Friday, October 30, 2009

My Part-Time Job

I may be a SAHM, but that doesn't mean that I don't contribute to our income. I have found a way to bring money into our home without going into an office Monday through Friday.

About two years ago I really got into couponing. I started off following the sales at Walgreens and picking up some great deals. Then I started following the sales at Kroger. At that time, I made use of nearly everything that I got for free or nearly free. If it was a really good sale, then oftentimes I would actually get paid to take an item. Unfortunately, a lot of the items that go on sale are things that we can no longer use. It seems like fruit snacks, canned ravioli, and Glade candles go on sale all the time. With our new way of eating though, those items are not useful to us anymore.


I have discovered that yard sale people get giddy when they see brand new, unexpired products for sale. It doesn't matter if it's boxes of cereal or Listerine mouthwash, they really enjoy getting brand new products at yard sale prices. So, this is what I do:

I will figure out what the great deals are, even if it's for something that we won't use. I will purchase the item using sale and coupons, making certain that my out of pocket expense is considerably less than the price an item will sell for at a yard sale. When I get home, I immediately put the item in my yard sale pile. I have a sheet of paper there where I record the shelf price for the item. That way, when I am pricing items for a yard sale, I can write the regular price on the sticker. My thinking is that then the yard sale shopper can see what an awesome deal they're getting by buying a product at a yard sale versus off the store shelf. So far I have sold things like: mouthwash, deodorant, toothpaste, mascara, eye shadow, diabetes monitors, Visine, GoodNights underpants, hair color, Schick Quattro razors, Kotex pantiliners, KY Jelly, Triaminic Syrup, Children's Tylenol, pantihose, Ecotrin, Vaseline lotion, ChapStick, Theraflu, nail polish, boxed cereal, FiberOne bars, and a W-I-D-E assortment of Glade candles.

Here's an example of one of the great deals I got at Walgreens recently:

Theraflu was on sale for $4.00. When you purchased three of them, you received an $8 Register Reward, which is like store money that you can use on a later purchase at Walgreens. So, the deal was:

Purchase 3 x $4.oo = $12.00
Use 3 internet printable coupons for $2 off (deducts a total of $6)
Use a Walgreens coupon book for $2 off one Theraflu (deducts another $6 since I purchased three) So, after these coupons, I ended up paying absolutely nothing out of pocket for the three Theraflu. Then, I received an $8 Register Reward that I can use later. Basically, I got paid $8 for taking the Theraflu. After selling those items for $2.50 each at my yard sale, I ended up making a total of $15.50 on those three Theraflu products.

We had two yard sales this year. We made $427 at the first one and $585 at the second one. Granted, that was not all from my couponing products, but a fairly large portion of it was.

So, now that you know all this, just promise me that you will not wipe out all the great deals at my local Walgreens and Kroger!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today is trash day.

Last night we were getting ready for trash day. I emptied the trash cans in the bathrooms, added them to the kitchen trash, and took the bag out to the big can in the garage. When I opened the big can I noticed that there was only one other bag of trash in there. We only have two kitchen-size bags of trash for the week. This isn't the first time that's happened recently either. Now, I know that there are others out there that have much less trash than us, but for us this is an awesome amount. Not too long ago, it was not unusual for us to consistently have six bags of trash per week. However, for the past month or so, less trash has been a regular occurrence and there are several reasons for it:

1.) We changed our eating habits. In July we started the Feingold program. As part of that program, we cut out all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. While there are still packaged foods that are free of these additives, it was just easier for us to not use the packaged foods. Instead, we switched gears and I started making things instead of just buying them. Boxed cereal, for instance...I now make a homemade granola that we use for cold cereal instead of buying the boxed stuff. So, our change in diet resulted in less packaged foods and, therefore, less trash.

2.) We started recycling. A month or so ago, I started setting things aside to take to the recycling boxes at K-Mart and Wal-Mart. I didn't realize how quickly it would accumulate. This has also dramatically cut down on what gets put in the trash cans.

3.) Sam and Sarah are no longer in Pull-Ups. Prior to starting the Feingold diet, Sam was four years old and refused to go #2 on the potty. He would kick and scream and fight us if we tried to hold him on the potty. He would wait until we put him in a Pull-Up for bedtime and then go in it. If we didn't put a Pull-Up on him, he would hold it for days and just refuse to go. It was so frustrating to have to clean up a four year old boy like that. On Day 4 of the new diet, we put Sam on the potty. He sat there calmly and went! On Day 5 of the diet, he went to the potty all by himself, did his business and flushed all by himself. It was amazing! That's why I'm so committed to this diet. I have seen the awesome changes that have come about because of it!

Sarah was so much easier. She loves her (almost) 6 year old cousin, Lexi, and wants to be a big girl just like her. As soon as she decided that she wanted to go potty like Lexi, that was the end of the diapers/Pull-Ups. It was underwear-time 24/7!

So, now our trash is made up mostly of food scraps that can't be composted (I don't have a garbage disposal), Andrew's diapers, and a handful of other things that can't be recycled. It's a move in the right direction and I'm proud of it, so I thought I'd share.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

About us..

So many people have blogs, so I wanted to focus on what will make this blog different than most.

About my world in SAHMville:

I'm Janice. I'm 32 years old. Wife to Shawn for six years. Mom to 4 year old Samuel, 2 year old Sarah, and 11 month old Andrew. I'm a SAHM and Shawn works in law enforcement. We have a nice home in the county, but are currently looking at properties for our own homestead. Our dream is to have a functioning, self-sufficient homestead complete with chickens, goats, gardens, an orchard, and possibly even a milk cow!

We live a bit differently than most families around here.

Probably the first oddity that you would notice is my appearance. I only wear skirts, no pants. I have long hair that I wear put up and I do not wear makeup. I wear skirts because I struggle with accepting that Shawn is the head of the household. I'm stubborn and I like to be in control of things. The Bible states that the husband is the head of the wife. (1 Cor 11:3) Since I have such difficulty with this, I decided that I needed a physical reminder that my husband is called to be the head of this family. So, in this house, my husband literally wears the pants in the family! I don't expect any other woman to do as I do, but it does work for us.

Possibly the next oddity that you would notice about us is our way of eating. We do not eat foods with any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. We do not eat corn syrup, MSG, or sodium benzoate. So, basically, that leaves out most anything that is packaged or processed. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, we eat whole foods. I make all of our breads, muffins, pancakes, and desserts from scratch. I grind the wheat in my grain mill first and then proceed with the recipe. We eat this way because we want to avoid the chemicals that are added into foods when they are processed. We began eating this way in order to help Sam and Andrew. Sam had some behavioral issues that resembled autism and Andrew suffered from eczema. When we removed the artificial dyes, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives, Andrew's eczema went away within a week. Sam still has some lingering behavioral issues, but has drastically improved since starting the diet. We haven't seen any type of change in Sarah, but we keep her on the diet too for two reasons: 1.) It's easier to have everyone eating the same way. I don't want to cook separate foods for my family. 2.) It is just a healthier way of eating and I want all my children to be healthy regardless if they're being obviously affected by a chemical or not. Since we want to avoid chemicals, we also do without scented candles/air fresheners, makeup, smelly laundry detergents, perfumes, etc.

I guess the next most obvious oddity would be our frugal lifestyle. We don't buy a lot of things that others have. We don't have blackberries, iPods, flat screen TVs, or even a riding lawnmower. Our cell phones do not have cameras and we do not text with them. Our family's clothing is plain and simple. It's usually received as a gift or purchased at Goodwill or yard sales. We don't have much, but that is by choice. We forego those types of items and prefer to save our money for purchasing our homestead. For us, living simply is just easier. There's less to store, less to clean, and just less stuff to keep up with.

Welcome to our wierdness!

Getting Started

So, I decided today that I would actually start a blog.

I'd been thinking about it for a while..and my motivation for doing it would vary depending on the day. Some days I wanted to do it just to have a place for all my thoughts to go. Other days I thought it would be neat to blog so family could be updated on our day-to-day happenings. Then there are days that I think (like to least) that other people might benefit from events going on in our own home.

I plan on writing about topics that I'm passionate about. There are certain issues that I truly enjoy learning about and constantly strive to improve upon. Some of those issues are:

whole-foods/traditional eating

Since I do enjoy studying these topics, our family is always changing to reflect what I have learned. So, if you find yourself visiting my blog on a regular basis, my hope is that you will witness these changes.

I named my blog SAHMville, because I expect this blog to be about my little world as a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences in SAHMville!