Way back in January, I wrote a post detailing my goals for this year. Since the year is more than half over I figured I better revisit that list and see how I’m doing!
- Improve our financial situation as much as possible. This one is already in progress as we’re refinancing the house and discovered that my FINAL student loan payment will be due in June of this year. In addition to that, I plan to keep up with the couponing and try to add in some comparison shopping, only buying the best deals each week, possibly from multiple stores. A guest post over at MoneySavingMom today said it best. “It’s not about how much we save, it’s about how little we spend.” If we do it right, maybe that savings balance will start to go up instead of down! Doing okay on this one. The refi and payoff of student loans have definitely helped, as well as the smarter shopping. We still haven’t been able to stop making occasional withdrawals from our savings account though. This is mainly due to some unexpected expenses that have come up, as well as lower income since my contract job ended in March and Brian has to take a 5% pay cut for the remainder of this year. I’ll keep trying though!!
- Try to do more baking. I do love to bake, but it can be hard to find the time. I think if I try to fit it into the weekly routine, and just choose one or two simple items each week it should work out nicely. It’s always nice to have some muffins or banana bread as an alternative to the cereal routine. I did some big baking days for a while in the late winter/early spring months, but it was more sporadic over the summer. We were just so busy and baking is not as appealing during the warmer months. I do plan to pick it up again this fall though, especially since I got my KitchenAid mixer!
- Try to institute a rotating lunch menu (maybe breakfast too). I got this idea from Shelly and I think it would be a great time saver and stress reliever. I’ve already compiled a list of favorite lunch items. Now I just need to determine the schedule and shop according to it. This has not happened. We often have leftovers for lunch, and I keep a fairly steady stock of easy lunch items for when there are no leftovers. I’ve been terrible w/ menu planning since changing the way I shop. I think that will be a new goal for next year!
- Spend more time outside with the kids. The boys are finally getting old enough that it will be easier to get out and do more with them. So, this summer, I really hope to get out to the park more with the kids and even just spend more time enjoying our own yard. And, still this winter, I need to get them out in the snow!! This also, sadly, has not happened much. We do occasionally get outside and also go on playdates, but really have not utilized our own yard as much as we should. I need to work on this!
- Try to find a little more “me time”. I have WAY too many unfinished projects and boatloads of scrapbooking stuff. I really need to find some time to sit in my craft room and use what I have to preserve our memories. I also really should finish all those wall hanging quilts that are partly done, piling up in the closet. I’d also like to take a little time for exercise. I REALLY want to go take Zumba classes at the Y, but it’s been hard to fit into my schedule so far. I’m hoping I’ll be able to squeeze it in this spring! I have taken some time for myself this year, so that’s been nice. In the spring I got to go on a weekend scrapbooking retreat w/ some new friends and have since had another scrap w/ them at Amy’s house. Amy and I are also planning to do Zumba together starting this fall, so I can’t wait! I’ve also found a little time to sew and have made progress on three wall hangings and will have one of my Halloween quilts finished in time for the holiday!
- Take a family vacation. This one has been on my mind for years! Even if we just go camping, I’ll be happy. I just really want to take the kids someplace new, get away from home for a while, and just have fun with the kids. Now that the boys are over 2, there’s a lot less gear to pack and a lot more we can do with them. Family vacations are such a great way to build strong relationships with your kids. I really hope we can do it this year! This was a biggie and we did it! We originally planned to visit South Dakota in June, but the weather there was terrible at the time. After some last minute plan changing we visited Cincinnati, Ohio and Gatlinburg, TN. We had a wonderful time and the kids handled the long hours in the car much better than expected. I can’t wait for our next family trip!
Had a fabulous shopping trip this morning at Copps. I actually did three transactions so that I could take advantage of several deals w/ double coupons. The ladies at the checkout probably thought I was nuts, but do I care? No. I’m saving oodles of money shopping this way, getting the biggest bang for my buck. Here’s what I got today, if you can see it all!
I spent a total of $85.24 and saved $95.55 (53%). Here are my best deals…
- GM cereals, buy 8 boxes at reg. price, get $10 off and 2 free milk coupons; $26.92 – $10 off – $7.70 MC’s (after doubling 5 of 6 coupons) = $9.23, or $1.15/box
- 2 gallons Roundy’s skim milk; $3.78 – (2) $3.25 off milk from GM = FREE plus $2.72 overage
- Ronzoni Pasta BOGO sale; 2/$1.59 – $1off2 MC (doubled) = FREE plus $0.41 overage (I did this twice!)
- Quilted Northern tp (12 double rolls); $5.99 on sale – $1.00 MC (doubled) = $3.99
- Playtex Sport/Gentle Glide; $3.50 on sale – $1 MC (doubled) = $1.50
- YoPlus yogurt; $2 on sale – $1 MC (doubled) = FREE
Copps has a lot of great BOGO items this week as well as great prices on ground round and chicken breasts. As you can see from the picture, I stocked up on a lot of meat. They also have a lot of great produce priced at 99 cents/lb. this week. I buy only 85% lean or higher gr. beef and try not to buy it for more than $2/lb., so I stocked up 9lbs. and already cooked up 3 lbs. of it this afternoon. I also only buy chicken breasts at $2/lb. or less. I only bought two packages since I still have some in my freezer. The pork tenderloins were a BOGO item.
The freezer is well stocked once again, and so is my cereal shelf! I’m not even going to bother shopping at Festival this week. Nothing in their ad grabbed my attention. I know I went over the amount I usually like to spend, but considering the stock of meat I picked up, I think I did pretty well. Next week my mom is coming to visit and we have a lot of outings planned, so I may finally have an excuse to skip shopping for a week!
I haven’t made time to blog about my shopping in a long time. I have a pile of saved receipts that I planned to write about, but since the death of my computer, I’ve pretty much avoided the blog. Not sure when I’ll be officially back up and running, but this week’s shopping was just too good not to write about.
I went to Copp’s on Wednesday, with two transactions planned out. The first included several items from UniLever which got me a $5 coupon off my next order. My second transaction included 10 Kellogg’s items, which will get me the $10 Fuel for School rebate, once I mail in my receipt and UPC’s (which I cut off the boxes soon as I got home!). My first transaction total was $21.96 after sales and double coupons. I got a free loaf of bread and two free boxes of pasta w/ the mayo and pasta sauce I bought. I saved $21.25 (49%) and got that $5 coupon. My second transaction total was $22.04 after sales, $5 off and double coupons. I saved $26.88 (55%) and will be getting another $10 back in the mail! Everything I got is pictured below…
This week's haul from Copp's
- Cereal, Nutrigrain, Pop Tarts, all on sale 4/$10 – doubled $1off2 MC’s = $1.50 each
- Eggo waffles, on sale 2/$4 – doubled $1off2 MC = $1 each
- Ragu, 2/$4 – doubled $1off2 MC = $1 each plus free pasta
- Lipton/Knorr sides, on sale $1 each – doubled $1off3 MC = 3 for $1
- Skippy, on sale $1.66 each – doubled $1off2 MC = $0.66 each
Today I stopped over at Festival Foods to pick up some sale items and also stumbled on a couple sale + coupon items I hadn’t planned on. I spent $19.73 ansd saved $21.62 (52%). For me, that is really high savings at Festival. I usually don’t see as much savings at Festival as I do at Copps, so I’ve been buying the bulk of my groceries at Copps. I did take advantage of the meat sale last Thursday though and stocked up some steaks and pork roasts for very cheap. Below you’ll see what I picked up today…
- Ken’s Ceasar dressing, on sale $2 – $2 MC from Tribune = FREE
- Pringles, on sale 2/$3 – $1off2 MC = $1 each
- Canned mushrooms, 50% off
- Tuna, 45% off
- Used store coupons for OJ, eggs, JIF, plates, getting all for under $4 total.
My freezer is well stocked w/ meat from consistently buying items only when they are at the best price. I have a pantry overstock shelf in my basement which continues to be full. I sometimes feel like I should just stop shopping for a while, and I might decide to take a week off soon. It’s hard not to go after screening the ads and finding deals though! I secretly hope there will be a week where it just doesn’t seem worth making the trip, so I can force myself to skip shopping for a week and save even more money!