My Groceries and Me

By this time, you already know my secret.

I’m a nerd. About certain things, anyway. I’m a nerd about frugality and budgeting and finances, but hey I have a degree in Accounting so what do you expect?! Give me a break, it comes naturally.

I’m about to tell you another way I show my nerdiness. I made a price list.

Yep, that’s right. Like a sheet listing the different prices at each store. I realized a few months ago that while I loved shopping at Tops for deals, I was having a hard time determining what a “deal” really was. If something is BOGO, it automatically makes me think it’s a deal… but if the price is double what I could get it for somewhere else, it’s really not great savings.  I hemmed and hawed over this for a few weeks, frustrated about the fact that I would buy something for a “great deal” and then never really know if it was one.

Enter Excel. (As with all of my nerdiness).

price list

I took one free afternoon while Tyler slept, and headed to the grocery store, notebook in hand. I walked up and down all of the aisles and wrote down every price for things I usually buy. Okay, not every price… but a good chunk of them. I also wrote down the size so that I could know the price per unit. I went to three stores that day and completed this process. It took me a little while, but it really was only that one time, and now I have a great base in order to do my shopping!

Now, if I go to Tops and see that something is BOGO, I can pull out my list and see how much it is at Aldi and Walmart and if I really want to buy it. It also helps ahead of time when I’m making my list, because I can categorize things according to the store. I know I’m a nerd and that not everyone has time to do this, but it honestly didn’t take too long and was so worth it to me. A couple of tips:

  1. Don’t do this when you have your kids or husband present. Unless they’re particularly in to this kind of stuff, they are going to be bored and complainy and you are going to get mad and say “WHY DO I TRY TO DO NICE THINGS FOR THIS FAMILY” and it’s all a waste and you’ll tell me how terrible this idea is. Don’t do this. Try and squeeze in this time alone. All it takes is one afternoon.
  2. Continue to update slowly. If I’m at a store and happen to see something that I know is missing a price on my list, I’ll snap a quick picture of it on my phone in order to add later. No fuss, just quick and done and I’ll fix it on the list when I get a chance. Also, some of my prices on the list are my sale prices
  3. Realize that sometimes for convenience, it’s worth the extra cent. I’ve found that once I made my price list, I do almost all of my shopping at Aldi. Turns out the great deals I was getting other places weren’t as great as I thought they were. However, Aldi has limited hours compared to our 24-hour Walmart. Obviously, Walmart wins sometimes. Also if I have only one thing to get at one store and all the rest at another, it’s not worth making the trip for one item that’s a little cheaper.
  4. It does add up! I know that you might think it’s not worth the trip to a store like Aldi or Save-A-Lot that might not have everything you need, but think again. Doing this price list made me realize that some things are quite a bit cheaper at Aldi, and boy does it make a difference. For example, I can get cream cheese at Aldi for .99/block, whereas at Tops I can get it (on sale) for 1.50/block, and at Walmart 1.99/block. That means it’s double the price at Walmart. Once I started seeing this on my price list I realized it was ridiculous not to shop at Aldi. There was also a week where everyone was rejoicing over grapes being 1.99/lb at a couple grocery stores. Meanwhile I was buying them at Aldi for .99/lb, and they were great quality. A dollar here or there may not seem like a lot, but it is!

So there ya have it, folks. I know, some of you are thinking this is just crazy. But I like to pretend I’m organized now and then. 😉

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together!

31 Days!

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Laundry: A Terrifyingly Realistic Photo Essay

This is the laundry that never ends

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It just goes on and on my friends

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Some people threw it on the floor not knowing what it doesIMG_2212

And then it took over everything AND MULTIPLIED AND IT’S LITERALLY EVERYWHERE

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*Ahem*. Taking care of a bit of this nonsense tonight, but if you don’t hear from me tomorrow… send help. I might have gotten lost in the mountain.

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This post is part of a sometimes painfully honest series called 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together! 🙂

31 Days!

The Method to my Madness

If you walked into my house right now, you’d be greeted by this:

beautfiul, huh?

beautiful, huh?

Doesn’t that just make you wanna come over and get comfy? 😉 This, my friends, is what it looks like to be halfway through the process of getting rid of clutter in my home. This post will be the brief explanation of what my method has been–I swear there really is one behind this pile of nonsense.

Earlier this year I read the book The Get Yourself Organized Project, and launched from there. I did tweak it quite a bit, but my inspiration was borne out of that book, and I would recommend it! Over the last couple months, I have been going through every nook and cranny of my house and looking at each item, deciding if it should stay in my home or make its way out.

Each one of these bins (plus another that happens to be in my car at the moment) is a collection of items in one of the following categories:

  • sell
  • donate
  • give away (I know it sounds the same as donate, but these items have been spoken for–more on that later)
  • storage (this is then broken up into holiday, memories, and ‘future’–aka future kids etc. Like the toys and books we can’t bear to get rid of but we don’t really need cluttering up our living room right now.)

I do obviously have multiple boxes for a few of the categories, because they outgrew one box. I’ve also had the opportunity to lessen the sell and giveaway categories because–well, I’ve already sold or given them away! 😉

Sell– I’m not really someone that wants to spend a lot of time and energy on something that’s only going to make me a couple of bucks. For this reason I don’t really sell on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook yard sales, but these avenues may work great for you! Books, movies, and video games (easily packable, easily listed) I generally sell on Amazon. This fall, for the first time, I decided to sell a few items on my Facebook page. I took a few pictures, threw a price on them, and put them in an album on Facebook. Lastly, a Plato’s Closet just opened in our area (consignment shop that pays upfront!) and although they’re picky, I did sell a few items there! Between these three things, I’ve made over $100 in the past two months. So I’m not a millionaire, but I also put very little time and effort into it. So I’ll take whatever I can get!

Donate– These things are either finding their way to Salvo, a shelter, or another local donation center.

Give Away– Personally, I have a hard time not being a pack rat. I like to keep things because of “what if”. I think this is a combination of being A) not rich, and B) a crafter. These two things make me feel like I have to keep everything just in case. However, it makes me feel a lot better if I know that my items are going to someone who I know is going to want and use them! Therefore, for my personal entertainment, I put another album on Facebook full of items that I was giving away, and let people speak for them if they were interested! As I said, this is entirely unnecessary, it just made it more enjoyable for me. I also sent personal messages to friends and family members, plus had them go through items that I was getting rid of, to see if they or anyone they know had a need.

Storage– I think this speaks for itself. I’m going to store this stuff. So there’s that.

As previously mentioned, I want to get all of these boxes to their perspective homes before the holidays come around. As great as they look in this corner, I’m kind of done having them there. The system is going well so far. I’ll keep ya posted! 😉

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This post is part of the series 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together!

31 Days!

People > Things

If you’re following along, you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent the last few days.

I don’t really even have an excuse for you, except that I’ve been spending quality moments with some of my favorite people.

our godchildren. aren't the the cutest?!

our godchildren. aren’t they the cutest?!

Since it was my birthday week, a lot of my free time was spent with family and friends. I love these people.

People > Things

my very best friends. what would I do without these people?!

All of that to say that a few of my smaller deadlines with my goal of finishing sorting got pushed back a little. *However*, today was my day off and guess what, people.. I CAUGHT UP. I don’t know how I managed to have the will power, but I did. I did both of the projects that I planned to do last week and never got to. I didn’t, however, do laundry. I guess that waits for tomorrow. Oh well.

The point is, people > things. And ‘things’ includes this blog, housecleaning, and special projects. Sometimes you just have to spend time with your people. And I am so glad to have the people I have.

Soon, I will give you a bit more of an update with my goal and the process I’m using to get there, but I will leave you with this for tonight: clean the top of your fridge. You just might find a forgotten visa gift card that’s been collecting dust for 10 months, and you just might be able to buy yourselves a nice pizza dinner. 😉

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This post is part of the series 31(ish) Days of Getting My Crap Together! Check it out, because if you do I’ll be pressured to write more often! 😉

31 Days!

I Put the Pro in Procrastination

Let me tell you about a nasty little habit I have.

When I get that feeling of being overwhelmed and that I won’t be able to do everything… I lay in bed and do nothing.

Current status: bed, apple juice, Friends. Pro at procrastination.

Current status: bed, apple juice, Friends. Pro at procrastination.

I’m even currently procrastinating going to sleep. Because it stands to reason that the sooner I go to sleep, the sooner it will seem that I need to get up, and so if I don’t go to sleep I won’t have to get up and go to work. And so here we are. Instead of sleeping, I’ll watch Netflix, ramble on and on to you, and sleepily check Facebook again. And then tomorrow I’ll hate myself for not getting more sleep.

Help! My procrastination is ridiculous. It’s just really bad when you even procrastinate the things you want to do. Like sleep. How do I get this under control? And how do I write my blog earlier in the day so that I’m not just rambling on at midnight? And how do I convince you to come do my laundry so that I don’t have to do it all myself?

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Check out the rest of the series here–> 31 Days of Getting my Crap Together!

31 Days!

10… Second… Tidy!!!!

While most little kids were singing along with a big purple dinosaur’s clean up song, I was shouting along with Lunette the clown, “10… SECOND… TIDY!!!!” Followed by making fast-motion noises and running around the room cleaning up in super-speedy mode!

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. Life is feeling out of control and I really need to learn to say ‘no’ to new commitments. Ugh. Anyway, before bed tonight I decided that I needed to have one thing under control. My house feels cluttered and disorganized and I needed at least one sane place that might not be perfect but would at least be calm.

Enter ‘before’ shots of the living room…

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Tonight, I was too tired to fix the entire house. So I set a timer for 15 minutes and got to work! The room really wasn’t even all that messy, but as a general rule I wouldn’t do anything about it on a night like tonight. I was tired, I’m worn out… and yet 15 minutes later, I had this:

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Seriously? Then why don’t I just take the 15 minutes every night? I just wish I could stuff everything in the couch cushions like Lunette does. 

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This post is part of a series, 31 Days of Getting My Crap Together!

31 Days!

Can I get a Grace Card?

Hello again. Did you read yesterday’s post? No? Huh, that’s funny, because it was really great. Some might even call it inspired. And by that I mean, I didn’t write yesterday. I used to have a professor in college who gave us all a “grace card” at the beginning of the semester, which we could use to make up the points lost on any one assignment we handed in late. In that spirit, I would like to use my grace card for yesterday’s lack of a post. Accept it?

The truth of the matter is, had I written yesterday, it would have been all about how I didn’t want to write. I even started a post, and that was pretty much all it was about. Yesterday was a day of discouragement and just feeling down. I don’t know why, but this whole week has been like that—even when I’m having a really good day, I still just feel like a failure and broken. Writing yesterday felt like hypocrisy—how could I possibly write about getting your crap together if mine was so very obviously not together? And so instead of telling you about the storm, I sought shelter and let go of the pressure I’ve put on myself regarding this blog. Remember back at this post where I mentioned realizing you can’t get everything perfect and taking yourself out of the running? Well, that is this for me. Sometimes, other things are more important. I am still here, and I am still blogging, but I’m not the best or most committed. That’s okay. 

I did want to tell you all though… something exciting happened this week. It’s here.

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That’s it! The real thing, in real life! And can I tell you? I love it just as much as I thought I would. I have started carrying it everywhere with me and it is seriously so convenient! I am already thinking about getting one for next year.

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I also took this opportunity to write in my deadlines for each portion of the house, in reference to the goal I told you about a few days ago! So I mean… I guess I’ve made some progress, right?

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To read the rest of the series “31 Days of Getting my Crap Together!”, click here!

31 Days!