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Archive for February, 2008

Coupon/Rebate Savings for February

February 29th, 2008 at 12:36 am

Here's my totals:
Total = $271.71
less cpns = $110.94
Savings = 40.8%

Rebates received = $4.50
Rebates sent in = $35, including free coupons

Starting a coupon swap club in March. Should be alot of fun! So far I know of 4 people coming over.
Have also joined a 'coupon train' and am going to post my wishlist on that site after this Sunday's papers are clipped & sorted.
We've got a military address to send our expired coupons to and our local library has a 'coupon basket' that I'll take our leftover coupons to.

The best deal I ever did was on Glad bags about 10 years ago. 50 cents off two coupons in the paper and in each box was a 50 cent coupon! I made alot of trips that week to Kroger, especially since they ran their Glad products on sale for $1! I actually stockpiled enough garbage, storage and freezer bags to last three years! The biggest stockpiles I have right now are cereal, toothpaste, and shampoo.

I'm so eager for spring and to start the garden! Fresh produce only a few steps away from the kitchen is a great feeling!

Local Alternative Farm Cash-Flow

February 27th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

This morning, we woke to almost 3" of snow. It's so pretty when it's fresh! Just two days ago, the high temp was 52 degrees. Today's high is supposed to be 24 degrees! I grew up always hearing ' if you don't like the weather today, just wait until tomorrow'!

We had such a dry summer, I'm hoping all this wetness will help our rural farmers. It was very lean for some of them to try to harvest food for their livestock. Of course, if you had hay & no livestock, you did pretty well selling!

There are also so many farmers that have declared this will be their last year raising tobacco. No one wants to work in it anymore and the expenses have created a 'break-even' scenario. I can remember my paternal grandfather settling up with the grain mill and the bank with his tobacco check, then pretty much survive the rest of the year from what was left, plus keep the farm running.

We have a neighbor that invested in one semi-truck to haul his excess hay to other states. He now owns four semis and all his drivers are kept pretty busy. He hauls for himself and others. He also is a livestock broker. He had the foresight to see where the state legislature was taking the farmer and seized an opportunity.

One innovative idea is a festival that is held for two weekends in the spring & fall on a neighboring farm. The spring one is a 'planting celebration' and the fall is called the 'Pumpkinfest'. Both events are geared towards families with wagon rides, petting zoo, and various contests. The most entertaining is the 'Greased Pig' contest, especially in the younger kids categories! Anyway, they have grown these events over the past few years and the word is getting around. Another far does the ‘Corn Maze’. They have two – one easy (for kids) and one a tad more difficult. Kind of embarrassing when the owner’s 12-year-old son has to come and help you find the exit! But it does promote a good afternoon of family entertainment.

Others have invested in raising 'exotic' livestock, namely buffalo & ostrich. Now those are the farms you want to drive past with the kids & grandkids!

Another farm has taken the produce stand to a new level and now market their homemade salsa locally and on the Internet.

At our little neighborhood store yesterday, the topic was alternatives for creating cash flow from the farm. Of course the ever-changing weather got its fair share of attention! I'm just glad I was up early enough to see daybreak and the brightness of the morning even on a cloudy day!

I think I’ll plan my garden this morning. Nothing like looking at jars of food you’ve raised and preserved yourself!


10 Things I learned from.....

February 11th, 2008 at 12:52 am

My grandparents.
1. save money and pay cash as much as possible
2. raise a garden and preserve the harvest - have a well-stocked pantry
3. work hard and be honest
4. other people have feelings, too
5. go to church and pray often
6. always do the best you can and don't fret if you fail.
7. everything you do has consequences, good or bad
8. study hard and finish school (they didn't have this luxury)
9. don't be afraid to ask for help from others
10. always plan for the future

They all were teenagers/young adults during the Depression. They lived below their means and didn't trust banks much. They were all willing to help others when they were in need and read their Bibles everyday.
My maternal grandfather built their retirement home mostly from leftover/removed materials from his construction business. He raised a huge garden every year. He heated his home with a wood burning stove.
My paternal grandfather did have electricity in his home, but not indoor plumbing. They cooked on an old wood kitchen stove and heated with wood & coal also.
Actually I have an 11th thing I learned: all the luxuries we take for granted, I know I can live without if it ever comes to that.

Tracking Cpn & Rebate Savings

February 10th, 2008 at 09:57 pm

Set up a sheet in EXCEL. To date, showing a 49% savings using coupons + Kroger Plus card and $54 in rebates ($50 from dishwasher purchase).

Looking at CVS ads and trying to figure out if the 35 mile trip to the nearest one is worth it. I've read about people saving lots of $$$$ shopping there.

We have a Rite Aid here and I'm looking at their One-Check rebates. Should be nice if I can get double-plays on them.

Went to Dollar General the other day looking for their One-Check booklet & didn't see it. They were too busy and short-handed for me to ask. It's on my way to just about every place I go, so I'll check on that again this week.

I'll keep up on the savings tracking - should be a nice boost on those 'down' days. My spirit of [I]beating the grocery game[I] is back. Know it can be done; used to be very successful when all my boys were still at home & teenagers [I]at the same time[I]. Goodness, they could eat!


Getting 'those' looks

February 6th, 2008 at 05:42 pm

Grocery shopping with alot of coupons has always resulted in 'those' looks from people behind me in line and from cahsiers. But occassionally, like this past Sunday, a gal came up to me while I was digging in my coupon file and wanted to know where I got all my coupons? She didn't even know about the Sunday paper inserts. I explained about inserts, the jist of using them when items go on sale, and gave her a web address of a refunding mag I subscribe to. She was so excited and I took her to the front of the store where the newspapers are. She grabbed a copy of both. Later at checkout, I discovered one of the papers was 50 cents off with our shopper card! I smiled as I imagined hat gal discovering this, too!
That's what makes it all worthwhile - giving someone else the info & opportunity to save $$$!
I saved 32% that day on my few purchases. I hope run into her again someday as she is checking out and see her smile when she sees the difference coupons can make!
The refund mag is www.refundcents.com. It is a pay website but her prices for online access only are VERY reasonable!



Why did I become frugal?

February 1st, 2008 at 04:06 pm

This question, asked on the forum, has got me thinking.
I learned from my grandparents (all were young adults during Depression)how to use up what you had, save for what you needed, and don't fall into the trap of the latest trends.
They raised gardens, sewed & crocheted. My Mom made most of our clothes right up thru High School.
Money was sometimes tight when I was growing up, but I never knew it. We had family, food, clothes, and a roof over our heads.

When I married, had my kids (4 sons in 6 years) I HAD to be frugal. Used cloth diapers, bought clothes at yard sales, made most of my own clothes, raised a garden. Didn't have all those government programs back then and most people wouldn' even think of them anyway. We got by. My boys didn't have a roomful of toys they didn't play with - they were raised on a farm and everyone pitched in and helped. Not alot of $$$ in the bank but we didn't have any debt except for our home. Lots of good memories for me & them. We drove used cars/trucks and still I won't buy a new one. I use coupons, watch for rebates, and shop for holidays & birthdays all year long from clearance sales. Alot of gifts are hand/homemade.

We even had a Pediatrician that was wonderful! My boys would go thru what we called ' the vicious Strep Throat Cycle'. One would get it and within a week or two, ALL would have it. This was twice a year. He would write one prescription, with refills, with a note on dosages for each of them, to cover them all plus charge us for ONE doctor visit. All my boys eventually had their tonsils removed and the cycle stopped.

Now I'm frugal by choice. $$$ in bank and being able to invest are wonderful things.
I've made some bad choices along the way but have learned from them and moved on. Credit Card debt was a BIG mistake aka lesson!

Saving money is like a game now. The Tightwad Gazette has been a blessing! I re-read it cover-to-cover twice a year and reference it often in between. The Internet has also been invaluable in finding information on how to do all kinds of things cheaper and for DYI projects.

I travel, do genealogy research, run my home business, attend church, and have wonderful dear friends! My immediate family lives close by so I spoil my grandkids with love and homemade goodies. I donate to local charities, love to go to yard sales, and continuously look for bargains.

Believe me, my life is rich and full!