Friday, February 26, 2010

Lenten practice

This is the second week of Lent. So far, it is going really well. Like never before we have set this time aside as a time to prepare and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus. Kid #1 is working through a book of daily Lenten reflections. He is enjoying the book and often completes it before school every morning. We have had wonderful discussions on the Gospel for each day. I am loving it. It is renewing my faith. We have begun a rice bowl through Operation Rice Bowl and talked about being like Christ and helping the poor. Kid #3 loves to find change and put it in. As I mentioned in my last post, we are also discussing the extra stuff we have and what will be the best uses for it. We have put several boxes in the basement. One is for the library (I have also mentioned that I am a recovering book order junkie!), one goes to The Salvation Army, and one is give away to friends (kid #1 found a "kiddie" tote bag with his name on it and is giving to a friend's little brother with the same name!). By the time we celebrate the Risen Lord, we should be decluttered and full of Spirit!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Preparing for Mom to Mom Sale

Next weekend I will be selling some of the gently used stuff my kids have outgrown at a Mom to Mom sale. I have been weeding through the closets and getting it all cleaned, priced and boxed up. My hope is that I make enough money to buy all three clothes for summer.

I have come to a hard reality while I have been sorting through this stuff, my kids don't wear all the clothes I have bought them. Like most people (myself included) they wear their favorites over and over and some really great, and sometimes expensive, items that are virtually unworn. I have always taken great pride in my children's appearance. Not in a superficial way, but it made me feel good to know that we were able to provide nice, brand named clothes for the kids. And the stuff is cute, so I buy it! When I look at the fussing I do over stains on organic cotton and the guilt I feel selling a $20 T-shirt that Kid #1 wore twice for $2 I have come to a serious conclusion. I will be shopping for spring and summer differently this year. After all Kid #1 has his First Communion this year and will need a suit ($$$). I am going to shop sales, resale shops and taking inventory of what we already have. I am NOT going to overbuy this season. I will let you know how much I have to spend. I will post my bargains as I find them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Schooling and all that comes with it!

This post is off of the subject of my current quest to save $5000. I have been wrestling with the subject of schools for my kids. It all seemed so easy in the beginning. We live in a great school district - one of the best around. As a former public school teacher, public school student, there was never any doubt that my kids would go to public school. Then theory became practice.

Kid #1 is a good student, high achieving, a quick learner, and loves (loved?) school. Kid #2 is a special education student with multiple impairments. She is social and friendly, but has significant cognitive delays. The gap between her and her peers is widening. Kid # 3 is in preschool and that is tuition based (remember my $5000 challenge).

So here is where it gets tricky. Kid #1 struggles with staying interested. He is interested in all kinds of stuff, but finds the worksheet approach to learning less than interesting. Kid #2 has a different set of educational expectations. I worry that because she is not a "typical" learner she will be looked over and left behind. Kid #3 is a regular kid, but at just turned 4, we have yet to determine what she is capable of!

I have read more education theory than I did in the College of Ed. I have looked at High Scope, Montessori, private, Christian, Catholic, and then homeschooling. What? That can't be a real educational option, can it? It turns out it is. It is a real way to educate kids at their own speed, reinforcing their own strengths and imparting family values. I have read more books about homeschooling theory, methods, and values. I am impressed. One woman that knew I was looking as at a private, Christian education told me, "The best way to get an affordable Christian education is to do it at home." It all seems so easy...I mean, I am a teacher, right? Along side the budgeting quest I am on I am also going to fill you in on what I find out about our educational options and what conclusions I reach. There is no such thing as too much information, right?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Couponing and other successes

It has taken me a bit of time to email my latest couponing success. Our family was invaded by the norovirus. This was over 10 days of, well, sickness! Yuck! But I wish I knew how much it saved in groceries. The family existed on toast, chicken noodle soup, crackers and Sprite! Anyway, on January 30 I did another end of the month shopping trip and save $56 in coupons! Not as goood as last month, but pretty good. I also called Comcast and asked again if there was anything I could do to lower my bill more..."I'm thinking of cancelling our home phone," I said. The friendly and helpful Comcast representative offered me the introductory price for six months. Saving me $15 MORE per month, or $90 per year!

I also scored a free one year subscription to MORE magazine. (Thanks Freebies 4 Moms!) I am getting ever closer to the 40 year old demographic and since I am letting go of some of my paid magazine subscriptions I thought I'd try it. I got a free six month subscription the Thriving Families. This is a magazine from Focus on the Family. (Thanks "Cents"ible Sawyer!) This "savings" is $3.99 an issue For Thriving Families and $19.99 for a year of More.

We have let the Scholastic Book Order Forms go too! I admit it, I had a problem. As an English teacher, I wanted to get my kids books. And at the prices the Scholastic Book Order has I couldn't resist. Don't get me wrong, if you are looking for quality children's literature at reasonable prices these book orders are the way to go! The kids don't miss it because we go to the library once a week and fill a bag with FREE books. So far this year the savings is $5 per child (the amount I gave each of them to spend) per month (I have been saving since December 2009). The total $45! Now if I can remember to keep track all school year!

This month's total savings:

$90 Addition Comcast
$56 Coupons
$43.93 Magazines
$45 No Book Orders

Total: 234.93

Year to date: $1713.93