Hi friends…back to answering some of those awesome questions!
Do you have a “hidden” talent…or maybe a not-so hidden talent?
I danced competitively from the time I was 5 until I graduated from high school. I don’t really talk about it often, so I guess you can call that a hidden talent. I am also double-jointed in my right ankle, and can move it without touching it. It is incredibly weird, and really I can’t explain it unless you see it – I might get brave and post a video on here one day. 🙂
How is your classroom and teaching going?
It really is going great. My situation is a little different – I am in a magnet school where we don’t use traditional text books, so teaching in an alternative way has been a little bit different from most first-year teacher situations. That being said, I have SO many opportunities at my school, the kids in my class are great, they are adapting to the alternative learning style very well (this is their first year in the school too), and I am in my favorite grade! It is my dream teaching job.
(Lots of questions about this too.) How do you save so much money grocery shopping with coupons?
About six months ago, I thought I was doing pretty good with the whole grocery budget thing. I was buying off-brand items, managing what I had well, and spending about $40 a week for both of us. Not bad, but I could have been doing SO much better with coupons.
The WHOLE (and I mean whole) secret to how I save so much money is iheartpublix.com. Somebody posted it on facebook one day, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It takes the sales from Publix for the week and shows you where you can get coupons for those items to make them EXTREMELY cheap (or free many times). I have started saving 60-80% on my grocery bill every week – and it’s now down to about $20 a week for both of us!
Right now, you can start saving the inserts from your Sunday paper (Smart Source and Red Plum), getting the coupon books at the front of the store (I usually get 2 or 3 every time I go), and printing internet coupons I will use as I see them. Then, that website will show you how to combine these coupons to get awesome deals! They explain it a whole lot better at the site though. Also, start building a stockpile of items you use when they are on sale. That way, you don’t have to worry about finding a good deal on something the next time you need it – you’re essentially doing the grocery shopping each week in your own pantry.
Seriously, go to the website. They do an incredible job of explaining how to save so much money!
Similar question….how do you purchase meat/produce/toiletries?
I only buy meat if it’s on sale. We eat a lot of boneless/skinless chicken and ground beef in our house. If I see a good deal, I stock up and freeze it! We found boneless/skinless chicken for $1.79 a pound a few weeks ago…I bought 15 pounds of it, put it in my freezer, and will have chicken for months. As far as produce…I use a lot of frozen veggies. They still have a lot of the nutrients that fresh veggies do, and you can usually find better deals on them. Plus they freeze, so they last longer!
Toiletries are hard. For health/beauty items, you can usually find a coupon match-up at Publix every couple of months for things like shampoo/conditioner/soap. I stock up when I find one of those. For makeup – I use eyeslipsface.com now – SUPER cheap makeup that actually isn’t that bad quality! For paper products, we usually go with Sam’s. You don’t have to look for sales and you really don’t have to go that often, since it’s all in bulk.
If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?
Definitely a stay at home mom. I love the idea of managing my home and making it the best it can be for myself and my family.
What is one tradition that you and Noah are hoping to start, and carry on with your kids one day?
There are so many, I can’t think of just one. Lots of Christmas traditions (buying our Christmas tree, putting out food for Santa, reading Christmas stories), other holidays as well. I think if I had to pinpoint just one, it would be going to church on Sundays. I love the idea of the whole family going together, having lunch afterward, doing something fun with the family that afternoon.
Will y’all always live in Tuscaloosa or would you like to move one day?
We really don’t know yet…it all depends on Noah’s job. Before we got married, the plan was for me to graduate from college and we would move to Birmingham. Well, we all know how plans work out…Noah got a great job here, so we’re here for right now. The thing about jobs with his company though (especially if you get promoted) – more than likely, we will have to move one day. We know it will be in the southeast, but besides that we have no clue where that might be. So there’s no specific plan on where we are going to end up right now!
What made you get started blogging?
I think I saw a couple of links to friends’ blogs about a year ago. I started reading, and found a link to Mckmama’s blog on one of their sidebars. So I went there, read her story (this was about the time Stellan was born), and got hooked. I found a few other blogs like that, got hooked too. So in about April, I thought I would give it a try. I am bad about journaling, so this is my journal. I NEVER expected that anyone else would want to read it, and still think it’s bizarre that so many people are interested in my little boring life. I’m so glad they are though!
What is the best trip/vacation you’ve ever taken?
Definitely our honeymoon. It was the first time I had been out of the country, and my first cruise. I have always LOVED the beach (we went to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and the Bahamas)…all of those things combined, plus the fact that it was our honeymoon and we were so completely happy, made it perfect!
What program did you use to make your Christmas card?
I used Paint Shop Pro Photo…it’s what I use for all graphic design projects! I also used digital kits to just piece together what I wanted on the card…it was a very similar process to designing blogs actually!
How did you decide to get a beagle? Do you have any good Hardy stories?
Because we knew we would be starting a family when we still had this dog, we wanted a dog that was family-friendly. We lived in a condo at that point, so we also didn’t want too big of a dog. Noah hunts some, so he wanted a hunting dog too…he hasn’t (and won’t ever) take him hunting though. I won that battle. 🙂 Plus they are just beautiful!
Beagles are EXCELLENT family dogs. They are protective, but not in a mean way, and incredibly loyal and loving. They’ll bark you to death before they attack you. 🙂 They are playful, but can be lazy with you too. And I don’t know if every beagle is like this, but they have such a funny personality! I would be happy owning nothing but beagles for the rest of my life…and if Hardy wanted to stick around to be that beagle, I’d be ok with that.
As far as Hardy stories, I wouldn’t even know where to start. This whole blog is just a collection of Hardy stories! (PS – I’d love for Laney to be Hardy’s girlfriend – I’m just pretty sure he doesn’t understand the concept of a girlfriend, if you know what I mean! Haha!)
What are some other ways you save money besides groceries?
There are a few ways we have learned recently. Utility bills are a great way to cut costs. We recently got on the time of use plan with Alabama Power…you save money by using power during off-peak hours (nights and weekends). So we run major appliances during those times, and have just started cutting off lights/putting TV’s on timers/unplugging unused items. Our power bill this past month was half of what it was this time last year! I’ve also heard of calling the utility companies to ask for discounts. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve heard it actually works if you just ask!
We use coupons as much as possible when we eat at restaurants. It doesn’t really work in our area very well, but restaurants.com runs great specials on gift certificates sometimes. I remember getting a $25 gift certificate for $2 one time! When we shop online, I ALWAYS check retailmenot.com to see if that website has a coupon code to use – and it usually does! I buy big purchases on sale only, and buy used (off of Craig’s List and eBay) when I can. For example, we bought a Dyson vacuum for $100 a couple of months ago. That’s just an example of the good deals you can find if you just look! The biggest thing I can advise for purchases – don’t wait until you need it to get it. If you buy good deals as you see them rather than right at the last minute before you have to have it, you will find MUCH cheaper items. A good example of this is buying coats during spring/summer…they are always cheaper! Same for holiday items and school supplies.
Finally, if we can do it ourselves, we do. For example, we clean our own carpets, pressure wash our own house, I give myself pedicures, I even trim my own hair (if it’s nothing too major). Every little penny adds up…and you’ll really notice the difference if you start watching everything you spend to see if it is really necessary!
I could probably write a book about this, so I’ll stop rambling now.
I SO enjoyed answering everyone’s questions! If you have any more just let me know…it’s been fun!
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