Saturday, December 17, 2011

Under 20,000

Today is a great milestone for me. I just made a couple of debt payments, and we've finally got our debt under $20,000. This is a great motivational boost. The 20,000 number has always felt huge, nearly insurmountable. It really makes me feel good to see it shrinking. It's taking a lot of time, but it'll be worth it when it's all done. I'm hoping that my tax return will be the next big boost that we need.

It's hard, especially around this time of year, to put extra money onto debt. We've been traveling, and we have Christmas Gifts to pick up, but a little can go a long way in the end. Even though we're only putting a little extra onto debt at a time, it's going to make a big difference. Right now, we're overpaying on all of our minimum payments. Not, by a lot, sometimes, but it's these little dents that help. When I have a bigger chunk, it goes on our Prosper loan. Thats the big goal right now, getting that one paid off.

But that number having a 19 in front of it instead of a 20 is an awesome sight.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas with the Frugals: Guest Post from Melanie at Think Money

Rather than blowing your bank balance this Christmas, why not have a frugal festive season? Although this doesn't actually sound possible - it is! Christmas can cost you a fraction of the price, and you can do just as much as you normally do - parties, celebrations, etc!

And here's how…
Shopping list
Ever go to the store not knowing what you're going to buy (or just having a rough idea), and end up coming back with loads of things you didn't need?

The chances are, the answer is yes. So to stop this from happening again, and to stop you from wasting your money, you should create a shopping list.

To create a shopping list, you should search through your cupboards and fridge before you go shopping and note down what you really need to buy.

By creating a list of the things you actually need, you can avoid walking out of the store with things you don't need!
Discount vouchers
If you haven't already discovered the pleasures of using discount vouchers, I suggest you start now!

Discount vouchers are readily available online and can often offer you money off at your favourite retailers. New vouchers are constantly being uploaded to voucher websites - you just need to search for 'discount vouchers' on a search engine and take a look at the results.

If you can't find a voucher for the store you are shopping at, don't worry - your local paper may have some in.
Party guests can contribute
If you are holding a Christmas party this year, and are having a few guests over - why not ask them to contribute to the festive celebration?

So, instead of you having to go to the store and buy everything in, you could ask them to bring along some cakes, drinks and other snacks to save you money!

Guest article by Melanie Taylor from financial solutions company Think Money. For guides, help and information on money saving, debt management and financial tools click here now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Total Love

I love re-doing my totals for debt right after I've made all of my payments. It goes up from there, but for a few days I feel like I've made progress.

It's slow going. I'm not making progress as quickly as I would like, but we're owed about $800 in extra income that will all go to debt if it ever gets here.

I hate how long it takes for freelance checks to show up. You'd think I'd be used to this by now.

The one thing I do have to look forward to, though, is that I should get a tax return this year. I hope I do, because I want to get rid of my Prosper loan so badly I almost itch.

Here's hoping.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I applied for a loan yesterday, in an attempt to consolidate my debt and lock in a lower interest rate.

I was denied.

It's hard to say that. I had repaired my credit and it was pretty and shiny and good. Now, it's in the crapper. But, our bills are paid. We are owed a bunch of money that we have no idea when it will show up. We have plane tickets to fly home in December. It's not all bad. The biggest thing is that we aren't going further into debt. We may be moving at a snails pace, but at least we are moving.

I checked the interest rates on my credit card... something everyone should regularly do. It's not too terrible. The biggest problem is the Prosper loan that I took out in order to pay our taxes. I thought initially that I would be able to pay it off in three months. Here we are, six months later, and we're paying just over the minimum. Now what I need to do is focus on it, because the interest rate is 21%. Everything extra that we can swing will be going on that loan. I'm seriously hoping that no more surprises come along and we can really get all of this taken care of.

Honestly, if you are trying to get out of debt, remember that the best thing you can do first is to stop charging on your cards. Even if you think you'll pay it off immediately, if you are carrying a balance, stop charging now. Don't be me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


One of my goals is to make an extra $200 a month. Today, I'm $53 closer to that goal and I feel like I didn't have to do pretty much anything to get it, other than clean my house.

We started traveling with AirBnB back over the summer. It's a really neat networking program that has you stay with people in their homes instead of in hotels when you travel. If you have a spare guest room, you can set a price and rent it out. We stayed in a lovely home in San Diego back in August for a few days and it was really great. It was less expensive and it was neat to stay somewhere where we were the only guests and we were treated like family. After that experience, we decided to try and see if we could host too. We have an office with a fold out sofa and, since we live near a pretty major tourist area, we figured that we might be able to make it work.

So far, we're hosted twice. Last night, we had guests who were traveling in from Switzerland. I cleaned up the house, made up the spare bed, stocked us up on breakfast food, and then went to work. My other half let them in at midnight, they crashed out, in their room, got up in the morning, took a shower, ate some fruit and then carried on their way. It was so very very easy.

I know that we are lucky in that we had pretty much the perfect guests, and I know that some people aren't as easy as those two. But I am very happy that we've started doing this.

You can vet your prospective tenants pretty well. They provide profiles and usually they have Facebook so you can see if they really exist. We've hosted twice and travelled twice and both times it's saved or made us money, and been a pleasant experience.

I've been thinking about a similar program that lets you rent out your car when you aren't using it, but I'm not sure yet and I need to do more research.

So, check out AirBnB if you want to travel more cheaply or if you have a spare room that you want to rent out and make a little side money from.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Here's Where We're At

So, I'm in Vegas, working for my dream company. Things have not been great on the work front for my other half and as a result we've gotten into a bit of a rut with our debt.

It's frustrating when you look at your paycheck and see your year to date income and wonder where the heck it all went. These things happen, though. Moving across the country wasn't cheap and of course things happened before and after we got here.

But now it's time to fix it. It's time to hunker down and get out of debt. I'm working on getting a few extra projects (mainly voice work) going, and I've been working on a new blog that I'm quite happy with. Writing for me has been something that I work on when I'm busy and happy, and though I haven't been terribly happy, I'm going to try and step it up a notch. It may well be that writing MAKES me happy.

As for my other half, well, he's getting there slowly but surely. He's also much better at being frugal than me often times. He's usually the one to say "we don't really need that right now", whereas I tend to be a bit more spendy. He's right though.

So with a new effort, and for transparency sake, it's time that I stick the old total bar back on the side of the blog and again list my debt. It's worked before, it should work again. It's also time that I set myself some goals about making extra money. Obviously, I want to make as much extra money as possible, but for now we'll be starting small. I want to make an extra $200 a month. So, here is the state of the ugly ugly union:

BoA - This is our major credit card. All our moving expenses went on this, as well as incidental things that have come up. And, I'm ashamed to admit it, so did a big chunk of my car.
Current Balance : $11795
Min Payment : $242

AmEx - This was another credit card that was used for all kinds of incidentals and then the rest of my car... mostly the warranty went on this.
Current Balance : $4348
Min Payment : $89

Prosper - This is a short term loan that we used to pay our 2010 taxes. We had both freelanced all year and, though I had put some money aside, it got eaten up in the move.
Current Balance : $3285
Min Payment : $149

ING - This is my checking account overdraft. Any time we travel, it's ended up on this. I really need this to be empty so that I can use it in case I have to fly home in an emergency.
Current Balance : $1091
Min Payment : $100

Total Balance : $20519
Total Minimum Payment : $580

So we need to pay all of this off and quite quickly. The current plan that I have is to pay off the ING and Prosper accounts first. I really need the ING account cleared so I have it as an emergency fund. I'm also working on building back our emergency fund but that isn't going to be full for a while. I have to get this debt paid down.

Anything that my other half makes, luckily, can go primarily towards our debt, so if he got, say, one movie, he could wipe out an enormous chunk of it. Of course, that's not exactly something that we get to bank on so we'll be assuming that won't happen.

So here we go. Nose to the grindstone. Time to fix it all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I think I'm one of those couponers who peaked early and then crashed and burned.
People complain that they don't coupon because it's so much work and so much to keep up with and I think that they might be right. I've had a huge stack of inserts to clip and file for a while now but I haven't managed to get around to it. It's partly because I work a regular job, partly because I have another new big project and partly because couponing is kinda lonely.

But then I look at the depth of our debt and I'm grateful that I'm at least doing it sometimes. We really have drastically reduced our grocery bill. For one thing, you don't realize how much stuff actually costs until you find how cheap you can get it. I swear I will never pay full price for cereal again. No way in heck. So thats why the updates have disappeared. Work has been busy. My other project has been busy, and I've just not had as much time as I would like to wax lyrical about the virtues of personal finance and saving money. Although, I am looking into RelayRide or some other service. Basically the idea is that when you aren't using your car, you rent it out by the hour. I'm trying to find someone who has been involved in it before so that I can get a better inside opinion. Know anyone?

But for now, I have sorting and clipping and writing to do.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Albertsons Double Coupon Grocery Shopping

Albertsons have the magical little coupons available that double manufacturer coupons again. I'm very lucky that my store lets me use three per transaction so that I don't have to check out so many times.

This shopping trip was a really great one. They had Mozzarella cheese on BOGO as well as Tillamook Cheddar on sale for $6.99 for two pounds. I stocked up on those, which was $14 of the final bill.

I paid $49.06 for $124.19 worth of groceries. A total saving of $75.13, which is over 60%.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Airfare Sale

In case you didn't spot it already, Southwest Airlines is having a sale to celebrate their 40th birthday with many fares across the US cut dramatically if you book in the next couple of days. Tickets start at $40 for one way. If you are looking to fly any time between now and December and you know your dates, now is a great time to book!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grocery Shopping from June 15th

Between CVS, Smiths and Target I had a decent grocery shop this week. I'm still working on building my stockpile but also adding in the occaisional luxury like buying my favorite cheap wine.

Total Value: $104.34
Total Paid: $45.18
Saved: $59.16 (57%)

And here is my question dear readers. Do you like seeing the break down of what I spent where? Would you like me to just highlight the good deals? Would you rather not read it at all?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Using Overage to Pay for Produce

I went to Walmart very late last night on my way home because there was an opportunity for a saving that I didn't want to miss out on.

As a couponer, it can be very challenging to buy things like produce or proteins like meat and fish. We eat fish primarily in my house and I'm always sad when we run out because I know it'll take up a huge chunk of my grocery budget.

So I discovered that at Walmart, travel sized Dial body wash was on sale for $0.97. Also, a recent Manufacturer's coupon for $2 off any Dial Lotion or Body Wash with no size restriction meant that I could take these coupons to the store and use overage to purchase items I can't normally buy cheaply. I had six coupons and they happened to have six body wash left. So I purchased 2lb fish fillets, some fresh garlic and fresh ginger, along with 6 tiny bottles of Body wash for $1.65. This was down from $13.18 for a savings of 87%.

This is a rare feat, but a good one!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Drugstore Shopping from June 12th

I didn't go too crazy at the drugstores today. I tried to only get things that I knew I would use and I laid off most of the candy sales. Leon the cat refused to be parted with the milk while it was on the table.

Total Value: $33.20
Total Paid: $5.43
Total Saved: $27.77 (84%)
Got back $4 RR and $3 ECB


Transaction 1

Zyrtec 5 Count - $6.99
Sale Price - $5.99
Used $2/1 MQ
Used $1 ECB

Paid $3.48 OOP Got $5.99 ECB

Transaction 2

Motrin PM - $5.99
Sale Price - $4.00
Used $1/1 MQ

Viva Milk - $3.19
Sale Price - $2.99

Used $5.99 ECB
Paid $0.32 OOP Got $3.00 ECB

Transaction 3

Motrin PM - $5.00
Sale Price - $4.00
Used $1/1 MQ

Used $3 ECB
Paid $0.32 OOP Got $3.00 ECB

Those $3 ECB's will be used towards milk this week. I love using ECB's to buy milk.


Wal-Fex Allery 5 count - Sale Price $3.99

Nestle Crunch Bars - Sale Price $0.39
Used 2 $0.35/1 MQ's
Used 1 B2G1 MQ

Used $2 RR
Used $1.08 Store Credit
Paid $1.31 OOP Got $4 RR for next week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Really Good Restaurant Deal

So today, is offering an 80% discount on orders if you use the code DEAL when you check out. I just bought $100 of gift certificates to our favorite Sushi restaurant for $8. I highly recommend checking it out! They offer gift certificates for restaurants all over the country.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Finally Found It

I've finally found an awesome coupon matchup site that handles coupon matchups for Nevada as well as pretty much every other state. I've been doing these matchups myself and, while I will continue to do so, it's pretty awesome to have found a place to double check my work.

It's the little things that make us happy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

May Totals

May was the first full month that I worked on extreme couponing/strategic shopping. I was really happy with the financial results from this first month. I ended up spending a total of $296.91 on all groceries. I saved $467.92 in total. I'm well on my way to making my goal of saving $1000 this year to the point that I'm laughing at how silly a goal that was in the first place.

The more immediate goal is to only spend $50 a week on groceries. I believe that is completely appropriate and I'm hoping to hit that this month.

One of the benefits of shopping this way is I'm actually able to add more variety into what we have in the pantry as we try new things. I'm happy with how it is going and I plan to keep working on it.

I had a really great grocery trip last week that I haven't written up because I've been both busy and sick. I should be back to normal posting soon though.

Another neat benefit of shopping this way is that I was able to tell my parents who were flying in from England to not worry about bringing toiletries. I was able to hand them a bag of shampoo, razors, deodorant, body wash, toothpaste and floss at the airport so they saved room in their packing and didn't have to deal with the liquid issue. I got all of those items for free. It was very neat.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Drugstore Shopping from May 29th

I decided to give Walgreens and CVS another go and am very happy that I did because I got a pretty great haul there for a very small amount.
At Walgreens, I did three separate transactions in order to roll my register rewards. At CVS I did two. Here is how I did:

Total Value: $77.71
Total Saved: $76.63 (99%)
Spent: $1.08
Received back $2 Register Rewards, $1 Extra Care Bucks


Transaction 1
Icy Hot Natural Pain Relief - $1.99
Sale Price - $0.99
1 $1/1 MQ
End Price - 0 (Got $0.99 RR)

Transaction 2
Wheat Thins - $3.99
Sale Price - $2.00
End Price $2.00 (Got $2 RR)

2 Dry Idea Deoderant - $4.49
Store BOGO
End Price - FREE

Gum Eez Flossers - $4.99
Rain Check - $4.99 off
End Price - FREE

Total - $2.38
Used $0.99 RR
Used $1.37 Store Credit
Paid - $0.00
Got Back $2 RR

Transaction 3
10 Dry Idea/Right Guard Deo - $4.49
Store BOGO
End Price - FREE

Illy Latte Coffee Drink - $2.00

Total - $3.82
Used $2.00 RR
Used $1.82 Store Credit
Paid - $0.00


Transaction 1
Tasters Choice Coffee - $1.00
$1/1 MQ
End Price - FREE

Preparation H Wipes - $4.99
Sale Price - $3.99
1 $2/1 MQ
End Price - $1.99 (Got $3.99 ECB)

Total - $2.07
Used $0.99 ECB
Paid $1.08 OOP

Transaction 2
2 3 Musketeers Candy Bars - $1.19
Sale Price - $0.50
End Price - $0.50

Viva Milk - $2.99

Total - $3.99
Used $3.99 ECB
Paid $0.00
Got Back $1 ECB

So as you can see, by rolling my rewards and using store credit I did really really well. Half the deodorant and the Preparation H wipes are going into the donation box. The only reason I got the wipes was because I made $2.00 which covered the lions share of the milk that I needed. It went pretty well, I think!

May totals are almost in and then I have another shopping trip from today where I kicked some serious tushie to post. How did you do? Feel free to comment and link your strategic shopping success!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Walgreens Shopping - 95% off Nail Polish

Nail Polish is one of those little luxuries that I pretty much never buy. I rarely wear it, and often can't justify it. But, there was a great deal on Nail Polish at Walgreens and I have a big big work party coming up that I want to have nice looking toes for.

2 Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro Nail Polish - $3.99
Sale Price - $2.19
2 $2/1 MQ
End Price - $0.19 each (95%)

I even had a Walgreens giftcard from some register rewards, so I used that and spent nothing out of pocket. That was a pretty neat little trip.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Target Shopping from May 23rd

I like Target and I enjoy shopping there. You may ask why I go shopping at so many different stores so often. It's partly because I really really enjoy going out and shopping with coupons. Some people have a latte habit.... I have a coupon habit. At least this way I spend the same amount but get things I can use and keep that last longer than half an hour. I am lucky in that I have all of these stores very near me. I'll often stop in on the way to work (I work Thursday-Monday). Target is a good store to just wander around with my binder and see what I find.

Here's how I did.

4 Old Spice Body Wash Bonus Pack - $4.00
Sale Price - $3.40
2 BOGO MQ (took it to $1.70 each
2 $1/1 MQ (took it to $1.20 each)
4 $1/1 Target Q's
End Price - $0.20 each (95%)

This was an awesome find. These bonus packs were on a clearance end cap. They are packs of one and a half bottles of my Stunt Guys favorite body wash.

5 Carefree Pantiliners - $1.09
Sale Price - $0.99
5 $0.99/1 MQ
End Price - FREE (100%)

These are mostly all going to be donated. I'm working on building a donation box so that I can pass things along to a local womens shelter.

Degree Travel Size Deoderant - $0.97
$1/1 MQ
End Price - $0.03MM (103%)

2 Kraft Asian Sesame Salad Dressing - $2.04
1 $1/2 Target Q
1 $1/2 MQ
End Price - $1.04 (49%)

Other people have found these for $1.69 each which makes it a much better deal, but I deeply love this salad dressing so I paid a little more for it because I was at the store already. It actually accounts for the bulk of the final bill.

I also received $0.05 off for bringing my own reusable bag.

Value: $27.50
Spent: $4.10 (Had $2 back from coworkers for yesterdays laundry detergent)
Saved: $23.40 (85%)

So my OOP was really only $2.10 for me. And bear in mind my tax was $1.33. Pretty good haul and I really don't need body wash for a really long time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

CVS Shopping May 22nd

So I picked up some laundry detergent for some coworkers and some gum (because it was free) but it was a pretty light week for me at CVS. I would have gotten one more laundry detergent if I had had more coupons, but I was out.

2 Purex 50oz detergent - $6.29
Sale Price - $1.98
$1/1 MQ
End Price - $0.98

Stride Gum - $1.49
Sale Price - $0.99
End Price - $0.99 (received $0.99 ECB)

Trident Gum - $1.57
Sale Price - $0.99
$0.99/1 CVS Coupon
End Price - FREE

Total Paid - $3.28 OOP
Total Saved - $13.69 (81%)
Received $0.99 ECB

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Walgreen's is Hard

So I've been trying to shop at Walgreens for the last few weeks to varying degrees of success. I've had several problems and today a checkout that should have taken 10 minutes ended up being 45 minutes in the store. Part of it was my fault and part of it was the registers and cashiers.

I've had the hardest time finding items in stock. I have numerous rainchecks, and I've actually never had a Register Reward print out accurately. Now today, it looks like I did in fact grab the wrong product off the shelf. By the time we figured it all out, it looks like I got four bottles of very inexpensive shampoo that shouldn't have been as cheap as they are. I think a lot of it is me getting used to their system, but it's very stressful and I get the feeling the cashiers there all already hate me.

I think I'm going to give up on getting rainchecks for a while and try and stick to the sales that are current. I'm also going to be super extra special careful about what I purchase and hopefully it'll all come together okay.

I like to think that Walgreen's would be worth it, but I really could use a good shopping trip to make me feel that way.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grocery Shopping for May 18th

I always go to the grocery stores on Wednesdays. It's the first day of the sales, and it works really well in my schedule. I usually supplement my coupon grocery shopping with produce shopping as well. You can't really live off pasta and toothpaste alone. It is certainly nice to have more variety of food items as we continue to build our stockpile.
I was really happy with how I did today. The numbers are a little skewed because I bought milk, which is hard to find on sale, and I also bought veggie crumbles, which are a pricier item that I don't buy very frequently. Those two things alone counted for $12.50 of my spending. Here's how I did.

Value: $101.03
Spent: $31.85
Saved: $69.18


2 Ronzoni Pasta - $2.59
Sale Price - $1.00
1 $1/2 Printable MQ
End Price - $0.50 (81%)

4 Ronzoni Pasta - $2.39
Sale Price - $1.00
2 $1/2 Printable MQ
End Price - $0.50 (79%)

2 Flour Tortillas - $2.69
Sale Price - $1.00
End Price - $1.00 (63%)

4 Lawry's Marinade - $3.49
Sale Price - $1.00
4 $0.50/1 MQ
End Price - $0.50 (86%)

4 Kraft Salad Dressing - $3.99
Sale Price - $1.50
2 $1.00/2 MQ
2 $0.55/1 MQ
End Price - $0.73 (82%)

4 Village Candle Votives - $1.49
Sale Price - $0.33
End Price - $0.33 (79%)

Total - $11.33 from $56.11 (75%)


1 Colgate Toothpaste - $1.87
Sale Price - $0.88
1 $0.75/1 MQ
End Price - $0.13 (93%)

2 Gallon Milks - $2.89
Sale Price - $2.59
End Price - $2.59 (10%)

4 Carefree Pantiliners - $1.09
Sale Price - $0.99
4 $0.99/1 MQ's
End Price - FREE (100%)

Herbal Essences Conditioner (Clearance Section) - $1.49
Sale Price - $0.25
1 $0.50/1 MQ
End Price - $0.25MM (117%)

12 Yoplait Yogurt - $0.60
Sale Price - $0.44
2 $0.40/6 MQ
End Price - $0.37 (38%)

Pure Protein Bars - $1.28
Sale Price - $1.00
6 $1/2 MQ's
End Price - FREE (100%)

Morningstar Farms Veggie Crumbles - $4.89
Sale Price - $3.49
3 $1/1 MQ's
End Price - $2.49 (49%)

Lady Speed Stick Deoderant
I have to go back to the store for this one because in looking at the receipt, the sale price didn't ring up. Updating that later.
It should have been $1.47 with a $0.50 coupon to make it $0.97, but it looks like it cost me $2.69. Customer service, here I come.

Total - $20.52 from $44.92 (55%)

So all in all a good day. I did go over budget... I had hoped to keep the whole trip under $25. Hopefully I'll do even better next time!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Couponing Tricks Everyone Should Know

In my first month working on couponing, I've learned a lot of things that I never realized about how coupons can be used to save money. Here are some basic tricks that everyone should know when you're using coupons.

Buy One Get One Free Sales:

An item on sale as buy one get one free in the store can have a buy one get one free manufacturers coupon applied so that both items are free.

If an item is buy one get one free, you can still use a coupon for each item. So if you have a $1 off coupon, you can use two to get $2 off the bought item.

Stacking Coupons:

On most items, you can use one store coupon and one manufacturers coupon, potentially stacking them.

Check to see if your store allows you to double coupons. Some stores will double or triple up to the value of a dollar.

Looking for Overage:

Keep an eye out for items that you don't necessarily need, but that you have coupons for over the value of a product. This happens most commonly when medicinal items go on sale. The overage can be used to cover other portions of your bill.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Walmart Shopping from May 15th

I had a fairly decent shopping trip at Walmart. My intention was to nab a few free or incredibly inexpensive items as I continue to build my stockpile. I've had mixed results at Walmart and my new rule is that I don't go unless I have at least 5 different things to pick up... mostly because I don't like to be disappointed. Here is how I did.

Value - $38.57
Spent - $10.63
Saved - $27.94 (72%)

L'Oreal Eyeshadow - $7.99
Walmart price - $4.97
$2/1 MQ
Total - 2.97 (63%). Purchased 1.

This is on sale at Walgreens for B1G1 50% off, but Walmart has a much better deal.

Tidy Cats Cat Litter - $2.99
Walmart price - $1.77
$1/1 and $1.10/1 MQ's
Total - $0.77 (74%) Purchased 6
Total - $0.67 (78%) Purchased 1

I wish I had more of those $1.10 coupons but I only had one left. This was a stockpile item. I hit my max of 10 and don't need to buy any more for a while.

Bic Comfort 3 Razors - $3.99
Walmart price - $2.88
$3/1 MQ
Total - $0.12MM (103%)Purchased 1

Wilkinson Sword Twin Razors - $0.97
$1/1 MQ
Total - $0.03MM (103%)

Lawry's Taco Seasoning - $0.99
Walmart price - $0.58
$0.50/1 MQ
Total - $0.08 (92%) Purchased 10

We don't use Taco seasoning much at all, but now I have a good supply for those times when we do decide to use it.

So how did you do?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Poor Decisions Regarding Cars

So, I'd previously mentioned that I'm back in debt again. It makes me sad when I look at how far I came before and where I am now. Granted, I'm making more money than I ever have before. I have great benefits. I absorbed my Stunt Guys salary with some extra. I should be in great shape. So why am I not?

Well, there were many many contributing factors. One of the biggest ones though was a 2002 Ford Escort affectionally named " I Hate You You Stupid Car".

When I moved to Las Vegas in January, I took a look at my beloved 1996 Toyota Corolla and I realized that it wouldn't make it to Nevada without falling to pieces. I thought about what to do and decided that what would be best would be to leave it in Atlanta and buy a new (to me) car once I got to Vegas. I figured that I should be okay to find a car quickly.

I got to Vegas in the middle of the night and quickly realized that I would be spending a fortune if I had to apartment hunt with taxis. As I was losing relocation expenses every night I spent in a hotel, I decided to hurry along and buy a car to make my life easier. I found a dealership with a $2900 (eek!) car that looked promising, and took a taxi there in the morning, knowing I would be driving out of there in a car.

This was my first mistake. I was in a hurry and I left myself with no room for error. When they didn't have the car I saw online in stock anymore and I asked what the next cheapest one would be, the only option I was given was a car that would be $5,000 including taxes. I shouldn't have done it, but I decided maybe that would work. It was a much newer car, a 2002, but I wasn't too worried because I figured I would drive it to death and it would be fine. I asked to finance it.

Then, things went very very wrong and this is where I should have walked away but I didn't.

They wouldn't finance a car less than $8,000. Not wanting to spend that much, I decided to pay cash for the car. That would save me money in insurance too I thought. I also bought a warranty because I wanted to make sure the car wouldn't break down. Because I didn't really have the cash, I called my bank, extended my credit limit and charged the car.

This was the dumbest decision I think I've made in a long long time. I shouldn't have done that. I regret it. It was the beginning of a big pile of trouble. Extending my credit limit mean that my minimum payments on the car would now be much higher. I was also a lot closer in the realm of maxing out that card than I had been.

Bad choice. I should have found a cheaper car. I should have taken more time, but I was in a hurry. So I messed it up. Now I'm paying for it. That car also ended up needing $600 of work. I haven't really paid off any of it yet.

So my advice is don't rush, take your time, and listen to yourself when you realize you are about to make a mistake. I'm going to be literally paying for this one for a long time.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Couponing Start

I discovered the concept of Extreme Couponing a little while ago. I started working on gathering coupons in Mid April and since then I've been making great strides in saving money at the grocery store. It's changed the way that I shop probably forever. Here are a few things I've pulled off so far.

$6.42 down from $28.67

$1.42 down from $21.87

$24.41 down from $106.30

As I work on this, I'll be sure to update my progress here. My goal is to get my grocery bill down as low as possible, while we are a one income family every little will help. I'd also like to get up to a 75% saving on my groceries for the month. I started in mid april and in April I saved 24% on my groceries. So far in May I'm up to an average saving of 55%.
I'm working on building up a stockpile of things that we use a lot of and things that are easily stored... like cereal and body wash.

I don't want to be a crazy hoarder person, so I'll be trying to not get too carried away. But I have to say, it is pretty fun. It's like a hobby and a video game.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm Baaack

So I thought this blog would end when I moved to Las Vegas. It's always been primarily a personal finance blog so I figured I wouldn't need it anymore.
Guess who was wrong? Me!
Moving was really expensive and getting our lives set up in Las Vegas has been very challenging. So, we're back to penny pinching. We're in a whole bunch of debt and it's time I made myself accountable.
Since I can't really increase my income that much with my full time job and all, I'm working on saving as much money as I can.
I've recently discovered couponing, so expect many posts on that. I've also started a new project that I've had in the works for some time called Daily Amazon Finds, where I find you the neatest things on Amazon all in one easy to reference place so if you're bored and want to see some good stuff, or you're stuck for a last minute gift idea, you can check it out there.

It's good to be back.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

End of an Era

Well, thats it for this blog.

I've been offered my dream job with Cirque du Soleil. My Stunt Guy and I are moving to Las Vegas. I'm moving to this new blog to tell our story.

Thanks all. It's been swell!

John and Redd in Las Vegas