I am always curious about what other people read and I have to highlight one of my favorites. The woman that writes this blog has such a great sense of humor and if you have a few minutes it is always worthwhile to read her (somewhat) crazy ramblings. I mean that in the nicest way possible as she always gives me a laugh.
I always think of a post she wrote describing a day when she decided to splurge on a frozen meal she didn’t have a coupon for. I have had that reckless feeling from time to time as well. (Yes I said reckless!) She went into the store and realized the “sale” price was 3x what the normal sale price should be. She left empty handed stating there was no way she’d enjoy the entree knowing she paid so much, and she’d have to be knocked over the head unconscious, with club card in one hand and debit card in the other and physically forced through the checkstand to pay such an exorbitant price. I think of that all the time when I watch people spend $5.49 on orange juice I got for $.99 last week using coupons. Maybe in the middle of the Sahara you’d convince me to pay that much but I’d have to really think about it.
I wanted to clarify my budget for new couponers that might be confused looking at my shopping trip below. You might be thinking my gosh she is going to feed her family frozen vegetables and Ritz crackers all week? Understand that I have been couponing for almost a year now and have managed to build a reasonable stockpile. We are able to reduce our weekly expenditure because our cupboards are never bare- there is always something I have on hand. For example today my daughter and I ate scrambled eggs, wheat toast and vegetarian sausage for breakfast. I bought an 18pk of eggs last week at Sfwy for .97, pulled a fresh loaf of bread from the freezer that I purchased a few weeks ago for .99 on sale and the sausage from our Chill at Home purchases last week. My husband had his beloved cereal. While shopping today I had a frozen PB&J in my bag as a snack and when I got home I made a grilled caprese sandwich with sliced tomatoes from last week’s shopping, sliced mozzarella from Costco two weeks ago, and a whole wheat sandwich roll that I got on clearance at Walmart several weeks ago and have in the freezer. My daughter went to lunch with her grandparents but I packed a snack of Goldfish crackers, an orange from 2 weeks ago, and string cheese from last week.
Also you will notice I still have a gift card balance to Safeway this week so I will have a look at the circular on Wednesday and if there are great deals I will make a second shopping trip. If not, we still have plenty of milk, fruits and veggies to easily get us through next week. That doesn’t include my pantry and freezer which are fully stocked.
Monday I will post my weekly menu plan which will show in more detail how you can have a balanced, healthful diet on a super tight budget.
Birdseye Steamfresh Meals x3 $14.97 (used (3) $2/1 MQ)
Make sure to save the receipt as there have been sightings of a rebate form at PetsMart for a coupon for a free 4lb bag of Iams wyb one bag. Rebate expires 6/30/09.
I have our dog food in a large Rubbermaid tub and I use these small bags to stretch the food a little longer. If you mix it with your regular food it isn’t as hard on your dog’s tummy.
Unemployment offices in most states are so swamped right now they are asking for 6 weeks to process claims. My case is nearing the 10 week mark and we have been told the process won’t go any faster unless we can prove severe hardship- such as a foreclosure notice from our bank.
Thank goodness we got on board with Dave Ramsey years ago and paid off almost all my school loans, our cars and credit cards. We still have a portion of my grad school to pay off and then we can really get back on board with focusing on our savings account.
What I have learned from this experience is the importance of having a savings account. Since I am 31 weeks pregnant the opportunities for employment are limited. I had no idea the unemployment process took so long and that it would be over two months without a word.
I also decided to be extremely proactive in the process. The night we heard my company would be closing, we sat down and really looked at our budget. When we moved to California last January we put 20% down on our house, which basically wiped out our savings. This was a mistake that we have learned from and will never repeat! At the time we had no idea the economy would experience the roller coaster we have all been on.
Since then, we have been focused on slowly building our savings back up and have 3 months of expenses in the bank. Our goal is to not have to touch that money during this process so we slashed everything in the budget. I fought our way out of an expensive cell phone contract and I will be getting a prepaid phone. I would skip this altogether except being so far in the pregnancy I feel more secure knowing I can get ahold of someone just in case. We slashed our grocery budget down to $30 and I am spending a lot more time at home to avoid filling up our tank. We cancelled my daughter’s expensive gymnastics class and I am taking her to the park several days a week instead. I sold a few items we don’t use on Craigslist. I submitted our taxes the same day I got our final W-2 and we have already received a refund from the federal government. (Just in time to pay the registration on both of our vehicles).
While we aren’t in financial peril, we should have known better than to empty our savings account last year. I am thankful that we do have savings in place that combined with my husband’s income would easily get us through the end of this year. I am thankful that we don’t have bill collectors calling since we paid off our cars and credit cards years ago. I am also thankful that we have the determination not to go back into credit card debt and we are willing to do just about anything to stay out of it. We are also trying to stay positive and are looking forward to getting back on track with the debt snowball to pay off the last bit of student loans.
Stay tuned as I will be posting our experiences with Dave’s program and how we eliminated over $20k in debt a few years ago.