Saturday, April 30, 2011

Using What We Got

We get Spring Fever at our house during this time of year. Last year was our first Spring in our new home and we did a lot of work in the yard (though you'd never think so just looking at it). And that work cost us a bit of cash. We had a Sprinkling system installed in the front yard, a fence put up, a playground built, garden boxes built and installed, etc.

So this Spring we're trying to do as much free landscaping as possible. We spent last weekend doing this:
Planting several starts that came from a neighbors Pussy Willow tree. Cost = $0

Laying down wood chips where we once had weeds. The wood chips came from an overgrown tree in our back yard. Cost = $0 (the wood chipper we rented ended up being free of charge!)

And we planted several irises that came from my mom's yard. And some of those came from the house where I grew up. Cost = $0

Next we hope to find a use for all of the old bricks we keep digging up in the back yard (we are pretty sure our house sits where an old masonry once was...and the bricks we keep finding are the "rejects" from the masonry.) We also have dozens of logs that we don't know what to do with!

Overall cost for some curb appeal:


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Success at the Grocery Store

Want to know the best way to be successful at the grocery store? I use to think that it was all about making a list, then sticking to it. Wrong. That's not it at all. It certainly helps though. And it is a minor part of overall shopping success.

The key to financial success at the grocery store is...

Knowing the full price or average price of products. Really.

Do you know the average price for a pound of ground beef? What about a gallon of milk? A can of corn? What about a pound of broccoli, or a pound of apples? Do you know the best time of year to buy grapes? Do you know which months your local stores offer Case Lot Sales?

I never knew the answer to any of those, and I really didn't care. I would make a list, go shopping, and pick up those items without even looking at the price tag. Sound familiar?

So here it is, the ultimate way to be successful at the grocery store:

1. Browse your favorite store's weekly ad.
2. Make a weekly meal plan based only on items on sale. (This is an immediate 35-40% savings). You will soon learn the sale prices and regular prices for most items if you do this every week.
3. Make your grocery list.

4. Shop.

We add an extra step in between 3 and 4...Look for coupons for the items on your list (this usually saves another 10-25% depending on how much you buy and how many coupons you have). Most people think this is time consuming. No. Way. Just go to and use their "coupon database." We also love using which keeps a list of all sale items and available coupons for Utah grocery stores.

If anyone has any other grocery shopping tips we'd love to hear them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thinking Ahead

Before we buy anything these days we ask ourselves one question:

How much could we expect to sell this item for at a yard sale in a few years?

(I'm sure there was a more grammatically correct way to phrase that...)

It's a good motivator to keep me from buying $50 outfits for my 9-month-old, extra toys for the 4-year-old, and new Target dish towels for every holiday...oh, how I miss those dish towels.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Days on our TMM: 58

Bills paid off: 3

Debt paid: $4,592

We're not sure if we should be proud or a little embarrassed. Either way, we're glad to be making progress and we want to share this information to inspire others. For the first 6 weeks it felt like we were going no where. But now things are really moving! For us it has been all about determination, perseverance, and faith.

It took a lot to get here:

Cutting our grocery bill in half

Making our own baby items (food and clothes)

Calling the cable company and downgrading

Downgrading internet access

And just plain getting organized.

We'd love to hear anyone else's ideas for saving money, and we're hoping for more progress in the next 58 days!