Friday, February 18, 2011

Gatorade, Gatorade, Gatorade

There are a few days left in the Kroger Daytona Sale.  I'm not looking to make a big trip this week, just restock a few items that are on the sale.  Here is how I plan to get three or four months worth of Gatorade SUPER CHEAP!

This week, when you buy 10 of a participating item, you save $3 now and receive a $3 Catalina at check-out.  I need about 60 bottles of Gatorade, so here is my plan of attack:

Transaction One:
10 Gatorades x $0.69 = $6.90 + tax ($3 Catalina after purchase)

Transaction Two through Six:
10 Gatorades x $0.69 = $6.90 - $3 Catalina = $3.90 + tax ($3 Catalina after purchase)

Grand Total:  60 bottles of Gatorade for $26.40 + tax 

There are plenty of other great deals available on this sale - so make sure you hit up your local Kroger before it's too late!

Monday, January 31, 2011


2011 is the year I have set aside to really focus on making myself a better person.  I've been working on being a better friend and wife over the past few weeks.  I'm confronting my short-comings and facing them head-on.  But there is one thing that I just can't seem to wrap my head or hands around.

I am a high-strung person.  I live for the crisis situation at work - one where I can solve problems and fix things quickly.  I take on more than I need to and juggle a hectic schedule.  I am a yes person and have a tough time saying no, which leads to stress.  I'm only 25, so I shouldn't be worried about my stress level, right?  WRONG!

This weekend I stayed in and was overcome with odd chest pain, a burning sensation throughout my entire abdomen area, dizziness and a cough.  I went to the doctor this morning, and after three hours, walked out stressed.  Here is the kicker - I'm stressing over trying to figure out what is stressing me out.  Weird huh?  After several tests performed and even more scheduled, we're pretty sure it's my gall bladder, but it is clear.  I am too stressed and it's not good for my mind, body or soul.  My doc asks me what is stressing me out, and I can't think of a single thing.  I have been taking it easy since finishing my thesis, taking time for myself, setting aside relaxation time, and things just seem to be falling into place.  So, what in the world am I stressed about?  I can't figure it out, so now I have 6 days and 12 hours to figure out what is stressing me out before I take a stress test.  Stressing about it is not the best way to prepare, but that's where I am now.  Stressing over not knowing what I'm stressed about. 

If you read this, please say a prayer for me.  I'm going to try and calm down, but it's hard, not knowing what is causing me to feel so stressed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Top Songs

I am a huge fan of Pandora.  I use it a few times a week at work for a few hours a day.  It's great because I get to customize my listening experience.  If you haven't tried it already - do it!  It's free and easy to use.  I have about ten different stations set up so I can choose based on the mood I'm in.  I have everything from Christmas music to Britney Spears to Alternative Christian.  You can set up stations by song, artist or genre.  Love love love it!

Photo from
I thought that I would share my top 75 songs.  Quite honestly, besides Boys Like Girls, Fall Out Boy and Amber Pacific - I have found most of these songs and artists because of Pandora.  (Most of these songs come from my Boys Like Girls channel on Pandora).  So, in no particular order - my top songs:

1.  Rebirthing by Skillet
2.  Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
3.  Stan by Eminem
4.  Love Drunk by Boys Like Girls
5.  My Friends Over You by New Found Glory
6.  Learning to Fall by Boys Like Girls
7.  Pictures of You by The Last Goodnight
8.  Thunder by Boys Like Girls
9.  I'm Like a Lawyer by Fall Out Boy
10.  Umbrella by All Time Low
11.  Misery Business by Paramore
12.  The First One by Boys Like Girls
13.  I Just Wanna Run by The Downtown Fiction
14.  Decode by Paramore
15.  Soundtrack to Your Life by Ashley Parker Angel
16.  Animal by Neon Trees
17.  On Top of the World by Boys Like Girls
18.  Everything You Ever Wanted by Hawk Nelson
19.  The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars
20.  Into Your Arms by The Maine
21.  Dance Hall Drug by Boys Like Girls
22.  Good Day by The Click Five
23.  First Date by Blink 182
24.  Up Against the Wall by Boys Like Girls
25.  Gone So Young by Amber Pacific
26.  Dance, Dance by Fall Out Boy
27.  This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race by Fall Out Boy
28.  Paparazzi by Lady Gaga
29.  Thanks for the Memories by Fall Out Boy
30.  Beat It by Fall Out Boy
31.  Only Hope by Switchfoot (I do like the Mandy Moore version as well)
32.  Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
33.  Don't Forget to Remember Me by Carrie Underwood
34.  Last Name by Carrie Underwood
35.  Time After Time by Quietdrive
36.  The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls
37.  Go by Boys Like Girls
38.  Fall For You by Secondhand Serenade
39.  Vulnerable by Secondhand Serenade
40.  Two is Better Than One by Boys Like Girls
41.  Cold as You by Taylor Swift
42.  Secret Valentine by We The Kings
43.  Everything is Alright by Motion City Soundtrack
44.  Breakdown by Plain White T's
45.  Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's
46.  Me, You and My Medication by Boys Like Girls
47.  Skyway Avenue by We The Kings
48.  So Damn Clever by Plain White T's
49.  Heels Over Head by Boys Like Girls
50.  Drop the Girl by Hit The Lights
51.  Wishes and Dreams by Stellar Kart
52.  Maybe by Secondhand Serenade
53.  Hurricane by Something Corporate
54.  Almost by Bowling for Soup
55.  Chemicals Collide by Boys Like Girls
56.  Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
57.  Roll the Bones by Rush
58.  I Kissed a Drunk Girl by Something Corporate
59.  Cocaine by Strata
60.  Dirty Little Secret by All American Rejects
61.  All the Things She Said by t.A.T.u.
62.  Emo Kid by Adam and Andrew
63.  Inside Out by Eve 6
64.  Open Road Song by Eve 6
65.  I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic at the Disco
66.  Miles Apart by Yellowcard
67.  Circus by Britney Spears
68.  Right Round by Flo Rida
69.  Ring of Fire by Adam Lambert
70.  Mr. Brightside by The Killers
71.  Hollywood is Not America by Ferras
72.  The Saints Are Coming by U2
73.  Handlebars by Flobots
74.  Stay by Lisa Loeb
75.  Zombie by The Cranberries

So there you are.  My top 75 songs.  What are some of your favorite songs?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kicking A$$ and Taking Names

'Tis the season for illness, winter blues and new year's resolutions slipping through the cracks.  I spent a large chunk of last week on my couch, watching 41 episodes of Grey's Anatomy in a row.  Why?  I had no voice.  To some people that may not be a big deal, but I'm a talker - a born communicator - an over-communicator.  Darn it, I like to talk.  So when I couldn't for four days, my husband thought he had died and gone to heaven.  No nagging.  No "honey-do" requests.  But, he did have to suffer through at least 15 of those 41 episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

But that's not what I am here to write about.  During those four days, I didn't communicate much with anyone.  Sure, I had Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging.  But that is slightly delayed.  I wanted conversation.  I wanted a dialogue.  Instead, I was alone with the thoughts in my head.  Not always a good thing.

I over analyze.  I am way too critical.  I always think I can do more.  So four days of pure laziness started taking a toll on my poor soul.  Seriously.  It only took four days and I fell into a lazy rut.  I hate being lazy.  Sure, I love to relax with a glass of wine, bubble bath or good book.  But to unwind, not be lazy.  This sense of laziness spilled over once the work week started.  I didn't want to relapse into sickness by overdoing it too soon, so I let the dishes pile up, the laundry sit in the basket unfolded, and just did nothing.  (Well, I read a book).  Last night I hit my breaking point.  After dinner, Josh and I got home and I couldn't take it.  After some prompting from a co-worker, I decided to make cupcakes.  Well, baking requires doing dishes.  So I did the dishes - all of them.  Then I cleaned the kitchen.  I started cleaning other areas of the house then I realized it was midnight and time to go to bed. 

But guess what - that little bit of motivation brought about a whole new attitude.  I woke up today wanting to kick a$$ and take names.  And I have done just that.  My To-Do list at work is almost complete - including some of tomorrow's work.  I have a great night of re-connecting with old friends planned for tonight and my weekend is full of all sorts of things to do.  All of which will help me achieve my goal of being a better me.

So while I may have let last week go, this week I am taking control. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Being a Better Me

Photo from
2010 seems like it was a decade ago.  As some of you may have read here in my 2010 Year in Review post, it was a really busy year for me.  So busy that I lost track of a lot of who I was.  Well, no more!  I want to use the next eleven and a half months to really get back to the core of my soul.  That may sound really deep, but in all reality, I want to rediscover the little things in life that bring joy to my life and spread that joy to others.

That being said, I have a plan.  It's my 2011 Being a Better Me Plan.  It's simple, really.  There are roughly 50 weeks left in this year.  That's a lot of weeks and each week I plan to rediscover (or just plain discover) something that will not only enhance my life, but allow me to touch the lives of others.  This may be reading a book that is on my "must read" list, watching a movie on my "must watch" list, trying a new food, volunteering my time, or catching up with an old friend.  There are endless possibilities in making me a better me! 

While it may seem overwhelming, I don't think it will be too bad.  I'd love to sit down and plan the entire year out, but who knows what life is going to throw my way.  Instead, I'll have my list and work it into my life, a week at a time.  Check back each week to see what I'm tackling.  For now, I'll leave you with my list, which is listed in the order these things popped into my mind - not the order I'm necessarily tackling them!

Read and implement ideas from Dave Ramsey's A Total Money Makeover.
Volunteer at Redwood School & Rehabilitation Center.
Cook dinner for my parents (and I mean from scratch).
Create my own cupcake recipe.
Finish my honeymoon scrapbook (it's only been two years...)
Watch The Goonies.  I'm an 80s kid who has never seen it, pitiful, I know.
Eat at The Melting Pot.  I have a Gift Certificate and haven't used it yet.
Pay off a credit card.
Have a Sister's Night Out with Kristy and Kori.
Help my kids (my Sunday School class) learn the books of the Bible.
Make 50 scarves for Scarf It Up.
Learn how to make a killer lasagna.
Re-read The Chronicles of Narnia - all of them.
Take up a new exercise routine - Zumba anyone?
Walk more.
Participate in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure (still deciding to walk or run).
Attend at least 10 Cincinnati Reds games with my mom (full disclosure - I will root for the Cubbies when they are in town).
Have a movie marathon with my best friend.
Read my Bible more.
Make chocolates for everyone in my office.
Host a game night with friends and family.
Make 10 baby blankets for Care Net.
Plant flowers.
Read Beyond the Sound of Music.
Get my home office organized.
Go through all of my kitchen gadgets and decor and decrease by 10%.

That's 26 - a half-year's worth of "Bettering Me" goals.  I'm completely open to suggestions - especially any movies or books that you would recommend. 

Deal Round Up

The start of the week always means the start of new deals.  Here are some that I have come across and thought were too cool to pass up!

Free Hair Band Ties from Cyndi Bands.  Thanks for the info The Thrifty Couple!

You can try Arm and Hammer Toothpaste for free too.  If the click-thru on the link doesn't work, copy and paste this: into your browser.

Tanga is a great site that offers random deals - daily, weekly and otherwise.  Act fast and you can get One Year of Scrapbooks Etc. Magazine for $5.99 (this is regularly $24)!  What a steal for a crafty scrapbooker! 

Just a few I thought were great.  Don't forget to check in on the daily deals sites like Groupon, e-Reach Big Deals, Living Social and more!  Today's Groupon in Cincinnati is amazing!  $25 for $75 at Barclay's Wine!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beat the Frugal Blues

The great thing about being frugal is the fact that there is no road map.  Sure - it's nice to have bloggers like Andrea at Savings Lifestyle and Heather, AKA "Little Miss Know It All" keeping us all informed of the best deals around and giving us suggestions for how to save, but, what worked in their lives may not be feasible for you.  And you know what, that is okay!

Photo from
It took me almost a year of dedicated 'frugality' (and many slip-ups) to realize that living frugally and couponing is not a "one-size-fits-all" game.  I used to beat myself up if I missed a great deal, but then I realized something - I was spending money on things I normally wouldn't buy only because I could get them for $0.18 instead of $2 a piece.  So while I was saving a ton, I was also spending money that I wouldn't have otherwise spent.  I also realized that kicking too many habits at once is a great way to set up failure.  The week that I decided to give up chocolate, soda and eating out was pure hell for everyone around me (and even worse for me).  I found myself thinking about soda all day long, craving chocolate like there was no tomorrow and obsessing over every fast food commercial I saw.  So while in that one week I was a bit more healthy and saved $20, the following week I gained two pounds and spent $50!  Results - not worth it.  So instead, I cut back on those things instead of giving them up.  I let myself eat out with my co-workers one day a week instead of five.  I bought a bag of Dove chocolate and let myself one piece an afternoon (good for my heart, right) instead of a full candy bar a day.  I had a soda if I really felt like I needed it, not just because it was in the work fridge and free.  And you know what - I felt better about myself and really weighed my options.

Living frugally is not about torturing yourself. It's about living within your means and saving for something big.  Right now, I won't lie - there is not a lot of savings because of student loans, credit card debt, a mortgage and a car payment.  But, we are taking baby steps that are allowing us to realize we can be debt-free, we can have a savings and we can still be happy!  Little sacrifices (like making dinner with friends instead of going out) turn out to be a blast and worth it. 

If you are feeling the 'frugal blues' as I like to call it - don't stress too much.  It happens to everyone and it just may mean taking a look at what your strategies are and adjusting them.  Try new things for a week or a month at a time.  If it doesn't work, don't feel bad.  Move on and come up with a new solution.  What are your best 'beat the frugal blues' tips?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Extreme Couponing Revisited

It's been a few weeks since TLC aired 'Extreme Couponing' and I wrote this post on my initial thoughts and reactions.  Because I am a Type A, I actually DVR'd the segment and have watched it several times since it's first airing.  Why?  Because something felt off to me.  And I finally figured out a few things that are bugging me.  First - shelf-clearing is not cool and most stores won't let you.  Sure - if there is one left, they will sell it to you.  But if they only have 100 boxes of pasta merchandised, they won't sell you all 100.  Second - these trips were televised so it was in no means a normal shopping trip.  So, people who think that all couponers take advantage of great savings and clear out a store and save $1000s of dollars a trip - not true.  Most couponers average between 45% ad 70% savings per trip.  Sure, we all have trips that save us 80% or higher - but not for staples.  Just doesn't happen.  Third - there were people in the stores (and I'm talking employees) who aren't normally in the stores.  Just like any other company who is having something aired in their office, store, etc., Kroger had corporate personnel on hand easing the process through.  You can bet that any normal cashier (not being watched by corporate) would have been a lot less pleasant after a two-hour, mess-up-my-day check-out process. 

Okay, my ranting is done.  Please though, know that those of us who use coupons properly are upset about this as well.  While saving money and future planning is something to be admired, we are not all out to clear shelves (especially with perishable items).

One side note - if you buy a perishable item, don't try and return it.  Stores lose money that way.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Deal Round Up

It's a great week to be looking for spectacular deals!  Below are the ones that I have come across in the past few days and wanted to share.  Happy Saving!

50 4x6 prints for FREE from Shutterfly.  When you create a new account you will receive the credit in your account.  Go on - print those Christmas and New Years pics for free!

Please ignore the note on this page saying the number has been exceeded.  The site pulled from my use earlier.  :)  Get AMC Movie Ticket Vouchers for $3.95!  There are 453 left as of this post, so hurry hurry!  You can't beat a movie for that price, especially if your local theater is like mine and is about $11 a ticket!

Free Pet Toy from Paws!  Click here to fill out the form for a free toy!

If you are a parent and you are in the U.S. Armed Forces, here is a great deal for you!  A Story Before Bed is giving away 100,000 free recordings to parents in the U.S. military who have to spend time away from their children.  They have given away about half, but there are still 50,000 to go.  Let me take a minute to also say thank you for your dedication and service.  It is truly appreciated.

If you are an organization freak like I am, you will love this freebie!  3M Durable Post-It Tabs are up on the free sample block right now.  Hurry, I have found these don't last long!

Like yogurt?  Hate paying?  Get your Free Yoplait Cup today!

While it's not a huge list, it's some of my favorites of the week.  Stayed tuned each week for a list of frugal finds!

Friday, January 7, 2011

P&G Mega Event Full List

Here is the full list of participating products on the P&G Mega Event at Kroger this week.  I know it's a little late, but the sale lasts at least thru Sunday!

Baby Care:
  • Pampers Diapers
  • Pampers Wipes
  • Luvs Diapers
  • Cover Girl
Hair Care:
  • Herbal Essences Shampoo/Conditioner/Stylers
  • Aussie Shampoo/Conditioner/Stylers
  • Pantene Shampoo/Conditioners/Stylers
  • Nice 'n Easy Hair Color
  • Natural Instincts Hair Color
Skin Care
  • Olay
Feminine Care
  • Always Pads
  • Tampax Tampons
Shave Care
  • Gillette Blades/Razors
  • Duracell
  • Old Spice
  • Secret
Soap/Body Wash
  • Old Spice
  • Gillette
  • Olay
  • Charmin Bath Tissue
  • Bounty Paper Towels
  • Puffs Facial Tissue
Household Cleaners
  • Dawn Dish Detergent
  • Dawn Direct Foam
  • Cascade Action Pacs
  • Cascade Complete Powder and Gel
  • Febreze Air Effects
  • Febreze Set & Refresh
  • Swiffer Cloths and Refills
  • Swiffer Sweeper
  • Swiffer Duster
  • Febreze Candles
  • Tide Stain Release
  • Tide Laundry Detergent
  • Downy Fabric Softener
  • Bounce and Downy Dryer Sheets
Oral Care
  • Crest Toothpaste
  • Crest Rinse
  • Oral-B Advantage Toothbrush
  • Glide and Oral-B Floss
Health Care
  • Prilosec OTC
  • Metamucil
  • Align
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Vicks/DayQuil/NyQuil

Thursday, January 6, 2011

P&G $4 Mega Sale

Don't forget to stock up on P&G products at Kroger this week.  Buy 4 and get $4 off.  There are some great coupon match-ups too!  Tonight I got DayQuil for my husband for $3!  Not too shabby!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Savings Plan

This is it - the year of buckling down, paying off debt and saving some dough.  School has come to an end, which means I have something I haven't really had in about 20 years - FREE TIME!  Whoo hoo.  I've already tackled one of my post-school goals of organizing all of my craft stuff, so it's time to move on to my next goal.  Tracking our spending/saving.  That being said, I am going to try a few different ways to see which one works best for me.  Most of the bloggers I follow recommend, so I'll give that a try.  I also like the old pen/paper routine.  I really like having notebooks dedicated to specific tasks and being able to whip it out and track immediately - no technology needed.  But, to keep my hubby on this task, I'll have to have a Google Doc as well.  So - here's to a new year, a new savings plan, and hopefully a new and less broke me!