Vanquishing My Debt

I'm 29 and trying to get a handle on my finances so that, one day, I can buy a home of my own. I've been reading personal finance blogs recently and decided to start one chronicling my own struggles and success (hopefully). I am lucky, considering the amounts of debt and tales of tragedy I've read about... but I am making some positive changes and moving in the right direction.

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cheap prescription eyeglasses

I found this website through Slickdeals, and I'm planning on ordering a pair for myself to test the quality. I wear contacts most days, but I was looking for some fun new glasses to wear on the days when my eyes need a rest - I'm thinking of buying either the purple or red plastic frames. For a total of about $15 including shipping, I'm willing to try them. They have a decent selection of metal frames as well as plastics, and each frame can be ordered with darkened sunglass-type lenses, as well as to other specifications. You also get a free hard case with each pair of glasses you order.

This seems like it would be really great if you have kids that constantly lose their glasses - why keep buying expensive eyeglasses if you don't have to? My cousin lost something of his almost everyday when we were kids, so if you have a kid like him, definitely give this site a look.

And no, this isn't a referral link. :)

$7.99 Cheapest Prescription Eyeglasses available online at
Secure Online Ordering, 30 Days Money Back Guarantee, High Quality Prescription Eye frame and Branded Prescription Lenses.
Ships within 24 hrs of ordering.
Complete Prescription Eyeglasses for $7.99:
Quality Eyeframe Starting from Just $1
Hard Coated Plastic Lens for $6.99
Free Hard Case
Ships within 24 Hrs, 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.
Please Note: The lenses with sphere greater than (-) (+) 8.00 or cylinder more than (-) (+) 4.25 Are not stock lenses and hence cost more to be custom produced in lab. So, we have to charge extra $14.99 for these lenses.

Friday, October 13, 2006

How many of you buy coupons online?

I'm an avid couponer, but I usually don't buy brand-name products unless there's a spectacular coupon or sale, or preferably both. But sometimes I'll see a great coupon in the Sunday paper and think, "Wow, I wish I had lots more of these." Ebay is my answer.

I just bought 20 coupons for Tidy Cat litter off of Ebay for about $3, including shipping. Each coupon is good for $1 off 1 bag, any size, any variety. If I shop at Ralphs, where they double coupons, I'll save $2 per bag... bringing my total to about 60 cents for a 10-pound bag. So spending $3 on Ebay has saved me $40 in future purchases on something I have to buy as long as this wretched creature is alive. (Yes, it's R's cat - how'd you guess?) They expire in about two months, but since it's non-perishable, I'll just stock up before they go expire... so we'll just have mounds of carefully hidden cat litter in our garage.

How many of you do the same? If you don't buy coupons online, why not? What kinds of items do you buy coupons for?

And if you actually sell coupons - where do you get so dang many of them?!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kashi Granola Bars $0.69 After Coupon at Target

This is one I found on

Boxes of Kashi brand granola bars are now on sale at Target for $2.69. Go here and print out a $2 off coupon, bringing your total to 69 cents a box. It looks like the site only permits you to print out 2 coupons per computer, but if you want to get industrious with a copy machine, do your thang.
It's also possible that these products may be marked at different prices according to region, so this isn't a guarantee.
These would make a great contribution to a food pantry or shelter, so please keep that in mind. :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

How I'm spending our grocery money

An online friend had asked me how I spend $40 a week on groceries for 2 adults, 3 meals a day, so I figured I'd start posting what I'm spending my money on.

- First of all, almost everything I buy is either on sale or I have a coupon for it... or the best option of all, both.
- I'm also a big believer in stockpiling items when they're on sale, which means I have a brimming freezer full of chicken breasts and a makeshift pantry of staples such as rice, flour, pasta, pasta sauce.
- I also shop at several different stores on the way home, although Ralphs is my favourite because they double coupons - which I keep in mind while reading the grocery store advertisements each week.
- I am also a huge supporter or, which lists the best deals to be had at area supermarkets by combining sale items and coupons.

Store #1 - Trader Joe's $8.76 total
1 loaf of bread
1 box of cereal
2 boxes of snack crackers

Store #2 - Vons $10.87
1 bottle of apple juice - on sale
1 jar of chili - I had a register coupon for a free jar
2 green bell peppers - on sale for $1 a pound
1 package of mushrooms - on sale for $1
one bag of mini carrots - on sale for $1
3 heads of garlic
3 avocados - on sale for $1 per avocado
Total saved - $8.65

Store #3 - Ralphs - $18.70
1 bag of salad - on sale with coupon
4 packages of sliced cheese - on sale
1 package of lunch meat - on sale
1 package of butter - on sale
1 container of eggs - on sale
1 package of Chips Ahoy cookies - on sale
Total saved - $9.56

I'll probably go a few dollars over my limit today, by buying several sale items with coupons at Ralphs on my way home - cat litter, more apple juice, and more chili (I have more register coupons for 2 free jars). R is responsible for buying cat food and litter, so that's something I don't deal with - unless I can get a great deal, like today.

For breakfast this week we're eating oatmeal (purchased last week at Ralphs for $1 a canister, on sale), which we make with apple juice instead of water for added flavor. So breakfast for 2 people is costing us basically $3 this week. On the weekends, I usually make pancakes from scratch, which is very cheap.

R likes to have the same lunch week in and week out - a cheese and lunchmeat sandwich, baby carrots, crackers, and sometimes soy yogurt (not this week, babe - sorry!). Sometimes we'll steam veggies in the morning to pack, too - this week it's brocolli, which was on sale last week for $1 a pound.

This week I'm taking burritos with black beans, chicken, rice and cheese - all of which we had in the pantry and freezer. We have some apples left over from last week, too.

Dinner will have a salad for several nights, and I'll be leaning on previously purchased foods for the main portion. Frozen chicken, veggies, pasta, and I sometimes make bread from scratch. Italian food, Mexican food and Chinese food can be made with these ingredients.

The hardest thing about this venture was stockpiling pantry foods and freezer foods for the times when money is tight. And I've learned how to cook from scratch, which saves a lot of money! I think the turning point for me was when I reading "The Tightwad Gazette" and the author talks about how buying bulk potatoes is the cheapest option instead of buying instant mashed potatoes, frozen french fries, tater tots, hash browns, etc. I realized that I can make this stuff - and a lot of it turns out a heck of a lot better tasting than the store-bought versions!

It takes me time each week to read the advertisements for the different supermarkets, visit, and clip the appropriate coupons - maybe an hour at the most - but it's completely worth it.