Sunday, June 24, 2012
I may have mentioned on a few of my blogs that I am co-owner of a local home school group in my area. It has been a learning experience and a trial by fire on several levels, LOL. I've done things that I never thought I would do and have been in situations that were beyond uncomfortable, but I don't regret my decision.
My decision and push to start the group was that there are very few groups in my area and I never found a group that accepted all people in it regardless of their beliefs in homeschooling philosophies, etc. Most groups around here only accept you if you believe in everything they do in all areas and since there aren't that many groups, you're stuck with no social or emotional support.
As I have never been the leader of a group, it's been a huge learning experience and along the way it has been difficult at times because there are so many "gray" areas. We've been asked to break the rules for friends of friends, etc. What a headache at times!
It takes up a lot of my time and the other co-owners time, but I don't give up and keep plodding along and keep trying to learn as I go. I'm sure my confidence is not strong and it shows, but people haven't knocked down the door to leave, so I guess that's a good sign that we're doing okay.
The difficult area is the lack of communication with us. We are not dictators and are fairly lenient and figure that most people join because they want to socialize with other homeschoolers (who aren't judgmental) in our area and want the same for their children. I wish it was so easy as that, but it never is, LOL.
We are left our quite often in the major areas of planning and have had to vocalize more upfront our request for communication and inclusion of major planning events. We are fine with people setting up field trips, park days, Mom's Night Out, etc. without input from us, but large things like co-ops, etc. we should be included in the planning because those are big things.
One person in particular is very "take charge" and it's been a challenge to make sure that her friends (that she brought into the group) don't go to her for everything and come to us. It has been a major challenge, but we're trying hard to make it known (without being ugly) that we are the leaders of the group and we are the ones to come to for that.
I ran to Mighty Dollar yesterday while my husband took the kids bowling (free) as we were going in opposite directions. I gave him a Kohl's coupon as he needed some new clothing so he found a few things and also got some Kohl's cash as well.
I spent way too much money at Mighty Dollar (my favorite one which I don't get to go to as much as the other one) and while it was under $50, it wasn't too far away from it!
I found some awesome things there though including some jewelry closeouts, a hanging tomato plant set, plant food, boxes of parchment paper (50 sheets each), mini silicone bowls for the kids lunch/picnic boxes, Cascade power packs for the dishwasher, etc. All things there are $1 each (a few are 4 for $1, some 2 for $1).
I ran by Wal-Mart to get my favorite Bird's Eye frozen garlic cauliflower (to die for, love it!) and was able to get some Laughing Cow cheese (the new cream cheese version that is vegetable based) for $1.68 since I had a $1 coupon, Adidas shower gel/shampoo combination for $1.47 (had $2 coupons), and a few other things. For not having double coupons, I did pretty well I think.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Now that my husband is back home from school I'm going to try to cook a little more. I plan to make some jumbo filled pasta for my daughter, who is a pasta junkie! I've been pinning recipes on Pinterest again and have to say yet again how much I love that site!
There aren't really any grocery deals to be found due to me using my best coupons for limited items this week at the few grocery stores that double now, so I'll probably head out to my favorite Mighty Dollar store that I haven't been to in a while and see what great deals they might have waiting on me to scoop up!
I sold some books for my daughter this week and so she made $20 and I now have less stuff to take to the church consignment sales in September! That means less work, less tagging, less hauling inside and putting up, etc.
I wish I could sell some of my unused home school curriculum before I go to a home school book fair next month as that would give me some extra money to purchase new curriculum for the upcoming new school year. All the curriculum sales near me were cancelled so I wasn't able to sell at them like I normally am.
Which reminds me of my mantra, take advantage of good things while you have them as they usually will be gone when you least expect it. You will kick yourself if you don't and had the opportunity but thought you were too busy or would do it later, etc.
Case in point a fabulous church consignment sale I was introduced to years ago. It was a pretty far distance from my house (about 40-45 minutes) and I wasn't sure if it would be worth my time and effort. It was a gamble, but all the local consignment sale shops (NOT to be confused with CHURCH consignment sales) had shut down and I had TONS of stuff I needed to sell.
I took a gamble and signed up (there was a long waiting list as you got 90% of the profit made on your items and the church got 10%). When I finally got accepted as a consignor I had to deal with the issue of finding someone to take care of my two small kids since I wasn't from this area and had no family (and the hubby couldn't take off from work every time).
The very first time I ended up making over $600! Definitely worth it! I kept signing up every 6 months (they had a spring sale and a fall sale) and many times it was so stressful because it took me forever with all the stuff I had to tag (my mother was yard saling or going shopping and sending me tons of stuff at the time) as well as worrying about getting there on time with the traffic, my car breaking down, finding a babysitter, getting sick (they would drop you if you didn't show up even one time even if were sick), etc.
I went once when I had the flu but had no choice as I had already paid to participate and didn't want to be dropped. One lady I knew had just had surgery and still came for her volunteer time (which meant another trip back and forth to this church).
One year out of the blue weeks before the sale started we got notice that they were no longer going to consign due to some irate shoppers who were ugly while in line and I lost my money that I had paid (they wouldn't mail it to you, you had to drive there to pick it up and only 2 hours out of 2 days that month) and all the time and expense I had put into printing out tags (that were tags required by them only) as well as tagging and cleaning, etc.
Same thing with Harris Teeter, I spent years going to numerous triples and super double coupon events although it was the last thing I felt like doing on many occasions. I'm so glad I took advantage of it because now it's gone.
I could post many different situations I've had happen like the above, so my mantra has always been, do it while you have the chance because all good things eventually come to an end (most of the time).
Friday, June 22, 2012
I took the kids bowling yesterday since it didn't cost me anything other than the gas. Afterwards we ran to a few stores and I was thrilled that I found something I never imagined I would and for cheap on top of that.
I went by Ross Dress for Less as I had not been in awhile and found these ceramic egg holders for lack of a better word. They look like the inside of an egg carton without a cover and are made of porcelain. I had saved one I saw on Amazon for $20 waiting for it to go lower in price.
I bought two of those babies because you know if you see something that you really want at an awesome price, you better get it then because it might not be there when you go back. My price for each one? $2.49!!!
I wanted it because I wanted pretty containers to keep my earrings and rings in and this is perfect!
We also went by one of my least favorite grocery stores, Lowe's Foods, that took over all the Harris Teeter stores in my area. It was like crickets in there, cashiers were standing at the register begging you to check out, not many people shopping, etc. I am still so depressed about the change of stores.
They had on the outside of the store "Grand Opening" but were there any great prices on anything to welcome shoppers into the store? Nope, not a thing. I literally walked out of there with a measly 4 items and paid around $2.50 after coupons. Not a good sign. Meanwhile, Harris Teeter is doubling up to $2 coupons this week, so you can see why I'm deeply depressed and upset still.
I did go by Bi-Lo as well to pick up some Borden cheese that was on sale for $2 and I had found two 55 cent coupons that were doubled, so paid 90 cents each (gouda cheese) as well as some HUGE cans of Hanover baked beans for 50 cents after the buy 1 get 1 free sale and my coupons to get $1 off 2 cans.
Not a great savings for me this week at all compared to how I used to do. I'll keep searching though and hope to somehow find half-way good deals in my area although I know they won't compare to how I used to do at Harris Teeter.
My husband is finally coming home today after being out of town for school (for his job) since Father's Day, so I'm very glad of that since I am exhausted handling everything, LOL. Of course we miss him like crazy too and will be so glad to have him home again.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Since I'm focusing on saving more money this year more than last year, which again will be difficult due to one of my favorite grocery stores closing in my area, I'm going to post a few things that I have found to save money on lately.
1) Our power company sent us a postcard about free energy saving lightbulbs and I received those in the mail this week. I received six 75-watt and six 60-watt bulbs just for filling out the request online.
2) Free summer reading at our library - I signed the kids up at 2 different county libraries. They got a backpack type bag for reading the required number of books already, and there are free events, snacks, entertainment, etc.
3) Free kids summer bowling - I signed the kids up for this again and went ahead and bit the bullet and bought them bowling shoes so we didn't have to pay for bowling shoe rental. We can go every single day this summer for free and they get to bowl 2 free games.
4) State Parks - We live near two state parks so I hope to spend some time hiking or walking this summer provided we don't pass out from the heat, LOL.
5) Drugstore Freebies - They're not usually a freebie up front, but anytime I see a great deal at my local drugstores (national ones) and it's something my family can/will use, I swipe it up. For instance not ago I found a great deal on a toothbrush that was on sale, I got a reward receipt to use on my next shopping trip, and I used a coupon. It ended up costing me almost nothing.
The bonus is that my local Bi-Lo grocery store will accept them as cash so I can get things there for free as well!
6) Joining Pinterest - That has been the best site for me this year to save money and find awesome ideas for recipes, do it yourself crafts, organization tips, etc. I love it so much and the best part is it is free! How do I save money on there? Well I searched for recipes for making your own cleaners and pinned them, searched for recipes for food that my family likes that I can make from scratch much cheaper than buying at a restaurant or store, etc.
7) Stockpiling - I have a nice stockpile of food and toiletries that I have accumulated mostly from shopping at Harris Teeter, but with that being gone I have plenty still so I don't have to panic about running out of something and having to pay full price.
I have plenty of laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, toothpaste, dental floss, razors, deodorant, food, etc. that was purchased for free or close to it. I've given away quite a bit of items over the year and still have plenty for my family.
8) Electronic coupons - This is free and if your local grocery store offers this and you don't take advantage of it, you are losing lots of money. Not all grocery stores offer this, but you can check your local stores internet sites to see if they do. You do have to save the electronic coupons, but it's not hard or complicated and saves me lots of money.
9) Library - I get books and dvds (free at my local library) all the time for free. Some are very up to date movies while others require you to be patient and wait or just go to Redbox and rent for $1.20 a night instead.
10) Coupons - I can't tell you how much money I have saved over the years with coupons. Some people will say it's only for junk food, but that's not true. I have found lots of great coupons for toiletry items, frozen veggies, cleaners, bread, etc.
11) Bread store - We have an awesome thrift bread store not far from my house that I can get 100% whole wheat bread, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, bagel thins, etc. at for 89-99 cents each!
So that's the main way I have been saving money this year. Of course there are more ways than those, but those are some of the major ones right now.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I have been in maintenance mode for quite awhile. It used to be so exciting to see the scale go down lower when I would finally lose some pounds or even a pound, but now I'm not focusing on that. I used to get so excited picking out new smaller clothes, but now I have a full closet with no room for extra stuff, so that's not anything to look forward to either.
Before JC Penney's changed their format of sales and coupons, I bought lots of jewelry (always marked down and used a coupon) so I have a lot of that, as well as lots of make-up (bought very cheap) and perfume at other stores.
I have more than enough purses, belts, shoes, had my hair done numerous times (highlighted), went ziplining and horseback riding in the mountains, etc.
So what do I do now? I've organized and reorganized my house (although that will never be done or complete, LOL), I've decluttered (again will never be 100% done), I've been cooking more, I've budgeted to the point we were able to pay off our mortgage 15 years earlier, couponed/stockpiled, etc.
There's no way that I am twiddling my thumbs as I have plenty to do as a busy stay at home mom who homeschools and co-runs a homeschool group, but I keep wondering what else can I do to reward myself or put that "excitement" back in my life?
I hope to travel more, which is something we hope to do when we finally purchase a bigger car (we only have one car and it's paid for). I would love to purchase a good deal on a pop-up camper one day after we purchase a bigger car (to be able to pull it) for cheap vacations.
I have challenges now as I am having to do without one major grocery store that I used to save TONS of money at, but I'm making do. We won't have as many great deals anymore, but I'm still finding deals out there with my diligent searches.
The price of everything is going up it seems and that makes it harder to find the great deals I once got. HT is having super doubles starting today and it kills me to not have a nearby store to get the awesome deals. The positive side is that maybe I can use up some of the excess stock of items I have as a result.
As I see prices go up and our income not, I tend to panic a little bit and feel that I need to be smart and purchase great deals while I can. I never know if my husband will lose his job (it's always a worry as his company is laying off people all the time) and I don't want food and toiletries to be something we have to pay for if that happens.
There is always that fine line of not buying too much of one item that expires before your family will use it, but I'm figuring that out as I go along. I need to keep several goals to work on in my mind because I get bored otherwise.
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