How Much Can I Save in a Year? Link-Up!

 January Savings 

Best of Savings
{Free Items this month using coupons}

-Stayfree Pads
-Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk Singles (6)
-Vitamin Water
-Colgate Toothpaste
-Honest Tea (4)
-2 oz. Carried Away Bath and Body Works Lotion
-Three Burger King sandwiches

Savings Tips

Jessie asked:  
"I want to know how you can use 2 coupons on one item, and what in the world is a Catalina?"

There are a few situations where I personally use more than one coupon aka "stack coupons":

-Target:  You can use one manufacturer's coupon and one Target coupon on an item.  (Find Target coupons on their website.)
-Kroger: You can use a manufacturer's coupon and an e-coupon (found online here) that you can load to your Kroger card to be automatically deducted when your Kroger Plus Card is scanned.
-Drug Stores:  You can often use a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon on items you purchase at a drug store.  For example, at Walgreens, you can use a coupon from their ad or their monthly store coupon booklet with a manufacturer's coupon.  See all the details on how you can use coupons at Walgreens here.  And Money Saving Mom is a great resource to find info on the specific for each store when using coupons.
About Catalinas:

A Catalina is basically credit toward your next purchase.  For example, often at a store, if you buy a certain amount of an item, let's say 3 boxes of Ziploc brand plastic bags (just as an example), the register will print out a coupon good for a certain amount off your next purchase.  Often, Kroger will have a tag under an item explaining the Catalina you will receive from buying an item and you can also find these deals posted on deal blogs as well.

Rachel asked:
"I don't know where to find coupons. that's why I don't use them. Like where are you getting these?"

I get most of mine from the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper. I also find a lot online herewww.coupons.com, www.smartsource.com, www.redplum.com, and also, Target has online ones you can print. I use Money Saving Mom often to look up items on the coupon database. It will tell you where to find a coupon for a specific item you are looking for. The coupon inserts are labeled with a date on the binding that the database will refer to. For example if it says you can find a coupon in SS 1/23, it means it is in the SmartSource coupon insert from the paper that came Sunday, January 23rd.

Now it's your turn! Link up below with a deals post of your own.  Whether its an update on your savings so far this year or just a great trip you had with great savings! Anything goes! Also, make sure to go check out Thankfully Thrifty to see how Ashleigh's savings are going so far this year!

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simple things

I've been really exhausted lately.  It seems like I can't keep up with anything.  And it seems like I have so much to take care of that I'm almost frozen and can't seem to take the small steps to get big things accomplished.  Is it fair for me to blame it partially on this long, cold winter we seem to be having?

So right now, it's the simple things pulling me through.  The simple things that are bringing joy.

-A weekend of fellowship,worship, and laughter with our youth group and some of my church family for a Youth Conference.
-Having dinner with my hubby and parents tonight at a local Mexican restaurant.
-Reading blog posts from you awesome ladies.
-Watching Boone smile when we picked him up from a weekend at his "grandparents".  Yep, our pup smiles.
-A new book I'm reading that I'm positive was an answer to prayers.

How about you? Do you ever have those times where the simple things pull you through?

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How Much Can I Save in a Year? Update!

Remember where I introduced you to my "How Much Can I Save in a Year" project for 2011? I just wanted to remind you that you'll have your own chance to link-up your savings! On January 31st, Ashleigh from Thankfully Thrifty and myself will have a link-up on both of our blogs that will run through February 7th where you can post your savings update from the month or simply a post about a great way you have saved money recently.  This link-up will occur at the end of each month throughout 2011.  So how much can you save this year? We can't wait to have you join us!

For more information, see Ashleigh's updated post here!

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miscellany monday

It's been a while since I linked up with Carissa, so I'm excited to do so today!

One-- We've had numerous snow days lately.  And in all honestly, I'm loving them.  What's better than an unexpected day off where your hubby is off as well? And let me be honest about something else, I get really tired of hearing people say, "Just wait until June when you're still in school."  Really? Hm, I had no idea.  (Yep, that's sarcasm.) I'm okay with it...so please quit trying to make these sweet blessings seem not so great.  They are just what they seem...perfection!

Two-- We are temporarily attempting to live on one income right now.  Justin's job is off and on during the winter, so whatever he makes we're putting straight into savings (or using toward any unexpected expenses each month).  How awesome is God that he blesses you tremendously in times where you think it will be so rough? Our budget balanced at $0 today when I re-hashed it all.  Nothing extra, not at a negative...zero.  That $0 tells me that God is once again supplying exactly what we need.  What a precious blessing.

Three-- Am I shallow if I say that The Bachelor makes my Mondays a little brighter? If so, I think I'm okay with that.  It's a couple hours of relaxation that I need after a non-stop day of orchestrating the every move and every second of the day for 22 nine and ten year olds.

not mine but they look just as delicious!
 Four--I made homemade, made-from-scratch, chocolate chip cookies last night.  I have no idea what got into me...I'm usually a break-and-bake type of cookie gal.  They are scrumptious.  Perfection.  I'm convinced I may need to own a bakery one day...all my recipe triumphs are sweets.  (And I sort of felt like I finally arrived as an adult and wife when I had everything needed to make them in the cupboards.)

Five--I love reading everyones pregnancy updates.  Maybe more than I enjoy reading books.  Okay, actually, more than I enjoy reading books.  Really, I'm living vicariously through y'all.  I'm at peace with that...and feel so blessed to learn from all you sweet ladies for when I'm in that season of my own life.

Six--Whew.  It's felt good to be random! I have missed this!

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$25 to Shutterfly for Free!

You've seen our Christmas Card! And I'm sure you made one yourself! Click here to get all the details on how you can get $25 to Shutterfly free for posting a pic of a photo card you created through Shutterfly on your blog! (This deal is running until January 31st...so hurry!)

Seasonal Chic Noir Christmas Card
For hundreds of Christmas card designs, click here.
View the entire collection of cards.


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DIY--distressed furniture

I love the distressed paint look on furniture.  I guess it's the love for country decor in me.  Maybe? Whatever it is, I had to attempt my own distressed furniture project.  This little table that I bought at a local flea market for around $20 was the perfect candidate for my first attempt!

The first step was to sand the table to prep it for painting.  (I used hubby's sander.)  I decided to leave the top of the table the original finish and just paint the legs.

To get into small crevices I used sandpaper.

After sanding, wipe the furniture down to get rid of the dust before painting.

I used a medium base paint (a very light tan) to paint the table.  It will take a couple coats.

Once the paint is dry, to distress, sand various, random places where normal ware and tear would occur to the furniture.  For example, the edges of the legs are places where you usually see the paint worn down on furniture.  (Do this step until you have distressed the furniture to your liking.)


Next time I may distress more on the flat surfaces.  However, I was pretty happy with the finished project! (Actually my idea was for re-sale and we ended up keeping it in our living room!)

So is distressed furniture one of your likes among home decor? Have you ever distressed furniture?

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are you sitting down?

I finally broke out my sewing machine!! Oh yes.  That's what a three day weekend can motivate you to do! I'm excited to say that I actually used my sewing machine for the first time this weekend and even created something I love!

After a little lot of perseverance getting the machine ready to sew and ripping out a stitch or two lots of stitches, I finally had a breakthrough and had success with my first time sewing!

DIY Potholder Mini Makeup Bag

I started with a potholder.
(You can find them cheap at Wal-Mart for less than $2 for a two-pack.)

 I folded it in half and stitched up both sides with a zig-zag stitch.

I added a button that was left over from a piece of clothing.
(You know those extra ones you get and hardly ever use.)

And there you have it.  It's working beautifully to hold my lip stuff together in one place in my purse!

I'm so excited.  And I'm pretty sure I've caught the sewing bug!

So, do you sew? If "sew", what was your first project? Your favorite project?

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How Much Can I Save in a Year?

This should be fun! I'm joining up with Ashleigh over at Thankfully Thrifty to see just how much money I can save in a year with coupons.  Yep, just coupons! This will include anything I purchase and use a coupon/promotion to get a discount.  Groceries, toiletries, clothes, and even restaurant savings will be included.  You can see more specifics on the guidelines on Ashleigh's post here.

You know I already keep a running total of my savings on my sidebar, so this will just be a little more specific and include a post at the end of each month to share my savings from the month.

What you can look forward to in my "How Much Can I Save in a Year" monthly posts:

-Monthly updates on my savings.
-Monthly updates on free items from the month.
-Monthly tips on saving money that you can utilize.
-An occasional video post on my savings (see below for a taste of that).

We would love to have you join us! If you would like to, please leave a comment with your link on my post at the end of the month or send me an email letting me know you would like to be included and I will included a link to your blog in my monthly posts.

And in order to make this kick-off to savings even more fun, I'm including a little video of my savings from my shopping trip today.  Let me apologize in advance for a few things:
-Boone's whining toward the end of the post.
-I annoyingly chew gum at the beginning of the video.
-I misspoke and stated that I had a $2 off coupon for the chips...really they cost $2 and I had a $1/1 coupon making them $1.
-This is my first video post of myself.  Enough said.

My questions for you:  In general, are you interested in saving money using coupons? Are you interested in tips to help you saving money? What would you like to hear about? Where do you feel you're a little "rusty" on saving money? What types of posts would really benefit your household budget? I would love to hear your input in hopes to meet your needs in the upcoming year and get you motivated to save.

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i heart snow days

10 Reasons Why I Love a Snow Day 
(based on today's snow day):

1. Waking up without an alarm.
2. Sleeping in until 10 a.m. (see number one).
3.  Lunch out with hubby.
4.  Grocery shopping with no lines whatsoever and plenty of time to get my coupons ready.
5.  Much-needed time to clean the kitchen and living room.
6.  Playing fetch with Boone.
7.  Watching Boone snooze on the couch.
8.  Getting out of PJs to go eat lunch (see number 3) and then getting right back into them when I get home.
9.  Watching the snow fall outside our windows all day.
10.  No make-up and hair in a ponytail.

Let's see what other joy the rest of this day brings...

What do you love about a snow day?

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my mountain

My poor, pitiful blog has been left alone lately.  I know.  But hopefully I'm back.  At least for now.  I've decided with the start of a new year that I really am going to be less "on my own case" about blogging all the time.  I'm planning on just blogging when I feel the need.  Blogging when I truly want to share something or document something.  Blogging for a purpose...not just blogging to blog.  I truly do love it.  I love blogging.  I love connecting.  Because I love writing.  And I love being able to share what God is doing in my life.  And wow...He has been working so much in my life lately.  Or really, the more I think about it, it's just that I'm paying more attention.

One thing was laid heavy on my heart the last few months of 2010.  It was the fact that God had placed so much on my heart throughout the year.  So many things that I felt convicted to do.  But one thing was wrong.  I wasn't moving.  I felt the nudge...but I stood still.  And it made me ashamed and sick to my stomach to think about it.  I even had the nerve to exclaim that God just wasn't talking to me. Ever been there?

Maybe it was laziness.  Maybe it was not knowing where to begin.  Sometimes I'm like that.  I get so indecisive that I freeze and don't make a decision at all.  Well with 2011, I've decided that I'm putting a stop to not moving.  I'm refusing to let God's convictions on my heart to stop there.  I'm ready to move.

Within the last couple years I've really learned a lot about trusting God's will.  To lay it all out there and pray like crazy for God to open doors and move mountains.  I prayed so often in the past, "Lord, let your will be done."  I've prayed for God to show me the way, for God to make His will known, for God to put certain things in my life or take things away.  But what I've most recently learned through tons of reflection and studying the bible, is that I haven't been taking the leap.  That scary leap of faith.  And maybe even worst, I haven't been completely trusting that my humble prayers can honestly move mountains if I just believe and trust.

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Matthew 21-22

In the first week of 2011, I have probably taken more leaps of faith than maybe all of 2010.  I'm turning a new page.  When I pray, I'm praying boldly and praying knowing and believing wholeheartedly that God will answer. That He will move what seems like mountains in my life.  So far, after much prayer, I have taken two huge leaps of faith...and the peace in my heart is possibly an answer to prayer within itself.  These steps have opened my eyes to God's amazing, passionate love for me.  Me.  And His attention to every. single. detail in my life.  I am overjoyed as I pray and wait on God...wait to see just what mountains He moves.  And wait to take the next leap of faith.

How has God moved mountains in your life? What has He taught you so far this year?

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