Monday, May 31, 2010

Is May Really Over?

I hope that you all had a very blessed Memorial Day and that you remembered those who have served our country and given the ultimate sacrifice. I know we pray for our nephew every day as he fights for our country.

As for us, we had a great day with friends and sharing a meal. What's more fun than giving and sharing?! Not much :)

I did make it to Harris Teeter this week but I didn't pick much up since it's the end of the month and I will be gone for June (my hubby will be here but he'll buy his own food :) ).

Here's what I picked up:

I spent: $30.31
And saved: $35.43

A few good deals:

Edy's Dibs (yum!)
- regular price: $3.99
- sale price: 2/$5.00
- used 4 $1.00/1 coupons from S 5/2
- final price: $1.50/each

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Microwave Popcorn
- regular price: $5.19
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used $1.00/2 coupon from S 5/16
- final price: $2.10/each

For more great deals check out the Grocery Game

As for my meal plan - it's a simple week since we'll be traveling on Saturday and I want food gone from my pantry :)

Monday - grilling out with friends
Tuesday - Pork Roast with broccoli and rice - it was on sale :)
Wednesday - Spaghetti
Thursday - Moms of Multiples Dinner/Meeting
Friday - Leftover and whatever - NOT cooking :)

I'll have to do the end of the month recap tomorrow - don't have my totals tonight!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Challenge Your Giving

I didn't intend to take a week off from blogging but it just kind of happened that way :) I just haven't done a lot of shopping this week. I did get to Harris Teeter once more before Super Doubles end but it wasn't till Tuesday. I also hit Walgreens for their great diaper deal and Target for some cheap Wheat Thins (I was already going there I just added it to my list - I certainly do not advise running from store to store to save a dollar - I save so much at Harris Teeter I'm happy to pay the extra dollar from time to time - after all they're in business to make money and I'd like to keep them around if I can!!)

So, what have I been doing?

I've been reading one of the best books ever on money. It's Randy Alcorn's Money, Possession and Eternity. Want to challenge your perceptions on giving? Read this book. Wow! We already tithe 10% but Randy's challenge is to go above and beyond. God sees what you give away but He also sees what you keep and what you do with it.

What are we building for God's kingdom? What are we sharing with the world? Even when we are broke or cutting pennies we still have more money than most of the world.

Want to challenge your spending and your giving? Then read this book. It's changing my life and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Want to read more? Check out Amazon

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dollar Doubler Week At Harris Teeter

I've got to see this week at Harris Teeter wasn't that exciting. You'd think with Dollar Doubler that there would be tons of deals to be had but there really weren't.

This is what I picked up:

I spent: $43.32
And saved: $43.57 (exactly 50%)

I did make some budgetary adjustments for the month of May for a couple of reasons:

1. BJ's helped with snack foods but not with meals - proof that warehouses cause you to overspend in more ways than one. With tonights purchases I hit my $400 budget for the month and it's only the 19th! I also know that I'm going to need at least a few more groceries before month end.

2. I am providing meals for 3 other families and having another family over on Friday night thus all the canned goods :) I've decided to make Taco Bake for everyone - the chicken was on sale for $.39 a pound (I actually got 2 packs but one is hiding behind the other). Add in some on-sale canned goods and I can make a great meal for lots of people without costing me a lot of money and since the meal is freezable then anyone can store it for however long they want - win-win!

3. We are going to Florida next month and I have to adjust our budget for that - both for travel and feeding us in Florida and Kirk here - it's a big job :) Fortunately my parents do provide some of our food so I shouldn't go over budget but I did allow myself $600 for now until the end of June including our trip.

The few deals to be had:

E-Vic Special was Red Baron Pizza
- regular price: $4.99
- sale price: $3.97
- eVic price: $2.97
- used $1.50/1 coupon from S 4/25
- final price: FREE

I also had a eVic special in my e-mail for Classico Pasta Sauce
- regular price: $4.99
- special price: $2.99
- used $1.50/1 coupon from S 4/25
- final price: FREE

Carefree Liner
- regular price: $1.49
- sale price: none
- used $1.00/1 coupon from S 4/25
- final price: FREE (no overage - computer automatically adjusts)

Lysol Wipes
- regular price: $3.35 each
- sale price: $3.00
- used 3 $1.00/1 coupon from S 4/25
- final price: $1.00 (since I was getting quite low on Lysol Wipes I was thrilled to stock up again)

For a few more deals check out Southern Savers but be sure to check the Grocery Game on Sunday because I'm betting there are more deals to be had. Okay mostly I'm just hoping because this week was kind of anti-climatic.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Is Couponing Selfish?

A few months ago someone commented (anonymously) that I was acting selfish because I had purchased a large number of items using coupons. It got me to thinking.

Is it selfish to coupon?

Well, is it selfish to go into a grocery store and buy 20 boxes of pasta? What if you don't leave any on the shelf? Is it selfish if they are full price or only if they are on sale?

How many coupons can you use and not be considered selfish?

I admit that it is frustrating when people come in and clean out the shelves to get the best deal for themselves. I know you can but do you have to buy an entire year's supply of dish detergent in one shopping trip or clean out all the mac and cheese because it's been marked down or take all the water that's a really great deal and a money maker?

The truth is we're all trying to get the best deals that we possibly can and unfortunately at the store (any store, any sale) it's first-come; first-served. The stores don't care if they sell a hundred boxes to one person or a hundred people.

When I shop I am stocking up for my family and I try to be reasonable. To you it may look like a hoarding of cereal but to me it looks like 2 weeks worth of breakfast. It's actually quite rare that I can stock up past a few weeks because of how quickly we can go through food.

So is it selfish to buy 10 boxes of cereal at a time?

Guess it depends on your perspective. To me anyone can be selfish. I wouldn't begin to say that couponers are exempt and there aren't people who try to cheat the system and hoard things for themselves. But it's no different in any part of life.

However, I often find couponers to be very generous people. For the most part we find deals and we share them. If we didn't there wouldn't be blogs on the subject. I know lots of people who love to coupon and rather then keep it to themselves they excitedly share with everyone they know. That doesn't sound selfish to me.

Those of us who get our food at rock-bottom prices find it easier to donate to food banks and relief efforts because doing so doesn't effect us as much financially.

Ultimately, the best way to not be selfish is to think of others first. Sometimes those others are the shoppers coming behind you and sometimes those others are the families you're trying to feed - usually your own; sometimes other families.

Do evaluate your purchases. Do you really need it? When I buy 10 boxes of cereal, yes, I really need them. When I buy 10 tubes of toothpaste or 10 things of deodarant I don't really need them. Sure I will evenutally use them but it will take a LOOONG time to go through them and generally the item will go on sale again before I actually need it.

Be considerate when you shop but believe me I don't think couponers are any more selfish than anyone else.

What about you? Do you think couponing is selfish or can some couponers just be more selfish than others?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Harris Teeter This Week (5/12) - Great Meal Deal

Of course I was just running for a few deals and ended up loading up my cart :)

Wasn't too bad when this is what I got:

And this is what I spent: $43.14
And this is what I saved: $58.04

A few sales were too good to pass up like stocking up on cheese and hot dogs. But I also loved the meal deal. You buy 2 DiGiornio Ultimate Pizzas (at $7.99/each) and you get Mozzarella Cheese Sticks ($7.15); Harris Teeter Ice Cream Sandwiches ($3.69) and a 2 Liter of Coke ($2.19) FREE - so couldn't pass that up :) We'll be having all that for dinner one night.

There's also a General Mills deal where you buy 10 boxes and get $4.00 off (or $0.40 off each item) - if you do it right you can get your cereal pretty cheap. The HT I went to will not double coupons that read "Do not Double or Triple" and they're very strict about it (I have two Harris Teeter's here - one doesn't care and one does - it's very store specific even though I believe there store policy is not to double a coupon that states it should not be doubled). I say that to say my cereal was about $0.85 a box whereas you could go cheaper with the right coupons.

I suggest you head to Southern Savers to get all the coupon match-ups - some of my coupons happened to come out of muffin boxes I already had :)

And, if you haven't heard next week at Harris Teeter will be SUPER DOUBLES where the store will double all your $1.00 to $1.98 coupons - this is a great way to stock up cheap so be sure to plan ahead :) I know most of the rest of my monthly budget (which sits at just $85 left right now - ouch!) will go to stocking up there next week. That and some pork tenderloin and milk at Harris Teeter this weekend :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Great Week At CVS

I've said the best way to start playing the CVS "game" but it's also a really good way to keep going. Regardless of what you actually need it's a good idea to pick up what is free at CVS. If you can't use it then please donate it - lots of places need personal care items like toothpaste and deodarant and even if you don't need diapers I'm sure you know someone who does!

I went through the line twice to roll my Extra Care Bucks :)

Trip #1:

I spent: $2.59 (using $7 in ECB's from last week)
And saved: $10.78
And earned: $11.99 in ECB's (they were all money makers)

Trip #2:

I spent: $4.80 (using the $11.99 from Trip #1)
And saved: $22.99
And earned: $9.00 in ECB's

The deals:

Crest ProHealth Toothpaste
- original price: $3.89
- sale price: $3.50
- used $1.00/2 from PG 5/2
- earned: $7.00 in ECB's
- final price: FREE/money maker $1.00

U by Kotex Liners, Pads or Tampons
- original price: $4.99 (not on sale)
- used $1.00 off 1 from S 4/18
- earned: $4.99 in ECB's
- final price: FREE/money maker $1.00

Hydro 3 Razor
- original price: $8.99 (not on sale)
- used $5.00 off 1 coupon from S 5/9
- earned $4.00 in ECB's
- final price: FREE

The Veet has a couple of different options and printable coupon. For that and a lot more match-ups check out Southern Savers. I know I'm headed back there tomorrow for some more :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Planning Monday 5/10

Today is my 14th anniversary (and yesterday was Mother's Day) so this week is a little different. We didn't go out to dinner tonight because we were painting the family room (my anniversary gift and I LOVED it!!) but I'm saving my out to dinner night for later this week :)

Here's my menu plan for this week - kind of basic though we did try a new recipe tonight that was very good!

Monday: Chicken BBQ Sandwiches w/ Mac and Cheese - used my own mac and cheese recipe but it was still good :)

Tuesday: Mini Meat Loaves with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans - family favorite that we have a lot - or at least whenever I have I have ground beef in the freezer

Wednesday: Shepherd's Pie - same thing - I use the leftover mashed potatoes

Thursday: Either chicken stir-fry or chicken ceaser salad - haven't decided yet but will be using the Perdue chicken short cuts for dinner

Friday: Out to eat - yea!

Saturday: Leftovers unless we have some friends over then I will have to make something :) Hoping for the guests over the leftovers.

As for grocery shopping this week I went twice to pick up a few things. No picture since there wasn't much there and it was mostly just ingredients for our dinners along with a few deals.

I spent: $21.75
And saved: $20.13

Best Deals:

Totino Pizza Rolls
- original price: $2.19/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 3 $0.35 off 1 coupon from S 4/18
- final price: $0.40/each

Pert Plus For Men
- original price: $3.65/each
- sale price: $2.50/each
- used 2 $1.50/1 coupon from S 5/2
- final price: $1.00/each

I know there are some great e-Vic specials this week but I haven't gotten there to pick them up - maybe tomorrow. Check out Southern Savers for the match-ups.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Stamp Out Hunger Tomorrow 5/8

I meant to post this yesterday but didn't get around to it! Tomorrow is Stamp Out Hunger day.

Tomorrow you can leave non-perishable food items next to your mailbox and your mail carrier will pick them up and deliver the food to local food banks or pantries.

This is such an easy way to donate food and if you've been stocking up I'm sure you have extra food in your house that you got for little to no money - what a great way to spread the wealth and help others out.

Items they would like you to donate: canned meat, fish, soups, juice, canned vegetables or fruit, pasta, cereal and rice.

Do not donate items that have expired or are in glass containers.

For more information visit Help Stamp Out Hunger.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Little Things At CVS

I did make it to CVS last week but it never got on the blog - I apologize. But I did get there tonight for this week and figured I'd share even though it's small.

Here's what I got:

I spent: $3.22
And saved: $11.30 (used $6.00 in ECB's from last week)
And earned: $7.00 in ECB's

The deals:

Colgate Total Toothpaste
- regular price: $3.89
- sale price: $2.99
- used 2 $1.00/1 coupons from S 4/25
- earned $2.00 ECB's back for each tube ($4.00 total)
- final price: FREE

Aleve Tablets
- regular price: $6.49
- sale price: $5.99
- used $1.00/1 coupon from S 5/2
- earned $3.00 ECB's
- final price: $1.99 (considering I found a bonus pack with free 24 count I thought this was a great deal!)

For more deals check out Southern Savers - though some of the match-ups I didn't see and they were completely out of floss. Not surprising though - I tried to go on Saturday only to find out that my CVS no longer starts their sales on Saturday (ugh!) - and there were only 3 packs of floss there. I'm sure they were cleaned out of floss on Sunday. But hey, it's just floss right? Seriously, you can live without it :) Kidding, kidding, I know it's good for you I just never seem to get around to it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is It Cost Effective To Shop At Warehouse Clubs?

When I talk about couponing a lot of people say they use warehouse clubs and find them to be cheaper than grocery stores. This trip was actually our first in at least six months because I've been stocking up at grocery stores but for this month I chose a little bit of convenience :) Partly because we needed some things and partly because it's the last month of school and I'm tired of figuring out their lunches!

Yesterday my husband went to BJ's for me. Here's what he got:

He spent: $96.12
And saved: $28.00

Obviously not a huge savings :) But the real question is "is it cheaper to buy in bulk?"

Most of what Kirk picked up we price checked together while on the phone :) He'd call with a list of prices and I'd say yes or no depending on what the cost was in the store. For example, ground beef was $3.00 a pound which is well over what I would pay in a store sale so he didn't pick it up but Goldfish is THE best deal I can find on Goldfish at $6.99 for a 58 oz box! I have beat this once in my couponing days - there are almost never coupons for Goldfish so the box at BJ's is a great deal.

The rest of what he bought he used store coupons for. I often get booklets from BJ's for $10 off if you buy 5 or $5.00 off if you buy 3 of a certain brand of item but still I price check.

Kirk bought 5 Kellogg's items and got $10.00 off or $2.00 off each item. For Toy Story fruit snacks it meant they were $5.49 instead of $7.49 for a 42 count box. You can see how full price isn't much better than buying 4 boxes of 10 at the store but getting $2.00 off the box makes it about $1.25 per 10 count and $0.25 for the other 2 :) A good deal at the store but not at all the best deal (remember I often stock up on fruit snacks at $0.50 a box or $2.00 for 40).

Glad snack bags are normally $5.99 for 400 - Kirk used a $2.00 off coupon making them just $3.99 or $1.00 per 100 - which is a good deal.

The flip side is that some of the items Kirk purchased are very expensive at the store and we almost never buy them - namely the cookie/cracker packs. At BJ's they are $9.99 and with $2.00 off that makes it $7.99 which is a pretty good deal for the convenience it provides me.

And that's really what it comes down to. Convenience. My husband often says with any product you have to decide between convenience, cost and quality. I get great quality products at the grocery store at an excellent price but I sacrifice convenience. It is not convenient to clip coupons, to go to the store almost daily and to only buy what's on sale with a coupon but that's okay by me. It's kind of a like a part-time job but instead of making money I'm saving money for the family.

Warehouse clubs give you great quality and are very convenient but the price is not cost effective. It's just not. As Kirk and I compared prices while he shopped I asked him to put back product after product because the cost was too high. Instead we splurged on some convenience products but again only because we had a coupon to lower the price. At full warehouse price it wasn't even close to a deal.

So, ultimately you have to choose what is more important to you and for each person it's different and that's okay. It might feel like a competition (who can spend less on groceries?) but it isn't. It's what works for your family.

But if you're deciding based solely on cost then the grocery store sales with coupons wins every time. It just does. In addition to BJ's being more expensive it's also much easier to overspend. If you grab a "whim" item at BJ's you can be out a good $10 each time - at the grocery store it's generally much less. So no matter which you choose be sure to stick to a list and use coupons!

For me, we'll see how this effects us for the rest of the month. Remember my grocery budget is still just $400 and we spent 1/4 of it at BJ's. It might help because I'll need less items at the store or we'll end up using it all up and need more. I'm excited to see if it helps or hurts us for the month! Stay tuned...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Triples Trip #2

Took my second trip to HT this week and was actually surprised to find they weren't completely cleaned out :) There were a few things they were out of but for the most part I found what I was looking for which makes me a less cranky shopper (read: I was very frustrated to go to Safeway this weekend and find them out of everything I went there for - seriously, just another reason I don't shop there!)

Here's what I got at HT:

I spent: $33.10
And saved: $57.52

Seemed a bit high but I had to pay full price for a few things - namely the bread ($3.39 for hoagie rolls!) and I got 2 things of Crystal Light which were buy 1 get 1 free but without a coupon it was $5.29 for 2. Sometimes you pay for what you love!

Still got some good deals:

Archway Cookies
- regular price: $2.99
- sale price: 2/$5.00
- used 5 $0.55/1 coupons that tripled to $1.65 from S 4/25
- final price: $0.85/each

Jimmie Dean Breakfast Bowls
- regular price: $3.00
- sale price: $2.70
- used 4 $0.75/1 coupons that tripled to $2.25 from RP 5/2
- final price: $0.45/each

Perdue Short Cuts Chicken Strips
- regular price: $5.69/each
- sale price: 2/$7.00
- used 3 $0.75/1 coupons from RP 5/2
- final price: $1.25/each

For more great deals check out: The Grocery Game