Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Spoiled Under-30 Crowd

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up, what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning ... uphill... BOTH ways! Yadda, yadda, yadda.

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of stuff like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

1. When I was a kid we didn't have the internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!

2. There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter... with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

3. There were no MP3's or Napsters! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up!

4. We didn't have fancy stuff like call waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it!

5. And we didn't have fancy caller ID boxes either! When the phone rang you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, a collections agent, you just didn't know! You had to pick it up and take your chances mister!

6. We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids' and the graphics were horrible! Your guy was a little square. You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever. And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

7. When you went to the movie theater there was no such thing as stadium seating. All the seats were the same height. If a tall guy or some old lady with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just out of luck!

8. Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no on screen menu! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! And there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!

9. And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove or go build a fire ... Imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing or a pan with HOT oil and real popcorn kernels and shake it all over the stove forever like an idiot.

10. When we were on the phone with our friends and our parents walked-in, we were stuck to the wall with a cord... a 7-foot cord that ran to the phone; not the phone base, the actual phone. We barely had enough length to sit on the floor and still be able to twirl the phone cord in our fingers. If you suddenly had to go to the bathroom, guess what we had to do .....hang up and talk to them later!

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

The over 30 Crowd

Trying Out New CVS Stores

We had to be out of town yesterday so we thought we would check out some new CVS stores this week. We visited two and let me say, it really all depends on which store you visit, that's for sure.

The first store we went to everyone was SUPER nice and helpful. One man, a CVS employee, even talked about the great deals he had gotten this month and how he couldn't understand people not getting things when they're free. The older gentleman that checked me out was even happy for me when he saw how great of a deal I was getting. That's my kind of CVS! I wish ours here at home was that friendly.

The second one we visited (because the first one was out of a few items I needed) was ok. Not overly friendly, but not rude either. I purchased some of the wrong item and when I tried to 'return' them they couldn't do it and they said they couldn't give me my coupons back for the items either. It had been a long, hot, and somewhat stressful day, and they weren't being mean about it or anything, so I didn't argue with them and just kept the stuff and figured I'd sell them in our yard sale this year. My coupons had been for more off than the item actually costs anyway, so no big deal.

Anyway, here's my booty for this week. Last week I didn't detail everything out but a reader said that my doing so really helped others 'see' how to get such great deals, so I'll go ahead and detail it out for you. I'm more than happy to help others learn how to save money! Stick with me though, it's pretty long. (I've put a summary of everything at the bottom in case you're not interested in reading through all the details.)

I started this week out with $24 in ECBs ($10, $6, $6, $2)

Store 1, Transaction 1:
-14 bottles of Sobe Life Water
normally $1.49 each, on sale for $1.00 each
used (7) Buy One, Get One Free coupons
Total: $7.00 for all 14 bottles
ECBs earned: $1.00 for every two bottles up to 10 bottles for a total of $5.00 ECBs

-3-pack of Irish Spring soap (we were totally out of soap)
Total: $2.79
ECBs: none

-Tic Tacs (as a filler item)
Total: $.89
ECBs: none

-Sour Candy (as a filler item)
noramlly $.79, on sale for .50
ECBs: none

Total regular prices for this transaction: $25.33
Total sale prices for this transaction: $18.18
Total coupons used: $12.00 (also used a $5 off $15 CVS coupon)
Used $6.00 ECB
Total paid out-of-pocket: $.61 (.18 subtotal + .43 tax)
Total ECBs earned: $5.00

Store 1, Transaction 2:
-2 Tide 50oz.
normally $7.99 each, on sale for $5.99 each
used (2) $1.00 coupons
Total: $11.98 for both
ECBs earned: $2.00 each for a total of $4.00 ECBs

-3 boxes 24count Excedrin
normally $5.49 each, on sale for $1.99 each
used (3) $2.00 coupons
Total: $+.03

-1 Mylanta 5oz.
normally $3.29, on sale for $1.65
had a $2.00 coupon, but register wouldn't take it
total: $1.65
ECBs earned: thought it would be $2.00, but must have been wrong Mylanta (didn't discover this until next store though)

-1 bag of peanut butter M&M's as a filler so I didn't lose some ECBs
normally $.79, on sale for $.50
total: $.50

Total regular prices for this transaction: $36.33
Total sale prices for this transaction: $20.10
Total coupons used: $13.00 (also used a $5 off $15 CVS coupon)
Used $5.00 ECB earned in Trans.1 and $2.00 ECB I already had
Total paid out-of-pocket: $.59 (.10 + .49 tax)
Total ECBs earned: $4.00 (missed out on $2 because of Mylanta)

Store 1, Transaction 3:
-3 Orapik Travel kits
normally $2.99 each, on sale for $2.79 each
Total: $8.37
ECBs earned: $8.37

-Adidas deodorant
ECBs earned: $4.99

- Colgate 360 toothbrush
used $1.00 coupon
Total: $2.99
ECBs earned: $3.99

-Rave hairspray
ECBs earned: none

Total regular prices for this transaction: $20.54
Total sale prices for this transaction: $19.94
Total coupons used: $6.00 (also used a $5 off $15 CVS coupon)
Used $4.00 ECB earned in Trans.2 and $10 ECB (adjusted down to $9.94) I already had
Total paid out-of-pocket: $.06 (all tax)
ECBs earned: $17.35 ($3.99, $4.99, $8.37)

Store 2, Transaction 1:
-Freestyle Diabetic monitor
normally $74.99, on sale for $10.00
ECBs earned: $10.00

-Adidas deodorant
ECBs earned: $4.99

-Roll of Sweetarts (as a filler item)
normally .79, on sale for .50

Total regular prices for this transaction: $80.77
Total sale prices for this transaction: $15.49
Total coupons used: $5.00 (off of $15 CVS coupon)
Used $3.99 ECB earned in last transaction and $6.00 ECB I already had
Total paid out-of-pocket: $.50
Total ECBs earned: $14.99

Store 2, Transaction 2:
-Colgate 360 toothbrush
ECBs earned: $3.99

-3 Mylanta 5 oz. bottles
normally $3.29, on sale for $1.65
used (2) $2.00 coupons (this register accepted them whereas the other store's didn't)
Total: $.95
ECBs earned: thought it would be $6.00, but must have been wrong Mylanta

-Excedrin 24ct.
normally $5.29, on sale for $1.99 (and I actually found two boxes wrapped together that said 'Buy One Get One Free!!)
used $2.00 coupon
Total: $+.01 (for TWO boxes!)
ECBs earned: none

-3 Musketeer bar (filler item)
normally $.79, on sale for $.50
ECBs earned: none

-Roll of Spree candy (filler item)
normally $.79, on sale for $.50
ECBs earned: none

Total regular prices for this transaction: $20.73
Total sale prices for this transaction: $11.93
Total coupons used: $10.00 ($4 on Mylanta, $1 on Excedrin, and $5 off $15 CVS coupon BECAUSE my original total came to $15.92 because I had another Colgate toothbrush in there, but I mistakenly had an Oral B coupon instead of a Colgate coupon therefore I couldn't use it, so I had her take off the second toothbrush, bringing my total down to $11.93)
Total ECBs used: $4.99 earned in last transaction
Total out-of-pocket at this poing: $-3.06 (oops! Totally didn't mean to do this...she made me add something on to bring this back up, so I added a bag of Reece Cups @ $2.99)
Total out-of-pocket now: $.23 (-.07 + .30 tax)
ECBs earned: 3.99 (thought I would get $6 more from the Mylanta, but again, must have been wrong kind...DARN!)

So to summarize:
Total regular prices of everything: $186.69
Total sale prices of everything: $88.63
Total paid out-of-pocket: $1.99 ($1.28 of that being for tax!)
Started out with: $24.00 in ECBs
Earned a total of: $45.33 in ECBs
Used a total of $41.98 in ECBs
ECBs left for next time: $27.35

*As a note, I didn't fully understand the deal with getting the $5/$15 coupons and regret using them. I have since trashed the remaining ones I still had after learning more about it. I thought anyone who subscribed to the website was able to use these coupons, and that's what I thought I did. With this wording in an email I received from Newsday, I guess I misunderstood that you were supposed to be an actualy PAYING customer of a SUBSCRIPTION, not just have a Newsday account... "Please take a moment to click on the link below to create your account on As soon as we receive your confirmation, you will be able to enjoy full access to the site." Simple misunderstanding. Please make sure any coupons you use are ones that you are entitled to.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Please Pray for the Family of Steven Curtis Chapman

NASHVILLE, TN... At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters.

Read more and meet little Maria here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Baby Girl's Tonsilectomy Update

Sorry for the gross picture. While that's not actually Baby Girl's tonsils, that is pretty much what they looked like. The surgeon told us that when he removed them everyone in the operating room was SHOCKED at how big they were. They were also full of 'gunk', as he put it. So I'm sure you can see why we're so relieved to finally have them out. It's been nearly 10 days now and Baby Girl is feeling much better. Her snoring is now completly gone and her voice sounds so much clearer!

She sure was treated like royalty after she came home from surgery! Gifts, new movies (which she was allowed to watch as much as she wanted), visits from friends (who brought her a Frosty!), special foods just for her, mommy sleeping in her room for three nights, and these two special deliveries. Her day brightened when these were delivered to her.

From her aunt, uncle, and cousins.

From our church.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yes, It Really Can Be Done!

I have a dear friend who, as of right now, is not a CVS shopper. I've told her how it all works, and she understands and is simply amazed by what I bring home from my weekly trips.

Her husband, however, just simply can not believe how there can't be something to this. Is it some kind of scam? Do you wind up bringing home junk that you'll never use? What's the catch? He's convinced there has to be one. I think men just simply think about bargain-shopping and 'deals' differently than women do. Just take my Sweetie's recent comment for example!

Well I'm here to proclaim to everyone that yes, it really is for real and that no, there is no scam and most everything I bring home from CVS we can or will use and those few items we won't, I'll either stick in our yearly yard sale, give away to others, or donate to some place that can use them! Everyone wins!

So the picture above was from today's trip. I'm not going to break it all down by what each item cost or what coupons I used... that just takes way to long to type up. But I will tell you that the REGULAR prices (without tax) for everything pictured above comes to $199.96. The ON-SALE prices (without tax) brings everything down to $109.06.

How much did I pay out of my pocket? A whopping $4.58 (and $1.95 of that was purely tax)! I also earned $24.00 in ECB's! So try to analyze it and figure it all out if you want to. While you're doing that I think I'll just keep on shopping and bringing home the deals!

Just as an added thought... I'm under the impression that while there are plenty of us frugal moms out there that are taking full advantage of CVS's deals and Extra Care Bucks along with manufacturer's coupons, I'm sure there are many, MANY more customers that do NOT do this and that's what CVS is counting on. In the grand scheme of it all, we are a small percentage of their customer base with the majority paying full price for the items they buy. For example, I watched three people check out today that either didn't have a CVS card, had one but didn't want to fool with finding it, or took their receipt without looking at it and wadded it up and threw it into the bottom of their purse. HELLO! Give it to me if you don't want it! LOL.

Off to look over next week's ad!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Happy Mother's Day for the Dugger Family!

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are now expecting their 18th child! If you haven't heard of this precious, Christian, homeschooling family, you can 'meet' them here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stay-at-Home Mom Worth Nearly $117,000 a Year

BOSTON — If a stay-at-home mom could be compensated in dollars rather than personal satisfaction and unconditional love, she'd rake in a nifty sum of nearly $117,000 a year.

That's according to a pre-Mother's Day study released Thursday by, a Waltham, Mass.-based firm that studies workplace compensation.

The eighth annual survey calculated a mom's market value by studying pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mom performs, ranging from housekeeper and day care center teacher to van driver, psychologist and chief executive officer.

This year, the annual salary for a stay-at-home mom would be $116,805, while a working mom who also juggles an outside job would get $68,405 for her motherly duties.

One stay-at-home mom said the six-figure salary sounds a little low.

"I think a lot of people think we sit and home and have a lot of fun and don't do a lot of work," said Samantha Russell, a Fremont, N.H., mother who left her job as pastry chef to raise two boys, ages 2 and 4. "But they should try cleaning their house with little kids running around and messing it up right after them."

The biggest driver of a mom's theoretical salary is the amount of overtime pay she'd receive for working more than 40 hours a week. The 18,000 moms surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours — meaning they'd be spending more than half their working hours on overtime.

Working moms reported an average 54.6 hour "mom work week" besides the hours they spent at paying jobs.

Russell agreed her job as a stay-at-home mom is more than full-time. But she said her "job" brings intangible benefits she wouldn't enjoy in the workplace.

"The rewards aren't monetary, but it's a reward knowing that they're safe and happy," Russell said of her sons. "It's worth it all."

Story courtesty of

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fun & Easy Way to Learn The 10 Commandments!

Thanks to Marcia for sharing a way to help me, um, I mean, my kids learn the 10 Commandments in order!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another De-Cluttering Room Done!

It's taking me a bit longer than I'd like to get this house de-cluttered and in ship-shape, but little by little, it's getting there.

I should have some more pictures to post tomorrow because I plan on finishing everything up, even if I have to work all day to do it. Baby Girl will be having her tonsils taken out first thing Tuesday morning and I want her to be able to come home to a clean, comfy home where she can rest in peace (oh my, that doesn't sound good!). I want to be able to devote my full attention to her and whatever she needs without worrying about what needs to be done around the house. I'm really bad for that. If there are dirty dishes or laundry or stuff laying around the living room or whatever, I can't fully concentrate on anything else because I'm always thinking about what needs to be done.

So without further ado, here are the embarrassing 'before' pictures that I can't BELIEVE I'm going to show, followed by the 'afters' that I am so proud of! Now, you have to keep in mind that the reason this room got so bad is because we're getting ready for a yard sale and this was the collection room. But everything has been sorted and put in another, more out-of-view spot until said yard sale and I finally have my den back!

I sure hope I can encourage someone to do the same for their homes because if not, I sure am embarrassing myself by sharing these pictures! LOL!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Is It Really a Deal?

Here are the deals I got this week at CVS.

Sweetie had a hard time understanding why I chose to purchase the Just For Men hair color, because according to him, "I am NOT coloring my hair!" He said, 'A deal is not a deal when it's not something you need or will use'. Ok, that's a good point. But here was my response, to which he just shrugged his shoulders in an approving kind of way.

This week I started my CVS shopping trip out with $5.99 in Extra Care Bucks that I earned from last weeks trip. (Now, I must note here that I was not as organized as I thought I was and wound up leaving these ECBs at home. Our CVS is 12 miles up the interstate, so there was no way I was going back home to retrieve them). My INTENTION was to first purchase the Just for Men hair color. It was on sale for $7.99 and I had a $2.00 coupon, making it $5.99... just the amount I had in ECBs (well, IF I would have actually remembered to take them). So I was going to use my $5.99 in ECBs to pay for the hair color and in purchasing this I would have earned $7.99 back in ECBs!

Now, I ask you, HOW can that not make sense? I don't spend any money out of my pocket (except for the .36 in tax on the Hair Color) and in turn get back $7.99 to spend on something else? No, we will not ever be using the Just for Men, but I have a brother-in-law who could really use it! LOL! And if he is like his brother and flatly refuses to color his gray, then I'll stick it in my yard sale I'll be having this summer and make a couple bucks off of it. So I could potentially MAKE $4 off of this free box of hair color... $2 from the difference in ECBs when I purchased it and $2 from sticking it in my yard sale! How awesome is that?

So yes, I do agree with Sweetie on his 'it's not a deal' philosophy. But not in this case. When someone is going to PAY me to 'purchase' something, then to me it's a GREAT deal, don't you agree?

Ok, so on to how this week's deals went. Because I left my $5.99 in ECBs at home (as I have mentioned several times already), I wanted to leave CVS spending as little as possible so this is how I did it...

Transaction #1:
*(2) Aquafresh Extremes @ $2.99 each
Used (2) $1.00 coupons making them $1.99 each
Total spent out-of-pocket: $4.34
ECBs earned: $5.98 (one penny shy of what I left at home!)

Transaction #2:
*Just for Men hair color: $7.99
Used $2.00 coupon making it $5.99
Used $5.98 in ECBs earned above to pay for it
Total spent out-of-pocket: .13 (for tax)
ECBs earned: $7.99

Transaction #3:
*One-Touch Diabetic Monitor: $19.99
Used a $20.00 coupon making it FREE!
*6 packs of 3M Post-It flags @ 2/$5 making the total come to $15.00 for just these
Used a $3.00 off a $15.00 purchase CVS coupon bringing my total down to $12.00
Used (3) $3.00 off of 2 Post-It Flag coupons bringing my total down to $3.00
*(2) Aqua Fresh Extreme Clean toothpastes @ $2.99 each
Used (2) $1.00 coupons making them 1.99 each
*Always Thin pads: $3.69
Used a coupon that gave me these FREE!

Because this made my total only $6.98 and I was going to use my $7.99 in ECBs earned in Transaction #2, I let the kids add on some candy so I wouldn't lose $1.01 in ECBs. (That's the one thing I keep forgetting... that, for example, if you have a $7.99 ECB then you need to spend at least that much when you go to use it or you will lose the extra). Anyway, with the candy my total out-of-pocket for this transaction was $1.65, which Baby Girl paid most of because she wanted to buy her siblings some candy! Yay her!
ECBs earned: $7.99

So MY total out-of-pocket expense for this trip (not counting Baby Girl paying for the candy) was $4.47 and I left with $7.99 in ECBs for next time. Had I not left my original $5.99 in ECBs at home (can you tell I'm really upset about leaving them at home...LOL), I would have left there only paying pennies. But because I DID leave it at home, I now have $13.98 in ECBs to start out next week's shopping trip! Yay me!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Found a Fun New Website for the Kids

Thanks to my dear sweet mother-in-law, we have discovered a really neat website. It's called Storyline Online where children's books are read aloud by different members of the Screen Actors Guild. Now granted, I am not too into Hollywood and who in the world some of these people are, I have no idea. But I do recognize a few names such as Melissa Gilbert, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jason Alexander, Haylie Duff, and Amanda Bynes.

A few of the books available to listen to are The Polar Express and Stellaluna, and if you get a chance and haven't read it yet, you have to listen to Thank You Mr. Faulker. We have enjoyed other books by Patricia Polacco and this one let us see just how she came to be the person she is today. It's a wonderful book to further help us train our children's hearts in accepting others and not making fun of those who may be differnt than us, as well as how there's always something we may not be very good at but how God still has wonderful plans for each of us. Also, the love and dedication of those who help Tricia in the story is a great conversation starter and can help us show our children how to have compassion for others and a desire to help when they can.

So go check it out. You might just be able to get a few minutes of peace while your children enjoy someone else reading them a book for a change!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Brace Yourselves

Today was Baby Girl's big day! She got her top braces and after 3-4 months she will return to get the bottom ones.

If you've never experienced braces for yourself or your kids, it was really no big deal. They put some kind of goopey cleaner on the front of her teeth and rinsed it off then 'glued' a little silver bracket on to the front of each of her teeth. She got to choose which colors she would like for the little plastic rubber-bandy type holder thingys (she chose pink and blue) and they simply took a wire, hooked it on one back tooth and brought it around, locking it into each bracket with the colored holders and that was it! I got to watch the whole thing and it only took about 20 mintues total. I know there are some that have to have their braces put on a different, more painful way, but I'm so glad that this was all Baby Girl had to endure.

She's in a bit of pain right now, just some soreness. There are a few tears, but she'll be ok. It will all be worth it in the long run. She doesn't have a very high tolerance for pain, so please say a little prayer for her... she has her tonsils removed next Tuesday.