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Archive for the ‘Coupons and Savings’ Category

In May, our church will be hosting the second annual Father/Daughter Purity Ball. The Hubby took the girls last year. They had a memorable experience. The girls were all dressed up and their hair in curls. The Hubby in his suit and tie.  Makes a mommy proud!

Once the date for this years ball was set, I logged in my mental background the need for new dresses.  Being the frugal nut that I am, I wasn’t looking to spend more than $10 each.  You see those dresses they wore last year?  Thing 1’s was free plus $10 in alterations.  Thing 2’s was bought at a second-hand children’s shop for $6.50.

About a month ago, we were browsing through one of the local thrift stores.  I didn’t even have the ball or the need for dresses on my mind; yet, there it was….. The perfect dress for Thing 1.  It was hanging in the window in the back of the store.  I debated back and forth in my own mind as to whether or not I should ask the store keeper to take it down for me to look at.  I dragged Thing 1 over to look at it.  She was enamored with it instantly.  I, then, debated in my mind as to how much I would be willing to spend on it.  I mean, it was gorgeous!  After some time of mental debating and talking with Thing 1, I gathered up my gumption and asked the store keeper to take it down for me to see and Thing 1 to try on.  Oh my!  It fit almost perfectly.  It brought a tear to my eye.  She looked so beautiful in it.  It is white (the hint you get for now) which complimented her olive complexion.  I then go back to my mental debating.  I love the dress and I know it is perfect for the occasion but what if they ask too much for it?  What if it is so beyond my set ball budget.  As I carry the dress to the front of the store, I’m getting a little nervous.  I just know this is the dress!  I approach the gentleman at the checkout counter and ask how much he would charge me for this (perfect) dress.  He says, “$15”.  I say, “Would you take $10”.  (My heart is pounding at this moment.) He says, “Yes.”  YES!!!!! YES!!!! YES!!!!  I do my victory dance in my head.  The dress needs to be cleaned and slightly altered but with out a shadow of a doubt she will be the BELL OF THE BALL.  (Mommy’s heart swells!)

Oh small problem.  One dress; two girls.

Thing 2 is highly disappointed that she didn’t find her “perfect dress”.  I’m highly excited that I found the dress but realize that I have been floating with glee over the find of Thing 1’s dress and slightly unconcerned with Thing 2’s lack of one.  I assure Thing 2 that her dress with be found at the right moment.  It will appear when the time is right just like the other dress did.

Every thrift store entered is the place; or so Thing 2 thinks.  Several dresses are tried on and yet not a one seems like that “perfect dress”.  Until yesterday!  We were in a far away town (okay, only 1.5 hours away) on a mission that concerned the well-being of my car.  As we a driving through, Thing 2 yells, “Look Mom, a Goodwill store!”. (Insert car braking sounds) Oh yeah!  I can’t resist a Goodwill.

We a perusing through the store looking at skirts, shorts, pants, shirts, shoes, etc. when I decide we should head over to the dress section and take a look.  Oh my at all the 80’s style dresses that make the Goodwill their home.  YIKES! 🙂  As I am giggling at the old dresses, I notice a lovely pale yellow dress.  I pull it off the rack and hold it up to Thing 2.  Nice!  She wants to try it on.  I suggest a little more perusing before we head over to the dressing rooms.  More giggles from us at some of the horrible dresses hanging on the rack.  Then between two dresses that are probably older than me, I see a glimmer of silver.  Not sparkly silver, more of a matte silver (the only hint I’m giving on this one too).  I pull it out and a smile forms on my lips.  This is it!  This is the perfect dress for Thing 2.  We traverse our way through the isles of the store until we reach the dressing rooms.  She enters with yellow dress and silver dress in tow.  The yellow dress fits but we are still in awe of the silver dress.  She tries on the silver dress…. and… YES! It fits almost perfectly.  We instantly agree that this is THE DRESS!  And to top it all off, I only spend $6.30 cents on the dress.

I can’t wait to get the dresses cleaned and altered.  I can’t wait to see them in their beautiful ball dresses and on their proud father’s arms leaving for the ball!

The Milk Maid

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You are only as frugal as you take the time to be.  I like to consider myself a semi-frugal person.  I clip the coupons, save on groceries, shop thrift and consignment stores, and keep a tab on the finances.  I also like to consider my self semi-crunchy.  Eating organic meats that we butcher ourselves and milking my own cow has helped save loads on the grocery bill.

But there is so much more I could do but don’t take the time to do.  I could eat out much less.  I don’t eat out a lot but I could probably cut it out much more than I do.  Sometimes its just so darn convenient.  I could put up more veggies from the garden to reduce the number of frozen veggies I have to purchase through out the fall and winter.   But, gosh, summer is so busy with missions trips and camps and such….

To make myself feel better about my short falls, I must include my proudest frugal moment as of lately.  I just finished the last of two boxes of washing detergent that I purchased over a year ago.  I bought these two economy size boxes of Tide (love Tide!) from Amazon.com in February of last year and just used my last scoop last night.  The boxes cost me about $55 for the pair.  I guesstimate an average of one load of laundry per day.  That is a cost of 15 cents per load.  The savings isn’t so much in the cost but in the fact that I made it last so long!   I know there is that so-called homemade detergent out there that supposedly lasts forever and doesn’t cost a dime, but I’m not ready to commit to that yet.

I want to encourage everyone to continue your strive to be frugal in your financial choices.   Please share with me ways you find to be frugal.  I’m always open to new ideas!

Frugally,

The Milk Maid

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I haven’t posted in a few days so here I go with nothing particular in mind.

I am stuck at home because my car is in the shop.  Thursday of last week, an older gentleman backed into my car in a parking lot.  While the damage wasn’t substantial and it still ran perfectly fine, it did $2000 worth of body damage.  The gentleman is a local guy that both The Hubby and my dad are acquaintances with so he offered to pay for all the damage.  Now it is at the body shop getting repaired.  I drove The Hubby’s extra truck on Monday and Tuesday but the alternator went out in it.  I’m stuck at home with loads of chores that have been waiting to be  done, so I guess it’s not such a bad thing after all.

I’ve been working on a post about Kefir grains but can’t get the camera from The Hubby long enough to shoot some video footage for it.  The post is sitting patiently in my drafts folder waiting for completion.  Look for it soon!

I have picked up my knitting needles after allowing them to sit dormant for nearly 4 years.  A quick refresher course from a friend, a new stitch, and away I go!  I completed a scarf and am attempting another one; except this one has more complicated stitches in it.  I would post pictures of it except that – once again – The Hubby has the camera.  I’ve struggled with these complicated stitches and patterns.  The current scarf has been restarted 5 times but I am a determined knitter.

The girls are working diligently on their school work this morning.  I love the quietness of the house when they are focused on their work.  You can hear the occasional murmuring out of them as they muse over their findings or grunt as they attempt to solve a complex mathematical equation.  These are the moments I live for!

What does toilet water do to a cell phone?  I found out yesterday at co-op.  I dropped my cell phone in a toilet and fished it out quickly.  But alas, it must not have been quick enough; my cell phone isn’t acting right and the inner screen is all white.  My poor phone!  I guess this is why we carry that $5 phone insurance.

Clothes are not something I like to spend money on.  Don’t get me wrong; I like nice clothes as much as the next person. What I love most is Free clothes!  Often times, at our homeschool co-op, some of the families bring in clothing their kids have grown out of and give them away for free.  My girls have received several nice clothing items from these families generosity.  When I can’t get clothes for free, I love to find them cheap!  This can be new clothing on clearance or like-new clothing from Goodwill or a consignment store.  I see absolutely no reason to buy clothing at full price when there are so many stores that sell like-new clothing for a fraction of the price.  Buying clothing on clearance at the end of a season is another way I have managed to clothe my family for minimal amounts.  While in Atlanta on Monday – for Thing 2’s appointment – we stopped at the Goodwill in Woodstock.  What a great place!  I got 2 pairs of pants, a sweater, a skirt, 2 pairs of shoes, a DVD, and an audiobook on cassette for $30!  Last week, I found Thing 1’s Purity Ball dress at a local thrift store and paid $10 for it.  It is beautiful and she will look beautiful in it!

Well, those chores aren’t going to get themselves done so I’m off to conquer the piles of laundry, sweep and mop the floors, make some butter, and the list goes on…….

The Milk Maid

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A little less than a year ago, my paths crossed with a local lady who introduced me to the idea of “Couponing”.  I now call it my dorky hobby.  But it’s not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle change.  It’s a new way of thinking.  It is my way of contributing to the family financially without having to put my kids in public school and get a job.

Before I get on my soapbox about couponing, let me tell you about the pre-coupon me.  In my pre-coupon life, my husband and I were spending anywhere from $150 to $200 a week in groceries.  We weren’t really particular about which store we shopped at but Wal-Mart and Ingles were our typical stops.  We didn’t make grocery lists.  We didn’t look at prices.  We simply strolled down each isle and tossed into the buggy whatever caught our fancy.  Sales Ads?  NO!  Clearance Items?  NO!  Boy did we pay for it and didn’t think twice about it.

I thought coupons were for people who were dirt poor and couldn’t afford anything.  I thought coupons were for stuff a person never needed.  Oh, how I was wrong.  Then a whole new world was opened to me.

I love to talk coupons!  I get excited over them!  I find enjoyment in clipping and sorting them!  I’m such a dork! 🙂

But you know what’s totally amazing to me?  I spend about 10 to 20 minutes a week planning my groceries and coupons, and save at least 50% every week.  My grocery budget (I didn’t have a budget before) has went down to $75 a week; no more than $300 per month.  The Hubby still enjoys seeing me save so much money and get so many groceries for such a minimal amount.  And I’m picky as to which store I shop at.  Sometimes I make a couple of stops as to find the best deal for an item I need.

Let me share a little secret:  Wal-Mart doesn’t always have the best prices.  Shocker, I know!

I’ve taught my sister and so many other’s since then how to save money.  I enjoy sharing this exciting news with others.  God has called on us to be good stewards of our money (and other possessions) and this is a great way to do that.  What a ministry He has put before me!  And usually once someone see’s how easy it is and how much they can save their family’s budget, they are eager to jump on board.

How about you?  How do you find ways to save your family’s money?  Do you use coupons?  Maybe you are just a thrifty shopper?  Please leave a comment to share you savings ideas.

The Milk Maid

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