Staying on Target

Creating a sensible budget, and more importantly, sticking to that budget, is one of the most important aspects of couponing and any other money-saving effort. It is very easy to get swept away in the flurry of finding a good deal to the point that you forget there is a budget that needs to be adhered to. It is amazing how fast everything always seems to add up at the register! There are innumerable different ways to develop a budget and track spending and it is important to find what works best for you. There is no use in having the “greatest system” for all your budget needs if you never actually use it; you have to find what best fits your needs and what fits your style so that you will use it. I will go into more detail on the methods I use for budgeting and tracking spending in a later post.

Rather this post is more focused to share a new website/blog that I came across about a month ago that I have fallen in love with. The lady who runs this site posts multiple times a day. She matches coupons from many different sources (both online and print) with prices on a variety of products at Target. I have never shopped at Target a lot, but as I become more and more frustrated with my experiences at Wal-mart I find myself choosing Target a lot more often. In the past month I have been quite impressed with Target’s coupon policies and more importantly (for me) their customer service. I have had nothing but positive experiences thus far and have found many great deals. So far my Target finds have included: sunscreen for less than $2 a bottle, weed killer for only 49 cents a bottle, beauty accessories for free, and free vinegar. I still don’t do a majority of my shopping at Target stores, however they are very conveniently located near my house and as I find more good deals on this site I look forward to frequenting their stores more in the future!

Welcoming a New Addition to the Family!

Before you get ahead of yourself, no this addition is not a living, breathing, crying creature. We are nowhere near ready to even think about that yet. Instead this addition is making our lives so much easier! A few weeks ago we finally broke down and invested in a big upright freezer!

Our new freezer!

After many frustrating grocery trips of realizing that we couldn’t stock up on the great deals due to a lack of freezer space we have rectified the situation. I searched Craigslist for many weeks to find the perfect combination of space and price to fit our needs. There was some disappointment after missing a few great deals but then we found “the one”. We got an older model upright freezer for only $50. We had to drive about 35 minutes from our house to go pick it up which we don’t mind because we love to see different parts of the state that we would have no reason to travel to otherwise. Moving it into our basement was not as difficult as we were prepared for it to be. The timing could not have been more perfect. We picked up the freezer the same night that we switched our fridge/freezer combo out with another one from our landlord. We moved the freezer in first and because it has cooling coils in the fridge it was cold in less than 2 hours. When it came time to move the “new” fridge/freezer into the kitchen upstairs we discovered that while the fridge is bigger, the freezer in it held less than half of the food that we pulled out of the old one. Luckily we had our (already cold) new freezer downstairs and were able to avoid catastrophe and food waste.

Our old refrigerator… packed as always!

Our new refrigerator! We finally have extra space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have had it hooked up for about three weeks now and it is amazing! Not only is our freezer upstairs not always packed to the gills (making it impossible to find anything without emptying half of it) but we can now stock up on the best deals knowing that we have enough space to fit it all. We also now have space for when friends and family start gifting us with fresh produce from their gardens (and the extra from ours’) as well as fresh meat from their hunting and fishing trips. A few of the deals we have already taken advantage of (some before and some after this picture was taken) are:

  • 20 bags of Ore Ida frozen potatoes for only $0.90 each
  • 10 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese for only $0.97 each
  • 8 lbs of fresh strawberries (for smoothies) for $1 each
  • 10 lbs of bananas (for smoothies) for $2 total
  • many other great deals on clearance meats and produce

8 lbs of strawberries

“Don’t Try to Force It”

This is not in reference to gardening or couponing as I can attest that both can be forced as I have done it many times. I have gone out and pulled weeds or shoveled dirt at 6am on days when all I wanted to do was sleep in after working in the yard until 9pm the night before. I have cut out coupons in the 30 minutes between arriving home from work and leaving for church on Wednesday nights when I really wanted to just sit and kick up my feet. “Don’t try to force it”, rather, refers to something of a completely different nature.

I heard my choir directors throughout the years say this many times. In chorus I was always a Soprano (the higher notes) and not just a Soprano, but a First Soprano (the highest notes). If there was a descant part (even higher than highest notes) I was all over it. I could proudly sing a High C (two lines above the top of the staff!) without breaking a sweat. However, it wasn’t always so easy. In middle school when I was learning to sing those notes so effortlessly I would often stumble and fall, or in the music world, I would squeak out a note or two below the intended note. The first time I would hit a new high note I would feel so proud of myself and the first words out of the director’s mouth were, “Don’t try to force it.” While I had finally hit the note I had not done it with ease and in such the force behind my efforts was audible in the note that I produced. Eventually with enough practice I would get to the point where I would sing the high notes in a song without needing to anticipate them because they came out that naturally.

So why I am I writing about singing? Well, I had forgotten all about these chorus experiences until this past Sunday at choir practice after church. It was my first time being able to attend choir practice. I, of course, joined the Soprano section of the choir and was excited to finally be back in a choir and singing again for the first time in about a year. We only practiced one song, a piece that we will be performing during church in two weeks. On the first run-through I immediately noticed something: a stumble and fall. There is one line in the hymn that has a few “high” notes in a row (never above an E). Because I was taught to sing as a First Soprano I didn’t think of these notes as being high at all, however I quickly realized that some of the other women were afraid of these notes as they are higher than what the choir typically sings. After we rehearsed the song a few times, each time with the same one lady squeaking out a note below the one written, I remembered the words of my choir director in school… “Don’t try to force it.” I quickly explained that you can’t be afraid of the note, you just have to go for it. By the end of the rehearsal she was hitting the note and we all sounded great.

It was only after I got home from church that I realized the application of this lesson to my current life situation. I have not written on my blog in over a month now. I really desire to keep up with it and write regularly, however some times I feel like I just don’t have anything worth sharing with other people. When I first started the blog I had put it off for many months already so I didn’t want to fall out of the routine of writing as quickly as I had tried to get into it. So on my last post I forced myself write the post, and even though I was not at all satisfied with it, I posted it to the blog. I have not been satisfied with it ever since. I just wanted to write so that I could say I had done it, not because I had anything to say. This is where the words of my choir director come in… don’t try to force it! I was forcing myself to write just for the sake of writing. I have felt guilty for not writing on my blog over the past month however this epiphany has allowed me to realize that it’s ok not to write at specific intervals. I don’t know why I hadn’t made the connection before as I do the same thing with my journal writing (yes, I am a 23-year-old who still writes in a journal). I do not write every day. I used to make myself write in my journal every day and some days I would spend an hour writing and then, at the end, realize that I had not written anything of meaning or importance, simply a timeline of the happenings of my day. Now I only write in my journal when I feel impressed that I have something I need to write about, whether it is to clarify my own thoughts, to have to refer back to later, or to be able to pass on to my posterity in the future. I will now apply this same principle to my blog; I will only write when I feel I have something that I want/need to share with others.

Amusingly, since having this revelation on Sunday (only three days ago) I have been inspired of five new blog posts that I am anxious to write (not including this one)! Much of my inspiration has come from this blog that I stumbled upon on Pinterest and have been addicted to for the past three days reading it every spare second I get. It makes me want to do better about writing but has also given me so many new ideas. There is a lot more coming so be on the lookout for all my new posts in the very near future!