Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dinga Long Dave Ringa Long Ramsey

Here's my envelope system, which I am still getting used to. My problem is if I run out of money in one category I borrow from another and that's a big NO NO. It also means we have to continue to tweak our budget. We've been working on a monthly budget for about ten months and it is constantly changing. I don't know if we will ever get it perfect.

How's the debt snowballing going for April? Uhhhhhhhhhh, it sucks the big donkey wads man.

Dave's wisdom is to first get current with any of your debtors, then start piling up cash in an emergency fund. He recommends for a family to set aside $1000 because that amount should cover just about any unexpected expense.

We've decided after having three car repairs and a furnace blow out in a span of two months that $1000 is not enough for our family. However, we were still able to get through all that muck before and during Christmas without using a credit card. DING!

As we recover from the loss of the emergency fund we are also dealing with this awful economy. Many of our hopes of getting things paid off quickly with funds that we had hoped would be coming in right now are being pushed back until......well, that's a good question.

I have to say as much as it sucks not to have any fun right now, I'm so very grateful that we got ourselves on this plan over ten months ago. Getting the news that bonuses wouldn't be what we thought and salary increases will be pushed back several months was not pleasant, but it also wasn't crushing.

Onward and upward we go, pushing through this economic turmoil. We're taking advantage of the lower interest rates and I'm hoping that someone will come hold my hand and teach me how to use coupons, I just don't get it for several reasons.

1. I'm not a name brand person, so collecting coupons for products I never use seems weird.
2. I don't subscribe to the paper, so buying a paper just to cut coupons seems wasteful.
3. I hate to print stuff out from my computer, it means docking it and pressing buttons and that's really hard. Did you say that in a high pitched whine?
4. I don't like to go to multiple stores to get all my stuff, which is why Wally World and I are still having our little weekly fling.
5. I don't get sales fliers, I just don't get them. I never have.

See? I would need some serious hand holding to make the coupon thing happen. Can I just stick to Aldi and Wally to get those beautiful low low prices?


I could get me a cow and then I would never have to go to the store again, because can't you make just about anything from milk?

No, you say? Oh ye of little cow faith.

Changing the subject because I used suck in my post. My daughter and her friends will not say the words crap or suck, because they are BAD words. I think it's very sweet. Instead they say cwap but they do not say swuck or wuck or whatever it is they would say, thank goodness.

When I'm having a conversation with Ellen I try to say suck and crap as often as possible just for shock value. The whole time she's yelling MOM! YOU MEAN CWAP, CWAP! Then I say something about how I think she is going to need some serious speech thawapy and how bad that is going to SUCK!


Renovation Therapy said...

WalMart is actually more expensive than a traditional grocery store. It's true.

What chain stores do you have near you? Kroger? Publix? CBS? Target?

Renovation Therapy said...

I meant CVS. Der...

April said...

We have HyVee (super expensive), Dillons, Checkers (I use this one because every Tue/Thur they have bananas for 19 cents a pound), Aldi, WalMart and Target. We do have a CVS pharmacy and Walgreens and a local health food store that I love but only buy bulk things there or I would have to take out a second mortgage.

Note: I don't buy much meat (just chicken) cuz I got pork and beef. I also don't buy eggs.

What I want is to learn how to get free toiletries.

Southern Gal said...

I'm like you with the coupon thing. Name brands cost more so they suck (Sorry Ellen) you in with a coupon. They know if you really like it you're likely to buy it again sans coupon.

My dad subscribes to a paper and I use his coupons for anything I buy on a regular basis. I also run off coupons from my computer, but only for those things I actually use. I don't know how those coupon queens do it. I believe they live in really big cities with lots of specials at their discount stores.

I do check my sales fliers just in case.

We've got the emergency fund plus some saved up, but I still need to switch to the envelope system. A local church is offering Dave's seminar and I'm trying to work it out so I can go. Hubby works shift work so I may have to go it alone.

I hope your debt snowball continutes to roll along nicely.
Makes me want to sing "Freedom" when I think about being debt free.

Anonymous said...

Power to Renovation Therapy for the traditional grocery store. Guess mine isn't traditional, because almost nothing is cheaper there. And I think the days of going from store to store to shop the bargains pre-dated the current fuel prices. I think your plan of Ald*'s and W*lm*rt is quite appropriate for your geographical area. We just do not all have the same options. I also think being tied to a twice a day milking routine might be a crimp in your style. As for fun? You are having it - go back and look at some of the photos you have posted. That, my dear, is true fun. The kids in the creek, up the trees, playing with sticks and stones and snow. That's what they will remember. And I will continue to read here to see if you learn about free toiletries. I have a sneaking suspicion that is a big city thing.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to use coupons, find out what days your local newspaper has them. It is usually on Sunday. Then check the sales ads at various stores to see if any of the products are on sale. Also, the buy one, get one free works great with the coupons. Sometimes, you can buy one, get one free and use the coupon and get both almost free. Also, find someone else who uses the coupons and swap ones you don't use with one's they don't etc. Also, on the buy one, get one free deal, say it's a perishable product and you don't need both. Find someone who would use the other ones and split the cost. I don't use coupons so much now but years ago, a friend and I did this and took it very seriously and got lots of name brand products for pennies. Actually, yesterday I used a coupon for 75 cents off a product I use daily. It doesn't sound like much, but it all adds up.

Sandy said...

Walmart is no way more expensive on basics -- I've checked and double checked. At least, that's our Walmart. (hate the place, but when times are tight, I've gotta go for cheapest -- the other frightful but cheap place over here is Pricerite. It's plain frightful, but it's dirt cheap.) Although we are debt free ('cept for the mortgage) we just started cutting back "just in case" -- since, as you said, bonuses could very well not be as planned, and salaries could even be reduced. I think it's important not to be caught off guard and left over spending -- now we have a list of cuts to take now, and a list of things that would go first - to - last. I'm totally with you on the coupons -- half of the stuff I'd never buy (particularly b/c I mostly cook from scratch). I think they are mostly just advertising ploys. I do know people who save lots of $ shopping by the sales flyer at grocery stores though -- and actually make their lists according to what's on sale. Hat's off the them! Good for you for all of the great work that you are doing. Kudos!!

Lynn in WI said...

Yup.Yup.Yup. I don't do coupons either for all the exact same reasons. THank you for making that list so I don't have to.

The thing I love about Aldi in addition to their prices is that I can be in and out in 20 minutes or less.

I hear you on the budget thing...ever-changing and unpredictable especially with old houses and children.

We started playing cribbage for fun. I know what you're thinking. We're too wild for you. (We hear that a lot.)

Renovation Therapy said...

hotcouponworld.com is good place to start.

At one point last year we donated several thousand dollars worth of free food & toiletries to a pantry...and it didn't cost us a dime. If you don't know how to use a coupon, that's one thing but to discourage someone from learning how to properly use a coupon is another.

Mama Hen said...

April, you can got to www.moneysavingmom. and she has a tutorial thing that will walk you through how to get free toiletries, medicines, etc at CVS and Walgreens. It's not hard, just takes time at first.

Joy said...

1st, Great job on Christmas spending!!! That was a big one for us. And we did it, too!

Coupons - they're a bit iffy. It's better to watch for prices to drop and then buy how many of that item you think you'll need. Many stores, not Wally, run specials every so often of the same items :especially pantry stuff. Learn the meat man's name and become his best friend. Bribe him with home-canned goodness. Then ask him when certain cuts will be cut, when he puts the "sale fast" items out (what time) so you can be there waiting for the best selection!

Target has a clearance section somewhere in it on groceries and I always check it out and get items I won't pay full price for there.

Once I stopped going to Walmart, I had more money. Seriously. It did NOT save me any. Now I go to the grocery store and Costco and the local market for veggies and fruit.

Toiletries - Do you want to make your own? Shampoo, etc. can be made at home... depends how "far out" you are and I can say, I'm pretty far out when it comes to doing without the things the world tells me I need.

Sorry this is so long! One more thing, coupons are usually for new items or convenience foods. If you bake a cake, just make it with 5 ingredients you have and not a box. It tastes better and it's so much cheaper!


Clayvessel said...

I never use coupons anymore.
What changed is our diet and the way I cook. Are you still cutting out High Fructose Corn Syrup? Cuz, that will eliminate alot of coupons. How about GMOs? Like soy. Lots more coupons. Trying to eat organically? Not many coupons for that either. I don't use coupons in my garden or hen house. I buy TP and soap at Costco.
Free yourself from coupons and bad food.

Anna Sophia said...

This woman is a wiz with coupons and getting toiletries for free! Read through her blog, email her, she will really help a lot! :)

P.s. Your welcome! :)


Sharon said...

Good for you on your progress.

I think making a lost and sticking with it in a good place to start.

Jenni said...

I have to comment on some comments.

Um, no. Walmart is less expensive than Dillon's (owned by Kroger) and much, much less expensive than Apple Market or Jack and Jill. At least that's how it is here. It's also cheaper than Super Target. Aldis is very nice, if you have one close enough and if they have everything on your list. Braum's has cheaper (and better) milk most of the time than all but Aldi.

Walmart will price match on other stores' sales, but they don't do it automatically. You have to tell them. There is one very nice older clerk who always reminds me to ask for the bananas at 19 cents a pound on Thursdays (I think) because that's when Leekers has them on sale. For Pete's sake! I don't even know where there is a Leekers other than Goddard which is 40 minutes from my Walmart and an hour from me. It's very sweet of him to tell me about this because I would never know/remember.

I am trying to figure out the envelope system. I bought one of those cute little wallets when they were on sale. Um, so far not so good. All I've succeeded in doing is keeping my checkbook balanced and not putting any more on the credit cards. That is a huge victory to say I made it through Christmas without breaking out the credit cards! Now I've got to figure out how to figure what I need to spend ahead of time. My head hurts just thinking about it.

The bit about Ellen and the dirty words really made me laugh because I think I'd do the same thing. I remember the first time I used the word "suck". I was probably in 5th or 6th grade and it was in reference to homework. My mom was shocked. She told me never to use that word again. I couldn't figure it out. I had no idea what it might refer to. It didn't sound like a bad word. I asked her to explain. She still hasn't to this day.

Anonymous said...

It's a mother's job to lightly torture & embarrass the teenage daughters. Our mothers did it to us & thus we pass on the knowledge.

Like your posts on DR. We're starting the course next month.

~Mad said...

Okay ya'll -
Ya'll talk about the couponing all you want.I want to talk about "cwap".

I was going to tellApril that Renovation Therapy uses "carp" for cr*p. When I first read it, I thought it was a typo. Imagine my surprise when I saw her comments over here.

I'll be checking on the couponing thing. I'm with you, April. It sounds like a bunch of trouble, but I have friends who have detailed how they save and it is awesome!

~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

Linda said...

I used to coupon years ago when our local grocery store did double coupons. They no longer do. And I no longer buy a lot of the cwap that I used to. I'm not opposed to coupons, but I rarely find any that I can use.

Ok, I'm not a Wal-Mart fan, sorry. I just struggle with that store for some reason. But maybe that's just me. I buy my toiletries and such at Target, and I usually buy their brands ... like TP, paper towels, zip bags, etc. I think the prices are do-able for my budget. They have started printing coupons at the checkout now, so that's cool.

As for soaps, shampoos and lotions ... I'm starting to make my own. I probably need more projects like a hole in the head. But I've committed myself to eating more naturally and I figure why not use products that are more natural and I know exactly what's in them. I'll let ya know how that goes. LOL

And I'm still rootin' for ya to get a cow! I have a recipe to make yogurt in the slow cooker ... woohoo!

Rhea said...

Cows, crap and a sucky cost of living.

Rosie_Kate said...

The only way I can stick to my grocery budget is to not go grocery shopping. Okay, I only get groceries once a month! I know... but it works. I have two co-ops/buyingclubs that I order from and spend the same amount each month. After picking up the order, I go to the store and only get what's on my list and only spend a certain amount. I buy milk down the road from the neighbors, so it has it's own budget. I don't buy produce other than apples and oranges because we eat whatever we have in the garden, or stored from the garden, with sprouts and kitchen lettuce for greens.

Also, I have to tell myself I have less to spend than I really do, so that when I spend more, as I inevitably will, I'm still in my budget. Hm. Maybe that means I always fail and don't really stick to my budget?

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad it's not just me! I've never been successful using coupons and Dave Ramsey is giving us fits after only 2 seminars. The Big Budget is a real BUMMER!

Leila said...

The crap thing reminds me of Booth Tarkington's Seventeen, a very funny book (a great read-aloud).

The little sister is trying to tell a story about something her brother said, and her mother insists that she say "Word" instead of "Damn" -- it's a great scene!

I think your daughter should make you say "Word"!

Anonymous said...

Wallymart in MI, used to price match competitors ads, so if you took in Dillon's flyer, and they had Tide for 5.99, and Wallymart was 7.99, they would match Dillon's price. One of our Wallymarts even kept the competitors flyers at the registers.


Jennifer said...

don't have time to read all the other comments, but just thought that i'd throw in my 2 cents worth. i try to buy in bulk things that are on sale, and that works ok. also, no conviniece foods. when i went grocery shopping right before christmas, the cloerk was all like- oh, somebody wiil be doing a lot of baking! but no, i always buy like that- 50lb of flour, eggs, crisco... all stuff to make from scratch. i have a recipe for homemade bisquik mix, and even condensed soup. it's all in how you cook. alos, we raise our own chickens- (100+ this year) and i WILL NOT pay more than $2 a pound for meat. but we eat burger, ham, pork and beef. it's just buying in bulk when you can. also, make your own laundry detergent- it's easy and not gross. for fabric softener, use 1/3 fabric softener, 1/3 water and 1/3 vinegar. the clothes smell great. use rags, never paper towels. sometimes i even make my own cleaning stuff, if i haven't gotten to dollar general. hope that helps- we're a homeschooling family of 7, living the homesteading simple life on one income. and we're not weird, either. and i don't wear a dress.

Kristi said...

I don't use coupons either. I hate them. I don't get the newspaper either. I hate them too.

But...I do love Dave Ramsey. Stick with it you will be oh so glad ya did. We did and now we are....DEBT FREEEEEEEEEE!

Feels nice, especially in "this economy".

Kristin said...

April, (IMHO) there is no point buying a brand of product you wouldn't normally use just because it has a coupon to go with it. Now if it is on sale AND with the coupon will be cheaper than what you normally buy it is worth it. I too struggle with using coupons. I do get them in our paper and sometimes remember to cut them out and take them with me. If I do then I go through my grocery list and mark which items I have a coupon for. Then when I get to the store and am pulling the item off the shelf I can look and see if the coupon will really help or not. Obviously I'm not a "coupon shopping pro", but sometimes it saves me a bit of cash. I don't think I've ever shopped at multiple locations to put coupons and sales to their advantage. I'm like you - either too lazy or just plain too busy!! ;0)

Good luck with Dave Ramsey's program! We have several neighbors who swear by it. I know it's something we should do. We have set up a budget and are scaling back, but haven't gotten to the whole envelope thing. Right now my DH is relying on the categories in Quicken and we pay just about everything with the debit card so it shows up in the account by the next day.

Jennifer said...

congrats on the new 3 column look, BTW!

cndymkr / jean said...

I like the new look.

km said...

I wrote a ton and the computer gobbled it. Here is my shortened answer(yes the other one was a book)

Basic couponing
Good tip;Generally a coupon can only expire at the end of the month. A coupon expiring Jan 6th can be used up till Jan 31st.
Write your shopping list and stick to it. Use coupons for only the items on the list. Period!
Get a plastic divider thingie for a buck in the dollar store. Categorize it by dairy, bread, snacks, cereal etc. Keep a slot blank for the coupons that will be used on the current shopping trip. Stops you dropping the damn things a hundred times.
Have a coupon night to gather coupons from friends. Clipping and bitching is great.
Buy only the Sunday paper. Or see if your library has a coupon dump box. If you know someone out of state or in a different town they will have different coupons. If they visit have them bring a collection.
Couponing level 2 involves decoding the bar codes of coupons and is very intense. I've just about figured it out but might have a brain hemorrage in the meantime.

I am a coupon queen and a Ramseyite. We have gone from 120K to 30K over almost 2 yrs (Medical issues with infant). Our snowball is now teeny with this economy. Stick with it, you will be so glad..

Ice House said...

*go to www.hotcouponworld.com

*visit their forums

*click on grocery stores

*your grocery store will be listed in ABC order

*click on your store and you will find a wealth of information

*they even post the stores weekly ad and match up the coupons for you

Examples of saving: tonight I spent $43 and saved $62 using coupons and my sales papers

Example of a good deal: Lysol 4 in 1 bleach cleaner is regular $2.69. Publix had it buy one get one free making them $1.35 each. I had a $0.50 coupon that Publix doubled. Final cost for name brand product...$0.35 (cheaper than store brand or Wally World)

Example of another good deal:
Heartland Whole Grain Pasta
was $1.50 each but on sale at buy one get one free making them $0.75 each. I had a coupon for $0.55 that Bilo doubled. They paid me $0.35 to take home the pasta...I bought (or was given) 4 and MADE $1.40.

Our Walgreens sells Sunday papers for $0.88 each. If I use 1 $0.50 coupon an it is doubled I've paid for my paper and still have lots of coupons left to use (I buy 4 papers a week)

Really...once you give it a REAL try...you will be amazed at the money you can save.

Missourimom said...

We have the same problems with our budget. But, we are getting better at it. I have heard Dave say that your budget should be done monthly because different months have different expenses, he also says it gets easier the longer you do it, and I agree. You should check out frugalvillage.com....awesome forums with tons of ideas on saving money!

Renovation Therapy said...

km - coupon decoding is illegal and considered shoplifting.

Jenni said...

Is there a "bent can" type grocery store in your area. Our small town has two, my mother's much smaller town has one. Basically it is an independant store who buys discontinued or bent or even not bent cans and other items from retailers and wholesalers at a huge discounted price and resales them. They cannot by law sale out dated or opened items. Ours buys a lot from Target and has a ton of the Target brand on the shelves. The will also have on great deals on random items. Never the same each week.

I shop there first and fill in at the normal stores. It has saved me a good bit.

and um Walmart is a good bit higher in our town, but I did not know they would match prices.