I've had a few comments on here and facebook about couponing and how to get started. I would recommend Money Saving Mom for starters. She has a lot of helpful info on shopping at CVS and Walgreens and using coupons in general. She also always lists free sample offers, as well as giveaways. From that site, I started blog-hopping those who were posting comments on other deals and found some other great sites. Two that I really like are The Coupon Coup and Common Sense With Money - both of which are also listed on my favorite sites on the side. I just try to read these at least once a day to find out what deals are going on. I've had to recognize that I can't hit all the deals all the time and that's okay.
I switched to a cash budget for groceries and have given myself some flexibility while I figure this out but eventually I'd like to get it lower. My goal is to maintain our current lifestyle or even better and spend less to do it. Last month was very successful and this month is off to a great start, especially with some rebates coming back! That will be a nice addition to my cash budget. So far I am spending a lot less (about 1/2) than I was before just using a debit card and I have 2 shelf units in the basement full of things I've gotten besides our normal groceries! And that doesn't even include the rebates that are coming back.
I enjoy shopping, spending some time out of the house, and using math skills and couponing manages to do all three at once! I also enjoy being on the computer and reading blogs and also contributing to our income. Since I don't bring in any money, I feel good about taking less out. It's really been a win-win situation for me. Last Friday, we went up to my parents house and I wanted to go to Walgreens. My mom went with me and their Walgreens was so awesome. They went out of their way to be helpful and I got everything I wanted and it went just how I hoped. My mom just laughed at how euphoric I was. My total before coupons was $82, after coupons was $35 and then I will get $48 back in rebates! How can that not be exciting? No, it's not all stuff we need, although we'll be able to use 90% of it. But I basically got paid to do that! I just love it.
Today was also our 1st day of school for this year. It went fairly well, all things considered. We were interrupted numerous times by Owen and Rachel, which was expected. We started around 9 and finished everything by 11 except for science, which we did at 1. My biggest challenge, besides Rachel and Owen, is figuring out how to do one on one time for Brendan and Tori and what to have the other one do while that is going on. I think we will just keep trying to figure it out and hopefully as the year goes on they will become more independent with some things. If we had a different lay-out (which is a dangerous road to go down because it quickly leads to discontent) then I could have them in different areas but still close enough to go back and forth as needed.
Speaking of houses, we now have our "for sale" sign ready - but it is propped up on our porch instead of in the ground. I tried to push it in today and was having trouble so decided to let Josh do it when he got home. Maybe tomorrow? I have still managed to keep everything organized and can get the house cleaned up pretty quick - all except that kitchen countertop. It just looks like something exploded on it. I am in the middle of trying to organize my coupons and just can't keep that area clean. I did win the coupon binder that I posted about the other day (yea!) so hopefully I can get all those taken care of this weekend.