Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coupons, Cars and Stuff

I thought I'd post a little on how we are doing with the turning of the financial ship. We are halfway through our fiscal month.

We have been selling stuff and I have been doing a little networking for piano students. It struck me today that perhaps people don't want to start musical instrument lessons with food and gas expenses currently higher than folks are used to, so my thoughts have turned toward tutoring as another possible way to earn a little extra money. I'm not sure how to start, though. I am going to have to do some research.

Since groceries is an area I have some control over, I have been working on couponing a la The Simple Dollar. I have used coupons in the past, and when I try to save them all I end up getting confused. So I am clipping coupons for things we use and organizing them according to due date only, the way The Simple Dollar folks do. And I have some things I like to buy, but generally don't (this was true before we decided to attack the debt fiercely) that I will only get if I can get them free or for up to 25 cents:

Packaged cereal (I generally keep old-fashioned oats only)
Protein bars
Fancy tea (anything but Plain Ol' Lipton)

At least, this is always my intention when couponing (when I am not couponing, it is not a temptation because we just don't buy those things). But then when I see that the item is on sale and I have a coupon I sometimes take leave of my senses and don't do the math properly and end up spending more money than I am willing to spend. I get tricked by the coupons sometimes. So I have to be careful. I'm not even clipping the candy bar coupons this time, even though you can use them to 'pad' your CVS purchase and receive ECBs (Money Saving Mom is a good place to read about this if you are unfamiliar with it). I figure if it is too frustrating to quantify in my head while shopping, I am probably losing on the deal. Like Mr. Ramsey says, only do deals you understand. But it is a challenge to remember this when you see that something you have a coupon for is on sale. It's like getting a match in Go Fish, lol! You want to put it down and get credit for it!

We have also stopped buying coffee. We found we were spending at least $10 per week on coffee and accoutrements (cream and sugar). So we decided to forego the pleasure for the time being. Maybe after I get stockpiled a little we will purchase some. Or if I get some good coupons!

In other money news, we had to repair our car (almost $400 worth) immediately after beginning our new gazelle intensity. Isn't that always the way? But we were able to pay cash. The car has been running just fine since the repair almost two weeks ago.

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