This is an old post that had quite a few comments. I thought it was worth posting again. We are all looking for ways to cut back. Hopefully this will help....

I had a reader mention recently that she was about $500 short per month from being able to balance the budget and stay home. I hope that this post will somehow help others see that you can make this work. 

How much are you willing to sacrifice to stay home with your children? This is a question that I often have to ask woman when they ask me how I manage to be a SAHM on my husband's teaching salary. The other statement that I often get from people is "Oh, you are so lucky to be able to stay home with your children. Your husband must have a good job." I have to make sure that I am polite and say thank you I know I am lucky, but what I want to say to them is luck has nothing to do with it. I stay home by choice and I make choices daily that keep me there. 

What are some of the luxuries or so called "needs" that you may have to sacrifice to stay home? I have decided to put together a list of things that my family felt we did not need and truly have not really missed. I realize that some of these things we may be able to have again in the future, but for this season of our lives they are not necessities.

I am going to put an approximate dollar amount to the things on this list so you can see how quickly you can "find" that extra $500 in the budget. It may not seem that you will have any material comforts left at first, but I think you will soon realize, just how little you really need to be happy. The Lord said that he will make sure that we have food to eat, clothes on our back, and a roof over our head. This is the ultimate picture of true contentment. To be happy with the simple things in life. I will not say that I am not still struggling daily with contentment, but I am trying. 

  • Cable tv Total we saved $100/month going with minimal cable, phone and internet.
  • High speed internet (We do have DSL, but a slower version)
  • Call waiting
  • Caller ID (Ok this one I miss)
  • Long distance telephone service
  • Cut Blow money $50/month
  • NO eating out except special occasions $50-$100/month
  • Gym membership $50/month
  • OnStar $15/month
  • Budget groceries Depending on your family $100-$200/month
  • Try to get your electric and gas on an average payment plan For us this saved about $50/ month
  • Use less water, shower every other day. $5-10/month
  • Eliminate trash bill (A little radical, but it can be done.) $30/month
  • Cut back on your driving to save on gas (If you don't work this should be easier)$50-$100
  • Cut family clothing budget. Try garage sales and thrift stores. $25-50/month
  • Coupon shop or make your own cleaning supplies $10-15/month
  • Put a $5 limit on gifts. This can force you to be creative. With coupons I still am able to come up with some nice gifts. $25-$50/month
  • Cancel magazine subscriptions. $10/month
  • Come up with free or cheap entertainment. Keep an eye out for coupons or free events, or try having a family night at home. $25/month
  • Possibly sell one car $300/month
  • Before quitting your job eliminate debt. $100-$300/month
As you can see these numbers can very quickly add up.

Realize that some of these changes will not be permanent. They are just some things you may have to sacrifice for a season to make your dreams come true. You can eventually start adding some small things back in. See Crystal's post here about living on a very bare bones budget of $1000 a month. It is amazing.

Think of saving money as your new "job." You are not technically being paid for it, but you are sort of making money. Remember all the expenses you will no longer have by not working out of the home. The average mom only makes a couple of dollars an hour after all the expense are paid so she can work, unless you have a very high paying job. That hardly seems worth it to me. 
  • Work Clothes $25-50/month
  • Dry Cleaning $25/month
  • Work Lunches $50/month
  • Daycare! $400-500 per child per month
  • Gas $100/month
Things you will gain as a SAHM...
  • Seeing all your child's firsts and not hearing about it from the sitter
  • Being able to go to all school events and field trips
  • Showing your children by example how to live a Godly life
  • Seeing those beautiful smiles first thing in the morning and knowing you will not have to leave them with someone else.
  • Being able to stay home with a sick child and not miss work
  • Home cooked meals
  • A happier family because mom is not stressed out
  • Time to plan a menu, shop, and save money
  • Quality time with your husband
  • This list could go on forever. You can add some of your own perks.

Ok I have to start out by apologizing for not getting pictures of my butter making adventure for you. I know it helps to see the steps as they are described. This is the first in my series of making your own groceries.  The cost of a gallon of raw milk for me is $2.50. I used 2 gallons to make about 8 oz of butter. So for $5 I will have milk, butter, cheese, and whey. Not to bad, plus it is much healthier.

Here is what I am planning for future posts...

Mozzarella cheese (I will be making this for the first time)
More as they come to me. I have lots of ideas.

 My husband and I are striving to either make, grow, or raise as many of our own groceries as possible to save money, and also this will help us know exactly where our food is coming from. I think it is kind of a fun adventure to learn so many things that women used to do everyday without even thinking it was anything abnormal. I want my children to know how we get food and not to just think it comes from a grocery store. 

One thing I find interesting is that from 2 gallons of raw milk you can make butter, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. 

I forgot to mention that I finally found a source of raw milk about 30 minutes from my house for $2.50 a gallon! That is a steal compared to the $6 a gallon I have been paying for organic milk. 

Here are the steps for making butter...

1.)Skim the cream off of the top of raw milk. You can buy cream if you want, but it will defeat the purpose of saving money. 

2.)Fill a food processor 1/3 full of cream. I filled mine to the max liquid line.

3.) Set the food processor on high and let it run for about 10 minutes. 

4.) At this point you should have the fat separated from the milk. You should see chunks of butter in the milk. Scoop all of the butter out into a clean bowl.

5.) Run COLD water into the bowl and squeeze out all the excess milk with a spoon. Repeat this step until the water is clear. 

6.) Squeeze out all the excess water and you should have a nice ball of butter. 

For a much better tutorial on this with pictures go to Heavenly Homemaker. 

I promise for the next post I will remember pictures. 


Our dryer decided to quit drying clothes about 3 or 4 months ago and ever since I have either line dried them in the house or have taken them over to my parent's house and used their dryer. I tried hard not to complain, but it was getting to be a little old considering I have 2 small children and I babysit 2 more on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can imagine the size of my laundry pile. 

We thought we would have enough to get a used one, but February was an expensive month. Jack had pneumonia twice, Madison and I both had doctors visits, and I had to go to the dentist 4 times to have old fillings redone. To top it all off our insurance was supposed to cover Jack's nebulizer in full, but we later got a letter stating that they would be applying it to our deductible and we would be responsible for paying the entire bill. Thankfully we do have insurance so a lot of the above was covered. In total we paid nearly $1000. We do have money in savings to put toward paying off our car, but we hated to spend it. So I just kept drying clothes without a dryer.

I now have 3 things to be thankful for...

1.) We are all healthy again
2.) We were able to pay cash for our medical bills. We did not have to go into more debt.
3.)My dad showed up at my house yesterday with a BRAND NEW dryer in the back of his truck. Not used but NEW. He said he would be back later to install it and haul away the old one. To say the least I nearly started to cry. Especially when I found out where the money came from. 

My grandmother passed away nearly 2 years ago and my dad finally got her life insurance money. He had planned to buy himself a four wheeler to go hunting with, but instead he decided to pay off his credit card (this is a huge step for him), buy me a dryer, and put the rest in savings. So my grandmother sort of bought be a dryer. It was so nice to see such a selfless act. It makes me want to do something for someone else. 

What are you thankful for today? Head on over to Heavenly Homemakers for more Gratituesday. 

I thought that for St Patrick's Day I would share my take on green smoothies. I got the idea from two of my favorite healthy blogs Passionate Homemaking and Heavenly Homemakers. They both have great recipes for green smoothies/slushies. I took both recipes and kind of made up my own yummy green smoothie. They are so good for you and even my 1 year old will drink them. Unfortunately my 3 year old will not, but she does not care for smoothies of any sort. Weird I know. Oh well. 

Green Smoothies (I tend to eyeball amounts)

Frozen strawberries
Frozen or fresh banana
A couple hand fulls FRESH spinach (Frozen tastes terrible)
A little juice (or water)
Yogurt or kefir (I use homemade for extra nutrition)
Honey if you like (I leave this out)
Put everything in the blender and blend very well. All of the spinach should completely blend away and leave you with a nice green colored drink. You can hardly taste the spinach. The fruit does a nice job of masking it.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add any fruit you like as well as change out the greens. Experiment with what you like to eat. Start out with only a little spinach and eventually you can add more as you become accustomed to the taste. This is a great way to get some nutrition down picky eaters.

One thing I discovered is that you do NOT want to use frozen spinach. It does not blend well and will leave chunks in your smoothie. YUCK! It also leaved behind a strong spinach flavor.

Head on over to Tammy's Recipes for more of today's kitchen tips. 

Here are the coupon links I have find for healthy food...

$.75/1 Fresh Del Monte Pineapple here and here

$1/1 Cascadian Farms (Great frozen veggies)

$1/1 Muir Glen product 

$1/1 Biokleen (Watch for this to go on clearance)

$.50/1 Method (At Target)

$1/1 Maranatha Nut Butter (Watch for clearance sales)

$.75/1 Santa Cruz (Hand on to these. Kroger often has large jugs of lemonade on sale for $2 in the summers. After the coupon double that makes it $1 for organic lemonade!)

Various Stoneyfield Farm products 

Various Horizon Organic coupons (These are nice when the gallon milk is marked down)

I will try to add to this list as I come across coupons. You can eat healthy with coupons you just have to plan. I know you can do it!

Just as a side note I found organic butter at Target today for $3.50 a pound. This is about $1 more then Kroger brand, but about $2-3 less then national organic brands. I feel that butter is a place I can splurge when I have the extra money to do so since most of the antibiotics and growth hormones are found in the fat of diary foods.

I am hoping to start a series on how to make most of the items we eat or buy weekly in the grocery store. It is so much cheaper and healthier to make your own. If there are any request as to what you would like me to start with let me know.
I went shopping today and was able to use some coupons toward produce, organic bread, and other things. In another post I will try to share some links to some great natural coupons. I had hoped to show you a picture of my shopping trip, but my sweet husband had everything put away before I had a chance.  I can tell you that I only spent around $41. Coupons can be so helpful. Sometimes it is worth it to buy something that you do not plan to use just to get an overage toward the items you do plan to use. You can always donate the extras. 

Since I could not get a picture here is a list of what I got...

3 # organic apple
organic lettuce 
2.19 # organic banana
Nature's own organic bread
1 # organic beef
Kroger natural peanut butter 
2 jars Classico spaghetti sauce (I liked this brand because it did not have high fructose corn syrup or soybean oil)
1 Large can V8
1 can green beans
1 can peaches
2 cans pears
1 can madarin oranges
Daisy sour cream (This brand is cream only without additives)
apple juice (I prefer not to buy this, but my daughter needs to have as many fluids I we can get down her)
2 packs strawberries
Local whole wheat flour
2 boxes freezer bags
1 bag garbonzo beans
1 bag frozen stir fry veggies
1 bag frozen bell pepper and onions
1 sm container plain yogurt (To make my own yogurt with)
1 cucumber
1 bag Nature's own buns
World Market olive oil (My favorite brand)
1 box Always Infinity (I had a free box coupon, plus $2 came off that was already loaded to my card)

Coupons used...
2 $.75 Nature's own (No longer available)
$1 off V8
1 $.35 off Kroger frozen veggie (mailer)
$2.50 off next order coupon
Free Always Infinity
$10 off next order coupon (This was a Walgreens Register Reward. I read at Common Sense With Money that if you ask your store some will take them as a competitors coupon. I decided to ask the cashier. She just said she would see if it would scan. Guess what it did!)

Total OOP $41.22
Total saved $34.72

I obviously could have saved more if I had gone to Aldi's to get my produce. I decided that I would rather spend a little more for better quality especially since I was planning to use the $10 off catalina. 

I found a great recipe for homemade laundry soap on the Dugger website. I have been playing with the idea of trying it for myself. When I saw that this recipe worked well for a family of 20 I new that it must work well.

I have also found that using plain white vinegar in the rinse cycle makes a very frugal and natural alternative to fabric softener. Don't worry it does not leave a vinegar smell behind.

I am really excited to try this recipe for 2 reasons

1.) It costs much less then any prepackaged laundry detergent. According to the recipe each batch only costs about $2 and makes 10 gallons. Depending on the type of washing machine you have this will do anywhere from 180-640 loads of laundry!

2.) It is all natural and a very green alternative. I have children with very sensitive skin, and the fact that this recipe does not have any dyes or perfumes is a plus.

This recipe was taken directly from the Dugger's website. I felt it was best not to mess with any of the wording so that you can achieve the same results. I am not sure how to give proper credit for this.

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4 Cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Powdered Laundry Detergent- Top load machine

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

Make sure to check out this website for tons of great frugal recipes and incredible parenting advice.

After sales, coupons, and $$ off your next order I got all of this (plus a few things not pictured) for a grand total of $.87!!

I just realized I got a picture of my sweet husband making gnocchi for dinner.

I had such a great shopping trip today. After reading Crystal's tip about the Huggies coupons being used for single packs of wipes I decided I needed to go shopping today. I had already used all of my $5 coupons on diapers at Walgreens, but I had 11 $3 coupons left. I had access to 4 printers for these coupons in case you were wondering how I managed to get so many. The above picture was in 3 transactions. I am planning to donate all of the wipes and cereal to my church's food pantry. I am well stocked on wipes from Walgreens earlier this week.

Transaction #1...Dillons/Kroger

6 boxes Huggies wipes $2.50 each -6 $3 coupons
2 boxes Glucerna cereal $3.99 each -2 $5 coupons (I received 2 $2.50 OYNO coupons)
1 gallon Horizon organic milk marked down to $3.90
1 Big K gingerale
1 box Fruitabu organic fruit snacks marked down to $2
1 Russell Stover Private Reserve marked down to $.75

Total out of pocket $4.35
Received $5 back off of my next order

Transaction #2 Dillons/Kroger

4 boxes Huggies wipes $2.50 each -4 $3 coupons
3 Russell Stover Private Reserve $.75 each - Buy 2 get 1
1 large can Muir Glen tomatoes marked down to $1.75 - $1 coupon

Total out of pocket $1.13

Transaction #3...Leekers

1 can Pringles - Free item coupon (Special treat for family)
1.96 pounds bananas $1.31
-$1 off next order coupon

Total out of pocket $.39

Total out of pocket $5.87
Recieved $5 off your next order coupons
Grand Total $.87

Total savings $45.94

If I had read the title of this post 2 years ago I would have completely agreed, and for the most part I still do. That said I would like to show you that there are some coupons out there that can be used for organic or natural foods. I still think that buying organic ingredients and making your own food is definitely cheaper, but not everyone is able to spend time in the kitchen cooking every meal. Later this week I will try and post some recipes that use whole foods that are frugal and easy to prepare.

I am always on the lookout for organic coupons. I seem to find them everywhere. If you have a health food store anywhere nea
r you make sure to check them out. They often have coupons in their magazines or in my case a whole book of coupons that comes out every couple of months. I always grab several. The nice thing is that the coupons are for REAL food like butter, milk, veggies... A couple of weeks ago I was able to get 2 bags of organic carrots for $.99! I have also been able to get Cascadian Farms fruits and veggies for $.50 a bag buy combining coupons and sales.

Make sure to keep an eye out in your local grocery store as well. In either March or April of
last year they had coupon books for Earth Day. These came in very handy. I always check to see what items might be on closeout in the health food section and then see if I have coupons for them.

If you remember to buy your produce in season you are usually able to get organic items for the same price or less then conventional.
Here is a good list of seasonal produce in yo
ur area. Also see if you can buy locally at a farmers market. Or better yet grow your own. Even if you only have room for a container garden you can grow fruits and veggies. If you have noticed from some of my shopping trip pictures I rarely buy cleaning products or processed foods. I will admit that I cave and buy a few junk food products when a craving hits or I can get something for free. These items are either saved as treats for my kids or donated to my church's food pantry. Sometime I feel bad donating food that I prefer not to feed my family, but I also want to help as much as my budget will allow. I would hope that if I ever were in a position to need help that someone would help me. When I do donate I try to make sure the food is at least somewhat healthy.

If you are looking for coupons for "real" food there are numerous sites that you can go to. Often if you will go to a manufacturers web site they will offer you a coupon. For example
Seventh Generation and Muir Glen tomatoes.

Here are some great articles on buying organic food with coupons.

How I Buy Organic Fresh Food For Pennies

Tips For Saving Money On Organic Foods

HUGE List Of Organic Coupons (I mean HUGE)
I have really been thinking about stopping blogging altogether, as I am sure you have noticed by my extreme absence. For some reason I keep coming back. I seem to miss it. If I still have anyone reading I think I will try to take this blog in a new direction.

I do not like just posting about deals and grocery trips. To me that seems to defeat my original purpose for starting this blog. I still have lots of friends asking me how on earth I find such great deals. This also seems to be the top thing that people visit this blog for. We are all trying to cut back and simplify these days. My goal will be to help those who are interested learn how to still eat a natural whole foods diet and stay within their budgets.

I think I will still post about the good deals when I see them, but not everything. There are so many other bloggers who already have this covered and do a great job. I would really like to concentrate on helping wives and mothers take care of their families in the most frugal yet most natural and healthy way. It is a passion of mine to learn about Biblical principals for raising a family, being good stewards, natural health care, healthy cooking (especially for kids) and more as decide what will work with this new direction.

I will still be posting on how to make the transition from work to home, but also adding in some things about how to live a more natural yet frugal life.

This is a picture of my Walgreen shopping spree this last Sunday. I was down to 2 packs of diapers so I decided it was time to restock my supply. I have considered going to cloth diapers recently for a greener alternative. I even have a friend who has offered to loan me her's. I am still trying to decide what direction to take. I guess I figure that since Jack is 16 months I will hopefully be able to start potty training in a couple of months. His sister was finished potty training my 22 months. I have heard that boys are harder.

Total for the above....

6 bag diapers
5 184 count bags of wipes
2 packages of raisins
1 Glade Sense and Spray

Total oop about $24
I received $30 in Register Rewards
Total saved over $60

I could have saved $6 more off of my total making it $18, but Walgreens only had 1 Sense and Spray. I needed 2 to get $4 overage. I also had to use a $3 coupon instead of a $5. I could have printed another one at my mom's, but I decided it was not worth the drive to her house and then another store. Considering 1 pack of diapers is on sale for $10 I think I did pretty well.

I have never bought anything from QVC before, but I decided to go for it when I came across this great deal. I love it when places offer $10 off of $10 order. If you hurry and go here you can get all the details on how to get in on this. I also noticed that there was free shipping on many items today. I am not sure if free shipping continues tomorrow or not. There were several items at or a little above $10 so you could get a great deal.

I bought some Mrs. Meyers cleaning supplies that I have been wanting to try. They ended up costing me about $6.88 for 4 items. This included tax and shipping. I will also get money back from using my husband's Ebates account. If you already have an Ebates account don't forget to go through them to get 3% cash back on your QVC order to make this an even better deal. If you have any plans to order something online soon make sure to use Ebates to get coupons and cash back. They will be sending out checks on Feb 15th so now would be a great time to order if you have plans to.

Search & Win

I wanted to say thanks again to everyone who has signed up for Swagbucks. It is amazing what referrals can do. I am currently saving to get a $50 Lowes gift card to use on the house this summer.

Would you like to learn how to get FREE gift cards just for surfing the web? It is just like google only you get "paid" to do it. Find out more here.
I have not been able to get up my Dillons deals the last several weeks due to being sick and then having both kids catch it. Right now Jack is fighting pneumonia and possible RSV. I have not been getting much sleep. Thankfully he is doing much better and is off the prednisone which was making him sssooo hyper. We were quite worried for awhile when the Dr checked his oxygen levels and it was only 93. God has been good and he is on the mend. Now if I could only get some sleep.

Anyway since Dillons has decided to extend the Mega Event for another week I thought I would direct you to Sarah's site for the match ups since I have not had a chance. Thank you so much Sarah for sending me these. Don't forget that these deals will work at Kroger stores as well.

I should have taken a picture of the cheese I was able to get last week. They had a blinkie right next to the cheese for $.75 off which doubled to $1 making each bag only $.49 each!! I bought 20 and my husband went back later and got 10 more. I am so glad that cheese freezes well.

I am really excited about the carnival that Lindsay will be hosting at Passionate Homemaking next Tues Jan 20th. She will be hosting a Nutritious Freezer Meal Carnival. I have always been inspired by her ability to feed her family delicious, healthy meals and still stay withing budget. It should be interesting to see what she comes up with for this one. I am also looking forward to seeing what others have to add to this carnival. It should be fun. If you would like to participate make sure to head on over to Passionate Homemaking next Tues or even sooner for some great inspiration on frugal, natural living as well as some encouragement on your walk as a wife and mother. 

Search & Win

I noticed this morning that Swagbucks has a new Swagbucks code up. If you click on the large number that tells you how many bucks you have you will be taken to a page that has a box you can type in a Swagbucks code to receive a free point. After you type it you click on Give Me and you will automatically have an extra point. Make sure you hurry these codes tend to expire quickly. The code is also case sensitive.

Here is the code....GreenThursday

I mentioned the other day that I was planning a trip to Dillons this week to get some Green Giant boxed veggies that are on sale 10/$10 this week. There are some $.50/1 coupons here as well as some ecoupons you can add to your Dillons card here and here. If your store doubles coupons that would make them FREE. I had many coupons that I had been saving up hoping these would go on sale soon. My Dillons will honor expired coupons up to, I think, 6 weeks past expiration. It depends on who you talk to.

I was also able to get some more free Cottonelle toilet paper. Right now I have around 14 four packs and a large pack as well as 5-9 more coupons for more. All the 4 packs are free if you use the $.50/1 coupons here and here. Remember you can hit the back button and get 2 coupons per computer per site. Go here and here to print these coupons.

Here is what I got yesterday...

28 boxes Green Giant veggies
1 pack Cottonelle
2 packs Kotex
1 Colgate Total
1 can Kroger Tuna FREE with Cellfire
1 box Kroger kleenex
1 bag cookies to stop screaming children

Total for everything I paid under $20. That is a HUGE savings considering the veggies are regularly priced at $1.99 each! I should have paid $2 less except I forgot my husband's Dillons card to use on 1 pack of Kotex and 2 boxes of veggies. Oh well still a good deal.

You can go
here to sign up for a free subscription to Kiwi Magazine and get $5 in Earth's Best coupons. I get this magazine and I really like it. It is full of green living ideas for moms.

Cellfire has added new coupons today. They have several that are good for Kroger brand items. I love these coupons because you do not usually see Kroger coupons. They are also nice because you can load them to your Dillons card and not have to worry about remembering to bring them to the store.

Cellfire also has several coupons that are good towards things like Huggies diapers and Colgate toothpaste. Since these coupons are loaded to your Dillons card and are virtual coupons you can stack them with a paper coupon which can add up to some big savings if you manage to get the item on sale.

For example I found Kotex on sale this week for $3. I used a $.75 paper coupon that doubled to $1 and the Cellfire coupon came off for another $1 making the Kotex only $1 each. I was able to buy 2 packs and only pay a total of $2. That is less then the cost of one! Let me know if you have questions about how ecoupons work. You can also add coupons to your husband's card if he has one.

Don't forget about these other sites that let you load coupons to your Dillons card....

Shortcuts P&G Brandsaver

There are lots of paper coupons that match up to them. Tomorrow Green Giant boxed veggies will be on sale for $1 each. When you combine the ecoupons and paper coupons they will be FREE! I have been saving my Green Giant coupons hoping they would go on sale soon. I will try to take a picture and do a post on what I get tomorrow. See you can get healthy food with coupons.
I have to admit that I LOVE hummus. My husband loves it when I make this recipe. From all the research I have done chickpeas are very good for you which makes this dip extra healthy since it contains olive oil, tahini, and garlic. Yes, it is a bit high in fat, but it is good fat. I am a firm believer in eating full fat and whole milk as long as it is healthy fat and comes from a reliable if not organic source. 

If you are wondering about why I believe in eating this way you should check out the 2 books that completely changed the way my family eats, The Maker's Diet and Nourishing Traditions. In fact my husband lost around 60 pounds eating real butter and full fat diary. HMMM that seems to go against everything we have been taught. I feel we should eat our food the way the Lord made it and not mess with it too much. If I could find a source of farm fresh milk anywhere near here I would be buying it. 

Using coupons to eat a whole foods diet can be a bit of a struggle. Since we are currently working to pay all of our debts off we have decided to compromise on a few foods, but I have to say that eating a whole foods diet can be just as cheap if not cheaper then using coupons alone for processed foods. I strive to use my coupons to help of set the price of some of our produce and other things. There are also great sources of organic and whole food coupons if you keep an eye out for them. Maybe I should do a post on just organic couponing or what I spend on a whole foods diet. The way I have found we save is by making nearly everything we eat. It is amazing how much you can save when you are not buying premade or processed foods. It is so much healthier and cheaper, even when you can get some things for free. My sister-in-law said once that she would rather pay more for food now then pay much more for medical bills later. 

All this said here is my favorite hummus recipe...

15 oz garbanzo beans (chick peas, I use dried beans, but you can use 1 can)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini (sesame "butter" found in the health food section of grocery store)
1/4 cup lemon juice
olive oil to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend together. If the hummus is too thick you can thin it with olive oil or a little water. 
Place in a bowl and garnish with pine nuts, paprika, and a little olive or sesame oil if you like. I usually don't. 
Serve with pita or fresh veggies.

My daughter has been asking to see my wedding dress the last several weeks. I finally gave in and pulled the big ol thing out. Think miles and miles of tulle. I finally got it all out of the bag when she decides it would be a good idea for me to try it on. I am happy to say that over 7 years and 2 kids later it still fits just the way it did on my wedding day. The only thing on me that was a little bigger may have been my hips. I don't remember having trouble getting it over my hips the last time (yes I stepped into it).
I guess chasing after two small children is more of a workout then I thought.

Madison enjoyed helping me carry my train up the stairs so I could look in the mirror. It was so fun to see the look on her face when she saw her mommy "so pretty." I barely had any makeup on and my hair had been under a baseball cap all day and she still thought her momma was pretty. Of course then came all of the questions about where was I at your wedding and I think I will marry Jack or daddy. I love being a mom. She later had to wear the veil around for awhile.

I decided to order a book from Borders today and remembered too late that I should have used my Ebate account to order it. I only ended up paying $.03 for a $20 book after coupon, gift card, and shipping to the store, but it would have been nice to have also received a 4% cash back rebate as well.

After realizing that I had forgotten I decided to check Ebates and see what other Borders coupons or rebates they had. When I got to their web page I discovered that any new person who signs up can get an automatic $5 deposited into their account, or $10 gift card to Borders or Target, plus some other gift cards. My husband signed up and they are now shipping him a $10 gift card to Borders!

I love to use Ebates whenever I shop online because I know that I can usually get a rebate and some sort of coupon code. It is free to sign up plus you can have your earnings sent to you in check form or deposited into your PayPal account. Sounds like a good deal to me. You can go
here to sign up and check it out for yourself.
"Just as the rich rule the poor; so the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7

My husband and I have been working on paying down our debt since last summer. After reading Dave's Total Money Makeover we both decided that we had had enough of owing money. The Bible teaches us that we are to owe no man. At the beginning of our marriage we only had $3,500 in student loans and no other debt. Unfortunately we decided to listen to what others were telling us and take out student loans, car loans, and a mortgage. We did not know that there was any other way. Debt was just something that everyone had. We were even told that student loans are considered "good" debt. How could we have been so blind. 

We are now paying off a student loan we used to pay for a truck that has been totaled for almost 3 years now. My husband was always against taking out loans, but I usually managed to talk him into it. Thanks to him we have a lot less then we might if I had gotten my way. 

Thrift Florida Mom is hosting a monthly debt buster meeting. I have decided to join in. We have a HUGE goal this year. I believe that you should always aim high. If you don't you will never know what you can achieve. If you don't make it at least you gave it all you had. I have prayed about this so many times. I am trusting the Lord to help take care of us. I know he has put it on my heart to be debt free. With the Lords help it is possible although it will take sacrifice and extra jobs. I would love to hear from you. Any encouraging words you can leave would be greatly appreciated. 

I am going to follow the lead of Florida mom and list out my debts so that each month you can see my progress and hopefully you will be inspired to tackle your debt this year. 

Car loan $6,300 - We owed around $14,000 last June 
Student loan $8,500
Student loan $10,500

These are approximate numbers. I have the 2 student loans in forbearance right now. We are putting everything extra we can toward having the car paid off by May or June. My ultimate goal would be to be debt free by January 2010 which would mean paying $2,100 a month toward debt. My family thinks I am crazy. My husband teaches at a technical college and I stay home. To help with this goal we are on a very strict budget and we are planning to take on some extra jobs. 

I decided to take my kids to the mall for an Auntie Anne's pretzel today. I decided to go hunting for a coupon so I could possibly make this a free trip. I am also planning to use a $5 gift card to Sears that I earned from Adperks. I was excited to see that there is a FREE pretzel coupon in the new Entertainment book as well as you can go
here and sign up to have a coupon sent to your email box every month. 

By the way thanks to everyone who has signed up for Swagbucks. I was really surprised to see I had "earned" some points while I was sleeping last night. 

Search & Win

I am sure that you have heard of Swagbucks by now, but if you haven't you really should be using it. 

Basically Swagbucks is a search engine that you can use just like google and any other search engine. The bonus to using Swagbucks is that when you search for things you will occasionally be rewarded with a swagbuck or 2. After you accumulate enough you can redeem your swagbucks for things such as Starbucks gift cards, Amazon gift cards, and tons of other prizes. 

The other great thing is that if you have a website or even an email you can refer friends and earn extra points. For every point your friends earn you will earn the same number up to 100 points. 

There are lots of other ways to earn bucks. The best way to learn about the program is to go ahead and visit here. It is so easy to get started. I just ordered my second Starbucks card. I love getting free coffee just for surfing the net like I would be doing anyway. Go ahead and give it a try. 

I noticed when I was in Walgreens today that they have the
Yes To Carrots line buy one get one half off. If you go here you can get a buy one get one free coupon. When you combine these deals you can get 2 products for 1/4 of the price.

Here is the break down...
Average price is about $8 x 2 = $16
- $8 BOGO coupon
-$4 Walgreens sale
Total is $4 for 2 products!

I also noticed that they have some of there Seventh Generation products on clearance. Head on over to Money Saving Mom to get the details on how to get $2 off these products. The clearance prices I noticed were just over $2.
I ran into some really good deals this weekend on organic and natural foods. Since we try to eat mostly whole and organic foods this causes a bit of a stretch in our budget at times. I was really excited to run into some sales this weekend. So if you live in or around the Wichita area you might be able to get in on this.

Green Acres has Cascadian Farms fruits and veggies on sale for 2/$3 and 2/$6 for a 10 oz bag. When you combine this sale with a $1/1 Cascadian Farm coupon you can get frozen fruits and veggies for around $.50 to $2.50 each. 

They also have 5 pound bags of potatoes on sale for $2.99. That is less then Kroger, Target, or even Walmart.

The last place I found great deals was at Satchel Creek Steaks. They are a local ranch that raises hormone and antibiotic free grass fed beef. Every Friday they have Fill Your Freezer Friday. Which means everything in their freezer is 50% off!  You do have to pay a one time fee of $20 to be able to participate, but it is well worth it. I was able to get 5 pounds of ground beef, all beef brats, and 2 precooked burgundy roasts for about $25. Not bad for good quality meat. To buy just the ground beef alone at Dillons would have been $25. 
Thank you to everyone who sent encouraging emails for left comments. I needed to take some time and reevaluate where I am spending my time and where I wanted to blog to go. From the steady stream of visitors I am still receiving I have decided that I will continue to post, but maybe not as much as I used to. I will try to make sure that I get up the most time sensitive items as well as some posts on encouraging mothers in there journeys. I had trouble not posting items for the last several weeks and just letting this blog sit while I did other things.

 The one thing that I will not do is tell my children to go play and let mommy finish "working" on a post. Time spent with them is too important. I also have not been giving myself as  much time to spend in the Bible as I should. That will be my top priority.

Since today is Monday I will try to have a menu plan up later today.
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