Cutting Coupons, Not Corners

With everyone discovering new ways to stick to their budget, couponing is a great way to save money on everyday food and household items. Combining the grocery or pharmacy store sales with your clipped coupons is the best way to get the biggest bang for your buck. My mindset traditionally is that to save money it is best to purchase the generic brand, but with couponing, you can get brand name food and household items for pennies (and sometimes FREE!)!!

It only takes a few tips and tools to start saving your family money today!

TIPS

1. Make a list AND Stick to it!

2. Purchase the items that are on sale AND have a coupon!

3. Include great sale+coupon items in your list even if you do not intend to use it the current week AND do not ever purchase items you never intend to use!

4. Instead of throwing away expired coupons, send them to the US soldiers, who can use them up to six months from their printed expiration date. To learn more, go to Overseas Coupon Program.

5. Using coupons and the sales is a great way to give inexpensively and generously to Raleigh’s local food shelters, including Raleigh Rescue Mission and Mission Raleigh.

TOOLS

iPhone Grocery Gadget App

The Grocery Gadget iPhone App helps you to make a list and stick to it! Create a list on the app and use it to shop systematically through your favorite grocery store! To download the FREE version, go to iTunes.com or search “grocery gadget” on your iPhone.

Southern Savers

The Southern Savers website does all of the work for you! Jenny, the owner and operator of Southern Savers, pairs grocery stores and pharmacies’ sales with the current paper and printable coupons. Then, she tells you exactly when and how to use them. Visit Jenny’s website today to get started!

{Other recommended coupon websites include Savvy Dollar, Coupons NC, and Thrifty Mommy}

Su Soutter – Raleigh’s Coupon Queen

Su is a Raleigh native, wife, and mom who loves to save money! To learn more about her and her helpful couponing tips, go to her blog, The Intentional Home. Bay Leaf Baptist Church is hosting Su’s coupon class March 11, 2010 at 7pm. Visit Bay Leaf’s website (http://bayleaf.org) or call Bay Leaf (919.847.4477) to find out more information! I will be there!

{Other recommended blogs include Taking Stock Savings Blog}


With a little bit of time and these helpful tips and tools you will quickly find yourself saving your family’s budget!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes :: Which Pair Will You Pick?

I like to keep my eyes opened for great looks at a great price – And then I love to tell everybody else about it! So here is some information I am sure you will be so glad I am sharing with you

(Men, these fancy flats are perfect paired with a manicure/pedicure gift certificate for Valentine’s Day!)


“The Fancy Flat”


Seychelles “Get Outta Town” Flats, 80.00 http://piperlime.com

This uptown, downtown, all around town 2010 spring in-style flat by Seychelles can be purchased for 80.00 in pewter at piperlime.com (and they offer free shipping). For a dress it up, dress it down all around really great looking shoe, this is it for spring 2010!

Seychelles Get Outta Town Flats


Mossimo Supply Co. Wakeisha D’Orsay Flat Sandals, 17.99 http://target.com

For a great look at the beach, on the boat, or by the man of your dreams for a hot date, this fancy flat is less than half the price of the Seychelles brand. Mossimo offers the shoe in pewter, black, and a champagne gold hue.

Mossimo Supply Co. Wakeisha D'Orsay Flat Sandal

{Let me know if you find another shoe designer who offers this same spring look}

Spring into the Season’s New Looks

As Tyler and I went shopping for great Winter Sale deals, I started to notice all of the looks that are coming out for Spring 2010! I have put together a mini look book of great fashion finds that I think we can all agree will be great looks for the upcoming season!(Click on any of the pictures to take you straight to the website to see more spring trends!)

NAVY – Navy is a classic color that can go from day to evening, casual to formal, so it’s a perfect purchase during this recession. This spring trend color is found in form fitting sweaters, graphic skirts, and fun shirt dresses.

This great look is available at Gap
Saks sells this ensemble

ORANGE – We all need a bit of fun in our wardrobe and the color orange provides the perfect punch of colorful fun! Look for quality fabrics or go for a less expensive purchase if you are simply enjoying this trend while it lasts.

This color is great for most skintones - available at martinandosa.com
To add a POP of color, purchase these fun flats!

NAUTICAL – A fun look to welcome spring will take you all the way through summer! (It’s everywhere! Forever21’s Spring Promo is “All Things Nautical”)

Martin and Osa keeps the nautical look understated and even gives the look an urban edge (check out the shoes!)

Sophisticated, the sailor's blouse and graphic skirt keep the look modern

ORGANIC – Enjoy soft fabrics, easy fitting cuts, and feminine touches with these spring luxe looks.

Feminine and Light - anthropologie.com
These neutral colored shoes give you a long-legged look

BONUS – I have seen this practical and feminine bag in the Saks catalogue,

in the Ann Taylor store, and I hope to see it at Target for a price I can easily afford!

You can purchase Valentino at Saks for 995.- OR
This bag at Ann Taylor for 226.- OR hope that this bag will be at Target for a less $$ price tag this summer!


Recession Proof your Wardrobe Tip – Most of these styles will go on sale! To know when the sale starts to purchase your size in your favorite color, sign up for the store’s email updates.

New Year 2010 Must Reads

This New Year Must Reads book list is not a comprehensive list of all of the great books that I intend to read this year, but I think books on the topic of generosity is the perfect place to begin this year.

Our nation is in a recession and we understand this because it has affected our household – the way that we shop for groceries, whether or not we are going far away for our family summer vacation, and the fact that we have friends into our homes for coffee instead of going out for Starbucks.

As we save and steward our resources well during this time – which for some has been easier because even in the midst of excess they were already practicing good stewardship, and for others, has been a much needed and now welcome challenge – it is a good idea to start out the New Year by reading a few inspiring authors who call us to live our lives marked with generosity.

The Law of Rewards by Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn, and The Generosity Factor by Ken Blanchard and S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chic-Fil-A, are three short, sweet, simple books that inspired Tyler and I in our desire to budget,spend, save, and give our money to do good to others and to glorify the Lord.

The Law of Rewards by Randy Alcorn (Tyndale House Publishers, 2003)

Inside the Pages

Randy Alcorn discusses what it looks like to give what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose – time, money, possessions, and talents.

Worth Repeating

“Faith [in God and His promises] … motivates us to forgo something in this life for the promise that it – or something even better – will be ours in the next.” (115)

From My Perspective

What great motivation this book provides from a godly man with a scriptural perspective on money, time, and talents. His heart and mind are bent towards heaven, helping his readers to also grasp the good that is to come for all of those who trust in Jesus. This book motivates me to prove my trust in Jesus by daily submitting my finances to the Lord of life.

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn (Multonomah Publishers, 2001)

Inside the Pages

Randy Alcorn shares his life story and what the Lord has taught him, especially as it relates to God and money. He desires that his reader discover the secret of joyful giving, living the abundant life in Christ here on earth and hoping in Christ for the eternal life in heaven yet to come.

Worth Repeating

“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.” (73)

From My Perspective

And oh how the Lord has prospered my family! So may we give as unto the Lord with a heart overflowing with thanksgiving, joy, and love. This book motivated my husband and me to consider all of the ways, little and big, inside the box and outside of the box, we can live our lives and use the talent, time, and treasures that He has bestowed on us as vessels of mercy to bring good to others and glory to His name.

The Generosity Factory by Ken Blanchard and S. Truett Cathy (Zondervan, 2002)

Inside the Pages

Blanchard writes a short fictional story to inspire readers – whether you are a business owner or a bag lady – to steward well what the Lord has given you by living a life of generosity.

Worth Repeating

“The successful person knows how to make money, the significant person has learned how to give it away – how to be generous, to share the blessings of money with [others].” (64-65)

“The old [man] desires to have good things flow towards us. The new [man] wants good things to flow out from him.” (107)

From My Perspective

The life of S. Truett Cathy told in a fictional story of the Executive and the Broker was such a refreshing application of all of the principles I read in the two other books. One lesson from this book that deeply impacted is the lesson that we must invest what we have been given by the Lord so that we can be as generous as possible. We must invest our time with Him – He rewards us with time management to spend with our family and friends. We must invest our money wisely so that we have more and more to give to others as He leads. One way that Tyler and I have started to implement this lesson in our lives is simply to purchase products on sale so that there is money left over to give or to invest in others.

{Recession proof your resolutions : to read these books, purchase them at http://half.com, http://amazon.com, which is the link connected to each book’s picture, or borrow them from your local community or church library.}

Hang Holiday Cheer ~ The Christmas Wreath

My sweet friend Carolyn sent me this precious poem – Just in time to share it with you. As we enter into the fun-filled, Christ-filled holiday season, I pray that the Lord will use the every day, little special things, like Christmas wreaths hung on neighbors’ doors, to remind you of how deep and wide His love is for you. || Rachel

Every Christmas wreath is more than just a decoration… It’s a special reminder of Jesus, the reason for our celebration.


The circle of a Christmas wreath is a never-ending ring,

a reminder of eternal love from our Lord and King

The Christmas Wreath is a sign of welcome, inviting all to enter in

a reminder of Christ’s invitation for all to come to Him.

The middle of a Christmas Wreath is a bare and empty space,

a reminder of what life would be without Christ’s love and grace

So each time you see a Christmas wreath hanging from a door,

may your heart rejoice in the One that Christmas is truly for.

– Holley Gerth

~ To Add a Christmas Wreath to Your Door ~

There are many wonderful ways to create a wreath for your front door. Here are a few simple, stylish wreath ideas.

1. Everyday Holiday :: The wreath on my front door is a simple boxwood square green wreath that I add accessories for each season to dress it up for the appropriate holiday.


2. Living Magnolia Wreath :: Buy a wreath form from your local craft store, like Micheal’s or  A. C. Moore (Remember your coupon!!). Gather magnolia tree leaves and layer the leaves throughout the tree form, one overlapping layer at a time. Fill the form with leaves and hang the wreath on a the door with your favorite ribbon.

3. Christmas Ornaments + Green :: Purchase an inexpensive green Christmas wreath from your local craft or hardware store and whatever ornaments or decorations you would like to attach to the wreath. Use ribbon to loop and tie through the ornaments hook. Then, tie the ribbon to the wreath’s branches. Fill the wreath to achieve the look that you want. Once filled, hang your unique wreath on your front door.


~ How to Hang Your Christmas Wreath ~

1. Purchase a wreath hanger. I got mine from Smith and Hawken. This Christmas season, there are fun sparkly ones at Target.

2. Use a ribbon to hang the wreath. Loop ribbon around the top half of the wreath and carry ribbon to the top of the door. Fasten the two ends of the ribbon to the door with a nail.

{ photograph credits :: mygoodgreetings.com | william-sonoma.com | potterybarn.com | marthastewart.com}

How Do You Like Your Coffee?

I sit inside my little home, warm and cozy, as the chilly rain soaks the earth. The leaves have fallen, winter is almost here. The day when the cold sets into my body is certain to arrive soon. Until spring comes again, there is only a few things that can really make me warm and cozy – a hug from my husband, our snuggly bed, and a hot cup of coffee.

My perfect cup of  drip coffee is hot, camel-colored, creamy, and served in an off white ceramic diner mug. Instead of going to the diner every time I want to warm up with a hot a cup of coffee in my favorite diner mug, I found online at The City Pantry where to purchase diner mugs for our cool family and friends – and ourselves! These 8 oz. diner mugs make the perfect addition to any coffee mug cabinet – And for only four dollars a mug (or six for twenty dollars or twelve for thirty six dollars) they make great, timeless Christmas presents!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes : Beauty Product Review

alwaysautumnstudios.com
The Experts : my sisters and me!

My sisters and I agree that trying new nail polish is a stylish, recession proof way to vamp up your wardrobe without killing your checking account. One of this winter season’s  hottest trends is  dark plum – almost black – nail polish! Before you pencil in a time in your planner to give yourself a mani and pedi try, see which brands we think are the best!

OPI :: Lincoln Park After Dark

WINNER ~ OPI’s London Nail Polish in Park After Dark – For only nine dollars a bottle, OPI’s easy to apply, long lasting dark plum is my favorite this season. The matte finish makes it so you do not have to worry about the shine wearing off. It makes sense that most nail salons use OPI because it is a  great quality bottle at an affordable price. {Available at Ulta stores (remember your coupon!)}

CHANEL :: Vendetta

RUNNER UP ~ Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Colour in Vendetta – Even though it’s an almost perfect shade, for twenty  three dollars a bottle, you had better LOVE to wear this nail color ALL the time! {Available at www.chanel.com}

SALLY HANSEN :: The Deepest of Violets

FOR KICKS ~ Sally Hansen’s Salon Nail Lacquer in The Deepest of Violets – If you are not sure you love this winter trend, then this is the brand for you. This bottle of polish will only cost you seven dollars The brush is not as good and the polish is runny, but you do save a couple of dollars to try a trend! {Available at Target stores}

This is just one way to easily and inexpensively update your fall and winter style look – What are some other recession proof ways that you update your wardrobe?