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Posts tagged with: coupons

The Best $0.46 I spent this Christmas

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How many of you are members of rewards programs at the different stores you are shopping at this Christmas?  Go ahead and raise your hand, we can’t see you.  I think I’ve mentioned before different earnings I’ve gotten from the rewards programs.  I am members of a ton of them…only free ones.  And this month I’ve gotten lots of freebies or special coupons because it’s my birth month.

I mentioned that Christmas was going to be very learn, even non-existent from me in regards to actual purchased items in my last post. Then I collected our mail before we headed out of town.  And there it was a $10 coupon to Dick’s Sporting Goods, no minimum purchase required.

Princess and I dropped Gymnast at the local gym for his practice and ran across the street to the store.  I ran right to the clearance rack in the boy’s section and found my $10.46 pair of gym shorts for little Gymnast.  I paid $0.46!

I should have taken a picture, but I rushed back to wrap them.  They are white.  I would never buy white, even though he’s begged every time he gets new shorts .  But I figured at $0.46, if he ruined them, I wouldn’t cry too much.  Now he will have 3 pairs of shorts to work out in (he’s going to the gym 20 hours a week.)   A great blessing since we don’t have a washer and dryer so keeping him in clean shorts daily can be a challenge!

Tell me about your shopping win this Christmas season!  (I will post a picture of him in his new white shorts when tries them on after Christmas!)


Need to grow a back bone!

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Everyone now knows how we’re trying to cut back on eating out (we went over budget in this category last month – budgeted $75 but spent $110). So when a friend suggested we meet for lunch, I told her I was trying to cut back eating-out and we decided to go to the mall instead. She had something she needed to buy and I am absolutely fine with window-shopping (shopping is not a weakness of mine).

So we walked around chatting and catching up a little and one of the stores she wanted to go to was Express. When we got there, she pulled 2 coupons out of her purse for a free $15 (no minimum purchase, but non-sale items only). She handed one to me and said to use it because it was a free $15 that would go to waste. I said, “no thanks” but she insisted.

I wanted to find something less than $15 because I could just get it for free (the coupon allowed this). So I’m walking around the store and looking at price tags and everything is WAY more than $15. I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve been but everything just seemed so much more expensive than I remember!?! Shirts and tanks were way more than $15 and even all the costume jewelry was too expensive (I’m talking, $30+). There was literally not a single non-sale item in the store for $15 or less. So finally I find a pair of tights that cost $20 (I would get $15 off and still have to pay an additional $5).

I’m standing in line thinking how I don’t want to spend this money, and I don’t care about the stupid tights, and how did I get in this situation? I’m thinking about how annoying its going to be when I have to come back to the mall and return these tights because – for some reason – I suddenly have no backbone and can’t just put the tights down and say, “NO!”

And we get to the cash register. And it turns out the tights were on-sale so the coupon couldn’t be used.

I was SOOOO thankful because it gave me the excuse to just walk away! I turned to my friend, handed back the coupon, and said I hadn’t even really cared about the tights anyway.

How ridiculous is this? I was literally planning out when I would have time to come back to the mall to return these tights while I was standing in line waiting to buy them!!! What’s wrong with me!!!


Free Gas

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Remember when I told you guys about how I Save On Groceries?  Well today I wanted to show you what it is like.  I spent a total of $45.00 during the month to get this deal.  Giant Receipt

Now granted about $15 of this was used on things I really didn’t need.

But the question remains… Would you spend $45 to save $111?


A Peek Inside My Newest Venture

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Cereal Galore

 

Can anyone guess how many boxes are here?  How about how much I paid for each?  One thing I always preach to friends and family is there is one sure fire way to make $100 extra a month.  And that is to save $100 from the money you already have.  Like Hope, who will find an extra $30 a week from cutting out soda in her life.  And Ashley, who found a way to cut her car insurance and save money.  For me, I like to coupon.

Personally I spend between $300-$500 a month and I get at the very least $1200 worth of products each month.  Most of the time it is like $1500-$1800.  This picture alone retail value is at least $560.  That is going off that they are $4 a box.  So this new business venture you ask?

Arbitrage!

Now I won’t go into detail about this for I will be have an introduction post to this on my blog when it launches (which is one month away!  eek, gad),

Someone asked me why I wasn’t planning to increase my pay if one of my ventures panned out, this is the reason why.  I want to be able to able to put in all the money I make off this venture back into the business to be able to increase my inventory quickly and steadily.  Now this isn’t to say that I won’t take the money once I get to a point, but I haven’t made it a goal to do just yet.

Now I might get criticized about this, and I am prepared for it.  I do plan to add to my emergency fund, hit debt head on, but I won’t let this hurdle stop my entrepreneur spirit.  I won’t go into more debt from it, for I swore I wouldn’t use any cards to fund this project.

I was thinking about doing a weekly update on my own personal shopping trips and what I got and for how much.  If anyone is interested in seeing this let me know in the comments!


Real Food Passion

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I am going to start this Monday with a little pat on my own back.  With all of this divorce stuff since September 1, I am proud to report that the kids and I have stayed the real food course.  While we have certainly had slips, we are definitely not anywhere near where we were pre-real-food plan.  I’m even prouder of the fact that I continue to be able to feed us real food AND shave money off of our grocery budget.  Of course with only three of us and no big eaters in the group (DS will be 13 in December and we’ve already seen some major growth spurt food consumption but for now he’s eating normally), the food budget was bound to decrease.  But, by keeping it real and making so many things from scratch, the food goes a long way.  As of right now, I’m spending $75 on groceries each week.  $300 per month!!!  And on REALLY good stuff!  That’s just awesome!!!!

I read an article recently that might help me shave even more off the bottom line.  The article was about how much food we waste in this country.  Apparently there’s a documentary out there called “Dive!” that follows a group of friends as they “dumpster dive” for food discarded by grocery stores.  I haven’t seen the documentary but the statistics shared in the article are pretty alarming with some 40% of American food going uneaten each year!  The estimated cost of that food is $165 billion!  We’ve all bought too much and don’t have time to eat what we buy so we end of trashing it so I like the tips shared to help prevent waste.  I follow 3 of the 5 suggestions.  I do not shop hungry, I do not buy something just because it is there and I  make a meal plan.  The two suggestions I’m going to try to incorporate now are to “divide and conquer.”  That means to divide up packages of food into smaller servings so that you can freeze smaller portions and use when you need.  I used to be good about this but have fallen out of habit.  Then the idea of buying bulk with a friend.  Now that we are family of three, we don’t have a Costco membership.  I didn’t see the value in buying so much stuff when we won’t use it all in a reasonable amount of time.  Although things like household products can be saved forever, I’m not really in a position right now to spend a lot up front even if it is a better “per item” cost.  But if I find someone to split everything with then we might be in a much better position.  The article also suggests splitting the cost of the membership.  I like that idea! 

I’m STILL couponing but just for toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning products and the like.  That’s a huge area for savings though and I’m seeing the added benefit of taking the time to do that. 

The best part of all of this is when DS said to me last week “Thanks for still feeding us real food Mom.  I thought that when Steve left it would be too hard for you to do by yourself.”  🙂   That makes all of those Sundays in the kitchen worth it! 

Have a Magnificent Monday!


Basic Couponing

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I believe I have formed a habit on using coupons on things like laundry detergent, toothpaste, toilet tissue, trash bags and other household type items.  With all the cooking I had to get real about how much time I could spend couponing so focusing on these things helped.  Plus, with the “real food” I don’t buy the food items that have coupons (I know, I know…you told me so!) I check www.coupondad.net each weekend and make a short list of those items I can get a deal on and then throughout the week, as time and routing permits, I stop in to Walgreens, CVS and sometimes Target.

Yesterday, I was able to stock up on sensitive formula toothpaste (5 tubes), body wash (6 bottles), laundry detergent (2 bottles for 30 loads each)–all for $20.  While that isn’t extreme couponing, it is a savings and every bit counts!

Remember when I tried to make my own laundry detergent?!  I’m still laughing at that one!  I think that’s when the co-workers were most concered about me…when I shared that adventure!  One of them really cracked me up with the comment:  “I’m worried you are going to walk in Amish!”  (Please don’t take offense to that Amish comment if the Amish are somehow near and dear to your heart…you get the funny point there).  The laundry detergent thing definitely didn’t work for us even though it really would cost so little.  The various recipes I used always ended up chunky and just didn’t get the laundry clean.  I’m sure it is user error!

I’m getting more comfortable with our new routines and habits and have enjoyed cooking great real food today.  I started at 11 am and finished at 3:30 and have all 5 meals ready for the week, lunch items ready, 3 loaves of super easy artisan bread  (http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4GYIYK/www.makeandtakes.com/warning-easiest-recipe-for-homemade-bread/).  This bread is so easy and so yummy–I made ours with whole wheat flour so more water was required.  Such a great feeling of accomplishment to have all of the food ready!  And I was careful in my recipe selection this go ’round to make sure it wasn’t a 12 hour day in the kitchen.  4.5 hours in the kitchen today will save me about 10 hours this week!  That’s a good trade off!

 


A New Month!

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April will kick off the first month that we will feel the positive impact of the elimination/reduction of a few monthly debts and expenses.  With these adjustments we will see an extra $400 this month–NOT including my raise that hits on Friday, April 6.  My husband is doing an excellent job of stopping me from counting those chickens before they are hatched..but MAN does my brain go there each and every time we discuss $.   I wish you could see how excited we are about putting that toward debt!  After I finish up this post we have set aside time this evening to review the various approaches to paying things down–including those you have posted in your comments–so we can finalize the approach.  We’ve been talking about it since I started blogging, but it is time to make a decision since we have the money to pay!  Here’s to financial communication!   We are looking at shaving off another $100-$200 in monthly expenses so in addition to the little stuff we are doing what we can on that side of the ledger too.

Speaking of the little stuff…I tiptoed into the world of couponing today.  I was very deliberate in my approach and managed to save a total of $32.  I only went to Walgreens and CVS and purchased regularly used allergy medicine (that alone usually sets me back $20), my usual coffee, toothpaste, toothbrushes, Easter treats for the kids, jello pudding mix and 4 boxes of regular Rice Krispies.  I used my usual spending amount and didn’t dip into what sits in the account which is the only way I will do this.  All of these are items that we would have bought anyway–but at FULL price.  So I say… yippee!

 

 


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