Thursday, January 13, 2011

Virgin Couponers

A short while ago I heard about a show on TLC called Extreme Couponers. This happened while I was at my favorite gossip site, ONTD. Reading the entire thread there lead me to doing a little searching on the Internet. Instantly I was introduced to this online community where people are positively obsessed with coupons! It was love at first clip sight!

imageThe next time I went home to my parent’s apartment I found the show on repeat and watched in pure enrapture. I can’t remember if it was Jeff or me or even both of us who made fun of these people for their massive coupon binders, but there was something rather enigmatic about them. And I’ve been a sucker for office supplies since I was a kid (I know, weird). An obsession began.

Jeff wasn’t all that into it at first but at his next grocery shopping trip, when he saw how much money I saved him (I think it was around $40 saved) he just got it. We started searching for coupons together. Then came the most logical next step:


Okay, so this isn’t our actual binder (credit below!) but it’s pretty similar. We’re using a 1” lime green binder with a various assortment of plastic pockets (which are really difficult to find, let me tell ya!) that we searched for at 5 different stores. I also made section dividers in Photoshop, which I’m actually going to post as a download, in case anyone is interested (though only two people know about my blog, so…. yeah).

Now, in a perfect world (dare to dream) we would eventually have a stockpile that resembles this:


But we’re not quite to the point yet where we’re getting stuff for free, so stockpiling is out of the question. At least for now. We are, however, making a great savings!

I’ve always helped Jeff with his weekly grocery shopping and he always tends to spend a lot. We’ve always taken advantage of using our Ralphs card and using the rewards check we get every quarter; this usually is between $8 and $14. However, we weren’t taking advantage of the coupons that came with the rewards check, nor were we going through the coupons that came in the mail, in the papers, or online (though, to be fair, we only just found out about the ones online).

The couponing is fun and we definitely like watching the final purchase amount go down, down, down! It’s almost like a game. We have everything scanned and look at the final price. Then we swipe the club card followed by the coupons. During a recent shopping trip, Jeffrey saved a total of $70. Now we’re getting into the habit of only buying what we need for a day or two (rather than a week at a time) and making sure most of our purchases have accompanying coupons. It’s changing the way we’re eating a bit, but I have to be honest – there were more vegetables in the last meal we made than we’ve had in a while. And the food was delicious!

Once I get our coupon binder looking as pretty as possible I will definitely be posting some pictures. I was kind of surprised at how shy I was about bringing it to the store with me, but I just reminded myself that if anyone thought I was being silly I could just laugh right back at them because we’re saving so much money!

And I promise, I will never become like this lady:


Photo Credits:

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Week Ago, Today…

It’s been quite a week. Well, last week was, anyway. I did attempt to email a post in from my BlackBerry and just yesterday (I think it was) found out that the email was undeliverable. Wow. Way to fail, Blackberry!
So my mom was pretty stick last week. She usually has a few issues after she eats, especially since she had her gallbladder removed a few short years ago, but this was no ordinary issue. I won’t go into the full details because I’m quite sure she wouldn’t want me to (and I also want to spare anyone from having to read it)  but suffice it to say she was pretty sick. On Monday night my grandma called and asked if I would come back home to take care and watch over mom. Jeffrey went with me and we left that night.
She had been to the emergency room at our local hospital – a place I wouldn’t go to even if I were five minutes away from dying – and, surprise!, they basically did nothing to help her except give her an antibiotic. No ultrasound of her intestines/colon, no scope to view the area. Just a blood test. And to top it off she had an allergic reaction to the medicine. So that was not at all pleasant.
While we were home, Jeffrey got sick and very, very irritable. Unfortunately, he lost his patience with me in front of my parents, and that was something I never wanted to experience. There’s really no way to explain it without sounding like an abuse victim in denial. I’m not an abuse victim and I’m not in denial, but when your boyfriend raises his voice to you in front of your parents, it just sounds bad when you have to explain it away.
Anyway, both mom and Jeff are feeling better now. We took my mom to see her doctor and they are testing for parasites. I haven’t heard anything back from them yet, but I’m hopeful she’s doing well.
This year just isn’t starting off well at all. For me personally I’m feeling cautiously optimistic, but for the rest of America it seems rather insane. Dead birds and fish, attempted assassinations of politicians, bombs and suspicious envelopes, etc… What is going on with the world?
Is it really any wonder I like to stay within the comforts of my own 4 walls?

Monday, January 3, 2011

How I Spent My New Year’s Day

*sigh* My goodness. I certainly never expected to have a year’s worth of bad and unfortunate events happen in the span of literally one day. It started around 1am. There were parties and happy people scattered throughout the apartment complex here which, of course, is no surprise. However, it was at this time when I realized the neighbors to my left were playing music rather loudly. Jeffrey was already sound asleep in bed. It would have been fine if they were playing their music in the front portion of the apartment, where the living room is, but no. It was in the back portion next to our bedroom.
I figured it would calm down eventually and I got into bed. For the next two hours I laid still, occasionally drifting off into a very light sleep. The music, however, never ceased and the party next door even moved out to the patio, which is also right outside our bedroom window (and it just so happens that the bed is positioned underneath the windows. So we could not have been any closer without physically being at the party).
Around 3am a scuffle began. People were too drunk and voices were escalating. There was one partier in particular who was the worst offender, and I woke up Jeffrey when I heard that the fight was escalating quite seriously. At one point I even thought the guy might have an assault weapon of some kind. I heard protestations about choking among the fight talk, and from there took the cue to call the cops. I was only going to dial the non-emergency line, but when I could hear them from my living room I decided it would be best to call 911 instead. The guy ended up taking off on foot, stumbling around the street and out of our line of sight. Thankfully, I kept Jeff from going outside to make sure everything was okay. Lord only knows what would have happened then. Unfortunately, things were only just getting started.
It was going on 4am and I still had not slept; Jeffrey was completely awake now. When the music resumed and continued until 5am, making me terribly irritable, we called the police again. At this point it didn’t seem like we were going to be getting any sleep any time soon and decided to just go grab a (very early) breakfast from McDonalds. A cop followed us back and we found him outside of our apartment complex with another cop and a resident. The neighbors had turned off the music, the lights, and did not respond to knocks at the door. Who knows what happened to them? It’s been rather quiet ever since.
We watched a dvd and finally made it to bed somewhere between 6 and 7am. We woke before noon and spent the remainder of the day watching dvds and cleaning the apartment. The day was not done with us, however.
Around 9pm we decided to head out to the neighboring city to rent a particular dvd (we’ve been watching How I Met Your Mother and we’re trying to find season 3) and I offered to drive. We went out to my car and the key fob didn’t work (I think this was probably only the second time ever that my car was opened manually with a key). My car was dead; wouldn’t turn over and it had no electric power. Fine enough, Jeffrey went to get his car to jump my battery. As soon as he put the last jumper cable on my battery it sparked and my car alarm went off (not a pleasant thing to experience when you’re face-down in your engine with the hood open!) So everything was fine and we proceeded to head out to the freeway. As we waited at the first intersection by the apartment complex we witnessed a car run a red light and hit another car in the intersection. My reaction? Literally “Oh, great.”  The offending car was full of teenage boys and one of them took off on foot. No one really cared about them when we noticed that the other car was a family with two kids.
Jeffrey immediately got out to help and remove car parts from the middle of the road (I helped!) as I pulled over behind the other witness. Due to the fact that I had just jumped my car, I had to leave it on so that the battery would fully take the charge. By the time we were given clearance to leave (about an hour later) and we made it to the video store, they didn’t even have the dvd’s we wanted.
At this point the day just seemed comical. It was after 11pm and we had experienced shitty experience after shitty experience for 22 hours, and the first day of the new year, no less! We ended the night by ordering from In-N-Out and then went home to watch a movie.
Today has been far less interesting. I was, however, able to exact my revenge on the offending neighbors for playing their music by playing my own music, with our Bose speakers pointed directly at their apartment. Whether or not it did anything I have no idea, but it was rather nice to imagine them with insufferable hangovers, lamenting me and my loud music.
I’d like to think that all the bad stuff of 2011 has happened in one day and that the rest of the year will be nothing but successful and tremendously wonderful. Here’s hoping.