Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Budgets and coupons and savings, oh my!

So, hubby and I have decided to get serious about saving money. He's making much better money at his new job than he was at his last, but that doesn't mean that we can't try and be frugal. Right now my frugal habits are just to quickly browse the grocery store flyers that we get in the mail, sometimes remember to bring it with me when we go to Walmart, and price match one or two items. Yeah, I'll save a quarter here and there, but I know I could be doing more. 

I've been reading through different blogs and forums about the best ways to save money. Some suggestions are great, some not so much (for our family anyway). Some of the tips we already do, like cut the kid's sugary juice with water. Other tips, like cut milk in half with water (??) I don't see working for our family. But to each their own. 

My girlfriend Angie is one of those people who has a billion things in her basement stockpile. Things like shampoo, soap, razors, toilet paper, etc, all bought for pennies on the dollar and most of the stuff she got for free after coupons, register rewards, gift cards, etc. She's talked to me before how to do this, but I've never really given it much thought. I figured I didn't have time for it, it would take forever to figure out, etc. But I found a few cool forums, and they make it sound so simple. Plus, they give you the prices, links to the coupons (or tell you where to find them in the Sunday paper and what date), what rewards you'll be getting back, etc.

Another tip I read was to buy bulk shredded cheese at Costco, divide it out and freeze it. I never knew that they sold shredded cheese at Costco, we always get the huge bags at Walmart for $9. We go through to much cheese in a week, and one of those big Walmart bags lasts us about a week and a half. So I bought it at Costco (so much cheaper) and splurged on name brand freezer bags (purchased with coupon!) and froze it in bags. We've also been making our own laundry detergent for a while, which has lasted us FOREVER. 

I also bought a Sunday paper this past week. And holy crap, it takes forever to cut out all the coupons! I only got through one insert before I stopped. But I don't think I'm going to cut them out in the future. On the different blogs/forums, it'll tell you what insert/date the coupon you need is, and I figure it'll be easier for me to have the inserts whole, instead of digging through hundreds of coupons in a box. 

I'm going to be starting with CVS. Looks like a lot of people either start with CVS or Walgreens. I've made my shopping list, collected my coupons, and I'll be headed over there tomorrow. I don't see the point of buying a hundred jars of mustard or anything that I'll never use, just the stuff I'd be buying anyway, like make up, body wash, dish soap, etc. Is it weird that I'm excited? 

I did have my first official "savings" trip yesterday. Well, hubby did anyway, since he had the car, but I still consider it my success. I gave him a list of what to get (and even took a pic on his cell phone of what to look for), and got all the coupons together. And my score?

I know, I know, not as impressive as the people who get a billion bottles of shampoo for 61 cents, but I was still pretty happy. Especially since it's stuff that we'd buy anyway. Total spent? $1.32. 

The body was was originally $1.97 at Target, on sale for $1.79. I used a $1/2 Target coupon, and two $0.75/1 manufacturers coupons. So those were $0.54 a piece. 

The toothbrush was originally $2.39, but rang up $1.39. I used a $0.75 off Target coupon, and a $0.50 off manufacturer's coupon. Total cost? $0.14. I thought it was going to be more, but I guess hubby found one on sale that I didn't know about? Or the lady didn't know how to ring up coupons, I dunno. At first, she refused one of the coupons since it didn't specifically say "Suave Kids" but hubby pointed out that the coupon did say that all Suave products were included. Good job, baby. 

Are there any tips that you can give? Is couponing something you already do, want to do, or have no interest in? 

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Sam | Away She Went said... [Reply to comment]

I go through couponing phases. I've never gotten $1000 worth of stuff for 80 cents, but I have saved a decent amount on things I'd normally buy. I've gotten kinda lazy, so now I just look up coupons for what's already on my shopping list to see if there's anything. I figure even saving a couple dollars every week equals to over $100 a year saved. I need to get back into it and start stockpiling items - only stuff we'd use though.

Mrs. S. said... [Reply to comment]

I LOVE Target for couponing. Plus I have their debit card so I also save and extra 5%. Great job saving!!