Lookie what I found!

In CategoryCooking
ByDeb

A guest poster! After I talked a little trash about Extreme Couponers, Nicole left a comment saying, “…I coupon and feel that I do pretty well – I average 60-70% savings…”

Sixty to Seventy percent savings? I emailed her to elaborate. She says her grocery budget is $60 a week. Sixty dollars! For a family of four! How that is even possible, I do not know. I shop the sales and buy in bulk, but (being completely, painfully, honest here) we spend more on groceries and Walmart-y stuff than we spend on our mortgage.

I know.

I’m horrified too. I just don’t know what to do about it. But I want to do better if I can. I am a little skeptical that a food nazi like myself can really lower my food bill with couponing. I have observed that the people on Extreme Couponing buy a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t consider food. I don’t need 600 liters of off-brand orange soda, or 350 frozen pizzas, or 17 boxes of candy bars. Don’t get me wrong – before kids, we slammed down our fair share of Totinos and big-ass sodas from the corner store. But I am at a different place in my life now, a place where I want to feed my family Real Food. Minimally processed, organic if possible, mostly made from scratch, real food. Cooking 3 scratch meals for 4 people every day is a big enough pain in my butt, I can’t devote 30 hours a week to clipping coupons on top of it. Furthermore, the stores around here don’t allow coupon stacking, which seems to be an integral part of the Extreme Couponers plan.

But! Nicole was not daunted and says even with all those requirements, I can make coupons work for us. I asked her if she’d like to do a guest post on the subject, and she agreed.

Soon we’ll all be RICH! Richer than our wildest dreams!

Maybe not. But Amazon’s not getting enough of my money and I feel bad about it. If I can shave my grocery budget, I can recify that.

So here is a little introduction from Nicole:

I started couponing just over 5 years ago, when I changed jobs from early childhood to teaching elementary education.  I had made more money in the private sector and I needed a way to increase my family’s income without adding a second job. I learned by trial and error, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good. I have a family of four, my soul mate of almost 10 years and our two sons, Bug (5) and Dash (8). My budget for the week is $60, but I like to keep it around $35/$40 to leave me room for eating out (which comes out of the same budget).

Over the next few weeks I’ll talk to you about how to understand the couponing mindset, choosing the best store, the power of coupons and how to shop smart.  I’ll share what works and what doesn’t, and try to help each of you find what works best for you.  I won’t teach you how to spend hours poring over inserts or websites to do this (although if you have that kind of time, kudos to you).  I spend no more than 1½-2 hours total a week on my couponing (not counting shopping), never more than a half hour at a time, and always while I’m doing something else. 

If you have any questions along the way, be sure to post them in the comments and I’ll try to get them all answered.  This weekend is an awesome weekend for couponing.  Depending on your region, you could get up to 6 inserts in your Sunday newspaper.  This many inserts is normally reserved for the beginning of the year and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it (wow, that’s kinda sad, really).  So I’d like each of you to go out and get a paper or two (actually, if you really want to do the couponing up right, you need to get one paper for each person in your family always in even numbers – I’ll explain why in the first post but if one is all you can do, then by all means do one.)  With my family of 4, I normally buy 4 or 6 newspapers (this week will be a 6 paper week) to get the coupons I’ll need to support my family.

Hopefully by now you’re as excited about this as I am about this.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I’ll get them all answered.  Our first post will be up early next week and will be on getting into the coupon mindset, I’ll also talk about how to plan ahead and organize your coupons.

Thank you, Nicole! I, for one, am very excited about this. Even if I only save 30% off what I spend now, that will still be hundreds of dollars a month.

Now to remember to get a paper on Sunday….

Random Monday

In CategoryNavel Gazing, Random Monday
ByDeb

Well, we found the defendant….Guilty.

Finally.

We deliberated all afternoon on Thursday and all morning on Friday. We almost had it worked out on Thursday, but the judge would not let us stay past 5:00. I laid awake all night worrying people would change their minds and we’d be at square one Friday morning.

It was hard work. Harder than I thought it would be. But I’m glad I did it. Several of the other jurors wanted to tell the judge we were hung and go home, but I wouldn’t let them. Turns out, bossing my kids around all day has made it easier to boss total strangers. I wonder if I can turn bossing into some kind of paying position…?

During jury duty, I had one burning question: When it gets hot, does the judge wear a Grateful Dead t-shirt and shorts under his robe?

I asked him about it when the trial was over.

I don’t know what came over me. He said he hadn’t so far, but had thought about it.

The other day, we hit the Starbucks drive-thru and got frappucinos and cake pops. My husband professed not to like the cake pops.

I don’t understand this.

We have been married 17 years. Now it’s like I don’t know him at all.

Hopefully, our mutual interest in brownies can sustain us.

Another thing I don’t understand is why ANYONE, never mind AMERICANS give a flying crap about the Royal Wedding. Why? Why? Why?

Plus also, I don’t get how to Extreme Coupon. I just saw a lady on teevee buy a ton of laundry soap for $4. How do they do this? One time I tried coupons, and there was a sale on barbeque sauce, and I tried to get, like 6 bottles. I had 6 coupons and everything. But the store would only let me use one coupon. I looked online and my Safeway does not allow “coupon stacking.” Still, I would like to get a year’s supply of laundry soap for $4. I don’t know if I am trying to spend 40 hours a week on couponing though… I saw another woman buy something like 64 bottles of Maalox. If I needed 64 bottles of Maalox, I might consider a gastroenterologist.

Anyway.

For this week’s Completely Random Randomness, a useful tip: if you have a door that is swinging closed, take out the bottom hinge pin and hit it with a hammer until it has a slight bend. Replace it in the hinge. Ta Da! The door will no longer swing closed so you walk into it trying to go potty in the middle of the night. If your door still moves, take out the middle pin and bend that one as well.

Juror Number 10

In CategoryNavel Gazing
ByDeb

Well, I’m pretty sure I’m officially a juror. I CANNOT believe how long selecting this jury is taking! The room was FULL of potential jurors when we started – about 60 people. There are about 6 people left to choose from. And each lawyer still has 2 peremptory challenges left.

It was really interesting in the morning, but the more my ass started to hurt, the less interesting it became.

Plus, the judge kept giving us the same instructions. I was all, “DUDE, I GOT THIS. Do you even know how many episodes of Law & Order I’ve seen?”

They asked us each a bunch of questions – name, age, occupation, education, did we have friends or family in law enforcement, etc. They asked a bit about our hobbies and what we read or watched on television. No one copped to watching television AT ALL, and most of them sneered at the very idea. I caught on to the anti-teevee vibe by the time it was my turn and resisted the urge to engage the judge in a spirited debate about the Real Housewives of Orange County.

One potential juror got herself excused by claiming she would not do a good job because she had a hard time paying attention. She elaborated with, “You know how youse guys was asking us guys if we ever knew any of the witnesses? I totally wasn’t listening when you were talking, holmes.” He spoke to her in his chambers. When he came back, he said, “Well, I made one juror cry so far” and told us he had dismissed her on account of she was a self-admitted dingbat.

Okay, he didn’t SAY dingbat, but I feel sure it was implied.

I don’t know why the guy doesn’t take a plea or something so I can come home and rest my ass. The defense asked some annoying questions during vior dire, like “how would you feel if the prosecution presents her case and I just sit there and don’t present a case?” and one juror goes, “I’d feel like the defendant should get a better lawyer.”

Oooh! And plus! PLUS I saw not one, but TWO men with rat tails in court today! I didn’t even know people were allowed to walk around like that anymore. I’m talking full-on, patch of hair braided down past the shoulder blades, rat tails. Rat tails they’d clearly been growing since 1985. Commited rat tails.

Anyway. Hopefully we get some action tomorrow. Fisticuffs would be nice.

Another Chance!

In CategoryNavel Gazing
ByDeb

For those of you who did not win the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener Give Away I did a while back, I’m giving away 2 more over at Heart of the Matter today!

We will accept entries for a week, so hop over there and try to win!

I have to go to Jury Duty today. The jury duty part doesn’t bother me – it’s interesting and I can pat myself on the back for doing my Civic Duty and all that – but there is NO PARKING at the courthouse, and they won’t even let me bring a bottle of water. No water! That’s inhumane. I drink a lot of water and the idea of being separated from my giant cup is making twitchy.

It’s all those damn terrorists fault.

And I’m gonna have to get up all early, too. Dadgum it.

Should I take knitting? They said no sharp objects. I don’t want my stuff taken away by some Visigoth who doesn’t appreciate hand knitting. I suppose I’ll stick with a trashy novel. I don’t even have a decent phone to play Words With Friends! Poor, poor, poor me.

Plus, I’ll betcha the chairs are uncomfortable. All chairs are uncomfortable when your feet don’t reach the floor.

If my ass starts hurting, I can’t promise I won’t whine about it tomorrow.

Blame the terrorists.

(oh lookie! I’m on a watch list now!)