Sunday, February 28, 2010

Budget Challenge - February

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this up (actually posting on 4/4). . .
I did go big-time over budget this month, but I stockpiled a lot - especially chicken breasts which were about 60% off. Good buy!

Here's the results for this month in our Grocery/Supplies reduction.

Budget: $300
Actual OOP: $383.83
Retail Price: $1,029.11
Coupon Savings: $314.55
Sales Savings: $330.73

I saved 62.7% even though I went over budget by $83.83.
I think I am still doing well since we used to spent $500 a month (when I stayed within budget) for just groceries. I have no idea how much we were spending with supplies. $300 was just a number I through out there to see if I could do it. . .Knowing that it would be rough at first because I am still trying to stockpile a bit.

Namaste.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Buy American" vs. "Buy Made in America"

I usually avoid "political" and "religious" conversations. . .On my blog and in person.
The "Buy American" debate doesn't really fit in either of those, but I tend to avoid that as well.

Until today.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and since this is my little corner of the cyber-world, I am going to express mine. I will continue to avoid the "political" and "religious" conversations. . .

I am very patriotic.
I proudly display red, white and blue.
I even have a "patriotic" corner in my house with tons of stars and stripes despite it clashing with the rest of the house.
I support my fellow Americans.

Let me clarify what I mean by "fellow Americans".
I try to support the worker who made the clothes.
I try to support the worker who built the cars.
I try to support the chef who cook the food.
I try to support the farmer who grew the crops.
I will try to support the American citizens who are working in America.

"I try" because there are other factors that go into my decisions: money, quality, availability, etc.

I do not make a priority to support an American owner who is producing in another country and justify it as "Buy American".
I will buy from a company (regardless of origin) who is producing the product in the USA (providing local jobs) and justify it as "Buy American".

Buy the Toyota Camry assembled in Georgetown, KY or Lafayette, IN.
Buy the Ford F-150 assembled in Dearborn, MI.
Buy the Honda Odyssey assembled in Lincoln, AL.
Buy the Toyota Sienna assembled in Princeton, IN.
Buy the GMC Sierra 1500 assembled in Fort Wayne, IN.
Buy the Ford Taurus assembled in Chicago, IL.
Buy the Toyota Tundra assembled in San Antonio, TX.

Yes, I included some "American" nameplates above. All of those vehicles listed are assembled in America with a domestic content over 75% (per cars.com).
All of those vehicles support American workers.

NOTE: I just used vehicles because the facts were easy to gather. This argument could be made for clothes, washing machines, etc - if the facts are available.

Many care about where the profit goes. . .I don't care.
Many disagree with me on this point, but here is my thought process:
- Profits go into a rich person's pocket regardless if American based or foreign based. EQUAL
- Both companies support locally (American companies support America even if they assemble elsewhere. Foreign based companies support the communities that they have production facilities.). EQUAL
- Production location determines what workers get paychecks. PRODUCTION LOCATION AND CONTENT MATTERS

Providing full disclosure, I drive a Toyota Matrix which is assembled in Canada (Engine and Transmission assembled in USA) with a large amount of parts produced in America. I did not 100% "Buy Made in America", but I am still supporting a large number of American workers and drive a vehicle with high NAFTA content.

To close my rambling, I'll say: Before you start shouting "Buy American" in my face, please check the local content on the vehicle you drive (and the clothes you wear and the food you eat, etc). You may find yourself hearing "Buy Made in America" coming right back at you.
(If you are from another country, please "Buy made in *wherever you are from*". I am fully about supporting your country and do not expect everyone to support mine.)


Anyone who wants to express their opinion on this topic is welcome - as long as it is respectful.
If I feel like it is hateful or written in "attack" mode, I will delete it.

Namaste.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stir Crazy

I am going a bit stir crazy. . .
Lots of snow and being stuck in the house has me itching to get out and about.

I have shoveled the front sidewalk four times, MaBell has shoveled it twice.
MBB has plowed the lane twice.
See. . .
No, the kids aren't hiding from the camera - they are hiding from the wind.
I think we are all a bit tired of it!

I hear we're supposed to get more. . .
You may hear my scream clear over there!

Namaste.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How Long?

I have been working to get the Sunday paper delivered for about. . .
Three months now.

No exaggeration.

At first, I called to get the great rate that was advertised in the paper.
I was told it wasn't for my paper.
Yep, the rate that was advertised in MY paper.
I never got a call back from that "investigation".

Then, I sent in the same advertisement that was advertised in MY paper for about four weeks running. I thought snail mail may have a better shot since the advertisement had my paper's name on it.

No response.

When that didn't seem to work, I went on-line and subscribed that way. Wasn't sure if I would get the great advertised rate, but at least it would save me gas.

Still no response.

So, we continue to run to a gas station every Sunday to get my coupons.


Out of the blue, with no warning. . .
We (more specifically MBB, I thought I was dreaming it) heard a car on our lane Sunday morning.
Yep, this sight made my day! It even made MaBell's day when she realized that we weren't going to have to walk out the lane every Sunday morning to get the paper from the mailbox.

Now, I'll be able to clip coupons before church to give a final gauge as to whether I want to buy a second set of coupons. :)

Namaste.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

MBB and I went to dinner last night and then saw "Couples Retreat".
It was a nice evening, just the two of us.

We then stopped at Walmart to get our "practical" gifts.
Yes, we are weird and we buy practical stuff - our first VDay, I bought him socks and underwear. :)
MBB got a pair of jeans, I got two shirts, MaBell got long underwear (and a candy bar) and OB got black socks (and a candy bar).
For the family, we bought a pitcher and a tea kettle. We are a very practical family! :)


We started the actual Valentine's Day going to church.
On the way back, we found that the FedEx man had left a package at our mailbox.
Hmmm. . .

MBB decided to not be as practical this Valentine's Day and I got a beautiful gift.
I knew I picked a great guy! :D

Namaste.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Inventive

Want to build a fort?
Don't want to spend all day moving the snow to do it?
Use a tractor!
Namaste.

Friday, February 12, 2010

AUGH!

I would love to finish the initial planning for our wedding!!!

Do you hear that hall rental people?
I am interested in your location and would love to look at it and potentially schedule a day!

Did you hear me, hall rental people???
I WANT TO GIVE YOU MONEY!!!!

CAN YOU PLEASE RETURN MY CALLS???????????

If they don't want to return calls, they need to take the pictures off of their website.
I fell in love with this place because of those stupid pictures!

Namaste.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow and Ice

I am not a big fan of driving in winter weather!
That may be a result of my accident in December 2002. Yep, on ice.

Last year wasn't fun as the old Matrix usually could not get off of our road - if it did, it took a few tries of "how quick can we make it get up in speed so that it will have enough left to get up the small hill at the end of the road and hope and pray no one is coming down the other road cause if we stop, it won't go again". . .
Catch all that?
This year, the new Matrix does much better with its AWD and I can usually get out on the first try without having to get a running start or saying a prayer (as long as there is snow, not ice).

Yesterday morning, I awoke to about 6" of fluffy white stuff.
I check the list of accident on-line and it was huge! At 6:30am!
Two or three of those accidents were along the route I drive to work. . .
I was very happy when my boss agreed that I could work from home.

MBB and the kids plowed the lane with our tractor (then the kids tried to make a fort with it).
OB shoveled the patio and sidewalk.
I made hot cocoa to warm them all up.
I got lots of work done and didn't have to stress out about the roads.

Today, I awoke to more snow.
The accident list was nil, so I decided to head in. It took me about 20 minutes to shovel and scrape. It took me a bit longer (okay, another 20 minutes extra) to get to work, but I made it safe and sound. MBB (the new driver of the old Matrix) caught a ride as there was no way that car was going to get off of our road!

I am hopeful that Mother Nature is about done with her temper tantrum and will allow us to start thawing out. . .I've got place to go and people to see - Important stuff or I'll never get this wedding planned! :)

Namaste.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hiding

Sorry about the recent absence. . .I have been hiding.
For the past week, my house hasn't been feeling real well.

Case in point, OB was watching the superbowl with me tonight and fell asleep half way through the first quarter. Yep, he still doesn't feel good.

I have also been working on a new blog for the wedding.
Yep, we are going to attempt to collect about 65% of the RSVPs on-line. For a selected few, we are sending postcards in the invitations and I'll log them on-line for them.
Wish us luck!

Namaste.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Meijer Trip

I went to Kroger, Meijer and Walgreens last night for groceries.
Overall, I spent $34.90 and saved 72.73%. . .

I was practically doing a happy dance when I left Meijer.
Wanna see why?
Total Cost: $13.64
Sale Savings: $6.39
Coupons/Bonus Coupons: $7.10
OOP: $.15
That's a savings of 98.9%!!!

Namaste.

Monday, February 01, 2010

February????

Where in the world did January go?
I am sitting here in disbelief every time that I write the date today.

Is it me or is 2010 already flying by?
I'm not sure if it is because we have some massive occasions happening this year and A LOT to do to get ready for them? A sweet 16 party and a wedding both create a great deal of stress. :)

I am hoping to get better about blogging again, but I am not promising anything as I do not want to bore everyone with wedding details which is what is going to consume my thoughts for the next few months. You can thank me now.

Namaste.