How Much Can I Save in a Year? Feb. Update!

February Savings 

2011 Total Savings

Best of Savings
{Free Items this month using coupons}

-Dove Deoderant $2
-Starkist Tuna Salad Pouch $1
-Honest Tea $1
-Yoplait Yogurt $0.50
-2 Free Gillette Body Wash $2.50 each
-2 packs Mentos Gum $1 each
-2 Colgate Toothpaste $0.98 each

A Little Savings Tidbit

Our overall savings due to coupons are down a bit, but there is a reason for it.  We have recently transitioned into being a one-income family.  This is just a decision to help us save more and plan for the future a bit.  Because of this, our overall spending is down, which of course means we are saving...and saving considerably...just not as much by using coupons.  We have cut our grocery budget and eating out budget down by $10 for both.  This means we're saving $20 a week...or $80 a month overall.

One huge factor in this has been meal planning using e-mealz. I mentioned this briefly in another post, but wanted to go more in detail now that we have lived it for several weeks and can testify that it works and has been a huge blessing to us.  The idea behind it is that you pay a small fee (it ends up being $1.25 per week) and a meal plan is created for you by the lovely people of e-mealz.  This menu and shopping list is available for you each week to print off.  The great thing is that you choose the plan you want based on your family's needs.  Most meal plans, if you choose a store-specific one, is matched up with the week's sales at that store.  For example, we have chosen the Wal-Mart plan for two people.  The week's groceries average out to about $35 a week for all the ingredients you need.  The recipes are simple and, even better, your meal planning is completed for you.

We have found this to even help us save money by often using the plan to shop at Kroger (they don't offer a Kroger meal plan).  I often stack coupons with the items that are on the shopping list and save even more money.  There is also much room for tailoring the menu based on your health-conscious needs and your family's tastes.  (E-mealz didn't ask me to give them a shout out and they aren't compensating me for this post, but I just wanted to pass on our own happiness with this program in hopes it can help at least one other family out there.)

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 new mom, Ashleigh's, savings are going so far this year!

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 I just love when I sit down in my seat at church and I hear a message that feels as though God wrote it JUST for me.  JUST for that moment.  JUST at the time I needed to hear it.

The message this Sunday was on waiting.  Waiting on the Lord.  It's something I'm not good at.  I have a few things going against me on this one:  I'm a self-proclaimed Type A, inattentive, busy-body, planner-to-a-tee, say-yes-to-everything, be-everything-to-everyone, impatient girl.

And today, God shared a message with me.  It's as if He dropped a little love note right out of the sky.  It came through our guest pastor at church and it came through this scripture: 

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is  disregarded by my God'? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the  Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and  strengthens the powerless.  Even youths will faint and  be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  

Isaiah 40:27-31

What has gripped at my hear the most, is that He doesn't leave me alone when He says wait.  It doesn't mean He's not working.  It doesn't mean He's not answering prayers.  In the middle of waiting (on what seems like so many things and answers right now), He is working fiercely on my heart.  It's not easy.  And to be honest, it's not the way I want it.  But it's what's best.  It's not all about me.  And whether I like it or not, God knows just what He's doing when He calls me to wait on Him.  He knows it's not in my nature.  He knows He has to hold tight to me.  And He knows He's not finished with me.  So now, I wait.  And oddly enough....I'm full of joy doing it.

How do you practice patience? What is God teaching you about waiting on Him?

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what I'm loving.

I'm linking up with Jamie today!

I'm loving...the gorgeous flowers my hubby had sent to my classroom on Valentine's Day! When my kiddos asked who my "secret admirer" was, I was happy to exclaim that it was Mr. G.  The response got a sweet "awwwww" out of some of my girls.

I'm loving...that hubby and I had a fun date last night.  We went to The Cheesecake Factory.  I had their "Garlic Noodles" dish for the first time.  Probably the best pasta I've ever had.  No joke! And let's not get started on the Chocolate Tuxedo Cheesecake we shared...yum!

I'm loving...that 70 degrees is in our forecast.  Spring means summer is next.  I love warm weather and sunshine! Goodness, even the 50s are feeling like a heatwave around here!

I'm loving...what God is doing in my heart.  He always teaches me just what I need to learn.  His faithfulness and attention to every little detail in my life always amazes me.

I'm loving...our new tradition of memorizing a bible verse as a couple each week.  What a fun way to dive into scripture together! Each week, I write the verse for the week on our refrigerator whiteboard.  Last week was Matthew 16:24--And then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone should come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."  This week's is Jeremiah 29:11.

I'm loving...that I'm finally caught up on laundry! Whew!

I'm loving...that I have come to grips with the fact that the weeks until Spring Break are going to be a little stressful.  A tad overwhelming. But the best part is that God has reminded me to just take it one day at a time and one stressful event at a time.  He only promises us today...and for today, I am grateful!

I'm loving...that warmer weather means more walks with this cuteness (although he maybe would rather sleep).

Happy Wednesday, folks! What are you lovin'?

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Guest Post lovin'

Hey sweet readers! 

Head on over to new momma, Ashleigh's, blog Thankfully Thrifty for a guest post by yours truly.  While she's on maternity leave from her blog, she's featuring guest posts by many.

Enjoy and Happy Tuesday!

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that b word

It's probably no coincidence or accident that my last post and this post are about the same thing...that b word. 

I'll blame the following...


(You do the math.)

This little cutie didn't help anything! :) 
Congrats to our good friends, Kevin and Kendra on their precious blessing, Jacey Grace born Friday night.  We met her last night and she's a doll!

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

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Beyond Excited

I'm beyond excited for my dear friend, Page, from Crazy Joy

As some of y'all know, Page and I became friends last year when we were team teachers teaching next door to each other.  What a blessing she is in my life! She is one amazing person and such a faithful follower of Christ.  Go on over and congratulate her on their precious blessing of their first baby! I have no doubt she'll document the journey on her blog in such a precious way pointing right back to her Savior.

Happy Thursday!

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I might stink.

Today began our shark dissections in 4th grade! (Hence the smell.)

The lovely smell of formaldehyde has taken over my classroom.  Today was our first day with our Dogfish Sharks.  The kiddos got to put on gloves and touch and observe the outside of the shark.  Tomorrow will begin our actual measuring and opening up of the sharks.  Thursday will include pulling out and opening up parts of the shark.  Yum.  If we're lucky, we'll find the shark's last meal.  (Two years ago when I did this we found fish in the intestines.  Double yum.)

I had to suck it up and be an adult today.  I won't lie...my stomach tossed and turned when I had to reach into a juicy bag and pull out six dogfish sharks by their tails.  I've done this before, but that smell hits you each time.  The stench burns and I definitely need a shower.

Here's to another day of stinking.  Does learning get any more authentic than this?

So what about you? Have you ever dissected anything? Taught a dissection? Have any dissection horror stories?

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thank you, Lord, for the weekend

This weekend was a fabulous break that was much-needed after the first full week back to teaching since before Christmas break.  (Yes, we've had at least one or more snow days a week since then.  Crazy!)  Our weekend has been nice and relaxing!


On Friday night we went with a group from church to Winter Jam, a Christian concert that included awesome artists such as Newsboys (fabulous!), Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, and our favorite, David Crowder Band.  You can't beat a concert that is $10 at the door.  We had a great time!

David Crowder Band
Chad and Justin cheesin'
Me and Cheri

Well we slept into 10:30 on Saturday.  Amazing.

Met my parents to try out a new Mexican restaurant...which was delicious.  I had a "soft" chimichanga for the first time.  Love that they give a non-fried option!

Meal-planned, cut coupons, and got my grocery list ready.  
(We have started using e-mealz which I am super excited about.  You get a week's worth of meal plans each week that has been matched to a store's sales ad.  My friend Cheri [see above] found it.  It's endorsed by Dave Ramsey.  Perfect.  And because we do almost everything together, we're trying this new meal planning thing at the same time to help both of our budgets.  There's nothing like having close couple friends! I will probably blog more about it another time, but so far it is fab.u.lous.  Check it out.)

That afternoon we relaxed at home, I did some laundry because dirty clothes had taken over our house.  
No joke.
We ended the day by having dinner at Justin's mom's and dad's...yummy, homemade meatloaf.


Our morning consisted of Sunday School and church.  Our sermon was amazing...about following God as a disciple and answering His call.  We even studied Matthew 16:24 ("...If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.")  What is so great is the fact that Justin and I decided yesterday that we were going to commit ourselves to memorizing a verse a week as a couple.  And yesterday, I wrote Matthew 16:24 on our whiteboard on our fridge as our first verse to memorize.  
God is so neat like that!
Wendy's was the after-church lunch choice.  Yum.  I love their apple pecan grilled chicken salad.  (And yes, I have now written about three different meals in this one post.  Another one is coming.  Wait for it...)

After lunch we headed to the grocery store to try out our first shopping trip for this new meal planning thing.  So far it's working and saving us money.  Whoo hoo.  Just when I thought we couldn't shave down our grocery budget anymore, we have.  To God be the glory.  For sure.

Now we are "vegging" (do any of y'all use that term?) at home before heading back up to church for "Soup"er Bowl Sunday...soup for dinner and then watching half of the game with the youth group (while hubby does his youth-leader thing and I do my grading papers thing.)  And I will add...yes.  I confess.  I honestly only watch for the commercials.  We're a basketball state, not a football state.

What were the highlights of your weekend?

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a perfect evening

After a crazy day at work where my emotions were up and down, I was so relieved to have such a nice, stress-free evening at home tonight.  I don't know what it was about me today...but I know that my poor kiddos sometimes saw the "not so nice" side of me.  That probably is still pretty nice compared to some teachers...but I was off, so therefore, as you other teachers know...they were off.  Tomorrow will be better.  I'm determined.  It must be.

So a perfect evening was exactly what I needed...

Grocery shopping that I dreaded turned into a great trip where almost everything that was on my list was on sale, most things I also had a coupon for, and I purchased three items for free.

I came home to a clean living room including a vacuumed floor and my sweet hubby had pulled out some of my artwork today and found a spot for it in our living room.  He's too sweet.

We had an amazing dinner of homemade chicken pot pie.  Yum.  (And there are plenty for left-overs!)

While dinner was in the oven, I cleaned the kitchen.  (Yes, cleaning makes me happy when I have the time and energy to do it.)

Our dessert (which isn't a common occurrence around here) consisted of these yummy little things that yep, were on sale too! Dessert for less than $1.50? Yes, please!

A relaxing bath where I was able to read two...yes, two...chapters of my current read! And the relaxing sound of rain hitting our home added the nice background music.

Paid a stack of bills including tuition for this semester.  (The happy part here is just checking it off the to-do list.)

Now I am relaxing on the couch, with a moment to blog, and looking forward to sitting still.

Pure bliss.

What does it take for you to have a perfect evening?

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