Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Year of Savings

I spent the majority of 2008 learning the art of saving money in the grocery store. I shopped with coupons, waited for sales, searched the internet for some great deals and found myself saving money. I must say that it is quite addictive. It makes me really sad to think about all of the times (before kids, when we had two incomes instead of one) that I would just buy what I needed at the moment and not use any coupons or wait for a sale. I am still no pro, but I always love a good challenge and the store is my battlefield.

We get the Sunday paper and I look at the sales fliers and coupons while the kids are down for a nap. I have started planning our meals around what items are on sale for that week. When I see a good deal, I stock up (this is the reason that I have countless boxes of cereal and Campbell's cream soups). I love shopping the SALE items at Krogers and Publix. Both stores double coupons up to $.50. When you can catch an item as low as $1.00, you are basically getting the item for free. If you know your WalMart prices, you can wait and see if the featured sale item (at Kroger or Publix) will be any cheaper after doubling the coupon. I have found this to be true in most cases. If I need to get something that is not on sale, or hardly ever goes on sale, I usually turn to WalMart. CVS is another great store where you can score countless deals! I always like to wait for the perfect sale and get busy saving. I always hold out hope for one day just not caring and doing all of my grocery shopping at one of the nicer stores, but I don't think that I could waste all of that money now.

When I started doing this last year, I noticed the "you saved _____" printed at the bottom of each receipt. Krogers, Publix and (now) Target prints this at the bottom of your receipt. My goal all last year was to save more than I purchased. I achieved this goal countless times and am still very proud of myself to this day! My favorite was when I saved over $50 at Krogers!

I map out my plan of action first. I have to do this while the kids are sleeping so that I can think. I usually write out the scenario and when I go into the store, I know exactly what I am going to do. The only time that I make purchases back to back is when I go shopping at CVS. Their extra care bucks are awesome and you can get the ones that you need from one purchase and then turn right around and use it on the next purchase (which I do right there in line). I have yet to find a store that doesn't stack manufactor coupons with store coupons. For instance, I always get coupons in the mail from Target for Pampers. When I shop the sale for Pampers, I use a manufactor's coupon in addition to the one from Target. It all equals extra savings.

This year, I have decided to keep a running tally of the money that I am saving at stores like CVS, Krogers and Publix on my sidebar. I also decided to keep up with the coupons that I am using to save money at WalMart. I am hoping to see big numbers at the end of this year.

I can always find the time to save my family some money. Sure, it is exhausting running to several stores a week, but the kids love it. They love riding in the car at Kroger and the big green monster at Publix. I somehow maintain my sanity with 3 kids in tow and somewhere along the way, we all learn a little life lesson. My favorite websites to look at for deals are at Baby Cheapskate and Money Saving Mom. I ran across RetailMeNot the other day while looking for an online coupon for a new backpack for Jack. This website is great if you are buying anything online. Jason and I have used it several times since discovering it.

I just found out about this deal today. If you have bought/buy (12/14/2008 - 1/31/2009) $50 in P&G products, you'll get $120 worth of coupons in the mail. I didn't think that I had spent that much, but after looking at a few receipts, I spent that and then some. I can't wait to get my coupon book in the mail to buy more diapers.


My next project is to see how many meals I can make, half and freeze. I need to read up on all things frozen to see what the do's and don'ts are, but it should be fun! I might end up needing a deep freeze if this goes over well. :)


Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you, and yet dreadfully scared that Kam is going to make me get on the bandwagon.


chesley said...

I admire all you're doing. When I was still at my previous job & had time to peruse the internet & sales ads regularly, I was really starting to get into this. Now, I do what I can, but it's a lot less than it used to be. It makes me sick to not use coupons at the grocery though because I know how they quickly add up.

TARA said...

I love your money saving sites too. They help us a lot. I have the cookbook DINNER's IN THE FREEZER if you are interested in mega cooking, and freezing the portions. I used to do this when the kids were younger. But my freezer is full of all that corn!

Joy said...

That is very impressive, although you are making me feel like such a slacker. I'm so bad about cutting out the coupons (& even organizing them) and forgetting to take them with me! Some days I'm just thankful that my head is attached to my body. I keep trying to blame it on the kids, but maybe it's just getting older. Nah, it's definitely the kids :)

Jason said...

I find your economic thriftiness very attractive. Keep savin' that green, baby!


I could learn a few money saving lessons from you, Sunny. :) One of our resolutions is to get back on a stricter budget and I am actually going to really try to cut coupons every week and stick to our grocery limit. I actually am taking my calculator with me every time now...like I used to. :) I'm not sure I'll ever be as thrifty as you, though. Just can't figure out how you make the time to save as much as you do...maybe I'll get there one day. :)

Supabloggasuprememama said...

OOOOO! gona have to check thse out!

Laura Beth said...

I am very impressed! I am so not there . . . but maybe one day!

LucyP said...

Hey Sunny! One of my best friends from China returned to the US and is part of a community movement focused on saving like this. She even goes to a coupon club! She keeps a blog about the good deals she finds--plus her blogroll has a lot of great sites. She's at www.ourfrugalexperiment.blogspot.com

It makes me wish I could participate--but instead of coupons we just have to practice the art of bargaining--and I'm TERRIBLE at it! Good luck with another year of savings!

Elizabeth Witt Walters said...

I'm assuming you know about the Coupon Mom??