Friday, May 15, 2009


I'm moving to:

Please come visit me!! Updates to the site will be coming soon :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another organizing resource

Organized Home offers some great printable forms to help organize your life. I'm a big fan of planning ahead and highly suggest trying this, especially for meals.

I save so much time and money planning ahead for what I am going to eat. It stops me from running through the drive through on a night when I'm just too tired to cook.

I also organize my shopping trips and have coupons in hand before I shop. I put my coupons in an envelope (the reply envies that come in the mail are the best) and write my list on the back. This helps ensure:

  1. I use the coupons I have, especially the good ones
  2. I don't forget anything
  3. I can stop really quick even if I wasn't planning on it because I'm organized

Menu Plan Monday

Ok I know its Sunday night but I always think ahead! If you have not visited I highly recommend it. Menu Plan Monday is just how it sounds, you plan your meals for the week! Her site links to 300 other blogs who also plan their meals, great place for ideas!

Here is a template to help you plan you meals!!! I'm doing this for 2 reasons, 1. because I love to plan and 2. because I need to plan. If I don't plan my meals, this means a stop for fast food which I don't need! I also do not want to spend the money on it given I have a huge stockpile for a single person!

I will show my lunch and dinner plans because I take my lunch to work each day and this will keep me on track. Keep in mind, I'm just feeding myself here so some nights won't be that creative because I have limited time or I'm just plain tired!!!

Here is my plan for the week:

Lunch: Leftover hamburger from the grill and fresh sweet corn, bananna
Dinner: Chicken salad sandwhich, some form of fruit

Lunch: Mexican wraps (rice, salsa, chicken, & black beans all mixed together to marinate), banana
Dinner: PB & Jelly, mango, chips & salsa

Lunch: frozen Kashi meal
Dinner: Mexican wraps (again)

Lunch: beef & noodles (made the night before with items from freezer)
Dinner: Mexican wraps (yet again). I told you I don't get that creative!

Lunch: office lunch (we usually eat out on Fridays for lunch)
Dinner: Leftovers! I'll be too lazy too cook so I'll scrounge around for what I call 'scraps' a mix of things leftover from the week :)


Gardening is one of my favorite summer hobbies. I've always loved gardening, even as a kid. I love it more now because I can grow my own food. Not only does this save me money, its a lot of fun too!!

I have a 10x10 plot at the community garden in our neighborhood. It costs $20 to rent it for the year (well worth it to me).

This year i have tomatoes, zucchini, squash, onions, hot peppers and 1 green pepper plant. Green peppers never do well for me. Not sure why. I bought a hearty looking plant so I'll see what happens with it, although I'm not getting my hopes up! I would like to plant garlic too but haven't found it anywhere.

I have also found a new love for growing herbs. I grow them in containers on my porch. They are great to cook with and smell delicious! This year I have basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cilantro, chives, lemon, catnip and stevia.

I also love flowers so here is my herb/flower garden on my porch!

Kmart Doubles - 4/19/09

I'm a little late in posting this but I did pretty good at the last Kmart doubles, they doubled up to $4!!! Thats right! A $4 coupon became $8!!! I was in heaven!

I got:

Total before coupons $233.xx. After coupons $25.17.

5- 12 pks mt dew
5- bags yesterdays news cat litter
2- 12 pks of cottonelle
4- olay body wash
3- dove heat therapy spray
2-phisoderm face wash
2-vaseline lotion
5-clairol hair color
6- suave shampoo/conditiner
2-venus razors
4-barilla pasta
2-v8 fusion
1 sun chips
5- cat treats
1-air wick imotion
2- renuzit crystal elements
3- kraft salad dressing
1-vitamin water

I'd say this is probably my best trip with doing kmart doubles.
Since I work full time now, I didn't have the time to go as much as I wanted. I am also getting to the point where I don't need much more or I will be out of room!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Free KFC Meal!

Free KFC 2 pc meal with sides!

Wanted to pass this coupon along, it won't last long. Here are the details

Coupon available for printing from 9am CDT 5/5/09 to 9:59pm CDT 5/6/09. Coupon is redeemable at participating KFC® locations in the U.S. from 5/5/09 to 5/19/09, excluding 5/10/09.

You get:

2 pcs Grilled Chicken
2 sides
1 biscuit

great free meal!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm featured on the St. Louis BeaconTech podcast!

My first feature, I couldn't be happier! If you haven't visted the St. Louis Beacon, check them out! You can also find them on twitter

Here is the link to the podcast

Thanks to Brent Jones, Presentation Editor at the Beacon!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"It's only"

This is the phrase that is going to get you in trouble.

I have found in my experience teaching budgeting and also doing one on one budget counseling that people who say this the most during our conversations have the most trouble.

I had a situation where I was doing one on one counseling with a couple. I was going through the budget with this couple and they were really struggling. When we got done going through their monthly expenses, I started looking over the numbers. I said "are you sure this is all you spend each month?" "yes, yes" they said "that's it". I sat there looking at them. The husband had a McDonalds cup and a pack of cigarettes in front of him. These things, as insignificant as they may be, were not accounted for in the budget. I brought this up. Then I heard the phrase that makes me cringe..'it's only $x.xx".

This is how people get in trouble!!! Buying the small dollar things here and there throughout the day. Those days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months.

Think about it.

If you spend $5 per day by stopping at the gas station to get cigs/soda/candy/whatever you are spending an extra $25 a week in junk that you probably can't account for. That's an extra $100 a month not accounted for or $1,300 a year!!!!!!! And that is just one area of the budget! What if you did this in say 3 different areas of your life (think Walmart trips, extra grocery trips during the week, lunches out) no wonder people are broke!!!!

If you find yourself thinking "it's only" before you buy something, take a second to stop and think about if you really need item x. Chances are you wouldn't miss it. After all "it's only $x.xx" right?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

When times get tough...

I know a lot of you are losing jobs these days, myself included. I have went through two job losses. In a row. In 2 years. So I guess that would make me at least somewhat qualified to talk about how to make it when times are tough!

If your over the shock of the situation and you've moved into action mode - trying to decide what to do about your income situation (unemployment just doesn't go that far) here are some things to consider:

  • You will be spending less with out really trying - since your not going to work, your gas expense, eating lunches out, bus fare etc.. will dramatically decrease
  • You will have more time to watch what you are buying. This may include paying more attention to the grocery store ads and having the time to clip and match coupons to the weekly sales
  • You will probably spend a lot of your time on the computer because you are looking for another job - spend some time in the 'etc' section of craigslist. I have found tons of odd jobs in there to make some extra cash (think focus groups that pay you for your opinion, helping people in your neighborhood move, yard work etc...)
  • You will have lots of time on your hands. More than you will know what to do with. If your feeling productive, you could start cleaning out closets and finding things to sell on ebay and craigslist for a little extra income.
  • You could consider cutting back on some things - in my classes I never tell people what they should or should not cut out. It's up to you, you have to do what works for you. Remember this is only temporary. It might not hurt to look at your expenses and see if there are some things you can cut back on or cut out entirely.
It might make you feel a little better if you sat down and wrote your income and your expenses. Thats all a budget really is anyway. To get through this time, some tough choices will need to be made. I know its not fun. Trust me, I'm living it too.

"What does not kill us makes us stronger" or something like that.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I teach budgeting

I made up a budgeting class about 3 years ago and presented it to the local community college as a continuing education class. I had no idea if the school would be interested in it. After a few phone calls, I got to the right person, she paused after I asked and then said "yes, we're interested".

So three years later I'm still teaching my same class. Its called "Basics of Budgeting". I teach my students how to build a basic budget, cut out some necessary expenses and how to read a credit report. I usually throw in some relevant consumer topics that are happening around the time of the class.

I don't know why but I can never bring myself to prepare for this class. I know what I want to say and the order I want to say it. So most of the time, I just wing it. And you know what? It usually works out.

If you are interested in learning how to build a budget and you live in the St. Louis area, come to my class! I'm teaching again in April '09. If you live out of the St. Louis area, leave a comment and we will see what we can work out.

Happy Saving America.