To the Young Mothers

To the young mothers,

It’s tough being a young mother. I know, because I am one, and I’ve had a far easier go of it than many of you have. I’m 21, even though I still have people questioning if I’m old enough to have a driver’s license yet. When I was still in college, I got confused for one of the high school students visiting campus. That was a minor annoyance, but otherwise not a big deal.

And then I got married and shortly thereafter got pregnant. Oh, how things changed.

Every time I have a discussion with the billing department at the doctor’s office, they ask who the policyholder on my health insurance is. When I disclose that it is my husband, I get The Look.

Are they more shocked that I have a husband? Or are they more shocked that my husband has the type of job that provides health insurance? Either way, you would think I had announced that I was planning to move to Mars and raise my son with the aliens.

When I go to the grocery store or the bank without my husband, I sometimes find older ladies scowling at my protruding tummy. Do they think that if they make disapproving faces at my expanding figure long enough, then my child will cease to exist? What exactly is that type of behavior supposed to accomplish? I am married, but even if I wasn’t, the ship has obviously sailed. I am pregnant, and I am having a baby.

Even those who know that I am married have questions. Was this planned? Didn’t I want to do other things before I had children? Those other things are important, you know. Don’t I believe in birth control? Better yet, some have horror stories about how having a baby is the worst thing you could possibly do to your marriage. These are church-going people!

Here, in the shadow of this culture, sits the pro-life movement. It’s been 43 years since Roe vs. Wade, forty-three years of legal abortion in the United States. To the young mothers, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because if I get these sorts of negative reactions to my pregnancy, which happened after I got married, I cannot imagine what sort of comments you hear. I will probably never fully grasp the sort of courage it takes to choose life when you have a boyfriend who left you and no other support system, but I admire it.

So young mothers, know that when I hear someone make a negative comment about you, I defend you now. Choosing life for your child can be the difficult choice, and it takes a great deal of strength. May God bless you for having that strength.

 

 

 

Thankful Thursday

Here are my five things that I’m thankful for this week:

  1. I passed my glucose test! It had been a major source of stress for me, but I passed. I’m thrilled to not have to stick myself to check my blood sugar for the rest of this pregnancy.
  2. Two ladies from church who already have children prayed for me when I was waiting to get my test results.
  3. A neat encounter at the optometrist’s office. The tech who was helping me asked if I was having a boy or a girl. I told her a boy, and she said that she had her son when she was 21. “People are so negative about having children when you’re young,” she said, “but I’m really glad that I did.” Hearing a positive comment was so refreshing.
  4. My husband and I were able to get some good work done on the baby’s room last weekend. It’s hard to believe that our little boy will be in our arms in about 3 months.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Getting Ready for Baby

It recently hit me that I only have approximately three months until baby boy’s arrival. Since then, I’ve been scouring the internet in an effort to figure out what I actually need. “What I actually need” seems to be a great point of contention. One person will say an item is crucial, and the next will say that same item is a foolish bit of marketing designed to flummox unsuspecting first time parents.

But we’ll figure it out…hopefully. So far we’ve gotten a few things, but there is certainly still work to be done. After surviving my glucose test on Friday, my next stop was Chick-fil-A to get something to eat.

Once I had satisfied my hunger, I decided to treat myself by looking at cute baby clothes in Old Navy. They had a lot of baby items on clearance, but most of them were either obviously feminine or Christmas themed. I don’t want to put a boy in something frilly, and I feel like I can’t really make an accurate prediction regarding his size next Christmas.

Even so, I came across a few good finds.

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The wearable blanket was marked down to $5.99. Several sources seemed to think wearable blankets were a good idea, and the ones I’d seen online typically go for about $20. I was quite excited!

The pants were tagged as being $2.99. Neutral colored pants seemed like a good idea. I’ve been shying away from newborn sized clothing because I was born too big for that, but these were 0-3 months.

Finally, I thought the little button up shirt would be adorable for church. It was priced at $2.47.

When I got to the check out, I was told that I would be getting an additional 30% off the marked prices. Awesome! I thought. Then the cashier told me that the button up shirt was mislabeled. After the 30% discount, it was actually only 68 cents!

My total was $7.33, and I think baby boy will look just darling in his new clothes.

 

Real Life Couponing

In my last post Couponing for the Small Family, I wrote about how couponing works for our family of two. In this post, I’ll share what my couponing actually looked like this week.

I typically do my couponing on either Monday or Tuesday, since that makes it more likely that stores will still have the items I need in stock. This week my energy was a bit better than usual, so I went to multiple stores. There are some weeks when I only make it to Target, and I have come to accept that.

Target

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My Target haul from this week.

Glade Plugins Scented Oil Warmer, Original Price: $1.49

Final Price: FREE

How I did it: I used a $0.50 off printable coupon. In the store, I paid $0.99. When I got home, I uploaded my receipt to the Ibotta app, which gave me a $1.00 rebate. In the end, that made this product completely free.

Hefty Slider Bags, Original Price: $1.99 each

Final Price: $0.99 each

How I did it: I used a 25% off promotion from the Cartwheel app. This saved $0.50 off of each box of slider bags. I then used a printable coupon for $1.00 off when you bought two boxes of slider bags. The final price was 99 cents for each box.

Campbell’s Chunky Soup, Sale Price: $1.66 each

Prego Pasta Sauce, Original Price: $1.97 each

How I did it: This deal was a bit more complicated. When you bought 10 Campbell’s Chunky Soups or Prego Pasta Sauces, you received a $5.00 Target gift card. You could use any combination of these products to reach the total of 10.

I chose to get 6 of the Campbell’s Chunky Soups. I used two printable coupons. Each of these were for $1 off of 3 cans of soup. To round out my 10 items, I selected 4 Prego Pasta Sauces. I had a newspaper coupon for 40 cents off of 2 Prego Pasta Sauces. I found this deal on The Krazy Coupon Lady. They suggested using 2 of the newspaper coupons, but I only get one newspaper. My final price reflects that difference.

Final Price: $1.04 per item (this factors in the value of the $5.00 gift card)

Charmin Double Plus or Mega Plus Toilet Paper (Okay, officially the manufacturers call it “Bath Tissue.” But who says bath tissue in real life? Toilet paper is toilet paper, my friends.), Sale Price: $13.99 for a 12 pack, $41.97 for 3 packs

Target was running a promotion this week where you could get a free $10.00 Target gift card when you buy any 3 Charmin products. I also used 3 printable coupons for $1.00 off, one for each of the packs.

Ibotta had a rebate for $2.00 off a Charmin Ultra Soft 12 pack, as well as for $2.00 off a Charmin Ultra Strong 12 pack. One of the downsides of Ibotta is that you can usually only use a rebate on one item. That’s why I only had Ibotta rebates for 2 of my 3 packs of toilet paper. The rebates will reset, but that takes 3 to 4 days and by then the good deal is usually gone.

SavingStar is a new coupon app I just learned about this week. It had a deal for a $5.00 rebate when you spend $30.00 on Charmin Ultra Strong or Ultra Soft Mega Roll toilet paper.

Final Price: $6.66 per 12 pack

As a final note, these rolls are massive. If they were any bigger, they wouldn’t fit in a standard toilet paper holder. I haven’t found a good way to compare prices on toilet paper that takes into account these differences between various roll sizes.

That was it for Target this week. As you can tell, I’m focusing on stocking up on household goods and easy to prepare foods for after the baby comes.

Walgreens

I’ll be honest: Walgreens is my least favorite place to coupon. The first 30 seconds of this video basically sum up my feelings on the matter:

Actually…the whole thing sums up my frustration with Walgreens. If I try to do too much bargain hunting there, I tend to want to give up on the whole business and buy everything at Aldi. However, this week they sucked me in with a good deal on pads.

Poise Thin Shape Pads, Original Price: $6.29

Final Price: $2.29

How I did it: Walgreens puts out monthly coupon booklets in their stores. These are considered store coupons, not manufacturer coupons. At most other stores, you can stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon without any difficulty. At Walgreens, you can still use both…BUT they have a nifty little policy where you cannot have more coupons than items in your transaction. That’s why I also purchased a bag of M&Ms. They were on sale for $0.59, so they were my “filler item.”

As you can tell from my last post, I don’t like buying things that I don’t need. I’ll be saving the M&Ms for my husband’s Valentine’s Day chocolate. That keeps it from being a complete waste, right?

Walmart

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My Walmart haul from this week.

The Walmart in my area tends to scare me, but this week I decided to be brave. As I stopped to peruse the varieties of Pillsbury biscuits, I moved my cart as close to the side of the aisle as possible. This was in an effort to be out of the way. However, I soon discovered that my best efforts were not good enough, as my cart was suddenly hit and began rolling away from me. I had been leaning on the cart (bad idea) and stumbled when my support was removed. My can of biscuits began to fly from my hands as I fell. Fortunately, I was able to regain control of both my biscuits and my body without falling completely to the ground.

A bit bewildered, I looked around to see what caused this incident. A rather aggressive woman with a British accent muttered “Sorry!” and continued to push her cart towards the potato chips at a breakneck speed.

And this is why I don’t like to go to Walmart without my husband. Moving on to my coupons…

Pillsbury Grands, Original Price: $1.47 each

Final Price: $0.97 each

How I did it: While I’m in the process of getting on the Trim Healthy Mama bandwagon, my husband loves his carbs. He especially loves these fluffy biscuits, so I try to coupon them when I can. I used a printable coupon for $1.00 off any 2 Pillsbury refrigerated baked goods.

Bananas, Original Price: $0.49 per pound, the bunch I selected was actually $0.20

Final Price: FREE!

How I did it: MobiSave is another great coupon app. It’s more straightforward to use than Ibotta, which can be overwhelming. This week, they had a rebate for $0.30 when you bought any bunch of bananas. Since mine cost $0.20, the extra $0.10 is just bonus money. MobiSave also sends your rebate directly to your PayPal account: no need to wait until you’ve met a minimum balance in your account.

Dawn Simply Clean Dishwashing Liquid, Original Price: $0.97

Final Price: $0.67

How I did it: This one was pretty straightforward. I used a printable coupon for $0.30 off.

Truvia Natural Sweetener, 40 ct. packets, Original Price: $3.46

Final Price: $0.96

How I did it: Again, pretty simple. All I used was a printable coupon for $1.50 off a Truvia product. Truvia actually does work with the Trim Healthy Mama plan, which is an added bonus. I also uploaded my receipt to the Checkout 51 app and received a $1.00 rebate.

Yardley Bar Soap, Original Price: $0.97 each

Final Price: $0.72 each

How I did it: For some reason, there are always an abundance of coupons available for body wash, but barely any for bar soap. I am a bar soap girl, so I decided to snatch up some while I had a newspaper coupon.

Clean and Clear Face Wash, Original Price: $3.97

Final Price: $2.97

How I did it: Nothing too impressive here, just a newspaper coupon for $1.00 off.

Oikos 000 Yogurt, Original Price: $1.00 each

Final Price: $0.67 each

How I did it: Oikos 000 yogurt is Trim Healthy Mama approved, so finding a coupon for it was exciting. This was a printable coupon for $1.00 off of 3 of the individual size yogurt cups.

Couponing for the Small Family

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Couponing is a skill that I began learning after I got married. Like cooking, it is something that I had barely done at all before then. After six and a half months of marriage, I’ve settled into a couponing routine that works for our family.

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My first couponing haul…I’ve come a long way.

Presently, I have a household of myself and my husband. I found that most how to coupon blog posts approach it from the perspective of someone who has many children and a house. I have one child who won’t be born until April and I live in an apartment. Keeping an enormous stockpile or buying large quantities of items that will spoil quickly does cheap jerseys not work for my life situation. I could buy 47 bottles of ketchup inexpensively, but it would take us 23 years to use them!

Even so, I haven’t given up on using coupons. I have simply adapted my use to fit my family. What do I do differently?

I focus on non-perishable foods, household items, and toiletries.

Canned goods will last for a long time, so keeping a small stockpile works well for us. I usually have a stash of canned soups, as well as other non-perishable items like pasta. I’ve also used coupons on spices, though those deals tend to come around only near the holidays.

A lot of my couponing is done on household items such as paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, and laundry detergent. A good deal can usually be found on these items, and I know that we will always need them.

 

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I got all of this for $4.11.

My husband and I joke that the cabinet beneath our bathroom sink looks like a Walgreens, but we are always prepared with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, razors, and several other items. I’ve even used coupons on some of my makeup.

I don’t buy things that we don’t need.

I always say that you can save 100% by refusing to buy an item that you don’t need. My space is limited, and it’s not worth it to take up valuable room with an item that will never be used.

I only get one newspaper.

I know, I know. To some more advanced couponers, this is horrifying. However, in six months I’ve only had one occasion where I wished I had multiples of a coupon. We simply do not need large quantities of items, so cutting out coupons from multiple newspapers is not a good use of my time. In addition to my newspaper coupons, I also use printable coupons and rebate apps.

I use a small organizer that fits in my purse, rather than a bulky binder or a box.

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My handy dandy purse sized organizer.

I found my organizer around back to school time at Target. It’s perfect for me, since I don’t need to store an extreme number of coupons. I do a purge at the end of each month and discard any coupons that have expired.

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My categories are Miscellaneous, Baby, Beauty, Beverages, Cans/Jars, Cleaning, Dairy/Refrigerated, Dried Goods, Fresh Food, Frozen, Health, Household, and Snacks.

 I originally set up my tabs according to a list that I found on the internet, but I changed them a few months later. After a while, I figured out what categories I use the most. The front section holds coupons for restaurants, Bed Bath and Beyond, and other miscellaneous stores.

Even for our small family, using coupons saves us money on useful items. Couponing definitely comes with a learning curve, but it’s a skill that I’m glad to have developed.