Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mother (in-law)'s Gift

I was just given the best Mother's Day gift ever. I was able to spend a week with my Mother-In-Law. We had a staycation in my home. We cooked side by side, we knitted side by side, we folded clothes side by side and pondered the idea of whether I would actually get the vacuum run or the lawn mowed during her visit.
I only had a week to prepare for her visit--I knew that she was coming for a weekend but found out about the extended stay with just a week's notice. I started out in panic mode--with the normal crazy busy of our schedule I wondered how I was going to make everything perfect. The Mary/Martha struggle that I live with. Then I decided to proceed like Mary.
The highlight of the trip was my daughter's First Communion. I've helped her for months to prepare for this Sacrament and all of a sudden I shifted from spiritual preparedness to worrying about fingerprints and dust. I realized that I needed to focus on what was truly important. I stopped thinking about the cleaning schedule and gave myself permission to plan and be organized--then stop to enjoy this "First" moment.
For the first time I didn't make myself and those who love me crazy with the Martha level of perfection. I did the minimum and let the rest happen.
My MIL gave me the gift of time and I gave myself the gift of a humble pie, accepting a wonderful opportunity to enjoy time with her without the agenda of a perfectionist. I allowed myself to be imperfect, real, authentic and grateful. I felt genuine gratitude--really felt it--not just the Hallmark card or the Helen Stein watercolor variety of gratitude--but real, take a deep breath and EXHALE.

It was an awesome visit.  I feel renewed and refreshed--and that you can't buy in a store.  I learned that I have value independent of perfectionism.  I thought of my MIL as I vacuumed the house and mowed the lawn.  I hoped that she felt renewed, refreshed and loved. 
Thank you God for putting amazing women in my life! I am blessed to be inspired, encouraged and loved by so many of your daughters. I only hope that through your grace I will be able to encourage and inspire as I serve you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Week 3/8 $tart $aving w/Coupons

This is exciting isn't it! I have had a few of you come and tell me how much you saved without too much planning! One Mom spent the $75 at Dominick's and was happy to get her $10 Catalina, another Mom was upset that it was a light week for paper coupons, and the best story was how a Mom and Dad had a free lunch out. Now just think of the savings if a little more time was spent planning each week!

This week's Assignment 3:

1. Where do you find your coupons? I do not go to extremes to get my coupons. I have my Dominick's card registered and they have coupons that I can load right onto my card. I also get the Sunday paper and I swap coupons with other friends. If I need granola bar coupons and I know that they came in the paper I will send out a email or text to my friends and ask them to save them for me--if they aren't using them. It helps to have friends that are in a different season of life . . . the Grandma next door may not need her coupons! I do go online see Week 2/8 Start Saving w/Coupons for coupons as well.

This week Dominick's online coupons has a Free Starbucks drink and the paper coupons has the same coupon--so by the end of it all I will see how many free Starbucks drinks I can get.

2. Catalina's. A Catalina is the paper coupon that comes printed out with your receipt. A Catalina can be a coupon like the $10 ones you get when you spend the $75 or if you buy a certain number of things you get a smaller denomination coupon amount. These are like cash--you can use them for anything that you buy in the store.  Catalina's also give you information on future deals--if you buy 4 Kraft cheeses you will get $3 in Catalina cash, 6 cheeses will yield a $4 Catalina cash--it gives the date of when these "deals" will be available.

A few weeks ago I bought bogof cheese and for each 4 packages of cheese that I bought I received $3 in Catalina cash. So I went through the self check and bought 4 packages of cheese for $7.98 and earned a save $3 off my next order. I used it immediately to buy 4 more packages of cheese at $7.98 (50% off) and then save another $3 on that order--4 bags of cheese for $4.98. The reason I went through self checkout is so that I'm not annoying the cashier and if I wanted to use my Catalina to buy more cheese right away, I find it easier that to try and explain what I'm doing to the cashier. Some friends are more understanding than others.

I found out by accident that it was on ALL Kraft items and there were a ton of Kraft products bogof that week. So I went home and found all my coupons and asked friends for their coupons and went back. This time I just went through the self check out a bunch of times and held on to all of the Catalina's like my own money and used them all at once on a bigger order. After all I was already saving 50% off on the cheese, cream cheese and milkbites!

IMPORTANT: When earning a Catalina--you must buy EXACTLY what it says or it won't work. If the deal is buy 4 of a certain item that is what needs to happen. No mixing and matching. Sometimes you only earn one per trip through the checkout. Using the example above, if I bought 8 cheese all at once I would get the 50% off but I may only get one Catalina printed. By separating my order I get $6 back and not just $3.

IMPORTANT AGAIN: Make sure the machine is working! If you have a deal that you are working hard to get make sure that the green light is going or ask the cashier if it is working.

Another Catalina deal is Hallmark cards. If you buy 3 cards you get $5 off your next shopping order. I rarely buy cards but if I do I try to buy them in 3's when this deal is going one.

3. When the cashier hands you Catalina always look at them. I have received several $20 coupons for Shutterfly. I simply open my Shutterfly account and put the code in and my account shows a credit. Now that I have a credit I need to find time to download my photos, print them off and then do something with them.

Target had it's own Catalina. Again, make sure that you look at them. I often have a Catalina coupon for a Gift Card if I fill a prescription at Target--Strep Throat x 4 kids and an ear infection or two and I have a nice little stockpile of Target gift cards. I often keep these and give them as teacher gifts.
Good Luck this week--here's hoping that you will get a surprise Catalina!