Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Long Time No Hear

Wow, where has the time gone? Better yet...where have I gone? I'm still here. Just SWAMPED. Truth is I have been spending so much time working on FRG (Family Readiness Group) stuff for the soldiers I love that my blog has been sidelined for some time. My last post was in August. Wow!

I miss blogging and sharing with you all of the wonderful sales and savings I can find, but I have to admit I miss my bloggie friends as well.

However, in this time away from my blog and from couponing in general (sad but true), I have learned quite a bit. First of all, I have spent probably total about $500 in groceries this year which is not bad at all. That just shows you how much stuff I had stockpiled. Waayyyy too much stuff to be honest. I went crazy I think, like I'm sure all of us do at some point or another. I'm back down to one large shelving unit that consists of two long shelves approximately 2' deep and approximately 8' long. I have food items on one shelf and, you guessed it, none food items on the other. I still have a lot of stuff left believe it or not, but now I am slowly dwindling down and realizing what we really use and don't use.

Another thing that has happened is that my husband and I, after 7 years of marriage, have finally realized that we do not eat the same foods at all. This was a nighmare for me. I came from a family with a father who had us try everything and I probably like a vegetable for every letter of the alphabet (is there one for each?). My husband on the other hand is the pickiest eater (I am not kidding) I have ever met on the face of the planet. Where most spouses will come in and sit down and eat whatever you put in front of them, mine won't. You can put his favorite meal in front of him and if his taste buds are feeling it that day, then he won't eat it. I went through the whole I'm a failure as a wife syndrom and then realized, with his help of course, that it wasn't me. Sooo, he made the decision the other night that he is going to buy his own groceries and I will buy mine. Woo Hoo!!!!! Dancing in the streets, Buddah is very very happy, etc. etc. etc.

Now, for the record, I will still purchase the non-food items because I will still be using coupons for those and trying to find stellar deals. But, this does change how I will be shopping for now on and how I will be spending my money.

Another thing I learned not purchasing groceries and using the stock pile up was that I had a lot of things that quite honestly aren't good for the wasteline. Yes you can get Mac N Cheese for free with the right coupon and when it is on sale, but honestly, how good is that stuff for you. Bottom line is it's not. I was reading an article from Dr. Oz (never watched him but know of him) the other day and he basically said when you shop in a grocery store, shop the perimeter. I sat and thought about my local grocers and they are all set up the same way. If I shop the perimeter I will hit the dairy, then the meat department, then the veggie department, then the bread department. No junk food there. Yes I still have a lot in my stock pile, but the majority of it probably doesn't have the nutritional value of a nail. So while we are bragging (GUILTY!) about how great we are doing with our coupons, how healthy of foods are we serving our families or even ourselves (don't forget the single folk).

Now we all know there are not a ton of coupons out there for things like fresh veggies and meat so how do you save money and eat healthy. For me, I'm trying to focus on saving money and spending as little as possible on those items that I need to use all of the time. For example, I saw on a friends' blogsite that Wal-Mart had Gain Dishwashing Detergent (11 oz. size) regularly priced for $.97. At the same time, Gain had put out a $1/1 coupon good on any size detergent. Needless to say I jumped on it. I went on e-bay and purchased 20 coupons for $5.00. Now I know some of your are probably gasping at that because maybe you purchase them from your favorite coupon clipping service. The reason I use E-bay is because I use the money from my Pay-Pal account to pay for the coupons. The money in my Pay-Pal account is money I have earned from doing surveys and transferred over to Pay-Pal. No money out of my pocket. That $5 I spent never hit my bank account nor came out of my bank account so technically, I didn't pay a dime. I don't pay taxes on the money earned from the surveys so it is nothing but a total win to me. I paid $.02 a bottle tax for 20 bottles so I paid $.40 cash for 20 bottles of the Gain. Another thing with the detergent is that it is so strong you can literally dilute it and get twice or three times as much use from one bottle. You simply take a old dish washing detergent bottle and pour 1/3 to 1/2 of the bottle of Gain detergent in it then fill it almost full with water. Give it a couple of shakes to mix it up and it works just as well. Now there is just my husband and myself so we only have so many dishes. Those 20 bottles (which I can stretch to 40 by diluting) will last me a couple of years. Another item crossed of the list that I won't have to purchase for some time which frees up money to spend on the veggies and meat. I now concentrate on stocking up and spending as little as possible on non-food items. I'm am still spending less at the store all the way around. Stocking up on frozen vegetables is another great thing when you can get them for free or nearly free. When you spend the time and energy focusing on getting those items you use all of the time for free or nearly free then you spend a great deal less at the grocery store than you realize. Trust me when I say it makes a huge difference in your budget.

As you have probably also seen me talk about before, my husband and I have separate accounts and we split the bills down the middle. Now the vehicle was paid off recently so we restructured the bills again and I will have three bills a month to pay. The mortgage ($503.00), the electric (fluctuates) and the credit card ($200.00/month till paid off). I know what I make and how much I need to keep out of each pay check to make it to the next one. I get paid twice monthly so I have set myself a little budget. The restructuring just happened so now I am on to saving money. That is my goal for the next year. To see how much I can save. I know that the holidays are just around the corner, but my husband and I decided we are only going to do for our grand daughter this year. We don't need anything and honestly I don't want anything and neither does he so there you go. Why spend money that is not necessary to spend.

This blog is not for the ladies that go to the grocery store and purchase $700 worth of groceries and spend $49.23 on them. Honestly, I would hate to see what was in their grocery bags. While I want to be frugal, I want to be healthier as well. There is no point in purchasing something that you paid $.25 for if the nutritional value was zero and the dogs turn their nose up at the leftovers. It you read the articles and listen to the news shows you already know that we have a problem in our society and it's that we have let our health go. It's easy to do when you are couponing. Like I said, it's real easy to go out and get 10 boxes of Ho Hos when you can get them for $.40 than it is to buy a bag of apples you have to pay $3 for. But which is healthier??? If it comes down to saving money and saving health, I'm going to go for the health this time. Maybe it is because I am getting older or maybe I'm just getting smarter. Whatever it is, I'm going to go with it and see how it works.

My focus for the next year will be to continue and spend morre focus on doing my surveys. I don't spend as much time as I would like doing them and I miss a lot of money opportunities. Remember, I don't make a ton doing the surveys but think about what I wrote before about the gain detergent. The only thing I paid was $.02 tax on each. The rest of the money came from the coupons and the surveys. $.40 for years worth of detergent works for me.

My other focus will be to increase my savings account each month. I already have $100 put into my account each month. Not much I know but I want to change that. I automatically have $50.00 from each check directly deposited into a savings account. I have decided that starting with this next check (Friday), after I paid my bills and set aside my $200 to last me until the next pay check, everything else will be deposited into savings. I'm sure it won't be the same amount each month, but hopefully it will make my savings account grow. $200 should be more than enough to last two weeks until the next pay period and if any of that money is left over at the next check, then it will go directly into savings and I'll start over again. Sort of like passing go in Monopoly. Every time you pass go you collect $200. That $200 will have to pay for everything that I need or want, etc.

My goal is to really start tracking my money so to speak and see how I am spending it each month so starting on Friday, I am going to keep tabs on every penny I spend. I'll start out letting you know how much I have in my savings and we can go from there. Hopefully this time next year I will have made a huge increase in my savings account. We'll see.

Another thing I want to do is to track when I purchase something like the Gain detergent and keep a running list of when I have to purchase it again. I want to see how long things last, etc. It will be interesting to me to find out how long I can make things last by stretching them. Whether it be by diluting the detergent or by cutting dryer sheets in half, I just want to see how much my little efforts here and there save me in the long haul.

And if you think this doesn't work, I haven't literally purchased tissue paper in almost 3 years. I use the money I earn from my survys and purchase Amazon electronic gift cards and purchase the tissue paper that way. I haven't spent a dime out of my pocket in almost 3 years. Same goes for Beggin Strips for my dogs.

If I find good deals, i will pass them on to you. And, hopefully some things I am doing will work for you too. Have a great day everyone.


This post is part of the Becentsable GatheringCompensated Affiliate

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