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Don't use coupons? Think you can't save money using... I wrote this in response (as a comment) to a comment quoted in a post on the Five Cent Nickle blog. ========================================================= Coupons are the single best way to...

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Working with credit card companies - the good, bad... A few months ago we knew we were headed into "negative" territory on our bills.  A perfect storm of events were happening and we could see what was going to happen. In our efforts to work with our...

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I paid 25c for all of this food.... 4 boxes of crackers 4 packages of cookies 2 boxes of cinnabon bars 1 hotwheel Had to throw the hotwheel in just cause I had a $1 left to "spend" from my freebie stuff!  How did I do it??? Albertson's...

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Allowances, complications, compensating for chores...... It was with surprise and well, a bit of disgust that I was recently reading a plethora of comments on a financial forum I participate in about this very subject. Let's see if I can reiterate without...

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Don't waste your energy on credit, you never need it... I love love love Trent at the Simple Dollar.  He has written for a while and has excellent advice, gives wonderful access to financial related resources and well, he's just an all around great guy (have...

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Freedom and Happiness Quote of the week

Posted on : 02-11-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Quotes & Affirmations

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“Never let the defeat of the past rob you of the success of your future.”
~Ray Comfort

As the “nerd” in our marriage . . .

Posted on : 06-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : budgeting, dave ramsey, Debt Discussion, The Journey

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I was trying to be too strict, too rigid in our budget.  I desperately want the debt GONE.  However, I’ve been told that I also have to LIVE while we are eliminating it!

Therefore, we now have a “blow” category in our budget.  Mind you, it’s $20 total (basically a movie or a take n’bake pizza… however, it’s still a blow category.

Love you DH!

Working with credit card companies – the good, bad and ugly . . .

Posted on : 04-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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A few months ago we knew we were headed into “negative” territory on our bills.  A perfect storm of events were happening and we could see what was going to happen.

In our efforts to work with our credit card companies, we started by calling Chase – please don’t laugh… we didn’t realize at the time we were taking on the stupidest credit card company in the world, and I am not exaggerating.

Chase refused to work any hardship with us – we simply requested a lower interest rate and a temporary lowering of our payments (we did not request any reduction in principle).  Instead, they told us they couldn’t do anything and refused to work with us.  They told us our only option to work with them was through Consumer Credit Counsel Service (you know, that “credit counseling” company paid for by the credit card companies – the same one who’s focus is making sure the credit card companies get paid, 4-walls be darned?!).  They didn’t care that we were already working with a financial counselor through all of this.

Well Chase, this month will be the first of several months you won’t be getting paid.  You refuse to work with us so you’ll just have to wait in line behind others who are willing to work with us.

So, knowing what a nightmare our first attempt was, hubby called Merrick Bank today.  The 1st call didn’t go so well… however, she hung up on hubby so he called back again… and got someone nice – yes, I said nice, and helpfulThose are oxymoron’s in the credit card industry.

So, Merrick bank is very willing to work with us.  We have 2 credit card’s with Merrick and they were wonderful on both of those cards.  We told them we don’t have any money this month, however due to our efforts at selling things and bringing in extra income, we anticipate having the ability to repay again beginning next month.  In otherwords, we will miss 1 payment on both cards.  They said just call them to make the arrangements they agreed to which was dropping our rate to 6% and eliminating any late fees that accrue once the accounts go late.

Imagine that, a credit card company that actually wants their money and is willing to work out something temporarily with us.

Spurred on by the success of that phone call, hubby went on to Juniper Bank (we have 2 accounts with them as well).  They won’t do anything, period.  We can work through Consumer Credit Counseling and that is our only option with them.  No lower of rate, no temporary hardship, nothing.  In fact, they tried to sell hubby “credit protection” – yes, just what we need: to increase our debt with you when we are telling you we are not able to make the payment this month?!

So, Merrick Bank and our credit union are first priority on our “debt snowball” list and Juniper Bank and Chase are last priority.  Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be going 4-6 months late on payments to them (unless something drastic changes in our financial situation in the very near future) which means likely charge offs… which means the companies aren’t likely to get even the principle amount owed to them as they’ll have collection agencies collecting for them.

We tried – over and over we tried. We asked simply for temporary abatement, not a hand out.  It’s no wonder people just give up and file bankruptcy (we will not).

We’ve also done this with every single card (including my coveted Macy’s Elite card)…

dsc03995

Yoplaits for 14.5c/ea, 2lb blocks Cheese $2.99/block, free water, more . . .

Posted on : 03-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Groceries

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Today wasn’t as awe inspiring as other days, but savings were still phenomenal:

20091003-multi-store-shopping-6210

  • 58 yoplaits – this will last us MAYBE 2.5 weeks (4-5 kids, 1 yogurt a day) 14.5-21c each (Super 1)
  • 7 blocks of 2lb cheese – cheddar, colby, mozzarella, jack $2.99 each (Fred Meyer)
  • 1 herbal essences shampoo 99c (Walgreen’s)
  • 1 herbal essences conditioner 99c (Walgreen’s)
  • 3 bunches of banana’s 38c/lb (Super 1)
  • 6 cans campbell’s chicken soup 30c/can (Fred Meyer)
  • 16 packages trident layers gum 25c-50c each (Walgreen’s)
  • 3 packages frozen vegetables 66c each (Super 1)
  • 2 large heads green leaf lettuce 88c each (Super 1)
  • 4 boxes pillsbury cake mix 69c each (Fred Meyer)
  • 7 bottles joint juice free (Safeway)
  • 2 impulse buys: chicken pieces/shrimp pieces $2 each (Walmart)

Total retail: $137.73
Total paid: $62.10

Tax paid: $5.86
Total OOP: $67.96

Stockpiling: to stock up when items can be had for free or pennies on the dollar

Posted on : 03-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Groceries, Stockpile

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I’ve been “coupon” stockpiling for a little over 2 months now.  HOWEVER, I have always been someone who stocks up at Costco on things that I never want to run out on: toilet paper, paper towels, deodorants, food items we eat regularly, etc. With that said, I usually always have a 2-4 week solid stockpile in our home.

Now that I’m couponing so intensely again, all that has changed.  I will now stock up on something as much as I am able to buy at the pennies or free price.  For example, we currently have 41 boxes of kleenex (well we have more, but I’m speaking about the ones I got free) because they are free.  Today is the last day to take advantage of this deal so I’m going out and getting anywhere from 12-20 more depending upon the stock the store has available.

Anyway, here are some pictures of my stockpiles, with explanations of what you are seeing within each picture.  Enjoy!

View 1 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

View 1 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

The top shelf back in the corner has 20+ boxes of cereal… the edges of the pantry extend pretty deeply beyond the doors (sort of annoying when trying to utilize said space!!).

View 2 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

View 2 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

Again, top shelf has another 30+ boxes of cereal back in that corner.  My pantry stockpile here is actually somewhat low right now.  I haven’t been through a full cycle yet of sales/coupons (takes about a year) so there are things I haven’t stocked up on that we were using regularly.  Now however, we’ll use what I’ve been able to purchase at steep discounts.

View 1 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 1 of my laundry room pantry area.

My laundry room is nice and spacious.  However, we recently moved in and I don’t have anything really built in yet.  In another picture you’ll see some shelves we did put up – with supplies we already owned.  Now the quest  begins to find things free to better utilize this space.

View 2 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 2 of my laundry room pantry area.

I can’t wait to start taking advantage of Walgreen’s and Rite Aid sundries sales… my coupon stockpile is pretty solid right now so BRING IT ON you two!!

View 3 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 3 of my laundry room pantry area.

See what I mean about utilization of space??  I’m desperate for shelves, counters, etc.  I’m excited for the day this room will really function well.

View 4 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 4 of my laundry room pantry area.

As I said before, I did have some shelves and brackets so we put them up.  I really want to extend this whole thing towards the right… someday!!

FYI, 90 boxes of “helper” meals, all found for 62c a box.  Capri Sun’s were free, so were crackers.  Soups were 30c can or less, bars were free to $1.00 box.  Kraft Mac and Cheese was 30c box or less, cereal is 75c/box or less, etc.

View 5 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 5 of my laundry room pantry area.

Extended view of the last one… bin of snack size chips, bin of school supplies and 44 bottles of joint juice (free).  Oh, and the lovely cat box (sorry!!).

29 boxes Kleenex, 1 lg DW Soap, 2lb Cheese, 2lb Bacon, 6 boxes Raisin Bran, 14 Bottles Water, 2 Speed Stick, 2pkgs Chinet Plates = $6.48

Posted on : 01-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Groceries

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Today was make out like a bandit day!

20091001-safeway-1032

  • 29 boxes of Kleenex
  • 1 large bottle of Cascade dishwasher soap
  • 2 Speed Stick deodorants
  • 14 bottles Joint Juice
  • 6 boxes Raisin Bran cereal
  • 2 36ct packages Chinet plates
  • 2lbs cheddar cheese
  • 2lbs bacon

$89.15 retail prices for which I paid $6.48 (plus $3.84 in sales tax for a grand oop total of $10.32).  And, I have $6.00 oyno cash for my next purchase.

Not many sales at Safeway this week, but still did great!!

I love cool jars and I got this one free

Posted on : 30-09-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Free Finds/Yard Sale Finds

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cool jar 1

Cool jar 2

I found this very tall jar at a yard sale, they gave it to me free!  LOVE IT!  It’s about 18″ tall and did not include the pretzels !!

21c Walmart Deal

Posted on : 29-09-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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Walmart Deals

Here’s my 21c Walmart deal… 2lbs Velveeta (specific for a recipe), 2 jalapeno peppers, 1 bunch green onions, 24oz sour cream, 1 can black beans, 1 lg. can diced tomatoes with green chilis = 21c.

We recieved a $10 gift card a few weeks back from a manager due to a stocking issue on a product (this was a FIRST), so I used it today :D.

21c + 62c tax = 83c oop

How low can I go???

Posted on : 29-09-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Groceries

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I’m going to detail our spending for the month of October… it is my hope that we get our grocery spending down to $150 for October for our family of 6.

It’s a lesson in “journaling” our spending… reducing our grocery budget and overall responsibility with our finances.

Starting October 1st I will post a snippet every single day describing any spending we did in the previous day and why, what for, etc.  I’ll maintain a detail for you as well.  You can also check out the “grocery challenge” link above for the breakdown.

Since when is it “OK” to stop tithing to the Lord in order to pay off your debt?

Posted on : 06-08-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Money

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A friend of ours told us that he and his wife have been not paying tithe and have supposedly been using it to pay off debt (all the while they continue to have cable TV, cell phones for their kids, consume coffee daily at the java place…).

They told us that it was advised by Crown Financial and frankly, I was in shock and disgust… so I did some searching…and look at what I found:

The principle of tithing is just that—a principle. God is looking for the right attitude in a person’s giving.

If there is not a true heart-felt willingness to give back to the Lord a portion of what He has entrusted to us, giving tithes upon tithes would be without purpose.

For people who feel that they cannot afford to give the full tithe because they have too much debt, yet they are willing and want to tithe, perhaps there is an option that can satisfy both situations.

Because God expects us to remain true to biblical principles, if we have made prior vows (in the form of taking on a debt) to man before making a vow to tithe to God, God directs that the vow be maintained in order to present a good witness (see Proverbs 22:1).

In such cases, the tithe should come from the money not already pledged to creditors, but available to disperse.

However, a commitment to give to God would certainly take precedence over any payment to creditors for debts contracted after a pledge was made to tithe.”

Well, Crown Financial “sort of” says it’s ok to send your tithe to your debts, but only if you were not previously tithing. Hum… way to take that concept and distort it dear friends of mine. However, I disagree with Crown Financial and Dave Ramsey also disagrees with their stance, here’s his take:

Many people have observed that after they stopped tithing, their finances seemed to get worse.  In the Book of Malachi, God promises that if you do not rob Him of your tithing, He will rebuke your devourers and protect you.

If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.  It does not require a miracle for you to get through the month.  I think that if you sit down and look at your budget, you will see that you can make it while giving at least 10%.  Read the Bible and take from it what you will, and if you tithe, do it out of love for God, not guilt.”

I firmly believe that the number 1 “line item” in your budget (as a believer) is your tithe, plain and simple. And, a tithe is 10%, not 2%, not 8%, it’s 10%. As a believer, there is no excuse to not be giving the Lord back 10% of what He’s given us. If you have nothing, you can give nothing but your time. If you have little, give back 10% (or more in offerings) of what the Lord has provided you. If you have lots, give 10% plus offerings. When you are in debt, you must be giving your 10% to the Lord and working out a plan to pay your debts to others.

We often have the mindset that it’s “our” money when in fact, it’s God’s money and he’s letting us have some. Tithing is also a matter of obedience, yes it is also a matter of the heart, but first and foremost it is a matter of obedience (which is a direct matter of the heart). God even challenges us to test Him in this (Malachi 3:10). When you do not tithe, you are robbing God (Malachi 3:8). Out of love we obey, and our heart must be right when we obey. Obedience is done with a joyful heart. A heart full of love for the Lord.

We tithe, no matter what our debt is, no matter what other obligations we have. Right off the top of all money that comes into our home (including tax credits!!) we give 10% right back to our local church. We don’t think of it as lost income, it’s just an automatic thank you gift we give with all income. We want so much to do more and we are working towards that day. We have been able to do lots in the past, just not recently and I really don’t like that feeling.

Besides, if there is money enough for anything besides shelter, basic food and clothes, there is money to tithe, period. Yes, that means if you have cell phones, cable, internet, coffee, things you could sell, etc. then you have enough to give back to God.  If you aren’t tithing, as a believer, in no way should you be paying for any additional items, including a “blow” fund.