frugal friday: a neat tool for online shoppers

bryan and i have started the decorating! we (well, i) really want our little apartment to feel like home for the next few years and decorating is key for me!

i don't really like shopping, so going around to all the stores in ames and looking for that perfect piece of furniture does not really appeal to me. so i've been shopping online! i wanted to share with you a tool that i've been loving:

so, basically, i simply go to ebates.com, search for a store like overstock.com (i got a $26 duvet cover!), click on the store, and order as usual. it's pretty simple stuff!
by adding this one step, i get cash back (typically 2-5%) for shopping as i normally would! sweet deal!
plus if you sign up, you get an automatic $5, so it's no loss right?


it's a wonderful wednesday

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and dripping of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward."
-Psalm 19:7-11 (ESV)

i had a sweet moment with God this morning-what a unbelievable joy it is to speak to and hear from my Creator, Savior, and King!?!

this passage was so good for me to hear. i've recently been particularly caught up by the just, powerful, and destructive aspects of God's perfect and holy character. there are many moments in the old testament when i find myself saying, "really, God, is that truly the best decision? completely destroying a nation for their sin while forgiving a flagrant sinner of a king just because he was 'chosen'-is that really justice?"

i know it's the pride in my bones that causes me to ask such a question, but i'm searching to know my God more. and He answers me.

He gives me Psalm 19, which reminds me of the message of Galatians:

"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners" know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law, no one will be justified." 2:15-16 (NIV)

"What then is the purpose of the law? It was added because of trangressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come...So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." 3:19, 24 (NIV)

"the law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul"-literally! my soul has been revived by the sacrifice of Christ and that law is what has led me to Him!

i put my full confidence in all the words recording in the old testament, or the book of the law, because i know that "that law was put in charge to lead us to Christ."


frugal friday: rebates rock!

i'm dubbing august the month of rebates!

sometime in september, i'll receive around $38 dollars in rebates! that's almost a weeks worth of groceries for us!

the best part? i haven't gone over budget! usually i'm not so excited about rebates because you have to spend more money up front. since we're on a budget, more money on something i don't need is hard even if it's free after rebate. but, due to a lot of the free stuff we've inherited and due to some GREAT sales these past few weeks, we're stocked up on food for the rest of the month and still have some money leftover!

here's something i highly recommend you take advantage of if you can:
in ames, cub foods is the only grocery store participating and right now, they have pretty decent sales on all of their kraft dairy products. here's what i bought:

3 12oz. bags of kraft natural shredded cheese (3/$5)-$5.00
6 tubs of philidelphia cream cheese (3/$5)-$10.00
2 16oz. packages of kraft singles (2/$5)-$5.00
2 family size boxes of wheat thins ($3.79 each)-$7.58
-$5.00 off my next purchase at cub foods
-$20.00 rebate

i love free things! and i love staying under budget! more details and a shopping list are here!


one giant leap!

yesterday, i wrote a check.

it was for $742.31.

it will give me and my husband entire ownership of our 2006 ford focus!


by the blessing of His hand, we were able to pay off one of our cars 1 year and 9 months ahead of schedule. i'm not sure how much of a savings interest-wise that is, but we're gash-darn excited anyway!



eight eyes are better then four...SUCKAS!

a couple of weeks ago, bryan went to the eye doctor. he hadn't been in a few years and he was getting really bad headaches and his vision was getting worse. he had a really low prescription so his current lenses weren't really helping.
overall, it was a little frustrating. he has astigmatisms in both eyes and his prescription is still pretty low. basically the doctor told him he could try contacts, but they wouldn't improve his vision as well as glasses and because of his astigmatisms he would have to wear weighted contacts which are harder to get in. bryan managed to try the contacts out, but they didn't improve his vision at all. he was pretty frustrated about having to wear glasses all the time.

so i decided to support him and wear glasses too! so i started wearing my glasses again and i'm actually really liking it! i've pretty much been a strict contacts wearer since high school but i feel smarter and more artsy with my awesome purple glasses!

and bryan's headaches are no more! and his vision is much improved! hooray!

also, i really like saying, "suckas."

frugal friday:don't refuse the free

here's another quick lesson, if something is offered to you for free...um, TAKE IT! guess who isn't complaining about have mostly chicken based meals this month? the alsbury's sure aren't!

this chicken was given to me by my boss. long story short, my company got paid in chicken for a small job we did and we're reaping some of the reward!

evidently, somebody in our old apartment building worked at barilla (so we think)
about once a week, they would set out a box full of boxes of pasta. i took one box each week and now we have pasta for life! : )

i do want to say, that i'm trying really hard not to be a hoarder. i never want to take and save all the blessing God has showered upon our family, and i definitely count free stuff as a blessing! i've given many boxes of pasta away and made several dinners for other people with the above bounty. but whether it's a free roll of toilet paper or a free 5lbs of chicken, i suggest to take it, and make the most of it!

on a related note, here's one of my favorite freebies websites: http://www.shop4freebies.com it updates everyday. i usually find at least a few each week that i like and almost every freebie also comes with SWEET coupons that are often way better then the coupons you'll find in an insert.


welcoming august

the last couple weeks of july flew by for bryan and i. we spent almost all of our free time packing, moving into my parents garage for a week, cleaning, packing, more packing, more cleaning, then finally moving into our new one-bedroom apartment.

we are so thankful to joel for helping us move some of our stuff into my parents garage, and so thankful for my family helping us move into our apartment. we were able to completely move everything in on friday night, giving us the whole weekend to unpack. we got a lot unpacked, but it's far from complete. here are some progressive pictures from this past weekend:

some goals for august:
  • maybe you remember and maybe you don't, august is welcoming month. i have a few more ideas to add to the list:
    • baking treats for my neighbors and letting them know that if they ever need a cup of sugar, they can knock on #9. also, if i see a neighbor, i'm going to actually talk to them, instead of looking down and half-running to my door
    • using my home as the meet-up spot. often i found myself wanting to meet-up anywhere but my home, but i want it to be easily accessible and a welcoming place
    • formulating a list and a plan to make our apartment, our home (i.e. decorating, furniture, organizing, etc)
    • spending more time with people then i "feel" like
    • being purposeful in my time with other people
    • having lots of snacks around so that when people do come over, i'm always prepared
  • a major goal in august is to begin to put together our apartment. i know my mom was a huge influence in this, but i need to have "a place for everything and everything in it's place." i was seriously starting to go crazy in our disheveled apartment-and we only lived there for two months! i'm so excited to buy exact furniture, compartments, shelves, etc for each and every knick knack we have in our house. and i love that we plan on living in this apartment for 2-3 years-i won't feel bad about making it my own.
  • sell, give away or donate EVERYTHING we don't have space or need for. i'll probably post something on here about the things we want to get rid of, and i'll also post on craigslist and amazon. but if anyone is looking for a quality loveseat or a tv with a receiver and speakers-let us know!
  • work on a few D.I.Y projects. on the list right now are:
    • homemade pitas
    • homemade pizza crust
    • curtains
    • recovering a computer chair
    • pillow covers
  • start putting together my home management notebook. i'll post more on this later!
hopefully those goals will meet their completion before the end of this month. but i have a feeling august is going to go really fast!