Friday, April 01, 2011
It was so worth going by Harris Teeter yesterday on our way back from horseback riding lessons. I got plenty of my favorite diet drinks (yeah, I know, but it's my one major vice) including Propel Zero (was on sale and I had a $2 coupon expiring) and Fruit 2-0 (Was buy 1 get 1 free and I had coupons) as well as Paul Newman's salsas for 50 cents each (got all kinds of yummy sounding flavors including peach, black bean & corn salsa, etc.) and Smart Balance popcorn (13 cents a box).
I got laundry detergent for $2 after the sale price and my coupons which I always try to stock up on since we seem to have dirty clothes all the time. My husband likes to drink decaffeinated coffee at night so I bought some Nescafe coffee sticks and got those super cheap after coupons and as a result of buying those I got a $2 Catalina (those coupons that print out of a little machine at the grocery store) off my next order at Harris Teeter!! Score me!
Today I'm going to finally find time to clean out my small pantry under the stairway and focus on that and searching the house for any more items to take to the last church consignment sale next week.
It feels so freeing to have less clutter although I'm stocking up on some clutter with groceries, but with a 13 year old boy in the house, they seem to go fast, LOL.
The kids took their change with them to Harris Teeter and put it in the Coin Star coin machine and now they each have a nice Amazon gift card (really a printed out piece of paper with a code on it) to use for something they want. My daughter has to figure out what e-book/books she wants for her Kindle as all she has right now are the free ones I added to it as well a game that was on sale at Amazon for 99 cents.
She's too much like me and takes a while to think things over before she makes a purchase. I guess I've rubbed off too much on her because I have taught them to not make impulsive purchases at the store and to think about whether they think they will really use the item or if it will be something they will lose interest with in a few days and then they're stuck with it.
Hopefully they are learning thriftiness from me and it will help them when they are adults and have to create their own budget. I see my daughter having no problem with that, but worry a little bit about my son, LOL.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
I'm going to sound like a hoarder here, but I'm actually stopping by Harris Teeter today although super doubles are over. They still double coupons (up to 98 cents coupons) and they sent me their email flyer with some items on sale that I can't resist. They will literally cost way under a $1 so I'd be nuts to not stop by.
I have coupons to match up with them (that will be doubled) so the items will be dirt cheap. It's on my way when we go to horseback riding lessons, so I'm not wasting gas just for that and it's items I haven't stocked up a lot of (including Smart Balance popcorn that I'm addicted to and can get for around either 7 or 17 cents a box).
I have thoroughly (more than several times) cleaned out my home school bookcase in the living room and now have taken pictures of everything I can possibly feel comfortable selling. It is so much easier to find things that I need to find for our home schooling although there are chapter books I'd love to sell that my daughter won't allow, LOL.
I have only two small cardboard boxes of educational stuff left to sell so I'm thrilled about that! I sold stuff yesterday, which was great and I'm hopeful that at least half of this will be sold by summer.
I've been doing more organizing as I have time, which I have slightly more of since my next church consignment sale (and last one, thank goodness) is not until 8 days from today. I'm going to search my house over to see if there is anything else I can take to that as I don't have a whole lot of items left to take and I get 90% of what sells at this one. Well worth the time to search the house again, LOL.
Since I'm up so early (which I hate that my body keeps waking me up around 4:30-5:00 am in the morning) I'm going to try to list some items for sale online and see if I get lucky on getting rid of more.
I feel I have done a great job of spring cleaning this year better than any other year. Part of that is losing weight and getting rid of clothes that were too big or fit okay but were unflattering, the economy improving somewhat so that people are more apt to buy things, and the fact that I have made it a priority to declutter and get rid of things we really don't need for schooling, day-to-day life, etc.
My mother hasn't sent tons of stuff our way (knock on wood) and I haven't been yard saling (although I really didn't get much that way last year) or thrift store shopping in quite a while. It feels wonderful to be able to see a little headway with purging (by selling) perfectly good items, but realizing that they are no longer needed.
I will be extremely selective when I purchase the kid's school curriculum this summer and will only buy what I know we have time for using. I can't tell you how many times I've bought things that sounded great and we never used. Uggh.... Talk about money lost, but that is the way it goes with home schooling, you can buy things and find out that they don't work out for you, the teacher, or your children and move on to something else that does.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
A lot of the ways I save money are no-brainers and a lot of people do these tips too, so it's nothing amazing or brand new ideas. Ever since I told my husband that I wanted to stay at home with our children when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest, I've been on a mission to save as much money as I possibly can without being a miser.
I may be frugal, but I'm not cheap, LOL! We take vacations occasionally, my daughter takes piano lessons & horseback lessons every week, etc. but almost everything my family and I do or participate in, I make sure I do lots of research first so that I can find ways to save money.
Since we home school I realize that our lifestyle may make it a little easier to get discounts in some regards due to our schedules being a little more flexible, but we still have challenges with finding ways to save money.
My daughter takes horseback riding lessons during the day, once a week, and we got a discount due to us being home schoolers since public school children would be in school during that time so that was a bonus.
I did a search at various home school group sites and other sites online and asked for anyone to email me about piano lessons that were affordable for my daughter and we ended up with a great teacher near us that charged way less than what others were charging per month.
I just can't relax and say I want to get a Kindle for my daughter's birthday for example because there is always that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I could find a way to get something at a lower cost. We had gift certificates that we used to get it at a much lower price and getting those gift certificates didn't cost me anything but my time online.
We took a vacation to Pigeon Forge last year and did quite a bit of events this time, but we also didn't eat out and I spent about an hour looking through numerous sites online for reviews and also went through all the discount coupons/brochures I picked up at the Pigeon Forge Visitor's Center and had mailed to me at my house prior to our going on our vacation to save quite a bit of money.
We rented a very nice cabin where everyone had their own bedroom, we had a hot tub, pool table (something my children love), nice kitchen, jacuzzi, etc. I cooked probably 99% of our meals there since we were so close to attractions that we did participate in. We saved tons of money just by not eating out. The kids were fine with not eating out and spending the money instead on various things that they had never done before.
There were free events or close to free events there as well (we went in November so Christmas decorations/lights were everywhere), Cades Cove was free, hiking was free in the Smoky Mtn. State Park, finding Dolly Parton's statue in Sevierville was free, etc.
We splurged and took a helicopter ride, went ziplining and horseback riding, etc. but those were at a discount and the kids had never done those things before and we wanted them to have great memories and experiences. I did lots of research at sites online before went on vacation to find out what activities were duds and what companies were better than others at the services they provided. When I got it narrowed down, I then did research on discounts and ended up saving hundreds in the process.
We don't eat out (except for special occasions) normally all during the year so those splurges of activities were something we didn't feel bad about. We don't go out to the movies, instead we get movies for free at the library and my husband has recently signed up for Netflix that streams through our Wii.
There's always a fine line between being deprived and being frugal, but I think my family has figured out what works for us and we feel like we're never deprived.
We're lucky that we live near 2 state parks, have access to 3 great libraries near us, and we take advantage of those things that are around us that fulfill our lives and don't cost a thing but our time.
Couponing takes time in my life, but it has saved me so much money a year that it has been well worth the time. We will never run out of toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc. for a very long time and therefore I don't feel the need to pay over 50 cents for each if I see a sale and have a coupon because I have plenty in stock.
I have a great bread store near me that I can get my favorite whole wheat hot dog buns, hamburger buns, sandwich bread, bagel thins, etc. for 99 cents if I can't find a great deal at the grocery store with a sale/coupon.
I feel it's my job to save as much money as I can and stretch our incoming money without depriving my family of fun, necessities, etc.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Several people have asked how I save money at the grocery store and I'm going to post a few things that I do. As many of you know, I'm a stay at home mom who home schools my children and so that means I have to be creative and thrifty with the money we have coming in.
We have to purchase all of our curriculum for school on top of paying the bills that all of us normally do. The one place where I found I could control the amount of money going out was my grocery bill (of course there are other areas) so I will focus on that since that is what some have asked me about.
What I do:
I have a small home with 4 people living in it, so I have been creative in finding space to store my stockpiles of acquired items that I've purchased for pennies or slightly higher. I don't like clutter or the look of it, but with 4 people living here and home schooling as well, I've had to be creative and keep only what I know we really need. If you have a larger home or a nice garage (which I don't), etc. then you're all set for stockpiling (not wasting of course) items.
1) I make sure I purchase at least 2 Sunday papers to get the coupons. They don't put coupons in the paper usually on major holiday weekends so I don't purchase them then.
2) I make sure that I cut out and organize them all in my coupon box (you can also use a zippered binder with baseball cards put inside). This box stays in my car unless I'm working on sorting the coupons or pulling out coupons for a super doubles event, etc. That way I am never without my coupons (very important).
3) I only get 2 sales flyers in my mailbox, so I signed up for the grocery stores that don't send me a physical sales flyer by email and get that delivered to my email box every time a new one comes out.
4) I go to sites like www.hotcouponworld, www.afullcup, www.southernsavers, which are all free, and match up the sales flyers deals with the available coupons I have.
5) I don't generally buy items unless I can get them for dirt cheap although, of course, sometimes I run low on things and have to buy them in an emergency, but that hardly ever happens because I am well stocked up on toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, various sauces & condiments, cereal, etc. That saves money in purchase price as well as gas so I don't have to run to the store because I forgot to buy mustard, shampoo, etc.
6) Our meals are planned around whatever meat and other items I got for dirt cheap. My freezer (just a side-by-side on my fridge) is jam packed with various items I got recently at super doubles at Harris Teeter as well as my fridge.
7) I make sure I have a list of what great deals there at a grocery store I'm going to before I leave the house so that I will know exactly what I need to get while there. I keep my coupons that I'm using clipped with a clothes pin in case they fall on the floor. That way I don't lose a coupon/coupons because they don't fly away and also because I can hear the clothes pin hit the floor. I keep several of those in my coupon box.
8) It takes time, but I clean out my coupon box the day of or day after the last day of the month so I'm not dealing with coupons I can't use. It's a great idea to put the soon to be expired coupons in the front so you can find them and use them if it's a good deal and you don't want to lose out on using the coupon.
9) I print free internet coupons at sites like: www.redplum.com, www.smartsource.com, etc. You have to be careful because some will say that they don't double or triple and you need to find out if your store will indeed double or triple those anyway or not.
10) I suppose the main idea of all these points is that I always buy the Sunday paper (except for major holidays), take time to clip and file them in categories in my coupon box, always take my coupon box with me even if I don't plan to shop that day, I match up items that are on sale for cheap with my coupons, I stockpile free or close to free items so I don't run out and so that I don't have to pay full price for something, I check the sales flyers and the internet sites I mentioned on Point #4 and match up the coupons for great sale prices, and I make sure to purge my coupon box at the end of the month.
It can be like a part-time job sometimes, but I do it when watching television or in the car (if my husband is driving of course, LOL) or while waiting at an appt., etc. and I am organized and ready to go at a drop of a hat to save money for my family and continue to stay at home and home school them and stay within our budget.
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