Tag Archives: coupons

{7 Quick Takes #11}

15 Aug

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 228)

So it has been quite awhile since I have joined Jen and the 7 Quick Takes crew! I have so much randomness to share about what’s been going on in the Shick household so far this month that I thought breaking it down 7 Quick Takes-style would be good!

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house

Our house is officially on the market! It’s exciting and highly stressful at the same time! Someone is coming later today to take video for a virtual tour thing and my house is going to have to be even more meticulously organized and spotless than it already is! Yikes! AND two showings are scheduled for this evening!

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C started preschool earlier this week! She’ll be going two days per week. I felt like I climbed another step on the mom ladder when I made her lunch and packed it in her own cute brown and pink lunch box!

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33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It- Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration

Last week, I started the 33 Days to Morning Glory retreat with several other Cathsorority ladies via Facebook. My mom had given me the book for Mother’s Day, but I hadn’t gotten around to checking it out yet, so it worked out perfectly to start this with a group! It’s going great so far!

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With all of this crazy house stuff going on, I have gotten really behind with my coupon cutting – like at least 6 weeks worth of inserts piled up on me! I’ve been slowly tackling them this past week and now my least favorite part, filing them in my binder, awaits me! Fun times ahead for the weekend! 🙂

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The beginning of August, Adam was gone as a tech at Lollapalooza in Chicago for nearly a week. It was the first time the girls had been away from him for such a long time! Daddy made some funny videos for the girls, which made it easier on me at bedtime! So, yeah, I kind of don’t miss the days of Adam being out on the road for 3-4 days at a time every weekend!

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Changing the subject, I have a rare rant that I have to get off my chest! This week alone, I’ve been behind three different drivers who have tossed cigarette butts out their windows. I don’t know about anybody else, but anytime someone does that I feel like it is a personal “screw you!” I’m no environmental activist, but I feel it is so disrespectful to, like, the whole rest of the human population to litter. It’s not that hard to wait 10 minutes to throw your trash away or empty an ashtray!

I guess this is just a symptom of where our society is right now – selfish, no respect for life, etc…

Okay, rant over. Deep breath! Moving on…

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On a happy note, I have to brag on my friend Abby of Creative Crumbs for a second! (You may remember that I featured her as my Dreamer in the Spotlight earlier this year.) She recently was invited to participate in Nashville’s first The NotWedding event at The Cannery Ballroom last month. Her delicious cake was called the “shining star of the reception” by one columnist!

Photo: All set for The Not Wedding!        This beautiful cake is decorated with handmade sugar flowers and chopped pistachios.  #nashvilleweddings #weddingcake

Photo courtesy of Creative Crumbs Nashville

Nashville peeps, be sure to vote for Creative Crumbs in Nashville Scene’s Best of Nashville 2013 survey as the Best Local Cake Baker!!

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Have a great weekend, everyone!

Five Favorites (vol. 3)

25 Mar

It’s time for another Five Favorites post with Hallie of Moxie Wife!  Hallie’s little one is (over)due any minute, so now she’ll have six favorite sweet peas, instead of just five!  Thanks to Jen @ Conversion Diary for filling in this week!

Here are my latest faves!

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fwisty

clutch-tote collage

If you read my Dreamer in the Spotlight post the other Friday, you already know all about my friend Kristen’s handmade accessory line, fwisty.  I just love her choice of fabric patterns and colors!  She’s offering 10% off orders with the code dreamer!

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I started shopping at Publix when I began using coupons because they always have so many BOGO deals!  It’s a nice bonus that all of the employees are super friendly and helpful!  I just found out that Publix now offers digital coupons in addition to printable coupons!  So if you have a Publix in your area, be sure to sign-up!  (Please note, though, that their digital coupons do not double like regular coupons.)

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Easy homemade gift!

Cookie Jar Housewarming gift

I needed a gift to take to my cousin’s housewarming party the other weekend, so of course I checked out Pinterest for some ideas and found this one!  I bought the glass cookie jar for $10 at Target and made some homemade chocolate chip cookies and tied a little tag with some pretty wired ribbon!  It’s so simple, but the presentation makes it very classy!  I’m definitely using this in the future!

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More 2 Life

My husband is addicted to listening to podcasts, so I guess it’s about time that I got on board, too.  I ran across More 2 Life radio on someone else’s Five Favorites post a couple weeks ago and decided to check it out.  This radio show features Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak and is based on the Theology of the Body.  I really like it and have been listening to the podcasts while working at my desk.


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Jeff Pinyan’s words about heaven.

(He wrote the paragraph below the following Q & A text from YOUCAT as part of Read the Catechism in a Year: Day 147)

Question 158: What is heaven?

Heaven is the endless moment of love. Nothing more separates us from God, whom our soul loves and has sought our whole life long. Together with all the angels and saints we will be able to rejoice forever in and with God.

If you have ever observed a couple looking at each other lovingly or seen a baby nursing who looks for his mother’s eyes as though it wanted to store up every smile forever, then you have some inkling of heaven. To be able to see God face to face—that is like one, single, never-ending moment of love.

Isn’t that absolutely beautiful?

~

Have a great day, everyone!  Don’t forget to read everyone else’s Five Favorites posts!

Coupon Basics {Keep Your Change vol. 1}

18 Mar

Coupon Basics

I’m excited to be debuting my new Keep Your Change series today! Since, I’ll likely be referring to coupons again and again, I figured that I’d begin with some helpful tips for those who are looking to trim down their budgets by shopping smarter with coupons! Of course, there are several books and blogs dedicated to this, so I’ll just offer a little introduction and link to some of these helpful resources below.

I became serious about using coupons when my second daughter was born. Around this same time, the TLC show, Extreme Couponing debuted. At first I was skeptical of how people could actually save that much money using coupons, but once I saw massive grocery totals being dwindled to under $20, I thought that there must be something to this!  After being on bed rest for two months, starting maternity leave, and facing mega hospital bills, I was desperate to figure out a way to save my family more money.

When I did my first Google search, I ran across the site TheKrazyCouponLady.com.  This is where I had some basic beginner’s questions answered and learned how to put a coupon binder together.  I also bought the founders’ book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey. I’m so glad that I did, because the authors did a great job of making this whole coupon thing seem so much simpler and it was also a fun, easy read!  If you are serious about changing the way you shop, I highly recommend it!

It has been nearly two years since I totally revamped how I approach grocery shopping.  Each week, I check out blogs for sale-coupon match-ups. My favorites right now are I Heart Kroger and Southern Savers.  I also like Faithful Provisions.  Depending on what region of the country you live in, there will probably be other coupon blogs that may be more helpful for you.  The key to saving money is using coupons with a sale – and using multiple coupons so you can stockpile to avoid paying full-price in the future.

Couponers have different ways that they get their hands on extra coupons.  At first, I bought 2 Sunday papers each week and my parents’ gave me their coupons so I could get multiple items at a discount.  Now, I get one paper and pay a handling fee for extra coupons online that I know I will use if a good deal comes along.  I use CouponDede.com.  I don’t always find the coupons that I want, but most of the time I am able to order what I need.  Printable coupons are also another great way to get your hands on a few more deals at a major discount.  Here are some great sites:

Coupons.com
Smartsource.com (Smartsource also has an app for the iPad now.)
Redplum.com
Couponnetwork.com
Target.com (Great place to find several Target store coupons to match with manufacturer’s coupons.)
Kroger.com (You can add digital coupons to your Kroger Plus card.)

Disclaimer:  I do not advocate clearing shelves as glorified on Extreme Couponing.  I think there needs to be a level of respect for others who are also trying to save money.  I consider what I do to be “Strategic Couponing.”   Remember, though, that rain checks on sold-out items can guarantee that you can still get products at the sale price and still use your coupons as long as they haven’t expired yet.

When I first started out, I wanted to catch every great deal at every store, but since then I have found that is a major sanity-saver to focus on 2-3 stores.  The ones that I stick to are Kroger, Publix, and sometimes Walgreens.  Kroger and Publix double coupons up to 50 cents, which means that a $.50 coupon is actually worth $1!  All three of these stores also let you use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item.

I know that jumping into the world of coupons can seem overwhelming. And I’m not going to lie, it really feels like another part-time, even full-time, job at first. But after a couple months of seeing prices, sale cycles, etc., and finding a coupon organizing system that works, it will be much more manageable on a practical level.

It still requires time each week to cut and file coupons, study match-ups, and write up lists, but it has become a normal part of my routine. I don’t make excel spreadsheets to compare store prices or have piles of coupon inserts in my closet, but I still am benefiting greatly from planning grocery trips around coupons and sales! I have gotten a variety of products for free, or just pennies, and it feels great to be able to provide for my family in this way!  I can’t imagine shopping any other way and I am still learning about new ways to save!

If you are considering starting on this journey of couponing, good luck and get ready to enjoy your savings!  Feel free to ask any questions!

For those of you who already use coupons, what are your favorite tips? Also, have you tried the Ibotta app?  I have it downloaded but haven’t used it yet… Thoughts?
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Keep Your Change Click here to read other money-saving posts!

A Little Less Talk…

7 Sep

I feel like I’ve spent so much time writing about what Adam and I have been doing that I figured it would be a nice change to show us in action. So here are some pictures of what we have been up to lately (when we’re  not working at our jobs or caring for our two daughters)… 🙂

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Recording some new songs at my cousin’s home studio…

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Gettin’ in shape on the treadmill… (Just to be clear, those are Adam’s legs, not mine!!)

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I have to make time to plan my shopping trips each week!  Saving money is good!

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Adam’s daily dinner consists of grilled chicken, whole grain rice, and peas or broccoli.  He usually grills out several tenderloins 1-2x/week so his meals are easy to put together.

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I’m pretty sure this is going to be the official Adam Shick logo!  I spent a lot of time last week working on it.  I was inspired by Adam’s guitar cables to create a custom font with his name.  I actually used a cable to see how I could shape the letters and draw them realistically.  Now I just need to get the logo up on the computer and ready for his website, business cards, t-shirts, etc.!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Oh, and it’s my mom’s birthday today so Happy Birthday, Mom!

(Also, the text on the photos is courtesy of the Over app – check it out!)

September’s Dreamer in the Spotlight

19 Sep

As those of you who have read my blog already know, I am a “strategic” coupon user.  There are a variety of websites out there to help with finding weekly deals, etc.  One of these websites, started by Kelly Hancock, is Faithful Provisions.  When I read about her story and faith in God’s plan, I knew that this would be a great dream to share with others.  Kelly did a wonderful job of writing about her journey in her own blog, so please click on the links below to check out her personal story!

About Kelly Hancock

Kelly’s Video Story

 

Thanks, Kelly, for inspiring all of us to save money, listen to God’s voice and to pursue our own dreams!  Congratulations on your recently released book, Saving Savvy!

 

(A side note: an update on Adam’s musical journey is coming soon!!)

Confessions of a Mommy

27 Jun

Alright, I admit it.  I had a breakdown yesterday.  Albeit, a relatively brief meltdown, it was not one of my proudest moments. 

I had no idea I was stressed out.  I had just read a great blog post the night before titled, The Power of Positivity by Erin Franco.  She discusses being thankful for the small blessings that come with raising young children/taking care of a family and having joy in the seemingly mundane chores and tasks that mothers do daily.  It felt good to relate to another young woman who seemed to be in a similar family situation and have similar values.  I felt refreshed in my mission to be a good wife and mother.

So Sunday morning rolls around, and I get myself and the girls ready to attend mass.  By the time I get both of them in their car seats and back out of the driveway, I realize that I’m going to be late.  I get to church and have to park a good distance away and lug a car seat, diaper bag, purse, and toddler across the parking lot by myself, since Adam is not back from his Nascar gig in Wisconsin yet.  (ETA was 5 a.m., but they did not arrive until late-morning.  Awesome, right?)  I will insert a positive comment right now, though: My two-year-old behaved amazingly well during an extended service.  The downside of this longer service was that she fell asleep in the car for a few minutes on the way home which ended up destroying her chance for her usual nap.  In the midst of giving up hope that she would get any sleep, Adam arrives home.  Being the helpful husband that he is, he had picked up another copy of the Sunday newspaper for me like I asked, so I could get some extra coupons.  As I am flipping through the paper and the ads, I realize that this newspaper has no coupons.  Somebody snatched them out of the paper!  Cue meltdown!

I totally freaked out.  This, by itself, is only a minor annoyance, but being that I am trying to juggle a million balls in the air (okay, what feels like a million), not unlike most mommies in America, I was not happy about this snag in my plans for the day and the waste of $1.75.  I was trying to make a grocery list and prepare the house  for the arrival of Adam’s parents and brother who are staying the week with us, while getting ready to attend a baby shower for my cousin and his wife.  I am a person who maximizes every minute of the day since so many things need to be done.  There is a reason that women are good at multi-tasking, but  my mind couldn’t take all of the calculations, planning, and organizing any more!  The wheels are constantly turning in my head.  I am always trying to stay one step ahead so that I won’t make things harder on myself.  I hate proctrastinating!

If you can’t tell already by reading this, my personality type is considered to be “The Reformer/Perfectionist”, according to the Enneagram.  A type One personality, which I am, is one that values fairness, honesty, integrity, organization, personal responsibility, etc.  The negative aspects of my personality include being too critical, impatient, and quick to anger.  So for a person who has a strong sense of right and wrong, an injustice such as “coupon swiping,” tipped me over the edge of the scale that I try to keep balanced in my mind.  Seriously, though, I’m all about the whole coupon craze, but have some respect for other women who are trying to better their family’s financial situation, as well!

After a few minutes of being ridiculously upset, I finished my list, organized my coupons and we all got in the car to head to an amazing baby shower for two of my favorite people in the world!  I am so excited that my two girls will have another little girl relative to play with!  Adam’s family arrived safely and we had a nice evening.  I still found time to clip coupons while visiting with my mother-in-law after the kids went to sleep for the night. 

I am very thankful to God for my family!  I hope that I can be more like my mom, who never made it seem like doing laundry or making dinner was a chore that she didn’t want to do for us!  Every moment that I have with my husband and daughters is truly a blessing and it is my privilege to be able to care for them!

 

Doing the Coupon Thing

15 Jun

I started planning my shopping trips more strategically about 2 months ago when our second daughter was born. I, like several others, was inspired by the tv show “Extreme Couponing” to save money to improve my family’s financial situation. I started doing some research online and found the website http://thekrazycouponlady.com.  This site reports the good deals at various stores and offers couponing and organization tips. Since I decided to get serious and down to business, I bought their book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey.  It is a very practical, well-written book and I’ve already loaned it to one friend and will be sharing it with another.

Today, I had my own “pick another checkout lane” moment for the first time. I went to Target on my lunch break to do some purposeful shopping. I was armed with my Target web coupons and manufacturing coupons, so I was able to use 2 coupons on several items. Most of the things I purchased are for Christmas gift baskets that I am putting together for my husband’s side of the family. Some of the highlights include:

– six Sally Hansen nail files/toe separators for $2
– Suave lotion for $.60 each
– Sally Hansen nailpolish for $1

I also picked up two 6-packs of Danimal smoothies for $.69 each and two small bottles of Ibuprofen for $.49 each. If it wasn’t for a small package of diapers I had to pick up, I would have saved about 60% on my total bill before tax.

To get to the checkout part that I mentioned earlier, I had a good stack of coupons to go with my items. The cashier was taking her time checking over all of the coupons and one of my Target mobile coupons (they scan a barcode on my phone) was not calculating a discount properly, so she suggested to the man behind me to go to another lane! I asked to see a manager but this lady dryly said that she was “running the front” and did not seem to be in the best mood, so I gave up easily and did not push the issue. I’m sure a more experienced coupon lady would have gotten it straightened out but I didn’t feel it was worth it and I had to get back to the office.

Anyway, it feels good to save money and what woman doesn’t love a bargain (or ten)!

Happy sacrifices

26 May

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am getting ready to go back to work after being on maternity leave.  I’d love to stay home with my girls, but working a full-time job is a necessity at this time in my life.  (I know I am blessed to have a job in this economy.)  Adam is able to call himself a professional musician, fortunately, but it doesn’t quite support the family yet. Due to pre-term labor complications that required a short hospital stay and being on bed rest, we are not in the greatest financial spot right now, but I know that God will bring us through it and it is all worth it for our newest little angel!

One of the ways that God has shown me that I can help support my family is by using coupons.  I’m sure many of you have seen, or at least heard about, the TLC show, “Extreme Couponing.”  This show debuted right around the time our youngest daughter was born and it got me thinking that I can save money on my grocery bill.  I am definitely not trying to be like these very extreme people on the show who are clearing shelves, but it is fun and rewarding to be able to find a good deal on something that is free or over 50% of what it would normally cost and maybe stock up on a few more items than usual.  I like to call what I do, “strategic couponing!”  I’m sure I’ll talk more about this later in another blog as it is one of the things I am very focused on in addition to my children, working, and taking care of our house –  not unlike many other mommies in America.  It’s also fun, because Adam is now asking me if we have coupons for certain items.  I feel good knowing that I’ve found another way that I can contribute to the well-being of our family.

I know that many families are going through difficult times financially right now.  We, as wives and mothers, need to support each other.  We all make great sacrifices for our husbands and our children.  So often in the media we see women gossiping and attacking each other, but another reason that I wanted to do this blog was to encourage each other in a wonderful mission that we are all striving for – to support our families and help them be the best individuals that they can be.  Hopefully, this blog can become a forum for advice, tips, and encouragement.

More to come!