Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apparently, I had a lapse on what I'd spent last week. Should've checked my own blog, I suppose. Anyway, I went a little over on the husband, partially because I forgot to budget for what Monsoon wanted to get Daddy this year.

Keychain bottle-opener, Ohio State fan variety. His broke a couple weeks ago, and the good beer apparently doesn't twist-off, so you might say this was a slight necessity. It was not on sale (gasp - I know), but it's a small splurge that he'll really like and use. Paid: $8.51, w/ GC.

House slippers. Another need - his old ones are starting to look like only soles. Original price: $32. Paid: $14.99, w/ GC.

Batman Underpants. Yes, you read that right. I let Monsoon pick out his own gift for Daddy. He chose these a while ago, I said we should keep looking. Last week, he still remembered about them and finally insisted that's what he wanted to get for him. He also requested a matching pair, but that's neither here nor there. It's still going down as one of the top ten funniest Christmas gifts ever - mostly because Monsoon doesn't think it's funny at all. He thinks they are the best thing ever. Love that kid. Price: $7.99, paid cash.

Previous amount spent was $87.03, plus this week's spending brings us to a grand total for the husband of... $118.52. Way over in my book, but still SO much better than a normal year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monsoon is finished, too

With a remaining balance of $7.74 left on Monsoon's $100 budget, I took to the stores to stuff his stocking.

Batman Underwear - $5.54, paid w/ GC

3-pack Play-Doh, x2 - $2.94, paid w/ GC

Swiss Miss cocoa mix w/ marshmallows (one of his favorite special treats) - $2.04, paid w. GC

Bubble Gum-filled canister bank - $1, paid cash.

This brings Monsoon's grand total to... $103.78. Yes, I went a tad over, but only a tiny little bit! Plus, most of his gifts were purchased with Gift Cards, which were all free.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Inventory, Week 6

We're done! We're done!!

Husband did finally order the gifts for my sister and nephew last week, and picked them up today. I spent most of Sunday shopping with my mom, which might have been a fun time except we had to drag Monsoon along, too. He's sick of holiday shopping, and I don't blame him one bit - he even balks at the mention of ToysRUs these days.

As always, if you are on my list, don't go sneaking around this page!

My sister - 500 sheets personalized note paper (she's graduating with her teaching degree!). Value, $150. Paid, $0 - prize won at a local event in the Fall.

Nephew - I won't say what it is, but it has to do with his football team winning their "Super Bowl" this year. If he's found this site, he might be tempted to cheat, I'll just say it has a value of $50, and was also a prize from a printing company which came in the basket we won this Fall.

My dad - a wallet. He's very particular about his wallet, and likes a new one every couple of years, so it's not as lame as it sounds. Original price: $26. Paid (after sale and coupon discount), $9.99 - paid w/ GC.

BIL - Henley shirt. Original price: $36. Paid (after sale and coupon discount), $9.99 - paid w/ GC.

Santa Gift for Nephew - $5 GC to a place he goes to eat after school sometimes, paid cash.

Santa Gift for Monsoon - Nate The Great book. Original Price: $4.50, Paid (after Borders Reward bucks), $0.

Aunt & Uncle (and a few others, not in budget) - Homemade spaghetti sauce, which I'm planning to can tomorrow. Ingredient cost: $15 (just under, but I don't feel like getting out the calculator for a couple of cents).

Our budget allows for a total of $80 for the people above, not including the Santa Gifts, which are not a part of our budget.

The total cash cost to us for all of the items above is: $20. That's a real savings of $60 this week.
Adding up each week of inventory, we have spent a total of about $71 cash on family members* for whom we budgeted $300, bringing the total REAL savings so far this Christmas to a whopping $229.

*family members, not including me or husband or Monsoon - whose gifts are filed on separate days on the blog.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cash for Stuff, Week 5

I'm still completely amazed at all the stuff we have at our house that we don't use or need, even after all the stuff we've sold. Here's this week's rundown:

Sold: Loveseat, $50

Sold: Weedeater, $10

Sold: Set of speakers, $15

Sold: 20" tv, $10

Sold: Monsoon's baby stroller (this one pains me, btw), $25

Sold: Computer husband built, $25

Gifted: $50 GC to our local Mall, courtesy of husband's grandmother. He will likely be using most of this toward my gifts since I've pretty much finished shopping for him.

End of week total gain: $185

Cash spent during week #5 = $24.99

Gift Card value spent during week #5 = $26.99

Previous week's end result = $730.81 to the positive.

Week #5 end result (730.81 + 185 - 24.99 - 26.99) = $863.83 to the positive!

*You may notice some slight changes to last week's end result - it's because I failed to factor in the gift card values spent. I had to go back and add those in.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coupons, discounts, and free stuff, OH MY!

It's getting down to crunch time, shoppers. I've still got some valuable coupons and discounts that I need to use up before the Big Day. I can't believe all the free stuff stores will send you in the hopes of getting you in to spend more. I won't say I never spend more than the worth of the discount, but I do try to be careful about spur-of-the-moment spending.

I still have a $10 off any purchase of $10 to a local department store, which I'm hoping to use for my BIL, who wants a shirt.

I just received $5 Borders Bucks, plus a 30% off one item coupon - maybe I can find a book small enough for Monsoon's stocking.

I've also heard about a $10 off $25 purchase at Macy's coupon, and plan to look for it online later today. I'll use this on my husband - but not from me. My grandmother asked me to pick up something for him, and she's on a budget as well. If I can find another dress shirt or tie (or both) for around 25 bucks like the last time I had this coupon, it would be perfect. We shall see.

We also have the free coupons I mentioned on Monday, plus an extra $50's of free stuff from a printing company that I have know idea what to do with. This place is charging $50 to print a high-quality poster out of a photo for my nephew, but I have no idea what to do with the extra $50. Any ideas? I could use some help. We have to use it by the end of the year anyway, so I might as well have something printed. Ideas ideas ideas! please. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cheating on the husband, so to speak

I'm so close to budget on Monsoon, I can't buy him anything more, but the husband was really excited earlier in the season to get the boy a Monopoly game for kids that we could play as a family. Monopoly, which I do not particularly love, is my husband's favorite board game. He was a little disappointed when I didn't pick it up as one of Monsoon's gifts.

What he doesn't know is... I did pick it up, but not for Monsoon. Yes, I'm cheating a bit - it's a kid's game, and one that we won't likely play without said kid, but it's one that my husband will enjoy as much - if not more - than the rest of us.

I may also have skewed the books a bit when it came down to our family holiday tradition. Every year, we open one gift on Christmas Eve at home - pajamas that we wear on Christmas Morning. Unfortunately, I didn't leave enough in Monsoon's budget for his pajamas, so I'm taking it out of the husband's budget.

Husband's pajamas were $14.99, paid cash.

Monsoon's pajamas were on sale for $10, paid cash. I'll take half of this off Husband's budget, and half off his budget for me.

Monopoly Town game was $10, paid with gift card.

Previous balance on Husband's budget: $57.04 spent ($24.05 cash).

New balance for Husband: $87.03 spent ($49.04 paid with cash), leaving $12.97 for Husband's stocking stuffers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Only stockings are left for Monsoon

I've been waiting for ToysRUs to put the game OPERATION on sale all season, but since it hasn't happened, I broke down and "paid" (with a gift card) the $16.99 retail price. It pained me, but it's the only thing he has picked up and carried around at three different stores while we shopped. I figure he'll be glad to have it - and we love to play games as a family, so I know it won't sit around collecting dust.

Previous balance for Monsoon was $75.27. Add the $16.99, and get a new balance of.....

$92.26 spent on Monsoon.

That leaves $7.74 left for stocking stuffers. Unfortunately, none of the other gifts he has will fit in his stocking, so I'm going to have to really stretch that seven bucks!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A tad behind? Yeah, me too.

I had grand intentions for a couple gifts this year, but it seems I have let time slip by for too long. I'm sending the husband out tomorrow to order the two items, both from separate printing companies, neither of whom have websites from which to order. It's a pain in the butt, which is why we haven't done it yet, but the gifts will be worth it - if only we can get them in time for Christmas. And yes, they are free with gift certificates that we won at a local event this fall.

Fingers crossed.

The first is for my sister, who will be finishing up her teaching degree this quarter. We are ordering her 500 sheets of personalized stationary with matching envelopes. A "From the desk of..." type thing.

The second is for my young nephew, whose football team won their league this year. We're having his team photo blown into a poster for his room. This was my husband's idea, so kudos to him. Our nephew will love it.

That's about all the shopping I have (not) done this week, except for the husband and Monsoon, which I'll report about later in the week. I might have gone over budget, so I might be cheating the system. Just a bit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cash for Stuff, Week 4

We did sell some stuff in week 3, but I also started a new job last week, which is why I haven't posted much. Unfortunately, I won't get my first check until Christmas Eve, so my professional skills won't quite work into our Free Christmas budget. Pttthhh.

Sold: Sofa and Loveseat set - $100

Sold: Sofa - $50

Sold: Softball bag - $10

Sold: Wall mirror - $3

Won: $50 GC to Walgreens (from on Facebook - this was actually my husband's win. Woo-hoo, husband! Now he's glad I nagged him every day to make his comment entry).

Found (Won, back in Spring): $25 GC to Macy's.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

End of week total gain = $188

Cash spent during week #4 = $65.03

Gift Card value spent during week #4 = $142.41

Previous week's end result = + $750.25

End Result for week #4 (188 - 65.03 - 142.41 + 750.25) = $730.81 to the positive!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Finally getting the husband

Husband and I made a deal. We weren't going to get each other anything unless the budget allowed it after everyone else was finished. We kind of stuck to it. I found some great deals that I couldn't pass up, and all for things he actually needed, even though we haven't completely finished shopping for everyone on our list yet.

Dress shirt. Original price: $40. BF sale: 12.99, paid with Macy's GC (which I won back in the Spring and hadn't used).

Tie. Original price: $37.50. BF sale: 14.99, paid with Macy's GC and some ($2.98) cash.

Running shirt: Original price, $25. Coupon price: $20. (I bought this as part of a coupon package - in which I could use several coupons at once, and ended up with a birthday gift for my nephew worth $89, which only cost $20. Bonus!), paid cash.

Running socks: Original price, $11. Coupon price: $1.07 (free $10 birthday gift for being a member of DSW shoe store's club), paid cash.

Fiction book. Original price $7.99, paid with Borders GC.

These total $57.04 after discounts, with only $24.05 cash out of my pocket. (regular prices totalled $121.49, for a savings of $64.45)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monsoon's almost finished!

We set a $100 budget for Monsoon. It's been the most challenging part of shopping this year. Not only do we have less money than in years past, but we set the budget to keep ourselves from going overboard. He just doesn't need that much stuff, and this has put into perspective my habit of grabbing from the shelf, thinking "oh, he might like this so why don't I just pick it up now?" I have to keep reminding myself to think about what he really wants, needs and will use.

Here's the latest:

Bat Cave. It's his "big" toy this year, and one of the few items for which he specifically asked. Original price: $44. Price paid: $34 ($10 coupon), bought with ToysRUs GC.

Mr. Potato Head Jumbo Set. Original price: $24.99. Price paid: $12.50, bought with ToysRUs GC.

Peter Pan pop-up book (huge, elaborate book - one of his favorite stories). Original price: 29.99. Clearance price (b/c they have updated the artwork in a new book): 6.99, bought with Borders GC.

I did purchase 2 other items, but returned them. One was something he'd enjoy, but ultimately took up too much space, which we don't have. Another was a race track, but my Dad got him something similar, and we don't need two.

The total purchases for Monsoon this week came to $51.49 (although we spent $0 cash), added to the previous weeks equals $75.27 spent on Monsoon. That leaves $24.73 left in his budget. I'm going to start thinking about stocking stuffers with the remaining balance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Inventory, Week 4

Whew, it's been a while. I haven't even shared the fantastic Black Friday deals I got a week and a half ago. So, I guess this is really my inventory for week 3, but I haven't purchased much since then. Here goes...

**Once again, if you are someone for whom we buy, you might want to come back another day. Or be a Grinch and peek, it's your choice.**

I also have a side note (I know, I know, get on with already, Ashley!). I posted in week 1 that we were giving my young nephews a DVD player, but honestly it's something I was struggling with. My personal opinion about young children and tv is not shared with everyone, but adding to their screen time just didn't sit well with me. Luckily, my in-laws DVD player broke (remember about the "Stuff"?), and they need a new one. Perfect!

Niece (2): Little Mommy "Baby Knows" doll. Original price: $28.88. Black Friday deal: $15

Nephew (1.5): Clipo creativity table/blocks set. Original price: $29.99. BF deal: $14.99. *paid with GC.

Nephew (2): Clipo creativity table/blocks set (same as above). Original $29.99. BF deal: $14.99. *paid with GC.

Nephew (7): Hot Wheels race track set. Original price: $19.99. BF deal: $7.99

Nephew (9): Hot Wheels race track set (dif from above so brothers can tell them apart). Original price: $19.99. BF deal: $7.99

Cousin's son (5): Hungry Hippos game. Original price: $19.99. BF deal: $10.

Cousin's daughter (3): Medical kit. Original price: $12.99 . BF deal: 4.99. *paid with GC

Cousin's son (11): Mysterious Benedict Society book. Original price: $6.99. BF deal: $5.25. *paid with GC

MIL/FIL: DVD player. I already posted the "deal" for this, so I won't count the savings twice.

We have so much money in gift cards to stores like ToysRUs and Borders, we were also able to buy "Santa gifts" - small gifts for the children at my Gran's on Christmas Eve, delivered by Santa himself (my husband). We did this last year and it was so much fun. I didn't think we'd be able to do it this year, but it has worked out very well.

Santa gifts:

girl (3): Paper Bag Princes book. Original price: $6.89. BF deal: $5.21. *paid with GC.

boy (11): Book 2 in the Mysterious Benedict Society series. Original price: $6.99. BF deal: $5.25. *paid with GC.

girl (2): Purple sequined dress scarf. Original price: $14. It was discounted for BF, plus I had a "$10 off any item $10 or more" coupon, bringing my total to $1.21. AND 6-pack of princess panties. Original price: $15. Also discounted for BF, also with another coupon, bringing my cost for these to $0.87. Had to ring them out separately, but it was worth it.

boy (1): The Pigeon Has Feelings Too board book. Original price: $6.99. BF deal: $5.25. *paid with GC.

Our Budget allows for a total of $180 for the people above, not including the Santa gifts, which are not part of our budget.

The total cash cost to us for all the above items was: $40.98. That's a REAL savings of $139.02 for this week (not to mention the BF/discounts - original prices totalling $218.68 minus sale prices totalling $98.99 equalling $119.69 in sale savings).

Adding up weeks 1 & 4 (the only weeks I have done inventory), we have spent a total of $51.02 cash on family members for whome we budgeted $300, bringing the total REAL savings so far this Christmas to a whopping $248.98.