Archive | March 2010

Money Saving Tips

Every time I pray, I can’t help but give thanks for being able to stay home with my little Sam. I consider it the most amazing blessing of my life to be able to do that. I am so grateful! When Todd and I looked at our budget two years ago, staying home seemed an impossibility. God has provided in so many ways, and we have figured out more ways to save money than I ever thought we could! I am indebted to many different people and websites for some our ideas.
Here are a few easy things we do now that I should have started a long time ago!

  • Home make laundry detergent, household cleaners, chicken broth and baby food (stay tuned for an entire post on this!)
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper, and stop buying paper towels, plates, cups, and toilet paper (JK on the TP!! haha).
  • Coupons! Coupons are the new black. Or something. I used to think cashiers made fun of people who use coupons. Now I think they make fun of those who don’t. It’s way popular. As evidenced by the fact that it took me five visits and three stores to find my $.24 turkey bacon. What the heck people!!!?!! Who is it out there who is obsessed with bacon?? Anyways. The link that helps me the most is here. I purchase the local paper (Sunday only because I HATE the Charlotte Observer) and the rest of the coupons are printable.
  • CVS shop. I am indebted to my two friends Libby and Sylvia who embedded me with enough courage to learn the “ECB” system (extra care bucks = free money) at CVS. No lie, it took me about three hours to figure out what I would buy the first visit and if it would save me money. It does though. As an example, this week I spent $8 and got two packs of diapers, toothpaste, shampoo, and a $6 ECBs. WHAT??? Crazy, right.
  • consignment sales for Sam’s stuff. Hello.
  • air-dry clothes. Yes, I am that tacky neighbor who drapes the sheets on the porch for a few hours. Luckily my Gestapo-like HOA has not discovered my green practices yet.
  • meal plan according to the Harris Teeter specials. I signed up for EVIC and when I receive the week’s deals on Wednesday, I plan our meals for the next week.
  • produce co-op – have yet to start this but can’t wait. You can get so much more produce for so much less! (Thanks Megan!)
  • make a monthly and yearly budget and track purchases accordingly. Like Dave Ramsey says, budgets give freedom and not constraint. We use the program Microsoft Money, but many people I know use the free mint.com and love it.

Here are things we got rid of that we don’t even miss:

  • going to the movies. That’s a lie. Todd probably does miss this. I, however, who think that theaters are germy and most movies are trash, do not miss this. (Wow, do I sound like an old person or what.) Luckily for Todd, people who feel sorry for us have given us movie money quite often.
  • Magazine subscriptions, new music, new books. Whatever. There’s always the library.
  • Name brand products. I have found Harris Teeter products to be satisfactory in most every category I have tried. Exceptions: baby supplies, oats and honey cereal (weird, I know) and hot dog rolls. Just FYI.
  • Going out to eat a lot. You deal. And there’s always in-laws.
  • Wireless internet. I mean, what did we do in the old times, people!?!?

Things we got rid of that we do miss but it’s worth it.

  • cable. Todd and I both agree DVR is the biggest loss. We press the “pause” button a lot and mourn the loss. But I say, if you can still watch “The Office” and NFL, rabbit ears can’t be all that bad.
  • Expensive dates. Oh for the days when you could order an appetizer (gasp) and dessert. Or wine instead of water. Or when Panera didn’t count as a restaurant. But whatever, small price.

So there’s a few of my tips. I’d love to know some of your tips or resources!

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Changes

My life has changed quite a bit in the last two weeks.
People used to say, “Don’t be in a hurry for the crawling. Things get a lot harder.” I smiled like I agreed, all the while silently hoping for this oh-so-significant milestone. Yes, I admit I would prod him along in secret, placing him in limbs down position and applauding any sign of forward (okay, or backward) movement.
Well, you people were right. Although crawling, and moving, and lounging, and grabbing, and clawing, and reaching, are all quite adorable in their own rights, I AM EXHAUSTED.
In the last two weeks, I have saved Sam from: licking the television outlet, grabbing a light cord, doing a pull-up on the MOVING cabinet shelf, and eating a combful of hair, dog food, and my shoes. I have turned around just in time to see him: standing up backwards in his high chair, gleefully nuzzling the vacuum, and sprinting – not crawling – towards the bathroom with a firm-eye towards the toilet. He has attempted unsuccessfully (there are angels) to pry open the freezer, get into the trash/cleaning cabinet (I do have SOME things baby-proofed!), grab a hold of the stake near the sidewalk (a.k.a fire hydrant for the dogs in the neighborhood!) and stand assisted with the prop of his cousin Jack. I have realized my sad attempts at babyproofing need also to include: all smidgens of dust, dirt, and food smaller, larger, or same-sized as a pea sitting on the carpet, everything under the bed and inside of drawers, and anything that looks dangerous and movable, because it will be used to pull oneself up within 25 seconds of sighting.
In all of the madness, I am thankful for a few things. One, the pack-n-play. Two, extra chances to burn calories. And, of course, a healthy little boy. Sam, you are tiring, but you are perfect. 🙂

It’s official…

I’m a mom. a woman. a grown-up. here’s how I know.
– I lather on hand lotion religiously, trying to avoid those scary moments where I look down at the dry and wrinkled hands and think, “Are those MINE?”
– Getting the mail is an outing.
– I confess to pulling my jeans UP, not down. It just feels better that way.
– I find myself deliberating whether tankinis are really as bad as we thought they were.
– Dinner is never complete without, in those haunting words of my mother, “a little piece of chocolate.”
– Chapstick is makeup, right?
– The words “Express: Two Day Sale” don’t excite me nearly as much as “triple coupon week.”
– Just as I feared, I eat my lunch at 10:30, my dinner at 4, and eat as many chocolate chips, Cheeze-its and bagel bites as I want in between.
– Life genuinely looks better after coffee.
– My feigned excitement for the trash truck, getting the mail, the vacuum cleaner, the shower, and the singing duck is so authentic that these things have actually become highlights of my day.
– Going to the bathroom is kind of an enjoyable break in the day.
– Someone actually told me (as a compliment) “you smell nice, like baby lotion.”
– In public I’m tempted to eye down “the teenagers” to see what’s in style. And I hate what I see.
– I have no idea what songs are on, clothes are in, movies are out…and I’m okay with that.
– There’s still the same amount of me as before, but parts of me moved from places I wanted it to places I didn’t want it.
– I still can’t make it 9 hours without waking up to check on someone’s breathing.
– My life is more lame, less social, more tiring, and less glamorous than it ever has been, and I love it more than ever 🙂