Saturday, February 26, 2011


Oh man! We HAD to go to the store this week. We ran out of formula, milk, and eggs. Such a bummer! We were also getting very low on frozen baby food.

So when I picked up the milk and eggs I spent about $12 more bucks on some of the produce that was on sale: apples, pineapple, and carrots. I also grabbed a bunch of bananas. Then I got straight to work making more baby food!

Today I made Pear-Pineapple and Strawberry-Banana-Pineapple (about 14 servings total), and I hope to also make: Applesauce, Apple-Pear, Banana-Strawberry, Peach-banana, and Pina-Colada with the rest of the produce I bought (and with some frozen fruit we already have).

Maybe next month we can COMPLETELY skip a week of shopping! Now I know I need to actually PLAN to skip a what's the plan? During the first 3 weeks of the month I am going to try to buy enough items for 2 extra meals, while still buying only what is on sale and combining those things with coupons.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grocery Deals of the Week

There are a couple of great deals at Macey's again this week! From 2/23 - 3/2 you can get...

1. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese--$0.40/box

How to do it:

  • Use the in-ad vendor coupon found in the weekly ad to get two 5-packs for $6.
  • Print the coupon from this link for another $1 off a 5-pack box (print 2 of these)

Bam! You just bought 10 boxes of Kraft Mac 'N Cheese for just $4.

2. Western Family Medium Cheese 32 oz. loaf--$3.99

How to do it:

  • Use the in-ad vendor coupon found in the weekly ad to get $1 off the already on-sale $4.99 cheese loaves!

I hope someone out there can enjoy these deals, because we won't be stepping a foot into a grocery store until March.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Why am I going grocery shopping every week? Our goal this week is to live off the food we already have in the pantry, fridge, food storage, and deep freezer. Sounds easy, right? (We hope so too!) If we can cut our grocery shopping down to 3 weeks a month instead of 4 we could save anywhere between $50 - $125!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Grocery Deal of the Week

I prefer to shop a Maceys here in Utah, but if you pay attention to your favorite store's sales you can find similar deals where you shop.

There are TWO amazing deals at Maceys this week:

1. Yoplait Yogurt! Pay just $0.29 - $0.34 a piece...that's cheaper than the Western Family Brand!

How to do it:
  • Pick up the Macey's weekly ad inside any store.
  • Clip the coupon on the last page...this will make each yogurt (up to 10) only $0.39/piece.
  • Print this coupon twice (click the "with over 30 varieties" link...) for a total of $1.00 off 8.
  • Pick up 10 of your favorite yogurts, give the cashier all 3 coupons, and tah-dah!

On this one you can save a little more money if you print the coupon once and combine it with a coupon in the Smart Source circular from 1/30.

2. Select General Mills products!

How to do it:

  • Use your Macey's weekly ad...clip the coupon on the front page that will give you $5 off if you buy 5 products.
  • Pick up 2 crescent rolls--use this link for $0.50 off 2
  • Pick up 2 bread sticks--use the same coupon link for $0.50 off 2
  • Pick up 1 pizza crust--use Smart Source Coupon from 1/30 for $0.35 off

You will pay about $4.30 for all 5 items. Without the coupons, and when the products are not on sale, you would pay $10.45 for the same items.

This week are are using the Crescent rolls to make Cordon Bleu Crescent Bake, one bread stick package will be served with soup, and we'll make some pizza for dinner tonight!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on Uncle Sam

(Sinister laugh).

OK, not REALLY sinister. But I feel like I just cheated the system.

We took a second look at our deductions, and there was a whole section I missed! It was fantastic. We doubled our teeny-tiny refund so that now it is just a tiny federal refund. We still owe the state though.

I sent out the federal e-file and should see the money in a week or two. Then we'll turn a portion of that back around to the State.

Like I said, I feel extremely clever for getting this done. When in actuality this is just the first year I've cared to do things in the most efficient's amazing how much easier this finance thing is when you start caring :)

Monday, February 14, 2011


Oh, taxes.

I used Turbo Tax again this year...I love that program!

This year? TWO. THUMBS. DOWN. We suck! As it turns out we are getting a teeny-tiny refund from the federal government, but we owe the State just a teeny-tiny bit more. Like, $200 more than our refund.


So the plan is to file the federal return tomorrow morning, and wait to file the state return until April. There's no chance that the return will be here in time to turn it around to the State of Utah, but this way we can minimize the hit to our emergency fund.

And, Dave was right. The moment you get your $1000 emergency fund set up, you will have to use it. In his words it's like "God is testing you to see if you really have the strength to do this."

Thanks, Dave. And thanks, God.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Hello. My name is Skipper/Stephanie. And I am addicted to fast food.

It has been 9 days since I last ate out.

I don't think I am addicted to the food nearly as much as I am addicted to the convenience of the system.

But guess what? If the Coates family can make it through February without eating out, we estimate that we will save about $80.

That's right, $80...about to meet its doom via the Debt Snowball.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Today's Savings

About every 2 weeks we will buy baby food...about $30 worth of baby food. In the past, baby food would take up about 9% of our monthly grocery budget. Formula alone makes up a little more than 25% of the grocery budget.

So today I tried making baby food from the things we already had on hand.

I was able to make 56 servings of food with only the fruits in our pantry and freezer! And it was so much fun. It was just a matter of cutting and cooking, blending and scooping, then freezing and storing.

I made Mango, Berry-Peach, Apple-Banana, and Orange-Raspberry.

Price of 56 servings of baby food from the store: $28

Estimated cost of making 56 servings: $7.80

Today's Savings: $20.20 or 72%

And where will that $20.20 go? Into our debt snowball!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Kick Off

For about 3 months now we've been listening to this guy on the radio.
Dave Ramsey.

I would listen to him on the radio any time I was driving around at night. I became fascinated with the people who would call in...both the people in debt and the people who were debt free.

About 1 week ago I bought his book, "The Total Money Makeover." It isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. It is full of common sense. And it seems almost too simple.

Evan and I talked and talked (and talked some more) and reached the decision that we were going to try it. For the next few years we are, as Dave says, going to live like no one else so that later we can live like no one else.

So why the blog? Two reasons actually:

1. Accountability. If our friends and family know what we are doing we will have the extra motivation to keep moving forward.

2. We want to invite ANYONE and everyone to do this program with us. There really is strength in numbers. We want to see other families and individuals succeed during this process because it has already been such a positive step for us. Or maybe you have already started this process and could share some encouragement with us.

There you have it. The journey begins.