Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Saturday, April 26, 2008


This is our FREE Redbud tree.
You know I love free things.
Isn't it pretty?
Each year at this time, this tree makes me smile. It was given to me by the teacher that I work with. I think it was about seven years ago. It is actually two trees, the original plus its smaller offshoot. Husband and I went into my friend's woods and dug this up, and then re-planted it.

Just a shot of my front flower bed with the spring blooms in all their splendor. I love spring.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Still shopping after all these deals...

You knew I could not be done for the week, didn't you? I even enlisted husband to go along for the thrill of the deal. Our first stop was Menards where we returned a bunch of stuff left over from our remodeling blitz. That netted us about $21.00 to work with if necessary. While there we used an $8.00 store rebate and picked up some grocery items. Who would think that Menards has a pretty decent grocery stock? I bought crackers, spaghetti sauce, a 10 pack of the mini bags of popcorn, and 2 things of cheese sauce . We only spent 90 cents over our $8.00 rebate. After that we went to Walgreens to do the Aveeno deal once more. Not bad. I "borrowed" some of the money we got aback at Menards and purchased 4 Aveeno moisturizers. After coupons I spent just over $7.00, but received a $10.00 register reward. I will use that for next week's milk. It is fun to "make" money while shopping. On to CVS for 4 toothbrushes and 4 boxes of Kleenex. After coupons and Extra Bucks, I had a negative balance so we had to grab a candy bar. We paid .35 cents there and made 4 more Extra Bucks.

Tomorrow, I must sit down and work on my coupon stash. It is a mess. My house needs some attention as well. This newfound part-time job of coupon-ing, CVS-ing, and rebating, takes away from some of my regular duties.

Oldest is visiting youngest this weekend and I will take advantage of the house to myself.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

1492 was good year, but bad for the budget

I am $14.92 OVER budget. Okay, I might adjust the $50.00 a bit. Maybe I will keep that as a goal though and try really hard to attain it. I am still a newbie, so I know I made some mistakes this week. (Didn't really need to buy the two Renuzits just to get the free spray) That could have saved me some. I will learn. I took advantage of a grocery store grand opening though today and bought 11 pounds of country style ribs (already vacuum packed for the freezer in small batches) and a few other great deals. This is where it really gets tricky though, because it is only Thursday and I might have to refrain from all shopping in order to not go over anymore. Yikes. CVS will surely be calling me come Sunday. Good thing I have those Extra Bucks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Good News

I am happy to report, that in today's mail, husband and I received a two night's-stay voucher for our choice of rooms at the hotel we just visited for our anniversary. The trouble we had with "elephants" overhead netted us an additional stay. We have up to one year to use it.

$7.83 to go...

Not sure I can do it. I know, it was a lofty goal anyway.

After church tonight, husband and I went to the grocery. Armed in coupons, although not many, I purchased the following:

10 bottles of Powerade,
24 pack of Dasani water
3 cans of Bush's Grillin' Beans
18 eggs
8 pack of Scott towels
4 pound bag of oranges

A coupon gave us the water for free after the purchase of the 10 Powerade bottles. (these were on sale .99 for the 32 ounce)

I had $1 coupons for each of the cans of beans, and a $1 coupon for the paper towels.

I still spent $19.94

I might not make it...I have one more store to hit tomorrow and hoped to purchase some meat and bagged salad on sale there. I might up my budget by $5.00 to take advantage of a $3.00 off of $15.00 coupon. I will let you know...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hey-Hey-Hey- I'm a Believer !

(click to enlarge if you wish)

Not pictured:

1 case of 24 bottles of water
1 17 pound bag of Fit and Trim dog food
(too heavy to hoist up on the table)

How much for all of this? A grand total of $27.86

I went to three stores. At CVS I actually made three transactions. One just to buy the magazine for 99 cents because it has a $2.00 coupon I wanted. Then I bought the rest of my CVS items. I walked in with $27.00 in Extra Care Bucks, spent some of them, used a lot of coupons, and spent $5.63 out of my pocket for 3 Alavert, 5 Body Washes, 1 facial scrub, 2 shampoos, 2 conditioners, and the water. I left CVS with $39.00 in Extra Care Bucks. Very profitable trip. I then went on to Wal-Mart where I bought the dog food, beans, hot dogs, Renuzits , Renuzit Sprays, and Rubbermaid containers. I spent $21.94 there and once again, I used some very nice coupons. Then my last stop was Walgreens. I used a $10.00 register reward and a few coupons there and bought the 2 milks, 2 cheeses, and 2 mascaras. I only spent 29 cents!

My new goal for the week is to start with $50.00 on Tuesday when husband gets paid and make it last for an entire week. All of my CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and grocery shopping must come out of this. I am not counting the $5.63 spent tonight at CVS only because that was with left over money in my purse. My total that I am counting is $22.23 from Wal-Mart and Walgreens. I have $27.77 left for the week. I will report in to let you know how I do. I have a planned trip to another grocery later this week, but I do not need much. Actually, I do not NEED anything. But I will take advantage of some sales and coupons to maintain the stockpile.

My goal with all of this is to actually see tangible benefits. We want to reduce our debt and if I maintain a $50.00 weekly budget I should be able to put even more against our debts. This all still blows me away. By learning the tricks of CVS alone I am able to go in with $5.00 and instead of getting one thing my family needs, I can walk out with 12 things that my family will need eventually. By maintaining a stockpile I am reducing my chances of ever going in to get that "one thing" we need, which would probably be at regular price.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday savings and frustrations

Today proved to be bit frustrating, and a bit exciting.

Early this morning, we drove 40 miles to take our car to the dealer because it needed an under-warranty repair. We were assured on Tuesday when husband set up the appointment that they did indeed have the necessary part in stock and that it should be a relatively quick fix. Well, guess what…no part in stock. They knew we were coming, they knew what the problem was, and they knew we lived 40 miles away. Like I said, it was a bit frustrating. So, another trip must be made this week to return the car to the dealer. It just would have been nice if they had called to say they no longer had that part and that we might want to reschedule.

I was able to put an old saying into practice though; I turned a “lemon day” into a “lemonade day”. A trip to Target after leaving the dealership was the kicker; I purchased $77.00 worth of things for $16.00 out of pocket. I had a pouch full of coupons and stopped at the service desk first to make sure that they would not limit me before I got to the register with that many coupons. On most every item I purchased I was able to use two coupons, one manufacturer and one printable Target coupon. Oh how fun it is to double up that way, making quite a few of my items free. The checkout girl and the checkout manager that came to help her (I said I had a LOT of coupons) were both impressed. I purchased a wide variety of items, dog food, sponges, granola bars, cinnamon bread (yum), and more.

I have now stocked our shelves to the point that I can sit back now and wait for the sweetest deals to come to me. I do not have to settle for a just good deal on something because the need is no longer there. I will wait, and if an item is free or nearly free I will pick it up.

Since returning home today I have been quite busy, playing catch up in my house, fixing tonight’s supper and preparing lasagna to put in the oven after church tomorrow. We usually seem to eat out on Sundays but with all of the good deals I am getting it makes sense to be frugal in this area as well and plan our meals to avoid eating out.

I am already looking forward to church tomorrow. I love our involvement with the high school youth and look forward each week to seeing “my girls”. I have the same girl group every Sunday in our youth hour and they are the ones that meet with me in my home every other Wednesday night. Husband meets with the same group of guys each Sunday as well. I know that husband and I are supposed to be the “leaders” and are supposed to help impart some bit of wisdom upon these students, but it is amazing how much we are gaining in the process.

Hope you enjoy your Sunday!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


( That would be "out of pocket" for you non bargainese speaking readers)

Okay, I know I said I would take a break this week, but this was a deal of deals. I just happened to be at my CVS at the perfect time. The basket sets were on clearance 90 % off which made them 99 cents each! The M&Ms are buy one get one free at $3.29. After my $5.00 Extra Care Buck I was able to only spend 27 cents! Not sure how they did the math on that one, because I thought I would need to pay more in tax, but that is how it played out. After CVS I went to Walgreens and bought a few items to put back for Christmas because I had amazing coupons for them and a $10.00 register reward . Great trip there as well, $38.29 in merchandise for only $ 4.21 out of my pocket. I cannot post that picture though because other than 2 packs of gum, the rest are for Christmas gifts.

I am now in semi retirement mode though, because there really isn't anything I can justify buying and I will just hold on to my remaining $18.00 in Extra Care Bucks until the new monthly deals come out in May. Lucky for me my bucks do not expire until May 9th.

In other news, my house needs my attention. I will be working each evening this week to try to make my home a haven and get a better grip on some much needed organizing. My girl group from church comes over Wednesday night and I need to be ready for them.

So the rest of you have my blessing to spend your heart out at CVS this week, you will not be affecting my bargain hunting in any way. Clean their shelves off if you want, my own shelves are full! Once May hits though , back off!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I love getting stuff for free.
Let me re-phrase that.
I LOVE getting stuff for free!
This has been a very good week. So good in fact, that I cannot name all my free stuff. Just for your sake though, I will try:

17 trial size bottles of Old Spice Body Wash -I had awesome coupons and they will be used for college goodie bags

4 bags of Malt O' Meal dry bagged cereal - once again, awesome coupons

2 big tubes of Aqua Fresh Advanced toothpaste - coupons plus great sale = free

Scotch Brite Toilet Scruber Kit (okay, I got more than one) - you guessed it, due to awesome coupons

Plus I was able to get a great Bath and Body Works item for free with a purchase ( I bought a small gift bag for a buck)

Very profitable week for me in the Freebie department.

Today I went to visit my sister and we bargain hunted all day. After hitting Wal-Mart, Bath and Body Works, and a few other stops we spent a great deal of time and really not too much money on a stock up sale at Kroger. Now personally, I think that Kroger is generally a tad expensive, but it seems they pulled out all the stops for the current sale. When I combined their sales with my coupons I did very well.

I will say though that even a bargain hunting pro must rest every now and then. My freezer, pantry, and cupboards are full and overflowing. My concentration for a while will be on very specific items and not on each and every grand deal. Although I may have to go through a 12 step program if I do not nab at least a few bargains this next week .

I actually had planned on painting a room in my house today, but those dang bargains were calling...

Monday, April 7, 2008


I have just completed updating since Easter. So that you won't miss any of my updating , be sure and check the older posts when you finish this page. I have "reported" on our anniversary, our home improvements, and my latest adventure in bargain shopping. Enjoy catching up on my life!

30 Years and Counting!

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of running away with my husband to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary a bit early! We went to St. Louis for the weekend, had an incredible room for two nights ( thanks partially to a special gift), did lots of shopping, lots of eating, and took in a Cardinals' baseball game!

They won!
Just for us, I am sure.

My husband and I do not "get out" much, so to have a hotel suite this big and incredible was a real treat. We have a tiny bedroom at home, no master suite here, and I don't think my brother can help us much with that.

I must say I feel so blessed to have had the good fortune of being married to this amazing man for 30 years (tomorrow). God has blessed my life beyond what I could imagine and life has been sweet. We have two incredible sons and have carved out a simple, yet amazing life here on earth. My husband means more to me with each year, and I cannot wait to see what the next 30 will bring!

our fancy suite

The view when you enter the suite-

Looking to the left from the door, you can see the bathroom and jacuzzi area-

The sitting area -

The sleeping area-

Home Improvements

We accomplished much during my spring break when my brother came here to "live" with us for nearly a week. He is so talented when it comes to anything home improvement related. A few jobs did not get completed, and some small ones did not even get started, but we are quite proud of the ones that we did complete!

Bathroom Progress....

This is still a work in progress. Much has been done, much yet to do. The first picture shows our old bathroom decor, notice NO SHOWER ! Just a tub with a hand held shower spray. The sponge painting was done about 9 years ago, so it is time for a change. Ya think?

The new floor is a high quality linoleum that my brother GAVE me. It is perfect for our small bathroom.

The remaining "after" pictures will have to wait. We do have a tub in now, but the plumbing is not completed to the shower, the sink and stool are both in as well. Once the shower surround is in, we can trim the bathroom out and paint. I have my wallpaper border, but I am waiting on the shower curtain I ordered before I buy paint. We are at a standstill for a while though because my brother has gone home (-bummer, it is pretty nice having a live-in carpenter) and our other helper is not available just yet. Anyone out there just love remodeling?

Plumbing Progress

No pictures for this, but we did replace the main water valve to our house. We had to wait on the city to turn the water off and then replace the valve. That was a much needed job to get crossed off the to-do list!

Living Room Progress

Our living room had some old damage to the dry-walled ceiling due to a leak in the roof before we got our new roof. We also had some damage on the walls due to having such an old house and lots of settling over the years. This project is completed and I love the new paint color!

Kitchen Progress

Our Kitchen wall had the same problem as our dining room wall. A window air conditioner decided to do most of its dripping inward instead of to the outside. This has happened before. Next summer we will replace that A/C unit along with the dining room unit. This time we decided to repair the wall differently, I have mudded and sanded in the past, but decided to use Wainscoting on the lower portion of the kitchen wall. We carried the Wainscoting around to west wall as well. We are quite happy with the way it turned out.

Dining Room Progress

This area was water damaged by a leaking window air conditioner. We thought that the A/C was dripping outside as it should because we could see a drip. We did not know that the bulk of the moisture was actually dripping into our window sill. Thus, much damage to our sill and surrounding area. This job is completely finished. My brother had to do some major rebuilding of the window sill. It required painting the entire room, which was fine. I am still deciding on the paint color. I think I want it a bit darker. That will have to wait a few weeks though.

Bargains Galore!


Tonight I did my weekly shopping both at Walgreens and CVS. I will not break down each item as far as exact sale price, coupon amounts , and Extra Care Bucks spent , but I will give you the totals. For everything in the picture, my before sale prices total would be $185.25 . Not good enough for me. My store sale prices before my coupons and Extra Care Bucks would be, $144.00. Still not good enough. My actual total after all my coupons, and the Extra Care Bucks I used for the CVS items, was just $24.97 for everything in the picture ! Plus, I left the CVS with $23.00 in new Extra Care Bucks, and the Pepcid has a $5.50 rebate. Not bad I say. I am spending on average, a total of about $10.00 - $15.00 (combined) at these two stores each week. Some weeks it is just a couple of bucks. Tonight was one of my my most expensive weeks. At these two stores I am purchasing all my health and beauty items, cleaning products, laundry items, and even food items (when Walgreens and CVS have a sale I like and products I will use). My actual grocery store spending has shrunk considerably because none of these items are coming from the grocery. It is amazing how little you spend when all you buy is actual food. Yes, I have stockpiles now of health and beauty items, but I will not have to go out and pay full price for any of our essentials. I have also shared quite a few items since I have been shopping this way, and it is quite fun to be able to do so.

So here is what I was able to purchase for $24.97:

3- Boxes of Kleenex
4 -Air Wick Freshmatic Minis ( these are normally $9.99 each at Walgreens)
2- Satin Care Shave Gel
1 -Swiffer Duster Long Handle Kit
1- Swiffer Dusters Refill
1 -Febreze Noticable
1 -Febreze Fabric Refresher Spray
1 -Febreze Air Effects Spray
1 -Johnson's Baby Powder
2- Lady's Degree Deodorant
4 -Pepcid 25 count EZ Chews (amazing deal here, coupon, plus sale price, plus Extra Care Bucks, plus a $5.50 mail in rebate)
1 -Aquafresh Advanced toothpaste
3 -packages of 3 each Venus Disposable Razors ( I have decided that blades are far too expensive right now, and that a good deal on disposables saves me money...sorry enviornment)
1 -Gillette Fusion Power Razor
2- Sunsilk Hydra TLC creme
1- Sunsilk Daring Volume Plumping Creme

This has become my second job, and it is amazing how you can save when you work at it a little.