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Category: Earning & Managing Money

Financial Shape in 2008: Monthly Check-up

It’s the beginning of May–wow!–and that means it’s time for our monthly Financial Shape in 2008 Check-up. How did you do in April?

Here’s how we did:

Short Term Financial Goals for 2008

1) Have our fully-funded emergency fund in place (6 months’ worth of living expenses) by the end of April.

As of March 11, 2008–DONE!

2) Switch health insurance plans and open an HSA.

We were approved for our new health insurance plans in April and have also set up our HSA. So another goal to check off the list! Woohoo!

3) Start up an IRA and invest at least 5-10% of Jesse’s income in this.

Started in March. (We plan to increase this to 12-15% of his income as soon as we purchase our home.)

4) Open up a mutual fund for each of our children and invest $50 per child per month in it.

Started in March.

5) Save up and invest $30,000 this year towards paying cash (100% down) for a house in 3-5 years.

Now that Goals 1-4 are finished, we’re working super hard on Goal #5! We opened our house savings mutual fund the end of March, and as of the end of April, we have $2500 in it. I was hoping it would be more like $3000, but I’m grateful that we at least made some decent headway.

Our short-term goal is to save $15,000 in our house savings by August 31, 2008–this is a rather ambitious goal, but we’re working hard towards achieving it and are excited to see if we might actually make it!

Bargain-shopping: What doesn’t work for me

Shannon over at (a blog I adore even if it doesn’t have much to do with saving money!) usually hosts a weekly with loads of helpful ideas, inspiration, and information–especially for moms!

She’s mixing things up today and asking everyone to share . I thought it would be fun to share some bargain-shopping things which I’ve found don’t work well for me at this current season of my life:

1) Sending in for manufacturer’s rebates. Believe it or not, I usually find mail-in rebates to be more work than they are worth. In addition, since we are on a strict $40/week grocery budget, I don’t have room to pay for extra things just because I get a full rebate back.

My only exception to the no-rebates-rule is when I buy something at CVS that is already free after ECBs and there is a full manufacturer’s rebate I can send in for. Then, and usually only then, I’ll normally take the time to send in for it.

2) Buying groceries more than once per week. I rarely shop outside of my designated once-a-week shopping trip. Otherwise, I find myself wasting time and money buying things I probably didn’t need in the first place. As an added bonus, I like staying home and find I am much more productive and calmer when I make an effort to stay home more.

3) Shopping at Walgreens. Should I admit this?! I stopped shopping at Walgreens almost eight months ago and have only been back three times since then to hit some exceptional-can’t-miss deal. I shopped there regularly for a few years but after I had my second baby, I felt the need to streamline my shopping in order to keep things simple.

I’ve found that one or two transactions at CVS each week keep us plenty stocked on household items. Plus, I prefer the CVS system and cashiers to Walgreens. If we ever move somewhere that does not have a CVS, I will certainly be happy to go back to Walgreens shopping again since I know there are lots of great deals to be had there!

So there are my bargain-shopping "what-doesn’t-work-for-me" confessions. What about you? We are all in different situations and locations with different families, different diet preferences and restrictions, and different time constraints so it should be interesting to hear what doesn’t work for others.

Also, I’d love to know if I’m the only person who only shops once per week, doesn’t send in for rebates, and skips Walgreens most of the time. Do tell!

And speaking of things that don’t work, if you want to hear about one of my biggest over-achieving, first-time mothering flops, you’ll enjoy

Project Garage Sale: Day Two

Day two of Project Garage Sale but, customers or no customers, I think and I had just as grand of a time talking in rabbit trails ninety-miles-a-minute while keeping seven children contented and cared for. (Actually, I’m pretty sure I was the only one guilty of the rabbit trails and ninety-miles-a-minute part–did I mention keeping my mouth shut was not something I was gifted in?!)

Since traffic was slow, the boys decided they needed to put their thinking caps on and come up with some creative ways to attract more buyers to their soda and candy stand. This was one such result:
Folks, I’m telling you, the box of dress-up clothes sure came in handy today. And sales jumped incredibly, too. No wonder those pizza places hire clowns to stand on the street corners touting sign boards with the $5.95 lunch special–it works!

Here’s to hoping our costumed children and attract more enthusiastic garage-salers than we know what to do with tomorrow.

Project Garage Sale: Day One

Day one of the garage sale was quite successful considering it was incredibly windy, we closed up shop early, and our signs disappeared a few hours into the day. See FishMama’s update for the full report.

I’m heading for bed early tonight since we’re planning to open at 7:00 am tomorrow. We’re hoping for beautiful weather, no wind, and more customers than we know what to do with. Oh and if our signs don’t get stolen again, that would be really nice, too!

I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with more deals (including the May CVS ECB deals–finally!) but in the mean time, don’t forget to join us over on my other blog for !

Trying not to covet or anything, but…

…why oh why can’t we have a Sav-Mor Sidewalk Sale in Kansas City? I mean, look at the possibilities:

All this for $12. (Read about Keren’s super shopping trip .)

Or all this for $6. (Read about Jessica’s incredible deals .)

You can read more about and .

I’m trying not to be covetous or anything, but I’m just sayin’ to the Sav-Mor store owners that Kansas City would be a really nice place to build another store.

A really nice place. I’m just sayin’.