Braces Suck, But Not for Much Longer!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You see that light at the end of that tunnel over there? That's the deadline for getting my braces off. I've been dreaming about getting these torture devices off for months now. To say it's been a painful experience would be putting it mildly. Having braces as an adults bites the big one, pun intended.

'Braces on Teeth' photo (c) 2010, Dottie Mae - license:
Still, I know it will be more than worth it. No one should hate the way they look in photos or 'smile small' because they're embarrassed of their teeth. To keep me occupied while I wait for the big day, I've been compiling a mental list of all the things I want to eat once my teeth are unshackled. In no particular order they are:

1. Steak
2. Ribs
3. Hamburger*
4. Burrito*
5. Pizza*
6. Apples
7. Carrots
8. Broccoli and cauliflower that hasn't been boiled to death
9. Popcorn
10. Red Vines
11. Taffy
12. Some nut covered candybar like a Payday
13. Tacos in a hard shell
14. Gum (every day!)
15. Honey braid and peanut butter pretzels
16. Crusty bread
17. Salad
18.Cereal with really crunchy bits

I'm getting excited and drooling just thinking about all the food! Those of you who have had braces, what was your first post Metal Mouth Meal?

*I've eaten those plenty of times, but not the way they're meant to be eaten: sloppy and dripping from my two hands. Even the best burger loses it's luster when you have to cut it with a knife and fork.

Slashing Our Grocery Budget | Frugal Friday

Friday, January 13, 2012

My husband has given me a challenge: slash our monthly grocery budget by $40-$50. We're behind in meeting our financial goals so it's crunch time. We're trimming wherever we can and grocery shopping is my domain. I'm definitely up for the challenge and I've been doing my research.

I'm ready to try meal planning, I've signed up for every grocery loyalty program for the stores I shop in, I've organized my Google Reader so that the frugal blogs I read most are at the top, we got rid of our ink sucking printer (more on that later) and my coupon binder is finally complete. The only thing that's going to suck is how much time I'll be spending in the stores.

I got a start on re-building our stockpile a few days ago. We needed cereal and the deal at Vons was great. But, with the way so many So Cal stores have changed their coupon policies, I can't walk in and use all the coupons I have in one transaction. In most stores, I can only use 4 at a time, only one will double and sometime there's a specific dollar amount I need to purchase. All the rules will mean more trips to the stores. Case in point, the cereal.

This is three trips to two different Vons stores* plus Target for the coffee creamer (the meat was a happy accident). The in store coupon only for the cereal only allowed me to buy 4 boxes at a time. Between the paper and e-coupons I had 10 to use. Fortunately, I live in an area where almost all the stores I shop in are close enough that I can combine errands.

But, I think that, in order to make the absolute most of my coupons, I'm going to have to commit to scheduling more trips to the stores. Which means staying organized and getting my hand on more coupons so I can take advantage of more deals. If I'm going to go to a store three times, I might as well get all of the deals**! It seems I'm closer to becoming an 'extreme' couponer than I thought.

So, let me ask you: how willing are you to run multiple errands to take advantage of a great grocery deal? What types of deals do you consider too good to pass up?

*Pictured: 16 boxes of cereal, six creamers and 6 packages of ground beef.
*I don't buy things we don't eat or don't have room for just because they're on sale. You will not find pallets of soda in my garage.
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