Saturday, May 2, 2009

Frugal Living

It has been several months since I've blogged. My time has been spent couponing. I am so addicted to finding bargains and great deals. Deals as in FREE. It all started after a trip to Walmart and $80 later for my purchase of a few tolieteries. I thought this is crazy to spend so much money a month on every day items. That is when I joined the world of couponing. Here is the low down. My favorite place to shop is CVS. If you don't have have a CVS card, get one and register it online for free. Weekly, CVS will email you a coupon to use. Here is a great explaination on shopping and using your extra care bucks (ECB) at CVS. The object is to purchase products that generate ECB and then use those ECB to generate more ECB. Have I lost you yet? It sounds confusing at first, but it actually very simple once you do it. Thanks to the internet it is simple to find these great deals. Deal Seeking Mom, Bargain Briana, Centsible Sawyer, and I heart CVS are great places to find the CVS deals of the week and other frugal tips.

Where do I find coupons? The Sunday paper of course, and a magazine called ALL YOU. It's only sold at Walmart. It's $2.24 and has lots of great coupons. There are subscriptions like here. Read this article to better understand coupons. The key to great savings and getting free items is using the coupons when the item is on clearance or to make a ECB deals even cheaper. For example, I purchased Adidas Action 3 deodorant on clearance for $1.24, I used $1.00 coupon making the price .24c, then after the purchase I received $2.00 ECB making this deal better than free.

There are so many ways to organize coupons. I use the binder method. I have a three ring binder (1 1/2in). I use dividers to separate each category and baseball card pocket pages to store the coupons. I did not start off with this method, I started with the envelope method until my coupon collection became so large that I could not find what I needed.

These are the categories I use:
baby items
candles/air fresheners
cleaning supplies
detergent (laundry, dishwasher)
eye care
facial care/razors
hair care
misc (batteries, toys, etc.)
oral care
paper/plastic (toliet paper, paper towels, trash bags, zip locks..)
soaps/lotions (hand soap, body wash)

Then groceries:
canned food
frozen food

How to use the coupons at CVS:

Read here to better understand the CVS game to saving lots of green.

It is important to hand the cashier the coupons in this order:

Make sure the cashier scans your ExtraCare Card. Then it’s important that you present your coupons in exactly this order to maximize your savings – CVS dollar off transaction coupons (if you have one; example: $5 off purchase of $15), CVS store coupons/manufacturer coupons, and finally your ECBs. If you present your dollar off coupons after your manufacturer and store coupons, your total transaction amount may not be high enough to allow the system to accept the coupon.

Here is the items I got from CVS today:

Spend $15 and Get $5 ECB when you buy John Frieda, Jergens, Curel, or Biore.

John Frieda Shampoo, Conditioner or Stylers, $5
I purchased one shampoo and one conditioner
Used two $2/1 John Frieda coupon (SS 4/5)

Curel Ultra Healing Lotion $7
Used $1/1 Curel Lotion

Colgate MaxWhite or MaxFresh $2.99 Get $2 ECB (limit 2)
-$1/1 (4/19 or 4/26 SS)
-$1/1 (All You May '09)

I recieved $5 ECB for John Frieda/Curel and $4 ECB for Colgate
Used $11 ECB, paid OOP $6.05, and received $9 ECB

This is not the greatest example, but these are items we needed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Officially a Ballinger

This is a very exciting day! Hopefully by the end of the day Bryce will have his OFFICIAL last name as BALLINGER! We have always used Ballinger as his last name so he actually does not know any different. As some of you may not know I was previously married and was blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Shortly after Bryce's birth I divorced. At the time I thought my world was ending. Little did I know what God had in store for me. I met Seth when Bryce was 21 months old. WOW! Seth swept me and Bryce off our feet. Seth and I married a year later. Bryce has always known Seth as "Daddy" in his little memory. He has no recollection or involvement with his biological father. Today is the official day of Bryce as a Ballinger, but he actually has always been a Ballinger since Seth and I were married. I'm excited with happy nervous butterflies dancing in my stomach. Today at 1:30 PM we have our hearing with a judge to finalize the adoption. I thank God everyday for blessing Bryce and I with a wonderful husband and loving father.

At 1:40PM it was a official. The judge terminated the biological father's rights and granted Seth the adoption of Bryce. Relief and excitement swept over me and I got a little teary eyed in court as Seth spoke and answered questions from the judge. It is a relief that that chapter is closed and we can carry on as one big happy Ballinger family!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kiss and Tell

I love when Corsen is in his lovey dovey mood. It is not that often because he is so busy playing and into EVERYTHING. I love his sweet mouth wide open kisses! He even says UMMMMMA when giving out kisses. It melts my heart! My favorite pic is with Bryce in the background puckered up too! LOL!

4 wheeling

We went to the Ranch in Roaring Springs last weekend. The kids had a blast. Bryce learned to ride the 4 wheeler all by his self. He was so proud. He rode it around and around the house. When he got behind the house where we could not see him he would gas it. We could hear the engine rev up. We asked him if he went faster when he was behind the house he admitted he did just a little bit. He is definitely all boy! Corsen stood and waved at Bryce as he drove by.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Time

Christmas time is here! Our tree is up and the fireplace and living room decorated with white lights. The boys rooms are decorated too. Corsen's room has Christmas balls hanging from the ceiling above his crib. He loves his shimmering silver tree and Santa Claus' all around his room. Bryce has Christmas balls hanging above his bed. His favorite is the giant snowman snow globe. We really went all out decorating this year, thanks to Sue's help.

Every night there is a Christmas show on TV. I love watching these with Bryce. I remember watching these as a kid. From Rudolph to Frosty to Charlie Brown Christmas the memories of the excitement of Christmas return like it did when I was little. Bryce looks forward every day to a new Christmas program. I love the excitement in his eyes and his curiosity of Santa. However, it is important to me that he knows the true reason for the season. He loves the story of the birth of baby Jesus. He asks me daily, "When is it going to be Christmas and Jesus' birthday?".

I look forward to the morning we open gifts from Santa. Bryce goes crazy riping paper! Corsen will be doing the same. He has quite the little attitude! When Bryce gets in trouble and he sent to his room Corsen is right on his heels pointing his little finger at Bryce blabbing and saying
"NO NO!". He thinks he runs the house these days.

Friday, November 7, 2008

On the Road to Recovery

I have been off work this whole week. Last Friday I left work early not feeling well. I went to the doctor and was told I had a virus. On Tuesday I felt worse. I was short of breath with the littlest activity and had difficulty breathing. I went back to the doctor and got a chest xray. And lo and behold there was the problem I had a huge right sided pneumonia! I was given a Rocephin shot and new round a antibiotics. I am starting to feel better. Everyday I am gaining more energy. I look forward to going back to work on Monday. I really missed work and the kids. You know you are in the right job when you actually miss it!

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat! The boys had a blast this Halloween. The Hill family came over and we trick or treated in our neighborhood. Bryce was a Pirate and Corsen a Bumble Bee. Corsen loved wearing his costume. When we got home he did not want to take it off.