Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exclusive offer: FREE Mrs Meyer's cleaner

You all know how much I LOVE ePantry!  I have continued to be amazed by the products as well as the customer service I have received.  This company is the BOMB! Let me tell you a little bit more about them.

ePantry is my favorite all-natural subscription service. They carry all-natural cleaning and personal care products that get delivered right to my door when I need them.

Recently I posted an offer for $10 credit and free shipping.  Well, let me tell you about something even better!

Exclusive offer: Starting today through April 4th, my readers will receive a FREE Mrs. Meyer's multi-purpose cleaner, $10 credit, & Free shipping for first time customers!

This is an AMAZING offer and I am so happy to offer this to all of you, since I am HUGE fan of Mrs. Meyer's.  I LOVE this cleaner, I use it all the time in my home. I have used the Lavender scent and the Geranium (my favorite). This cleaner works on anything. All Mrs. Meyer's scents are derived from essential oils of herbs and flowers (one of the main reasons I LOVE them!).  So, these products have an aroma-therapeutic effect. You can relax while you clean!

Let me explain how ePantry works. With ePantry, you can plan out a delivery schedule months in advance, or customize an order when you need one. You can edit your dashboard in any way at any time, and there are lots of great features to fit your needs. ePantry will recommend products and a schedule to you, but you are not locked in, and you choose the products you receive.

Here's how to get your FREE cleaner and $10 credit:
  1. Sign up for a new account through this link. Good only until April 4th. 
  2. Answer a few easy questions about your home, cleaning schedule and favorite products (this only takes couple minutes at most) 
  3. Customize your basket! My favorite part! You can add or remove any products you like. 
  4. Add a minimum of $20 (including your multi-surface cleaner and $10 credit, these will automatically appear in your cart) of products to your shipment. 
  5. Once you have filled your basket, click finish and pay.

To demonstrate what a great  value this offer is, I have put together an example basket. Of course, I suggest exploring ePantry's full product lineup!

Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Cleaner: FREE with my offer!
Mrs. Meyer's hand soap: $4.03
Mrs. Meyer's dish soap: $3.89
Seventh Generation tube and tile cleaner: $4.39
Seventh Generation tall drawstring trash bags:$5.49
Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner: $4.39
ePantry cellulose sponges:$2.99
ePantry Pure Soy candle 8oz:$9.95

With a $10 credit from Quiverfull, the total for this basket comes to $25.13, a $56+ value!!

Refer friends and family, get $10 off!
If you refer friends and family to ePantry, each person you refer will get $10 credit for their first order!  And, more good news... YOU will also receive $10 for each person who checks out. It's a win-win!

The cherry on top is that ePantry customer service I noted above. They call themselves the ePantry customer service "wizards", and they are truly attentive and helpful. They even offer an extra $2 off if you answer the question in the chat box. So go ahead and try it out. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, March 16, 2015

BIG plans - My To Do List

Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About 10 years ago we decided to move.  We wanted something a little larger to accommodate our growing family and to be closer to the school our children were attending at the time.

So we chose an older home with a great lay out, bigger entry (a dream I had!!) and a good size yard. We knew we didn't mind a home that needed some work. Growing up with a custom builder for a dad, I have learned some valuable skills that have served me well. My sweet husband has always been willing to jump into any project with me. His dad was a bridge builder and taught him valuable building skills as well!  I'm a total nerd about my power tools and love woodworking.  I'm an avid DIY-er and redo, restore, re-purpose furniture and basically anything that could use it. We have tackled many DIY projects. So I feel confident in our ability to complete these projects. 

I lovingly refer to our home as the money pit..remember that movie? Everything falling apart around them? Sometimes I feel like we live in THAT house! LOL But really, with each item we would try to fix, we would encounter another issue that needed be addressed before moving on with the original project. Can you say FRUSTRATING?!?!?!?! There have been countless obstacles to us progressing this home to the potential we saw in it when we purchased it.  God has used these obstacles to teach us many valuable lessons, so I am thankful for them. Honestly though, I have struggled from time to time with impatience in wanting to get some of these projects done to make our home more livable. I believe patience in waiting is one of those valuable lessons God is still teaching me. 

We are so excited to begin working on some of the long awaited projects our home needs and we want to accomplish! Our goal is to complete most of them this year. We have already begun working on a few.  I am reminded of the scripture "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9  With this in mind, we I will accept any interruptions, delays or the like God brings our way knowing HE knows so much more about the future than I do. Some things we HAVE to replace soon due to the age of our home and the fact that they are simply worn out. 

In no particular order here are the projects we will be tackling. You can watch the blog for progress. Some of these projects we will no doubt encounter situations we will learn from.  I will be sure to share these along with tips learned.

Major Projects:
  • Total kitchen redo - build cabinets and island, move stove and refrigerator locations, move door, new flooring, install can lights, new sink and faucet, new counters, build pantry.
  • Total laundry room redo- build cabinets, install tile flooring, install new sink and faucet.
  • Kids bath redo- completely gut. Add another sink area, remove closet and add open shelving with cabinet below, tile floor, install tub with tile surround.
  • Master bath redo- completely redo everything.
  • Build back porch
  • Build shed
  • Landscaping
  • Walkway out front

Minor Projects:
  • Replace baseboard
  • New front door
  • Paint rooms
  • Build ins beside fireplace
  • Build ins in little boys room

As I sit here and look at this list, it seems ambitious for a home educating mama of 6 and a husband who works full time! You should see the detailed one I wrote out!  Yet, I know from experience if we take one step at a time, we will get it done. So with a big, deep breath....we begin! Keep an eye out for updates on our progress. Y'all follow along on Instagram with us @Quiverfullblog  We are super pumped to begin!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How I saved my sanity by becoming an X- crazy coupon lady

When I began couponing 10 years ago..my goal was to be an extreme coupon gal. I'm pretty sure that goal was accomplished. The adrenaline that pumped through my veins as I entered the store was exciting!! Looking back I'm pretty sure I looked like a crazed animal coming to ravage the shelves! I saved money too..let me tell you. I would come home with $200+ worth of groceries having only spent $80. What a thrill!! My head hurts just thinking of the stress! Yeah, I had a problem. I'm pretty sure it was an addiction. Is there a group called Couponers Anonymous?

Yet, I was exhausted ALL.THE.TIME. We were not eating as healthy as we normally did and frankly I saw some attitudes in my kids that were ahem...let's say - were less than desirable. Hmmm, what could be wrong?

Then as I began to look at how much time I was spending on gathering coupons, cutting coupons, laying out my plan penny by penny, matching up each coupon offer with each store, mapping out where I would start and how many stores I would drive to, to accomplish my goal... It was really out of hand. I was spending over 4 hours a week just searching for and clipping coupons! Not to mention how many stores I drove to just to secure my "treasures". It felt like a full time job. My kids were not getting mommy time and when they did get my attention - they didn't get the best of me because I was strung out.

Something needed to change. I truly was exhausted and my family was suffering. On top of that we were eating terrible. Foods with all sorts of additives, artificial ingredients and more. Our bodies were not responding well to this sudden diet change.

My husband and I sat down and took a good look at our budget, the recipes we really love and I created an all new plan for our lives. We would no longer be purchasing every sale item that had a coupon. The bottom line would not be how little I could spend but, on staying within or beneath our grocery budget and saving what we could with coupons.

Now, let me preface this "couponing" strategy with this word. I have found that for me and my family, there aren't too many coupons out there for the foods I buy because I tend to make everything homemade from fresh or dried foods. If we are being honest, the majority of food coupons are for boxed, canned foods. I do buy some canned items and I will often find a coupon for them. This is a choice we made and certainly not meant to knock anyone who chooses to purchase and use boxed and canned items. Please hear my heart on this. I know there are many families who just need to feed their families as inexpensively as possible. I completely understand this. Mama - just getting food on the table for your family is awesome! I would rather know that a family is sitting down to a meal together than be concerned if they are eating boxed food. We had a time when I was just happy to get food on the table and it sometimes came from a box, bag or can. NO JUDGEMENT HERE!

I have always been a planner. I have always planned ahead and thought about the future. While I was a crazy couponer, I would still sit down with the sales ad's and design a menu plan, like I always have. I just chose items that I normally wouldn't buy because I HAD A COUPON WOOHOO!!

With the desire to streamline my time and save as much money as possible, I had to dig into my purchasing history a bit. Good thing I have such terrible CDO (ya know, OCD in the correct order!? ha.ha.ha.) I had a spreadsheet with original prices, sale prices and the coupons I used for each item separated by store. I began to research (isn't Google awesome?) and found several blog posts and websites devoted to saving money without couponing. I began to get some great ideas for how I could still save money and feed my family.

So I pulled my hair back, sat down with a big glass of tea and I wrote out a list of forty-five dinner meals that I know my family likes. My theory was if I could get forty-five meals listed I could make ninety days worth of menu's by using each recipe twice. I created a set night for certain meals. Then broke down the list and wrote under each weekday.

Meatless Monday
Tex-Mex Tuesday or Try something new Tuesday
Wacky Wednesday (you never know what I will fix)
Thrifty Thursday (inexpensive meal)
Family Friday
Smorgasbord Saturday (clean out all leftovers)
Cinch Sunday (always a crockpot meal)

Next, I look ahead at the sales flyers and see what is on sale that I need for my recipes. I had to do a LOT of math (not my favorite subject) to determine where I can purchase meat cheaper. For my family of 8, I need to buy in bulk on most everything. Especially since I shop for two weeks at a time. Below I will try to break down where I buy my groceries and how I save on them.

Chicken -Unless there is a meat sale at Kroger, the best place for me to get chicken is Costco. I get a 10 pound bag of Perdue chicken for $23.99. That's about $2.40 a pound. Now, I know Kroger often puts Tyson bone in chicken on sale for $.99 a pound. I used to buy it all the time. However, for me, I have to choose hormone free chicken due to some health issues I'm dealing with so I agreed to allow room in the budget for that.

Beef- My husband is a heart patient. So I try to ensure I feed him accordingly. The Dr said buy 93/7 beef. I can't afford that. So I compromised and buy 90/10. Sam's Club sells it in large packages and I get about 5 pounds for $16-$17. I stretch my beef by adding beans into recipes.

Veggies- This one is a little more complicated because it really depends on what is in season and what is on sale. The best thing would be to can or flash freeze veggies when they are in season. I have not embarked on canning yet (I am hoping to soon). However, I have done a lot of flash freezing and I love how easy it is. I tend to buy a lot of veggies at Aldi. They have great prices on a variety of vegetables. I buy carrots at Sam's because I get a 5 pound bag for about $2.50. Otherwise, Kroger and Publix are my go to for fresh veggies.

Bread - I will buy bread at Publix only when Arnold is on sale for B1G1. I grind my own wheat and make bread but I do buy it like I said when on special. There are times when my plans get wrecked and bread doesn't get made so having some in the freezer is helpful.

Fruit- I only buy fruit if it is on sale. I buy what will fit in my budget after other more important ingredients are accounted for and when it is gone, it's gone. Again, canning when in season would probably be ideal. I do buy natural applesauce and usually store brand as long as it doesn't have any additives. I also buy canned fruit in it's own juice occasionally. We don't eat banana's or exotic fruits so we don't need much room in our budget for fruit. In the summer I do buy grapes and freeze them. The kids LOVE them! Great cold treat on hot summer days too! Who knew?

Other groceries - I buy dried beans and make my own. I make seasoned black beans, refried beans, etc... I recently received a catalog from Azure Standard and have determined I can purchase dried beans, organic oatmeal, rice, etc... in 50 pound barrels and save a lot of money. I also make anything and everything I can homemade because I have found it is so much less expensive. I will be sharing some those recipes in future posts so stay tuned!!

Toiletries - This is where I use coupons like a mad woman. For instance - recently Kroger had Charmin on sale with a mega event for $5.99 when you buy 6 items in the event. This was for a 12 roll package. On top of that I had a coupon for $1.00 off and some $.50 off coupons which double to $1.00 which makes it $4.99 and that is my buy price for 12 rolls. Rarely will I see this for less. Now, Charmin is obviously a top of the line toilet paper. I know that on any given day I can go to Walgreens and get Quilted Northern for $4.99 for an 8 roll package. Often, they have a coupon for $1.00 off of that and then I have a manufacturers coupon for $.50 off. This makes it $3.49 a package. So I will buy that.

I order paper towels and a few other items through Amazon's subscribe and save program. With the subscribe and save program you save just for subscribing but if you have 5 items a delivery you save an additional 15%. You can go in and cancel right after you receive your order if you don't want to continue getting shipments or you can set up 1,2,3...month intervals for delivery. So far I am really liking this program and am planning to continue using it.

Laundry detergent -All brand was $2.99 at Kroger. I had some $2 coupons so I got them each for $.99! They also had a promo of get a free Snuggle product with the purchase of 2 All detergents. So I got Snuggle dryer sheets free ($2.99 value).
Purex were also on sale for $2.99 and I had a $1.50 off coupon for each so I only paid $1.49 each. So I spent ~$5(+tax) for 166 loads of laundry. That will last my family a little over a month

Cleaners- I am an essential oil guru. I love my oils and have found they work well for so many things. I use Thieves cleaner I make from thieves oil and witch hazel. I use it when there is any sign of illness in the house. I use Mrs. Meyer's cleaners for most everything else. Through a subscription on ePantry I save alot on these products as well. They are a fraction of the cost that I would pay at local stores. Coming soon we are going to be having a special for ePantry! Be on the look out for that!

While this may not work for your family, this is how I saved not only money but my sanity and now have more time with my family as well.

How do you save on groceries?