Thank you for joining me here at The New Frugal Mom. I blog about deals, frugal living, and gaining your financial freedom one day at a time.

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Showing posts with label Time Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Time Management. Show all posts

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Time Managment: Blogging Schedule

I've had some little bits of time this week to actually sit still and think about how best to organize my time as SuperMommy to include a weekly blogging schedule.

I not only blog here, but I also have a personal blog here. Writing for both, along with all the usual blogging maintenance issues, is a big endeavor. I have deep appreciation for bloggers like Crystal over at MoneySavingMom, who update their blogs several times a day. It is no small task.

I also appreciate that you have to manage your time, too. So with an eye on frugal time management, here's what I've come up with for my weekly posting schedule here at The New Frugal Mom.

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Monday

My Weekly Kroger Deals, with linkage to BeCentsAble's Monday Grocery Gathering

Tuesday

Guest Post by Kyle from Rather-Be-Shopping with links to current online coupon codes.

Wednesday

Going Frugal, a weekly feature about ways to reduce costs in everyday life. Look for topics like Children's Birthday Parties, Summer Adventures, Home Decor, and Back To School Shopping.

Thursday

I'm leaving this day open on the schedule; it's always good to give yourself a bit of freedom in scheduling anything, freedom to grow, to evolve, and to sometimes just catch up when you're behind! I'll also use this free day to post about how I'm doing on my own Frugal Journey.

Friday

Best of the Week. I'll post links to some of the best freebies, printables, and deals that I've seen during the week. I'm hoping this will help many of you who do your shopping on Saturdays to better plan your trips.

Saturday

I'll participate in Money Savings Mom's Super Savings Saturday carnival and talk about the deals I found this week. Crystal was the blogger who helped me to regain my frugal state of mind last fall after I got our family well-established in our new home and new town. Her blog is a phenomenal clearing house of deals and information. I urge you to visit her!

Sunday

Shopping Scenario Sunday. I'll post my most hopeful scenario for the upcoming week and leave the Mr. Linky box for all of you Frugal Faithful to add the deals you've come up with for the week. Be part of what makes the blogosphere so amazing by sharing your knowledge!

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Join me over at BeCentsAble tomorrow, Friday, April 26. I'm guest posting as the feature blog for their weekly Weekend Centsable Shopper Show and Tell Giveaway.

My giveaway.....drumroll, please.... a $10 CVS Gift Card to one lucky member of the Frugal Faithful!

Be sure to read my post over at BeCentsAble and drop a comment there. Kristin and Chrissy, the SuperMommies behind the genius of BeCentsAble, will enter all comments into a drawing to pick the winner.

I'll post a link here to the Show and Tell Giveaway as soon as it goes live.

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And, because it's just the right thing to do, I want to say THANK YOU to each of you for coming by The New Frugal Mom every day. I hope that you find help and inspiration here and also through the links I post. I started this blog because I truly believe in the power of information and in helping others.

I welcome, appreciate, and love to hear your ideas on how to make this blog better. Feel free to email me or comment with your thoughts. I try my best to check my email a few times a day, but LIFE with three kids and two dogs often gets in the way!


As always, Happy Savings!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Going Frugal: Time Management

I've said this many times in my posts: I seek to not only be frugal with our money (my husband's and mine) but with my time.

This means if there's a potentially great deal out there that will cost me a great deal of time - usually time needed to travel out of my small town to find this great deal - I usually decide to focus my efforts elsewhere.

Between the daily driving I do to take my two oldest children back and forth to their two different schools, to run the necessary errands, and to appointments and meetings, I spend a great deal of time racing against the clock and sitting behind the steering wheel. As this costs me not only time but also gas money, I happily opt out of the endless In Search Of Savings mania. I do well enough saving money at the Kroger, CVS, and Walgreens in my own zipcode.

I also try to be disciplined in my time at home by using a monthly calendar to keep me on track of household chores, blogging, paying bills and financial planning, and carving out some much needed free time for myself or with my husband.

Household chores I organize as Weekly, Bi-Weekly, or Monthly. Weekly Chores include things like cleaning bathrooms, laundry (with three kids, this is a twice a week chore!), vacuuming, dusting (ugh - how I hate this chore; oh, let's be honest, I pretty much hate all housework!), and menu planning. Bi-Weekly Chores include things like washing the windows (three pairs of kiddo hands + two wet doggie noses = smudge city!) and bill paying. Monthly Chores include things like steam cleaning our downstairs carpets (three kids + two dogs + spring mud = mess!), and reviewing the monthly budget.

But here again, I have to be honest all of you: I usually falter on keeping up with this schedule.

Why? Well, there is this thing called LIFE that gets in the way. People get sick. Events and meetings and volunteering at school and church coincide on one week and eat through my and my husband's extra time. Holidays and birthdays and just-because days bring the chance to celebrate with family and friends. Seasons change and bring new sports for the kids and new around-the-house and yard tasks.

No matter how well I try to execute my plan, there is always something that comes up and sets the schedule on it's side. And what I've learned is this: that's perfectly ok. Life in a family, and for me, life as a mother of three children 6, 4, and 2 years old, is filled with all sorts of surprises that require quick thinking, flexibility, and, in the end, a willingness to chose people over tasks.

My ToDo list and schedule are simply tools that help me stay on track; if they become my masters instead, then I've failed to use them wisely.

All that being said, one of my current ToDo's is to create a general schedule for blogging. I'd like to make it easier for visitors here at The New Frugal Mom and over at my personal blog, Writer-Mommy, to keep up with what I'm publishing each week.

This is a work in progress; I'll keep you updated. My question to you is this: is there anything you'd like to see highlighted on a weekly basis here at The New Frugal Mom? Feel free to chime in with a comment.

Thanks for dropping in today and spending some of your valuable time here. I appreciate it!

And if you're struggling for a little help in managing your time as a busy mom, I recommend checking out FlyLady (this is an unpaid endorsement - the truth from me to you). Her methods will spark your imagination and help you in finding what best works for you.

Good luck!

Monday, April 14, 2008

CVS ECBs - How Many to Rollover Each Week?

Reader and kind commenter Rhonda (I'd link to her blog but she's not blogging...yet!) asked this very good question via comment:

Do you ever use your ECB's for things that don't generate ECB's? I got the monitor deal and I have several ECB's from last week. I could use a couple of other things with those from the monitor deal. How many ECB's do you keep from week to week?

Thanks for the question and the comment, Rhonda; it's a good discussion-starter.

How many ECBs I keep week-to-week varies; if I can, I try to keep a minimum of $10.00. But there have been some weeks, especially at the end of last year when there were so many CVS coupons available (the handy $2/10 that expired Jan 08 and many other great deal-building dollar-off coupons), where I've used all my ECBs.

One, I needed to use them, particularly around Christmas when they helped to buy stocking stuffers for the kids and all sorts of odds and ends for the Christmas season. Two, with the amazing dollar-off coupons that CVS offered at the end of 2008, I knew that even if I had zero ECBs, I could start from scratch with a small deal that would rollover into bigger and better ECB-earning deals and pay only $1.00 or $2.00 oop overall.

Now that CVS has tightened up on their coupons - and the dollars off coupons in particular - I'm a bit more conservative. As I said, I try to keep $10.00 minimum to use the next week.

But here again is a point to consider: I usually only make one trip to CVS per week and do a maximum of two transactions. I don't try to max out every possible ECB deal, nor do I do deals for things I either don't need to stockpile for myself or don't know someone who could benefit by my giving it to them for free.

Why? Mostly because I have very little time in the course of my busy days to swing through our CVS and because I usually have two or three children with me. My children, to be specific, and while they are wonderful and amazing and always happy and thankful to get a roll of blue Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum Tape, they are still only children. They have their shopping limits, and so do I.

Because I do shop with my children, I pre-plan my scenarios and my back-up scenarios very carefully by calculating the numbers, organizing the coupons, and finding possible fillers. This too takes time and while I adore a great deal, there is a point where being frugal with your time and being frugal with your money intersects and then starts to tip downhill. If I spend too much time "wheeling and dealing," I'm trading that time I could be better focused elsewhere away for good. And unlike money, once time is gone, it's gone. You can't earn more.

That being said, there are weeks like this week where a stellar deal such as the Contour Meter presents itself; getting $15.00 ECBs for FREE doesn't come along very often at all.

This is just the kind of week where I'll make it a point to plan and execute that one extra trip to CVS where I can stock up on some household items or get milk for free by just "spending" some ECBs without worrying about "earning" more on the transaction.

How many ECBs to keep from week to week is really a personal decision, as is just how many trips you're willing to make to CVS each week and how many items you're willing to buy for the sake of earning ECBs. And this is what makes CVS such a great help to budget-conscious frugal folk; after you've used CVS for a month or two, you'll start to find your own personal comfort zone where the deals you're willing to make match up to the time you're willing to put into the endeavor.

I'd love to hear from other CVSers - how many ECBs do you try to rollover each week, and how frequently do you visit CVS? And, equally importantly, do you ever feel like you might be spending too much time planning, seeking, and finding deals at CVS and/or elsewhere? What's your personal balancing point? Comment and join the discussion.