Friday, August 20, 2010

Whatsoever your hand…{Part 2}

The second thing that I’ve gotten my hands into lately is couponing. Before you completely shut down this blog, give me just a few minutes to demystify some of the wildly popular misconceptions about couponing. Also, let me just add that I am not one to be able to spout off what coupons that I have right off the top of my head and be on the lookout for sales to use them at. That is what I leave to the experts! Can I also tell you, I HATE TO SHOP! –But I love to find a great deal! The deals are what keep me going.

Strategic shopping seems much more impressive than ‘couponing’. Strategy is exactly what makes coupons work for you! If you like games, this is definitely up your alley… (Did I mention that I hate games…But I love to find a great deal!) What I hope to accomplish is to point you in the direction of some great resources and get you on the road to cutting your grocery bill! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Sometimes there is a learning curve to matching coupons and scoring the best deals. Give yourself a good month of regularly strategic shopping and you will be pleasantly surprised.

First step, get to know the types of coupons that are out there.

• Manufacturer Coupons
• Store Coupons
• Rewards Bucks(CVS)/Register Rewards (Walgreens)
• Mail In Rebates

Here are how these measure up. Manufacture coupons are put out by the product manufacturers to give you an incentive to buy their products. Store Coupons are provided by the Store for specific item or brand. These come in flyers placed in the stores, in your newspaper or in the mail. In general, those coupons are meant to be used at that particular store, however, in our area, Publix takes all competitors coupons. This is a golden opportunity. Rewards Bucks and Register Rewards are offered by the store after you have purchased a certain product during their promotional dates. These rewards are good for your next purchase at that store. They are meant to be used only at that store, however, Publix does accept them. Mail-In-Rebates are offered by Manufacturers as a bonus for buying their product.

Next step that I suggest is to watch the tutorials  
Get familiar with the website. It is a comprehensive resource for any of the stores in our area. This website will help build your shopping lists based on what is on sale, what you should have coupons for (or can get them by printing them off of the internet) as well as any additional mail in rebates. They do all of the homework for you. I have no idea how they compile their database, but they have it going on! Once you have been clipping coupons for a while, you will see that you probably have the coupons for items that go on sale!

As you are preparing to plunge into strategic shopping, make note of these coupon tricks:

• Purchase 2 Sunday newspapers. Many products go on sale ‘buy 1 get 1’ regularly. The stores allow you to use a coupon for each of those items, essentially doubling your coupon value! You can easily make up the cost of your newspaper by catching 1 b1g1 sale.

• Clip coupons that you would possibly buy if the price was just pocket change (because inevitably you will find the product on sale or clearance and kick yourself for not clipping it!

• Coupons that say Buy 1 Get 1 free are GOLDEN! If you stash that coupon until you see a Buy 1 Get 1 free sale, you will get BOTH ITEMS FREE! The coupon covers the item that you are supposed to pay for (within the monetary limit that the coupon states).

• Publix allows for the combination of a store coupon (even if it is not their own) and a manufacturer’s coupon. I do not know of another store around this area that does this. What this means is, If you catch Kelloggs cereal on sale b1g1, you can use a manufacturer’s coupon for each box of cereal and a store coupon for each box.

Another great video tutorial is She has tons of youtube videos at . is another must have resource. does a good job reviewing the Publix ads but I have found additional coupons and resources on iheartpublix, especially the page and click on the mega deals link.

So now that you have all of these coupons, what do you do with them all? Well, I started out with a little accordion file, and then I realized that I was out growing that system so I switched over to a very primitive envelope style. Today, I officially moved up to a coupon binder. Many coupon sites show people building coupon binders and using baseball card protector sheets to hold the coupons. Being the frugalista that I am, I was determined to find something that I already had that could work. In my homeschool stash, I had tons of CD binder sleeves, so I went to work making a binder using this pretty little layout by . I love her tagline :-).

The internet has a wealth of information that I have yet to conquer, and by no means do I feel like I have the supreme knowledge on the topic of couponing, but I love to share great opportunities with other and hope that you may have great success with your Strategic Shopping.

I leave you with a picture of my mega deal of the week…this keeps me couponing!

You've got it!  I paid $.92 for all this! Just peanuts (pardon the pun) :-)

Whatsoever your hand...{Part 1}

Whatsoever your hand…{Part 1}

It is interesting how challenges can bring about a clear opportunity for strategizing on levels that you may have never thought of before. The current economic recession (and some have dubbed depression) can have us scrambling to create resources that we hadn’t even discovered before. My mother used to say, necessity is the mother of invention. She sure was right. That woman could make a full meal using 3 ingredients and make you feel like you were eating a feast. When Cindy cooked, it was divine. She knew how to use the most basic thing and make it a treat, always putting plenty of color on the plate. As a child, I craved her creativity and as an adult, I realize that my memory of her teaches me every day, resulting in the birth of a couple creative ways to contribute to my household while raising my children. Let me tell you about them!

Especially since I have become a mother, photographs have become a very important part of documenting the lives of my children. Not just any photographs, but those that capture the essence and emotion of their individual personalities. Those photos bring me right back to the time and day that they were taken. The more that I took photos, the more that I became aware of the elements of a good picture verses a bad picture. Pretty soon I realized that this was something that I would like to do to help others capture the wonderful memories of their family as it grows. So, little by little, I would photo this one and that one until early this year, at the encouragement of my sister, I stepped into the photography business. It has been amazing to have the wonderful opportunities to connect with families and catch that first smile or even a bit of a sad face. God has been good and He gifts us all individually, and it is up to us to be sure that whatsoever we put our hand to, do it with all of our might (Eccl 9:10).
If you haven’t already, check out how I am writing history through photography at

Stay tuned for {Part 2} of Whatsoever Your Hand…

Word of the Day | Tenacious

Words mean a great deal to me, the Word of God being the most important of all.  When it feels like the Lord gives me a word of inspiration, many times it is just that, a word.  As I sat in church last week listening to Pastor preach about increasing our faith and commitment during our 40 Days of Fire revival, the word  "Tenacious" came to mind. Though I've used this word in many ways, I immediately I jotted it down to look up the official meaning.

te·na·cious [tuh-ney-shuhs]

1. holding fast; characterized by keeping a firm hold (often fol. by of ): a tenacious grip on my arm; tenacious of old habits.
2. highly retentive: a tenacious memory.
3. pertinacious, persistent, stubborn, or obstinate.
4. adhesive or sticky; viscous or glutinous.
5. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough. 

And then I saw on #3 the word PERTINACIOUS.  On the hunt again...

per·ti·na·cious  [pur-tn-ey-shuhs]

1. holding tenaciously to a purpose, course of action, or opinion; resolute.
That is it! So clearly, I could see how God was redirecting my attention to THE PURPOSE of all that I do.  So many times, the discouragements of the day or the frustrations of family life can leave us feeling like we should be doing something else or that we have gotten ourselves wrapped up in stuff that has led us away from what is our true purpose.  He was telling me loud and clear that I need to  "Hold tenaciously to a purpose"...not just any purpose, but His purpose for my life, as one of his daughters, a wife, a mother, a business person as a tool in His hand for the greater good of all creation...