Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saving Money on Groceries

Many of you know that Doug and I are big Dave Ramsey freaks. Whether you agree with him or not, his financial class has changed our lives. If you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, go to His classes are available to anyone. He is also a Christian.

When Doug and I got married, we were in bad shape financially. We started the Financial Peace University Course (Dave's class) in September of 2008. Since then, we have paid off over .... drum roll please ....


It's been an insane amount of hard work and sacrifice, but its been so worth it. We still have more to go, but we should be completely out of debt in the next year or so, Lord willing. 

One of our biggest down fall was FOOD... you know... going out to eat, fast food, and over spending at the grocery store. This needed to stop to help us get out of debt so my budget for food is $150 - $200 a paycheck (around $350 a month). This does NOT include diapers or formula. However, this does include toilet paper, laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc. I clip coupons from the Sunday paper and grab store coupons from Fred Meyer. I only use coupons for things that are for sale. I have a few friends who are better at saving money using these though. 

This is what my shopping list looks like spending $150 - $200 a paycheck:

-Whole Milk (2 Gallons, lasts two weeks) for Ellie at Costco for $3.00
-Kirkland Cheese (Huge block, lasts a month) at Costco for $5.00
-Goat Cheese (Huge tube, lasts two weeks) at Costco for $5.00
-Organic Eggs (16 Eggs, lasts two weeks) at Costco for $4.00

-Kirkland Brand Whole Wheat Bread (2 Loafs, last two weeks) at Costco for $3.00

-Kirkland Organic Ground Starbucks Blended Coffee (2 lbs, last two weeks) at Costco for $10.00
-Half and Half (1/2 Gallon, last two weeks) at Costco for $2.00

-Kirkland Frozen Bag of Chicken Breast (5lbs, last two weeks) at Costco for $16.00
-Ground Beef 94% (4 lbs, lasts two weeks) at Fred Meyer for $16.00
-Kirkland Turkey Lunch Meat (3 Packages, lasts two weeks) at Costco for $8.00
-Roast at Fred Meyer for $11.00 or what's on sale

Veggies and Fruit
-Kirkland Frozen Mixed Berries (5 lbs, last a month) at Costco for $10.00
-Kirkland Organic Frozen Peas (5 lbs, lasts a month or two) at Costco for $7.00
-Kirkland Organic Frozen Green Beans (5 lbs, lasts a month or two) for $7.00
-Organic Spinach (Huge box, lasts two weeks) at Costco for $4.00
-Miscellaneous veggies and fruit at Fred Meyers (Non-organic usually)

Canned Items
-Organic Diced Tomatoes (10 cans, lasts a month or two) at Costco for $10.00
-Fish Crackers (2 huge bags, lasts a month) at Costco for $8.00
-Cereal (2 huge bags, lasts a month) at Costco for $8.00
-Cereal with coupons at Fred Meyer price varies with coupons
-Organic Brown Rice (huge bag, last 3 months) at Costco for $8.00

Miscellaneous Things
-Shampoo and Conditioner (Huge bottle, lasts about 6 months) at Costco for around $20.00
-Toilet Paper (lasts a month) at Fred Meyer with coupon around $10.00
-All Free and Clear Laundry Soap (lasts a month) with coupon at Fred Meyer for $12.00
-Dishwasher Soap with coupon at Fred Meyer price varies

Miscellaneous Items for Different Recipes
-All at Fred Meyers

I know Winco and Walmart are cheaper to shop at then Fred Meyers, but I don't live near one of those stores. I almost never shop at Safeway, Haggans, QFC, or Albertson's. Personally, I feel like Fred Meyers is way cheaper and great quality. However, I do look in the newspaper to see their sales. Sometimes other groceries stores have "buy 1, get 1 free" on roasts and other meat, so I will go there and get that deal. 

Our meals are preplanned and I try to cook often to save money. Yes, it's a lot of work, but that is how you pay of $25,000 in debt in two years. 

 Mike, Genesis, and Kids

If you would like to read a really inspiring story about a family of 6 who paid off a LARGE amount of debt using the Dave Ramsey Program, Click Here

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gaining Weight at The Rebo's

The Rebo's

For those of you who don't know, we are living at the Rebo's for 3 weeks. Our new home isn't ready until October 4th. Seriously, I can't wait to move into our new place. I, of course, love seeing my sister and Nick everyday, but it will be nice to finally be settled in our new home.

This is how their home looked when we moved in. Yikes!
In picture: Me to the left and Vanessa to the right.

I had this all put away the next day because, what can I say, I rock. Ha!

So back to why I am gaining weight at the Rebo's? Well...

#1 - Vanessa is pregnant and has cravings and it's hard not to enjoy the cravings with her. 

#2 - Since my parents are only 7 mins away, my dad has been bringing over donuts and cookies all most everyday!

#3 - Nick cooks like this!

In picture: Pork loin with apples, cider and cognac. Arugula with red onions and mustard vinaigrette. Rosemary buttermilk biscuits.

This is one the best dinners I have ever tasted. It was sooooo delicious!  We trade off cooking every other night and I don't hold a candle to making this type of food. 

So have I gained weight??? You better believe it! I gained a whopping 8 pounds! I know, terrible. I'm back on track though and dropped 3 pounds so far. Going to try and be strong and say no for the next couple of weeks. I noticed when I was eating food like that I started to feel lethargic and crappy. Been back on my diet since yesterday and I feel great!

Love you Nick, Ness, and Baby Rebo! Thanks for putting up with The Benson's!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A funny thing called motherhood

My tears began to flow as I tightly held both children in each arm on the couch. They finally finished crying and now it was my turn.

Moments before, Ellie had decided to hit Annabelle in the head with a toy and Anna screamed so loud it scared me. I immediately sat Ellie down for time-out and that made her mad so she threw herself back and hit her head on the fireplace. I grabbed both sobbing children and comforted them on the couch.

Another moment of feeling over-whelmed and stressed. I usually can keep it together, but I couldn't today. I broke. So many stressful things happened today and this one topped it off.

Yes, I only have two kids, but being a mom is hard, period. I give so much effort in being the best mom I can but most days I don't know what I'm doing. That's when I pray...

"Lord, please give me strength. I need you today."

No matter how overwhelmed I feel, knowing God is on my side gives me comfort. 

And finally, the choas slows down and I can hear myself think again. My girls begin to play nicely and the tears have gone away. Finally, I feel calm and start to enjoy watching my beautiful girls play. And yet again, I think, "I can do this."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catch Up - Condo For Sale!

It's been a long time since I have blogged because life has been crazy. So much has happened. Here's the list to catch you up:

1. Anna got her first toofer. :) It's super cute.

2. Ellie was seen at Children's GI and they were very helpful. Elle is doing much better with her booty issue.

3. We have moved out from our condo. We are living with my sister for 3 weeks until our new home is ready to move in. The Rebo's rock!

4. We have a new place to live that is amazing! I feel totally blessed by the Lord that he gave us this new home. I'll post pics when we move in on Oct. 4. 

5. Our condo is FINALLY on the market. Staging and cleaning your home to sell is a big pain in the butt. I'm so happy it's all ready and we are finally all moved out.  Click here to see it online!

6. My diet has gone to hell. I've been so incredibly stressed that I haven't gone to Weight Watchers in like 4 weeks. I'm planning to get back on track soon. Come on.. you have to admit when life is tough, a big piece of chocolate cake makes things so much better. ;) Not really.

7. Ellie said "Ba-Bye Dada" the other day. Love it!

8. I'm never moving again