Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'm alive.

I'm alive. Tired and sick and hot and sore but still riding the high of excitement that I'm carrying another baby! :) The insomnia is really starting to get to me again though which isn't good because it usually leads to depression and you know I don't wanna go there. :p Who would?! So I guess it's time to dig out my Valerian again and keep the Tums handy because it gives me heartburn. Lol!
Wednesday night I choked on a tuna bone. It was a bit scary. I coughed it up and then my throat was bleeding. Not alot, just like a papercut. So then I was coughing that up too. Fun. It slowed down pretty quick. My throat was super swollen and sore the next day. Still a little sore tonight as I write this but I've barely noticed it all day so that's good.
It's earwig season. I hate those things. I have to remember to turn off all the lights when the sun goes down or they come inside by the thousands. Not kidding. The basement is full of them. They are so gross. I guess we get those instead of cockraoches here- they behave pretty much the same for all intents and purposes except they're smaller, without wings, and have big pinchers on their behinds. Ew...
I am taking back my kitchen from the clutter-monster sloooooowwwwly but surely and it's really got me in a good mood! I hope to post more on this at a later date. For now I just wanted to pop in and say hey, how's it going, yeah I'm still alive, still excited about the baby, and got lots of fun family activities coming up in the next few weeks to post about.
I'll be back... muahahaha! ;)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Couponing for Those Who Don't Have Time or just Don't Wanna (but know they should)

Do you hate cutting out coupons? Have a rule against coupons? Ever wondered if the money saved was worth all the time and effort or wondered if there was a way to do it for coupon haters like yourself? Or maybe you're just new to couponing and don't want to get in over your head and make yourself hate it? Well, everyone else seems to be doing posts on how they coupon or how they avoid couponing, and I decided it's my turn. ;)

Coupon Rule #1. Never ever ever use a coupon for something (product or brand) that I do not already use. If it's not what I'm already buying, it's a trap not a savings. Say I always use Bumble Bug Tuna because it's the cheapest and my family loves it. (I don't have a favorite tuna, and you could switch or pick different brands; just a parable to illustrate my point. ;) ) Along comes a coupon for Turkey Of The Sea and we try it out because the coupon makes it come out to less than the Bumble Bug (or vice versa). Now what happens if we like Turkey Of The Sea so much that we don't want to go back to Bumble Bug? Now we're stuck having to buy Turkey Of The Sea at it's regular higher price after the coupons run out because nobody will eat Bumble Bug anymore. Or what if we HATE Turkey of the Sea and nobody will eat it? It sits in the cabinet for 6 months and I finally throw it out or donate it because nobody will eat it? Wasn't much of a savings if it wound up in the trash. Now the exception to this rule would be if you were going to try a product or brand anyway and there is providently a coupon for it available at a time when you can afford to try something new. That would be a savings because regardless of whether you liked it or not, you were going to spend your hard earned grocery budget on it anyway. Might as well try it for less. So rule #1 is to never use a coupon for something you wouldn't already be buying.

Coupon Rule #2. Don't print coupons that are worth less than $1 off per product. If you find a printable for $1.00 off when you buy 2 gallons of milk, keep in mind that when you print a coupon it uses anywhere from 1 to 3 sheets of paper to print out a single coupon and the advertisement that goes with it. That means at 2 sheets of paper with a color advertisement printed on one and your coupon on the other you are paying for all that colored ink and 2 sheets of computer paper to get 50-CENTS off each of 2 gallons of milk. See where I'm headed with that? If a printable coupon doesn't knock at least $1.00 per product off my price, I'm not even going to look at it. When printing coupons, make sure to follow Rule #1, subtract the cost of ink and paper from the amount of the coupon, and always set it to print in B&W so as not to waste your colored ink. While you can't choose what coupons you are getting, it's almost always more cost effective to buy the Sunday Paper than it is to print coupons. At least if you don't find any useable coupons you get to read the Funnies in the paper. ;)

Coupon Rule #3. Don't buy coupons- yet. If you're starting out, don't wanna get coupon burnout before you get the hang of it, or just hate couponing, do not buy coupons. This goes hand in hand with the printables theory. Buying the Sunday paper for coupons is great once you get the hang of it or if you enjoy couponing or if you have a bunch of free time on your hands and like to sit around cutting out coupons. Or hey if you have alot of older kids who are pretty good with scissors it might be a good idea after all! Just hand out scissors and coupon fliers and tell them to have at it. It's good for their hand-eye coordination and they will think it's fun. Then you can look through all the coupons afterwards when they are neatly cut out and decide which ones to keep and which to pass on. But if it's just you and you've got kids too young to cut them out for you... it's just not going to be worth your time until you develop a taste for couponing. There are plenty of coupons that are easier to obtain and require less work until your appetite for coupons grows or you find you have enough time to make buying the paper worth it.

Coupon Rule #4. Sign up for coupons and freebies. "If you're not buying or printing your coupons, then where on earth do they come from?!" I get asked this alot! Well the answer is that coupons show up in my mailbox constantly as a result of things I signed up for months ago. Companies keep your mailing address when you sign up for a free sample, then they periodically ship you coupons to keep you coming back to their brand.

WalMart- I know Wally World doesn't have it's own coupons, but if you go to the website you can sign up for freebies HERE. You will have to allow pop-ups for the site because the signup forms for the samples are pop up windows. Most of the free sample companies will not contact you again, but they do usually send a coupon or three in the envelope with your free sample. Besides, who can resist free samples? ;)
Membership Stores- Costco for one will send you a book of coupons each month. Also Carter's and OshKosh childrenswear will mail you a new coupon for 20% off a purchase of $50+ every 3-4 weeks if you register on their website. Toys-R-Us and Babies-R-Us send out periodic coupon fliers and booklets that sometimes don't have anything good but sometimes have the jackpot of good coupons in there. You have to create a registry with Babies-R-Us to get the coupons, or sign up for Geoffrey's Birthday Club to get Toys-R-Us coupons. I know there are probably lots more but these are all I have here. ;)
Print At Register- Some stores like Albertson's have a coupon printer at the checkout that spits out random coupons when your receipt prints. Sometimes these are REALLY GOOD coupons so it pays to check it out instead of just walking away without looking. Alot of times it will print a coupon for the item you just bought so that you can come back and buy more later for less money. I love it when we buy YoBaby there and Albertson's treats us with a juicy YoBaby coupon for the next batch.
Product Websites- If you use alot of a product it pays to check out the website. Alot of times they have rewards programs and/or will mail you coupons for the next 2 years if you register to use the site. Stonyfield YoBaby has a rewards program where you can earn free Leapfrog Tag Junior books by entering codes from YoBaby products. Huggies and Pampers will regularly mail you coupons if you register on their websites. Both also have rewards programs. (But beware Pampers right now- see THIS post.)

Doing the coupon thing can be really easy or really complicated. When I get a new coupon flier in the mail I look through it that afternoon when my son is napping and cut out the 2 or 3 that I will use. It takes all of 2 minutes to do. Then I sort them into some small mailing envelopes in my purse. I don't have a coupon organizer, just a few envelopes with labels scribbled on them. Here's what mine say;
Other Baby-related
Outlet Stores

I just stuff the coupons into the appropriate envelopes and then go on about my afternoon. The envelopes stay in my purse all the time when I'm not actively looking at them. On grocery day, or the day before, when I'm making my list, I take out my coupon envelopes. I go throught the envelopes and put all the coupons that match an item on my list into the USE TODAY envelope. I also take note of expiration dates and throw away any that are expired or will be before I can use them. This doesn't take but maybe 5 minutes extra as I'm writing my list as usual. So a few minutes to clip them, and a few minutes to sort them, very low maintainence couponing. Then I put my grocery list into the USE TODAY envelope and when I'm in the stores I have that envelope handy so I can get out and read my list, and then at the register when I put my list back into the envelope for safekeeping to the next store, I take out the coupons I will need to give to the cashier. I used to hold my coupons the whole time I was in the store, then that evolved into paper clipping them to the grocery list, which finally gave way to the USE TODAY envelope. All those methods work, but the envelope is the best for my clumsy coupon-dropping self. ;) Now I only have to hold them in the checkout line. In fact, I have 2 little helpers who love to hold them for me in the checkout line! ;)

I don't save a truckload of money by couponing, but I've saved enough. I typically will save a dollar for every minute or two that I spent clipping and sorting the coupons. Money's tight, the economy is bad, and saving $5 in the checkout for a minute or two here and there of couponing over the past week is totally worth it to me. Even if you're not pinching every penny, just only buying necessities, think about that $5 for a minute- that's the difference between no extras or a Starbucks on the way home. And hey, who doesn't need a Starbucks after a day of shopping with kids, right? ;) If 5 minutes a week earns me a frappuccino, I'll take it! :D

So that is why I DO do coupons! And how, when, where, etc. :) I'm a very basic level couponer. If you already are a basic level couponer and were hoping for advice on how to get a little more hardcore with the coupons, then check out THIS post by Nicki over at 400 Things! She's got a whole bunch of posts on couponing, just click the button in her sidebar that says all about couponing to read more.

This post is linked up to my Question Thursday post! To read what others have to say on the subject, or to link up your awesome post (or just comment with your advice if you don't want to blog it) on why you do or do not DO coupons (and how if so), then click the first link below to go to my original Question post and join the fun!

~Coupons~ Weekly Question!

Just because your blog isn't as well-known as some million-follower blogs out there doesn't mean you don't have good ideas and good advice! And I want to hear it. It's Weekly Question day! ;) There are 2 ways to participate.
1) Answer in the comments! Just comment on this post with your answer. Simple. Easy.
2) Participate in the Blog Hop! Blog a post that answers this week's question and then click "get the code!" to add the SAME Linky list to the bottom of your blog post. When you're done, add your own link to the Linky list and it will show up on ALL the participating Linky lists. That way if someone enjoys the topic being discussed, they can "hop" from blog to blog using the linky list and might decide to follow some blogs they didn't follow before. Blog hops are a good way to get "discovered" by new readers!
-You may answer or link any time within the week following the question post- for as long as the Linky is still open you may still add posts/answers. If you have an old post/posts that answers the question and you would like to link those up that's fine, but please come back for a future question Thursday with a fresh post, to be fair. ;)

~Question Thursday!~
Topic: Coupons
Do you clip coupons? Avoid them like the plague? Why do or don't you do coupons? If you're a couponer, how into it are you? Any tricks of the trade you'd like to share? Tell us all about how you do or don't do Coupons and link up below!

(*Next Week's Topic: Children's Books! What was your childhood faviorite? Current favorite? Kids' favorite?*)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Toddler Tales Tuesday!

This week I was bad about writing down the cute things the kids said and did as they happened, and you know how Mommy's memory goes when preggo? Lol! What memory? ;) So the pickings are slim this week unfortunately. Pretty much limited to this morning's happenings. So, without further ado, may I present this morning's happenings:

6/8 They are the best of friends, they are the worst of contenders! Ahhh siblings! ;) This morning Buggie (almost 22 months) was following Chicklet (3 yrs. 8.5 mnths.) around adoringly, copying everything she did. Chicklet was feeding him her goldfish and bringing him his sippy cup, doting on him. This afternoon they lay on the couch hugging and kissing each other and giggling for almost 1/4 of an hour. This evening Buggie got out the Bumbo seat and placed it carefully on the floor before standing up and turning around, backing his diapered tush up to sit in it... meanwhile, about 6 feet away, Chicklet saw this and FLUNG herself bottom-first across the space of twice her height, landing in the Bumbo before baby brother could get his tush lined up properly to plop into the seat. Realizing he'd been out-maneuvered, Buggie set up a screeching wail that would have put an alley cat to shame. Time for Mama to step in! *sigh* Too bad it can't be sunshine and roses... or hugs and kisses all day, eh? ;)

If you have a sweet, cute, or funny Toddler (or kid) story, I'd love it if you'd share it! :)
If you would like to post a Toddler Tales Tuesday on your blog, please leave a link to your post in my Linky below, AND post the code for this blog hop in your Toddler Tales Tuesday post! Commenting on at least one of the other linked posts would delight the writer of said post I'm sure - hint hint! ;) The linky will remain open for 2 weeks following the date of this post in case you want to add a post late.
If you don't have a blog or would prefer it, you may share your toddler tales here in the comments.