Friday, September 30, 2011

7 Months

Jackson is 7 months old! Time has been passing even faster these days because of our busy schedule. I am loving the phase that we are in right now, lots of smiles and babbles and hugs and movement. I’m not as fond of the possibility of teeth breaking through, but I hope it happens with as little pain as possible to the little man.

Here he is!


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Thursday, September 29, 2011


I've been a bad blogger this past week with no new posts. I've been preoccupied with work and cleaning my house and spending less money and my crawling speedracer. Jackson has now mastered crawling, and is moving to pull himself up to standing. He can go from crawling to sitting and then he will pull himself up on his knees and then he somehow manages to get his wobbly legs underneath him. He is non-stop with the moving and the pulling and the chewing.

Ahh, the chewing. I think this child is about to get a tooth because he is a slobber monster, he chews on everything, and he has been extra fussy. I tried to check his bottom gums today and it made him cry, so that tells me his poor gums are sore. Hopefully the first tooth breaks soon so he can feel better!

We have entered another new stage - separation anxiety. Jackson gets this when I leave the room, when I put him to sleep, and basically anytime he can't see me. When others are around he is better, as long as he has company.

Challenge update - I went grocery shopping on Monday and my grand total was....$101.58! Near 50% less than normal. This won't happen again next week because I will need formula and possibly diapers, but it was a great start. Here are the highlights of my bargain-hunting:
  • All-natural chicken from Sunflower Market - $2.50 per pound. I got over 2 pounds for under $6! Crazy. 
  • Marzetti's Simple Balsamic Dressing - regularly $3.99. On sale for $2.49 and I had a $2 coupon, so I paid $.49!
  • Rice packets - Regularly $1.99 per pouch. On sale for $1.49, had a coupon for buy 3 get 1 free. The store was running a second promotion (buy several items and get .50 off each one, so total I paid $3 for four pouches instead of $8. 
I will post pics soon and keep updating on my challenge. Let me know what your money-saving tips are!

Friday, September 23, 2011

October Challenge

I've decided that my life isn't busy/hectic/challenging enough and am going to start a 30-day challenge in October. No, it's not a weight-loss challenge (not like I couldn't use a little of that), but a financial challenge.

My goal is to cut our weekly grocery/household expense by 20-30%. On average we spend $200 every week on groceries, cleaning supplies, formula, and other baby and household items. This seems a bit high for three people, but we have been eating mostly organic for the past year and Whole Foods is a delicious but pricey place to shop.

So here's how I'm going to tackle this feat:

  • Coupons: I am already a coupon user (not extreme couponing because that's a waste of products just to get for free), but a coupon user for items that I would already buy. In order to be a little smarter with coupons, I will try to match coupons that I print/cut with sale prices. I will also try to go to stores that double coupons to save a little extra. The thing about coupons is that manufacturer's try to get you to buy their products just because you have a coupon and then you end up spending more. So, it's key to only use coupons on products that you were going to buy anyway. 
  • Menu Planning: I have already begun to do this about a month ago. It wasn't an effort to save money, but to save me from going crazy trying to scramble up something for dinner. Now I just write down our week's meal plans on a dry-erase board on the fridge and all is good. To save money, I will plan out our menus and combine that effort with the couponing. 
  • Weekly Ads: I refuse to go to 8 different stores just to grab items that are on sale. It's not worth my time, and that is more valuable to me than saving $5. I do usually go to two stores to shop every week - Whole Foods for the majority of the food we eat, and Target for all of our home items. I am open to exploring other stores who have quality items that are on sale, so I will pick the grocery and home stores every week based on the  number of items (which I would buy anyway) that are on sale.
  • Pantry/Freezer stocking: When there is a great sale on an item that is freezer- or pantry-friendly I will stock up on a few of them. Examples - tomato sauces, soups, chicken, etc. We have cut down on the amount of processed foods we eat, so this will most likely be a frozen-item thing, but I think it could save a lot of money. The problem that I face sometimes is I forget what items are actually in the freezer or pantry and I buy double or never use them. I am going to create a list of the items in the freezer and keep track of what is current/needs to be used. 
  • Frequency of shopping trips: I am guilty of going to the store to pick up eggs or milk and coming home with $30 of random items that I really didn't need. My goal is to go shopping once a week and making my items last the entire week. Again, this is going to take better planning on my part, but I think it will save some money in the long run. 

So there you have it - my challenge for October. If all goes well and I hit my minimum we will save $160 over the 4 weeks in October. If I really push it we could save $240 or so. Average of $200 per month = $2400 per year we could save. Enough to buy us plane tickets to Hawaii next year. Are you reading this husband???

Any other advice smart-shopping friends? Do you have any tricks you use to save some cash?