Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teacher Appreciation!

Fellow teachers,

Start checking your mailboxes! Teacher appreciate is May 6th - 12th! Last year Old Navy ran clothing sales and many places were giving away free drinks or desserts. Today, I just got my first treat from United Art and Education! $10 gift certificate :) Nothing better than free money.

Happy Tuesday!
- Amanda

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Shopping Trip

So my Sunday morning started off like this... making a shopping list for the week and pulling coupons from the binder and Target.com. I'm really enjoying the meal planning grocery list. Although my list is not in order by the sections at the store (my OCD hates that) it does help me plan the entire week out and gives me space to write in what I still need to purchase. This week I based my list on coupons, sales, and things I already had in the pantry. After creating the list, I then highlighted everything I needed from Target in orange (I had lots of stack able coupons from Target.com and mobile coupons). Finally, I had my meals planned out and a plan of attack formed... I also set a budget under $100 dollars. This budget was a little higher than normal but items like razors and body wash tend to drive up the total cost :)

 My first trip was to Target....

 Target Trip: $20.41

Contents Include: 6 pack of Vitamin Water, Two packs of Schick Razors, Dove body wash and deodorant, bananas, a red pepper, sour cream, and shaving gel. All items were purchased with a coupon or on sale.

My first shopping trip of the day included a stop at Target for some odds and ends.  I knew Target was having a sale on Schick razors plus I had Target coupons and a manufactor coupon. I also had two $1 off produce coupons from Target's mobile coupons. Making my bananas .44 cents and my red pepper .60 cents.  If you text, SPRING to 827438. Click on SPRING for all the current Target mobile deals. I also had a $2 off two Dove products from Target online combined with two manufacturer coupons for $1 off Dove deodorant and $2 off Dove body wash. You can claim more Dove coupons on their website!  After all my coupons the body wash was completely FREE!  One of the highlights of the trip were the Schick razors. Normally they are 9.24 a pack. They were on sale for $8.09 each and I had $9 dollars in coupons. Making the razors BOGO as well.

My second trip was to Kroger. There I only saved about 22% off my total bill but a good third of my bill was fresh meat for the week (bacon, ground beef, fresh chicken, and BBQ pork loin) and 15 Muller yogurts that were 10 for 10 this week and I had an additional coupon.  My best deal was the Voila! skillet meals that are on sale for the "Buy 5 Save $5 event" and I had an additional $1 off coupon making the one I purchased around $2.50! You can get two additional $1 off Bird's Eye coupons here at their website. Some of Kroger's best deals were items on sale like the pork loin for $5.99 instead of the normal $8.99. As well as Laura's Beef and Simple Truth chicken on sale this week. With my coupons and sales, I was able to stay within budget!

Now, to spend the rest of my day relaxing and grading papers! At least all our weekly meals are preplanned out. I plan on hanging my grocery list on the fridge so I can't have the what's-for-dinner-tonight? brain freeze!

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ready for Summer!

I don't know about you but I'm ready for summer. Flip flops. The pool. The smell of sunscreen. My teaching partner has already started counting down the days. Every year around this time I feel like my students and I just hit a wall... this year, it's a case of full blown summer fever! So of course, you have to decide on the perfect suit. Even those of us that loathe the swimsuit buying humiliation/process... it's a necessary evil!

If you've been eying a suit at Target, they have several great offers on already marked down swimwear. Target is offering a 20% off one swim item and a $5 dollar off a $20 dollar or more Merona purchase. Making many suits under $30 dollars for the complete ensemble! You can grab both coupons on Target's website or find them here.

Lands End is also offering some great deals on their more pricey swimwear. Many styles are up to 50% off and you get free shipping with orders over $50 dollars. You can claim that deal by entering the code FSAFF and using the pin 2121. Lands End is definitely higher quality than Target, so you get what you pay for! This budgeting gal, decided to go with quality, a 30% off coupon, and last year's discounted style over total price. You can always ask for a free swatch from Lands End if you're conflicted. You also may want to check out the "on the counter" section of the site. They offer various products and discount further as the week progresses. Last week they had a ruffled tankini top for only $6.95! The pink tankini top featured above is on sale for only $32.99 (retail $54) this week!

Lastly, if you have a more rockin' bod than I, Victoria Secret is offering a swim promotion through midnight! Enter code Swim20 and receive an 20% off clearance swimwear! You can go here to see all the clearance styles.

Shoe string lesson: Never pay full price, especially if you prefer the online dressing room to the actual store. Always check out sites like Retail-Me-Not to find coupon codes for discounts and free shipping!

Let the countdown to summer begin!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day Deals!

 Many people dread April 15th! As someone who already has my money usually (okay, always) spent on household projects etc. before I even get my refund, tax season is bittersweet. My account looks great for a whole week and then... it's time to pay the bills. This year termites are literally eating away at my refund! Bummer!

But there is a plus side to tax season... delicious deals at some of our local eateries!  If you're trying to get some grub tonight, check out the Huffington Post Article on places with tax day deals. Sonic, Boston Market, and Arby's are a few local places offering deals! McDonald's is also having a special promotion buy one Big Mac and get one for a penny. Also, if you sign up to receive Smashburger's text alerts, your branch's Smashburger is offering BOGO entrees. But, you must show the text to get the deal.

In the wise words of our local newscaster, John Mattarese, "Don't waste your money!" Even girls on a budget should get a special treat! I'm taking advantage of the Smashburger deal and perhaps some Sonic slushies! Yum!

Shoe string lesson: Do a websearch for deals on holidays or birthday offers. Also, signing up for your favorite resturants' text alerts or email services can come in handy on special occasions (like birthdays or anniversaries) or Monday's that just happen to be April 15th!

Happy Tax Day!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Did someone say tacos?

Deal Alert! Do you like tacos? Then you can print out a $1 off two Ortega seasonings coupon from the Ortega website. Seasoning packets are already on sale at Target for .62 cents each. Buy two and only pay .12 cents. You probably have .12cents rattling around in your cup holder if you're like me!  I just bought some chipotle taco seasoning mix and guacamole seasoning. Makes summer feel like it's right around the corner! Once avocados go on sale... I'm having a mini-fiesta!

Get the coupon here: $1 dollar off TWO seasonings

Shoe string lesson: Buy ahead on items that don't quickly expire and wait to build meals.

I by no means have a stock pile. Buying a bag of potatoes instead of two is stock piling for me! I have a super small house with no storage and even less cabinet space. But I also don't think you need to live off crackers and peanut butter as Stephanie Plum would have you believe. I do keep seasoning packets and some other misc. items around the house for when they are needed. I have a small bin from the dollar store that works great for organizing all my little random "packets" of stuff.  It's good to keep an inventory of what you have or do a double check before going to the store. Sometimes getting inspiration from what you already have is key to meal planning and shopping. Kraft foods even lets you type in key ingredients you already have to help you plan your meals. It's great when you are indecisive or trying to make groceries stretch or you can't decide what to bring to a potluck without having to make a special trip to the store! Ugh!

Check out Kraft's recipes here @: Kraft recipe generator

You just need to get through Thursday! It's almost Friday....


Sunday, April 7, 2013

There's always a first time...

It seems as if life is full of firsts. Lots of them actually. First steps. First words. First kiss. First dates. First online dating profile. First time I tried Guinness. First speeding ticket. Most first times are awkward and uncomfortable and you have absolutely no clue what you are doing! Hence, my first blog post.

I always sort of wanted to start a blog but I couldn't figure out what I would blog about. I read a lot of blogs and I'm always like... "Wow! That is such a great idea! That person is so smart!" I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog about teaching, life, or what... I'm not an expert in anything. So whether by accident (lots of blog names are already taken..surprise, surprise) or simple fate,  I decided to blog about living on a shoe string budget. My bank account is never very full. It's definitely a pessimist and verges on the glass is always empty motto. However, I've found a way to live on a shoe string. It's a balancing act for sure. Sometimes you get to do something fun, sometimes you have to create your own fun. Lots of time you can't afford a vacation but you learn to make compromises. I've heard horror stories of frugal gone wild...from "olive and soup bone stew" to dumpster diving for coupons. I'm not a crazy extreme couponer but I do read blogs and try to match up things to get the best deal I can. I recently upgraded to the coupon binder...something I swore I would NEVER be caught doing! (Amazing how approaching 30 and still being broke can change someone) But, I've learned from some of the savviest shoppers around. I feel like my friends and family members are always on the hunt for a great deal. I try my best. I'm not someone who will buy something just because I have a coupon. However, if it's something I actually buy...then why wouldn't you?

This week's shoe string lesson: set a budget and stick to it.

Sounds easy enough... but I'm a marketer's dream! I love "NEW" and food. I've found that meal planning and printing out a list really help me decide how much to spend and help me from over shopping. I usually read Money Saving Mom and match up all the Target and Kroger deals for the week, check the cabinets/freezer, and then record my meals and grocery list here.... (Thanks to KamleyLane.com!)
Having a plan of attack really helps, plus it helps midweek when my boyfriends asks, "What's for dinner?" This is a new strategy for me and we'll see how it goes as the months go on. Our joint resolutation is to try and eat out less. We get two meals out a week. This week, I went through my cabinets and only spent under 40 dollars for entire week's worth of groceries for me and my boyfriend which will include breakfast and dinners. Laura's Beef and pork chops were on sale so those two proteins were a no brainier! I was also able to get some Silk Iced Coffee for a dollar off thanks to the Sunday insert (you can visit Silk's website to get .75cents off here) which proves you don't have to eat store brand on a budget. Hopefully, this first time wasn't too awkward and you'll want to come back for seconds.

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