Saturday, January 15, 2011

My adventures in saving

Today has been quite a day. It was my first day officially shopping with coupons. I have been preparing for a while now. I got a printer and have been printing, and clipping. I stole the SmartSourse out of my grandma's newspaper and clipped everything whether I thought I needed it or not. I have a small binder thing and I organized them (I need to organize better though). I made sure to go back and check the printable sites almost everyday because sometimes they add some, and if it was something that I use often, like cresent rolls or baby products, I print as many as they let me.

The shopping trip took longer than normal. Not to mention that Lorelei had an explosive diaper. The time we decide to go out in a disposable she does this. We have NEVER had an explosive one while using cloth, but thats a whole other post! The time spent started before we even went to the store. I carefully researched all of the stores in our area to find which has the best coupon policy and rewards system. For me it was Winn-Dixie. They double coupons, and accept internet printed ones. A lot of stores in our area don't do either and both of those were a must for me because they equal more savings. Along with the good coupon policy they have a rewards card. It is a free card they give you that they scan at checkout and it applies all of the extra discounts in store. Most of the savings was actually because of this card. I also chose this store because along with the card they have a baby club which has some amazing savings. I just joined so I haven't got the stuff in the mail yet, but I can't wait until next month!!

So after finding the store I would use for the majority of my shopping I found their sales paper. This store has an app that I downloaded on my phone that shows everything (which is so awesome!) and then I went through and listed everything off the sales paper that I planned to buy. Then I went and matched what was on the sales paper and what I had coupons for, which happened to be a good bit. Then I listed what I would buy with just coupons, and then what I needed that didn't fall under any category. The way I just explained that made it complicated. It really isn't. Its just a basic grocery list and I put symbols out to the side of of what was on sale or had a coupon, or both. I also noted things I would buy if I could get them at a really good deal, but could do without if not.

Not the best picture, but here's my attempt at organizing.

So we took list and coupons in hand and took off Winn-Dixie. I went in there with the mindset that I wouldn't buy junk just because it was on sale or I had a coupon because stupid junk adds up fast. I only bought things that I know we would use. We buy a lot of junk like tv dinners and pizzas, but I got them all on sale and was able to use a coupon. I did the same with cresent rolls and cinnamon rolls. Off the top of my head I can only think of maybe four things that I bought that weren't on sale and didn't have a coupon. Those things were because I only use a certain brand.

One of my best buys today I think was two big bags of boneless chicken breasts. They were buy one get one free when I used my card, so in all they were only $10. I did the same with pork chops. Two packages for about $6.50. I'm not sure the normal price but oh my gosh they looked good, and were buy one get one free. I think one of the best things though is to know when to step away, and not just buy because of a sale or a coupon. I had a coupon for $0.40 off of a certain brand of sugar, but even with the sale and coupon I could get another kind for cheaper, so I got the off brand instead.

I got up to the register and I should have chosen a different one. The lady wasn't the friendliest, but I survived. I told her in advance about the card and coupons and she started scanning. Next thing I know the price is flashing $150, $175, $190. I was about to throw up. If these coupons and sales don't save like I planned I am going to be broke! We usually spend maybe between $140-150, and sometimes that is pushing it. I can't spend $200 on groceries unless it is going to last the whole month! So she gets to the end and I hand her the card. She scans it and the price JUMPS down. Just from what the card took off I could breath again. Then she started with the coupons and it went down even more. In the end it was arond $150.

All in all I bought ALOT. Nothing like the people on TV do. I didn't leave with 5 buggies full, just one that was filled to the brim, but we payed the same we normally do and got a lot more. I am also happy to say that I bought the foods I like. I bought what I would normally buy and saved money. I won't be buying chicken for a while. I paid more than $2, which is ok. For some of the things I have to buy it may be unrealistic for me to save that much, but I did save a good bit and I am very proud.

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