Monday, February 9, 2009

Saving Money Makes Me Tired

Since I don't have a steady income yet, I've been trying really hard to save money on groceries and regular household items (like "bathroom tissue," detergent, etc.) that can quickly add up when you're not paying attention (like hitting over $100 a week at Wal-Mart sometimes!). But saving money takes time and effort!

I've started by clipping coupons. I've tried this several times before, but it never really seemed to make a difference at Wal-Mart. However, I've been reading a lot of blogs and forums of women who really know how to work the system and they are inspiring! First, I figured that they make their coupons work for them by having an arsenal (and not just one of the same coupon, but several -- and also looking at e-coupons), and then they work the stores that have double and triple coupon days. Then you have to scour the sale ads for the grocery stores and, in conjunction with the coupons, you can come out pretty sweetly. For example, on one blog I read (can't remember which one right now) she recently posted how she went to Kroger and bought about $120 worth of groceries but only paid $30 some odd for them out of pocket. Wow. Truly wow.

Then, there are those that supplement their groceries by using CVS and their rewards card (I'm just starting to try this out, so we'll see how I'll do and let you know).

Anyway, today Brian and I went to the store, with coupons in hand, ready to buy 2 weeks worth of groceries (because they don't usually run the double and triple coupon days every week). I wanted to make my coupons work! Sometimes we had to figure out if it was better to buy the store brand or use the coupon on the brand name. Usually the store brand won out, but there are a few things I won't compromise on, like Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter. MMmmm.... Anyway, all in all I think we did really well. While our coupons only gave us about $12 off, that's still something, and along with the "store savings" (yeah, read that how you will), they claimed on the receipt that we saved about $25 overall. Still have a ways to go, and I don't know if I'll ever get to be as savvy as those other women, but I'm trying. (Oh, and I THINK I got enough groceries for 2 weeks, but sometimes things tend to creep up on you and you go, "oh, I need this from the store." We'll see. ^_^)

But boy, was I tired! I've even heard of families who shop only once a month. I don't know how they manage.

Anyone have any grocery/coupon/shopping tips? Would love to learn something more!


Claudia February 10, 2009 at 8:05 AM  

Good job shopping! I am impressed! Since I shop with two small people, running to separate stores for things and really scouring the ads is a luxury I don't have right now, but I can say this: I have started shopping for a month at a time. Mind you, I still have to go to the store for milk, eggs, and fresh fruit, but otherwise, I just make it work. It takes creative freezer usage, but I find that if I buy larger packages (like of ground beef), and then prepare it (cook it into taco meat or spaghetti sauce) and freeze the portions for later in the month, I 1) save time on preparation later, 2) save money by buying in bulk, and 3)eat more reasonable portions because I don't feel bad about not using it all.
Happy shopping!

christinerains February 10, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

I'd love to learn to to better stretch our dollars, too. I never see many coupons here for grocery stores. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places? Going to Wal-Mart saves us about $20 a trip for the same amount of food from Kroger or Marsh. I would get stuff in bulk if we had the space, but our fridge and its freezer are little. Hopefully that will change soon. ~_^

Charles Gramlich February 10, 2009 at 1:13 PM  

I probably spend more on groceries than I could because I don't pay that much attention to price. we do buy clothes fairly often at the second hand store though, so we save there.

Manda February 11, 2009 at 7:37 AM  

Since I'm unemployed, we definitely clip coupons and such. Scott is actually much better at shopping than I am--or much better at saving, anyway. He gives me a list and sets out the coupons. Also, we check all the weekly circulars for which stores have the best deals on what. Then I hit the stores during the week when it's less crowded. It's a good excuse for getting out of the house, too. I save $30 on average each trip, probably, sometimes more or less. Hey, it adds up! $30 per trip, roughly 3 trips per week--that's almost $100! But you're right, it's a lot of work!

Melinda February 11, 2009 at 9:42 AM  

I try to shop on Wednesday morning. That's when the sales usually start and the stores still have the good deals in stock. I see all the coupon queens out in force on Wednesdays, and if I don't get there early, they buy up all the good stuff. I go to the store once a week. I've tried doing once a month, and even once every 2 weeks, but something usually goes on sale that I need, but I've already bought it at full price! I don't want to miss a good deal! I also stock up on sale items that I use regularly, like canned vegetables, chicken breasts, ground beef, stuff like that.

stephsidestory February 26, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

I have zero tips. In fact, I went to CVS yesterday and I can't figure out the ten-foot receipt that I got back. HELP!

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