Friday, March 25, 2011

I've Never Had to Work So Hard To Spend $10!

I had a $10 ECB (that's Extra Care Bucks from CVS) that was going to expire this weekend and I needed to spend it. I'd been watching the ads for the last month looking for a great deal to roll it into or just a great deal to spend it on and hadn't really seen anything that we needed that seemed worth it.  This week I saw a couple of really great deals in the ad, but they were so great that they mostly equalled out to FREE, so I ended up wondering around for about a half hour trying  to find ways to spend my $10.  The first $6 went pretty easily... 2 boxes of cereal and a bottle of Head & Shoulders... it was that last $3.01 that was giving me issues.  Here's what I ended up with only after my husband happened across a $.50 package of cocktail straws (something he'd been asking for for a while).

2 Boxes of Total Cereal: On Sale 2/$5
5 Dawn dish detergent: On Sale $.97
2 Listerine (8.5oz): On Sale $1
1 Head & Shoulders: On Sale $4.99
1 Formula 409: On Sale $2.50
Cocktail Straws: $.49

With all that it seems like hitting $10 would be no problem, but factor in these coupons....
(2) $1/1 Total Cereal
(3) $1/1 Dawn Hand Renewal
(2)$.50/1 Dawn
(1)$2/2 Listerine, etc (Random list of J&J products) printable
(1)$1/1 Head & Shoulders
(1)$.50/1 409

And in the end the whole lost cost me just over $1 out of pocket and I got back another $2ECB from the Head & Shoulders.

Fear the Mail No More

I can't say I've feared getting the mail in a long time, but for the last few years it's just become rather dull.  We pay most of our bills automatically, and really don't have many bills to begin with (the upside of being debt free).  Most of what came in our mail was just confirmations in regardes to insurance or updates to various things, oh and the constant credit card applications.  There were times when we'd go a week without bothering to check out mail, because there just much worth checking it for.

That all changed when I started working to save money.  Now, every day getting the mail is like Christmas. I wait for the Mail person to show up and I can't wait to see what they brought me.  Today was no exception and it felt like Christmas when I opened the mailbox and found two boxes inside.  Here's what was in those boxes...

On top is the free sample of Mio Water Enhancer.  It looks like it might be a really good way to add some occasional flavor the to the massive amounts of water that I drink. 
Below that is the Beauty Bag from Target that I posted about a couple of weeks ago.  The bag itself is quite nice and will come in handy for carting small amounts of make-up various places.  Inside it were several different samples and $25 worth of coupons for beauty products from Target.  WOOT!

Working Out on a Budget

image credit

I posted a little bit last week about how we are working out on a budget.  Since then I've gotten my husband on the EA Sports Activebandwagon and he is also doing the 30 Day Challenge.  I'm happy to say that I'm now almost 2 full weeks into it and I'm still holding strong.

A couple of nights ago I even used some of my Amazon credits (earned via Swagbucks, thank you very much) to order an extra leg strap, so that we can work out together.

In the past (when I thought I had money) I've worked out with a trainer, and I have to say there are upsides to having a trainer, but overall, I think that EA Active does the job just as well, if not better.  The routines are very similar to those I would have done with my trainer.  We were in a gym and would also use the weight machines, but the trainers I've worked with always tended more towards a circuit style training, which is what EA Active uses.  The biggest upside I find to using EA Active is that it's an every day kind of thing (almost).  It's actually set up to work you out for 2 days, then you rest for 1 day and then back to the 2 days of working out, and so on.  Even when I could afford a trainer, the most I went was two days a week, what was I doing the other 5 days of the week?  At best, I was getting on the treadmill, and that's just not enough if your goal is to actually lose weight.  I did lose weight, but no faster than I probably would have just doing weight watchers alone.

With a trainer, I had someone to hold me accountable. They would look at my food journal and ask me what I did when I wasn't with them.  But, what's the worst that could happen? They'd give me a disappointed look.  This time it's different, because if I'm going to work out five days a week, I have to be doing it for me.  I am doing Weight Watchers at the same time, but more to help me keep myself in line with what I eat.  With the new Weight Watchers system I actually find it hard some days to eat enough food.

Working out on a budget, is all about using what you have.  Whatever you have.  If you have a Wii, you can pick up a used copy of EA Active on Amazon for under $20 (and you can probably do the same in a local video game trade in store).  If you don't have a Wii there are still plenty of great free and cheap options for working out, that don't require a gym membership or a trainer and with the weather getting nice, the options are just increasing.

  • Walk the dog (if you have one), if not just go for a walk
  • Go for a hike, find local trails and start wondering them. You'll be amazed at what you'll find.
  • Go for a bike ride (most of us have an old bike in the garage, you just might want to air up those tires first).
  • There are plenty of great exercises you can do without leaving your house 
    • Crunches
    • Push Ups (start out slow by doing pushups against the wall while standing, as you get better, do them with your hands on a chair or the couch, then work your way to the ground).
    • lunges (side and front lunges really work your legs)
    • Walk or run in place.
  • Look for free workout videos on Youtube (there are plenty).
  • Don't have hand weights? Grab a couple of cans of vegetables or bottles of body wash
Whatever you do, don't use money as an excuse not to get a good workout.  The only excuse you have is yourself (and I know, because I was my own excuse for way too long). FWIW, I've lost 2 pounds so far!