Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving! What a blessing to be with my family again....I also got to see my dearest Stephanie....loveliness! Now it's back to the grind. PA mailed me today saying that they were missing a Praxis test, and so my application was put "on hold." Grrr! So I called ETS today, and they said that they had made a mistake and that they were re-sending my Praxis scores. Whew! I did NOT want to have to send another $40. So, hopefully that will all be taken care of shortly and I quit waitressing and go back to teaching!

Only someone from Money Saving Mom will appreciate this, but here are my CVS purchases from Black Friday:

I got q-tips, 3 boxes of freezer/storage bags, 2 tylenol trial capsules (good for traveling), body wash, a package of Hershey's extra-dark chocolate, 2 toothbrushes, toothpaste, Advil PM, and a package of razors.

I spent about $8-out-of-pocket and got a little over $20 in ECB (I made one or two mistakes). Anyway, I'm glad to be operating with over $20 in ECB from now on! Best of all, we actually use EVERY SINGLE ONE of those items. From now on, I hope to keep our oop to under $3 each time!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving is coming SOON! I love this holiday, and most of all, I LOVE the fact that it's the first time my family has been together in one place since the summer. We're leaving tomorrow after work, and we'll have our family Thanksgiving dinner at noon on Thursday. I, like always, will be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. It just wouldn't been Thanksgiving otherwise! I don't watch the whole thing, just bits and pieces in-between helping my Mom and eating nuts out of the bowl. :) I am determined to be in NYC one of these years and see the parade in person!

After we eat at our house, we will be heading out to a dessert party hosted by friends of ours from church. A bunch of friends will be there - including people that we used to go to church with and have since moved. I can't wait to see everyone.....and I am VERY excited to be bringing Paula Deen's "Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Toppin'." Liz made these once last year, and OH MY WORD, are they awesome! You can find the recipe here. I will be dreaming of them all the way to Connecticut!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I have been learning so much from various blogs, particularly Kacie and Crystal, about how to save tons at CVS. I personally had never shopped at CVS before for my normal body/pharmacy items, because I always thought the prices were out of control. I shopped at Wal-Mart for everything, often buying generic when the product was comparable in quality. Well, they opened my eyes to the wonderful world of CVS savings! For anyone new to CVS, check out the CVS:101 links on their sidebars.

Anyway, several weeks ago, I purchased Brita filters and Degree Deoderant from CVS. Using a $4/20 coupon I got from signing up for a new CVS card, and a coupon for $2 off the deo that I had from the paper, I spent $20.12 out of pocket. In return, I was given $10 in ECB.

Fast forward to this past Monday. I started out slowly, like they recommend. I was able to purchase:

2 bottles of Palmolive dish detergent
1 bottle of Tums Smoothies (60 count)
1 package of CVS cotton swabs (500 ct. plus 50 bonus q-tips)

I had another CVS coupon ($2/10), then a $1/2 Palmolive coupon, then a $1/off Tums coupon from the CVS diabetes booklet in the back of the store. Using $5 of my ECB, I only paid $2.85 out of pocket BUT I have a rebate (check last Sunday's paper!) for the full cost of the Tums. Since I am a rookie :), I didn't understand until I got to the register that you have to use the full dollar amount of the ECB or you don't get any back. However, I didn't lose any money, since I'll be getting the refund from Tums. My cashier was very, very gracious, and was actually excited for me to earn all of the ECB that I did from my receipt!

All in all:
I earned $6 ECB from this week's purchases
I still have my $5 ECB from my original purchase
I will be making $1.84 BACK from my Tums rebate

Basically, I got FREE STUFF, I earned MORE MONEY at CVS for next week, and I actually MADE COLD, HARD CASH!

I am so excited to see tomorrow's paper!
Last night Chris and I met up with Amanda and her boyfriend because she was in town to visit him. It was great to see her, and we saw the movie Dan in Real Life. Oh my gosh, if you haven't seen that movie, you need to! It is laugh-out-loud funny, and charming, and sweet all in one. It only served to reaffirm for me, once again, that I want a) a big family and b) a huge older home with lots of character that I can house them all in.

Go take a date night and plunk down the money! Yes, movies are ridiculously expensive, but this one is worth it!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yesterday, a girl that I work with found TWO gray hairs on my head! One on each side! Oy.

I don't feel old. So it must be stress. Yes, that makes complete sense. Heck, I'm lucky my whole head isn't silver by now. She said I could pluck it right out, but I always thought more would grow back in that case. What to do, what to do...

In happy news, Thanksgiving is in ONE week! Joy to my heart.....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Oh, fall, how I love you! I didn't have my own classroom to decorate this year, but that didn't mean I couldn't put a few things around my house to decorate for my favorite season of the year. Basically everything that I own having to do with fall was either on clearance, from yard sales, or I got it on discount from Cracker Barrel. Come to think of it, basically everything I OWN has been purchased on clearance or is from Goodwill! Here are some pictures:

This is above our entertainment center (which was free on the side of the road, by the way!). The glass pumpkins are from a yard sale, the leaves, gourds, and pears were on clearance from Michael's and Wal-Mart, and the other pumpkin and the orange candle were on clearance from CB.

This is our coffee table. Again, the fruit was on clearance at Michael's last year. Chris says I have a strange obsession with fake fruit. Oh well! :)
Lastly, our little kitchen table. The runner was five bucks at Wal-Mart a few years ago. And how can you not love mini pumpkins? Aren't they cute?
I can't BELIEVE Thanksgiving is coming so soon, and I get to go to Connecticut and see my family. I haven't seen my brother since August, and I miss him. On a more serious note, our cars are fixed and it cost less than we were preparing ourselves for, so that was great. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Recently, we have been overwhelmed by...money. Yup, that's right. Ever feel like every single bill you owe comes crashing down at once? I mean, we're talking both of our cars have issues (one is in the shop and the other is due to go in as soon as the other comes out), we just had to dish out a bunch of money for car title transfer, licenses, and PA registration, we have some insurance "adjustments" from May (on bills that we already PAID) that we've just received notice we have to pay, Chris's business has a number of inital start-up costs, a big trip for a wedding at the end of December that we have to budget for, and that's not even all of it -- just all that I feel comfortable sharing! haha And on top of all that, there's CHRISTMAS presents to purchase.

Can you sense my overwhelemedness? (Yes, I've decided that definitely is a word.) I have recently been flooded with fear and stress and just overall become totally freaked out about money issues.

And you know what, I can't explain it, but the past few days, I have had incredible peace about everything. I mean, really, we either have two choices, right? Either a) FREAK OUT, or b) take God literally when He says, "Do not worry about tomorrow." So since freaking out makes me feel physically ill :), I have decided to take the latter approach.

And that's about all I have. I'm taking it day by day right now. Can I encourage you to trust the Lord? Please? Give Him the glory that He deserves by allowing God to be in control. Every time I do this, I have a great story about how cool God is to share with others. I'm ready to share another - very soon. :)