Thursday, June 30, 2011

Online Coupon Codes Save Me Money

Recently, I shared that I purchased six pairs of shoes for $113. I was able to shop and save by shopping online, using coupon codes. Many well known stores like Kohls, Target, Barnes and Noble... have a place within their shopping cart for a "coupon code" that will give you a discount, a percent or dollar amount off your purchase. You can find these online coupon codes listed on sites on the internet such as Retailmenot and Dealigg. These sites offer a current list of coupons codes available to shop online at hundreds of stores.

To make the most of your online shopping venture it is important to know what you are looking for and stay focused on finding that item. Look first at the stores you would normally shop at in person. When I am looking for shoes I do not take the time to browse the other categories. Have a price point in mind and use the shopping menu which will allow you to view things at certain price i.e. lowest price to highest price or up to $20, up to $30 and so on. If at all possible take advantage of free shipping. As a matter of fact, if the store is offering free shipping if you spend a minimum $50 and the cost of the purchase is $4o and the shipping cost is $6.99, I would continue shopping, seeking clearance items first, to see if I could find an item for $10 to bring my total to $50 for free shipping. I would rather spend my money on an item instead of on shipping.

I prefer to shop online, especially if I can use coupons in addition to current sales and have my purchase shipped for free. Some stores will even allow you to use more than one coupon code per purchase. This is a great way to shop, it saves time and money, it even saves gas. Follow me on Twitter @fruitofherhand to keep up on the latest deals and discounts.

Tell us how you used online coupon codes and saved big.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To Love God Is To Obey Him

It is unfortunate that christian marriages end in divorce just as often as non-christian marriages. God ordained marriage. It is a covenant made unto Him as well as your spouse. Some people make this promise with very little commitment. When things get difficult or ugly and require long suffering, sacrifice, selflessness and forgiveness too often do people give up and give in to the destruction of the adversary. Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, especially marriages.

When making a covenant in marriage, we are committing to the union of one flesh, " And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. Mark 10:8, KJV. To deny this covenant is to deny one's self. Love is what draws two people together and when that spousal love fails it's the love of God that must prevail. When Walter and I had a difficult season in our marriage, I called on the Lord. I shared my frustrations, my disappointment and pain. My heavenly father lead me back to the Word, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15, KJV.

God is my first love and to love him is obey Him. Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy. My heart belongs to Jesus. I live to do His will, "...let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." 1John 3:18, KJV. In the midst of my storm my love for God is what kept me. Even when I felt I had the right to be angry, vengeful, hurt or sad, it was God's love and forgiveness that lead me unto love and forgiveness for my husband. I know the Word but He called me to be a doer of the Word, to obey Him.

Many people feel that to forgive, to press on and love their spouse who does not seem to love them back would be wrong. But this is exactly what God would have us to do, to trust Him and the plan He has for us and to obey even when we are right or when injustice is our cross to bear. My love for God caused me to surrender to His will..."What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Mark 10:9, KJV, and His way..."Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Ps 16:11, KJV. I humbled myself and faithfully submitted myself to God and to my husband. God's way brings peace and reconciliation, hope and joy.

Do you love God enough to obey, to submit yourself to Him and to your husband?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Use E-Coupons

Electronic Coupons or E-coupons are a new item in the coupon world. These are coupons that are downloaded to your customer loyalty card and then redeemed at the time of purchase. You now have the choice of saving money without clipping coupons. To get started you must first get a customer loyalty card from the cashier or service desk of your grocery store. This is the card you present each time you shop to receive discounts and specials. If your grocery store offers e-coupons you can find them on the stores website. Before you browse the coupons it is important for you to register and log into your account. You can then select the e-coupons you are interested in. Note the expiration date and the quantity of the items necessary to receive the discount.

Another way to find e-coupons is to visit e-coupon websites such as Cellfire, Shortcuts and Proctor and Gamble. These companies have contracts with a variety of grocery stores; when you register you will need to select your grocery store and enter the number on your customer loyalty card to redeem e-coupons.

Currently e-coupons do not double, thus you will not receive the drastic savings you may be used to if you clip coupons and receive double the face value of the coupon, but they are good to have when you are purchasing two items and you only have one paper coupon. When you are at the grocery store it may be difficult to remember what items you have e-coupons downloaded for so, when you make your shopping list mark the items with e-coupons with (e-c) in the left hand margin. E-coupons are great for items that don't normally offer coupons in the paper form. I have found to get the best use out of my e-coupons it is a good practice to make my shopping list online and then to browse e-coupons after I have made my list so that I can add them for the items I do not have paper coupons for.

Do you use e-coupons? If so, where and how?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Just Don't Have Time For Coupons

I have been addressed at the check out counter many times by people who see the end result of my savings when I hand the cashier my coupons and the balance is about half the cost of my initial bill and they say things like, "I just don't have time for coupons". I gently respond and tell them, I just don't have time to work. I have a full time job, I am a wife and mother and I find it a privilege to be at home, available to keep a home for my husband and to train our children. Money is a necessity, but I don't have to have an income, I can contribute my time and my wisdom to what my husband provides for our home and that gives us an increase, not in what earn but in what we save.

I understand that cutting coupons can be a chore at first, but the benefits are worth keeping this a part of my lifestyle and weekly routine. One of my many tasks as administrator of our home is to manage the finances. This appears on my weekly to do list three or four days a week and cutting coupons is one of the items covered as part of that task. I also visit a handful of coupon blog sites each week to stay current on the grocery store and drug store ads and to print coupons. Here is a glance a my weekly schedule:

Sunday-Scan the Sunday sales ads and plan any purchases to be made this week, clip and file coupons, make drugstore shopping list

Monday-Host a coupon class and gathering (this is to add to our income), start grocery shopping lists

Tuesday-Enter household receipts in the computer

Wednesday-Read blogs and print coupons, shop at the drugstores

Thursday-Enter household receipts in the computer and pay household bills

Friday-Read blogs and print coupons

Saturday-Shop at the grocery stores

Having these tasks scheduled have kept me organized and current on the deals which allows me to save money in all aspects of spending money.

Do you manage the finances in your home, if so, how?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Virtue Family Fun Camp Is Not Just For Kids

About 14 years ago God laid it upon my heart to invite women to my home for dessert, a message and sweet fellowship. This was the beginning of the ministry Virtue. I opened my home for this occasion once a month for probably 3 years. Then the Lord lead me to have a bible study for women and their children at my home once a week. As a home school mom of multiple children this was feasible and enjoyable for our whole family. Even my husband enjoyed having the families attend each Monday. As time went on and we were blessed with more children the Lord lead me in a different direction and that was to have a family fun camp which would include a bible study or a book study for the moms, prayer and fellowship for 9 weeks in the summer.

This is my fifth year for Virtue Family Fun Camp and I am always excited to see what God will do each year. For the children camp includes a book assignment and book review, a craft and an outdoor activity each week and for the moms this year we are doing a book discussion and review on Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard our prayer focus is "Home Sweet Home".

My children and I look forward to Virtue each week. It gives us an opportunity to have sweet fellowship with other families. We are able to reconnect and learn and grow together for a season. Each week we encourage one another. I really enjoy having lunch together and doing crafts with our children, together. It reminds me of a village of women doing life together. I also enjoy the book discussions and prayer. There is just something about being vulnerable with my sisters in Christ that inspires me to stay the course. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to meet a new family at the park and invite them join us.

What family activities are doing this summer to reconnect with your friends and make new ones?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Building A Stockpile For Your Family

It's a good idea to buy extra items when they are on sale, especially staples, those items you use on a regular bases. To build a grocery stockpile you should make a list of dry goods (rice, pasta, flour) frozen foods (frozen vegetables and meats) and canned goods (vegetables, beans, tomato)e sauce and paste) . Consider the recipes you frequently use as well as your weekly meal planner. You should also add paper products (toilet paper, napkins, paper towel) and toiletries (tooth paste, lotion, deodorant) to your stockpile list. Refer to this list when you scan the grocery sales ads to make your weekly shopping list so you can be sure to make your purchases when the items are marked down. For greater savings, look for a coupon for the items that you find on sale and when it is feasible buy more than one of the same item especially if you have multiple coupons.

Before you start shopping to build a stockpile it would be wise to make room for your items in your pantry by clearing a couple of shelves. Your basement is a good place to add cabinets or shelves for extra storage. You can even use your garage just be mindful of the frequent change in temperature. To stay organized you should arrange your shelves like the grocers do. Arrange cans and boxes in nice neat rows so you can see what you have at a glance. Put things in storage containers when necessary.

To keep your stockpile you should set a restock limit. Our limit is one; when you leave one on the shelf that item is to be added to the shopping list, not when you open the last one because with a our large family you could use that one item your are taking quickly. When you put new items on the shelf, store them in the back of the current item to make sure you use the item that will expire soon first. When you make your shopping list, check your pantry so you can add the items that have reached their restock limit as you find that they are on sale.

What do you do to keep your family stockpile current and organized?

Train Up A Child

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" Prov 22:6 KJV. This is our golden rule. We take it serious, the responsibility to train our children. We are to train them from day one, while they are young, ready and eager to learn. Our baby is almost six months old, everyday when he rises he beams with excitement as he engages on the floor, crawling, exploring with such curiosity. He is already learning about temptation and authority as we instruct him not to chew on cords or put things in his mouth. To train them is to give them wisdom and understanding; keep them from sin and the consequences thereof.

This training is initiated with purpose, diligently with a goal in mind, "...when he is old, he will not depart from it." Instruction and discipline are key in this training. I liken it unto the "basic" training one would receive as a solider; train them for the future, the purpose in which they are to fulfill. Our children range in age from twenty years old to six months old and we find that the training of children is the same as the children get older. We must keep the same goal in mind even as they go through the rhetoric stage of life, trying that which we have imparted unto them.

We are still blessed to have the opportunity to impart wisdom unto our twenty year old. We find that though he is older, he too is still learning and growing. In this season the training initiated is that of guidance, reproof and encouragement. I find it important to open the door for conversation and to take the time to listen while praying unto the Lord. When training our older children that which we impart is done firmly, yet gently with that same hope of impressing the goodness of the Lord upon them as we had when they were younger.

We recognize even with this golden rule our children may depart from the way in which they were trained. But that will not discourage us from staying the course, from seeking the Lord daily on their behalf and training each of our children with commitment and purpose. Whatever their choice in life, Walter and I will rest in God knowing that we have planted seeds of life and we will trust Him to give the increase.

What differences do you find in training your children as they get older?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Extreme Couponing...Stay the Course

I know extreme couponing is the latest craze, but don't be distracted by all the hype. There are a lot of people jumping on the opportunity to save money on items they will never use. Stay the course, we are in this for the long hall, remember; using coupons is just one of the many things we can do to save money. Wise shopping is a lifestyle, not a hobby or a phase. I learned along time ago, the more money I save, the more money I have, because obtaining more money is not always promised.

You must train yourself to look for a deal, spontaneous shopping will ruin your budget, even when it's for a few items at the grocery store. It is a good practice to ask what do I what do I need. This holds true in the kitchen, in the closet and in the home. We usually don't have a need, we simply have a want and if we are creative we can satisfy our desire without breaking the bank.

If you plan your purchases and take advantage of the discounts being offered, you can save a lot of money. You can actually eliminate or replace an income simply by changing your mindset and shopping on purpose. Just think if you had an income of $1800 per month, that's $600 per week and you chose to become a stay at home mom. Well, you would immediately eliminate the need for 70% of your weekly income by eliminating a few regular, weekly expenses i.e. the need for childcare-$300, gasoline-$75 and lunch-$45 not to mention the other minor expenses that making money incurs. The remaining 30% or $180 can be money saved by shopping wisely. This is how we've been able to live on one income.

This weekend I noticed it was time to purchase a few pairs of shoes because several of our children had a need for athletic shoes and dress shoes. Now, this could have been some big spending since we had at least three children in need. The first thing I did was check my email for the latest sales from the retailers (Kohls, JCPenny's, and Payless) that sent me notifications of their deals for the week. I also checked out Target's sales ad on line. Then, I visited Dealigg and RetailMeNot to check out the current online coupon codes. Next, I called in the children so they could choose which shoes they wanted. To make this simple I always define my search with lowest priced first and we scan the ones we can afford without making the others an option. My children are pretty simple when it comes clothes and shoes, so the shopping was quick and painless. In the midst of all of this I realized there were two more children that needed shoes, so I gave them a few choices as well. My final purchases were made at Target, Kohls and Payless for a total cost of just $113 for six pairs of shoes! I even saved on gas by shopping online. Though this process took time, it was time and money well spent.

How have you stayed the course of shopping wisely for your family?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quality Time On A Dime

As I mentioned yesterday, a few weeks ago it was laid on my heart to spend more time with my husband each weekend this summer. It was our normal practice to get dressed up and go out once a month for dinner and a movie. Well, for us once a month is just not often enough right now, so we will be having a simple date each week. We need uninterrupted time alone, time to talk, laugh, take a walk or maybe even make out at the park :). This will be a double blessing, we will spend more time together and less money. Our monthly date usually cost about $50 and I have budgeted our weekly dates at $10 each week, that's $40 a month . Even with this budget I want to be creative and give my husband a choice of where we will go and what will do.

I have printed or clipped coupons for:
Dine In
Bucca di Beppo $10 off any purchase of $20 or more
The Spaghetti Warehouse Buy One Get One FREE Lasagne or Spaghetti
Fridays $5 off purchase of $15 or more
Max and Erma's FREE Chips and Guacamole
Steak and Shake Various Meal Deals and Buy One Free Milk Shake

Take Out (and Picnic)
Quiznos Sub or Salad Buy One Get One FREE

So far we have gone to Steak and Shake $10 (purchased two meals using coupons and a tip), Smoothie King $4.99 ((Buy one get one free smoothie) and Barnes and Noble Cafe $4.29 (Buy one get one free smoothie). We have enjoyed our quiet times together at the restaurant, in the car and walking through the mall. It's truly not about where we go, what we do or the money we spend, it's all about having time alone with my husband, my friend.

How do you and your spouse spend quality time on a dime?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

He's Not Just My Husband...He's My Friend

One of the joys of being married to Walter is that he is my friend. Talking, watching television (even sports) or simply spending time in our office together have always been things we've enjoyed doing together. Actually, it really hasn't been about the activity, so much as being in each others presence. There are couples who do not spend time together and if they do they really don't enjoy it. God blessed us with this gift of friendship and it is something I know we can't take for granted.

God is the core of our relationship. We started this relationship with Him; through prayer we knew we were soul mates and by prayer we have maintained our bond of marriage and our friendship. As with most couples and friends, we don't always agree and we have had many bouts of frustration and disappointments, but because we are committed to God and committed to each other we have come through some rough times. Commitment, prayer and obedience have been the things that have kept us.

About twelve years ago we started having a lunch date once a week. Initially, we would get a babysitter for the children and we would go have lunch and spend time together. When the babysitter and going out were no longer feasible, we stayed home and brought our lunch in and we'd have lunch and a movie in the "love nest" (our bedroom). So many times during our lunch date the presence of the Lord has been so evident to me. We still have our weekly lunch date. This commitment alone has helped us to come together as one, it enables us to be consistent about just the two of us sharing time, space and meal together.

I must say there have been seasons of drought in our relationship, times when life has been more difficult and we became distant from one another. Because we've had a fruitful relationship, a drought does not go unnoticed, in fact it is very apparent. During these times, God has been quick to convict me and draw me unto Him. He speaks to my heart calling me unto obedience. He makes it clear to me that I must trust and obey Him.

I love my husband, my friend and when we are lacking, I am lacking. I don't seem to stand against the daily toils of life as well when we are not on one accord. I have learned to listen to God in prayer for Walter is His child and He knows how to care for him and how to correct him. When I am obedient and faithful, I feel a peace even in the midst of a drought and a calm in the midst of our storms. God has his way of bringing us to a place of reflection and repentance and that is good soil for pulling weeds and planting new seeds.

This is a season of planting for us. God has called me to appreciate my "Mr. Steady" for who he is and to cultivate our relationship by pursuing him. I have asked him to go out with me each weekend this summer, not for an official date like dinner and a movie but for a time of "courting" if you will. We've gone for a meal and sat in the car and talked and joked and we've gone for a beverage and taken a walk around the mall holding hands. I am so grateful for this gift of friendship. God knows exactly what we need, for He wants us to like one each other as well as love each other.

What do you and your spouse do to cultivate your relationship?

Coupons 102...Saving Big At The Drug Stores

I save so much when I shop at the drug stores each week. There is a sign posted in the entryway of the CVS I shop at and it reads CVS, Extra Care Bucks pays you back... not only does it pay you back it can also allow you to profit! This evening I really hit it big! I purchased $22.75 worth of merchandise for just $3.45, that is about an 84% savings AND I received $8 in Extra Care Bucks that I can use on my next purchase. So yes, actually I MADE money on this shopping trip. As I always say..."it's not how you's how much money you spend".

For those of you who are not familiar with CVS, they have a great rewards program. Now, there is a strategy to saving so much money. To get started up must first sign up for the Extra Care Card which is used when making your purchases at the store. Each quarter the amount you spend in the store is totaled, giving you back a reward, Extra Care Bucks. Each buck has a monetary value. In addition, there are weekly ECB sales and when you purchase these items you are given an ECB reward. These rewards are printed at the bottom of your receipt and can be used on your next purchase like cash. I plan my purchases so that I am making two or more purchases each week and use my ECBs from the first purchase to buy my next purchase of items that will grant me more ECBs. This allows me to spend very little, if any cash from my pocket.

When I discovered this new way to shop I was so intrigued and I purposed myself to learn more so I could be a good steward of God's provisions. I have acquired many FREE items and have shared the abundance with others. Can you believe it? A family of eleven, on one income has an enough items for themselves and some to give away...that's God!

How do you save money at the drug store?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mothering Many With Him

When I answered the Lord's call to trust Him with my body, I had no idea that meant I would have multiple children. It was when I became pregnant with our seventh child that I realized I had a lot of children. Recently, we had our tenth child and there is no denying the magnitude of the task I have before me. Though the daily challenges are great, I face each day with a bit of confidence because I am not alone, "Nothing is impossible for God".

I understood along time ago that these are not my children, they belong to God. They may look like me or act like me or both, but they are truly made in the image of Christ, for His purpose and for His glory. I am a chosen vessel by which the children were born and through whom God uses to draw His children unto Him. With each challenge, incident or season I go to God and ask Him what he would have me to do. In and of myself I can not nurture and train even one of these precious gifts, but with His divine help, encouragement, grace and forgiveness I accept my calling with hope and confidence in Him.

My daily dynamics are great; with a twenty year old who has one foot in and one foot out the door and my youngest child being a five month , nursing infant who prefers me over anyone else, I am busy to say the least. I feel the need to lead my teens on purpose with certain goals in mind as when they were little. When they were tots I took the time to teach them read, write, dress themselves etc. and now I find myself taking the time, some times even scheduling time to have meaningful conversations on topics of temptations, relationships and cares and concerns about the future.

Recently, I became weary as I watched one of our children consistently give in to the flesh. In frustration and helplessness I sought God for wisdom, patience and peace. God is faithful, for in my quiet time He reminded me whose child this is and that He has a plan for Him, "a plan to do him good not harm...". I choose to rest in this wisdom for each of our children and to nurture and encourage them faithfully and daily beseech the Lord on their behalf. I am grateful for this opportunity, for it is true, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 4, KJV. Even as I walk with my children when they are stumbling I find joy in serving God as a mother because I am partnered with Him.

How do you get through the daily challenge of mothering more than one child?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned!

Shopping wisely is my lifestyle. I have saved money for years by using coupons when making purchases from grocers, drug stores, and restaurants. When I found out I could also save money by looking for coupons and specials at my favorite retailers I was elated. As a member of My Points I earn points for shopping online, reading email, playing games and taking surveys. It's that easy!

The points you earn can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, dining and more. I earn points on a regular basis by printing online grocery coupons. When I receive offers by email I simply read the offer and click to visit the site to receive the minimum points. I receive more points when I take advantage of the offer. You can also earn points by using the My Points tool bar. Believe me, the points add up pretty fast. I choose to save my points and redeem them a couple of times during the year for gift card purchases for vacation, birthdays or Christmas.

Do you know of other ways you can earn money for searching or shopping online?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vacation or Staycation?

Since Walter and I have been married, we have been fortunate enough to be able to take a vacation each year. For us this is truly a blessing because it was not a common practice for us growing up. We are so grateful for the opportunity to get a way for a while with our children to enjoy them as well as enlighten them about the world around them.

As with everything else we do, when planning a vacation I am very considerate of our budget. This year I must be a bit more creative because of the gas prices being so high; we always travel by car and at this rate a large portion of the budget will be spent on gas. Though this is true, I refuse to take a staycation. I am encouraged to be more open minded and ingenious with my ideas.

It is a common practice for me to pick a theme and to consider our curriculum for the current school year. We like to use our vacation to check out sites that relate to our studies. For instance, when we were studying caves and dinosaurs we visited Kentucky where there is a Dinosaur Museum and lots of caves.

This year we plan to take multiple short trips consisting of travel to places that are close in proximity be it no more than two to three hours away allowing us to leave early and return at the end of the day. This will save us money because we will not be lodging overnight. The areas of study to consider are Early American History, Modern Art and Chemistry.

We took our first road trip this week to Cincinnati, Ohio. We visited the Cincinnati Art Museum where we indulged in a scavenger hunt, then we took in the sites on the riverfront while enjoying ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. After observing the balloon man's craftiness, the children had balloons made for them and they had fun playing with those before we went window shopping. We closed the day with a little fun at Game Works and sandwiches and fries from Wendy's. Believe it or not we had a day of fun for just $50.

Do you have any suggestions for a fun frugal vacation?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nothing In Life Is Free

It cost me my time each week to save money for my family. As a stay at home mom who does not bring in a regular income, it is my job to save money. I have learned how to spend my time wisely searching for deals and planning our spending. "A penny saved is a penny earned."

To get the most bang for my buck I am willing to do some work. Every Sunday I start with pulling the sales ads for the local drug stores and grocery stores from the newspaper and from the “BAG”. This includes ads for any store such as Target, Walmart etc. that I can purchase groceries, household items and toiletries from as well as any other store that I may be interested in making a purchase from that week, such as JoAnn's or Kohls. I take the time to carefully look through the ads and circle items of interest as well as items which are on sale that I would be interested in trying for a small fee or FREE! This process takes an hour or two.

The next step takes an additional couple of hours. Now, I gather my coupon inserts and clip all the coupons. At this time I also clip any coupons I may have printed during the week as I read the coupon bloggers sites that I visit at least 3 times weekly and those I receive in the mail. When I finish clipping all my coupons, I then separate my coupons and file them in my coupon organizer.

Now, I go back to my sales ads and go through my coupon organizer and match the sales items with a coupon. Some groceries stores will double the face value of the manufacturers coupon up to .99. To maximize my savings, at some stores i.e. Target, Walgreens, Kroger Stores etc., I stack coupons, that means I clip the store coupon and stack a manufacturers coupon on top of that to purchase items for pennies or sometimes I even get the item for FREE. (You can never use two manufacturers coupons on one item.)

To keep up on grocery and drug store deals, as well as retail and restaurant deals I spend at least an hour a day, four times a week reading coupon blogs. I have a choice few which I have saved on my computer to make reference to. This is where I extend my savings from our necessities to our extra curricular activities. My goal is to never make a purchase without receiving a discount.

To learn more about how to save money on your weekly shopping trip, join me at my Coupon Classes and Gathering, Monday, June 13, 6:30-8:30, contact me for details

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Reactions...A Matter Of The Will No, A Matter Of The Heart

"For as he thinketh in his Heart, so is he..." Proverbs 23:7

I don't know about you, but I have said to myself many times "Today, I will not...". With great intentions I have purposed myself to do good and yet I fail. When the pressure is on I find myself reacting exactly as I said I would not, as a result of feeling hurt, disappointed, frustrated, angry, or used. Our reactions display our heart; our heart is the wellspring of life. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." Luke 6:45 KJV

We can control our reactions when we change our heart and mind. I find that reading the Bible along with listening to music in the morning both help me to refresh and renew my heart and mind. For me doing this daily is a must. I also like to read. I have a couple of good books that I use as inspiration and instruction as well as accountability for me as a wife "Created to be His Helpmeet", by Debi Pearl, and as a mother "Shepherding a Child's Heart", by Ted Tripp, that I read periodically throughout the week. These are seeds planted for me. With these daily activities my desire is to be "transformed by the renewing of my mind", Romans 12:2 KJV. I have found this daily time devoted to the Lord and myself to be effective, something I look forward to and even miss when I am unable to take that time.

I also find it helpful and healthy to have accountability partners, a Paul, someone who I look up to that leads me by example and a Timothy, someone with who I can do life with. "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Prov. 27:17

What steps are you taking or have you taken to control your future reactions?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Save Big On Household Items

As a wise shopper your savings is not limited to groceries. When I budget for shopping each week I include household items i.e. cleaning products, paper products etc. and beauty products i.e. make-up, body care, hair care... in my total along with my groceries. It's a good idea to set a maximum cost per item, mine is .99 or less. To spend this amount on items other than groceries you must be willing to try various brands and remember to look for items that are on sale for $2.00 or less that you can also use a coupon on. To get even more bang for your buck, try to purchase from the store that has the product on sale and that offers double coupon discounts.

To obtain more coupons for a few household items there is a new request link for the Home Made Simple Organize in Style booklets! You may want to head over to request yours now since they often go quickly.

These booklets are typically filled with nice high-value coupons for things like Charmin, Swiffer, Mr Clean, and Febreze, and they usually arrive within 4 to 6 weeks.

Do you know of any coupons we can request to be deliver in the mail?

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Mercies!

I am so grateful to know that our God gives us new mercies each day! Yesterday just was not a good day for me. I was tested and tried and I responded in flesh. I lacked patience and self-control. I chose to walk in the flesh even though the holy spirit was drawing me, clearly telling me I needed to rest in Him.

I don't like days like that, days when I feel vengeful and deserving, acting as if I am God's gift to man and my feelings really matter. Well, they don't matter, not in the big scheme of things. I was created to glorify God and enjoy Him, to exemplify Him no matter what my situation or circumstance is or how I feel at that moment. I am so glad I serve a patient God. For as the day came to a close, my Abba Father spoke to me and I listened. He calmed my doubts and my frustrations and reminded me of His plan for me.

Oh, how I love Jesus! My day ended in peace because of who He is. He is God the Almighty, full of power and grace. He gives me new mercies each and every day, even when I don't deserve them.

Share about the new mercies that God has given you!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Plan To Purchase More Than One Newspaper This Sunday

This is a heads up, the coupon inserts that will appear in the Sunday, June 5th newspaper are great! There are three (3) inserts, a regional Smart Source, a Red Plum, and a Proctor & Gamble. This would be a good Sunday to purchase more than one paper to allow you to stockpile your pantry. The cheapest place to purchase a Sunday Newspaper from is DrugMart. They cost just $1 each and have a limit of (2) per customer, per day.

Here are a few coupons you can expect to see:

• French’s Dijon Mustard 75¢
• Mentos UP2U Gum $1
• RayOvac Alkaline or Hearing Aid Batteries $1
Seattle’s Best Coffee Single Can Free (9.5oz, value to $1.79)
• Nestle Nesquik 50¢
• Snuggle 75¢
• CrossAction Manual Brush B1G1 (value to $3.99)
• Gillette Body Wash (no trial) B1G1 (value to $4.99)
• Purchase one (1) Old Spice Deodorant, Receive one (1) Old Spice Body Wash Free (value to $5.99)

To obtain more coupons you can purchase additional coupons or ask your neighbor, family member or friend for their coupons if you know they don't use them.

Please tell us where you purchase your coupons from.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Fun Camp For The Children and Mom

After much prayer and consideration for our family and our finances I came up with a great solution for activities for our children during the summer. I call it Virtue Family Fun Camp; each week we meet a the park for lunch, a reading review, a craft activity and a sports activity and it's relatively priceless. To make this a special event each week, I invite other families to join us.

At the beginning of the summer I put together a schedule which shows exactly what each week will entail. The reading schedule consist of a different reading category each week i.e. classic, mystery, biography etc. As an added bonus I reward my children weekly for their reading success. I vary the craft using things like wood craft kits, beads, stamps, pom poms, chenille stems, felt and more. Each family must bring their own supplies and we encourage the children to make their own project either with a kit or using their creativity. The sports activities are group activities or games such as basketball, kickball, soccer, and even kite flying. The children are usually divided into two groups a younger group and an older group. To assist and lead the activities with the younger children I seek a teenager to volunteer. To keep my older children involved I have encouraged them to be camp leaders and come up with some of the craft and sports activities and lead them. While the children are engaged in the sports activity the moms enjoy a book review and have prayer time. This keeps our family having fun together and it keeps me from running children all around throughout the summer for various activities. This has a become a regular summer event for us and the children are always excited to participate.

If you would like to share what you do for summer fun with your family or to receive a copy of my schedule or you want to join us please leave a comment.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Save More, Spend Less...Let's Get Back To It!

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend! If you're like me and you use Sunday afternoon and Monday to prepare for the weekly shopping trips you are probably behind on cutting those coupons and making your shopping list. Well, there is no time like the present. Get those sales ads out and let's get started. Whatever you do, don't just run to the store for a "few" items because we always spend more than we should when we shop unprepared.

Don't let the hussle and bussle of this season cause you to forfeit your goal to save. Remember, this is a lifestyle, not a fad :). While I know there are grad parties, Father's Day, birthdays and the like to make purchases for and participate in, you must do so with wisdom. Plan ahead; make greeting cards for the upcoming events you are having. Use paper left over from previous projects such as scrapbooks or school projects or even recycle some of the fronts of the greeting cards you received in the past. I like to put the printed and written sentiments in my scrapbook, but you can't read the front and the back when you mount them so why not recycle them! This is a great way to save money and ultimately that is our goal.

Let me help you get back to it. Here are a few events you may want to attend:

Paper Crafts Workshop
Thursday, June 2, 2011, 6:30-9:30

Bring your paper craft...scrapbooks, greeting cards etc. and have fun as you fellowship and complete your projects for upcoming graduations, birthdays, Fathers Day and more. Cost just $7, includes workspace, the use of my tools and a snack and beverage and a Make and Take Project.

Coupon 101 and Coupon Gathering Monday, June 6, 6:30-8:30
Coupon 101-Learn how to save 40% and more on your weekly grocery bill. Cost just $7
You've already taken the class and you just want to fellowship come join the fun at the same time I will be having a Coupon Gathering. Bring your coupons, scissors, sales ads a beverage and a snack, at this event you can swap, print and purchase coupons while having fellowship with like minded women who want to be wise with their spending. Cost just $3

Please share your money saving ideas for this busy season?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Battle Is Not Mine

We are in a battle Saints and we must be alert, armed and ready to protect that which Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy. He aims most at our marriages, our children, our family and friendships. He is cunning and he wants to destroy those relationships that bind the church.

Before I met Walter I prayed to the Lord for my husband. I know this is my man, the one God chose for me. God uses our marriage to refine us; to improve, polish and purify us by pruning and draw us unto Him. This process is not easy; it calls for much humility, prayer and obedience even when I don't want to. And it is in those times of weakness and or disobedience when Satan will attack.

We must be aware of Satan's schemes and tactics and arm ourselves with the Word of God. During our season of attack I am faithful to read the Bible and pray. I cry out to the Lord in honesty, in hope of His deliverance, not just from the heat of the battle, but deliverance from my flesh because I recognize when I am weak, I am vulnerable.

I am grateful to God for His protection and His provisions. He is wise to the wiles of Satan. God honors my prayers, even my groanings for He has proclaimed victory over me, over us. My job is to seek God, to trust Him and ultimately to obey, He will do the rest. My friend when you find yourself engaged in spiritual warfare meditate on God's promise for victory, "...Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed...for the battle is not yours, but God's," 2 Chronicles 20:15. The scripture goes on to say, "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you...fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you", 2 Chronicles 20:17. This is when we are to trust God with all our heart and in submission unto Him begin to worship and praise the Lord for the victory.

Have you experienced God's grace in the midst of spiritual warfare?