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Archive for January, 2011

Expectations

So, I got this email about this coupon class that promises to cut my grocery bill up to 75%.  I am like yeah right, and put it out of my mind.  But then I got to thinking about it, and what if she can cut 5 dollars out of my monthly grocery bill,  in 3 months I would have paid for the class and I would have saved 45 dollars in the year.   We were trying to figure out how to pay for Martha to go to private school.   So that was 45 dollars in the right direction.    So I talked to Dave, and he agreed.   So I went to the coupon class.   Well, i left that class even more convinced that coupons don’t work, and Wal-Mart brand will ALWAYS be cheaper than brand name + coupons.   Always.  Always. Always.

However, I saw a news bit about a lady who feeds her family of 7 for 200 dollars a month.   I was feeding a family of 4 on 700 dollars a month.  OMG!  What is wrong with that.   So I was hell bent on trying to figure out this coupon thing.  There HAS to be a way.  But I didn’t have alot of money to make mistakes.   So one night, I sat down with some coupons that the lady said were really good coupons and tried to make the math work.   I started browsing blogs.  And if I didn’t like a blog, i moved to another one that was reference on that blog.   Yeap, I was blog shopping.

I finally came across to (it was then, Publix Penny Pincher) Passionate Penny Pincher.   And she had a super deals to get for the food pantry’s.    And it was all broken down with what coupons would work.   Well I got my math and her math to equal up.   And I went to the store and bought 4 items.   (Remember, I don’t have alot of extra money to spend).   And what I had on paper is what totalled up at the register!  BINGO!

So I continued to shop at Wal-Mart for my weekly groceries, but I started stocking up with great deals at Publix.    I initially got my weekly budget down to 75 dollars a week.   Which was great.  My husband was happy with my savings!   And week after week, that is what I spent.  This went on for months.    Yes, I said Months!   Well you are building up a stock pile, while having to still eat.    So you have to pay full price for things.   Now, I won’t buy pasta unless it is free.   I won’t buy butter unless it is free.  I won’t buy a razor unless it is under dollar!    I have my prices for things.

So one day, I looked at Dave and said, I want to see if we can live off of 50 dollars a week.   You should have seen his eye’s when I said that.   As I could have served them on a silver platter they popped out so far.   Well, I said I would like to give it a try.  And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  Well, we had shrimp that week!  SHRIMP!  I worked out how to afford shrimp into our 50 dollar a week budget!  Fresh Shrimp at that!  I went to the fish monger and asked for fresh shrimp.   I considered this a break thru.   I knew at that point, that I could do this.     At that point, to help me out, I would see what was on sale and make my weekly grocery list from what was on sale.

So basically the point of this post is this.   You are not going to see your grocery bill go down over night.  Stockpiles take about 3 months up to awhile.   There are still items that I am short on in my stock pile.   The point is, set yourself a realistic goal.  And sit down and try to meet that.  There are a ton of spreadsheets that are out on the blogs that will help you figure out (before tax) what your total should be.  (I did mine with pencil and paper, but I am just that kind of girl!)

Don’t give up on Coupons!  They have allowed me and my family so much more freedom!

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First of all, you need to find a coupon friendly store.   Guys, Wal-Mart ain’t it.    There are two reasons I coupon!   1) I absolutely hate thinking about walking into wal-mart.   That is my personal hell.  2) I had to find 500+ dollars a month in my budget to put Martha in school.  So.. groceries were it.    As many of you know, I feed my family of 4 on a weekly budget of $50 dollars a week or $300 dollar a month.  (Please look at the post before this one, to understand that wonky math.  It works, I promise!)

So where do I get all my coupons.    Well, I personally do none of the heavy lifting here.  I let my fingers do all the work.  There are LOADS of blogs (some good, some great, some not so much) out there that tell you what the sale ad is going to look like ahead of time, but also all the coupons that match up with each item in the sale ad!   What more do I need.

I shop at Publix.  I follow 3 blogs faithfully.   http://www.passionatePennyPincher.com/blog   http://www.iheartpublix.com  http://www.southernSavers.com

Iheartpublix is everything you ever wanted to know about publix.   She posts the ads every Monday as well as the coupon matchups.  I already have started to get my computer printables done today for Wednesday when the ad starts.    Yippee!  To find your own blog in your area, go to: http://www.becentsable.net/store-deals/     She lists every state and people who carry blogs for that state.   Be warned not everything is always up-to-date, but it is a starting place.

You can also look for coupons on:  http://www.coupons.com    http://www.smartsource.com (I have issues with this website.  good luck)   http://www.redplum.com  http://www.target.com (becareful though.. Some are store coupons and others are manufacturers coupons.)

I always buy an ALL You magazine at Wal-Mart.  Yes, I know.  I hate the store, but once a month I go in and get an all you.  This month I will probably buy 5 as there are a TON of good coupons.    Don’t worry, I will use 10x amount of coupons than what I paid for the magazine.   It is a well-worth your investment magazine.

You have to find a store that works for you.  I have friends who are strictly Kroger shoppers.  And that is fine.   Kroger’s has great meat sales and produce sales.  I occasionally go in there for free rice.  (If rice isn’t 9 cents or less a lb, it is too much!)   But Kroger makes me panicky.   I don’t know why.  Everything just feels bunched up.  And they are always trying to trick you.   Also they don’t take competitor coupons, where Publix does.    This is a huge help at times.    I just don’t like the way Kroger is laid out as a store.  =/  Personal thing really.

I normally only buy 1 newspaper a week.  Some people say buy 1 paper per person in your house.   And well yeah, I could probably get ALOT more stuff, but I have found my happy place with normally 1 paper.   However, some weeks, I will buy up to 5 papers.   If there is free rice, you better believe I will buy more than one paper.   If there is an oatmeal coupon, yeap.. I will buy more than one paper.     The other day, there were peanut butter coupons and Finish Detergent coupons.   With the Finish Detergent Coupons, I actually got paid (in ECB’s) to take that out of the store!   I paid like 5 dollars Out of Pocket and Got paid back 10 dollars in ECB’s!  Yippee!   (This is a pharmacy deal.. we will get to that another day).

I hope this helps you out a bit.   If you have questions, please ask.

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I don’t normally make a 2nd run to Publix, but I had some REALLY good coupons still to use.  And well, it was warrented.  So here is what I got:

*5 Coffeemate 1.10 each – 3x .75 and 2x 1.00 = .10 or .35 each!

2 Maalox 4.99 each – 5.00 = Free with 1 cent overage each

3 Publix Mountain Splash 2L = .79 each

1 BenGay 4.49 – 2.00 mfr – 2.00 store = .49 each

*2 Power of Fruit Bars = 1.70 each – 1.00 = .70 each

*4 Jennie-O Turkey Bacon = 1.40 – .55 = .85 each

*4 Al-Fresco Sausages = 2.75 – 2.00 = .75 each

*BOGO Prices

So that is what I got for 15.62 Out Of Pocket.  Saved 44.84!

 

So you are probably asking yourself, what in the world is she going to do with 7 things of creamer (Remember I bought 2 the other day) !  For one, I like creamer vs milk in my coffee.  So 5 of those bad boys are in the freezer for when I am ready to use them.  Yes, my freezer and I are best friends.    Power of Fruit is just a nice thing to have on hand when the kids want a nice healthy treat.  It is basically mushed fruit in a pushup.   Gotta love it.  The sausages, well again, they are currently in my freezer.  We will have them one night, when I forget to take something out.  It will prevent me from having to get take out.   And for 75 cents, it is well worth the savings!   Maalox, well who knows when heartburn is going to hit.  I find it is always nice to have on hand.   Dave was just asking this weekend if we had any BenGay in the house.  And I didn’t.   But I do now!   It was 49 cents!   We are set for a year.  So unless it is free, or we go through some serious muscle aches, that should last us and I won’t have to buy it again for a long time.    So the Bacon.   Good Bacon.   Turkey Bacon!   We LOVE us some bacon in this house; however, it is normally a treat.   As I refuse to pay the price at the store for bacon!  Well it has been my week.    Each day I have gone to the store, i have picked up 4 Jennie-O bacon!   It is 85 cents.   I have not seen bacon at that price in the year I have been couponing!  So I have been trying to resist emptying out the coupon dispense sitting right next to the bacon!  It is on sale too!  I mean bingo!

And that is the trick you have to over come with couponing.   When you shop, you normally run in, get the stuff you need, and run out!   Well, with couponing, you won’t shop like that.    And you need to stockpile (not hoard!)  You need to ask yourself, is this something I am going to need in the next 12-18 weeks?   If the answer is Yes and it is on sale, and it has coupons, then woohoo, you have a good deal!

And that is not something that came easy to me.  That is something I struggle with all the time.   Oh snap, that reminds me.  I need to pick up milk for Martha.   doh!   Back to the store I go.      And there are things like that are going to come up.  No matter how much you plan, or collect coupons, life happens.   Don’t fret.     I try to keep to 50 dollars a week for my budget.  Yes, that is everything from toilet paper, to meat, to produce, to dog food, to cleaners.   However, I also budget 300 a month for groceries.  So that gives me $100 extra a month, in case things come up that I didn’t plan for.

So let my type that again.  When I make out my weekly grocery list, I try to keep it under 50 dollars Out of Pocket expenses.   So in 4 weeks, that would total $200.oo.    Which is usually right on the money, however, lets say in week 3 Kroger has this GREAT sale on pork loin!  (I use pork loin for alot.  So that would make me really happy.)   So I won’t have to worry about my weekly budget, I know I got that extra 100.00 for the meat sale!   If no meat sale comes up, oh well.  Life is grand.. More money in the bank!

I hope I made some of my thinking clearer for you.

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A friend wanted to see what I bought for 32 dollars at the grocery store.   I saved over 46 dollars!

1/2 gal. of publix milk -> 1.89

*2 CoffeeMate Creamer -> 1.10 – 1.00 = .10 each

2 Glad Kitchen Garbage Bags -> 5.49 – 3.00 = 2.49 each

1 BenGay -> 4.49 – 4.00 = .49

1.2 lb Bananas => .83

2 Autry Mill Yellow Corn Meal -> 1.49 – 1.00 = .49 each

Goldfish -> 1.00

*4 Jenni-o Turkey Bacon ->  1.40 – .55 = .84 each

2 Band-aid -> 2.39 – 2.00 = .39 each

*4 Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa -> 1.00 – .50 = .50 each

Publix Eggs -> 1.39

*1 Welch’s Grape Juice -> 1.63 – 1.00 = .63

*2 Starkist Tuna (4 pack) -> 1.95

1 Bunny Bread -> 2.39 – .50 = 1.89

12 pack of Mountain Dew -> 3.67

* BOGO item

So there ya go.  I didn’t need alot of produce this week as I still have lots in my fridge.   And I will freeze one of those creamers.   I am thinking about going back to the store to pick up some more of those as well as some more Bengay.

 

 

 

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Well, as you can tell, I don’t type in my blog regularly.  I am going to start to change that.   This year my goal (call it a new years resolution if you like), is to be more positive about myself.   I am always feeling like I don’t measure up.  Or looking at my list of things that I have to get done.   And I just am always feeling like I never accomplish anything.   Then that leads to why even bother as nothing I do seems to ever add up.

So…   I started thinking that I need to start listing the things I do get done.  Not the things I have yet to accomplish.   I am going to set aside 30 minutes every day to write things down.  I started a bit early this morning, just because all these thoughts were in my head, and I wanted to get them down before they vanquished like everything else that isn’t nailed down.

Today, so far, I have managed to:

1) Clean the laundry room

2) Steam clean the floors

3) Eat breakfast.  (This might not seem like a big thing, but normally I don’t make time for breakfast.  How am I going to start to lose weight if I don’t start eating breakfast!!!!  So it is on my list of things I accomplished!)

4) Started working on coupons for the store.  Will finish that shortly!  I am so excited about free chicken this week!    I think we might even have Chicken Parm this week!  — Finished This

5) NEW washer and dryer AND new dishwasher installed in the house!   Yippee!  They look so nice!   This is ther first time we have ever had pedastals for our washer and dryers.   Yes, I had a front loading wash machine before they were “THE thing” to have.

6) Dishwasher looks nice.  I am afraid to say whether or not I like it yet.   We shall see.

7) Went to publix, spent $14 dollars.. No clue what I saved… pretty sure it was in the $40 dollar range!  Yippee!

8) Went to Earthfare.   I had a super duper deal worked out.   Was going to cost me around $3.50 for 1 lb of chicken and 4 things of tomato sauce and 1 roll of paper towels.    Well since the cashier insisted on taking my other cuopons first, and then my store coupon, it totally messed things up.   Oh well. Trying to get over this.  *breathe*

9)Picked up Martha and came home.

10) Worked with Martha on her Dyslexia homework.  /phew.   That is alot of work.   a) kush balls  b) release, focus, and dial exercise.  c) word exercise which consists of deciding what word we are going to work on, looking that word up in the dictionary, discuss the meaning of the word, deciding how we are going to construct that word in picture form, create the letters of the word in clay, mastering the word.

11) Make dinner and scanned most of the groceries.  Still have the Earthfare groceries to scan.

12) Read books to the kids.  We are reading The Lady Bug Girl to Becca and The Magician’s Elephant to Martha.

13) I hope to accomplish before I collapse in bed:

Clean up dinner.   Clean up moon sand.   Get violin stuff ready for school tomorrow.   Put away groceries. Put in load of clothes.  Hope to dump them into the dryer.   Hope to get a posting up on craigslist for a Washer/Dryer, stove top, and a wall oven.

 

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