Friday, October 24, 2008

Bragging ~ Sunday Scribblings


How Great Am I?

I suppose I could think of a thing or two
to brag about myself to you.
But why would I even go there?
To speak those words as if you cared

To brag of things that I've achieved
though, in my life I've both loved and grieved.
I have a great list that I've compiled
but, if I shared, it would take a while!

I'd love to brag, oh can't you see?
One of my favorite people on earth is Me!
If you really insist I brag of one quality,
that I love about me
It would have to be..... my HUMILITY.

*Of course what I've written above is untrue
But it was so fun to share with you.
though we all have things of which we should be proud,
I have a hard time saying them out loud.*

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Style - Sunday Scribblings


Style
Style is the attempt
 to dress yourself
and fix your hair
in a way that says
I am not back there
in the past 
where I came from
But I'm here and now
ready for fun
The problem is
that your style today
will be the joke
of those years away
Remember when making
the effort 
to stay "in tune"
those lovely white shoes
on the "stylish" Pat Boone.

1960 Slacktime Casuals

BJ's Wholesale Club - Cut your grocery bill

After my recent post about saving money, I was contacted by somebody affiliated with BJ's Wholesale Club.  I was delighted to find out that BJ's not only sends you a coupon book each month, but they are the only discount club that allows regular manufacturer coupons.  

Even better, I learned that they allow coupon "stacking".  That means that if you buy an item at BJ's that includes more than one item labeled for re-sale, as many of their items are, you can use up to that number in coupons.  For example, if you bought a multi-pack of spaghetti sauce with three jars,  you can use up to three coupons on that item!  This is a great money saver!  

Before I posted this I did try it out to be sure it works.  I clipped my coupons from the BJ's coupon book, printed some from www.eversave.com and www.coupons.com, and went to BJ's to buy my regular groceries.

It worked fine and I saved $35 with the coupons and was able to use multiple coupons on multi-pack items without a problem at all.  

**For those reading from BJ's Wholesale Club, feel free to mail me some gift cards in exchange for this wonderful plug that I'm giving you on top of all of the money that I spend at your store!  Thanks!**

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Purse Speaks - What Does It Say?


I have been tagged by my blog friend, Jamey at Walking-By-Faith with a fun Meme.  

Here are the rules:
1. Dump the contents of your handbag in a pile.
2. Take a photo of your handbag and the contents.
3. Be brave and explain to your fellow bloggers what lurks inside the handbag.
4. Tag others who might want to embarrass themselves.
5. Answer the questions below in your blog.

What's in your handbag?
I have a big fat wallet (just like Jamey's),keys, a lot of pens (and I can never seem to find one!), my new cell phone, certs mints and cinnamon mints, loads of receipts and papers, my beloved sunglasses and polishing cloth, my lipstick and lipgloss, carmex lip balm, hairbrush, camera, pepper spray and two 4-H pins from the State Fair two weekends ago.  You can see why I always carry a huge purse!

What's the most important thing in your handbag? 
My cell phone which is my lifeline with email.

What's the most embarrassing thing in your handbag? 
I'm sure you can guess that one.

What's the smallest thing in your handbag? 
Mints and 4-H pins

Is there anything illegal in your handbag? 
No, but I actually had, and didn't photograph, three canisters of pepper spray in my purse in varying sizes (small, medium and large) because I had just gone to a conference a couple of weeks ago.  I ended up getting some extra canisters as samples from a vendor that we use in our business. I had been carrying them around all this time and this exercise helped me to remember to take the extras out.  I pity the fool who tries to mess with me! :)

I will now tag:
Mom at DREAMSWEPT
Brooke at More Than Me

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Time To Deal


I guess we're stuck with higher prices on everything! Let's just admit it's happening and stop whining about it. Now, are you ready to deal with it?  What's your plan?

Even when prices weren't as high, I was a coupon clipper. I never clip coupons for items that I don't already purchase to avoid overspending on novelty items.

As I've posted before, I have a daily planner that has some zipper pockets in it and I keep all the coupons that I collect in it. I carry this planner in my car so whenever I go shopping I check to see if I have any coupons for that store. I have signed up for every discount card at every store I frequent that offers them. Some that really pay off are Staples, Office Max, Best Buy, Petco, Petsmart, Ukrops (grocery store) and Food Lion. For example, at Petco, for every 10th bag of dog food I buy, I get one free. My dogs go through a 40 pound bag of food every 2 1/2 weeks! I am one bag away from a free bag. I have to buy it anyway so why not?

Another good way to save is discount club shopping. I am a member at BJ's Wholesale club and I go twice a month. I get a coupon book in the mail every month which I faithfully go through and clip out the appropriate coupons. I buy pretty much the same things every time I go and don't deviate very much.

My kids get to pick out one item each (usually a sugary cereal, ice cream or pop tarts). They know that if they ask me for something ridiculously overpriced (like "Lunchables" or frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without crusts -"Uncrustables"), I'm going to give them a quick economics lesson on how much money we would save if we bought the cheese, crackers and luncheon meat or peanut butter, jelly and bread ourselves and made our own! They also know I'm going to give them a quick lecture on fake food versus real food. :)

I always buy toilet paper and paper towels at the wholesale club, as well as milk, eggs, meat, juice and frozen foods. I usually save between $15 - $20 with coupons. I usually make only one or two trips a month to the regular grocery store for quick items here or there. If they have a decent sale on something, I'll stock up. A couple of weeks ago they had 2-liter sodas for $.89 and half of them had $.50 coupons on them so you know I got a bunch of those!

Those who know me will tell you that I hate grocery shopping and I hate running out of things! I try to get as much as I can in one trip so I don't have to go back for a while. Also, I always have my children with me when I grocery shop so I am usually exhausted by the whole thing.

Some other little things to do to save money:
  1.  Take all loose pocket change and put it in a jar or piggy bank at the end of the day (who still spends cash though?), after a few months you could have enough to pay for a round of groceries.
  2. Shop at the local book exchange instead of Barnes and Noble.  They will give you credit for your old books and you can pick out second hand books at a substantial discount.  I have shopped there for many years and my credit always exceeds my purchases. 
  3. Use the public library.  Our public library is great and has many of the latest dvds and music cds to check out and of course there are tons of books!  We love books around here.
  4.  Instead of going out to the movies (so expensive!), join Netflix.  We love Netflix and I never have to worry about late fees.  It also saves on gas.
  5. If you or your spouse travel for work, make sure that they are a member of a hotel rewards club.  Our favorite is Marriott.  We collect Marriott Rewards points and usually have enough for several free nights every year which we try to use for a family trip.
  6. Think about energy efficiency.  Every little bit counts right?  We have those energy efficient light bulbs.  It's been great not having to change a light bulb in over a year!  Plus, there really is a cost savings in the power bill.  If you don't want to take the plunge to change out all of  your lightbulbs, remind everybody in the house to turn them off when they're not in use!  That helps too!
If you're feeling blue about the economic times we currently find ourselves, gain inspiration from those who have come before us! Imagine what the pioneer days were like, or the time of the Great Depression. The folks who lived through those times would take one look at us fat cats and have a good long laugh! We have been through nothing compared to those who have forged the path before us. My advice? Tighten up the purse strings and do the best you can. We'll all be stronger in the end.

Salad Perfection

If you live in the Midwest, you know WaWa. Here in the South, WaWa gas stations and convenience stores have started popping up all over the place. Each location is still shiny and new.

Between business, errands, and kid's activities I drive all the time. WaWa usually has the better prices on gas and the convenience store has the best food you'll find in such a place.

I love their Chicken, Cherry, Walnut salads. If I could eat one every day I probably would. It has mixed greens, diced chicken, walnuts, dried cherries and feta cheese. At just $4.00 and 380 calories, this salad fills me up and tastes sooooo good. Plus, compared to fast food, it is obviously a much better choice. I usually get the Raspberry vinaigrette dressing (fat free!) or the Caesar vinaigrette (not so fat free).

If you're ever at a WaWa give it a try!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Forbidden - Sunday Scribblings


Forbidden

Being human, we want what we can't have. As Americans, we have literally everything we need. Don't even try to argue that we don't. We do. We're spoiled.....rotten!!

Just take a look at how our government operates, especially this past week. It's a sad state of affairs. I guess the place that this writing prompt takes me is to the attitude and lifestyle of the American people as a whole. There are plenty of people who live and act responsibly, borrowing only what they can afford to pay back, living within their means, and even giving charitably to those less fortunate. But for the rest of the people, including the banks, the borrowers, and the government, who thought that it was somehow a good idea to borrow, lend, and oversee financial transactions without the responsible wisdom required for such things, you have left the rest of us to bear the burden of your stupidity.

A few months ago, when the financial crisis was just beginning in the news, I posted a funny blog post called "The Financial Crisis - How Did We Get Here?". It included a clip from the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" where Ben Stein was teaching economics and the class was barely able to stay awake. The clip includes his famous "Anyone? Anyone?" line. The point of my post was, that we got here, because nobody was paying attention. Over the last month, my blog has been inundated with hundreds of hits by people google searching the exact words "Financial Crisis - How did we get here?" It is so sad, that we have been blindsided by the irresponsible acts of other citizens, businesses and our own government. But, we are also partly to blame for not paying attention!

Back to the writing prompt of "forbidden". Nobody likes to be told no, especially when we really want something. But, just as we have to tell our 2 year old child "NO" to running out into the street, so must we say "NO" to many things in life.

Here are some things which should be forbidden for the good of the nation:
Giving mortgages to people who can't afford them, paying CEOs millions of dollars even though the company has collapsed, filing for bankruptcy "protection" so your company can go out and continue the exact same practices that got you there in the first place, government bailouts, tax increases and wealth re-distribution plans, socialized medicine, wasteful spending by politicians, more plastic surgery for Nancy Pelosi, rushed time lines for legislation (as if this problem just appeared suddenly!), and Presidential debates without lie detectors. Oh, and we can't forget the encouragement of outsourcing jobs and illegal immigration!! Whew - that's obviously my abbreviated version of this list.

God, as always, has it right. Forbidding some things, for our own good, saves us from a lot of pain down the road.

May I help you?

Super Man and I at Jamestown Island

Schnauzers!

Schnauzers!
Our 2 Giant Schnauzers and our Mini Schnauzer (Smokie) hanging out in my office. Notice Smokie rules over the big ones.