Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
So, Vocal Point. This has been the number one freebie site that I have signed up with. You just set up a free account, and they randomly send you free things!!! Today I had a sample size box of Kashi cereal waiting for me, which came with a coupon for a free full size box, along with several other coupons for $1.50 off. I have also received coupons for the new Bounce bar, free Rice Krispies, free Frosted Mini Wheats, and those are just the things I can remember offhand while other things are on my mind.
Set up your account at Vocal Point and just wait for the freebies to start rolling in. You never know when or what you'll get. But it sure is a nice surprise when something arrives.
My husband has three kids from another marriage. In the internet world, they are skids. Short for step kids. And their birth mother, although referred to in a multitude of nicknames in my household is abbreviated as BM. I like the double entendre implications there, although I tell you, I would have never named my blog Business Mommy if I had realized that the initials were the same. That is why you will NEVER see it abbreviated!
Anyway. My husband is a wonderful father. Definitely to our little boy, but I seen him in action first hand with his other kids once we were in a serious relationship. We all got along great too. To make a long story short, the same second we announced our engagement was the same second BM started keeping the kids from my husband. And after three years of trying to stop her from her manipulations, and a guardian ad litem (lawyer for the kids appointed in extreme cases) named MARTY HAAS doing what was easy rather than what was right, we've been through family therapy, court orders and everything trying to make her give my husband his kid time, and she has fought it in such extreme ways that my personal therapist (which I needed to help me get through all of this specific craziness) can't even believe what the legal system has let BM do to keep his kids from him. My therapist doesn't humor us either. He tells us how it is. And the court ordered family therapist specifically told us that we needed to play nice because BM was playing dirty and the easiest way through it all was to make her feel ok with things. Well, since I don't curse on this blog, my answer to that is BS. (I originally started the couponing when I was going to be regularly feeding three extra kids a couple times a week.)
So again. I know that I said I would try to make the long story short. Believe me, I am. The point we are at is that it was determined that BM has brain washed the kids so much that it is impossible for the kids to have a real relationship with their dad at this point. So he's allowing the step father to adopt them and stepping back so they don't have to be a part of this battle their entire childhood.
So this woman is crazy. I know. Everyone says that about their spouses ex. I was actually fine with her for the most part in the beginning. My hubby always told me she was crazy. But everyone thinks that about their ex too. So I was operating under the impression that anyone gets away with what they can if you let them. So for the sake of brevity, let's just assume that I'm right when I say that she's crazy. And not in the fun and harmless way that I am. :-) In a way that she is willing to put her children in extreme situations just to keep them from their father.
So here we are. Part of allowing the stepfather to adopt them and my hubby to stand back until they are adults and can make their own decisions, is cutting off child support. The one good thing in all of this. All of this stuff had been decided back in February. And the child support was supposed to stop on August 1st. And guess what, it hasn't. Her lawyer has even sent us mocked up documents (yes, we are filing an ethics violation charge) saying that child support cessation documents had been filed and were in process. Today is when we are finding out about this. Our lawyers were finally able to get ahold of her lawyers who have been putting us off for three weeks now. And now they are "sending a letter." Which means there is some other issue going on. I don't know what the letter entails yet. But odds are that it isn't good. So I'm freaking out in a major way. I'm feeling like an animal backed into a corner. Someone is about to get hurt. But because I'm a nice person, it's most likely going to be me imploding on myself.
I'm sorry to write such a long post about this. Oh, and Marty Haas is in Northern Kentucky. Do not give him your business if you have need of him. He is supposed to be an advocate of the children, but he realized early on that my husband and I are easy to get along with, and BM isn't, so we've been the ones that he argues with because we listen. All therapists have told us that it is in the best interest of the children for the father to be in their lives, even if the father is a loser, which my husband definitely is not. But Marty, although he pretends to be sympathetic and even angry when she does things she isn't supposed to, has never done anything to try to make her stop. He wouldn't even make her take them to the court ordered therapy.
So this is my personal issue of the day. Strike that, week. No wait, FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS. So I'm getting a little cranky. But, even though it doesn't help me at the moment, what it will turn out to do once things are over and I've settled down . . . the lesson here, for life, for business, for whatever, taking the easy way isn't always the easiest way. If my husband and I had been harder to get along with earlier on and had been squeakier wheels, then BM most likely would not have gotten away with the things that she did. Her brain washing of the children would not have been able to go so far, and we would have a normal blended family. Which isn't easy. Even when things were good, it was never easy. But it was still fun, and everyone got along and had a good time. Other than normal kid stuff, along with my own personal problems of having not been around children much, then being in a mother type role to pre teens. Certainly less of a mother role and more just assisting my husband in his parenting role. But before you've had kids, it feels like a mothering role.
So please pray for my family. We've had one disaster after another for three years. Not just in the step kid department. I keep saying, we don't need things to be easy. We just need for everything little thing to not have to be such a struggle. This adoption thing was supposed to be easy once it was decided. Ceritainly not easy emotionally, but everybody has signed their stuff, so it was just to be a waiting for stuff to be finished thing. I'm hoping that our three years of bad luck will be canceled out by winning the 250 million dollar lottery tonight! LOL. If you don't play the lotto, wish us luck. If you do play the lotto, then I understand your conflict of interest!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
While I'm on my shopping hiatus, I'm going to focus on organizing what I've got, doing some intense yard and house work, and working on my candle business like crazy. I just got a huge order for my Birthday Cake candles!!! So that has renewed my enthusiasm. . . . and a word from our sponsors . . .
Birthday Cake candles are great for a gift, or for yourself. The scent of freshly baked white cake topped with buttercream icing. The candle is white with confetti colors inside of it. Get them fresh out of the oven at www.lmfcandles.com.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming. Seriously though, I put a lot of love into my candles, and the birthday cake ones are something special. I'm pretty impressed with myself on those. LOL. This is my most popular scent in candle form.
Ok, ok. So this coming week I'm going to be working very hard on my business. I will be researching marketing options and getting the shop in my garage back into shape. I had a minor setback with it due to some leeching. Someone sees your good idea and wants to do it too. Which is fine in some circumstances, but in this one it's just too close for comfort. Took the wind out of my sails a bit. But I'm back, and I'm not going to let it bring me down. All it's going to do is change the way I market.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The way that I'm going to manage my stockpile is to go through and take an inventory of different items. Then I'll figure an approximate date on when I expect that I'll start running low. Let's say that I have six bottles of body wash. That should last me about four months. So I'm going to put a note on the calendar towards the end of the year that I need to look at body wash and see how my supply is. Maybe I've found more super deals and bought more so I'll just change the date. Or maybe I'm running low and need to start keeping an eye out for good deals. At this point in the year though, I don't want to have to worry about running low during the holiday season. So I want to try to have a six month supply of essentials. My mind will be busy with my business. I won't want to have to think about shopping for normal stuff as much.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So. What has been going on with me outside the world of small business running and deal shooping? Not a whole bunch. I had been in a bit of a mopey, feeling sorry for myself state for a while. I feel like I've been working so hard with zero results. And with only one working car right now and that one being used by the hubby for work, I've felt trapped inside. True, I rarely went out when I had the car here to use, but just knowing that I was able to if I wanted to made a huge difference.
After spending a few days in the doldrums, I decided that it isn't pretty, so I need to pull myself together and get back into my groove. So I leaped out of bed this morning at the crack of noon and got busy. Even put on a touch of makeup. So I'm feeling pretty good today. I was awake until 4:30 am last night. Thinking about all of the things I wanted to get done today. I should have just gotten up and done a couple of them and I might have fallen asleep earlier. But that would have gone against the procrastinators mantra. Why do it today if you can put it off until tomorrow? Stay up all night worrying about it instead.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
It's fun to go shopping and run into people that share your hobby. We shared some tips with each other, things that were new to each of us, and we complained about how we couldn't get our friends and family members to join in as much as we would like. (Come on guys. I do the hard part, all you have to do is take the coupons I hand you and go to the store and pay your 15 cents for your toothpaste.)
It was also helpful because she had already scoped out some of the coupon matchups, and so had I. So we were able to save each other time by pointing out if something was already gone, or if we had seen something that was a great deal. We couponers are our own little club. It's easy to become a member. Just start clipping your coupons and reading some blogs. Especially if you can find local ones. Then you may even be able to meet with the writer and get one on one info!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Mr. Rebates is my favorite. There are other sites out there too that work the same way. Cashbaq and Ebates are the other ones I'm familiar with. If you have an account at all three sites, just compare the percentage rates at each one to determine which site to use. For example, if I was making a purchase at Brylane Homes, Mr Rebates gives me 5% back, Cashbaq pays 2.5% back, and Ebates pays 3% back. So I would use Mr. Rebates to make the purchase.
Don't forget to do a separate search at Retail Me Not to find a coupon code!
This is especially great for the Vista Print products and services. Mr. Rebates gives you 10% back on Vista Print products.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Anyone who has looked into advertising at all knows that $30 a month to make that many contacts is a reasonable price. As a comparison, think about how much 2500 stamps would cost. And think about how much time and effort it would take to deliver 2500 flyers door to door. Print advertising is more expensive too. This way you are reaching an audience that wants to hear from you. And if they don't, they can unsubscribe and you can stop messing with them.
Another point I want to make with this . . . I have attempted to send a mass email before. I have a huge list that I got from doing a bridal show. (Very expensive, boring, and a lot of follow up work required to get orders, I don't recommend it.) I had attempted to use that list to send a mass email a couple months ago. A lot of them were invalid email addresses, and a lot of people unsubscribed. With me doing it manually, that means I need to go through my list and delete those people. It's a lot of work. Plus, just sending the emails bogged down the system. I must have reached some sort of limit on outgoing emails because after about 100, they stopped sending. Frustrating and time consuming. And of the people that didn't bounce back or unsubscribe, I have no idea if it's hitting their junk folders and never being seen, or if they're ignoring it, or reading it or what. With Vista Print, if I see that a person isn't opening the emails I send, I can delete them from my list.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
And remember, that's the short list. LOL. It's feeling like things are never going to get to a normal level. I certainly don't expect life to be perfect. I'm just ready for it to not be so freaking hard. I feel like I'm in a leaking boat and throwing out bucket after bucket of water to keep from sinking. Most of the time I'm able to just barely stay afloat, then as soon as I start to make some progress, another wave comes along. At least I have my family. And all of these hardships have pointed me in the direction of learning about the saving money websites out there. And my own challenges of finding money leftover to still be able to work on my business when it feels like every penny goes out the door has inspired me to write this blog and hopefully help others in similar situations.
All of this hardship in my life should be ending in the near future. And when it does I'm going to be fortunate to have gone through all of this. I'll already know how to live frugally so that I'll be able to get the most for my money.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The muffin pan has turned out to be a spectacular way to feed my son his lunch. I did it three times last week. He loves it! It's easy for me because it allows me to have a better idea of the kinds of serving sizes and variety that I want to be giving him. And he loves sticking his fingers in the holes to find his snacks. I try to pick things that aren't too messy so he doesn't have to get in the high chair for them. His favorite is peanut butter sandwiches made out of eggo waffles. The peanut butter melts into the waffle squares a bit when they're still warm, so it makes it less messy for him to eat. So there's two holes with sandwich sections, then two holes with fruit, then I usually put a dessert in one, and a snack in one. The snack has been Quaker rice cakes. He loves them. And the dessert has been M&Ms. He usually starts with dessert. He takes after his momma. I don't include veggies because he won't eat veggies when he has options. If they are the only thing in front of him, he likes them. Next to anything else, forget it.
I've found that the muffin tin is also good for his memory. I put it on a tv tray and try to get him to sit on the couch with me to eat. Nope. He's too busy for that. But he pays attention to where everything is, and he sticks his hand up to grab and gets exactly what he wants. I realized this when I turned it around once to try to convince him to eat something other than M&Ms first. He got so frustrated and kept looking under his rice cakes trying to figure out why the candy wasn't there when it should have been. So I don't trick him anymore. So long as he's eating other things too, let him start with the candy.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
One last tidbit. There is also a feature where you can create code to put into your website to allow people to subscribe to your email. You can see the box I added on my website. www.lmfcandles.com. As you can tell from the length of this post, there are a gazillion things that make this a wonderful service to have. Click my link to Vista Print in the side bar to see more!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
One other thing to mention before I highlight a couple Kroger deals . . . P&G Esaver. If you aren't using this yet, get with the program!!! All you do is set up a free account, add your Kroger card number, and then go through their list of coupons and select the ones you want. The coupons are added to your card and automatically come off at the register when you purchase those items. Even better, you can combine the esaver coupons with regular manufacturer coupons! Some of the great deals I'll be getting this week have both a paper coupon and an esaver coupon.
Lady Speed Stick on sale for 88 cents, $1 off 2 MQ makes them 38 cents each!
Right Guard Deodorant on sale for $1, $1 off 2 MQ makes them 50 cents each!
Tampax Tampons $1.99 w/ four item purchase, .50 MQ doubles to $1 off, PG esaver .50 makes them 49 cents a pack!
(and speaking of this . . . I'm not pregnant. . . yet.)
Puffs Tissues - Buy 3 boxes, and make sure you buy something else that gets you to the 4 item purchase price which is 79 cents a box. MQ for .25 off 3 and PG esaver for .25 off 3. Equals 54 cents a box.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
So anyway. Tim stood there and gave me mean looks the whole time, and I tried to hurry. Not that I care so much about what Tim thought about me, but it did make me uncomfortable to be stared at. And as chance would have it, Tim was not even wearing a name tag, so I asked him specifically what his name was. I checked out then went directly to customer service. Yes, there was a line. But I've had enough run-ins with rude greeters whose very job description is to make customers feel welcome in the store that I feel it's my obligation to say something. Especially when it's on behalf of couponers. Plus, the mystery shopping thing also puts me in that mindset. Places pay me money to let them know if their associates are doing their job. Although Walmart is not one of those places, when it's my personal experience at the store that is suffering, and assuming I have a few minutes to spare, I try to speak up.
So anyway. I stood in line at customer service to complain. The customer service cashier got a manager for me, and was also aggravated because she also buys the Sunday paper just for the coupons, and also checks to make sure it looks like everything is there. So the manager came up and I told her my sad story. She seemed honestly concerned about it and said that she would say something to Tim. She told me to go ahead and check through my papers there at the counter to make sure they had what I needed.
While I was standing there checking the papers, another customer came in with a coupon complaint. One of her coupons wouldn't scan, which again, any couponer knows, this happens. It just does. Maybe the ink didn't print perfectly or something. I don't know. Lots of reasons. It happens. But she was told that it must be a fraudulent coupon. In front of everyone she was accused of committing coupon fraud. She ended up telling the cashier to just take the item off her order and she would use her perfectly good coupon elsewhere. If it was me, I would told the cashier that I would wait while she got a manager and/or called corporate if that was necessary. I figure it's my job to be as big of a pain in the you know what as possible if anyone tries to give me a problem with something that I know should work just fine.
Anyway. My papers were fine, so I left. And on the way out, I noticed that Tim was suddenly wearing a name tag. I tried to give him a mean "neener" stare, but he was working hard to keep from looking at me. LOL.