So I finally came up with a title for my blog that I can live with, I think. This is now “From the Mind of Mesilla”. I have had that nickname for as long as I can remember. So, since I am tired of “Insert Creative Blog Title Here”, I’m going with this one.
In which I show off my mad couponing skills January 3, 2011
I am new to using coupons. My sister, M, is a fantastic couponer. (WordPress says couponing and couponer aren’t words, but I’m going to pretend that they are.) When I decided not to go back to work after Little Man was born, I decided that I should do what I could to lower our expenses. I was visiting M and she taught me how to shop with coupons. It doesn’t sound like something that needs to be taught, but there is much more to it than just clipping a few coupons when you go to the grocery store. (You can of course do that and save a little, but you can save A LOT if you take a little more time and learn the tricks.) Where I live, we have one grocery store that doubles coupons, but they are a smaller store and don’t stock a lot of brands. Also, their prices tend to be higher than my regular grocery store, HEB, and certainly higher than Walmart. So, I shop there some, if I have the right coupons, but not a lot. That is one thing that prevents me from saving as much on groceries than other good couponers. Where I really save is at the drug stores.
If you have a Rite Aid, I’m jealous. They have awesome deals, so if you have one, definitely look into their deals. In my little town, we have CVS and Walgreens. Before couponing, I rarely shopped at CVS. Their prices are much higher than the other stores, but now that I am watching the sales, I have done very well shopping there. For instance, tonight, I spent $3.93 and saved $38.95. Plus, I have $12 in Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) I can use like cash on a future trip. The trick at CVS is to combine the items they are offering with ECBs and coupons. For instance, the Reach toothbrushes were on sale for $3 each and if you spent more than $10 on Reach toothbrushes, you got $5 back in ECBs. I used two buy one get one free (B1G1) coupons and two $1 off coupons. So, for 4 toothbrushes, that should have been $12, I spent $4 (I’ll tell you later how I spent less than $4 out of pocket) and got $5 in ECBs. So, I actually made money (in the form of ECBs) by buying toothbrushes. Once you start couponing, you will never pay for toothbrushes or toothpaste again.
Another other deal I did was buying Revlon nail files and clippers, I got $7 ECBs and only spent $6.70 on them, so I made 30 cents (before tax, after tax I spent about .25 on them. I wanted to get two clippers which would have been 30 cents cheaper than the files, but they only had one set and I needed files, anyway). Lastly, the olive oil, usually $8.50, was B1G1 plus I had two $1 off coupons (when items are B1G1, you can use coupons on the free items!), so I got both for $6.50. All of these deals are good through 1/8, so if you have good coupons, you can do them, too!
So, with just the coupons and sales, I would have spent $17.20, plus tax, but I had more! I got an e-mail from CVS with a coupon to get $5 off when you spend $25 (They use the total before coupons.). Then I had $8.50 in ECBs from a previous shopping trip. In our state, you only pay sales tax on the after sale and coupon prices, even ECBs, so I save on the taxes by using coupons, etc., too! So that is the long version of how I spent $3.93 and saved $38.95. (Plus $12 got ECBs for next time!)
I didn’t do nearly as well at Walgreens today. I spent $17.32 and saved $22.31, plus I got $11 in Register Rewards (Walgreen’s version of ECBs). I consider it a success if I save more than 50%, but one of my coupons wasn’t scanning right, so they wouldn’t let me use it and that cost me $5 (I still made $2 on that item, but I was expecting to make $7 on it after RR). I got a package of diapers, three cans of tomato sauce, three lip glosses, deodorant, medicine and a newspaper (for the coupons!).
There are several websites I use when I start to make my shopping lists. The best is Southern Savers. You can even check off the items in her posts to make shopping lists, which is helpful. I also like Money Saving Mom. Both blogs post deals all day for lots of stores. They can both teach you a lot more about couponing than I can. They are masters. After I check their sites, I go to the ads from the newspaper for each store. Sometimes there are variations or I notice something in the add that I didn’t see online. Then I look to see if I have coupons I can combine with the sales and ECBs or RRs. I’m still figuring some things out, but I’m having a great time saving as I learn!
Merry Christmas December 24, 2010
We are having a wonderful Christmas season! We got to visit extended family last weekend and had a great time. I am so blessed to have so many fun and loving aunts, uncles and cousins. Even though I don’t see them as much as I would like, I love that with family, you can just pick up like you saw them yesterday. I am so glad that Little Man has cousins and I hope they will be close as they grow up. He has another one due pretty soon! I pray that your family is blessed this Christmas and that we can all remember the reason for the season. As thankful as I am for family, I am the most thankful that my Savior chose to come to this earth to save us. I love that He chose to come in such as sweet way, as a baby, and amid the fun, food and family (and presents!), I am taking time to remember the best present of all!
O Christmas Tree and other decorations December 10, 2010
I love decorating for Christmas. I am NOT at all a designer and most of the “art” in our home is family pictures, but I enjoy pulling out the Christmas things each year. I usually have the same decorations that I put in the same places year after year, but this year, I added a few new pieces. I found a couple Pier 1 gift cards from our wedding four years ago and did some free shopping. Here are a few snapshots of our home this Christmas.
I love our tree for several reasons. Most of the ornaments have special memories attached to them. They are from vacations and events and they are fun to remember. A lot of our ornaments and the tree skirt were made by Hubby’s grandmother. They are so neat and I’m glad we get to remember her in this way.I cried when I put up the stockings this year because there are three now! We are a family! We did sort of have three stockings last year. Hubby got a tiny stocking (I think it was a gift card holder) and glued a peanut to the top of it because we called the baby “Peanut” before he was born. It was really sweet. Now that stocking is in Little Man’s room.
This my favorite Christmas decoration. My mom started giving me parts of the set several years ago. Each year, she would give me another part as a Christmas present and now I have all of them. I love this Nativity set more than any other because Mary is holding baby Jesus. I know she laid him in a manger, but as a new mommy, I would bet that Jesus spent plenty of time in Mary’s arms, too. There is something about the sweet, motherly way she is holding Him that is at the same time very worshipful that really touches me. I put this up in our entry way and it is a wonderful reminder of the real reason for the season.
Lately December 7, 2010
I’m a bad blogger. I have had a couple things I wanted to write about, but never sat down to do it, so I’m going to play catch up and throw a bunch of miscellaneous things in here.
My sister C came to visit last weekend. It was so much fun! She helped me decorated the tree and we made Christmas cookies.
We also made Butterscotch Haystacks. They are so good and so easy. You just melt a package of butterscotch chips and then stir in a package of chow mein noodles. It sounds weird, but they are one of my favorite sweet treats.
Little Man is five months old now. I can’t believe it. We decided to start him on solids yesterday. His first food was bananas. He liked them! He is still not too sure how to eat of a spoon, but he was really into it.
Thankful November 24, 2010
It was on the Sunday before Thanksgiving last year that we found out we were expecting Little Man. While I was certainly very thankful then, I am even more so this year. Here are just twelve of the many things I have been thankful for in the past twelve months. (They are very baby centered, but that has pretty much been my life for the past twelve months.)
1. a healthy pregnancy (up until the very end)
2. maternity jeans (I miss these already)
3. excellent medical care when I developed severe preeclampsia and had to be induced immediately
4. a quick and easy labor (seriously. It was less than two hours. I will tell that story some time.)
5. a beautiful baby boy, who was perfectly healthy even though he was born four weeks early and is rarely fussy
6. an awesome husband who loves me unconditionally and changes diapers!
7. a wonderful extended family who loves my baby (almost!) as much as I do
8. a welcoming and friendly new church family (especially my fantastic Life Group)
10. getting to quit my job and be a stay at home mommy
11. Little Man’s smiles and laughter
12. an awesome God who shows me more grace and mercy than I could ever imagine
All tied up November 22, 2010
I have two younger sisters. While we definitely had our disagreements when we were growing up, we also had a LOT of fun. We were homeschooled, so we spent most of the day together. After our schoolwork was done, we had a lot of free time to fill. M, the middle sister, and I would occasionally (although if you ask C, the youngest, it was more than occasionally) pick on or just mess with C. For instance, one time when I was eight-ish M and I convinced C that she was deaf by just moving our mouths and not actually speaking. C believed us for a little bit, but she was only three or four, so that wasn’t a big accomplishment. But we (M and I) thought it was hilarious. We actually still think it is pretty funny. Another thing we thought was hilarious was to wrap C in a blanket and put her on the doorstep and ring the bell. My mom would come out and find C like a package waiting for her. Now, I’m not sure why that was so funny, but we sure thought it was at the time. I remember doing it a lot.
When I was about thirteen, M was eleven and C was eight, we started tying C to things, the swing outside, trees, etc. and locking her in the pantry or cabinets. M and I know that she really was okay with it and was quite cooperative. C remembers not being quite so into it, but she totally was. One time, we blindfolded her, tied her legs together and tied her arms together and then weren’t sure what to do with her. That seems like something we should have thought of first. We put her on the sofa until we figured out our next move. Then we left the room, for a reason I can’t remember now. For another unknown reason, C decided to roll and fell off the couch, I think hitting her head on the coffee table on the way down. She got so mad at us and still is, to this day. But M and I think she has no reason to be mad. She knew she was on the couch. She shouldn’t have rolled off. That was just dumb. It was so not our fault.
Now my sisters and I all live in different cities. M lives halfway across the country. M has two little girls and I think they are starting to do the same kinds of things silly that we did. I really hope Little Man has siblings and that they get into messes like we did. Good times.