Monday, January 30, 2012

Coupon Savings: January 2012

As most of you know, I'm a couponer. I'm not one of those crazy couponers you see on TV, but I do clip to help our weekly budget. I used to spend $150+ PER WEEK on groceries. Since I started couponing, I have reduced my weekly budget to $50-$100 per week. That's for 6 dinners, lunches, and essentials (milk, eggs, cheese, etc)

My friend over at This Mom's Heart (thanks Katie!) taught a class last March on how to coupon and I've been able to implement my savings over the past year. I think I saved $3000+ last year on groceries thanks to the techniques that Katie taught me. And, I've been having people coming up to me asking me questions about how to do it. (I am, by no means, an expert! In fact, I still ask Katie questions!)

So, I've decided to keep track this year of exactly how much couponing saves me each month, and by the end of the year. I do my grocery shopping on Monday mornings, so watch for monthly updates the last Monday of each month!

January 2012:
Total (before savings): $816.28
Spent: $570.46 ($70 over budget - BUT this includes everything for our Super Bowl Party)
Savings: $245.82
Percentage: 30.11%

2012 YTD:
Total (before savings): $816.28
Spent: $570.46

Oh! And Travis and I *almost* made it the whole month without eating out! We had some fast food this weekend, and decided to go out for Mexican on Sunday after church. We only missed it by 2 days! Not too shabby! :-D

Happy Couponing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rearranging 2012

My husband and I are both pack rats. We're not collect-everything-never-throw-anything-away-hoarding-pack-rats, but we both tend to keep things longer than we should. This is apparent to most of friends when they see the condition of our house. It never gets terribly dirty - just very cluttered.

So in anticipation for Baby Number 2 (Don't freak out, people! I'm not pregnant YET!), we've been wanting to move Penelope into the room next door (office) to her current room (nursery). Well, this isn't going to happen if the office is still a mess. And the office isn't going to get any better until we move all the stuff in there downstairs. And the basement has become a dumping ground and NOTHING will get done until we get that area finished. And so, we started in the basement.

We started in the garage. I had a bunch of boxes from before I got married that desperately needed to be gone through. I was able to take 2 boxes of collectibles, and 7 boxes of pre-marriage-Sarah-stuff down to 3 storage bins worth of stuff. Travis was able to do the same (ok, he didn't have 7 boxes, but still!). Combine that with reorganizing the Christmas and camping stuff and we significantly increased the amount of storage space in the garage.
Yay! Organization!
Once the bulk of the junk was out of the garage, we started in the main room in the basement. We had A LOT of stuff to go through and have made HUGE improvements. We've thrown a lot of stuff away , and have donated a lot too (I've already dropped off 3 boxes and a couch to Goodwill). Here's what we started with:

So. Much. Stuff!!
After a couple of weeks of working a few hours (almost) every night after Penelope went to bed, I am happy to announce that the main room of the basement is complete! Tonight, we moved the rest of the stuff out (empty boxes, storage bins, trash bags, random things that are staying in the basement, etc), vacuumed, and shampooed the carpet. I must say, I'm very happy with our progress! We're hoping to get the basement finished by next week so we can then dive into the office!

Smells like clean! (The bookshelf is staying there. We just need to go through the books)
Travis found a really neat home modeling app for the iPad that has allowed us to figure out exactly how we want to place everything. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the rearranging process. Since this room is now complete, we can start moving things out of the downstairs bedroom and putting them where they need to go in this room. And then that'll free up space in the bedroom to be able to move stuff from the office down here, and so on and so on! Stay tuned for more updates!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!


I can't believe its here already! According to the Mayans, we only have 354 days until the end of the world! :-)

2011 was filled with heartbreak, and with joy.

I watched my daughter turn 1 year old this year, and I also said goodbye to a very dear friend.

I got to see my aunt get married, and I said goodbye to a very special great-auntie.

I got to spend an amazing couple of weeks with family that I have missed dearly, and I spent New Years Eve sick at home.

All in all, I can't complain too much about the year. It was pretty good.

So what's in store for 2012? Well, I don't really like to make year long resolutions because I tend to break them pretty quick. What would I like to happen? I'd like to lose some weight. I'd like to have another baby. I'd like to be more committed to my job (I'm only required to work 10 hours a week, and usually don't even meet that.) I'd like to be more active and get more exercise. I'd like to blog more. I'm also going to be participating in a leadership program through my church, which I am very excited about! More about that later.

One thing that Travis and I have decided to do is to budget our money better. We're still getting used to the new pay schedule from his job, and its proving to be more difficult that we originally thought. So I found an idea online that we're going to try and implement.

We've decided that for the entire month of January, we're not going to eat out at all. Now, this doesn't include lunches. We each take a certain amount per month for meal money so that he can have lunch at work and I can have an occasional lunch with some friends. This amount has already been budgeted for. I'm talking about "Honey, I'm tired. Let's just order pizza." We do that way more than you think we would.

So its quite an endeavor, and it means I gotta get better about my meal planning, but I'm excited to try it. I'm curious to see how much money we have left at the end of the month, and I'm curious to see how much better we feel by the end of the month.

What are your resolutions? What would you like to happen this year?