year and I am so thankful. I know he has me right where he wants me. If I had a full time job right now, I would have probably had to quit it by now since Jackson has been so very sick this winter and I would have had to taken off weeks upon weeks of work. God is always opening and closing doors for a reason.

Just wanted to give you an update on what God has been teaching me.

Ps- Since Jackson has been fussy the last couple of days and just wanted me to hold him for hours on end, while watching Mickey Mouse, I have been listening to my ipod and Mark Driscoll’s sermon series on the most frequently asked questions at his church (it has been a tremendous blessing!).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

All Three of Us Got the Stomach Flu at the Same Time. . . So Sad!

I was going to post video from the zoo, and another post, but the stomach flu hit us all Monday night about the same time believe it or not.

First, Jackson woke up with throw up everywhere in his crib. The bad thing with him, is that when I leaned him over the trash can, he could not get anything up....the only way he could get anything up was if he was somewhat laying down. Praise God in his mercies that it was not nearly as bad on Jackson as it was for us.

I think Charlie started vomiting at like 1:30ish and then I started at around 3 am. Charlie was in the guest room and the guest room bathroom, and I was in our room with Jackson in our bed. Jackson stopped at 3 am and did not throw up again till 3 pm the next day and only 1 time. Charlie and I threw up probably like 10 times, and got pretty dehydrated which made it very hard to take care of Jackson and clean up all of Jackson's throw up.

That is probably all the details I can stomach and you can stomach as well, but praise God we are all doing well now. If Jackson had continued to be sick throughout that night, I do not know what we would have done. For Jackson, the nurse recommended cracker, yogurt, and basically everything that adults eat when we get sick. But, Jackson got pretty dehydrated yesterday and the nurse said formula would be ok to give him, so I went back out and gave him the sensitive formula he used to drink, and he has been a new person every since. It really helped him so much. I tried everything yesterday before giving him the formula... water, pedia-light through a bottle, we even tried giving him a Popsicle (he only ate a little bit of the Popsicle). The whole milk made him have diarrhea. He did, however, take 1 sip of my Gatorade and he could keep yogurt down but he only wanted 1 per day. It was bad around 5 pm yesterday when his mouth got real dry and his diaper was not wet for like 6 hours, but the nurse said not to be alarmed until it had been like 12 hours and by 24 hours if this was still going on we would have to go and get an IV. This virus just has lingered more with Jackson, but he really has not been fussy hardly at all and he has actually played a lot this week. We could hardly move, but Jackson was vacuuming the floor with his little vacuum cleaner.

The doctor called in for us phenergan which really knocked us out. On Tuesday, I was pretty dehydrated, my legs have never hurt that bad. I guess it did not help that I went to Step class on Monday morning.

After going through hard times, I am always so much more thankful for little things in life, like feeling normal. I have praised God every day that Jackson did not have it has bad as us (the croup was way worse for him as far as being very upset and crying all day) was so bad for us. Charlie and I had a hard time standing for long periods of time. Pray that Jackson can continue to fight off all these illnesses. I knew he would get sick some, but Jackson getting 1 major illnesses a month since November is really hard, but I know it is "normal."

* The picture above is of Jackson passed out at church on Sunday (guess he was already starting to be tired/sick here)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our First Trip to the Zoo!

We finally made it to the zoo yesterday. Jackson loves animals right now and every time we watch a show with animals on he gets all embarrassed and tries to copy the sounds they make...he especially likes to roar like a lion. Needless to say, he loved the zoo. He could not believe he was actually seeing all these huge animals that we have been reading about. He pointed at all the animals, tried to talk to them, and made animals noises. He loved the elephants, lion, etc. He even feed a goat. The Riverbank Zoo is huge and so clean, not to mention only like 10 or 15 minutes away. I was very impressed with the zoo. Go to for more information.

We got a year pass which is definitely worth it as long as you go more than 1 time a year (it is $9.95 a person for adults, under 3 goes for free, and the pass is $49 for 2 adults for the entire year and 6 guest passes). My sister Kelly (or KK as Jackson calls her) came to Columbia to visit some friends, and I am so glad she was able to be there for Jackson's first zoo trip. He loves animals, and we will be going to the zoo a lot this Spring (they say that the best way for children his age to learn is to actually see what we are reading about). I have some video from our trip to the zoo that I will hopefully be posting soon.

My first step to making money at CVS

  1. I went back to CVS after buying the M&M’s and getting $2 extra bucks, I went and got Jackson’s whole milk there for $3.99 and used my $2 extra bucks that was printed on my last receipt for buying those M&M’s. The key here I believe it all I bought was the milk so I really only spend $1.99 plus tax on milk. I did not le myself by anything else (major self control on my part).
  2. Then, I went and got the CVS extra value book for February that was located at the beginning of the store. I really needed a new toothbrush, mine was very hard, and so I saw that the Colgate Super pack would give me $2 extra bucks back, so I went ahead and purchased the toothbrushes for like $4 I believe (there actually was 2 toothbrushes in the pack). Then, yesterday, when Jackson was out of milk, I got his milk again and used my $2 extra bucks and spend $1.99 again.
  3. I also had to get a prescription filled yesterday, so I went to CVS (I asked for the generic brand), and for every prescription filled there you receive 50 cents in extra bucks (but they only give these bucks quarterly).
  4. The key is to not buy a lot at CVS at first and especially do not buy items you do not need just because it is on sale.

Money Saving Mom has what the weekly sales at CVS are and how you can earn extra bucks:

Today, she writes:

Buy 1 Colgate Toothpaste or Toothbrush at $2.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 5)
Total adv clean 4.2 oz, max fresh burst 4 oz, total or wave toothbrush
Use $1/1 printable coupon here or $1/1 printable here or $1/1 coupons from 1/20 SmartSource
FREE plus overage after ECBs and coupon

Buy $30 of these items, get $15 ECBs (Limit 1)

Ziploc/Hefty 2/$5
Glade 2/$3
Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner $17.99
Energizer $5.29
Kleenex Family Size 2/$5
Huggies Jumbo Pack $8.99
Depend or Poise
Cottonelle 12 pk $5.99
Palmolive $0.99
Kotex 2/$5
Viva 8 pack paper towels $6.49

Post any questions or comments on shopping at CVS here! If you have any tips, we are all ears!

If you use Huggies diapers, you can get quite a good deal with this promotion. Use the $2/1 Huggies coupons here or here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Grocery/Out to Eat Challenge: Week 1

My goal was $140 for last week and we spent $150 on BOTH groceries and out to eat food (fast food included) But, I am very happy with this because I really think we have been spending more like $180 a week (I have no clue though which is terrible on my part) The first week is the hardest.

What helped me this week:

  1. Getting $140 out of the ATM and so not thinking we have all this money to do whatever I want to with. It is accountability like Weight Watchers…when you know you have to weigh in the next day you do not eat as much the day before. Knowing I only at one more day with $5, I really thought hard about how to spend that $5.
  2. Going to 3 different Grocery Stores. I went to Kroger the first day of my budget (Thursday) last week and saved $27.44 and I spent $80 Wow! Charlie likes their generic men’s vitamin (he was out) so they actually had a buy 1 get one free sale. I also had coupons for Yoplait yogurt – a 50 cent manufacturer one from I think I might have had to download something to make them print. Kroger is the best grocery store ever! Everything that I “normally” buy was on sale like Gerber baby stage 3 food and then they give you coupons based on the items you bought. I also went to CVS ….I started small and just bought some M&M candy there that was on sale (I looked at the CVS ad that was free in the store) and got 2 bucks back. Then, I went back to CVS and got some drinks for us and whole milk for Jackson. Jackson’s whole milk only cost me $1 because I was able use by coupon $2 bucks (you can use this money on anything basically except prescriptions). So I did go to CVS twice. I saved $6.37 there at least (I cannot find the other receipt). I also got a coupon online and printed it out for $4 off your next purchase of $20 or more just for giving them your e-mail address. Then, I had a coupon for Piggly Wiggly - Gerber stage 3 baby food that they had given me a couple weeks ago so I spent about $5 on that. I did not go to Walmart all week because I do not get any coupons when I go there…not having to go there all week made my week so joyous.
  3. Do not try new frozen food at Dinner Time, but try it at maybe like lunch Saturday. We tried this frozen shrimp Monday night that I baked in the oven and it just was not good (this is part of the reason we went over $10) and had to go get some fast food.
  4. Print coupons online - is another good site to try.
  5. I am trying to not spend more than $40 a week on Jackson’s food, diapers, and wipes. I have had to think hard about how to do this. I am not going to get him more diapers or wipes till I am completely out. I have a coupon that I got online for $1.25 on huggies diapers and then I have a $2 off coupon for CVS brand items when I spend $10 or more on CVS brands so I am going to get CVS brand diapers (for day time use) and CVS wipes and get then get $2 off.
  6. I found that we spend $15 on drinks last week. That is huge! I am not going to spend more than $10 a week on our drinks, even if we have to drink our sodas in a glass from a liter or just drink water. I cannot believe how much we have been spending on drinks and I always get the 12 pack on sale. There is probably something in your grocery bill every week that you thing you are saving money on because you are getting it on sale, but it reality it might be taking out a huge portion of your grocery budget. Just paying attention to how much everything costs, and keeping all grocery receipts really helps (I am keeping the receipts in a big zip lock bag so when I go back to the store I know exactly how much it is going to cost with tax and everything).
  7. Changes this week (every week is different): I am budgeting more of the $140 for out to eat since I know we have lots of plans this weekend. We will also be getting the paper for the weekends (it comes out to be $2 a week for the weekend paper and if I get $2 worth of coupons it is like we are getting it for free). I did go to Kroger today and spend $50 which was better and I felt like I got a ton of food for the week. I also went to CVS and got Scope and toothbrushes which we needed and got $3 extra buck to spend for the next purchase I make there. You really can make money by shopping at CVS and Kroger

Last Week’s meal plan: (I might be trying out what’s for supper She has a great blog: if you have tried it or know about it let me know! If you have suggestions for meal plans let me know.

D- 4.99 Frozen Pizza (I went and worked out that night)

B-Toaster Strudel
L-Grill Cheese Sandwich and chicken noodle soup made for Charlie (I had a slim fast). Jackson has a completely different menu…I know it is like all 3 of us have different menus which makes it hard. I am trying to loose weight not gain it!
D- Charlie spoke at Upwards and had uncrustable Pj sandwich to go from the freezer

D- Out to eat (Parent’s treat)

B-Nutrigrain bar
L-Zaby’s $10
D-Cereal/PJ sandwiches cookies

B-Charlie has breakfast at the church
L-lunchable meal and pretzels
D-Shrimp and Gritz (Shrimp was on sale at Kroger not so good)

B- Pop tart (Jackson got eggs)
L-Deli sandwich meal (got a $1 coupon off online)
D-Boco chicken sandwiches (Charlie was not a big fan)

B-Nutrigrain bar
L- Raman Noodles
D-Dinner at church

I will try to post weekly how I am I am doing for the next 6 weeks. If you have any suggestions, I am all ears!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Weeky Schedule Part 2


Pretty much the same thing except I wash Charlie and I’s clothes and towels. I go to Body Combat class sometimes at night. Starting in March, I will be teaching a Bible Study to women on Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety (Fitzpatrick) at the church from 7-8:30 pm till almost the end of May (12 weeks)


We have been going to toddler time in the morning at 9:30 to 10:30 am. Late afternoon, I get ready to be at church by 6 pm for Charlie’s class that he teaches to parents going through the Baptist Faith and Message. Wednesdays are busy! We try to make it to church supper at 5 pm (Charlie always goes to the supper). Sometimes we do not get back till 8:30 pm at night on these nights.


I wash Jackson’s clothes, go to a grocery store, and might go work out at a class at 6:45 pm (but if I have been both Monday and Tuesday I do not go) I am now looking at trying to get down to $75 or maybe even $50 a week for grocery as my job. It is like I have a job paying me $5,000 a year and no taxes taken out of it. Right now I am only down to $130 a week. I just want to be a good steward of what God has so graciously given to us. I am so thankful for the blog world and having tips from so many stay at home moms on how to save money.


Charlie is usually off unless he is the minister on duty and so he sleeps in and I take care of Jackson. After making lunch at home, I usually run some errands by myself while Charlie has Jackson. Friday nights we like to do something with someone at the church that we have not gotten to know very well yet


Usually, Saturdays are my morning to sleep or go to Body Combat class. We usually do major cleaning this day. We really try to rest and have this as our “day off” - it is hard though. I think it is important to schedule time for both the husband and the wife for some "time off" from everything. I am so blessed to have a husband who enjoys being with Jackson 1 night a week and 1 morning so I can go to my workout classes.


Sundays are by far the busiest day of the week. Jackson and I have to be at church by 9 am which can be a challenge (I get up at 6:30). It is just hard to get Jackson all dressed up and of course he takes forever to eat his breakfast on these days. I am now with the 4th grade girls and teach them once a month. Charlie has to be there by 8 am so he is out the door by like 7:40 am.

We are home by 12:30 usually. Jackson is really tired and his schedule is all crazy. He will not sleep very long here because he has not eaten enough usually. He wants to go back to sleep at like 4:30 pm so we have a hard time going to Awana and helping out at night. Awana is from 5-7 pm. I will love it when he is on the new schedule (when he turns 18 months) of sleeping from like 1:30-4 pm because he will be going to bed earlier and we will be able to go to AWANA more. Charlie does not get back till like 7:30 or 8 on these nights and he leaves at like 4 pm.

Hope his is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or tips for my weekly schedule (it is about to change though) We hope to rest more and have a true Sabbath on Saturdays by doing more cleaning throughout the week. Now that I am readying through Exodus, I really see how important it is to God for us to have a day of rest. Any suggestions on how to have a real day of rest, I am all ears! I would love to know if you have a weekly cleaning schedule....It would be great if you could share it here with us.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Our Weekly Schedule Part 1


7:30 to 7:45 wake up get Jackson

8 or 8:30 am Breakfast consists of me making Jackson 2 eggs, him watching Disney Channel in high chair with juice, graham cracker stick. After I feed him with Mickey Mouse on, he gets 6 ozs of whole milk still in a bottle

9:15-10:15 am If Sunday has not been too hard on him I go to Body Step class at Gold’s Gym, and he goes to the Kids place there while I work out. If not then I go work out at night on these days (try to do a class 3 times a week)

10:30 or 11 am Nap time as long as he did not sleep till like 8am During the nap, I get a shower, and then have my time with God reading my daily Scripture and listening to it on cd (If he does not take a nap I still put him in the crib to get a shower and do some quiet time).

12 pm Lunch Usually consist of him watching another Mickey Mouse in the high chair and eating yogurt, raisin bread, crackers, juice. Cleaning the kitchen

2 pm Snack Right now he is still getting 6 ozs of whole milk in a bottle and some fruit from the Gerber stage 3 food (Banana Strawberry or Pears-this helps with constipation) He watches a Mickey Mouse show again (he really is learning through this show, he points when they say to point and he even answers Mickey’s questions he asks throughout the show). After he eats, I might go run some errands here. If he has not napped Jackson gets snack early around 1:30 and then goes to sleep around 1:50 to 2 till like 4. He has to be really full to sleep for a long period of time. I have always not been ready for Jackson to grow up, so I am milking the 2 naps a day as long as possible. But, when he turns 18 months I will change his schedule to 1 nap a day. This might be a bit of a challenge since Jackson really does not like change.

4-6 pm Nap

6:30 pm Dinner Right now this consists of Tyson little fried chicken bites, stage 3 baby food of sweet potato or squash, maybe some green beans, along with pear juice. (cooking 2 different things) after dinner, Charlie usually plays a good bit with Jackson

7:45 pm Night night bottle 3 ozs of formula still here and like 6 ozs of whole milk. Every time we were ready to drop the formula he happened to get really sick and miserable and I just could not do it to him. After the formula is gone in the next couple of weeks, I will be trying really hard to get rid of the bottle by using all kinds of tricks. He will drink juice all day out of his cup, just not the milk.

8:40 pm Bath time every night. We use this time as a learning time for the Abc’s. I give him his bath and we use the bath letters I got from Target and say the Abc’s. Charlie helps me get him out of the bath at the end.

8:50 pm Devotion time with Jackson (after I clean his ear out with a Q tip) and get his pj’s on and all, Jackson goes and gets his Bible book (his favorite book) and we read the Bible to him, pray with him by getting him to hold his hands together, and sing a song. We do this every night and it really helps him prepare for bedtime. I would love to hear what you do for devotion time for your little ones. He loves to sleep and loves his blue bear. He has like 7 pacifiers in the bed with him at night and a fan on.

9 pm Bed Time-He has a later bed time because we do not have to get up at 6 am or anything, and I would rather him sleep a little bit longer in the morning. His bed time will be more like 8:30 when he goes down to 1 nap a day.

If you have more than 1 child under the age of 4 click here: to see a great schedule. Her name is Kristi and we grew up in the youth group at First Baptist Spartanburg together. Her husband is a worship pastor and she has 3 children under the age of 4 and another one on the way. Her blog has been a tremendous blessing to me recently. Click here to see her blog: She has a heart that is truly seeking to grow in the knowledge of her wonderful Savior and to worship Him and Him alone.

This weekly schedule is like 3 pages, so I will be posting Part 2 (Tuesday-Sunday) latter on this week along with our meal plan for the last week, so be on the look out! The pictures above are of Gigi and Grand's fun visit this weekend...of course we had to go to Zesto's...yum!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Can you really just spend $35 a week on Groceries?


In the blog world, I came across this very inspiring mom, Crystal Paine and her blog Honestly, all the information was a little overwhelming for me, and I kept on thinking how in the world can she just spend $35 a week on groceries….it really started to bother me not knowing how she does this.

God is so good to me every day and His mercies are new every morning. Surprisingly, yesterday, by His mercies and grace, I was able to take a shower while Jackson watched Mickey Mouse in the high chair (I had the monitor on in the shower with me), and so I actually had time today after spending time in His word to download a free Podcast on the money saving mom’s blog. While Jackson napped I had time to listen to this podcast on my ipod while washing the clothes (Tuesday is the day I wash Charlie and I’s clothes, Thursdays I wash Jackson’s clothes).

I was totally inspired by listening to this podcast on how to spend way less at the grocery store. I am definitely a verbal learner. If I hear some one say a statement, I usually can remember it for a long time. That is why I listen to the Bible on tape. I hate Walmart, and this plan does not involve me going there too often (right now I go there like 2 times a week).

First Podcast I listened to was “Easy Steps For Grocery Savings” by Crystal. What I learned from her and what I am going to implement is this:


  1. First, she says start with meal planning (do this a week in advance) The problem I have always had is that I pay so much for meat, lets say $4.99 and then $1 or so for spaghetti noodles and then I am up to about $6 for meals we like such as Spaghetti. We can go to Egg Roll Station and split house fried rice with all kinds of meat for $6 and then I still have some left over for lunch the next day. She says that Kroger always has deals on meat, and I know Sams Club has deals on meats as well. Some times she even goes to and gets recipes based on what meats are for sale. For example, if fish is on sale at Kroger she will type in that fish and get recipes for it. She says to start small with baby steps, 5 minutes of planning can save you 1 hour. I am going to look online and see what Kroger has for sale, and plan my meals around what they have on sale.
  2. Second, I need to have realistic goals. I am not all of a sudden going to spend $35 dollars a week on groceries. Let’s say I spend about $150 a week on all our food and groceries (which I think is about right). Next week I am going to try and only spend $140 by using manufacture’s coupons as well as store coupons found online and in the newspaper that we are just going to get on the weekend. Again, you can find printable coupons on the website, she also recommendeds going to Also, I am going to get $140 out of the Atm for groceries, and pay with cash so I can visually see how much I am spending and see how much I have left.
  3. Third, starting out, she says to try to spend $5 a day per person in your house for entire days worth of food. For us that would be $105 a week. Then try to get it down to $3 a day per person. Of course she has it down to like $1.67 a person a day. She tries to not spend more than a dollar on lunch per person and no more than a couple of dollars per person for dinner. Of course this involves planning. She states that everything we buy goes on sale up to 50% off every 6-8 weeks, but you have to be on the look out for these items
  4. CVS has the best deals by far, however, Kroger grocery store, Walgreen’s, and Target have good deals as well… you just need to be on the look out for them. CVS is how I believe she only spends $35 a week because she has been doing this for years and uses coupons, sales, and rebates and does not buy any household items at Walmart. She also gets her diapers here by using her CVS bucks and you can get milk and bread at CVS as well. All her toilet paper, detergent, shampoo, and any thing that is not food she buys at CVS for like $1. How does she do this? She says that CVS has a rebate program that is a little complicated. Others have explained it like this, “The Extra Bucks are basically coupons. Each “buck” is equivalent to $1. In order to participate, you will need an ExtraCare card, which you should have anyway in order to get sale prices at CVS. If you don’t have one, you can get one. Today, I actually went online and updated my CVS extra care card. Well, I had to call them to do this because we have moved so many times, and I had no idea what they had as our address. She explained to me that some items that you buy give you extra bucks. For example, right now you can get 2 bags of candy for $4 and then you will receive $2 in bucks that you can use in the store later on (for many regular priced items, you only receive 10 percent back on your purchase) This will be noted on the weekly ads, which items you receive extra bucks on. I know this is a little confusing, so if you have questions let me know!
  5. She keeps it fun, and looks at is as a game to see how much she can save

How CVS Extra Bucks work:

There are several ways to earn Extra Bucks.
1) You get 2 percent back for all your total purchases (excludes alcohol, tobacco, lottery, gift cards, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, prescriptions, and special order Home Health Care items, including footwear).
2) You get one Extra Buck for every two prescriptions you buy

So, let’s say Head & Shoulders is on sale this week for $3.99. Then, there’s a note in the flyer saying that you can earn two Extra Bucks if you buy Head & Shoulders. Here’s what would happen:
1) You’d go to the store and buy Head & Shoulders for $3.99. You’d make sure the cashier scans your ExtraCare card when you do. (If you happened to have a manufacturer’s coupon as well, you could use that, too, for additional savings.)
2) You would earn two Extra Bucks for buying Head & Shoulders. Usually, the Bucks will be available 24 or 48 hours after the purchase. Once that time has elapsed, you can access your Extra Bucks online, print them out at home and use them on your next purchase. Or, the next time you buy something at CVS, the Extra Bucks print out at the bottom of your 3) So, deducting the $2 in Extra Bucks, your final cost would be $1.99. It’s a great way to save, but it’s kind of like delayed gratification. If you can get in the habit of always buying the items that qualify for Extra Bucks, you can get in a cycle where you pretty much always have some to redeem.

I really like this program because once you’ve earned them, you can use Extra Bucks on anything. It’s like a dollar bill. You can also use several Extra Bucks coupons all at once, adding to your savings.

You should note that Extra Bucks do expire, so you need to pay attention to the expiration dates.”


Ok, so I am going to be accountable for spending less and I will let you know how it goes. What do you think about this plan? I know for me it is not like magic and next week I am going to spend $35 on groceries, it is going to take time. Crystal looks at this as her part time job where basically she is making $20 an hour and not getting taxed on this money. Starting Thursday (we will have gotten paid) I am going to track our grocery money strictly and plan out every single meal. I will try to post one time a week to let you know how it is going. If we can even get down to $75 a week we can save a couple thousands dollars a year! Another money saving tip, while I am at this, is to buy your gas at Walmart using a Walmart gift card. If you use a Walmart gift card you receive 3 cent off whatever they have listed as the price for gas. After we get paid, we put about $65 on a gift card, and we have saved a ton of money in gas.

Ps-Charlie’s car broke down yesterday-Praise God we have AAA services (98 dollars a year and they were there within 10 minutes…you also get discounts at hotels and we do not have road side assistance with our car insurance). Usually when our cars break down I break down as well. But, God in his grace gave me time to listen to the podcast yesterday, and so now I am determined to start saving money on grocery. Therefore, I was very calm when Charlie’s car broke down even though we have spent a ton of money getting it fixed this summer. It was only by God’s grace and strength, through the Holy Spirit as my helper, that I was able to handle the stress of Charlie’s car breaking down in as godly of a way as humanly possible for me. I am so thankful, and God gets all the glory.