Monday, March 30, 2009

And your total is....

Here's my moment

Meeting Teri this morning was amazing! She is the most down to earth person, I'm in awe. Considering she started the Grocery Game out of her husband being out of work, and needing to put food on the table for her family of four, and to see how far she came with an idea, wow! I met her husband too, and he was the kindest person too, even wanted to know where a local restaurant was so they could eat before heading back to LA, and of course I sent them to R and my favorite spot. Teri gave me the list and $60. I wasn't sure how smoothly it would go, even though I've done this a gazillion times. As it turned out, her coupons and list were the same as mine, and I could not believe the total due, or how much food I brought home. Seriously, this is what $53.13 (after sales and coupons) gave me:

To put it in perspective, there is salad, salad dressing, hot dogs, fruit, yogurt, and my favorite, grapefruit juice. The bill was $170.11, for a grand savings of 69%, or in another way of looking at it, less than $1 per (name brand) item I brought home-no generics here (even though I do agree that generics are often cheaper, it don't necessarily mean they are the most cost effective). And to think, I was not going to shop since I thought it was a slow week. Shows you what I would have missed out on!
I have so much to be thankful and grateful for, and I'm so glad R is supportive of me doing this. I often worry if being out of work has softened my brain, but stuff like this, it keeps me sharp. I only hope I can teach the boys how to save and spend wisely. Given that G said "coupon, coupon" when reaching for a bag of cookies at the store last week, I'd say they're well on their way to learning the value of coupons.

Today's the day!

I could hardly sleep last night, I've been on pins and needles. Yesterday was a fun day, started out by taking the boys on an hour and a half trail excursion, complete with bike, scooter, and stroller. The boys loved the fresh air, I loved the relative quiet, and i was a nice free activity. After our walk, we headed to Target to look for shoes for E. I had a pair of Roobeez knockoffs for M and G, and I was hoping to find the same ones for E. I did, but then I realized I left my Target g.c. at home. Oh well, we piled back into the van, I know what they have, so I'll stop by there later this week and buy them. I left w/o buying the super cute shoes I found for myself, that was a hard thing to do!

We moved onto Costco-bought milk, mushrooms, and bananas. We still have a lot of stuff at home, there's not a whole lot we need for this week. I figureI'll get the rest of what we'll need for the week when I do my Grocery Game list. Back to Costco-I fed the kids there, and then we headed home. On the way there, I received a call-from a phone number I didn't know-it was Teri, the founder of the Grocery Game!!! It was 2:30, she was planning on passing through F town at 5:30-6pm. Uh, I thought I had a whole extra night to clean-that's why I wasn't stressed. Thankfully, I had shined the sink before we left, and I put away the folded laundry too, so it was just minor straightening up I wanted to do. I called R, asked him to come home early, heck, I didn't want him to miss out on seeing her. He came home, and then we got the call. Since she was coming from up north, she didn't realize K town was south of F town, so she said she'll swing by here on her way back to LA. house was clean, and in tip top shape. I debated whether or not we should eat out-after all, I didn't want to undo all that was done. Like a hard core couponer/frugal momma though, I trudged through, and made chili pie for dinner. I cleaned up the kitchen ala Fly Lady, so there was no mess greeting me this morning. Maybe there is some sense to this madness, huh?

Now I'm off to straighten up house more, go through stuff to donate-I have to post later about something else we did this weekend, and enjoy the sunshine with my crew. Have a lovely day everyone!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thoughts abound

We had an interesting day. I was once again reminded that I have issues with control. R has grand plans on the garden he wants to have for me, and I, well, I do't see myself needing quite so much, let alone being quite ready for all that he wants to do. Basically, he wants to take 1/2 our grassy area in our bakyard, rota-till it, and grow everything we possibly can, corn, tomatoes, squash, peppers. You name it, he wants to grow it. I have seeds for almost everything, and those I don't have, I'm sure I can find them. I'm not keen on tearing up that much of the yard-then again, I have 3 boys, and whether I like it or not, I'm sure they'd tear it up over the summer. I decided to just let him do his thing, he's eager about us becoming more self sufficient when it comes to produce, so I'll give it a shot, can't hurt to try. This week I'm going to look for some books on canning at the library, I think that'll be my focus this summer. I figure I'll have things to can, so I might as well start early and learn what items to look out for (and what coupons I should get for supplies). R's mom has offered to show me how to make jam-not only would that be great quality time together, but that'd just add to our savings on our grocery bill.

That brings me to my next thought. I've been debating with R on whether we should spring for season passes to a local attraction this year. For our family it would cost $125. I'm keen on the idea, as we're planning on staying close to home this summer. R is taking summer school, and I'm predicting gas to shoot back up sky high. No one's talking about it, but it is something I'm thinking about. I want to know that we have stuff to do close to home, in case we don't go to see my sister or go up north to see R's mom, or even to the coast to see R's dad. R's left it up to me, and I'm definitely on the fence. Doing this would definitely keep us busy on those days where I don't know what we should do. With our parking pass, I"d never have to worry about coming up with the $3 park fee. We'd also be able to take advantage of the water attraction there-which is free-but having access to the rides-even better! Either way, I know we'll keep it frugal this summer, lots of picnics, easy meals at home, especially on those hot summer nights. So this is something on my mind, there's nothing that says I have to decide right now, I'll wait another month and see what comes up.

Tomorrow R is working instead of Tuesday, since Tuesday is a state holiday (Cesar Chavez Day), so he has that day off. I'm thinking about heading to a large local park, scooters and bikes in tow, so w can get sme good exercise in. If the weather is anything like today, it'll be perfect-it was nice and cool! I loved the weather today, it was calm and peaceful. The boys played a ton outside, and even E got in on the action. Turns out his brothers car toy is just his size, and he was happy to hang out in it for most the day. We ate at home all day, much easier than I thought, since the boys wanted to be outside more than in, and we have food in the house. We were tempted to hit a couple of restaurants for dinner, but as R put it to me this evening, we have a fridge full of food, no point in going out now. Also, there's a few shops that are available for mystery shopping next month, so we passed on going there today. I did get paid for those shops last month, so I feel comfortable taking them from the same companies again. R's excited about both of them-I think because it means we all eat for under $30, and the whole thing is reimbursed to us. I told him to enjoy it while it lasts, seems like a lot more businesses are struggling now, and I'm reluctant to believe anything is improving anytime soon.

I'm headed offline for the night. The boys are asleep and I'm going to curl up withmy tivo'd shows, some chocolate, and some red wine. Today was full of accomplishments and that's reason to celebrate!

Its springtime here!

Ready to open up and air out the house? I sure am! With news yesterday that I'll be meeting the founder of the Grocery Game at my house on Monday morning, followed by taping with the tv crew on Tuesday morning, the plans for this weekend are to do spring cleaning and playing outside. We're going to take advantage of having things for the boys to play with outside, while going through the kitchen/dining areas first (any other area comes next) and kicking back and enjoying each other's company. I'm torn about getting rid of things, part of me really wants to hold a yard sale this spring/summer. For the meantime, I have bins in the tool room that'll hold the stuff I want to sell, if we don't have a yard sale, I'll freecycle it later on. Freecycle's been good to us-even got a graphing caculator for R to borrow for the rest of the semester. That saved us $75 right there, since I couldn't find the one we own. There aren't any plans to eat out, so I'm taking chicken out to defrost, maybe we'll throw it on the grill. My grocery shopping is delayed until Monday this week, since Teri (can I just say WOW!!!) is dropping off my list and coupons. I'll tidy up my binder tonight, or so is the plan. Have a great one everyone!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mid week update

Yesterday was a doozy of a day. Sometimes I wonder if its worth it to only have one car, since it means we have to plan out our trips, but at the same time, I love how we spend time together as a family. It makes for some interesting conversations. R needed to go to the math tutorial at school, so we all headed out to V town once he got off work. After he did his tutoring, we hit up Costco for gas and groceries.

We had a cheap meal at Costco, we were out of eggs, bananas, yogurt, dog food, and cheese. It really hits home how much we are eating at home when a 5 lb bag of cheese is gone within a matter of two weeks time. I used to either freeze it or toss it out because it would spoil before we had a chance to use it. Same goes for the bananas and yogurt-no matter how much we buy, can't keep enough of it in the house.

I learned that next Tuesday at 8am is when the tv reporter will come to the house, check out my kitchen, pantry, watch how I clip coupons. We'll then head to the grcery store and do my shopping trip. I'm a bit concerned about the state of my kitchen/pantry-with three kids, well, it never has that magazine cover look. I plan to break up the task in bits over the next week, and hope to tackle my problem areas ala Fly Lady style. If anything this is a great opportunity to deep clean my kitchen/pantry.

We're headed to the pediatrician today for E's 15 month appointment (a month late, but life happens). Then if we don't meet up with friends at the park, I'm tossing the boys scooters in the trunk, and I'm going to hit up a local walking trail. Maybe we'll do both, just depends on how the kids feel.

I'm looking forward to the spring weather, as long as it lasts. It makes me think about slowing down, gardening, and walks, good food, and fresh air. I'm really going to attempt to relax my standards this year and not worry so much about how things turn out in the garden and with the kids, I need to just relax-and enjoy what I have in my life. As R's been telling me lately, I need to slow down. That's it from here, hope everyone has a good day!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hang out time

This weekend has been really mellow, in part because the weather has been chilly and windy, so going out with the boys has been more trouble than its worth. Yesterday we took R to school, and the boys and I hit up Costco. We spent $12 there (bananas and milk), and had samples for lunch. R decided I should go scrapbooking, so he let me loose-my friend gave me a ride home. I had a wonderful time, used the Cricut Expression for most my pages (sigh, I really want one of those), and came home refreshed. R made dinner for the boys, and probably let them watch too much tv. On the upside the house was quiet and clean when I came home, so I couldn't complain.

Today we hit up grocery shopping. We hit up the fruit stand and bought a 20lb bag of oranges. If we're lucky, that will last us two weeks, plus 2 lbs of fresh tomatos (total cost $7). At Vons, the bill was $77 before coupons and sales, and I walked out a very full cart for $29. 7 large boxes of Cheerios, canned corn, bags of salad, salad dressing, pita chips, and a nice big fresh chicken (which was 1/2 off, and is tonight's dinner and tomorrow's lunch). I kept away from the junk food, as hard as it was. After loading the van, we headed to Joann's to get denim patches for R's pants-his back pockets are wearing through, right where he keeps his wallet. Given his shirts cover the spots, and there was nothing wrong with his jeans, I figured its cheaper than buying another $44 pair of jeans. We'll see how it looks once I sew it in place. I checked out the scrapbooking section, and was tempted by the half price big books of paper. While I desperately need solid colored paper (I have a ton of patterned, but maybe 6 pages of solid colored paper) I decided to hold off until I check out the other stores in town. I need to get a feel for how much paper costs, and I'll go from there. We headed home, and I made an easy lunch and got dinner underway. I made cookies while the oven was still on, and those will be dessert for tonight. The rest of the night should be low key-maybe fold a couple of loads of laundry, bath time, and then bed. We have a full week ahead so getting some decent rest should get us off on the right foot. That's it for now, have a great night!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy weekend!

What a difference overnight can make; yesterday it was warm weather and beautiful blue sky, today it's overcast and chilly. The only plans we have this weekend are to go to V town for R's school work. A friend is scrapbooking at an all day event (10am-10pm) and welcomed me to join her-it cost $10 and it allows access to all the tools at the store, including the Cricut Expression. I'd love to go, I'm going to pack my stuff in the car. Maybe if R gets done early, and the boys are mellow, I'll be able to escape. R's been wanting to spend daddy time (W/o mommy) with the kids, so this is the perfect opportunity. Otherwise, well hit up a park if the weather allows, or find another family friendly event. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I can breathe, it's over. I was worried about how mystery shopping would affect us, as well as how R's claiming us would change our deductions (we had more of his paycheck every month). The only notible difference- our income decreased (no overtime last year), and so did our refund. I had all our paperwork-sticking it in a file all year made it less stressful, so the process only took 90 minutes at the office. I also learned first hand what we can claim, (insurance premiums, all copays, medical expenses) and what we could not- the internet bill, although we claimed part of our phone bill (since we use it for work). The base refund total is a little over $6,000 from federal, and $2000 from state. That excludes the fees for getting our taxes done at H&R Block, but I'll submit the report tonight and we'll get an additional $375 for doing our taxes. We'll have our refund soon enough, and I'll replenish our savings/emergency fund, and make a large payment on the credit card. I see us moving closer, baby step by baby step towards our gaol,and I know we'll get situated. Now if only I don't second guess putting that money towards our goal and blow it on a trip, we'll be okay. I'll just have to decide how much we want in our emergency fund.

Living for today

Its so easy to get caught up in what needs to get done, the to do lists, the never ending loads of laundry. Even now, as I sit here with E on my chest, I'm trying to multitask first thing in the morning. Sometimes I get a jolt-something happens and I realize I need to slow down, enjoy the day, have that cup of tea (or wine), savor this life that I've been blessed to have and experience. I may not always have a clean house, nor will the laundry ever get caught up, but I'm catching on to when I need to step back, look around, see what else is out there.

Now I took a break from writing this, only to drop off the boys at preschool so I can get ready for an appt to do our taxes. M didn't want to go, clung to me fierce, sometimes in those moments I wonder whether I'm doing the right thing taking him there, then he saw some child with some toy and left my side-he wanted in on the action. That's par for the course with him. I know that doing taxes with the boys glued to me would be a complete and utter nightmare this morning, so taking the kids to preschool is best for everyone. I do have some fun stuff planned for this evening while R is at school, another trip to the park, a picnic dinner. Something where I can just kick back with the boys and let them run around. Yeah, I may have responsibilities like taxes to do today, but the day should end on a high note.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

tv update

So the initial email I sent, and the initial question I asked on the grocery game's message board a few days ago has mushroomed into something much bigger. I received a phone call today from the Grocery Game's PR person, requesting I put her in contact with the tv reporter. I also found out that there's this whole thing that takes place, apparntly it takes palce mre often than I realize, with the founder flying out to do a meet and greet with the consumer (depending on her availibility), doing the actual grocery trip with the station, a whole big hoopla. Basically the PR person coordinates the whole set up with the TV station, and I get to be involved somewhere. I am in shock, I didn't think this whole thing would even get this big. After the whole conversation, in the car I said aloud, "I think I opened a can of worms." Poor M was crestfallen when I said it was just an expression (he was hoping we had worms to play with!) Now something tells me now's the time to make myself an appointment to get my hair cut!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

tv and coupons

I'm shaking, I'm so nervous. I just got off the phone with the tv reporter. She wants to do a story, come to my house, see how I clip coupons, my stockpile, and go on a shopping trip with me. Yay! Now I'll have my chance to show people how well coupons can work! This should happen in the next couple of weeks, yay!!!

room for mistakes

Yesterday I had grand plans-make dinner, let the boys play outside until dark, and read a book until R came home from school. However, needing to run an unplanned evening errand threw a wrench in that plan. The boys complained of hunger, and I was out of snacks in my bag. Like any good mom, you want to feed your kids when they're hungry, so I pulled through the drive thru of McDonalds. Two items off the dollar menu and two cups of water later, we're up and running back home. The Jack in the Box coupon was still in my purse, but I was determined that although I bought the boys a snack/something to hold them over until dinner, I could wait to eat until we returned home. Once home, we went for a long walk, the boys energized by the fresh air and setting sun. While Sprout played on tv afterwards, I prepped and cooked the fajita pie I intended to have for dinner (which is now lunch). The boys didn't ask for it, since I gave them fruit to eat when we came home. Cuddle time and books followed, and we all fell asleep early.

While I will continue to strive towards eating at home, I know life happens. I did what I needed to do to make life easier, while at the same time remained conscious of the fact that I could give in a little or give in a lot. I chose a little, but it still weighs on me-even though I know we have room for error, it's not something I want to do. All I can do is move forward, so now that I laid out my error, I'm going to pick up where I left off. We've made a lot of headway in the past 6 weeks, no reason to fall completely off the wagon :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oats, meat, and money, oh my!

What a whirlwind of a weekend it's been. Yesterday I ventured out with the two youngest children, while the oldest kept Daddy company at home. We hit up Vons for some good deals-$48 of groceries, for a low of $21. We then made our way to Target and took advantage of the wonderful buy 5, get $5 Quaker deal. I've been holding onto 15 $1 coupons for awhile now, hoping on a good deal to come around. I walked out of Target, with only the quaker cereal, 10 boxes for $5 (after coupons and the $10 in gift cards). It was a really good deal, considering I priced out the oatmeal, and given the typical cost of a lb of oatmeal bought at the generic store brand price, I still came out ahead by $3, if not more. Yay for oatmeal!
I made my way to Super Target this morning, taking full advantage of their Super Target $2 off roast and steak coupon, combined it with their meat sale of $1.99/lb and walked out with three huge steaks, each sightly over 1 lb, and it cost me $2.30(since each package was $2 and some change). That's good meat, and will be sliced up for meat sandwiches, fajita pie, and stew. Yay for meat!
Finally, our annual review on our mortgage came today in the mail. Our monthly mortgage bill is going down by $61.97, and we overpaid based on our estimated county taxes, so we also received a check for $830.49! Wow, I was not expecting that. Now I'm faced with how to proceed with the lowered mortgag (paying the same as we do now, or apply the difference to our debt payment every month, or use that extra $61.97 towards savings, as well as this check (make an extra payment on the credit card, or reinvest it in our savings account?) Decisions, decisions....
The week is building up, no sub jobs, but I have independant contracting work to do, so that should help get us ahead. There aren't any plans to eat out this week, unless I pick up a free lunch. We managed to eat at home all day yesterday (even with shopping), so that turned out well. We've spent $60 on groceries this week (including Super Target, Costco, Vons, and Kingsburg Supermarket), and I think we're set for the week. I'm holding out on using more coupons, but may hit up Super Target again later this week for more oatmeal and meat. We have the room for both, and the Super Target coupon for meat, well, thats a smoking hot deal!

I'm excited about the deals, that energizes me. BTW, I was contacted by a news reporter after posting on a local message board about couponing (can you believe people think its not worth it to use coupons?) Anyways, she replied, looking for hardcore couponers since she's doing a story on going grocery shopping in this economy. I wrote in (completely thinking she'd never respond), and she called this morning! Yay! I'm excited and nervous at the same time, are people going to think I'm a freak for doing what I do? Then again, I did score pounds of beef for pennies, and now have a decent supply of oatmeal for the boys, maybe I do have valuable tips?

Saturday, March 14, 2009


We're halfway through March, and sticking to our plan. We almost were derailed yesterday, but as it worked out, we kept to our plan of eating at home unless we had . My sister came into town with her boyfriend, and I "treated" them to lunch-thanks to a mystery shopped lunch. It was an easy meal, easy report (considering I've done a few for the same company already), and a nice treat. After lunch we took the boys to the zoo-they were in heaven, since it was their second zoo trip in three days. We came home for dinner, and R and I planned on going out. We didn't leave though until 6pm, and given my sister wanted to be on the road at 8pm (they planned on staying in Anaheim last night, and hitting Disney first thing this morning), we knew we didn't have much time. We scoped out our favorite spots-they were all packed, and had at least a 25 minute wait. Fine with me, I didn't want to spend money, but was willing to make a sacrifice so that we could have a much needed date night. We decided to window shop at Marshalls (free!), and then came home. The one upside to Auntie Steph and Daniel being here-the boys were tuckered out and fell asleep at a decent hour! Yay for small favors!

We woke up early, and puttered around the house. We headed into V town, bought our staples for the week at Costco ($21!), and then over to a birthday party. It was nice and relaxed at someone's home, and the kids had a nice time-they all fell asleep at 4:45 on the way home, and we let them sleep until 6 since R made yummy tri tip for dinner. Since naptime was screwed up, the boys stayed up until 9-but they were still tired, and fell asleep w/o a problem. Now, I'm off to figure out the grocery deals for the week, and make a game plan for tomorrow. I'm hoping the weather is good so we can head to the park, maybe bring a picnic lunch with us. That would be nice. Hope everyone is having a great weekend too!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Its been a steady buzz of activity around here. There's always something to do, now that the weather is improving. I'm happy to say that bodes well for our financal plan, which is also humming along.

This past week, I made the decision to pay off the entire balance on my personal credit card this month-the remaining due from loaning my dad funds for his divorce attorney. It was $2500, and it was staring me in the face for months. Based on the interest rate which was high, and the company was no longer willing to lower the rate, I decided to bite the bullet and pay it off. It will take time to rebuild our savings, but I'm already putting the checks aside from mystery shopping towards it. Also, once my dad repays me for his lawyer, that money will go right back into our savings. That should happen over the next few months, but at least the debt will no longer be accruing interest, and I'll get better sleep at night.

I also have one final payment $100 to make on our dental bill next month (or sooner if I think we can hang with $100 less to spend), and then that money as well as the money I was paying towards the debt on the credit card will be rolled to our next credit card bill. Nothing has added to it-since we're now paying either cash or making payments on the card as soon as we use it, which has been very little, considering we've only hit up Costco twice, each time under $50 (so we can still reap the rebate reward perks of the card).

We've continued in our quest to eat at home. Its been another 10 days so far this month, and we have yet to eat out. We're still eating from items in the pantry, supplemented by the produce and dairy from Costco and the grocery store. Some nights are better than others, it depends on my creativity, how mellow the kids are, and what we're in the mood to eat. We have been tempted to eat out, but have avoided it thus far. Last night R came home from work with a splitting migraine, I almost took the kids to McDs so he could rest. However, I decided for an easy meal of ravioli turned lasagna, and called it a night. The $15 I would have spent is still in my pocket.

Last weekend we took advantage of the beautiful weather and hit up two different parks on Saturday and Sunday. We ate beforehand, and came home in time for dinner. We also hit up Goodwill, and I found a few more pairs of Gap and Old Navy capris and blue jeans, for the smoking deal of $4 for four pairs-turns out that day everything was 1/2 off! Yippee! I didn't bother looking for the boys this time, they have enough clothes, but I figure we'll head back another day and look for them too.

Because we're doing so well eating at home, I'm going to take $30 we would spend on eating out and apply it towards a parking pass for the local parks in an adjoining city. We used it frequently when we went to the zoo last year, and it quickly paid for itslf (otherwise it would have cost us $3 per trip, yikes!). I need to review our budget for the remainder of the month, but since I covered so much ground right now, I'll save that to my next post. Have a great day everyone :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Letting go

I can't control everything. Its a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but I know my stress level will go down, and I'll be happier (or so I think) if I don't have as much on my plate. I've been taking baby steps-R doing laundry-not a big deal-but I hate how he folds! Letting R take the boys for haircuts and buying his deoderant and soap, both which haven't been on sale or have coupons in about 2 months (which means I'll get them next week, plus be on sale). Letting dishes sit while I play with the boys; but it was a nice day at the park yesterday. Even going for a walk w/ E while R tackled a naptime that never happened-even though R fell asleep while the boys ran amuck. Yeah, letting go is hard, but being free to do some other things is nice too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I had the weirdest dream- I saw myself taking a pregnancy test, and finding out it was positive. The odd part-it wasn't me doing it like I did in the past. Maybe watching a show with a newborn in it last night messed with my head, since yesterday I thought how some days it feels like we're in a good groove with 3 kids, more than it was even six months ago. Sigh....

A friend's mom is really ill right now. It made me think of my mom, and how I wish we could have a relationship. However the reality for right now is that she has major control issues, can't stand my spouse (let alone all my siblings partners), and has caused major stress for my dad (which caused stress and chaos in my life). I should also mention she's never seen E who's now 16 months old, and looks a lot like how I did at his age. It doesn't stop me from loving her, or telling the boys that they have a grandma, but I can't deny the facts. Sigh.......I sincerely hope my friend's mom pulls through, my thoughts have been with them since I heard the news.

Yesterday was a long day. Playgroup didn't happen as planned, and I took the boys to H town. M suprised me w/ his memory, he remembers the train ride we took with our friends last year. I remember how we've gone every spring since M was one. I hope to go again this year, even if's just me and my boys. Its a great day trip and well worth the $20 rail cost. We walked around, saw a spelling bee take place-M thought that was the coolest thing! It was an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon, and we made it home before the rain started to fall.

The next two days are busy with audits, thankful for some work, and even more thankful it won't take long to do the assignments. I'm gaining new skills and becoming efficient with my time. It makes me appreciate the time I have with the boys on a daily basis.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Taking care of business

It's hard to take care of myself-since I was a child I always knew the prioritiesfood, shelter, clothing. That's the way it was for me, that's the way it is now. But at what cost? I nearly bit off R's head this morning since he did laundry last night-and let me sleep. I was perplexed by the clothes on the floor, and needless to say I snapped. I've hemmed and hawed about buying clothes for myelf, it's become a need at this point. I have one pair of jeans that do not have a hole, one pair that is slightly snug, and one that is getting a large hole by the knee as I continue to wear them. Besides that I have three ratty pairs of sweats, all bought while I was pregnant w/ G-so you get an idea of how long its been since I first acquired them. I have two pairs of black stretch pants, both born after I had Gabriel, since I couldn't zip up my pre-baby jeans. Last, but not least, I own one zip up pair of black slacks-the bottom half of the suit I bought when E was 6 months old. So getting clothes, yeah, it's beyond time. I need to have clothes that are presentable for work, and what I had doesn't even come close. Its necessary when I have to wash my clothes almost every night just to guarantee I'll have something decent to wear. I used two gift cards I had for the Gap and purchased two pairs of jeans, one pair of slacks, and one pair of capris for the summer. Free returns and free shipping, and it cost me $40 out of pocket. This is money coming out of our grocery budget for this week-we spent $40 at Costco and $10 at Vons for a weeks worth of food. I'm still contemplating our challenge for the month-and its already day 4. Maybe I'll just continue the no-spend-challenge from last month, since I have yet to buy something that's not a need. Ideas anyone?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Februrary wrap up!

What a month it's been! I'm pleased to announce that we made it through the no-spend challenge. I wanted to wait until last night-the end of the challenge, and I'm thrilled to say we did it. So far this weekend we haven't spent any money, and that's quite an accomplishment!

This challenge has had its rough moments, but we faced those challenges head on and conquered them! I have to say the hardest part was this weekend, I was feeling tired and kids were antsy-it would have been cake to just go and pick up a five dollar pizza from Little Ceasars. However, I did not want to drag three children into the store to pick up the pizza, let alone realize that I could give up after making it so far. That night we had tuna fish sandwiches and fruit for dinner and the kids were happy. No one except for me realized it was a struggle on what to make that night for dinner.

Another challenge faced itself when I worked. I didn't have time to make lunch for myself this past week, and as luck would have it I had cash in my pocket, plus a coupon for a fast food place. I was tempted to give in, but knew I would be home in just a couple of hours. While some may wonder what the big deal is, why not just buy something if I'm hungry-well, if I had no other option, I would buy food. However, I have learned how fast food is my latte factor-I can hit the drive thru too many times in a given week if cash is available, and I've learned that not only is it not healthy for me, but I'm never satisfied once I've eaten the meal-I'm still hungry.

I learned about self control and moderation this month. There were other lessons too, but those stand out above the rest. I'm using today to relax and reflect, payday is here, yet I'm not rushing to the grocery store or pay bills. I just want to sit and enjoy my cup of coffee. Have a good one everyone :-)