Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wrapped in Caring

I had a lovely surprise today when I went to church. The Shawl Ministry presented me with this beautiful prayer shawl that was hand knitted (or maybe crocheted-I don't know how to do either so I can't tell). It's a gorgeous blue with purple streaks and reminds me of the ocean. The card that was attached said;
May divine grace be upon this shawl...
warming, comforting, enfolding
and embracing.
May this mantle be a safe haven...
a sacred place of security and well-being
sustaining and embracing...
in good times,
as well as difficult one.
May the one who receives this shawl
be cradled in hope, kept in joy,
graced with peace,
and wrapped in love.
-Jane Bristow
What a wonderful sentiment as I continue to heal from my Lyme disease. I am feeling very well and grateful to have such kind and caring people at my church to call on.
It's been a busy few days. We were able to get both book shelves put up. Here's out cat Dixie checking out a prime napping spot. Actually she's glaring at the dogs.
One of the reasons for putting in new shelving downstairs was so that we could save money. I know, sounds funny spending money on shelves to save money? But because everything was so unorganized, I really needed to clean house and take inventory on what we had. Seems we were spending money on things we already had and not stocking up on things we needed.
Today, I was all over the internet. I am determined to get my grocery bill cut in half. There was a really good blog out there called $1500 a year. I say was- because the woman shut it down. I'm not sure why but she had some really good tips and links on her blog. Her goal was to spend no more than $1500 on groceries, haircuts and beauty products. Next to impossible in this family.
I spent my time today on Bargain Becky's blog (see my blog list). My biggest issue is coupons and I can never find what I need. I did manage to find some really good internet sites for printing out coupons and learned some really money saving tips ( so we can do all those really fun homeschooling things or maybe even take a vacation or perhaps pay down some debt). The trick is to get a really good cache of coupons and then use them as the sales arise. I started collecting coupons today.
My new mantra is that I will no longer buy any grocery item unless it's on sale or unless I have a coupon. I also am stockpiling items on a regular basis. I may not need that item this week but as long as the food doesn't expire and will keep on the shelf, then I stock up. I have to rethink my spending in terms of overall cost and savings instead of "do I need it at this moment?" My pantry is getting pretty well stocked to help with that. Now that all of my cupboards are cleaned out I can see exactly what I have and what I need.
I'm also working on an inventory list. Kind of a checkoff list so each time an item is removed from the pantry, we cross one thing off and can tell how many we have left. At the end of the week I can go thru the list and determine what I need to replenish that week and what can wait another week depending on sales. Tae seems to love job and is really learning his numbers with the counting he has to do. He's even recognizing some of the words on the list. Homeschool math and reading.
Stop and Shop is notoriously expensive but I'm determined to whip this store. It's convenient and I don't have time to spend running all over creation finding bargains and using up gas in my car. I think I did pretty well for my first time really using a lot of coupons, store specials and price comparisons. Today's grocery bill came to $235.64.
It seems like a lot but don't forget, I really stockpiled this week so it was higher than normal. With coupons I saved $39.01 and in store sales and specials I saved another $40.19 for a savings of $79.20. I'm pretty happy with that for today.
S & S had their 10 items/$10 sale going on. My biggest savings today was on Progresso soup. Each can is normally $1.68 so right there I saved $0.68 per can (it was on sale for $1.00 can). I also printed out online 2 coupons for the soup and had one coupon from the Sunday paper. In all, it was $5.00 in Progresso soup coupons. $11.80 in savings (the soup had I paid full price would have been $16.80) subtract the $11.80 and that leaves $5.00 for 10 cans of soup or just $0.50 a can!
The other big bargain today was Celestial Herb Tea. The Tea normally sells for $2.69 a box. I had a coupon for $1.00 off 3 boxes. The store doubled it- so $2.00 off. And the in store special was 3 boxes for $5.00. So I got the tea for $3.00 or $1.00 a box.
The other great stock up items all 10/$10 were pasta, beans, olives and sauce. We use all of these things a lot so it's good to have them on hand.
The OJ was also a great deal. It normally sells for $3.49. I had a coupon for $1.00 off that was doubled so I ended up paying $1.49 each for OJ-I bought 2 of them.
Snuggle dryer sheets were on sale for $3.99. I had a coupon for $1.00 off which was doubled so I ended up paying only $1.99 for dryer sheets. Huge savings!
And because I hit such great savings, with my receipt I got a coupon for $1.50 off more sauce and $3.00 off my next purchase at the store.
I also saved $0.40 because I bring my own canvass bags and don't use the plastic. For each canvass bag they deduct $0.05 from your bill. I need more of these anyway so will go to the store and buy some tomorrow. With all the canned items it makes it easier to carry than the cheap plastic bags.
Our other big saver is that we no longer buy eggs as the chickens are keeping us supplied and I don't buy bread anymore or rarely. I make all of our bread. It's healthier and more economical.
Sandwich meat is another very expensive item. I can't believe the prices. Ham for $8.99 a pound-I don't think so. I found bologna and ham for the kids both for $2.99 a pound. And we bought our own meat slicer just for that purpose. So next week I'll need to cook up a ham and maybe a roast and the rest will be sliced for sandwiches.
This week at Target, their 28 pound container of Fresh Step cat litter is on sale for $12.00 a container. If you buy 2 containers ($2 savings per box) you also get a $5.00 Target gift card for a total savings of $7.
And while all of this seems like a lot of work (and it is) I'm very proud that we are now getting hold of our spending, knowing where our money truly goes and that we are sustaining ourselves by making bread, raising chickens, making our own laundry detergent ($0.04 a load vs. $1.82 a load) and involving our family in all of this. We also have not used our credit card in over 6 months! Tough economic times have forced us to look closer at what we spend and what we buy for our family. In all honesty, it is something we should have been doing all along.


Kate in NJ said...

Lovely shawl. I am really enjoying your blog.

homeschool mamma said...

Thanks so much!

BECKY! said...

Congrats on starting to save!! S&S is kind of pricey, huh? There is one about a mile away, but I drive an extra 2 miles to hit Shaw's. Sounds like you rocked the Progresso Deal though! ;) Once you get a stash of coupons, you will start to see the savings a lot more!

Best of luck to you - and I hope the Lyme Disease is doing okay (how horrible!).

homeschool mamma said...

Thanks Becky!-it's very exciting to finally figure this out. Working on my stash of coupons and going out tomorrow to get the box to organize.