Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bulk It UP!

For some reason, the title of this made me giggle-- I picture a buffed-up weight lifting muscle-man. Kinda funny! :)

Anyway... that is COMPLETELY off topic!

Buying in bulk. Is it worth it? WELL... that's kind of a loaded question. Yes. No. It just depends! :)

So here's my thoughts--

Corey and I have a membership to Sam's Club. We first bought it before we were married and when Tate was just a little peanut. At that time, you could buy a "premier" or whatever it's called membership for $100 and then get a $100 travel voucher towards a travel package from Sam's. There was also the basic $40 membership. Since Core and I were engaged and knew we'd want to have some sort of mini-honeymood, we signed up for the $100 version, knowing that we'd likely get our investment back. PLUS, they do say you can reduce to the $40 version and get the $60 difference at any time. It made complete sense. AND what's even better, is we did use it! :) We had an absolute AMAZING honeymood in San Antonio, Texas, that only cost around $700 with the voucher (not costing the food once we got there-- but that's it!)!!! Quite the bargain, and totally worth it!

Corey and I at the Riverwalk-- our hotel was right on it! SO beautiful!
P.S. We paid in cash too-- such a good decision! :)

Unfortunately, Sam's no longer has that option, or trust me, we'd go for it EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!

But, as I said, we do still have a membership. The $40 version. Why? Well, because we can buy enough diapers to last Tate around (and now that we're sorta potty training him, more than) a month for $40 instead of spending that amount on a two week supply. Plus, while we're there, we can buy corn dogs (for anybody who knows us, they know we love corn dogs-- we had them as an option to eat at our wedding and don't care if it's hillbilly-- it's us!) in bulk and CHEAP, toilet paper (their toilet paper is without a doubt the best EVER and it's SO stinking cheap. We spend SO little on it and it lasts FOREVER!), granola bars (I eat one every morning on the way to work for breakfast!), and other odds and ends. Typically speaking, our bill ends up being around $90 for food that will last us over a month, diapers that last about a month, and toilet paper that lasts three months. Not too shabby.

HOWEVER, if it wasn't for Tate's diapers, it probably wouldn't be worth it. And as much as I hate saying good-bye to unlimted corn dogs for the month, when Tate is finally potty trained (as long as there isn't a Baby Herendeen already!) we'll probably not renew our membership.

Pretty much, the point of it all is that it may be worth it for you. It may not. Make sure you take into consideration your membership fee, your cost of items, and the gas it takes to get there too. For us, Fort Wayne is the closest Sam's, and that's an hour away. If the savings weren't so big, it might not be worth it. Also, take into consideration what's going on in your life. For Corey and I, it was MEGA worth it when we got married-- we bought the majority of food foor our wedding from Sam's, as well as the paper products. We saved a LOT. There's things like that you have to factor in and make sure you're getting the best deal.

And, as a side note, you MUST use cash or debit card when buying at Sam's. I think it's awesome... I'm not a big fan of debt (thank you, Dave Ramsey!) and appreciate them stopping me from being tempted, especially when I can buy SO much for SO little! :)

Anyway... that's my opinion on it-- use your brain and remember that SOMETIMES it's worth it... and sometimes not!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Date Night Dinner... FINALLY!

I'm back! AND, I find it a little ironic that this post is actually a lot like date nights in our household-- put off for far too long! :) I'm going to do my very best to do better at posting more regularly!

But anyway, a long, long time ago I promised to blog a few of the pointers Corey and I have picked up regarding food and how to eat affordably. I covered grocery shopping and the temptation of fast food, but then disappeared for awhile, but the next promised post was to be on date night dinners.

First off, I think it's incredibly important for people to take the time for their relationships. In all honesty, Corey and I aren't always super great at that, especially since I've been working at Alex full time. Both of us find it hard to take time that we could be with Tate for each other since we both spend more time than we'd like away from the little booger. But, with that being said, we are Tate's example of what a relationship should be, and our relationship is definitely better when we take time for each other, too. I think once a month is a good rule to go by-- and this doesn't mean necessarily going out once a month, but reserving time for just the two of you once a month.

So, when your date night comes around, what does that mean for your finances? I think it's absolutely CRAZY how expensive it actually is to go on a nice date. Even if you just go to dinner and a movie, you're looking at probably at LEAST $50. That's a decent chunk of change! Here's my thoughts on the matter:

1.) You don't have to go out to have fun. Don't be afraid to stay home. Cook dinner together. Light some candles and eat on a blanket in the middle of your living room floor. Buy a cheap bottle of wine, dress up, and dance to your favorite song on iTunes. Play twenty questions. Rent a redbox movie (this works REALLY well when you get the free rental codes!). You'll be amazed how much fun you can have being creative with an at-home date night!

2.) BUT also don't be afraid to go out and have fun. There's a lot of ways to go out cheaply. Pack a picnic, go to a park, eat and take a walk. Wait till your city's movie theater has it's discount price night, and go then (or go to the daytime showings when it's cheaper!). When you go out to eat, don't pick the most expensive item off the menu! This doesn't mean you always have to do this, but I think it's safe to say that you won't feel like you've missed anything by choosing these options instead!

And, as a quick P.S., this is also part of my promised post from forever ago-- please please please TIP WELL! There is nothing that drives me more crazy when people tip poorly. I have never been a waitress, but I know they put up with a lot of crap for not a lot of pay. I'm not saying you have to be extravagant, but I think minimum 15% is a good starting point. If they've done a really great job, PLEASE give more! Granted, if they're awful, I do think you should pay less. Personally, I could never leave nothing for a tip. Even if the waiter/waitress only came to take my order and bring my food and had a bad attitute while doing it, I would probably give 10%. Just my two cents! :)

Also, BUDGET. When you're going out, set a certain amount aside, take it out of the bank in CASH, and do not spend a penny more! That way, you won't look at your bank account the next morning and think man, that popcorn was not worth that much! :)

3.) Rotate. Maybe for two months stay in, then the third month go out, and rotate it around. This will give you a little bit of change, but still keep the budget in check.

4.) Think like a high school student. I don't know about you, but being an adult sometimes isn't very enjoyable. I really miss the carefree high school days. So why not live out a bit of your high school memories as a grown up? I think this works really well in the fall. Literally pretend you're going on a date with someone like you did in high school. Who cares if you're married??? Have your hubby drive around the block and still come to the door and pick you up. Go get fast food. Go to a football game. Have a bonfire afterwards. Maybe even make out in the car a little! ;) All I'm saying is don't be afraid to think outside of the box to refresh some of that romance. Don't do the same old same old all the time!

AND most importantly 5.) HAVE FUN!!! :)