Monday, January 17, 2011

saving a buck

i love to save money. but i think the thrifty jean did not make it into my dna.

i don't necessarily spend a lot (my husband may try to argue otherwise. he's lying). i just don't usually get good deals on things. and it's not that i pay full price either. but if i think i am saving a buck?? well, that's all i need to know. places that mark stuff up by $2, only to mark it down $1.50? i think you know where i am going with this.

i. am. a. sucker.

so this weekend i was talking to my sister in law, and when i told her about my blog and all the great giveaways and discount codes that i love getting (shameless plug? maybe. but it really was a part of the conversation), she told me about how she shops.

backstory: my husbands family? the royal family of a good deal. i swear, they know how to get the best stuff and pay the least amount of money for it. i don't know how they do it. i have a theory they have a secret money saving radar planted in their heads......

my sister in law tells me, she regularly goes to the grocery store and comes home with $100 worth of groceries for $15. after i picked my jaw up off of the floor, i asked the great coupon swami to teach me her ways.

she swears it's simple. i assure her that for me? it will not be so. but she reassures me and tells me how she does it.

southern savers is her website of choice. they lay out the adds from several popular grocery stores in the southeast. i know there are tons of blogs and sites out there dedicated to helping busy mommas (and poppas) save a buck. this happens to be the one she uses. she tells me a few ins and outs, and a couple of hints, and sends me on my way.

so today, i decided to put my new found skills to the test. i have to admit, i was oddly excited about it. the thought of spending a little and getting a lot is intriguing.

first things first: i got my coupons in order. i hit up southern savers, the sunday paper coupons and a couple of brand sites, hit print and went in the other room to retrieve my coupons. road block numero uno. the printer is out of ink. ok, so there is $30 i won't be saving, but, have no fear! i have cell fire. i actually already had it, but had no idea what it did. but it was on the site, so i read a little about it, and come to find out, you can load ecoupons onto your kroger card before you go, and your savings are set from the start!

this is how i saved most of my money. but i had a few coupons too.

i gathered my list and coupons, and headed off to the store.

after all was said and done, i saved about $40. that doesn't seem like much to some of you more savvy shoppers i know. but for my first time, i was pretty stoked. some of my better deals:

  • after combining a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon, i got a free burt's bees lip balm
  • i saved $5 instantly by buying 10 frozen items, all of which were only $1 each, so it was like my frozen veggies were all $.50 each.
  • i got $5 off a bottle of tide stain release, making it a whopping $2.99
  • and i got an extra $5 off using a coupon that i didn't get the product with. this i totally did by accident. i meant to get it, then put it back, and forgot to take the coupon out of the pile. i swear. 
it took me about an hour to go through all the clipping and printing and picking out, and i got several things that i probably wouldn't have normally bought. but we will use them, and they were so cheap, i can't really justify not doing it. 

typically, when i go grocery shopping, i stick to the rule of the outside. 90% of my shopping is done around the outside (produce, meat, dairy, deli) and 10% is in the aisles (pastas, breads, cans) this trip, i think i did about 80% in the frozen section, 15% in the aisles and 5% in the outside. i got a lot of things i probably never would have gotten, but i did learn that now hamburger helper makes chicken dinners, and uses 100% whole wheat pastas. i still think it's garbage, but at least it's leaning towards healthier, and it's not bad, so long as we aren't eating it every single night. and for $1 a box, i can't complain. 

and there are some things i will still buy, even though they are not cheap-organic milk, bella's food, and the chicken we use (purdue chicken, because it's hormone free and conveniently packaged). but, if i am saving so much money elsewhere, i think i am still ahead of the game. 

things i have learned:
  • i need to get better organized. i had to keep making sure i hadn't dropped any coupons, and i turned around and went down the same aisles, several times
  • don't take bella. i had to break open a bag of cheese cubes just to get her to sit still long enough for me to check the numbers on the coupons.
  • do my "homework" once bella goes to sleep
i'm pretty proud of myself. joel wasn't really ecstatic, though he was glad i saved a little bit. and christa? i hope i have made you proud. 


Christa said...

I am beaming with pride--- It sounds like a great start, each time will be better --- and the better it goes the more exciting and fun it is! Happy Shopping to you and all your readers!

Tinabelle27 said...

I started following several coupon blogs last year and subscribed to the newspaper to collect coupons. So I know the joy you had! I need to fins a coupon organizer. I'll let you know what I find.

P.S.You need to like on Facebook. I got a great deal on garnier face wipes, only $2!

Justine said...

thanks for the tip!!!

my sister in law said she sees people with binders with like those baseball card holders. i don't know if i am brave enough to walk around the grocery store carrying that, but it sure would be easier!