Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mommy Things: Pretty Printables

In doing a little research on activities to do with my little girl, I came across this fantastic resource for free printables that I wanted to share. Mr. Printables has tons of free downloads that feature clean, simple designs that you can use for teaching, parties, and holidays. I've printed out the color flash cards and the ladybug number flash cards and will be incorporating them into our learning routine. You could also print out a few of their Christmas coloring pages and bind them together for a last minute free stocking stuffer for your little one. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Spender

This is the last of my gift idea posts. It's been fun putting them together, and I hope you enjoyed them.

One of the most memorable things I've ever taken away from reading Suze Orman's books was her idea that we should respect our money, right down to the cash we carry around every day. Her thought is that if we treat our money poorly, just stuffing bills in our purse or pocket or leaving money lying around, it will in turn slip away from us. If we respect our money, keeping it organized in our wallet, all bills facing the same way from largest to smallest, we will be rewarded with even more of it.

With that in mind, why not give someone on your list one of these fun wallets, to help them stay organized with their money? And if you haven't finished up your shopping by now, you'd better get moving! Merry Christmas!

Where to buy: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Monday, December 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 12.19.11

It's going to be a busy week here in preparation for Christmas Day, so our menu plan is easy this week. Here's what we're having:

PW Chicken Spaghetti (I made extra last week and stuck it in the freezer)
Bowtie Lasagna
Snacky Dinner
Green Chile Chicken
Breakfast for Dinner (Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast)

Hope you have a great week! Find more delicious menu plans right here!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Reader

Here's the second edition of my holiday gift guides. Why not give something to your loved one that they can't put a price tag on – like the gift of knowledge! These books and this magazine are some of my favorites, and they're great for someone just starting out getting to understand their finances. And they're not just great the first time you read them – rereading them every once in a while helps me stay on track and focused with our own finances too.

Where to buy: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unextreme Couponing: Tea Time

Here was my bargain score of the week: tea on sale at CVS, plus manufacturer's coupons, plus ECBs from this trip made the total for this purchase 2 cents. You read that right!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 12.12.11

Hello friends! Hope you had a great weekend. I've got a million things to cross off my to-do list this morning, so I'll just get right to it. Here's what we're eating this week:

Chocolate Chip Chili with Sausage
Baked potatoes with leftover Chili
PW Chicken Spaghetti
Butternut Squash Soup and some french bread
Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas

Find more delicious menu plans right here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Saver

I love browsing blogs for their holiday gift guides (my favorite every year are here), so I thought I'd join in. I'll be posting fun and economical ideas for gifts, all centered around finances! Here's my first pick. I think this would be great for a kid or teen to get them to start saving early, or the dream bank would be perfect for a couple who loves to travel. 

Where to buy: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Update: Budget Changes

We did pretty well last month using our new way of budgeting, and are planning to stick with it for a while. Although we were a little bit over for the month due to a dental bill that came in, we still came closer to our monthly cap than we have in months. I think subconsciously it just feels better to keep in mind a set amount to spend for everything, rather than trying to hit certain numbers in all the different budget categories.

This month will be interesting, we always spend more during the month of December. Not on gifts (we save for those separately all year long), but with how busy we are running from place to place, we always seem to eat out more and just splurge more than we normally would. Here's hoping we can still keep it under control!

Image from here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 12.5.2011

I don't know about you, but this month is really flying by for me. Usually the week after a holiday drags on forever but last week it was Friday before I knew it. I feel like I'm just running around trying to keep up. I'm going to make it my mission this week to try to slow down and enjoy the season! Here's what we have planned for dinner this week:

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Ribs
French Lentil Soup with Bacon
Beef Tacos
Baked Potato Bar
Breakfast for Dinner

Check out more delicious menu plans right here. Have a great week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

UnExtreme Couponing: Thanksgiving Edition

I ventured out of the house on Thanksgiving Day to score some of the drugstore deals I'd seen online because they were just too good to pass up. I didn't get to do separate transactions because there were long lines at both Walgreen's and CVS, so my out of pocket costs were higher than I hoped. But I got back a stack of Register Rewards and ECB's to use. I got most of it to use as stocking stuffers. Here's my final tally:

Bought Dentek Floss Pak, Crest Toothpaste, Colgate Toothpaste, 2 packages of hair elastics and an Oral-B Toothbrush. I also had manufacturer's coupons for –$2.75.
So I paid 9.71 out of pocket, and got back $12 in RR
$2.29 Moneymaker

Bought Listerine Pocket Paks, Colgate toothpaste, CVS Flossers, a package of Fiber one bars, a two pack of GUM toothbrushes. I used manufacturer's coupons for –.90, and $5 in ECBs from a previous purchase.
So I paid $9.33 out of pocket, and got back $14.83 in ECBs.
$5.50 Moneymaker

Did you venture out for any deals during the holiday?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Net Worth Update: November 2011

It's the end of the month, so it's time for my net worth update. Already? Did the month of November fly by or what? It was a crazy last day of the month, with the Dow Jones gaining 490 points yesterday. I'll be happy when all this EU debt crisis business is over, and things get back to normal. That is, whatever the new normal is. But all in all, any month we're not losing is a good month, I guess! Here are the numbers:

Savings: +1,731.36 Yay! Unlike last month, we were able to put a little extra into savings.
Retirement Accounts: –1158.98 I'm actually glad this number wasn't more. With all the ups and downs with the market lately, not losing is what I've come to expect.

Mortgage: –257.50 Same as ever, just plugging away month after month. We finally contacted a local mortgage company about refinancing to a 15 year loan. It's in progress.

Total Change in Net Worth:
+830.08 At least it's up. And I would much rather have steady smaller gains than huge gains and huge losses. Yay!