Saturday, January 30, 2010

Extreme Couponing 101 with Southern Savers

About two years ago, I first heard of Money Saving Mom through the blog world. I immediately starting my coupon adventure and have saved our family on average anywhere from $100-200 a month. I really would like to go to the next level and save our family more like $300 a month, but definitely need some help in doing this. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to hear that Jenny from Southern Savers was doing a workshop at First Baptist. It helped me so much, and I am really challenged to get to the next level (unfortunately I had to leave early...I could not believe there were 200 people there!).

Here is the top 5 things I learned from the workshop:

  1. I previously knew that every six weeks all items I buy go on sale. But, she recommends when these items go on sale, to buy enough to last six weeks. I seem to forget this a lot, because I am trying to stay in a budget of $100 for groceries a week (not including diapers). If at all possible, I need to aim for buying items 40% off the original price.
  2. She says in Columbia, Publix has the best deals (even over Walmart). The first reason is because when they have a BIGI free sale, you do not have to buy 2 to get the sale price. Second, Publix accepts competitor's grocery store coupons (the one in Lexington might not). This weekend, I was able to get Abigail's formula for only $18 because I used a Food Lion coupon. Third, most Publix stores double manufacturer's coupons that are 50 cents or less. Lastly, they have something called The Baby Club, and store coupons are found in Grape, Greenwise, and Family Style magazinea. Now, she admits, she does not have to have a certain item every week. In my family, we have some picky eaters, so they like certain cereals, etc. Therefore, unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I will still have to stop by Wal-Mart for the lowest prices on those items.
  3. Even though you know I shop at CVS every week, I learned so much more about CVS. First, you can get a CVS white card if you have Blue Cross and Blue Shield's health insurance. Call here to get one: 1-888-543-5938. You will receive 20 percent off all CVS brand items using this white card. Also, she informed me that at non-24 hour CVS's you can get both the deals for the next week, and the deals from the previous week starting at 6 pm on Saturday night until close. This means that I will only have to go to CVS every 2 weeks! You can get rain checks for everything that is sold out, and they can go ahead and print your CVS extrabucks even though you do not have the items yet. This will definitely save me time. She says to pretend that CVS is its own little island that only accepts extrabucks and break up your purchases into many (around three) transactions.
  4. Organizing-wise she puts all her coupons into this file folder/binder she has. This binder is separated into 12 weeks and she labels the date of the coupon booklet with permanent marker so she can see it. She does cut some coupons she knows she will use into a "check" file folder. She spends 30 minutes planning her trip out and types out everything she will get and what it costs and exactly how much she will spend. She puts all the coupons that she is going to use into a zip-lock bag for her trip and has her typed out list. She tries to only spend 30 minutes in the store. She says putting coupons in a clear file folder could take you up to 1 hour or even 2 hours a week which is just too much for her.
  5. As far as printable coupons she recommends Redplum, Smartsource, and She also recommends getting on Kraft, Nestles, and Smithfield's email list (create an email account just for coupons). Also she recommends getting the magazine All You that has a ton of coupons in it (I think from Walmart). She will not pay more than this for items
  • Bananas /lbs $0.33
  • Grapes / lbs .99-1.29
  • Cereal - She tries not to spend more than $1 a box, diapers no more than $5 a box
She has a lot of workshops coming up and if you live in Columbia, I would highly recommend going to one of her workshops ($10 cost). Check out them here. She also does some in North Carolina and Georgia.

If you were there and have any more recommendations please let us know!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 2010 Pictures

Abigail finally passed out in the car. Abigail is a great eater, but not a great napper. Jackson is a great napper, but not a great eater. The good thing is that Abigail is going to bed as early as 7:45 pm now. I love watching my babies sleep.
The above picture is Abigail's new seat. She loves to sit on the couch all by herself and will actually sit there for 10 minutes or so...she really likes to be in her daddy's little hole he makes for her (I think Charlie liked to sit like this with his mom when he was little).

Chick Fil A playground...we have seen a lot of it with it being January and not many opportunities for Jackson to release all of his energy.
Here are pictures from that wonderful day last week where it was 70 degrees!

Tuesday's Tip: Weight Watchers / No More Whining!

I do not have any money saving tips yet this week, but I am excited to get to go to SouthernSavers workshop Thursday night at the church. Hopefully I will have some tips after this workshop.

It was my first week back in Weight Watchers in over 2 years, and I lost 3.2 pounds the first week back! I was shocked because I went over 30 points for the week. I figured out that two nights a week, I was eating 1,000 calories at (at Moe's Tuesday nights when kids eat free, and one other night). I had Weight Watchers meals, fruits, slimfast, and just overall tried to eat very healthy. It was hard to find foods that were filling. Again, if you have any suggestions on low calorie filling food, please let me know what you enjoy!

I enjoy eating good foods, unfortunately I tend to overeat, and my goal this year is to glorify God with my eating. It is hard because loosing weight can easily consume my though life, and I just want to establish healthy eating patterns that glorify the Lord. The new book I am reading through right now is Love to Eat Hate to Eat by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

Second tip is a good little pamphlet by Ginger Plowman entitled "No More Whinning!" I got this along with the stop watch. Jackson now that he carries on conversations can really whine a lot.

She recommends:

1. Tell your child that God wants you to use self control with your voice, and you are whining.

2. Explain that love motivates you to train him, and tell him he may now wear the No Whine Watch, and when the buzzer goes off in three minutes, he may come back and ask for the juice in the correct way.

3. When buzzer goes off, have the child come back and ask for the juice in the appropriate way. For Jackson, I show him how he should ask for the juice.

I tried the watch last night, and it worked. He was a little excited about the watch and thought I had gotten him a watch to wear, but after everything was said and done he stopped whining. Praise the Lord!

I am also trying my best in public and at the house to get down on his level and look him in the eye when correcting him (Michelle does an excellent job at this and I had it modeled wonderfully by her). Especially in public, I almost whisper in his ear that what he is doing is not loving, and tell him what he should be doing instead. Speaking in a loud voice does get his attention, but it is yelling is not helping anything (although with boys it seems the only way to get their attention is to speak loudly), and is not pleasing to the Lord.

Do you have any tips on how to correct a child who is non stop whining?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun Friday: Video of the Kids Playing Outside in January!

Gotta love living in South Carolina where sometimes you have 70 degree days in January. It does wonders for my very active children to go outside for a while!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Video of Jackson Reciting Brown Bear / In Honor of Anna Louise

Every day Jackson asks to go see Anna Louise recite Brown Bear on the computer( here.)

After eating some cookies after lunch, he asked to be on video saying it like Anna Louise. So here it honor of Anna Lu. Enjoy!

Wednesday's Word: Children

"Scripture teaches that children are a heritage from the Lord, a reward from God." (Ps. 12/3-5)

I am so thankful for my rewards!

From the Women's Study Bible (26). Also, from reading the Bible through in a year using This plan.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday's Tip: CVS has had great deals this month / Weight Watchers

I have been to CVS every week since the new year began.

Yesterday, I got 6 12 pack of Pepsi products for $20. I only spent $14 because I had $6 in extrabucks from last week. I also earned $10 back in extrabucks just from this purchase.

Then, I turned around and got toilet paper for $12 or $14 (I cannot remember) and used by $10 in extrabucks, so I only spent either $2-4 on toilet paper.

I also joined Weight Watchers last week since these last 15 pounds from Jackson and Abigail are just not coming off. I am going to the one on Colonial Life Blvd (Wednesdays are not good days for me), and only paid $11 for the week plus $25 for the books.

I really think Weight Watchers is the best plan out there because it makes you count the calories you are eating through their points system.

Yesterday was hard though. All I had to eat yesterday was a yogurt, Weight Watchers meal for lunch, coffee with cream, and 1 piece of pizza, and I was not a happy camper. Thursday, I am going to the store to get lots of fruits and veggies to snack on. However, I think if I only had 23 points a day every day, I would be 100 pounds and underweight so I am trying to figure out a happy balance. I did manage to only have 24 points yesterday which was a complete miracle (I chewed gum when my stomach was not growling so I would not stomach has really stretched out after having my second baby).

Do you have any advice on low calorie filling lunches or dinners that I do not have to spend hours cooking?

Friday, January 15, 2010

What have I been doing this week? Reading!

I wish I had time to blog this week, but I am sticking to my new goal this year, and I am reading. I am reading the Bible through in a year and then I am reading a Christian book after that. Most of our church is reading the bible through in 90 days which I think is fantastic. Go here to see more details.

I actually finished Counsel from the Cross today. I think this is the first book I have finished since 2007...sad. I guess blogging has taken up more time than I had realized.

My prayer for my family and for my readers and friends is that we will soak up on how much God loves us, and mediate on His love. I want my husband and children to feel how much a love them, loving them through His Holy Spirit.

I main point I learned from this book was how important it is not to forget that God loves us so much! "We are to love God consistently and passionately, and we are to love our neighbors---whether our spouse, child, or enemy---the way we already love ourselves. Real love---not just as a warm impulse washing over our minds but as a solid determination to lay down our lives and serve other though it may cost blood, sweat, or our very lives---is the royal command to the children of God who is love."

With people:

"I am commanded to love them and live in close relationship with them. I have to be patient and forgiving. I have to serve others when they don't appreciate me. And, even more shockingly, I discovered that my love for the Lord can be measured by my love for others!

"By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil; whoever, does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." (1 John 3:10).

I new goal for me is to show my husband and children how much I love them. As well, as loving them with God's love which cannot be measured.

I highly recommend reading this book Counsel from the Cross, and I also recommend us ladies reading 15 pages a day Monday through Friday. It will be life changing (we have time for what we want to have time for)!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy 6th Anniversary to My Wonderful Husband!

Six years ago today, it snowed a little in Spartanburg, however, because of the clouds, the candles looked beautiful in the sanctuary. At 4 pm, I took the happiest walk I will ever have, down the aisle with my faithful father just as I had always dreamed of ever since I was a little girl.

God choose the perfect man for me, he challenges me to walk closer with the Lord, and daily dies to himself and depends on God for everything.

We have decide to give each other $15 gifts for our anniversary since this is the only holiday we do not get gifts from our family. I got him a $15 itunes gift card, and he got me a beautiful pearl necklace at Hand Picked (under $20).My homemade card for him:

Top 5 Best Memories of Last Year

  1. Us getting on our face and praying for answers to Jackson’s speech problem and the Lord revealing us the answer the next day!
  2. Us buying our car
  3. Your 30th Birthday Surprise!
  4. You preaching so well this year
  5. You coaching Jackson and him scoring a goal.

Since we have almost been together a Decade -Top 5 Memories of The Decade

  1. Us meeting and knowing God had given us a perfect mate (knowing within weeks we would be married one day).
  2. Our first Valentines day
  3. Our wedding!
  4. You preaching for the first time and doing so well!
  5. Our children being born!

It has been the best decade of my life and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us for the next decade.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Jackson Says, "Please Let it Snow!"

He also says he is just like Nikki from the book, "The Mitten."

Abigail's First Hair Cut!

Abigail's first hair cut was not that planned. I had tried to get a hair cut appointment with Maree before Christmas but my schedule was just so crazy we could not get it in. Anyway, she cut my hair nice and quickly early Tuesday morning and we had time for Abigail to get a trim. I honestly, do not know when we will get back out there! I do want Abigail's hair to be long eventually and I do not want her to have bangs since she has a short forehead.

Maree gives the best hair cuts ever! She gave Abigail the cutest little bop hair cut and I have gotten lots of comments on how cute her hair is (before the hair cut she was definitely sporting a mullet). When I was in Sumter, the only person my hair stylist recommended was Maree Lynn, and believe it or not she goes to our church and is VERY active in our church and in the youth group. Columbia is not that small of a town...ha! She is out on Lake Murry Blvd with her own salon now and call her at (803) 920-9645, for the best hair cut in town!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wednesday's Word: A New Year, A New Goal

I do usually like to make New Year's resolutions.

I heard today on the tv that the number one New Year's resolution was to lose weight. I always seem to be wanted to lose weight as well, I really enjoy good food. I have one simple goal this year with loosing weight. Eat healthy first! I am not going to let myself eat anything but healthy items when starting my day. I am drinking slimfast ready made shakes first (milk chocolate ones served in a cup with ice in it). I also might hide Charlie's candy/

Working out is really only like 30 percent of weight loss, eating is the rest (Weight Watcher is a great program as well, and I have done that many times. It is the only program I feel where you can actually keep the weight off when you stop going to meetings...aka you can still go out to eat!).

I digress, this is not my main new goal for the year.

My new goal for this year, drum role please (ha)....Read 15 pages a day of a book (not the Bible) Monday-Friday.

Why this goal? With two babies at home, I feel like I am loosing brain cells always thinking about what they need. I do a pretty good job of reading the Bible daily, but the rest of my free time I spend on the computer, and cutting coupons. There is so many great books I want to read that will help me grow in the knowledge of Him!

First, I am reading Counsel from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick (one of my role models). She is a key biblical Christian counselor and I had to read her books for my classes. Next on the list is "No More Whining" by Plowman.

This book has been phenomenal so far. She write,

"the gospel tells her (a counselee) about herself: God's love for her isn't based on her performance or on her children's performance. His love is based solely on the performance of his Son. She can rejoice that God doesn't operate on a quid pro quo basis, like a cosmic vending machine that spits out treats for those who perform flawlessly. By grace alone she has been given the complete righteousness of the Son. She is his beloved child because she is in the Beloved One. The gospel tells her that her Savior, who took on flesh like hers in order to redeem her, is ruling sovereignly from heaven, never forgetting about her for one moment, never neglecting to cause all things---even her sin---to work for good. He will sanctify and keep her, even though it feels like she has been set adrift on a dark and stormy sea."

I already feel spiritual growth by just reading a chapter a day in this book! I am also reading through the Bible in a different way (a plan Crosswell Baptist Church is doing this year). It starts off reading Romans, then Genesis, etc. Click here to see it. I am reading through the Bible by reading my Woman's Study Bible (Paterson) that I used in seminary.

What about you what is your one main goal for this new year?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tuesday's Tip: My CVS Purchases Yesterday

CVS had a lot of extra buck deals for me this week on items I was running out of. Many of the money saving mom blogs did not think there were many good deals, but I did!

First I bought with one purchase
45 Hefty CS Tall Trash (new) Bags for $6.99 (I was out)
3 Huge Containers of Pantene Shampo for $5.99 each and I had $4 worth of coupons for them

So on this purchase I paid $22.71 and got $10 EB to use on my next purchase ($5 was my quarterly EB from our medicine)

Second purchase:
2 Dove Clinc. Pro Deodorants for $16. I know that is a lot but when I go to the gym I need clinical strength (do you recommend a certain deodorant?) and these will last me 6 months. Pulse I got $4 back in extra bucks!

2 large Colgate Toothpaste for $5 and I had a .75 cent off coupon (got $2 in extrabuck here)

1 perfume for $15.99 and got $5 in extra bucks. Do not laugh but I have these lotion a friend gave me in college called "Curious" by Britany Spears. It is Charlie's favorite and I am out of perfume so I got it. Ha!

I used my $10 in extra bucks that I got in the first purchase and spent $28.48 on this purchase and got $11 in extra bucks to use on my next purchase! Plus the kids did great in CVS. I think Abigail was just so glad to be out of the house!

I am sad that CVS is not doing rain checks on EB items anymore. Does anyone know why?

Go to southern savers to see all the deals at CVS this week, and you can print off your shopping list!

Tuesday's Tip: Advice Wanted-Heat Pumps are Hard to Figure Out!

Even when we lived in apartments, we did not have a heat pump.

In the winter, our bills are crazy!

Our heat pump runs and NEVER turns off. This of course costs lots and lots of money.

I have had guys come out here many times, and they have fixed things, but in the winter it still never turns off unless I turn it off. Then, after I do turn it off, many times it goes up a degree in the house. I know that heat pumps are meant for Florida, but Columbia gets a lot colder than Florida!

So here are some of my solutions, but I would LOVE to hear your solutions.

1. Keep it on a cold 68 in the house. We are already cold at 70, so might as well keep it there it on what SC&G recommends.

2. Turn off the unit at lunch time to give it a change to regroup. Only turn it off for 30 minutes and then turn it back on (if I do not do this it will probably run for three weeks straight).

3. Last night, we went and got a Lasko heater at Walmart for $55 and keep in running in the den while we are home. The only problem is that since we have had a fire, we cannot keep it running while we sleep and do unplug it when we leave.

What are your recommendations? Have my kids sleep in a snuggie? Haha! Their rooms are freezing!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Our EdVenture Children's Museum Visit on New Year's Day

Sailing just like Captain Feathersword. Now, when he wants to be funny he says, "Blow me down." He proceeds to fall down just like Captain Feathersword and he usually get a laugh.

Jackson in a firetruck. I am glad he does not remember being in a real firetruck when he was 9 months old.

Abigail, one year old going on at least three years old. She wants to do whatever her brother is doing. Sometimes, I forget how young she really is! She loved the museum.

We had a great time at EdVenture Children's Museum on New Year's Day. I was researching fun family activities to do on New Year's Eve, and they actually have a great event on New Year's Eve around 12 pm. I was looking at this in the afternoon, so was sad we missed it.

On New Year's Eve we went to Saluda Shoals park to see the Christmas lights. It was amazing and $10 per car, and it was very educational for Jackson. So, on New Year Eve day when it was cold and raining and the kids were going crazy we decided to head out to EdVenture. We have only been there one other time (click here), and Charlie was not able to go with us that time. I highly recommend EdVenture, and the second Tuesday of every month they have family night from 5-8 pm and it is $1 a person (so I would not recommend getting season passes like I would recommend with the zoo).

Friday, January 01, 2010

Online Printable Coupons just reloaded their printable coupons.

I printed off:

  • Yoplait Yogurt coupons save $.50 on six
  • Sweet Rolls by Pillsbury save $1.00 on two
  • Cheerios save $1.00 on two
  • Tag Junior book save $2.00 on any tag junior book.
Do you have any great online printable coupons site that you know of on items we buy every week?