Monday, June 29, 2009

June 28-July 4 Menu

Sunday: Philly Cheese Steak Subs

Monday: Chicken Tenders, Pasta, Green Beans

Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza

Thursday-Sunday: Going to my parent's house


June 21-27 Summary

It was a pretty normal, boring week around here. Which was very, very welcome! This week starts our Envelope System!!! We're very excited about this. Here last weeks numbers though, and they aren't too bad.


Grocery/HBA: $20/$25
Gas: $30/$60 (I had to go to Mississippi twice this week, so it's higher then planned.)
Misc: $50/$34

It spent $38 getting new tags for my car, but that was budgeted for in the "Auto Fund".

It was a great week, and it was much needed to motivate me!

Total: $19 over budget!!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our Envelope System

Happy Saturday!!!

I've got some down time today, so I thought I'd take the time to post a blog about our new budget/spending plan. I've mentioned a couple times that on July 1st David and I will start an envelope system (I'll call it an ES). We'll essentially be following Dave Ramsey's plan ( It's something I've been hearing and reading a lot about lately and I have a couple friends who have recommended it. Our budget works when we stick to it, but lately that just hasn't been happening. And while things are much better on the financial front then they were a year ago, we could be saving more and repaying more. So we'll use our regular budget that I've been posting on here, but we'll do it with cash instead. We've sat down and come up with a couple guidelines for our ES.

1. Categories: These will be the envelopes. I should add that all bills will still be paid with the debit card or web bill pay.

  • Grocery/Household
  • Bear (Pet)
  • Entertainment/Dining Out
  • Spending Money
  • Gas
  • Travel Savings
  • Auto Maintenance
  • Gifts

2. The Plan

  • On the night before payday we will sit down and write a budget for the next pay period (2 weeks). Each budget will be different depending on the activities and needs during that time.
  • On payday, I will go to the ATM and withdraw all the cash we will need for that period.
  • Gas will not be pulled out in cash, but will be put on a Walmart gift card. (This is dependant upon the price. Walmart is almost always much cheaper after the 3 cent discount, but if it's not, then we'll get it somewhere else). Gas will be purchased on the first day of the pay period.

3. The Rules

  • If one category goes "negative" we can withdraw from another category, but NO going back to the ATM.
  • At the end of the period, all remaining funds will be pooled and re-budgeted into the next month.
  • Re-budgeted money will take the place of the money from the following pay period. Thus leaving more money for savings/debt repayment.
  • There will always be some money on the debit card for "in case". But at the end of the period all money on the debit card will go to savings/debt repayment.
  • Any additional income, or found money will NOT be budgeted into the plan, but go straight to savings/debt repayment.

So that's the plan for now. Of course, as we go along we might need to change and tweak some things, but for the first 2 weeks at least this is the general idea. I will be using regular 'ole envelopes and I have them in a zipper pouch in my "money binder". We will each keep our spending money on us, and take the envelope we will need with us when we leave the house. I won't keep all the money on me all the time.

Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas, too. I'd love to hear them!

Friday, June 26, 2009

6-26-09 Deals

I did a little bit of grocery shopping this morning. Not much, but David and some friends are going out on a boat at 5am tomorrow, so I thought I get the stuff to make them some breakfast sandwiches. It will be much cheaper then going to a fast food place. I totally spaced out on the picture today, and put the stuff away before I took one!

First stop was Walgreens where I got a 3 pack of packing tape clearanced to $4, and used a $3 RR. Total OOP was $1.35 (including $0.35 tax). This is a great deal for me, since we move every 3 years I am always needing more packing tape. The original price for the tape? $12.99!!!

Total Savings: $3 (from the RR)

Super Walmart:
2lbs. Great Value Sausage $4.14
1lb. Land 'O Frost turkey lunch meat $3-$0.55mc=$2.45
Velveeta sliced cheese $2
Starbucks Ice cream (pint) $2.50-$1.50IP=$1
Santitas Tortilla chips $1.78
Doritos $2
2 jars Pace Salsa $2.84ea-$2mc=$0.84ea
2 Kotex Liners $1ea-$1.50/2=$0.25ea
3 Glade Scented Oil Tins $2.50-$1.50 peelie=$1ea*
Great Value Bread $1.08
Doz. Eggs $1

Total before Q's: $32.68
Total After Q's: $20.63 (plus $1.93 tax)

Total Savings with Q's $12.05

Total Daily Savings with Q's $15.05

WTD Savings $46.61

*I got the Glade tins for $1, and inside was another $1.50 coupon that doesn't expire until 2010!!! These are great in gift baskets.

I also registered for my free Mars Candy coupons this morning!

Merry Christmas


Not quite, but did you know that yesterday (June 25th) is exactly half way to Christmas? Yep, only 6 months (well I guess today it's 5 months and 29 days) until the big day.

Are you ready? Do you have a game plan? It's time to get one.

I post this because I don't have one. I know I should, I mean it's not like Christmas is a surprise! You can bet it'll be here every December 25th, the good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise! I should do more to get ready for it. So far I've earned a whopping $50 with the points on my debit card. But since we are switching to Dave Ramsey's cash only envelope system in July, my point will go down drastically. I've also thought about saving up all the points I earn from surveys and to buy gifts. And that will help, but it may not be enough, and it's not predictable.

I've been researching online, and found a few ideas:

  • suggests setting aside a weekly amount to contribute to your CS (that's what we'll call "Christmas Savings". And also suggest using you spare change to add to that. This plan might work for me, since we'll be using cash for almost everything, we're sure to have lots of coin change.

Other ideas I gathered from various sources on the net include:

  • Using your banks "Christmas Club" account.
  • Buying bargain gifts throughout the year. While I think this is a wonderful idea, you want to keep in mind that sizes, preferences, and fads can change quickly. If you buy a gift too early before Christmas, you may not be able to return or exchange it.
  • Working an extra job, such as retail, babysitting, or pizza delivery.
  • Selling items you aren't using on eBay, and use the profit for gifts.
  • Drawing names-great for larger families, and you'll only to buy a few gifts.

I'm sure you can find many more ideas, and I know you have great ones of your own. Let me know what you are doing to get ready for Christmas this year.

And don't forget what Dave Ramsey says-"Christmas is NOT an emergency!"

Meaning DO NOT touch those emergency funds in order to buy gifts.

Merry Christmas in June!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

6/24/09 Deals

I haven't done much shopping in the last few days. It's been well over 100 degrees every afternoon, and frankly, that's just too hot the leave the house unless you need to! On top of that, my very energetic bulldog has to stay outside when we aren't home and there is no way I could leave him in this heat. So he and I just hang out in the air conditioned house and read blogs all day, and LOVE it. I have run a few errands after David gets home in the evenings (so he can stay with Bear). On Tuesday I ran to Walgreens to drop off my ink to get refilled. It cost me $12.99 to get a full ink cartridge, compared to $25-$30 to buy a new one. It was the first time I'd ever tried it, and I am very pleased. I've heard that Walgreens sometimes has coupons in their flyers for ink refills, so I'll be on the lookout for those. Total savings from that was anywhere from $12-$17, but I won't had it to my weekly savings since it's an ongoing price with them. While there I did the Coke deal, and got 4-12 packs for $13, plus $3 Register Rewards, plus those 4 packs will earn me 40 points! I also cashed in my rain check for a free Walgreens cloth bag. I LOVE those bags, they hold so much more then a plastic bag!
We also used a free code at Redbox to rent "New In Town", it was cute. I just love Renee Z. and Harry Connick Jr.
Yesterday I received 2 coupons for free Velveeta microwaveable cups, and one BOGOF coupon. David LOVES these cups, and so do I. They are quick, store well in the pantry, are great to take to work, taste just like the real thing...and you toss the bowl when you're done! NO dirty dishes!! Try them out, they are fantastic.
I have been tweaking our plan for the Envelope System we'll be starting on July 1st, but I think I'll make a new post about that.
Take care, and have a great day!!
Total Weekly Savings using coupons and codes: $31.56

Happy Anniversay

Yep, that's me! Yesterday was our 5th Anniversary!! It's gone by so fast. We met when we were in middle school, and that seems like last year. Gosh, we were 18 and 19 in that picture! Time does fly. I love you, David!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 21-27 Budget

After last week, this week will be boring. Which is not altogether a bad thing. I am ready for some down time! We don't have much planned for this week, and this weekend will be the first one in a long time that we don't have plans and can enjoy the summer. It's supposed to storm, and I am ready. It's so dry here, and we haven't had rain in quite a few weeks. The high today is 102, with an index of 115+. That's GREAT for the budget. Why? Because I'm not leaving my air conditioned house to go out in that heat, therefor I won't spend a dime!

And speaking of dimes, here they are!

Groceries: $20, just picking up a couple of good deals.
Gas: $30
Cash $40
Misc: $50

Total: $140

June 14-20 Summary

This was an expensive week. We had family in the entire time, and while I LOVE every minute of it, the spending got out of control and stayed there. There really isn't anything else I can say, so here are the numbers:


Groceries/Household: $40/$178
Misc:$50/$239, including $30 for a gift.

We spent $137 eating out this week. That is awful, and HAS to stop. But I'm not beating myself up too hard because as bad as it was, we didn't spend anything we didn't have, and I was honest about every penny. It just makes me want to try harder this week!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

6-21-09 Deals

I decided that this week I want to keep track of every penny I save on deals and coupons. I normally don't track how much I save, so I want to start small with just a week. I'd eventually love to track an entire year, but I'd definitely have to build up to that. So for the week of 6/21-6/27 I will take pictures and post all of my shopping.

Here's todays:

Super WalMart:

First off, DH got $30 in gas in his truck on a WM gift card, saving $0.03 a gal, or $0.36 on the entire purchase. It doesn't sound like much, but when you buy as much gas as we do, it's saves a lot in the course of a year.

And I bought:
2 Blue Bunny IceCream snacks $1 each -$1IP=FREE
1 pkg Oscar Meyer Beef Frank$2.50-Free Q from Oscar Meyer
1 pkg Playtex Wipes $1.97-$1=$0.97
2 Huggies Wipes $1 each-$1mc=FREE
1 Snuggle 40ct. dryer sheets $1.87-$1IP=$0.87
1 Jar Pace Specialty Salsa $2.84-$2mc=$0.84
1 can Mighty Dog $0.57-Free mc, but the cashier ran the Q through as $1, so Money Maker!!

Total Before Q's: $13.75
Total After Q's: $2.25 (+ $0.91 tax)

Total Savings: $11.50 + $0.36 (gas)


2 Glade Scented Oil Holders clearanced to $4.79 -$2mc=$2.79 each
1 Johnson & Johnson First Aid kit $0.99-$1mc=Free
4 Soy Joy Bars $4
1 20oz. Coke $1.49 -Free Q I got from
2 Therma Care 1ct. Neck Wraps $2.49-$1mc=$1.49 each

Used a $4/$20 CVS Q, and $6 ECB's

Total before Q's $21.28
Total after Q's $2.58 (+$1.10 tax)

Total Savings: $18.70

Received $4ECB's for Soy Joy Bars and $2.49 for each Therma Care Wrap= $8.98 ECB's

Total Daily Savings: $30.56

Week-to-Date Savings: $30.56

Friday, June 19, 2009

Refilling Ink

First off, Happy Friday! Let the weekend begin.

I must be way behind because I'd never given much thought to having my ink cartridge refilled. I always just shelled out the $25 for a new one. But my ink is out and I have more coupons I want to print before I go grocery shopping on Sunday. The old Jodie would swipe her card for $25 and be glad she had more ink. But lately, that just won't do. It's not enough to be glad you have something new. It's important to me know to get a good deal out of that something new. So I called Walgreens and guess what? That $25 ink can be mine for $13!!!! That's a savings of $12, almost half.

So definitely check out getting the ink cartridge refilled before forking over money for a new one.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hulu and Dave Ramsey

I am addicted!

Recently we've been really thinking had about canceling our cable/DVR service. My goal is to eliminate and simplify where my money goes each month. In my opinion, cable TV is extremely overpriced and something we don't use enough to justify the $60 a month. I will still need my internet because it's how I do all my banking, and I DO feel like I use it enough to get the $40 a month out of it.
So once we cut out the cable what will we watch? We still have shows we enjoy and want to watch. My sister mentioned I had never heard of it, but after going to the site, I am hooked. It's completely free and so easy. We even have a cable that connects our laptops to the TV, so we can watch movies and shows together, rather then on our laptops alone. They even have my favorite show...BURN NOTICE!!! With and free codes from Redbox, I see no reason at all to pay that extra $60 a month to a greedy cable company.

Another show I've recently found on Hulu-The Dave Ramsey Show. I knew who he was, and about his program, but since we didn't get that channel with out cable I'd never seen the show. But it's FREE on Hulu!!!! There are almost 100 episodes on there, and I've been watching them back to back for 3 days now. He's wonderful, and so motivating. I love hearing the stories of families that were so close to the bottom, and now are debt free, or on their way.

So go now and check out, it's my new FFF (favorite frugal find)!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Frugal Fun

I mentioned earlier that I've had a lot of family visiting this week. It's been hard on my budget because I can't get over that mentality that I need take them out to eat, or to the movies, or zoo...all of which can get costly. But I've been trying really hard this week to cook at home and come up with fun, free activities. Sunday-Tuesday my Granny, my little sister (age 13) and my cousin (age 12) were here. We ordered pizza the first night, but that was the only time we paid for food. My Granny did by breakfast both morning, but other then that we ate at home. And you know what? No one felt like they were missing anything! We had a great time cooking together and sitting down at my table together. We could be as loud and silly as we wanted because were comfortable and alone. We also rented a movie free from RedBox and set up the projector in the den. It was JUST like being at the real theater. We had tons of popcorn and soda, and homemade brownies. What movie theater sales brownies? Only the free one at my house!!! We huge out in our jammies with piles of pillows and blankets and a blast, all for FREE. It would have cost over $42 for the 3 of us to watch a movie, complete with popcorn and soda, at the local theater. And once again we were able to talk as loud, laugh as loud and get up as much as we wanted. We could pause the movie if someone needed to get up, and we got to see deleted scenes. You can't get that at a normal, pricey theater. We also had a great time having a "Bowling Tournament" on the Wii. I can't even imagine how much it would have cost at a real bowling alley, since we played for hours on end, and all the drinks we would have needed. Again, totally free at home, and probably even more fun!
This weekend we plan to take a picnic to the local beach with our dog, our friends and their dogs, and my parents and sister. The dogs all love the beach, and the boys will skim board while we girls read and listen to music. I have all kinds of picnic food I've gotten with coupons, and I'll make a few homemade treats. We'll have a wonderful time, and make lots of memories...all for free.
I think it's fun to come up with cheap or free ways to have fun this summer, and I'd love to hear some of yours!

June 14-20 Budget

I have my Granny, sister, and cousin in town the first part of the week, and then my Parents and sister here the last part of the week, so it will be hectic. I am trying really hard to keep the budget in mind at all times and to stay frugal by cutting down on dining out and shopping, but it's SO hard with company here and wanting to so fun things. I can see that I need to change my mindset of what "fun" really means, and that I don't have to spend money to have it. Here's the plan for the week:

Grocery/Household: $40 (I made a huge shopping trip last week, and we should only need a few things.)

Total: $160

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Menu

It's Tuesday already, where did Monday go?

Sunday-Ordered Pizza

Monday-Spaghetti, garlic rolls

Tuesday-Chicken and yellow rice

Wednesday-Leftover Spaghetti, garlic rolls, and salad


Friday-David has duty and will be spending the night at work. I'll have leftovers or and sandwich.

Saturday- Lunch: Picnic at the beach and dog play date with friends, Supper: Out with Parents

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 7-13 Summary & Goals

UGH! This was another "bad" week. So much waste and unplanned things. Plus I've had family here non-stop, and while I LOVE having them here, it does challenge my budget. He are the numbers for the week.

Groceries, Household, Pet: $40/$73
Gas: $50/$50
Cash: $40/$60
Misc: $50/$78

Total Over: $81

Father's Day Trip:$100...trip was changed, and my parents are coming over here on Father's Day weekend. We've planned a beach trip with the dogs, so it should be fairly frugal. Thank goodness!!!

And as for my goals-they are going OK.

1. My reading is going alright, I have read several pages, but with company here the last day or two I've been slacking. I plan to read more tonight before bed. I can really see a difference in my attitude about this new frugal change in my life. It's helping me see it more as I'm gaining insight rather then I'm giving up shopping.

2. I haven't added any to savings, but that's fine. I normally add the money on the first payday anyway, so this isn't a failure. Although I COULD have saved more and squeezed in another $100 this pay period.

3. I have totally failed on planning a sticking to a menu. The planning went well, as did the shopping. My total before coupons was $180, after coupons I walked out spending $97, including the $8 surcharge. I was very pleased with that. However, we've spent $49 dining out, and we're only 2 days into the pay period!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Goals

Some say summer is almost here, but if you live with me in the South, I'm sure you're thinkin' it's already here. It's closing in on 90 degree heat everyday and dry as a bone. But I do love it! The humidity doesn't bother me, since my whole 23 years have been spent in it. And summer is good for the budget! There is so much to so for free outside, and so many friends to grill out with, good books to read and gardens to grow! I love summer. And because this summer I'm striving to be frugal and stay on budget I've set up some goals.
I tend to go hog wild with goals and set about 10 at a time and then wonder why I can't stick them out. Wonder if it's because I overload myself? So I whittled it down to 3 goals for the summer, to be completed by September 1st.

Here they are:
1. Read and study Psalms and Proverbs. I know this isn't a traditional personal finance goal, but for me this isn't just about the amount of money I spend and save. It's about getting myself organized and being responsible. Both Psalms and Proverbs have great life lessons that make me what to be a better person and strive for that balance in life. Like Psalms 37:21 that says "The wicked borroweth and payeth not again, but the righteous sheweth mercy and giveth." And Proverbs 22:7 "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

2. Add $600 to Emergency Fund.

3. Plan and stick to a menu plan, including a new dish once a week.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekly Menu

Monday: Baked Ziti with salad and garlic bread

Tuesday: Fish Tacos

Wednesday: Pizza Rolls, salad

Thursday: Taco Salad

Friday: Bowling, Dinner Out

Saturday: Meeting my parents in Alabama for dinner.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 7-13 Budget

Finally, a somewhat normal week. I will be glad to get back to our normal routine. This will be a more expensive week for us because it's time to buy the monthly dog food, and montly gas fill up for my car. Also my little sister is spending the week here and we have a couple things planned. I don't need that many groceries since I bought some last week before she got here, but I'll need some milk and fresh breads and veggies. Other then that, it should be pretty simple. This weekend we'll be going to my parents again to celebrate Father's Day with my Dad and return my sister. Here's the budget!

Groceries, Household, Pet: $40
Gas: $50
Cash: $40
Misc: $50

Father's Day Trip:
Gas: $75
Food: $25

Total for Trip: $100

Wish me luck, and have a great week!

May 31-June 6 Summary

I'm just gonna say it. I blew my budget this week. I ended up getting sick, and having that "I don't feel good, so I don't care" mentality. And well, that was NOT good for the budget. But I know what my problem was and I know how to fix it. When I don't balance my checkbook everyday, but think that I can mentally keep track of my spending, I totally blow it. So lesson learned? Even when out of town and sick, BALANCE YOUR ACCOUNTS and don't get the "I don't care" attitude.

Another lesson is to CHARGE your cell phone. I got a new smartphone a couple months back and hadn't bought a car charger for it because I think since I get the wall charger free, spending $20 on a car charger is wasteful. But because I forgot to charge the phone at home, and had to meet someone an our away I had to make a last minute stop by Target and spend the $20 a car charger. What a waste!!!

Here's my budget/actual numbers:

Gas: $35/$60
Cash: $0/$0
Misc: $20/$153 (This was due to a shopping trip with my sister.)

Total Over Budget: $158!!!