Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wags Trip 4/30

Total Cost : $27.06
Paid OOP : $6.26 - Have $3 RR to use on next purchase

I got all this for $3.26 if you subtract the RR I received.

The Stayfree pads are $2.99. Buy 1 get a $3 RR. Take the Walgreens flier with you they are at the front of the store. These were not marked on the shelf. This deal I believe ends TODAY. I also had a $1 off coupon for each of them so I made money off those.

The Cereal was advertised special of $1.99 each and if you buy 4 of them you get an un-advertised RR for $3 off your next purchase. They ended up being $1.24 per box. (I am not sure how long this deal is for the $1.99 price is thru TODAY)

Here is how I did it for the least OOP.

Transaction #1
1 Stayfree Pad $2.99
used 1 Printable coupon from for $1 off
Paid: 2.15 and received a $3 RR

Transaction #2
1 Stayfree Pad $2.99
used 1 Printable coupon from for $1 off
Paid: 2.15 and received a $3 RR

Transaction #3
4 boxes Cereal $1.99 each
Used 2 - $3 RR from transaction 1 & 2
Paid $1.96 and received a $3 RR

Friday, April 29, 2011

Re Stocking!

I am starting to re stock my coupon binder!

Which will lead to re stocking my stockpile!

And with lots of good deals comes more posts on my blog!


Friday, April 22, 2011

My Emergency Kit Journey

~ My Emergency Kit Journey ~

My goal for my emergency kit is that if there was an emergency and we had to up and leave our home I would be able to grab a few things and take off. No stress, no panic, and allow me to quickly and easily get my family to safety. Or have time to help a neighbor who maybe wasn't as prepared or who's spouse isn't available to help them.

Emergencies almost NEVER come when we are financially prepared or when we have time to plan and pack. They come out of the blue, unexpected, and tend to cause overwhelming amounts of stress and anxiety to everyone around you. Wouldn't it be awesome if you were prepared in some way?

We have a truck so I wanted things in bins that can be grabbed and thrown in the back of the truck. So if you have a van or a car you will want to think what would fit best in your vehicle if you needed to grab and go. I don't want to have to be re arranging my items from one bag or bin to another because it wouldn't fit. You may not have that kind of time in an emergency.

So here is my Kit so far. I had an empty Red bin in our storage area. (rare thing...bins are almost NEVER empty at my house) Here is what I gathered from my house. These are all things that I have in my stockpile. Part of the reason for having a stockpile is so that you never have to pay full price for anything. Also note that I didn't put my Favorite items in here....the bath items are items I got for free or close to it but they aren't my preferred shampoo, conditioner, or body wash. But if no soap is available you won't care what kind it is.

In my Bin: (this is just a start)
3 Paper Towel
2 laundry soap
1 finish dishwasher tablets
1 napkins
1 Stayfree Pads
1 Tissues
2 Travel Wipes
Trash bags
6 misc medications (pain reliever, sinus meds, Nyquil ~ Watch expiration dates/Rotate if needed)
2 Candles
9 full size bathroom products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, toothpaste)
1 Ajax
1 Rubber Gloves (I will be putting more of these in but this is all I had on hand)
1 room spray
2 bug spray
1 bag of bathroom samples (shampoo, body wash, any samples I have in the house)
1 bag of Laundry samples (laundry soap, dryer sheets, softeners)

We don't have a lot of storage so my bin is sitting by my dryer. I use it to set my laundry basket on when I'm getting laundry out. Easy to get to!

If you notice in the above picture there is room for more items in my bin. I will be adding more things to it as I'm able to get them on sale. Again my intent wasn't to run out and spend a lot of money to put this together. I wanted to see what we had in the house that I could set aside and use in an emergency.

These are all essential items that if your evacuated and without a home these would probably be the items you would run to Walmart to pick up. If we had to go to Walmart to pick up these items in an emergency situation it would cost us well over $100. And like I said before Emergencies don't always happen when you have extra money in your bank account. It's not enough to last my family more than a few weeks at most, however, it would help tide us over so we can use what funds we do have available for food, lodging, or Gas to get to a safe place.

I have not done a food emergency kit and I'm not sure I will be doing that. I will probably have an empty bin available so I can toss what's in the pantry into the bin and go. We have a "Snack bin" in the pantry for the kids snacks and in an emergency that is what I would grab if I didn't have time to grab the other items. It is almost always at least half full and could last my kids awhile if we were in the truck traveling.

I encourage you to start your own bin. It may only have one or two things in it to start but I'm sure over time you could have a good emergency bin. Take your time and make your bin your own. What I feel my family needs is NOT what you may need for your family. It's as easy as buying one extra item each payday.

Couponing Withdraws

I'm going through some serious Couponing Withdraws!

Am I the only crazy person that goes through this?

And all the couponing shows on TV are NOT helping!

Dear Air Force ~ If you could please station us somewhere that has a Publix, Kroger, Smiths, or Any grocery store that doubles or triples Coupons I would be one Happy Air Force Wife! ~Thanks

Today I'm filling my Emergency Bin ~ I'll post on that soon with pictures and lists of what I've decided to put into it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Emergency Plan

~ Getting prepared ~

On April 15, 2010 we were evacuated from our home because of wildfires that were a few blocks from our home. We were fortunate that we have no damage other than our home smelling like smoke for a few days. We knew there were fires but until the last minute we had no idea we were going to be evacuated. I went to pick up my girls from school and when I came back they were Not letting people back into our subdivision. My husband happened to be at home at the time and didn't have a way out so they allowed me to go back in to get him. We had been preparing all afternoon to head out of town for a family emergency so a blessing in disguise we already had packed bags. With the evacuation I took a about 2 minutes....not much time at grab our important documents and a few other items that we weren't planning on taking with us and then we were off.

Even though we were slightly prepared in that all our important documents and bill information was all in one place and easy to grab and go. We found through this experience that we are totally Not prepared for any kind of evacuation like this.

It is a strange feeling pulling away from your home with your husband, kids and about three days worth of clothes and not knowing if you will have anything to come home to. Our mind frame was that "it's all just STUFF" we have insurance and it can all be replaced. But still every few minutes one of us would say...Oh we should have grabbed this or that. I was a little frantic when I realized I had taken my wedding rings off to exercise that morning and I forgot to put them back on.

In an attempt to get more prepared I'm starting to work on our Emergency binder. We will be purchasing a fire safe box to store it in. You may not always have the time to grab what you need so having the important stuff in a fire safe box should help ease the stress in a situation like this. I'm working on evacuation checklists. If we do have time to grab stuff what are the essentials we need to grab. This way we use our time efficiently by only grabbing what is on the list of "Must Haves".

Right now, I just have a binder with dividers and plastic sleeves. Here is what we have in ours so far : birth certificates, Social Security Cards, Shot records, last four years Taxes, copies of all bills, credit card information, banking information, insurance policies.

Things I still need to get : Contact information for family and local friends and make emergency checklists.

Everyone is different, Every region of the US is different so how I prepare may not be how you want to or need to prepare in your area for a disaster or emergency. When I first started looking into this a few months ago I didn't know where to even start. I found Food Storage Made Easy! You can sign up with them for FREE and they will send you a step by step check list every couple of weeks to help you get an emergency plan together for your family. Here is a link **Here**. This site is a good starting point. My suggestion is read through the information and then take what is usable for you and your family and step by step make a plan.

Reality is most of the things we can do to be better prepared won't cost us a dime! I would hate to look back and say "I wish I had taken the time to get my things in order". It took me a couple of hours to organized and get all our papers into the new binder. Well worth my time in the long run. Take it step by step and do what you can when you can. Better to do a little bit at a time than to do nothing at all.

I hope this was helpful in some way. I will be posting pictures and progress along my way as I continue to build our Family Emergency Plan!

If you have any personal experiences, suggestions, or insight on this topic please feel free to comment!

Saving through Menu Planning

Do you Menu Plan? I'm not great at it but I do find that when I have a solid plan my dollars go a lot farther at the grocery store.

I menu plan by Paycheck. We get paid twice a month so I do two week menu's at one time. You can do one week at a time or an entire month if you would like. My menu is mainly for dinner but you can adjust your menu to fit your needs.

Where to start? I start with my pantry and freezer. This paycheck specifically I wanted to try to cut our grocery bill down so I could pay another bill with some of those funds. So I took survey of what I already had in stock and went from there. I had pasta, Mahi Mahi fish, Tilapia, Mac & Cheese, Lasagna noodles and lots of seasonings. I started my menu with these items first. Then I filled in with our favorite dishes.

Above is the menu I came up with. I pick between 10 - 14 meals. I do not assign them to a day until a day or two before hand. That allows me some flexibility. Then as I make each dish I cross them off my list. But again if you need more structure than that feel free to take a calendar and pluck in those meals on the exact day you want to make them. Make your menu plan your own! Work with it change it and after a few times you will know what works for you.

Also on my list I have placed what side dishes I will be serving with that dish and the page number where the recipe can be found if it is in my cookbook.

My ideal and goal is to have a box on the side of my refrigerator that will hold all my recipes for that menu. However, I don't have that yet so this is what I did. I pulled all the recipes that were chosen and I just put them in the front of the cookbook that has a few of the recipes in it. This way they are easy and fast to find.

After you have your menu written down. Go through each recipe and write down all the ingredients that you do not have in your home to create your grocery list.

By using what we had in the house and being creative I was able to cut our grocery budget to $170 for two weeks. Now I won't be able to do this every paycheck but when your wanting to cut back try using more of what you already have in your pantry. I'll bet you'll be surprised what you can come up with.

My list gets hung on the front of the refrigerator where it's easy to see and it can't get thrown away or spilled on. My list is as simple as it comes. A piece of lined paper and hand written. But you can use spreadsheets, word documents, or even purchase menu planning kits online or in the store. Another idea I saw recently was to buy a dry erase board and use that to list your meals. Be creative and make it fun!

So what is on your Menu this month? And what creative way do you keep track of your meals?

Good resources & Tips
- Make your own marinades (we search
- Cookbook ~ Healthy Meals for Less by Jonni McCoy (Great-Tasting Simple Recipes for Under $1 a serving)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Half a Paycheck ~ Would you be ready?

Good Morning friends! My apologies for not posting much. Ever since our move I have been struggling with Coupons and saving big bucks! I've been saving but not like I used to or in ways I felt were worth posting. I've learned that the area you live in makes a huge difference when it comes to specials and great coupon deals.

My topic for today is Would you be ready if you were faced with a half a paycheck come next payday? As most of you know that's what my family and many other Military and Government workers were faced with this month. Thankfully that isn't going to happen but it sure got me to thinking more about it.

Ideal would be a 3-6 month emergency fund set aside for times like this. Realistically that is so far fetched for most people that instead of setting small goals and working up to that 3-6 month amount we instead don't do anything and stay in this state of being unprepared.

As Dave Ramsey would say "Get $1,000 in the bank asap". Well that can be hard for most people. They see that and think "I don't have that kind of money" so they don't do anything. I have heard this so many times I've lost count. My suggestion is to start where you are. If it means $10 a paycheck then make the commitment to put $10 each paycheck away. Instead of doing nothing start with something even if it is small.

Here is where you can start today so that down the road you can be prepared.

Set smaller Emergency Fund Goals:
1 - Save up 2 weeks worth of Grocery money
2 - Save up half a paycheck.
3 - Save up a whole paycheck.
4 - Save up two paychecks.
5 - Save up three paychecks.
6 - Save up four paychecks. (for us 4 paychecks is two months income)
7 - Three months income.
8 - Four months income.
9 - Five months income.
10 - Six months income.

Save your change. We save our change for rainy days and/or months I mess something up in the budget and we need milk three days before payday and the grocery money is all gone. (yes that happens to us all the time) Put all your change in a bucket, jar, or baggie and once a month turn it in and deposit it into your emergency fund. Even if this is the ONLY thing you deposit each month I'll bet you'd be surprised how fast you can get a small cushion built up.

Another recommendation coming straight from experience. Have a safe place for your emergency fund that is out of reach! We have an Ing Direct account for our Emergency fund. It is gaining interest and if we need the money it takes 2 days to get it. A regular savings account is too easy to get to for us. With the Ing account there is no grabbing out $20 for and "Emergency" trip to Starbucks or for Pizza because you don't feel like cooking. Having our Emergency fund slightly more out of reach has been key for us. I didn't realize how important that was until we set it up and started using it. **Note in most emergencies that you would need this money for you could wait 2 days for it.**

Having a stockpile of items on hand can also help if you are faced with a Half a Paycheck. I like to have 1-3 months supply of toiletries on hand. Along with things like pasta, canned veggies, cereal. Things where if faced with a shortage of cash I could pick up Bread, Milk, Eggs, and Hamburger and we could go a long way! Build up your stockpile slowly if needed. Start with buying two extra cans of Spaghetti Sauce or noodles on your next shopping trip. Stockpiling and saving money take time! Don't try to do it all at one time or you'll get overwhelmed.

One step at a time! One dollar at a time! One can of food at a time!

~ Melinda ~