Thursday, May 4, 2017

Let the couponing begin....

I'm not exactly cheep,
 I have been known to spend too much money on things, usually due to poor planning, but I am THRIFTY or at least try to be.
Anything I can get for FREE or cheep, is one of my most favorite things! I love thrift stores, garage sales and consignment shops. Nothing is more satisfying then when someone comments on that "new" blouse, and I can proudly boast " is beautiful and I got it at the Thrift store."

You see...I am trying to purchase myself a RV so I can go glamping.

I'm not sure what that RV would or could look like, but I do know that I want one, Someday may come sooner then later if I can save some extra money to put away for that RV dream. (Someday I may even show you my savings plan.)

Being "thrifty" I have always made an effort to save money where I could. Most Sunday afternoon's have been spent matching store adds with clipped strips of paper to redeem at my next shopping trip for cheaper then suggested prices.
I'm far from an extreme couponer like they show on tv, I have never gotten my grocery bill down to free or even close to pocket change. I'm also not one of those people who have converted my spare bedroom (Does anyone really have one of those?) into my own personal stock pile either. I am simply someone who is tickled pink at check out when I'm told I saved MONEY!!! There is an incredible sense of satisfaction to review my receipt and see nearly 1/2 my total was reduced with a store card and a little careful planning. It makes me feel like  I just ran the grocery store race and I am the WINNER!!!
For the most part I find that I am saving just under half my grocery total with my store savings card and coupons. This was working for me just fine......but then I saw an add for a FREE EXTREME couponing presentation.

They had me at FREE!!!! I immediately order my FREE tickets (up to two per order) and convinced my gal pal Renee to go with me.

The FREE evening came around and we were both excited to learn the TRICKS of the EXTREME couponers!!!
Now the thing about FREE sometimes, there may be a catch!!! "They" hook you in with FREE part then sucker you in to BUY something that you really don't want or need!!!
CALL ME A SUCKER!!!!! Thrifty and SMART do not always mean one in the same!!!

 The presenter was great, and she showed us all some AMAZING techniques to use. (I will share on here as I make my first attempt at saving...) BUT after her talk she somehow convinced me (and Renee too) to purchased (See NO LONGER FREE) five weeks of five local Sunday newspaper! Yep 5 papers!!!!
Well.....I'm not that big of a SUCKER!!! I thought this one out! You see, if I was to sign up for my subscription today and ONLY today with this EXTREME deal I would receive a FREE $25- visa gift card. This sweetened the deal! The order itself would cost me $30-. I get my  $25- visa gift card, that makes my total of only $5 for 125 Sunday newspapers (and Thursdays as well,) Each paper, which my loving husband has been purchasing for me nearly every Sunday morning since we were married is $2,00 a piece. For my $5- I am actually only paying for 2 1/2 Sunday papers. WINNER!!!!
(Now what to say to hubby when the U-hal shows up to dump off all those newspapers.)

There is only one catch..... I HAVE TO STOP my subscription BEFORE the 5 weeks are up or I will continue to receive my 5 papers after the 5 weeks every Sunday at the regular price! EWEEE!!!

To sweeten the deal, I received a letter in the mail from the local paper reporting that the gift cards had aged and apparently had loss value over the years. For this little mistake, they were offering a FREE $10- gift card. I signed on the link and have patiently been awaiting my $10 card.

If and when I get this. My grand total for all 125 papers and Thursdays...will be like $3.50+ in my pocket!!!! WINNER AGAIN!!!

So now I had to get prepared for my SAVINGS.  The instructor had suggested that we spend the next few weeks shopping as we normally would while accumulating coupon inserts found in the Sunday papers. I found an old binder and began inserting my coupons like suggested. At that point I didn't have the 4 extra papers, and I was on vacation for nearly two weeks before I started receiving my the  my subscription. So I simply added what coupons I did have to my binder.

I finally got my first stack of papers and decided to use the provided computer like to begin matching up the savings. This was the BEST part of the presentation.
There is a link that has certain stores listed with each and every coupon you need to make the very best of your couponing. In my area and for my paper it is http:/ keyword is Match up.
You might try your area inserting state and city to see if you can use this link as well. The spread sheet should look something like this.

Each item that is on sale is matched up with a corresponding coupon found in one of the inserts in your binder. Make sure you label the date on each insert and keep those together. For example, The Red Plum insert (bet you didn't even know they had a name...Nope I didn't either.) for April 2nd 2017 I labeled and inserted with all my other April 2nd coupons. DO NOT CLIP OUT OF THE LITTLE INSERT BOOKS UNTIL NEEDED. On the match up sheet on the right column there should read the savings amount or a link and the letters RP (Red Plum)  4/2.
You simply search out your Red Plum insert from 4/2 and viola!!! There's your savings.

I made a little coupon organizer to bring with me to the store. I make my list add my coupon pile and and I off the the store.

For my first try I didn't have all of the coupons or at least not all of the abundance of the coupons suggested by the instructor, plus I was planning on buying needed items as well so I didn't expect a WOW of savings.  According to the expert, you should have a stock pile of items as you will do this method and generally you can simply shop for the items as they are on sale and when you have a coupon.

As it turns out I think I did pretty well. (I have to get more environmental friendly and purchase some recyclable bags for future trips. I do believe this is one that I can earn a badge for.)
According to my receipt I saved $109.98 plus I spend all the money left on my $20- gift card ($11,22) I treated myself to Dunk and Doughnuts prior.
My out of pocket payment was about $110- for about $230- in groceries. Winner? Certainly not anywhere close to those Extreme coupon people on tv and pretty much about even with what I typically spend before I went to the Coupon presentation. BUT it's only the first week.

My next shopping trip should include more of those multiple coupons and less regular items. I generally do my shopping trips every other week, so I am going this week with mostly items identified in the spread sheet match up.

Im pretty excited about the whole thing and cant wait to continue incorporating  my savings into something an RV!!!!

I will update if I come across a BIG score! Until then (I'm late for work) TTFN!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Where it all begins....

    March 23, 2017
I am embarking on a journey of sorts. Yes...this is another blog. My third  as it so happens.
I have a dinosaur of a blog, (my original) which I created to showcase my creative side and invite customers (I am a Close to My Heart consultant.)
 It had, when I posted. several followers, most were people like myself using the internet and blogging to expand on their business.
 I have not added to this blog in some time, so I will not reference it further.

My second blog, continues to grow. I have been active in continuing to updated on the regular now for nearly 4 years. It is my trip log. I was inspired by all of the lovely bloggers out there who travel full or part time in their rv's.

Then there is this blog.....The Scrappy Owl.
 While I was searching for the RV of my dreams....I came across MaryJane.

She has inspired many women with  her designs, creativity and what really got me excited was her farmgirl connection, The connection is a site where women share ideas, stories and a love for life. They also have badges.
The badges are symbols of one's personal achievements as they complete defined tasks. I simply loved the idea and just had to become a sister myself.

I am sister 7349!
While exploring the Farmgirl sisterhood site, I came across a badge I could begin with, Blogging,,,

As I had already created a blog, I was excited to create a new one that offers my more creative and sassy side. I am hoping to learn as I go, 
So this new blog is a journey in creative knowledge.  

 As my first step in this creation is The Farmgirl Sisterhood Blogging badge: (below is what I submitted for badge consideration.) Then I had an interesting thought, what if the scrappy owl blog was inspired by the Farmgirl sisterhood badges? I have also considered adding any growth I have made in meeting with some of my personal goals. The badges and the topics within the badges seem like a great springboard to areas in my life I want to work on personally. Maybe I will have some inspiration for others, maybe I'll get some feedback as well. 
I recognize that this will be a work in I welcome you to join me in The Scrappy Owl journey.

The Scrappy Owls first badge: 

The blogging badge comes from the area of Each Other:

Each Other:

Badge# 19 Blogging. So here it is. My Blog. (beginner) 

 The first step is to read Robin Houghtons Blogging For Creatives. I happened upon two of her additional blog books and reviewed these as well. 
I found several helpful tips. For the most part however, I have already taken active steps in creating a blog. There were some suggestions that I had not considered, such as the audience.

My trip log for example is a blog that I have created simply for myself. Following a format with a content flow, just never was a consideration. Quite honestly I'm not sure if I really want all the pressure and responsibility.  

Managing a blog that has the expectations that lurk in a blog that  a. has dedicated readers, b. includes links and or promotions and c. has the potential to make $ is actually kind of scary.
With a, b, and c, there is an expectation, commitment, proper grammar, spelling, discretion, fancy videos, promotions, time, pre-thinking and planning, Overall a hole lot of  WORK!!!   
I find that I blog simply for the enjoyment. 
I use my blogs as a journal that I envision only myself reading. 

My own train of thought and interests change so frequently, I can't promise myself that I still be focused on one particular topic at any given time. Add the pressure to commit to an audience, is simply not my thing. I've committed to my trip blog simply because I blog about my daily adventures. Its easy to commit. It is my life! 

If I get honest here, I'm really NOT that interesting,  I haven't even worked on promotion for the blog because I really don't want people seeking it out.
 My friends are aware I have a blog, and often they are pictured in it, but I haven't offered or even referenced where they could find it should they be so inclined.  

As I start my  new blog, I am hoping to expand on my commitment to both followers as well as myself. I plan to welcome viewers and work on taking the next steps in becoming a blogger expert. 

My scrappy owl blog will be dedicated to a journey in creative knowledge. This may be a little broad and perhaps I will find myself tailoring the focus a little more, but for now this is where the blog begins. 

Bagde #15 of Make it Easy.
The merit badge is from the Make it Easy section tittle Mindful Meditation.( Beginner )

 I began with researching the benefits of meditation. I guess I have always been aware of the reduction of stress associated with meditation, but after reading " Benefits of Meditation- 76 Things You Might Be missing" from I found that there are multiple benefits to meditation that go beyond simply stress reduction. The Author identified studies found from all over the world and the benefits. The brain is affected reducing depression, anxiety and stress. The article even goes as far as to report that Meditation has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant drugs. Additionally MRI scans have shown after an 8 week mindfulness course in meditation the 18 subjects found to have an increase in brain matter. This result indicates increase in learning and memory, revaluation of ones emotions and perceptions. 
Other benefits included reduction in the abuse of alcohol and substances, mind performance such as decision making, ability to focus and work better under stressful situations. 
Studies have also found evidence to support that Meditation relieves pain and helps with the management of ADD symptoms. 
There are clearly some great emotional  benefits through meditation, but also some added perks such as awaking the unconscious mind, and increasing creativity.
There are some medical benefits to meditation as well. Meditation was found to improve immunity and reduce blood pressure. One study showed that meditation decrease inflammatory disorder enabling faster recovery from illness. Medical News today indicated that studies showed Mindfulness Mediation helped to prevent Asthma, arthritis and IBS. The relief of premenstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms were also shown to be reduced. The studies continue to identify Meditation as helping with fibromyalgia, reduced heart and respiratory rates as well as potentially reducing the change in the T cells found in individuals with HIV. Overall it appears that incorporating meditation onto ones life appears to result in a longer, more creative, and a less stressful life. WOW!!!

 Types of Meditation-An overview on 23 Meditation Techniques:
 I was surprised by all the different types/techniques of meditation. Although they are similar the generally differ is in the focus during the meditation, 
For example; 
Guided imaginary is a focused meditation while listening to verbal direction as one meditates. They generally start with a focus on one's breathing and lead the listener into a state of relaxation. The intent is to focus on what the verbal cues are leading you to. I found that this style of meditation worked best for me. 
An example of  Open minded meditation is Mindfulness. In this style of meditation the focus is to stay within the moment. The use of deep breathing, mantra's, visualization or fixating on cues from one's body. I personally struggled with this. Either my mind would race to other things or I would fall asleep. Although a Mindful meditation would include and even welcome the raceful mind as part of the process, recognizing with practice these interruptions would be lessened.  
The author of An overview of 23 Meditation Techniques. 
also identified Effortless Presence which  includes no focus at all. 
The article offered multiple names for these techniques as well. When addressing my challenge I generally went with guided imaginary, 

The challenge presented to earn the badge is putting Meditation into practice for 7 days for a least 5 minutes. I started my Meditation journey just a day after having had one very stressful day at work. March 14th 2017. The husband had also had a stressful 24 hours the previous day. (He works an overnight shift on Mondays.) I offered to provide some guided meditation music located on youtube.
I was about 10 minutes in and feeling quite relaxed when my puppy started barking. That ended Day 1 of my challenge.
The next few days were not interrupted. I found it best to locate myself in areas dog free, children free and husband free as well. These were all guided meditations. Generally, I found myself taking trips away from focusing on the message and had to pull myself back. My mind often would go to the things I had to get done, stuff that was coming up and mostly anything that was not focusing on my breathing or taking that trip into the peaceful garden as instructed.
I tended to do best when there was much more focus on breathing and less on the guided imagery. Breathing in and and out. I stayed away from using a mantra.
If my head wasn't searching for other things to distract myself, I would be so relaxed I fell asleep.
I did all of my meditation laying down. I think I may have to explore sitting up in the future.
I fell asleep while listening to soothing music and lacking an instructor to guide me.
 These 5-15 minute attempts at meditation although questioned to their success did seem to help me be less stress. I think in expanding into the second piece of the merit badge I should spend more time in the meditation and actually work hard at focusing on the message. I certainly plan to continue.  

Thanks for visiting my post! TTFN