Friday, January 15, 2010

GIVEAWYS! and other fun/thought provoking stuff!

Let me start with the Giveaways! Centsational Girl is giving away fine art! Check it out. I DO hope I win the Root Series for hubbies office. He is into anything that grows, bonsai, cool looking 'root structure' etc. What a perfect Fathers day gift, eh?

ALSO- hopeful Housewife over at Hopeful Home is doing a giveaway TOMORROW featuring my Etsy shop. Up for grabs is a scarf and brooch of your choosing. I will be adding some more vintage items to my shop tonight before the giveaway so check it out TOMORROW. Did you catch the TOMORROW part?

Okay- onto other things.
In my last post I mentioned savings. Ah Money. We love it, we hate it, we need it, we want it, we abuse it, or we use it wisely. In our case we are continuing to try and be more wise with our finances. Sigh. SIGH. I KNOW we are to be good stewards. Its TOUGH! And up until this year I admit I have seen it as drudgery, avoided the little things that add up, ignored the Holy Spirits whispers to my heart about my fountain cokes at $1.00 a piece every where I go... And the clearance rack at Target, and Kohls, Old Navy, etc, etc, etc. And oh, the thrift stores! How easily my little treasures can add up there! So- whats a gal to do? My hubby talked ALOT to me about my spending, and it went in one ear and out the other. After all- I was't spending much! its not like I went to the mall and blew $100.00 a week! And then I saw the effects of his paycuts. They add up to almost the cost of our mortgage monthly. And I saw a quote by Dave Ramsey that was something to the effect of 'Say No today so you can say yes to tomorrow'. It got methinking. I DO NOT want to be barely eaking by as an old couple, dependant on my kids, or the government because I did not adequately prepare. And I know that my husbands prayers for my heart attitude to line up with his were answered. God had my attention. God has SO much to say about money. And I know that while we have had our share of difficulty, paycuts, medical expenses and such we could be doing so much more. Here are a few things we are doing different this year.

Cutting out the t.v. No- we haven't gone amish :-) We have had cable for about 6 months(yes, only 6 months), and it was savings at first do to a bundling of our services. BUT now if we cut it out we will save $30.00 a month. We are NOT buying a converter box. Why? Glad you asked. While I do not think by any means that it is wrong to have a t.v., I feel for us much more good will come out of not having one. Shaun and I will spend more time communicating instead of being tired and vegging out in front of the good old 'idiot box'. We are spending wisely AND using our time more wisely.  We will both be more apt to pick up our bible, a good book, a sudoku, etc. Our brains will get more exercise, and so will our hearts. As a mother I won't be as tempted to say 'SURE you can watch t.v.!' so i can get XYZ accomplished. Now- this will be tough at first for all involved but we WILL have a dvd player that will still function, and we have tons of card and board games. The t.v. goes after the Superbowl, or before, if our beloved Colts lose tomorrow night.

NOT buying a 2nd vehicle. Due to Shauns schedule we can actualy share a car quite easily. We were planning on buying a car this spring, now we are asking- Do we really NEED 2 cars? No, we don't. Let's let that money sit in the bank, and save on insurance, and gas, and maintenance, etc. Why in our country do we believe we need to cars, and 2 new ones at that? We have made due just fine since July and will continue to do so. If his schedule changes and the need arises, the money will still be saved, so no biggie. We can look, find, wait for the best deal on a used mini van, and not buy out of a false sense of need or on a whim.

Not feeling entitled to go to Starbucks, the video rental box, etc once or twice a week. These things really add up! If I went to Starbucks once a week we are talking a $20.00 per month expense! And quite frankly our budget cannot handle a $20.00 monthly bill. When you begin to look at things as a BILL it makes you think. Would I sign us up fora  $20.00 lawn or cleaning service? NO! We cannot afford it. So WHY are we renting new releases, and getting the $1.50 candy every weekend? We need the time for US, DON'T need the calories and sugar, and should be going to bed early not staying up till 1 am to fall asleep in front of the $3.00 movie we rented. Please don't hink I am saying you can never do these things, but when we do them less, don't we appreciate them more? I cannot help but think of Laura Ingalls Wilders recollections of Christmas as a little girl. A piece of candy and a hair ribbon to her were a treasure! Oranges a treat, and a treat they got 1 time a year! How I wish my children were so appreciative instead of whining when they don't get something at the Meijer checkout. Would doing less make them more appreciative of what they do get? Probably. And by doing less I mean by the worlds standards. My boys love to snuggle up and read with us, and play cards, and giggle and laugh, and build tents and take hikes. They don't need Chuck E cheese every week to grow up whole. They need us, lvoe, and encouragement and the Lord.

Couponing- this is a new one for me. Oh, if I got coupons I would use them, but then I saw THIS clip.  And it got my wheels turning. I started searches, and reading, and spent hours pouring over the how to's. I always thought that coupons were a gimmick. I mean $0.10 off of 2 cas of soup? HELLO! Why waste my time. Then I learned about the drugstore game, and stacking, and printables, and YEE-HAW! the lights came on!
I mean who knew that if you Have a 'Buy one get one coupon' AND the store has the item on sale B1G1 you get that item for FUH-REE!!!???!!!???!!! WHERE have these resources been all my married life?!?!?!?!?! And you can actually use 2 coupons for those things that are B1G1 free or B1G1 1/2 off.
I am learning the art of stockpiling and cutting out. I actually did not buy myself a 2 liter of Coke this week. I may be going through withdrawl BUT I stayed UNDER budget! Hubby suggested trying off brand cola. I gave him the look that could melt the North Pole. I cannot wait until I can spend $9.00 and come home with $70.00 worth of groceries. At least I hope it comes to that. Just to give you an idea of ho the first fruits are paying off I SAVED $118.47 at the stores this week. I matched my adds, my coupons, my printables, my stores, etc. I went to Walgreens, CVS, Meijer and Aldi. The drug store trips took 5 minutes each. I got FREE eyeshadow this week, and FREE cleaners and FREE Kraft Naturals cheese. Nuff said.

We are putting our under budget money in a seperate jar NOT buying more with it. If I had $100.00 budgeted for X this weeek and only spent $89.00 this does NOT mean I can go to Target and score a pair of cute shoes, or shirt for $11.00. That is the kind of thinking Washington does. And look where it has landed us. At the end of the month we add up the jar and see how much we save. And then we decide WHERE it goes. Retirement? College? Undies and socks? Those %$#& medical bills?

We have envelopes for grocery, gas and entertainment. The ONLY thing that should come out of the account on a regular basis are the budgeted for bills, and the alloted cash amount transactions. No more little $2, $1, $15 here and there. NO MORE.

We are saying no to more and yet I think we will be living more adundantly. While you will not find me refusing to color my hair to save money you will find me stockpiling my haircolor when at rock bottom prices. I will still dress stylishly, no housecoats or holey jeans here, I will just not get something new as often as I would like.
So- now that I have shared my challenges or should I say oppurtunitys for the new year I shall go and finish uploading to etsy for TOMORROW.

P.S. Anyone know how I can get spell check on my blogger dahsboard? Methinks I need it...

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