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Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Everyone loves or loathes Spring cleaning their house but how many of you Spring clean your finances? This is something that will help keep you on track toward your financial goals whether its saving for your family vacation or saving for your first house.

So what goes into Spring cleaning your finances? It’s taking a deep look into your budget, spending, income and where you can clean some stuff up with your finances. It’s looking at whether you need that donut when you buy your coffee (I am guilty of this) or do you need to eat out once a week or can every other week work into your lifestyle?

For most people, your income is a set amount every week or every other week because that’s when they receive their paycheck. For my family, the hubby gets a paycheck every other week for his night job. Then, our income fluctuates because we own businesses that rely on other people either hiring Doug for a service or for myself someone purchasing my products. We have adjusted our budget to accommodate the way our income is paid to us but for most people you know how much you will be getting and when which makes budgeting and analyzing your spending so easy.

Do you fit into the 50/20/30 rule? One of the hardest part of the rule to stay in is the 30% for your lifestyle because it’s easy to add those extras into your spending. I am so guilty of this especially eating out. When I am to tired to cook because I was up all night with the baby or we were out with the dance or something else going on, eating out is the easiest physical solution. Afterwards, I kick myself because financially I shouldn’t have spent that money because it could have gone towards the family Disney trip we are savings towards.

As a new series, I want to break down ways to cut down on the lifestyle spending through the Spring season. Each Sunday, I will focus on a different way to Spring clean your lifestyle spending in a fun way. Let’s Spring clean our finances while having fun!

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Utilizing Rain Checks for Grocery Shopping

bake bread (1)

Yesterday, for the first time, I went to customer service at my local grocery store and asked for a rain check. I have never done this and didn’t even know it was still a thing some stores do until someone talked about it in my couponing group. Rain checks are still a thing so how and when do I ask or use them?

Typically in my shopping adventures, if the store is out of something on sale then I won’t worry about it. This week was a different story because I went to Shoprite twice for my Creamate French Vanilla creamer and they were out. The creamer was on sale for $1.66 so I wanted to stock up on it because I go through creamer now that I am back to drinking coffee everyday.


With my coffee, I am a creature of habit either French Vanilla or Pumpkin Spice (I could drink it all year long if they would make and sell it) or Peppermint Mocha (only in December before Christmas). If I wanted to drink coffee that tasted like Cookies and Cream or some other gross flavor (sorry if I offended anyone) , then I would have gone home with creamer. I just couldn’t do it.


After I was done checking out, I put on my big girl panties and went to customer service to ask for my rain check. For some reason, doing stuff like this makes me nervous and shy. So I stumbled over my words when I asked for a rain check and the girl needed to know exactly what I wanted it for. I didn’t realize she needed the exact flavor… whoops.

Eventually, I was able to find my big girl words and walked away with my rain check for my french vanilla creamer! A little more success for my shopping trip!

After some research, I found out that my local grocery stores will issue rain checks. As far as I know, Walmart and Target do not issue rain checks for any of their grocery products. I will now be using this knowledge to help in my future shopping trips to save money and you should too!

If you or your family have products that you love and they are out of stock when they are on sale, then I encourage you to ask for a rain check because it can help save you so much money especially if you end up getting a coupon for that product in the future! Double win!

This week’s trip was small because we are moving over the next 2 weeks and I don’t want to stock up on to much and have to move even more stuff. I spent $30.73 and saved $87! My only complaint is that my $2 digital coupon for diapers didn’t come off so I will be going to customer service this week to get it fixed. Diapers are expensive as it is so saving an extra $2 is helpful (it is enough to purchase my creamer with my rain check!). Instead of paying $3 for my diapers, I spent $5…

My free items this week were the detergent bottles, scent booster, stain fighter packs, bananas. Halos  were $2 (I bought a bag of these earlier in the week as well), Raisin Bran Crunch $.50, Kellogs and Frosted Flakes were $3 for both, pasta $1.50, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (not my fav chunky monkey sadly) $1.50, bacon $2, ground beef (3 pounds) for $6 and the water was 3 cases for $6.

I definitely missed stocking up on some stuff but still grabbed great deals. I plan on splitting the ground meat into 1 pound bags to freeze and use in the future for pasta meals. We plan on packing our kitchen over the next couple of days so we will be eating lots of easy stuff like cereal so thankfully the cereal was a great deal. Even though we won’t go through 3 cases of water before we move, I couldn’t pass up this deal because at Walmart you buy a case for over $3 a case for their brand.

Have you used rain checks? How was your shopping trip this week?

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Organize Your Shopping Trip to Save Money



If you are anything like I was, you would mentally have a grocery shopping list but didn’t write anything down. If I had coupons, it would be a couple and not on sale items. I had no plan which ended up costing me three times the amount of money because I impulse shopped.

Impulse shopping is one of the worst things for a person/family living on a budget. You end up buying thing you THINK you need instead of buying what you KNOW you need. For over 15 years this is how I shopped but not anymore!

Going into the store with an organized game plan was a game changer for my spending habits and budget. I am going to show you my steps to Organizing My Shopping Trip to Save the Most Money….

1. Set aside a block of time to organize every week. Gather your coupons, coupon binder, flyers, meal plan and 2 sheets of paper to make your list.

2. Cut and organize your coupons into your binder. Don’t forget to throw out the expired coupons you have in your binder.

3. Time to make your grocery list!

  • With your meal plan and 1 piece of paper, go through the flyer and write down the items you need that are on sale.
  • Add to the list the items you need for your household
  • Now, with your coupon binder out compare your list and flyer to the coupons you have. One thing I have learned with my couponing is that the coupon inserts or coupons from coincide with the weekly flyer so that you can maximize your savings.
  • This is where I get my 2nd sheet of paper out… In order to keep my shopping on track and stay on budget with my list, I reorganize my list to follow my way around the grocery store. Depending on what store I am going to depends on what section I start in. Shoprite (my go to grocery store) starts at the produce than bakery then meat, deli, dairy, frozen and so on. Walmart starts on the opposite side of grocery so once I get through the rest of the store, I start with household then dairy, meat, pantry, frozen etc.
    • Organizing my list by section has been super helpful in staying on track. Don’t get me wrong, I have still impulse shopped when I see a sale I might have missed in the flyer like the popcorn that was on clearance plus I had a coupon for so I got the box for $.70!
    • I prefer starting in the produce and meat sections because those are items that go by weight and if I need to skim my budget then I would rather take a pantry item off my list then a core item.
    • I organize my coupons by section as well so that I can easily pull them out and check the details of what I need to purchase for them.
    • I always have my binder and coupon binder with me in case they are out of something I need then I can get a rain check or chose something else and see if a coupon will work.
  • I always calculate what I am spending as I shop so that I am staying on track because with the weighed products, you can easily get off track. My most recent trip, I had calculated that I was going to spend $46 but when I got down checking out my total was only $38 because some items were a lower price then I had calculated. You can’t beat spending less than what you calculate and walking out with more money in my pocket!

**My weekly trip takeaway: Total Spent $38.56

Big Savings: Razors $0, Chobani $0, Gogurt $0, 2 boxes of cereal $3.50, coffee $4, diapers $4, blueberries $1, hummus $1, eggs $1.70, 2 boxes of waffles $2, sausage $1, 2 packs of wipes $1, Ghiradhelli brownie mix $1.50, vegetable oil $3, popcorn $.70 and alot more savings. Total savings $65!

Photo Feb 03, 6 11 56 PM
Spent $38 Saved $65!
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Create your own Coupon Binder

It’s Savings Sunday and I am going to chat about my couponing best friend… my Coupon Binder! Through my research of extreme couponing, I learned that (after the coupons) a couponer needs to have a coupon binder to organize and keep track of their coupons. Each person has their own method to their couponing madness so I am going to share my Binder and madness with all of you!

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more information.

To create a simple coupon Binder you will need:

1 Binder (I am using a 1″ Binder but I know others that use wider binders)

Scotch tape that has a matte finish because the shiny finish will wipe the pen/marker off

Sharpie or pen (I prefer a sharpie because it’s easier to write)

Clear plastic sheet protectors (I have a set of 12 but could use more to break down my categories)

Coupons of course (yes I am being a total smart ass now)

Now my preference is to use full size sheet protectors because I print a lot of coupons from the internet which tend to be on the larger size. Alot of extreme couponers use baseball card protector sheets because you can group the multiple coupons together. I tried this way and didn’t like that the sleeves required me to fold the big coupons in odd ways to get them to fit.

I use the tape to create labels for my sheet protectors. My categories are household, beauty, medicine, beverages, breakfast, pantry, frozen, meat, dairy, produce, baby, and miscellaneous. Ideally, I will get another set of protectors and breakdown these categories even more for easier organization.

The inside binder pockets are used to store my new coupons before I get them cut, the store flyer (when I can find them because our town doesn’t have them delivered to us which is just stupid!) and my receipts (because I like to keep track of my savings).

I now keep my coupon binder in the diaper bag so it’s always with me in case I need to make an unexpected stop for something.

This week’s savings update: I made this week a small trip because I was given the heads up, in the couponing group I am in, that this coming week was going to have lots of coupons and our local store was going to have super coupons. Better to get what we need and save the money for next week. What did I get? My deals…. 2 Chobani yogurts for free (could have been 3 but I forgot to take the coupon off of the printer), Orange juice for $.99, 3 boxes of cereal for $4.50, 6 pack of flavored water for Danyella for $.88 and waffles for $1.19. In total, I bought 13 items for $15! I can’t complain about that at all!

I can’t wait to see what this coming weeks deals will be!!

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Couponing Terms with Printable List

8 foolproof ways to

As I have been researching and participating in groups on couponing, I found myself lost because I couldn’t understand the terms these couponers were using. OOP was the most common. Then there is stacking and catalina and frees. What in the heck are these people saying? I didn’t quite realize that couponing came with its own language which the 4 years of Spanish in High School will not help me here!

I decided to start a list and make it printable for all of my fellow newbie couponers to understand what other people are saying. I printed this list out so when I am reading an article or scanning through Facebook groups, I can look up the term without needing to google it. I hope this list will help you! If there is a term that I am missing please feel free to leave it in the comment so I can edit the printable list. Click here for the PDF free printable:  Couponing Terms to Know

For this week’s big savings: I was really proud of myself to watch what the extreme couponers in my area were doing and following suit, on a smaller scale. Our local grocery store had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent 3 for $1.77 each, a digital $3 off 3 coupon and a manufacture $3 off 3 coupon which made these FREE! Plus Schick razors were on sale for $5.99 with a $1 off digital coupon and $4 off manufacture coupon which made them $.99! Plus, Huggies diapers on sale for $6.99 with $2 digital coupon and $2 manufacture coupon which made them $2.99! There are a ton of other deals that I scored and wish I would have taken a picture but I will from now on. In total I spent $20.06 and saved over $75 between sale items, digital and manufacture coupons! Oh and I can shave my legs again now that I can see them after I had the baby so double score for me!!

Keep an eye out for next week’s DIY Coupon Binder to get us started with organizing all of these coupons!


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Turning Your Hobby into Vacation Savings #savingsunday

Photo Dec 03, 9 37 51 AM

Many of us have hobbies that we don’t even realize are hobbies. I an artist that loves to create to which I made my hobby of crocheting and sewing into a part-time business. Some people love to make woodwork items. Some people love to draw or paint. Some people love to write (another hobby that I love and why I started this blog). Some people love numbers and balancing them. There are so many different hobbies that people might not recognize in themselves.

These hobbies can make you a little extra cash for that family vacation that you are saving for. For example with a creative hobby, you can sell some of your creations. With a writing hobby, you can start a blog and make some extra money by advertising or doing sponsored posts for companies. For a numbers lover, you can offer your services to others like balancing their finances or helping others create a household budget. You can’t believe the ways you can make money by helping others.

When selling your creations, you can share those creations on your social media for friends and family to see and purchase. Also, you can use my post from last week and list your creations for sale on different local groups where you can meet up with the person to sell your creation in person. There are handmade websites like Etsy or Artfire to sell your creations but you will need to ship the items so you will have to determine your shipping prices. Last, you can look for local craft and vendor shows that have people come to you to sell your creations. These are all great and easy ways to make some extra money off of your hobby!

Update on our Vacation Savings: We didn’t do much shopping this week but a lot of selling. Shopping savings was only $25 because we really didn’t need to buy anything besides dog food which at petco we saved $15 between a coupon and our petco rewards. Plus, I had a few coupons that I used to get the few things we needed. As for the apps, nothing this week. Next week, Christmas shopping will get underway so this will hopefully change. As for selling, it was a big week on the yard sale groups for me. Most of what I sold was Danyella’s old clothes now that I have more of them organized to list. This brought in an extra $60 for the vacation savings and $60 for Christmas spending. Lastly, I sold more of my handmade creations and brought in an extra $30 for vacation and $30 for Christmas. Total for vacation savings for this week: $130 and overall $389! We are still off track for what we need to hit for goals but we are getting there. I can’t complain considering I am on bed rest with my pregnancy and getting this all worked out!

keep going


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Yard Sale Groups to Save for Your Vacation #savingsunday


Week 3 of our ways to save for Family Vacation Savings is about utilizing the online yard sale groups, sites and apps. These groups and sites are a great way to clean out your house of items you don’t use while making extra cash in the process!

My go to when selling off unused stuff in my house is my local Facebook groups because I can meet people when and where it is convenient for my schedule. Facebook has made it easier to upload through their Marketplace. Since Facebook has created the Marketplace, you can upload an item to sell through there and then have it inserted into groups that you are part of, up to 10 groups. In the past, I would have to upload the item to one group and then copy/paste to each of the other groups. It was time-consuming to say the least!

My only complaint about the Facebook Marketplace is that people do not read the description to see that I will only meet people a specific locations and I will not ship the item. At least 2-3 times a week, people will message me asking me to ship the item to me but I don’t have the time to go to the Post Office at the holidays to ship a $5 item.

My most popular items that sell the fastest are kids clothes, accessories and toys. With the price of buying something new so inflated, especially kids and home items, more and more people are buying them used. On average, I bring in an extra $500 a month by selling off items I no longer need or items that people will give me that I don’t need but can use to make the extra money. Some months are a little slower with bringing a few hundred dollars but in August and November/December I can bring in $1000 because people are looking for back to school items and then items that they can re-gift for someone especially when they are still new and I just let the item sit there.

There are other ways to sell your unwanted stuff online like Craigslist and Ebay. I have used both in the past but honestly Craigslist kinda scares me. Ebay has become a long process and has moved into another world from where it started that is focused on reselling new items for more money.

Then you have the apps, which there are plenty, that you can list items for sale. Similar to the Facebook Marketplace, you list your items and then choose when and where to meet someone for the sale. With these apps, I have had the same dealings with people wanting me to ship a $5 item. My other experience has been people who set up meets and then cancel at the last-minute. Very rarely do I deal with that on Facebook. You can check out the apps I can used: Letgo, OfferUp, 5miles and Listia. There are a ton of apps for different phones but those are the most popular.

How many of you have used yard sale groups, sites and apps to save some money?


Our weekly update: Having Thanksgiving and a ton of doctors appointments this week, the week was kind of a bust with trying to save any money. I did some essentials grocery shopping (milk, bread, etc) and save $15. The apps helped me save an extra $12 (free eggs and free bananas coupons for Walmart from to put into my savings apps accounts. We did a little Black Friday shopping but that goes into my separate Christmas funds to be able to continue to pick up gifts as the weeks get closer to Christmas. I didn’t have any yard sale meet ups so no money for that section either. I did receive a few more handmade sales which half goes into our vacation fund so that brought in an extra $35. Total for this week: $50 and overall savings: $259. Slowly but surely getting there!


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Saving Your Cash for Vacation Part One of Four #savingsunday

Saving Money for

After many Sundays talking about how to plan your budget for your family vacation, I am going to spend the next 4 Sundays talking about how to squeeze out that extra money for your family vacation. Today, we are going to start with how to use cash instead of debit or credit cards to pay for your in-person purchases and collect the change to save for your vacation fund.

Trust me, I know that convenience of using a card to pay for everything at a store BUT having worked retail for many years, I have dealt with the times that card machines are down. Being on the other side of the counter and explaining that we can only accept cash can lead to many upset customers. This has taught me to keep cash on me and not rely on my cards.

Part of revamping my financial budget was learning to pay with cash because it can be so easy to go over my budget limit. Before I go into a store, I have my list in hand (which I am human and don’t always stick to that list) and my cash that has been alloted for that trip. If I can’t afford to pay for it with that cash in hand then I don’t buy it on that trip.

This is where the saving for your vacation tip comes into play! Whenever you pay with the alloted cash you have budgeted, take the change you didn’t spend and place it in your vacation jar. This has been how I have saved so much money because I have learned to use coupons and find sales to use to my advantage so when I allot $40 for a trip to Walmart for basic essentials and come away with a savings of $10 that goes right into our jar.

We have incorporated this savings skill learning process into Danyella’s schooling as well. Now she will equip herself with a calculator and our budget to see how much more we can save and how much more we can put into the vacation jar. Even if you start doing this with small things like your morning coffee. Say your coffee costs you $3.50 (I am a latte person in the morning) and you have a $5 bill to pay for it. For 5 days you will save $7.50 towards your vacation. Even small savings do add up!


Update on our Family Vacation Jar Week 1:

Since I was extremely sick this week after getting the flu and tdap shots, I was not very active in making/saving/budgeting money. In our cash jar, we have saved $44.76 which is from the system above. Plus, in rebates we earned $9.78 from the apps that I use (more on this on my next savings blog post next Sunday). Unfortunately my other 2 plans needed me to be able to function and that didn’t happen so we fell short of our weekly goal but this is a fresh week and fresh start. Goal: $163 Actual Savings: $54.54