Monday, June 23, 2014

How I Save Money Each Year by Being Our Own Tailor

I refuse to pay for someone to do something that is an easy fix and I can do myself. Sewing our clothes is no different. DH needed 4 pairs of work pants hemmed so he can wear them. He wanted to buy new shorts because the shorts he has have broken buttons.

I am not great at sewing but I can sew on buttons. I can use hem tape and an iron to hem our clothes. Hem tape costs about $3. It took about 10 minutes. Hubby always wears a belt so the color of the buttons don't really matter and I save the buttons off of all of the outfits we buy.

By hemming his pants myself, I saved $40 per pair. By fixing the 3 pairs of shorts he has, I saved $10 per button as my dry cleaner charges or $20 per pair for him to get new shorts. Not to mention it felt good doing something for him. I also love the old show like Leave It To Beaver and The Wonder Years where mom could fix everything. I live in the wrong era.

Total Savings: $200

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Freebies This Week

Not a big week for freebies for me, but got three of my favorite kind of freebies:

Yogi Tea- I got two free bags and a Coupon

Thanks to Swagbucks I received $10 in Amazon gift cards.

I also received a coupon for a free 12 pack of Coke thanks to My Coke Rewards.

I have made it a point in the past couple of years to not buy what I know I can get for free so I do not purchase coke 12 packs (I will cave and buy the 20 oz bottles)

I very rarely buy coffee or hot tea because of all of the free samples. I have bought K cups because I do not get that many free samples of them. I have even been known to make "Thinking of You" gift bags with the free coffee or tea or really any freebies I receive.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Shh... It's a Surprise Week 4

Well we turned in our metal this week, continued with my coke rewards and put back tips. We also sold two items on an online yard sale. We also were able to cash in some more My Coke Rewards.

Total: $778.58. 2 more free 12 packs and 2 $3 off a 12 pack coupons.We are expecting a bit of a set back as our A/C went out. We are also expecting a check for $1000 to come from our secondary insurance. That will put us at $1778.85. Our goal is $2000.

We Paid Cash!

This week we bought a new dining room table. The boys are now big enough to play upstairs and my dining room is no longer a play room. The table we have had for years only sat 4 people and we have quickly outgrown that. So we took to saving. We put back tips and finally had enough to buy a beautiful table that I wanted. We put a good chunk down and took part in a 4 months same as cash program. We should have it completely paid off in 2 months.

We are so excited to finally have family meals. This is the first start to many starts for our sweet family. I am so excited and can't wait to share with you in the up coming months.

We also sold our old table for $20 on online yard sale sites. That money goes to the vacation fund.

Food Waste Fridays- A day late

I failed to take pictures this week of the food that we wasted due to being sick yesterday. But here is what we threw out:

- 2 stuffed bell peppers
- 1 serving chicken and rice soup
- 1 serving cheesy pasta

Might as well count what I tossed out of the staff break room fridge yesterday:

- 2 servings of yogurt
- 3/4 a bottle of juice
- 2 packets of sauce from a fast food restaurant
- 1/2 a cake
- a 1/2 ate cup of applesauce

It's really a shame the food that we waste.

Dipping into the Bucket

Our air conditioner decided to stop working last night. It has been burning up in here while I am trying to clean. It just stopped raining so I can open the windows. My parents let us borrow their spare fans to help cool us off since we can not get a repair man out until Monday. We certainly do not have any money set aside to pay for the repair (do not tell Dave Ramsey on me, he'd be mad), so we are going to have to dip into the vacation bucket. That is okay though because it can be replaced. I am just thankful that we have the money here at all. For now we are opening windows and using fans. I am glad that our electric bill will be lowered next month. We have to wait until Monday because I refuse to pay the hefty weekend fees.

Double Insurance Coverage

I am very thankful that my husband was wise enough to buy a secondary insurance policy years ago. Over the years he has been injured by criminals 4 times, three of which resulted in major surgery. The policy that he bought pays us for doctors visits, ER visits for injury, etc. We turned in this most recent injury and they cut us a check for $1100. This was a blessing big time. It allowed us to pay back the loan my grandmother gave us for a car repair and to buy some things we've been needing to get.

During this process we found some extra benefits that they are going to back pay and we will be getting about $1000 to go to the vacation fund. I am so looking forward to this!

Do you have a policy like this?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Goal Setting

I love reading Money Saving Mom. She is super organized and is full of great ideas. One thing she does is set goals for herself and post to her site. I always am making goal but never list them and certainly never hold myself accountable to them.

I really would like to be organized but my disorganization isn't going to turn around in a day.

So lets give this a try:

1. Find my kindle (truthfully I have no clue where it is and I have so many free books on there and I am sick of having to read on the computer instead of my comfy bed).
2. Pin 3 new freezer cooking posts to my Pinterest board.
3. Spend 10 minutes a day reading a devotional.
4. Earn 100 Swagbucks points.

5. Clean out the toy boxes. (More stuff for yard sale).
6. Catch up on laundry. (I usually do laundry once a week. Guess what... the day that I was able to do laundry the power was out for 10 hours and then out 2 hours the next day)

Easy Money- Scrap Metal

I wish that I had taken a picture of it but...

Today we took all of our cans to the scrap metal place. 29 pounds of cans and then my grandmother gave us scrap metal that we took as well. This is not a get rich quick thing but we did make $33.68. That of course went to our surprise for K.

While there I talked to the man about maximizing the amount we could be making. I told him that we both work and DH works two full time jobs so it is just to have as fun money, but we have a lot that we want and very little spare money to play with. Items that my scrap guy said to save:

*Soda/beer cans
*Cans that veggies come in
*Aluminum foil
*Car parts

Obviously, I am not going to become a hoarder and start collecting absolutely everything in sight, but if I can hold on to these items and make a few extra bucks each quarter, why not?

Game plan:
1. Set up 3 containers as all items. I chose 3 because soda cans, tin cans and aluminum foil will be what I have 99.9% of the time.
2. Designate a spot for each
3. Start collecting. I will be asking friends and family to save their cans for me or ask if I can take their recycling for them. Many people are busy and do not have time to take off their recycling and are not willing to pay for recycling collection service. Why not start taking recycling for friends and family that live close by.
4. Put a small container with a lid in the trunk of my vehicle. All too often we see litter bugs throw their soda cans in parks and parking lots. Why not pick up and make a few cents in the process. This will also have a ziplock baggie in it to hold found coke caps.

My Coke Rewards

I am forever trying to find ways to live like someone with money on a frugal mama budget. One of those things is soda. I love soda... yes, I know that it is not good for you but I love it! The thing is that those little boogers are expensive. Good news, they don't have to be! With the My Coke Rewards program you can enter codes from the lids of 20oz bottles or codes from cases of coke and earn points that can be redeemed for coupons for free 12-packs or what I have decided to start getting $3 off a 12-pack coupon, because they are less points equaling more coupons and pair them with a good deal it might still be free or less than a dollar.

Ways to get as many points as me:
* Find a storage container and designate it to coke points.
* Ask friends and family to save their lids for you
* I am not above collecting lids that are left on bottles laying out in a public place and redeeming those points. If they aren't going to be used that is just plain wasteful anyway.

I also save the cans and tabs from my 12-packs. The cans go to the recycling center to be redeemed for cash and the tabs are stored in a special container and will go to Ronald McDonald House when the container is full.

We are really hitting the My Coke Rewards hard right now. We are going to be supplying the beach trip drinks by redeeming as many free coupons as we can.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Shh... It's a Surprise Week 3

This week we had some unexpected expenses. We were not able to save nearly as much as we would have liked, but tires are expensive and when they blow you have no other option but to buy. In the past we have bought used tires, but the place that we have been going didn't give us the same sized tires so the car drove funny. Now we have new tires.

Our Grand Total: $514.00
We also have 4 free 12-packs of coke and that saves us about $12.

Sunday Fun Day

We had a great Fathers' Day. With the family away, we took my grandmother out to Shoney's for Dave's FD dinner. They boys ate for free and drank water so no expense there. Grandma drank water so no drink cost, by her choice FYI. I splurged and had a coke and DH had tea as always. We had a $1 off each adult buffet cost coupon. So dinner was reasonably priced.

We came home and the boys played and cleaned up and now I am doing my normal Sunday night routine:

*Enter coke reward to my account and my mom's account (I get more tops collected than she does and I usually get some of the free products she gets)

*Run Laundry- I rarely do laundry during the week so Sunday is the day to catch up

*Watch Swagbucks TV while I clean (earn points and have a clean house... score!)

*Play a couple rounds of Spider Solitaire on Swagbucks

*Fold laundry while watching Drop Dead Diva on the DVR, right now I am finishing my favorite movie "The Blindside"

*Finish cleaning the bottom floor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How I Save Hundreds of Dollars Each Year Just By Reading My Bills

We are all guilty of getting in a hurry and doing things out of habit. How often do you sit down and read the itemized breakdown of your utility, medical or misc. bills? For me, it is every single time. There is a reason for this... nobody is perfect and your bill can reflect human error. I have had my bills credited up to $96 just for rereading my bill. We went out of town a few years ago for a couple of weeks. Mom and dad had the pets so there was no reason to have the air conditioner on. We unplugged everything from the wall outlets to avoid occurring charges for the draw on them (why pay if you aren't using it), we turned off the AC and turned the water heater to the away/vacation setting. Our power bill should have been little to nothing. WRONG. It was sky high. Turns out they actually didn't read our meter for the month and they adjusted accordingly. Another example is yesterday while paying our daycare bill online, the total was high than it should have been. DH became frustrated because I read the total account history to find out what was up. Turns out we were charged a weeks worth of tuition for K even though he does not attend the summer program. Well of course that is human error and it was fixed thus a $96 credit to our account. It really does pay to check and recheck your bills.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Day In The Life Of This Working Mom

5:55 Alarm goes off. I get ticked because it's too early. I stumble downstairs to heat up the coffee pot. I am going to need coffee to make through this day without losing my mind. I stumble back in bed and go back to sleep knowing darn good and well I set about 100 alarms to go off.

6:08 The alarm goes off again. I get up get cleaned up and dressed. I do not have time to do my hair or makeup, but the kids don't care what I look like and I don't stink so that's all that matters.

I begin dressing the kids and brushing their teeth. We go through the "I don't like that shirt" and "Where's my shoes" arguments. We get loaded up and roll out of the driveway at 6:29. Thank goodness the daycare is not far and we get there about 6:33. We walk in. I forget the code to get in the door and K has to remind me.

K and I get to work at about 6:59. Not a minute to spare. We get in the office and get started when Dave gets there to get K.

My eight hour day is full of "Code Browns" "What's that Smell" and "Dang that looked like it hurt" moments. Not to mention a desk full of paperwork that seems like it grows instead of shrinking like it should have since I worked through my lunch break.

I stopped by the store on the way home since we were going to have company for dinner. I make two different meals since Dave and BF love chicken and rice but BF's hubby and I hate it. I make it into the house and start a quick pick up since hubby had the kids all day and the house was a complete disaster area. I begin to change out of my scrubs when our company arrives. They don't care about the mess, they have kids too. So now I have a 6,5,4,3,2 and 1 year old running around crazy.

I get dinner started while we plan our beach trip. We are all so excited. I wonder who will end up blabbing to the kids. Luckily, we didn't get caught planning. They leave around bed time for the monkeys. We get C in bed, since he now has his own room as of last night. K and E got to their room to discover that C has shoved something into the XBOX. XBOX is now broken. I find the old DVD player and get a movie started while Dave tinkers with trying to fix the XBOX. I jump in the shower and come out to find what was the XBOX shattered everywhere. We clean the mess up, tuck the boys in and go down to the living room for our 30 minutes we get alone 2 days a week. The rest of the week we will pass each other for maybe 10 minutes.

I get hubby sent off to work. I need to clean, but am too tired. I load the dishwasher and start a load of clothes. Now time to go to bed.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Shh... It's a Suprise Week 2

Getting so excited as we get closer to the trip. My best friend and her husband and kids are going with us! So we opted for a bigger condo! The best part is it is going to be cheaper because we found a nice condo for the same price as the first so we are going to split the cost 40/60. Their budget isn't as big as ours so we are covering $150 of their lodging cost. So here is the update for the week...
Our Grand Total is $458.45 so far. We have a few things coming up that will benefit our "Vacay" fund! We also will be saving on groceries because we have 3 coke reward coupons coming in the mail for free 12-packs.
*We will be scraping metal
*Next month a yard sale
*Selling things online
*DH is going to sell plasma twice a week until we go so he says. We did this last summer to make it through the summer because DH was on a 180 day work contract. It'll be better this summer now that he is on a 220 day contract. We learned I can't do it because I faint due to low blood sugar.
*DH asked his mom for a gas gift card for his father's day present. She said that she will try to help.
*DH asked his dad and bonus mom for a gas gift card or restaurant gift card for his father's day present.
*A big thing that is the best bonus of all for us is that we have switch from regular cigarettes to e-cigs. We will have a lot more money this way. A bottle of liquid will last us one month each. Bottles of liquid are $9.99 at our local store. Trying to find cheaper online for next month. So essentially, it will cost us $20 a month where we have been spending $61 a week. So that is more money to put back. Not to mention much healthier.
*Hoping to have enough swagbucks for a $50 gas card.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Shew the "joys" of Raising Boys?

What a busy weeks it's been already with the three little monkeys. It started with Sunday when my dad brought over the pallet furniture he made for my fire pit. I put the two little guys to bed, locked the front door and came around back to help unload the stuff. No more than five minutes was I back there and E and C were out of the house with Scooter, our dog, following them. Scared me so bad I cried for around two hours.

We implemented a new discipline for them. First time warning, second time sit right where you are, third time you sit a long time. This appears to be working well.

Then there is the issue where C (2 year old) wants to take diaper off and run amuck in his room peeing and pooping in the floor but truly has no interest in potty training. I swear I will never have enough sheets to last a week with these boys. I also swear I will never get the urine smell completely out of that room no matter what I do. I am probably going to end up hiring a professional cleaning service. Yay for cash out of savings...not! Maybe I can find a groupon.

Then there is the smart mouthing that K is going through. He is too smart for his own good. He called me a "d-bag" tonight. Not sure where he heard that and he certainly don't know what it means but dang.

But on a higher note my furniture turned out amazing!(I'll post pics later it's not letting me post)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thrify Tuesday

I love watching "Extreme Cheapskates." I will admit they go and do some nasty things sometimes, but some of their ideas are amazing. My thrifty Tuesday is to reuse Tin Foil and Ziplocks. I will reuse any bags or foil that has not had raw meat in it. I was them with a mix of soapy water and bleach or peroxide. The bleach or peroxide is to kill extra germs. Wash them well and hang to dry. I hang them in the laundry room over the washer using pants coat hangers as a clip. This could truthfully save loads of money a year depending on how often you use these items.