Monday, July 25, 2011

A list of lists

So I will be leaving for a relaxing vacation to sunny Florida in a couple of days and I'm beginning to wonder when the relaxing part actually starts. The idea of a vacation is more than wonderful, however the prep work is just about exhausting. I've been thinking about this vacation for a long time and am so excited to go. I took the time off work, found the coverage at work and began making lists of things I needed to remember to do. This is where I discovered what I call "The List of Lists".

Here is how it begins: List of "Things to Pack". While thinking of the things I need to remember to pack, it reminds me of all the things I need to remember to pick up at the store. List #2: "Things to Buy". On this list, I remind myself I need to pick up a few items for the cat. List #3: "Directions for Caring for the Cat" for my friend who will be caring for her. Hmmm....I have the cat taken care of, what about the rest of my apt? I need to pay rent early this month , turn the air down, clean the apt...List #4: "Things to do Before You Leave".

This weekend I worked on List #4 and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned and charged every gadget you could imagine (GPS, Camera, Portable DVD Player...). I also started a little bit of packing. While going through List #1, I realized that we will be taking 2 days to get to Florida and lugging a giant suitcase with everything for the entire week will be really annoying just to pull over somewhere to sleep. You guessed it! List #5: "Things to Pack for Travel" so I can have a smaller bag of just the essentials, PJs, toothbrush, change of clothes, etc.

My lists may be a little out of control. Can I get away with calling it being organized or am I just plain OCD? I guess I don't care either way. I'm sticking with organized. A vacation isn't just a vacation. It's getting your home ready to leave for vacation, making sure animals are cared for, coming home to a clean home, packing all you'll need without forgetting anything, actually getting to the destination and then hopefully being able to relax for a couple of days until you have to get everyone back home again and do all the laundry from the week away, grocery shopping because you didn't do it before you left, and dreading going back to work because you need a vacation from your vacation. So if my lists can make any part of this easier, I'll stick with them. I cannot wait to hit the road and take some much needed time away with some people I love dearly and have a GREAT time and my lists will just help me do this. Watch out Florida! Here we come!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Ok well it's not by ANY means extreme couponing, but coming from someone who never even looked at prices when picking up an item off the shelf, I think I'm doing pretty good with this (so far)! In an effort to be more money conscious, I have been trying to be dedicated to clipping coupons, checking ads, and going to different stores with the better sales instead of which one is closest and more convenient (because back home we had one option for a grocery store; now in Omaha, I have LOTS more!)

So I went to Wal-mart and bought a little notebook and a small filing organizer thing. (This is a very scientific process.) Every Sunday I go through the coupons that come in the paper, write them down in the notebook along with expiration dates (as kind of like an index type thing) and put them in the filing thing. (Are you following all these big words?) Then on Wednesdays when all the store ads come out, I write those in the notebook as well so I can compare which things that are on sale and if I also have a coupon for an item.

So here are some examples from this past week of my sale purchases! (Rough estimate of original prices)

Original Price: $1.00 x 16 = $16.00
     Sale Price: $0.49 x 16 = $7.84

Paid: $7.84
Saved: $8.16

Original: $4.02 x 2 = $8.08
      Sale: $3.50 x 2 = $7.00

Paid: $7.00
Saved: $1.08

Original: $4.99
       Sale: $3.97
Coupon: $1.00

Paid: $2.97
Saved: $2.02

Original: $2.99
       Sale: $2.30
Coupon: $0.50

Paid: $1.80
Saved: $1.19
Original: $3.67 x 8 = $29.36
       Sale: $2.75 x 8 = $22.00

Paid: $22.00
Saved: $7.36
So my total savings on all of those purchases: $19.81!!!

So I'm not getting $1000 shopping trips for -$0.30 by any means like they do on the show (and honestly I don't even watch the show because they just buy 2 cart fulls of Kleenexes, not even real food to make meals), but I figure if I can save close to $20 a week, then I could be saving possibly around $100 a month! It's a start anyway and it will definitely be a learning process because I honestly have never looked at prices of things in my life. If I need it, I buy it. But not anymore! I am going to get good at this! Or at least better than I have been.

I can tell I'm getting older. My time is consumed by working out and clipping coupons! But that's ok because I am actually enjoying it! Ok, sign #2 that I'm getting older: I'm enjoying it! haha So what do all of you do to save money or clipping coupons? Any advice for the beginner??