It's the end of the month. Which means, I've been trying to pinch pennies all month and cut our spending. When I averaged the last three months, we were at $935 per month for all of our food, paper products, etc. I started couponing and reading about a bazillion money saving mom blogs. It wasn't as easy as it appeared. I learned a lot of what to do and what not to do.
Walgreens and Walmart are strict with coupons. They both had an item for 99 cents. I had a coupon for $1.00 off. They wouldn't honor it because my coupon was more than the item. I told them to honor it for 99 cents. They still wouldn't do it. Makes no sense and completely ticked me off.
Do not print a coupon you don't know if you'll use and then it expires and you wasted ink and paper and time.
Do play the drugstore game. CVS is awesome and are super coupon friendly. They honored my $1.00 off coupon for the 99 cent item without even blinking. I'm shocked at the deals and roll over bucks you can get. I spent $30 at CVS this month. Each time I went, I spent under $10 and saved between $28-$45. I am stocked up on health and beauty aids.
Learn when to cut yourself off. I wasn't out of laundry detergent, yet I bought 3 more bottles because they were only $1. Enough Gina. Unless it's free, I won't buy it again until I'm on my last bottle.
Do shop around. Our nearest grocery store is a 13 minute drive one way. I can't just stop in to get something as I'll waste a gallon of gas doing that. But I have to drive into town to get Ben from preschool 3 days a week. I save my errands up for that time, and I only have Noah with me so it's easier. I shop our three grocery stores for what is on sale. I went in to Safeway last week and only bought 10 Yoplait yogurts that were on sale and I had a coupon (and e-coupon) for.
Do use e-coupons. Go to the grocery stores web page and load coupons on your card. It says online that you can't use any other coupon with the e-coupon, but I've used both together all month and not one cashier even seemed to notice or care. I did this on a few items and made money.
Do save all of your receipts. Even a tiny one for yogurt. I didn't do this and I'd like to know what I actually saved, but I will for next month. I do know that on almost every receipt, I saved more than I spent.
Don't be afraid to take something back. But you need to save your receipt. I realized, I left my coupon for All detergent in the front of my coupon organizer. So, I paid $3 instead of $1. I'll take it back. It's still on sale and I'll buy it again. It'll take 5 minutes of my time and save me $2. It's worth it.
Use what you have in your cabinets (and freezer). I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I have 7 open containers of deodorant. Why? I don't know. 2 were trial size, the rest were various brands. I get low and buy another one. Then, I want to try the new one and I never finish the old container. I do this with everything....hair products, mascara, etc. I'm vowing to finish one before I start another one. I will not be tempted to open my new Secret Va Va Vanilla until my boring powder fresh is finished.
Do get organized. Which I already am, so this was not a problem for me. I enjoy putting coupons in a file folder. It makes me happy.
Do go directly to a companies web page. Cottonelle toilet paper is on sale at my store, but there wasn't a coupon available through the online coupon sites. 60 seconds on their web page and I printed one for $1.00 off.
Saving money is addicting. I spent at least an extra 5 hours a week on the internet learning what the heck I was doing. But, I got a process now and I think it will save me lots of time and even more money in the future.
So, how did we do? After learning our staring point of $935, we definitely shopped differently at Costco and Sams. We got what we needed and weren't persuaded to buy the cute cupcake pajamas for Emily or stuff we really didn't need. I don't plan to spend any money today, so I was able to total everything up for the month.
We spent $481.
Almost 50% was cut from our regular grocery bill.
I'm pretty happy with that.
We were spending $30 a day for our family of 5 and now we are down to $16 per day. That's 3 meals a day, snacks and all toiletries (even diapers) for $16 per day for 5 people. That's like $3.20 each. I think that sounds pretty good.
Next month will be more of a challenge. We are going to San Diego for a week. We are having company for 3 weeks. And my main grocery store will probably go back to no double coupons, so we'll see how things go from here. But, I'm inspired to know that we can and did do better.
3 hours ago