Monday, December 13, 2010

Coupons...bleh :P

So we have been managing to make ends meet, but barely. The ideas I posted in a previous blog for helping to save money did help but there is always more ways to save. Been doing the printable coupon thing (not saving a whole lot with that) for a while but not the actual newspaper clipping coupon thing. We don't get any coupons in our small local paper but that's not a good enough excuse. I have started reading The Krazy Coupon Lady website. It's pretty cool, a little over my head because I am a beginner but hopefully I will catch on soon. If you look under her coupon beginner's section there is a "10 Day To Become A Krazy Coupon Lady" post. So I'm going through the 10 day program with as much enthusiasm as having a colonoscopy done. Here's why (warning: LOTS of complaining):

  1.  I hate going to the grocery store! The grocery stores in our small town suck and are always overcrowded and not as nice as the ones in the bigger cities. I'm sure coupons will require me to visit the grocery store quite often. :(
  2. It's like a high school reunion and I always get stuck in the grocery story listening to small town gossip, so I try to get in and out as quickly as possible and I know that coupons are going to take longer.
  3. I don't like arguing with checkout people about taking coupons. I'm already frustrated from being in the freakin' grocery store and listening to the latest gossip for the last hour and now I'm arguing with the young Walmart checkout girl who has major attitude about taking my coupons. 
Now here's why I'm going to use coupons:
  1. $$$$$$$
Nuff said. So I spent 45 minutes on the phone with one newspaper being trasnferred around because I was calling to find out what coupon inserts they carry (part of Day 2 to becoming a Krazy Coupon Lady). Finally she gave me an answer but I'm pretty sure she just made it up and didn't know. So I found websites to locate which newspapers nearest you that you can find each of the coupon inserts in. I thought I would list them here for you guys in case you are interested. Here they are: Red Plum  Proctor & Gamble. I can't find one for Smartsource, which apparently is a major coupon insert but will edit this post if I can find one.

Krazy Coupon Lady says you need 4-6 of each newspaper and to see if you can get a Sunday or weekend only subscription and discount on multiple copies of the paper. Other ideas if you don't want to spend the money would be:
  • Go to recycling areas and try to get the coupon inserts from the newspapers that are going to be recycled.
  • Asking friends, family members, co-workers, etc.
  • Going to the grocery stores that sell them and ask them about getting the coupon inserts from the papers when they are going to send them back to the newspaper company for a credit because I've been told that they don't need the coupon inserts to get their credit. (I love this idea and will let you know what I find out!)
Let me know if anyone else has any tips for this new coupon clipping lady! I could really use them.:)

Been a while...

Yeah, it's been a while. Had a lot going on in my life and stopped blogging and just concentrated on things that needed to be taken care of. Not much has changed. Still unemployed but I have made decisions about what I'm going to be doing and the unemployed thing is actually going to be good for me. 

I've decided to go back to school and will start in January. I put it off for so long because I had a good job where I made most of the income for our family, so we were dependent upon that. Also, I had no idea what I wanted to do and now I think I know. I'm going back to school to be a Sonographer. So I have a year of prerequisites that I am taking at a local university and then I will be going to the Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound program for 16 months. Then I will finally have a CAREER not a job. After passing the registry exam, I am going to apply for jobs all over the Pacific Northwest so I can move back home. I won't have to worry about depending on anyone for money. I miss being more independent. So anyhow that's where I'm at right now in life.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ebay = So Much Fun!!!

The new frugal Jess has decided to go through the closets in her house.  In my family we all have very nice brand name clothing and lots of it.  I need to buy Aidan a bunch of shorts for the summer since he has outgrown all of his, so I placed a lot of his clothes on Ebay that he can no longer wear.  

At first I was against Ebay because I thought it would cost too much to list the items and it would take forever.  It took about 1 minute to list each item and the cost was absolutely nothing!  You can list an item for free as long as there is no reserve price set up and you only include one picture.  So I did just that and people are already bidding on the items.  Not only is it smart money wise but it's also fun.  It's like a game!  I get so excited to go on there and see how much my item is selling for.  I thought about having a garage sale but you never get near enough for nice clothing at garage sales. 

All the money I get from the items will go into my Paypal account and will be used to buy Aidan's summer clothes.  I have already bid on a bunch of shorts for him.  I can't believe I never used Ebay to buy his clothes before as fast as he outgrows them!  I won a really cute pair of Gap Madras Shorts with the tags still on them for about $13.00 (including shipping)!  It's so much fun to both look and sell your items.

I have never been a fan of pre-owned clothing but they have a lot of clothing that is in EUC (Excellent Used Condition) and have actually bid on some of those items for Aidan.  Not only am I saving money but I'm recycling and helping out the environment.  As long as the user selling the item has a good rating and has sold a lot of items than I am okay with some pre-owned items, as long as it is not underwear or socks!  

I was anti-Ebay for a while because the last time I sold something on there back in 2002, it cost more than what I sold my item for.  It's changed a lot since then!  I encourage all of you to at least try Ebay.  Sell some old stuff on Ebay, buy some stuff on Ebay!  I swear they're not paying me to write this even though it may sound like it.  LOL!  I'm just really excited about it.  Give me a break...I'm a stay-at-home mom, it doesn't take a whole lot to excite me. =)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A few steps taken...

I have finally taken a few steps toward lowering my expenses and I wanted to share those in hopes of inspiring others that may be going through the same thing.

First I looked at all my bills on one page. Actually, I looked at the them online on a really cool, free budget website that I found. The website is called Mint. This website is amazing! It allows me to import my bank information, credit card information, retirement account information, loan information and create a budget. (Don't worry, it is completely secure!) Seeing all the information together really helped me get an idea of exactly how much debt I'm in. It also shows your net worth. I'm at a starting point and accepting it for what it is. I looked at all my expenses and managed to cut a few things out. Below is a list of adjustments I have made so far.
  • Cancelled my Netflix and will now use Redbox whenever we want to watch a movie. $1 a night movies and they have locations all over the place. This was a no brainer for me, but still hard to cancel Netflix because I have had them for over 4 years now.
  • Cancelled my water delivery service. I have replaced this by buying a Brita Aqualux Pitcher (Amazon price $29.22) for keeping cold drinking water in the refrigerator and a Culligan Faucet Water Filter (Amazon price $18.81) to filter bulk water used for things like making tea, cooking, etc. I heavily researched the best and most affordable options and found those two from Amazon at a great deal. (The links for each item are for the actual items I purchased.)
  • I shopped around auto insurance quotes using a quote search engine (of course it was irritating getting all the phone calls but worth it). To my surprise, Allstate gave me the cheapest rate for the same insurance coverage I already have! Two years ago I got a quote from them and they were higher. I will now save almost $200 a year on my auto insurance and get better service from what I hear.
  • I'm still working on my cell phone bill. This is a frustrating one because we are still under contract with our cell phone carrier and my husband and I both have a BlackBerry. He really does need his for work but I could do without mine. I'm trying to see if I can purchase a regular phone off ebay and switch it so that I can take the $30/month fee off for the data plan. I'm also looking into trying to get a lower minute plan but I don't think that's going to be an option.
  • I have started keeping the heat/air off and dressing appropriately for the conditions in my house. There is no need for me to wear shorts and a tank top in my house and to have the heat on. Duh! I am also the electricity Nazi right now. I'm on my husband and my son about every light on in the house and the t.v. (They really love me right now!)
It's really hard giving up some of these things but it has to be done. I was lucky enough to be able to cancel Netflix online and not to have to deal with the insurance company. The water delivery company was a different situation though. I called them up and told them I wanted to cancel my service and they start giving me the script that they have memorized to keep you from going. "I'm sorry to hear that ma'am. Is there a problem with your service?" I told them no and that I'm just trying to cut back my expenses. He starts telling me that they will allow me to receive only one cooler bottle instead of two a month and this will save me 50% and is a really good deal. I don't remember what else he said, but I'm pretty sure that it was something that hypnotized me because I just said "okay". This is not like me! LOL It reminded me of the episode of FRIENDS where Chandler tries to quit the gym but he just can't. So anyways, today I have to call them back and try to "quit" them again. A lot of these companies make it so hard to close your account! It really is frustrating! I'm not going to let them wear me down though. I will succeed today!

Let me know if anyone else has any suggestions on how to cut your expenses.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I used to be the financial person in our household. I paid the bills, transferred money to savings accounts and managed our money. I enjoyed doing this. Since being laid off, even the thought of our finances makes me nauseous. It's like they say "ignorance is bliss".

Ignorance is not smart, however, when it comes to your finances. My husband has taken over as the finances person of our household. I don't ask how much money we have in our bank account, savings accounts and what bills are due because I didn't think I could handle it after the stress of being laid off. After a month and a half now, I'm finally at the point where I can and need to handle our finances. So I'm going to sit down and look at all of our bills, figure out things we can do to decrease or eliminate any of them. I'm also going to redo our budget and make sure everything is paid to date. My husband is really trying and I don't know if he is doing a good job with the finances or not because I haven't checked up on him. I know in the past he has not been very good with them. I've always been the financially smart one in our household and have had to give him counsel in that area.

So I'm really frustrated with myself. It's so stupid to just not deal with things like this. I'm an adult and need to start acting like one and stop throwing myself a pity part. It's not going to change the situation we're in just because I don't know about it. I might even be able to figure a way to save us money.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

To Homeschool Or Not To Homeschool

In my previous blog I mentioned that our only option for school is the private school that my son has been going to and that financially this is going to be hard on us. That's not really my ONLY option. My other option is homeschool, something I never wanted to consider but it makes the most sense right now financially with me not working. We could probably manage to pay for school next year but it would be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. I don't know how I could honestly fit it into my already busted budget.

He is our only child and very outgoing, social at school. I found out that there are homeschool organizations though, so I can be involved in one of those and he would be able to socialize with other kids that way. He is also in soccer for both seasons every year, will be in baseball again and takes piano all year round. So, I don't think he will be lacking too much on in the social area. Homeschool would probably only take us four hours at the most to do and he would learn more than he currently is.

I just feel bad for him. He has so many friends and I feel like I'm robbing him of that. I have to think realistically though and it's just not smart. How are we ever going to be able to save money to move, if we can't even afford to pay our current bills? I'm going to have to sit down and figure out how to save money by eliminating or decreasing some of our bills.

Anyone else have any advice or personal experiences they can share with me about homeschool?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Autism Speaks

I just saw this Autism Speaks ad with Toni Braxton. I don't think people realize how high the odds are for children getting autism, I didn't realize it either. More research definitely needs to be done for this. 1 in 110 children will be affected by autism. 1 in 70 boys. This is a 57% increase from 2002 to 2006. I'm blessed that my child is healthy and free of any kind of sickness or disease. We need to get the awareness out about this!