Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bargain Shopping?

I have been researching ways to cut back and save some extra money.  I have read a lot of very interesting blogs regarding couponing and getting great deals at the supermarket.  This is fantastic, but unfortunately they don't coupon fresh fruits and veggies.  While I think it is great that I can use a coupon, double it on a product  already on sale making it practically free.  I am just not willing to substitute twinkies for apples for my family.  In the long run is it really a bargain?  What about the effect to their health by switching from freshness to processed just because I got a great deal.  This is one area where I am willing to spend more and I think it is worth it.  Even though I love a good bargain, that should not be your ultimate goal when it comes to feeding your family.

What about non-food items?  I have learned the hard way that a deal is only a deal if it something you truly need.  There have been many times that I have bought a top or shoes because it was on clearance and thought wow I saved a lot of money.  But, that top or pair of shoes stayed in my closet with the tags still on them before I finally caved and donated.  So, that item was not a deal.  I was actually out the money I spent on it because I got caught up in the bargain of the item and didn't think, is this really something I need or even want.  I was seduced by the sale price.  Being frugal is not about buying as many things as you can as cheaply as possible, it is not about getting a lot of stuff at low prices.  Its about consuming less and consuming more intelligently.  If you apply this mind set, this is how you will save.  I recently read an article that had a great passage "Our relentless effort as a culture to obtain as much as we can as cheaply as we can has cheapened our lives and made Wal-Mart the largest and most profitable business in the world."
Did you know that Americans spend nearly seven times as much time shopping as they do playing with their kids?  Next week-end focus on spending time with your kids, ask them what they want to do.  Play a game with them, whatever it is just enjoy their company.  Both you and your families lives will be the better for it. Stop wasting your time in the mall....and wasting your money!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pizza Night

Friday nights are great pizza nights.  But, instead of ordering delivery and getting cheese covered cardboard or throwing in the oven some processed frozen concoction from the grocery store, try making your own.   We make our own pizza's and it is incredibly easy and fun!  Last night we made pepperoni for the boys and vegetable for the grown-ups.  We all pitched in and helped, having a great time in the kitchen.     My son helped me roll out the dough and then grated the cheese.  My husband helped me chop the vegetables.  Check out our yummy pizza that cost a fraction of delivery and tasted better too!
Rolling out the can count as exercise, right?
Yummy ingredients!
The boy's delicious pepperoni - fresh out of the oven.
The boy's enjoying their creation!
Lastly, our vegetable masterpiece.  The best part is that there were leftovers for lunch!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eat Pray Love

Saw the movie Eat Pray Love this week-end.  I am not going to post a review of the movie, but just wanted to comment on one scene in the movie that stuck with me.  It was when Liz (Julia Roberts) was in Italy sitting in a barber shop talking to some locals.  One of the Italian guys was making fun of how Americans don't know how to enjoy doing nothing.  He is so right!  My husband is telling me all the time to relax.  For some reason I feel like I always have to doing something and when I am not doing something I am thinking of what I have to do.  Our idea of doing nothing is coming home after work scarfing down dinner and vegging out in front of the tv.   We don't take the time to enjoy each other's company, linger over a meal or just sit quietly outside.  I felt inspired to do something or nothing.....

So, on my lunch break today I drove to the park down the street and sat outside under the shade of big tree.  I then laid back in the grass and looked up at the big tree with the sun peeking through and took pleasure in doing nothing.  It was very difficult at first as my mind began to start planning out what I needed accomplish at work that afternoon.  But, then I remembered in yoga how we would focus on our breath.  So, I decided to do that,  taking deep breaths in and out.  Soon, 30 minutes had passed and I felt very relaxed.  It was an awesome feeling.  I think I will need to make this a regular thing....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to School

It's that time of year again....Back to School!  Why is it that we have brain washed our kids to believing that back to school means shopping and buying all new stuff?  I started thinking about this last year when my son said he needed a new backpack when the $50 back pack I bought him the year prior was still in good shape.  So, I decided it was time to start teaching some budgeting skills and the value of money.  Last year I gave him $200 cash with a list of must have (supplies and shoes) and told him any money leftover was his to keep.  After that he decided to re-use his backpack for another school year.  Mission accomplished!  This year we are doing the same thing....$200 with a list of must haves.  However, I noticed a change this year...he took the challenge very seriously!
Beginning Balance          $200
Messenger Bag        minus $10   LLY back pack would not survive another yr - great deal @ TJ Maxx
School Supplies       minus $17   shopped bargain deals at Staple, Target, Office Depot
New Jeans (2)          minus $22  MD Levis @ Macys w/ coupon & Abercrombie jeans from resale store
Basketball Shoes     minus $41   researched best price online w/ free shipping
Airwalk Shoes         minus $11  sale price + coupon
Black Shorts (2)      minus $10   MD to 4.99 - got 2 pair at that awesome price

Ending Balance  $89

All essentials, that means my son just earned $89 by paying attention to what he buys and researching the best deals!  Now, he might want to get a couple new shirts, but is waiting to find the best deal.  I am tickled pink, because I have broken my son from the must have now mentality.  He actually gets really excited when he finds an awesome deal!

Check out all his loot for the bargain price of $111!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Miss Me?

I know it has been a long time I have blogged....and 2 months since our Hawaii vacation!  Life the past 2 months have been very busy.  I am working on a new project that I can't talk about yet, but it's huge!  I am trying to align my core beliefs into every aspect of life and that takes time and commitment.  I am very exciting to go on this journey.  So, what can I tell you about? my very limited free time I have been doing a lot of cooking of fresh meals for my family.  Visiting the farmers market every week-end and using those ingredients to dictate the meals I cook.  Some of the highlights:  sauteed green beans, grilled zucchini,  cucumber salad (from my garden), veggie pizza and blackberry pie!
Yummy blackberry pie, I even made the crust from scratch!
Awesome cucumber from my garden!