Archive for February, 2008

CVS Deals! All this for $6.35!

I made my weekly trip to CVS today and I got some really good deals!  I got all this plus one bottle of water!                                         CVS Deals 2/27/08

I did this in two transactions.
Transaction #1:
(2) Stayfree Overnight $10.00 
(1) Fusion Razor  $9.99
(2) Bags M&Ms (BOGO free)
(3) Boxes Kleenex  $2.97
(1) Bag Valentine’s Candy Bracelets
Total:  $26.94
Coupons:  $4 off Fusion razor,  $2 off 2 packs of Stayfree, $0.50 off 3 boxes Kleenex, $1 off 2 bags M&Ms
ECBs used:  $15
Total OOP:  $5.54!
ECBs earned: $8

Transaction #2:
Assorted Valentine’s Candy (clearance at 90% off):  $1.92
Tylenol Children’s Cough and Cold:  $6.99
Crest toothpaste (on clearance) $1.65
Total:  $10.56
Coupons:  $0.75 off Crest, $1 off Tylenol (clerk forgot to take the coupon off–I’m going to return it tomorrow and try to get that $1 back!)
ECBs used:  $8 
Total OOP:  $0.81 cents!!!

I am now completely out of ECBs!  I hope CVS has some really good deals next week.  They have been a little sparse lately!  But still, I think I did pretty good today!

As far as my budgeting goes, I’ve done pretty well.  I’m am starting to think before I purchase something and I really ask myself if it’s in my budget and if I really need it.  I am feeling so much better and less stressed about my finances.  I have kept my checkbook balanced and have been using cash more.

Some other changes I have made include utilizing the local library more.  I bought 3 Jodi Picoult books (my absolute favorite author)  in January and I realized that those cost me $42!  What was I thinking?  I have been able to get 3 from the library (which I quickly read!) and they have 2 more on order for me!  We have a very small library here in town that is part of a larger group of libraries.  So they are able to borrow from each other and when I request a book they usually are able to get it in just a few days time.   I also have been getting movies there as well.  We have Netflix, which Aaron pays for, but we only get one movie at a time.  Sometimes it’s a movie that I am not interested in so I will stop by the library and pick one or two out for me or the kids.  They have a pretty good assortment.  Last week I got Brokeback Mountain–which I’ve been wanting to see since it came out–and this week it is Finding Neverland.  They’re not new releases but they are movies I have been wanting to see.  Might as well see them for free!  

Target Toy Coupon

Here is a coupon for $5 off a $25 toy purchase at Target.  Enjoy! 

New Page about Couponing

See the little tab up above?  I added a new page with some couponing tips.  Check it out!

My Latest CVS Deal (Huggies)

Sorry I don’t have a photo this time either!  It’s been way too long of a week for me.  Anyway–I decided to take advantage of the Kimberly Clark deal and stock up on Huggies.  I am normally not a Huggies fan.  I have been loyal to Pampers for the last six years.  However, Madalyn is using the potty more and more now and the Huggies Pull Ups are actually pretty good.  And they have princesses on them so Madalyn really loves them! 

So I got:

2 packs of 36 count Huggies Pull Ups $8.99 each – 2 $2 coupons
1 medium size pack (don’t remember how many) Huggies Overnights $8.99 – $1.50 coupon
1 pack Huggies wipes $5.99 – $0.75 coupon

Total $32.96 – $6.25 in coupons=$26.71 OOP and I earned $15 in ECBs.  I spent a little more out of pocket but it was something I needed anyway and I with the ECBs I really only spent about $11.

I also bought lots of Valentine’s stuff on sale for 75% off.  I got my niece and nephew some treats and my kids some treats and some candy for my mom and dad.  I used to feel guilty when I waited until after a holiday to buy someone something but I knew I wasn’t going to see my family until after Valentine’s Day anyway, so I just waited and saved myself a lot of money.  It’s not how much you spend on something anyway, it truly is the thought that counts, right?!    

Free Country Home & Fitness Magazines

My mom sent me the link to StartSampling and at some point in the past I had already joined–and soon forgot that I had joined!  I was happy for the reminder as you can find some neat free stuff on here as well as coupons and other tips.  Right now you can sign up for a FREE subscription to Country Home magazine (20 issues) and Fitness magazine (22 issues)!  Pretty cool, huh? 

 And be sure to check out the helpful hints section!  You can find all kinds of cool ideas there!

Frugal Fridays


So here is my frugal idea for this week.  I haven’t actually implemented it YET but plan to next week.  I am going to learn how to groom my dog.  I had budgeted $30 out of my next paycheck for the cost of taking Buddy to the groomers.  He is long overdue and is quite shaggy at this point and I was hoping I’d have time before our trip to North Carolina.  But then I started thinking about how much money I spend at the groomers each year.  Now I don’t groom Buddy as often as I should.  I’m sad to say that he gets a little neglected in that department.  On average, he goes to the groomers about 2-3 times a YEAR!  (Yes, I know.  I’m a terrible doggy mama.)  Did I mention he is a cocker spaniel?  So he gets pretty darn shaggy sometimes.  When he can no longer see through his ‘bangs’ then I know it’s time to get him groomed.  

So to save some money (and have a happier, more frequently groomed dog) I am planning on investing in some dog clippers and doing it myself.  I found these Wahl clippers at Petco that cost not quite $40.  So after my second time of clipping him they will have paid for themselves.  My only worry is clipping his nails.  He hates having his feet messed with and I have never had any good luck with that! 

If anyone reading this has any advice for me I’d appreciate it!  I’ll post the before and after pictures next week!    

Super Savings Saturday

Crystal over at MoneySavingMom encourages people to post their super savings of the week.  Well, I have to confess I went a little over my budget the last 2 weeks due to Annagrace’s birthday.  But since I just started this whole budget thing 2 weeks ago, I hadn’t really had any time to save up for it!  So I’m okay with that.  It’ll get better.   But I did get some good deals at Food Lion yesterday.  No photos because I was in a hurry to get everything put away before Annagrace’s birthday party!

I found some really awesome coupons on Thrifty Florida Mama’s site and since I was going to Food Lion anyway to get milk, I thought I’d give it a try.  I got:

5 pk of Mac and Cheese
2 boxes Cheese Nips (BOGO free) 
6 pack Cottonelle toilet paper
2 loaves of Martin’s bread (BOGO free)
1 box Eggo waffles
1 gallon of milk
2 bags of potato chips
2 cans baked beans
2 bottles Purex laundry detergent (BOGO free)
My total before MVP and coupons=$45.00
After MVP and coupons=$25.00

I saved $20 and got a lot of stuff!  I’m hoping to stretch my next grocery shopping trip out until after we return for a trip to NC.  I usually go every 2 weeks, but I think we will have enough stuff to stretch it out to 3 weeks!  That will cut my grocery budget down for this month considerably. 

I’m outta here for today.  I plan to clean out my closet and my linen closet today–fun times.  Gotta go pick up a paper too and check out the new CVS deals for this week! 

All About CVSing

I mentioned yesterday that I would talk a little about saving money at CVS.  I know what you are thinking–“everything is so expensive there”.  I used to think the same way.  In fact, just a month ago I never would have imagined myself shopping at CVS on a weekly basis.  I stumbled upon a few frugal blogs and instantly got hooked on the idea of shopping at CVS.

 Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to share a website with you that will explain everything you need to know about CVSing.  First, CVS 101 is a tutorial.  And you’ll also want to read How to Make CVS Work for You  .  You will learn all about Extra Care Bucks (ECBs), smart couponing, stacking coupons and much more!  The author of the blog, Crystal, posts all the weekly and monthly deals and includes how she plans to use it to her advantage.  If you go to the home page of her blog, MoneySavingMom you will find a couple of podcasts as well that are very informative!

So here is an example of how I made CVS work for me last week.  Last week I needed diapers.  Ok, well actually Madalyn needed the diapers but you get the point!  The small pack of Huggies were $9.99.  Now I could have gone in and bought just the diapers, spent my $9.99 plus tax and been on my way.  I would’ve walked out with one small bag of diapers.  Instead, here is what I bought in 2 separate transactions:

Transaction #1
1 Maybelline eyeshadow trio for $5.49   (earned $5.49 in ECBs)
1 Fructis conditioner for $3.99  (earned $3.99 in ECBs)
Paid out of pocket $9.48 plus tax. 

Then I turned around and put those ECBs to good use.

Transaction #2:
Huggies $9.99 – $2 coupon that I found in the paper=$7.99
2 large bags of M&Ms $4 – $1 coupon found in the same paper=$3
Total $10.99 minus the ECBs from my first transaction and my total was $1.51!  And I earned 2 more ECBs!  So basically it was all free!  

So for $10.99 I got diapers, conditioner, eyeshadow and 2 large bags of M&Ms and if you subtract the 2 ECBs that I earned, I actually only spent $8.99 which was less than the diapers were at full price to begin with!!!!

So that is how it works.

I have gotten myself into the mindset of ‘stocking up’.  I used to go to the grocery store with one thing in mind-getting the stuff that I need at the present time.  I have learned that if I can get toothpaste cheap or free then I need to go ahead and get it–or get 2 or 3 tubes at once!  Because in 2 weeks when I need it and it isn’t on sale, I’ll pay twice as much for it. 

I have gotten my mom hooked too.  She saved some mad money last week and found some deals that I had missed!  I’ll keep posting about my deals on here.  If anyone else out there starts shopping at CVS, let me know! 

Spenders Vs. Savers

This is the start of a new blog for me.  I’m not new to blogging as I have a photography blog and my myspace blog but this one is a little different.  It’s devoted to money.  Well, actually-SAVING money.  Being a good steward of God’s blessings.  Getting out of debt.  All things that I am in the process of learning.  I want to share with you my triumphs (and failures!) as I try to live a more frugal and thrifty life.  I am still learning.  (I just wrote out my first budget EVER last week!  Prior to that time, the word budget was a four letter word to me!)  And I’d love advice, tips, words of wisdom as I start on this journey!

My first topic is about spending vs. saving.  My husband is a minister.  Whenever he marries a couple he does a little pre-marital counseling with them and one of the things that he always talks about is money.  Are you a spender or a saver?  How about your spouse-to-be?  This is important information to know!

Aaron is a big SAVER.  To the point where I sometimes call him stingy.  He is very frugal with his money.  He has a budget and he follows it.  He doesn’t care about the latest fads, fashions, or what the “Joneses” have.  That’s just not him.  It drives me crazy sometimes!  Me on the other hand, I’m a SPENDER.  Big time.  Always have been.  If I have a penny in my pocket, I’m going to try to find a way to spend it.  I have been this way as long as I remember.  My mom used to tell me that money burned holes in my pockets.  So you can imagine what happened when we got married.  Oh boy.  We had some pretty heated . . umm “discussions” involving money.  When we were first married I worked VERY part time.  Aaron supported us on his very meager income–we’re talking a couple hundred dollars a week people!  I can remember going to Food Lion with strict ‘orders’ not to spend over $35 a week.  We ate a lot of spaghetti (one reason that I hate it now!), lots of Hamburger Helper and lots of frozen burritos!  On the rare occasion that I had money to spend, I spent it at the thrift store.  I don’t remember buying a single new item of clothing for the first 2 years we were married! 

So then I started my career as a nurse.  Making my own money.  And it was good money too.  This new found ‘wealth’ was great!  But Aaron and I still fought over money.  He didn’t understand why I all of a sudden wanted to spend more than $35 a week on groceries!  (After all, it had been fine the first two years of our marriage, right?)  My thought was that we didn’t have to anymore!  We could eat steak every night if we wanted to!  I could buy CDs and DVDs when I wanted to.  We could even splurge on cable t.v.  It was MY money to spend how I wanted to!  I have always been very independent and the thought of him telling me how to spend my hard earned money just didn’t sit well with me! 

So after about a year of that, we got separate checking accounts.  And can I say that that one thing probably saved our marriage!!!!  Seriously.  If you and your spouse fight over money then split up the bills and get separate checking accounts!  We have not had a single fight over money since we did that one thing. 

So to get back to why I am doing this blog.  Even though I am very blessed with a good paying job I do not always make wise money decisions.  I have credit card debt.  The debt that I have has been carried over for several years.  Some of it is from my college days–doctor’s or dental appointments that we had no insurance to cover.  Veterinarian bills for our dog.  Eyeglasses that I couldn’t afford out of pocket (before I had vision insurance).  Living expenses for the extra 4 weeks I took off after my second daughter was born.  Little things here and there that I thought I ‘couldn’t help’ but put on my credit card.  (Looking back though if I had a BUDGET I probably wouldn’t have had to use it quite so often.)  So here I am stuck paying off things from years ago.  And I HATE IT.  I hate credit cards. 

So I have a plan. 

#1  My first step was writing a budget that MADE SENSE TO ME!  Aaron has tried to help me with this before.  But his way made no sense to me.  He gets paid the same thing every month.  I don’t.  My pay can vary by several hundred dollars each pay check.  His bills are constant–for the most part they are the same every month.  Mine are not.  Mine fluctuate with the exception of my mortgage and my car payment.  So I have written a bi-weekly budget outlining what I will pay from each check.  I want to start living off of less and placing the extra in savings. 

#2  Open a savings account.  Since I will be living off of less, I can put the extra in a savings account.  My employer will even direct deposit into both accounts which makes it even easier.  I’ll never see that money going into my savings!

#3  Decrease grocery budget!  This is the easiest place that I can see to decrease my expenses.  I was easily spending up to $500 a month on groceries!  We are getting this down to $400 to start off with and eventually I want to get it down to $300. 

#4  Coupons, coupons, coupons!  I never thought I could save money with coupons.  Now I am a firm believer.  It’s all about watching the sale papers.  For instance, last week I went to Food Lion for juice for communion at church.  I saw in the Food Lion paper that Welch’s was on sale 2 for $6.  I had 2 coupons for $1.50 off of each one.  I also had coupons for 2 free diet cokes.  I also bought a paper.  The lady rang me up and the total was $12.  Then she added in my MVP card and all my coupons and the total came down to $5!  She was even impressed by it!  If you take the time and you research the deals (including online) you really can save a lot.  A few places to try are Hot Coupon World, The Grocery Game and Couponmom     .

#5  Shop CVS.  This may sound a little weird.  I too was a little leary of this when I started but again I am now a firm believer in CVS!  I’ll post again tomorrow about why CVS is a great place for bargain hunters!  I plan to decrease my grocery bill by getting all my non-food items here.  Including diapers, beauty and hygiene products, etc. 

And that’s enough to begin with.  There are small changes here and there that I am making and I’ll be posting about those.  I also want to try to “Live Greener” and will be posting about that as well! 

February 2008