Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Groupon Deal - $129 for Garmin Nuvi

Groupon: $129 for Garmin nĂ¼vi 2555LMT 5-Inch GPS with Lifetime Maps and Traffic (Manufacturer Refurbished) ($199.99 List Price). Free Shipping.

Groupon has a pretty decent deal for the GPS.  We have one and love it. The reason this is a pretty great deal is because it comes with the lifetime maps. Go to Groupon and check it out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SOS: Tuesday Tip - Meatless Mondays

SOS: Savings On a Shoestring

I'm sure you've heard the phrase Meatless Monday before, but thought my family? No we are complete carnivors. My husband is a meat and potato guy too, but sometimes meatless monday benefits everyone. The USDA even said that it helps the enviornment (right before they realized it would affect sales and pulled the statement)

My Family Wont Make The Switch

Worried your family wont appreciate your money saving passions and instead will turn up their nose at vegan, or vegitarian meals? Desguise your meals a little bit. Soups and casseroles are great meatless options and they aren't as scary as tofu burgers. Also if you can can find meat substitues that are very similar to the "real thing" most times if they are baked in a casserole, they wont be noticed. Also, if you make the switch as close to your current menu rotation it wont seem like a sacrifice. It's just a way of doing the meal we usually do a bit differently. Instead of using beef in the beef stew, use seitan. Instead of using hamburger meat for burgers, try black bean burgers. My family likes black bean burgers almost better than the regular hamburgers, and beans are $0.68 per can where as hamburger is typically on sale for $2.98 a pound, and that prices is getting rarer and rarer.

If it becomes a real problem, explain how much money you actually save by incorporating a soup and salad night. Once your family realizes the savings to your budget they will hopefully be more willing to try something new. Try something very new and incorporate tofu, TVP, Seitan, and other products into your meals. Try different things to make your meals interesting.

What does your family eat?

For Meatless Monday (or anyday) we eat different things. We had Black Bean Burgers yesterday, and we have also done Sweet Potato Soup, Black bean soup, and many other soups. You'd be surprised how many recipes actually don't need meat.

Susan Voisin has a great website with all kinds of heathy fat free vegan recipes. Try one (or two) today. You'd be suprised how much you'd save just by cutting back one day each week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SOS: Tuesday Tip - Plan Your Meals

SOS: Savings On a Shoestring

I told you last week that the average American family spends more than $164 per week on food. We’re on a mission to cut those grocery bills, and save some serious money! Here’s Tuesday’s Tip this week!

Plan in advance

Last week we learned to look at those ads. Now take what you’ve learned and combine it with proper planning. By planning out your meals around sales ads, you eliminate the wondering what to cook. This helps to keep you from running through the drive-thru last minute because you’re overwhelmed by the thought of dinner.

Stick to your plan

The best laid plans will never help if you don’t stick to them! You have to make yourself a promise not to deviate from your meal plans. Now sometimes things happen (like you accidentally leave the $20.00 worth of meat in the trunk of the car like I did last week) and you have to improvise, but even when things go wrong, it doesn’t mean you dash all your plans and buy Dominos. Not only will this not help your bottom line, it won’t help your “bottom” line either. (Get it J ) Also, no last minute trips to the grocery store for one item. If you do, you will buy more then you plan to and come out with a cart full of stuff. Stick to the list, and if you need something add it to next weeks grocery list.

I accidentally forgot to lay out the meat, guess we’ll have fast food!

I always prepare for my forgetfulness by having a few “last minute” suppers on hand. Whether this is something that can be cooked with canned chicken breast or tuna, something that is fresh and green like salads and soups, or something that doesn’t need thawing like eggs. So if something happens and all of a sudden you’re thrown for a loop you have the ability to improvise. Bless the flexible they never get bent out of shape.

Don’t over complicate it.

I could spend hours making a gourmet meal that was the most delectable thing you’ve ever eaten (well maybe not quite that good), but my family would probably just as happy with grilled cheese and tomato soup. You don’t always have to have a wonderful meal for everyone to eat healthy. Most nights when I forget to cook we make something creative out of the leftovers. Just ask my husband about my infamous leftover soup!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Lesson From The Heart of a Child

So as you may already know, I've been teaching a class on Wednesday nights called Money Cents for Kids. It's basically a system that teaches children all about money through classroom learning. So we've been able to teach the kids about everything from Stocks and Bonds all the way to how to write a check.

The children had their graduation ceremony last night, and we presented them with their awards. I spoke about how many things the children had learned and how many children were so incredibly selfless at times.

I would like to tell you a story that warmed my heart. This happened in our class a few weeks ago. In the class, the children draw sticks out of a bag to select their job for that day. Each job pays a certain amount. The children then have to pay their taxes, tithes, and rent out of that amount. One of the cards is the unemployed card. This means the child that selects this card does not earn any money that week, because he or she is unemployed. They do not have to pay any tithes, or taxes, but they still owe the amount for their rent.

Well, one of the students drew the unemployment card. He looks up at me and asks, "Mrs. Carrie, how much tithe do I pay to God?" I responded by explaining that tithe is based on 10% of your income, (he calculated the amount on a piece of paper, which was obviously nothing since he didn't earn anything) but it's also based on how you feel in your heart. What do you think God would want you to give? The child counted out his money that he had saved from previous weeks. He had twenty dollars. Now, this may seem like a lot but really in this classroom economy they have fines and fees that are quite high. Twenty dollars could mean the difference between going into debt, and being able to pay your unexpected expenses. He realized that after he pays his rent he will only have $15 dollars.

"Mrs. Carrie, is it OK if I pray about it for a minute?" I told him that would be fine and went on to collect things from the other children. My heart sang a little bit for this boy. Not only was he considering how much to give after he'd realized he wasn't obligated to pay anything, he was also praying about what God would have him to give! Finally, he came up to me and says I need to pay my tithe. He placed a dollar in the offering plate.

This little boy gave, even when he knew that there may be something unexpected up ahead. He knew that there would be "life happens" cards that may pop up, and all kinds of unexpected expenses, but he trusted God. How often do we, as adults, refuse to do that very thing? We say, oh I can't pay that this week because something might happen. We say, Oh God understands my situation, or God knows that I have bills to pay. I think people underestimate the power of our Lord. He knows your situation, and He knows that you have bills to pay. He expects you to trust in Him to work everything out.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understand. Provers 3:5

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SOS: Savings On a Shoestring - Check the Ad Papers

SOS: Savings On a Shoestring

Did you know that the average American family spends more than $164 per week on food? That’s quite a lot of money and groceries if you ask me. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the average American also wastes, on average, more than a pound of food a day. That’s an awful lot of money down the drain, or the compactor (or worm bin!).  So check out our new Tuesday series: SOS Saving On a Shoestring. Here’s the first Tuesday Tip to help start us out.

Look at those Ad Papers.

Why in the world is this, the first tip? It seems so redundant. Well, it is, but it’s also the most important in my opinion. When you are planning your meals, you need to have these ads handy, even if you are just checking for items that you regularly buy. It may not seem like much but these savings will really add up and help your bottom line.
By checking the ads, you’ll be able to see if your local stores have something on sale at a better price than you typically buy it. For example, milk is usually around 3.80/gallon at Wal-Mart, but if I know that Walgreens is having a sale on milk for 2.89 I can save almost a dollar by simply letting the lady at check out know the item is on sale. Because Wal-Mart will price match, this makes it even easier to save that money.

Ads help you save on your meats

I have never paid full price for meats, ever. Before the economy went south, I never paid more than $2.00/pound for any meat. Now hamburger prices have skyrocketed and it’s practically impossible, but I still don’t pay full price. I try to keep my meat price point around $3.00/pound or less. This means that I have to check the ads for sales on meats. Chicken is usually on sale at my local store (Ingles) and I can get Boneless Skinless for 1.98/lb. That’s not bad when you compare it to typical chicken breast prices.

Don't be afraid to try a different cut

Many stores, including my local Ingles, Bi-lo and Food Lion will cut the meat to order. So if ground chuck is on sale for 3.99/lb but they have a chuck roast on sale for 2.89 then it would be much more sensible to have the roast ground into hamburger meat. I do this a lot when different cuts go on sale. Sometimes it’s healthier, and I have the added benefit of knowing what I’m feeding my family. (Can anyone say Pink Slime?) Not sure what cut comes from where? Check out this explanation of the different cuts. This way you know what would make a good roast, or be good to have cut up into stew beef or even to put in that famous meatloaf of yours!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Winds of Change

Photo Credit
The leaves are starting to fall all around us. I feel that the air is just a bit cooler, and that the days are starting to seem shorter. The winds of change are upon us, and it feels as though we are about to say goodbye to a season of life.

It all began a few months ago when our Youth Pastor announced that God was calling him to another location to help with a mission he felt strongly about. He left, and although our church was left with a bit of a hole, we picked up the pieces and marched on.

At work, the Pastor over University Ministry, and the Pastor over Christian Education both announced that they would be leaving to move to Ohio. There they would begin again, and start a new adventure. A new adventure seems so exciting and I thought that this was interesting that everyone seemed to be moving and their calls seemed to be adjusting, and that God was up to something. I could feel it in my bones. God was working and He was reaching those all around us.

Yesterday our Pastor announced that he too would be leaving. He felt that God was calling him to lead another church and that it would be best if he followed God's call to join them. Although hard, and through a ton of tears, and I'm sure more than one heartbreak, he delivered the message to the congregation and there wasn't a dry eye in the sanctuary.

Why are we afraid of change?

Why are we so afraid of change? I can say that I'm truly afraid of taking those big leaps. I have felt God leading me to stay home with my children, and I wondered if maybe I haven't because of fear. Aren't we all deeply afraid of the unknown in some sense? Change also takes away our sense of power and control. With change we are no longer in control of the situation. We have to give up the reigns and let God control things. We have to trust. God is faithful and unchanging. He always is and always was. He knows all that has been, and all that will be. He knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me.
So if God doesn't change, he knows all, is faithful, and has a perfect and prosperous plan for me, shouldn't I be more willing to let Him take the lead? But I'm not. I'm human and sometimes I get scared, and I don't always trust God as I should.

I heard something that I found very profound the other day. You realize that God is not capable of lying. Lying is a sin. Something that God does not do. Therefore everything that God has said has to be true.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

What a beautiful promise. It sometimes seems so hard to understand. God doesn't say, "I will explain it to you every step. This way you will know what's going on." Instead He says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6. Or how about "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him." Jeremiah 17:7.

There are a lot of questions I can't answer, and alot of things I don't understand, but He says I'm not supposed to.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday

So, what's free this weekend?

Bi-Lo seems to be the only store with substantial free items:
Hormel Kids Completes - $1
Use $1/1 coupon from the 8/19 SmartSource insert or Printable

Hot Shot Ant & Roach Spray - $1.89
Use $2/1 Walgreens Coupons from the August Walgreens book (exp. 8/25)

But here are a few notable mentions for you! These are good deals although they're not free.

     Coke 4/$11
     BLSL Chicken Tenders $1.98/lb
     Special K Cereals  - $2.98
     Bottom Round Roast 2.98/lb
     Sweet Onions 3lb- 2/$5
     LARA Bars 10/$10

Save A lot
     BLSL Chicken Breast 1.69/lb
     Ground Beef 1.99/lb
     Green peppers 0.39

     Ground Chuck 2.99/lb
     Fresh Express Salad Mix – 2.99
     Folgers Large Tub – 7.99
     Top Care Hydrogen Peroxide – 99
     Gain Laundry Detergent Buy 2 for 13.98
            Gain Fabric Softener, Bleach, Dryer Sheets, and Gain Dish Free

Here are some great back to school deals too:

     Staples® 1-subject notebook, 8" x 10.5", wide rule, 70 sheets - 1c. with $5 purchase (limit 6)
     Scentos Scented Markers - $1 (limit 2)
     Staples Hype Grip Highlighters 6pk $1 (limit 2)
     8Gig USB Drive - 5.99

Office Depot
     Office Depot Brand 2-Pocket Folders - 1ct (limit 10)
     Slider Pencil Box - 1ct (limit 3)
     Office Depot Brand Wood Pencils 8pk - .25ct (limit 3)
     Schoolworks 5'' Scissors .25ct (limit 3)

Office Max
     12'' Ring Binder Ruler - $0.05 (limit 3)
     Resealable Sandwich Bags - $1.00