Tag Archive | coupons

3 year Blogiversary

 

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Growing a large family 3 year blogiversary

 

It was 3 years ago today that I decided to start a blog. A place where I can vent and connect with the world. I also did many searches for large family blogs and couldn’t find any. So I decided that that was the direction I wanted to go. Over the years it has morphed into an eclectic collection of moments in our lives from homeschooling to homesteading. I try to keep it real, but classy and positive at the same time. I hope I have provided some humor along with some ideas and tips to help with your lives. All I ask is that you spread the word.

 

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Now let’s take a look back at my top post over the last 3 years.

First Day of School 2013

Homemade Pizza Dough

Building our Coop de Ville

 

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My Favorite Post:

I’m Southern and I can’t bake biscuits

This is my favorite post because I always ask myself why can’t I make biscuits. I grew up watching Grandma make them. I have tackled some pretty difficult recipes and have honestly impressed the heck out of myself sometimes. But biscuits are my Achilles heel! UPDATE: I still haven’t found and made a good biscuit yet!

Selfie! OH wait am I too close!

Selfie! OH wait am I too close!

 

Theses are the post that sum me up as a person. These post show who I am perfectly.

Our Frugal Disney Vacation

City Girl living a Country life

Check in with my flock

Family Dinners

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Let me know your favorite post and what you would like to see more of.

 

 

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Back to Basics~Grocery shopping

We covered how to make a menu. Now lets cover how to grocery shop cheaply.

Shopping List~
After you have a menu plan, you will want to make a list. Gather all of those recipes and make a list of every ingredient you would need. Even if you know you have it, write it down. If you need the same item for different recipes write down how many or how much. Nothing will throw you off your meal making stride like needing 2 eggs and only having 1. Now go through your kitchen and mark off all the items that you have already. While you are doing this, write down any items that are essentials that you might be getting low on. For us that would be flour, sugar, milk, eggs and Hubby’s coffee, just to name a few.
Now time for our sale ads. Go through and write down any deals you see that would be beneficial to your family. Maybe there is a deal on toilet paper or razors. Stock up!
Coupons~
I use to be one of those mom’s who couldn’t buy anything without coupons. This was before the TV show made us look like freaks. Why did we need 20 bags of dog food when I don’t have a dog?  BECAUSE IT’S FREE!!! Then I saw the show and thought WOW I am spending a lot of time on couponing and coming home with a lot of junk I didn’t need just because it was cheap or free. It can be a double edge sword. You want to save money but you don’t want it to take away from your family time or become an obsession.
I still stockpile certain items using coupons. But everything I buy in excessive amounts is things that we use. Razors, shaving cream, body wash, shampoo, toliet paper and toothpaste are just a few items I keep a look out for deals and coupons. But I have 3 teenage daughters. If it was just me and my hubby, probably not.
Also having 4 kids, I keep a lot of snacks in the home. I always look for Buy one Get one (BOGOS) deals and coupons to match. This keeps my grocery bill down significantly. Once you get familiar with you store of choices sales, clipping coupons will be easy. I can go through a coupon book and know which coupons are good to clip based on what my store puts on sale. I also only clip coupons I know I will use.
But if your not into couponing, I have gone weeks by just making a list of what I need and sticking to it and never touching a coupon. It works just as well, you just have to resist those extra deals you might see in the store.
Now if you like the idea of coupons but don’t have time, try looking for a blog specific to the store of your choice. There are tons of bloggers out there that are doing the work for you. Just do a search for <Insert store name here> ad match ups. They will have all the deals listed with coupons for that item listed as well. They also show you the best deals of the week with a special symbol.
Prices~
I have been doing this for a while, so I have gotten pretty good at knowing my prices at the stores I like to shop at. Like I know for $14 I am going to get a little over 3 pounds of hamburger. But if I go to BJs, I will get over 6 pounds for around $15! Having a large family of predominant meat eaters this can be our most expensive category on the shopping list. But knowing where to get the most bang for you buck is the key. For me that would be a warehouse store. Again if it was just me and the Hubby, most likely not. You have to go what works for your family. Now if we were vegetarians, I would shop mostly at our local farmers market.
Which is another option, for fruits and vegetables, shop locally. If you are lucky enough to have a local farmers market then take advantage of the straight from farm approach. I have gotten some amazing deals shopping here.
For me the key, is to stick to a few stores and get to know them like the back of your hand.

Back to basics~ turning frugal

6 months after we moved out here, the economy tanked and my hubby’s business took a massive hit. We had to quit paying on our credit cards and let 2 cars and hubby’s motorcycle get repossessed. It was awful feeling knowing you had a very, VERY successful business and in a blink of an eye it could all be taken away. But we kept at it and Hubby’s business was one of the few small cabinet shops to pull through. A lot of friends of his had to close their doors and walk away after years and years of being in business. We did everything we could to make it through and the best part is our children never knew we were poor. Today when I talk about the bad days, they are shocked. That I am thankful for.

During that time, I found ways to be frugal and live on cash only. Something I had never done in my entire life and something my hubby had to relearn. If there was no cash for it, then it wasn’t happening.

Now here we are 2013 and I have been looking back at all the stuff we spend money on that we really don’t need right that minute. First off, my hubby loves to spoil me and sometimes it’s very hard to say no when he wants to buy new boots (my obsession) or when he wanted to buy me an expensive camera because I said I would like to photography classes. And if a computer or TV breaks, we have to replace it ASAP. These are all things that could have been bought as christmas presents and he wouldn’t be struggling to get me something now. Hubby can be very extravagant sometimes, spend a $1000 at one time and not even blink. That shocks me.

We are still on a cash system, but have not been frugal at all. We eat out too much….way too much! And every time we go to the store the kids want drinks, snacks or toys. Hubby is constantly buying tools or other things he says he needs.

So with that said we have taken another hit. Now we need to cut back our grocery spending to just $500. I was spending anywhere from $800-$1000 and still listening to everyone complain there was nothing to eat. They also are in a phase of everything needs to brand name. My family also had an aversion to leftovers. Some family members would have a cow if they didn’t have a freshly prepared meal. I don’t even want to know how much money I threw out with all the leftovers.

Well change is coming. I am getting back to basics. The snacking all day is out! The sodas all the time is out! The fast food lunches is out!

We are self employed! We don’t have a 401K or retirement plan. We have only what we have saved. And since my hubby turns 40 next year and isn’t getting any younger. 2014 is my getting back to being frugal and saving year.

Time to break out the Dave Ramsey book and refresh.

Not Back to School weeks 2013

Well I hate to say this but the last two weeks of summer for my homeschool kids have sucked!

The weekend before my oldest was to head back to school, my homeschool kids got a really bad cold. So the first week of what was supposed to be fun and HAHA we don’t have school consist of sneezing, coughing, dirty tissues and Mucinex. My poor babies were hit hard. But they were due. Other than a few sniffles here and there, they have been extremely healthy for at least 2 years.

Once they finally got back on their feet which took about a week, it was time for our back to school shopping. No we aren’t shopping for school supplies! We are shopping to stock up the house. I do this at the beginning and end of summer. It was time for a BJ run! At the beginning of summer I took Hubby and 2 kids with me. BIG MISTAKE!! Hubby threw everything in the cart and boom $1000 before coupons! Never again, I tell ya!

This time I had 3 kids and well……….I wasn’t much better……take a look……….

 

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That is my receipt next to my brand new table which is a 108 inches long. My receipt well over half! OOPS! But that’s what happens when you got to stock up the house after going 3 months of non-heavy duty shopping. Plus my table is now full. Yup that’s right there is a total of 8 with 4 being teenagers. Another post coming about that later.

So that being said our not back to school  week wasn’t very fun. Hopefully that’s not an omen for the school year.

If only I was a more organized mom

I feel like I have a lot of missed opportunities when it comes to my kids. And sometimes (ok A LOT of times) I think if I was more organized then I wouldn’t miss them so much. I feel like we miss out on a lot of the fun aspects of homeschooling because I am so focus on finishing the books and saying we did it. I am definitely missing out on things with my son because of being so focused on the girls and not having a plan of attack. Sometimes he will ask to do school and then I have to scramble. And to me that sucks! I feel like it is half ass done then.

I also feel like if I was more organized then we could do the experiments and the art that my kids thrive on. We could take the field trips that they drive me crazy about.

For example, this past Monday I thought I was having oral surgery done. And I had nothing planned for the kids to work on while I was recovering. I had barely any menu planned that wasn’t microwavable and processed. I felt terrible. Luckily the surgery didn’t happen and I am feel to live about my life without stitches in my mouth and with yummy solid food in my belly. But then yesterday, reality hit that I have no meal plan, no grocery list made, no homeschool plan, coupons from the last month that needs organizing and a huge TO DO pile that has deadlines.

So I am determined to get more organized this year (what’s left of it). I want to make my life easier. I want to have time to myself because right now all I do is cook, clean and try to get organize. I have no hobby or anything for me. And I realized that I need that, no crave that me time.

First things first, the present task at hand. We have to eat, so bring on the meal plan. I usually try to make a months worth of menus but decided a week was good considering everything going on.

Then grocery list!

Homeschool plan is very vague and non detailed but gives me an idea of what to accomplish so done there.

Work on coupons with the kids.

And I want my To Do list done by Friday.

So that leaves the weekend open to think of more ways to organize and make my world simpler.

Giving freezer cooking a try?

Recently two of my favorite blogs did a serious of post on freezer cooking. And just from reading a couple of post I become OCD and decided I had to find out everything I could cook and freeze.  Freezer cooking is basically where you have ready to go meals in your freezer. Waiting for that day of appointments, errands, school pick-ups, followed by little Jimmy’s baseball game and then precious Patty’s dance recital. This could be my family’s answer to our fast food obsession. I mean the least little thing and I am reaching for a take out menu: late afternoon doctor’s appointment, last minute errands, a day full of cleaning the house top to bottom. It needs to stop but the only way is to have a great back up plan.

So during my “research” I found out that someone has a very similar oatmeal recipe that they freeze. PERFECT! I am making oatmeal this week and I will make up a double (or in my family’s case quadruple) batch and try to freeze it.

You freeze it before cooking it, so all you have to do one morning is thaw and bake.

I have in the past froze leftover Lasagna Casserole. And that was great! Just thaw and I added some extra cheese and little extra sauce, then bake.

Most people assume freezer cooking means taking a day and cooking a ton of food. That can work for some people. But for me making an extra batch or taking an hour a day and whipping something up for the freezer would better fit my life right now. This is the perfect activity during my son’s nap time and my girls independent study time.

The important thing to remember is make things easier on yourself, don’t stress yourself out more. The world will do that for you. Make your home life fun and easy.

I will let you know if this works for us. Who knows in a few months, I may ditch it?

Jeanette

 

The price of cereal! Outrageous!!!

Yesterday I decided that I wasn’t going to cook. We had leftovers and plenty of things to eat. We little did I know that my kids were going to devourer a brand new box of Frosted Flakes that I just bought yesterday morning!

1 box of cereal + 4 kids= EMPTY

That was $5 they just gobbled up in one meal! I was shocked!

Shocked that my kids eat like they haven’t had a meal all day!

Shocked that my $5 was gone so quickly!

Shocked that I spent $5 on ONE box of Frosted Flakes, which if you ask me is pure sugar!

When I was venting to hubby, he says well use coupons! Seriously did you just say that to me!!! I questioned his sanity at this point, since he tells everyone I am the coupon queen. If looks could kill, Hmph!

I then informed him that a coupon that says a dollar off of 2 or 3, which seems to be the new cereal trend, isn’t saving a whole lot at $5 a box!!!

Even with BOGO sales it is still expensive when a whole box is gone in ONE meal!

Then it made me question why are we buying $5 boxes of sugar? Why am I buying them if they eat it in one sitting? Because if I don’t then I have to listen to complaining! I personally HATE cereal, always have and always will. But my hubby and kids~ obsessed and will eat 3 times a day if I let them.

So that is why I chose to keep buying $5 boxes of sugar.

And will continue to complain when it last 5 seconds after hitting my front door.

And complain about the coupons sucking.

But the prices of cereal are still OUTRAGEOUS!!