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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 : 16-11-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Quotes & Affirmations

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“Have nothing in your house that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
~Author Unknown

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

The pressure to spend . . .

Posted on : 21-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : budgeting, Money, The Journey

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Here is an element of what I was talking about in my last post – Jason over at Bible Money Matters said it much better than I did.

Avoid the Pressure to Spend.

It’s the little things that catch you by surprise . . .

Posted on : 21-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : budgeting, Money, The Journey

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and ultimately become sacrifices . . .

I very much would love to be a “chauffeur” for my son – he’s going on a field trip with his class next week and they are looking for volunteer drivers.

Cool!  I’m in.

Only to learn that it will cost $3 admission to the event I would be driving to.

Hum.  We have decided to budget so tight that $3 is nothing to sneeze at and frankly, I’d much rather throw it towards debt and be FREE than to spend it just so I can drive (and pay for gas too).

It’s things like this that come up and nickle – and – dime you to death.

Don’t let that happen.

Don’t let others make you feel guilty for not doing something like the above when the ultimate reason you are doing it is so much better for you and your family then to drive a few classmates on a field trip.

For Sale: 2005 Chevy Trailblazer – $10995 (Post Falls, ID)

Posted on : 18-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : dave ramsey, Debt Discussion, For Sale

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2005 Chevy Trailblazer
Dark grey exterior
Beige fabric interior
63,000 miles
A/C
CD/Radio
Roof rack
Tinted windows
Very good to excellent condition
4 wheel drive
Clean title

LOVE this vehicle but Dave Ramsey say’s SELL
$10,995 + our contribution pays off the credit union and it’s yours

KBB.com private party value
Excellent condition $11,290
Good condition $10,615

left-side-reduced

right-side-reduced

Stopped at Walmart and picked up some free items…

Posted on : 06-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Free Finds/Yard Sale Finds, Groceries

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Stopped by Walmart for a couple of things I haven’t been able to find recently with coupons or cheaper else where – grabbed my Airwick $6.00 off coupons that I clipped and kept even though I never use those things, but I thought “who knows”…

Walmart had the items on sale for $6.00 and I had (4) $6.00 coupons.  Guess what I got?  Freebies!  No, I won’t use them personally, but I will be putting these $14.00 retail priced items into baskets as housewarming gifts for friends.

I love free!

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!!).