Last night I watched some of the TLC Extreme Couponing show. It is obviously like all reality shows meant for entertainment purposes. So hopefully no one thinks I go and buy 300 toothbrushes or 200 deodorants on a shopping trip. And I think it is no coincidence they aired this episode before the Hoarders show. I also didn't think some of it was that great of deals. The one lady was paying 39 cents each for French's mustard...so she bought 62 of them I think. I have never spent any money, besides tax, on mustard. And since Audrey is the only one in our house who uses mustard, besides for making deviled eggs, the 1 bottle in the frig and the 2 downstairs will probably last us for at least 2 years.
On that note, I did go to Publix yesterday. And included in my order was 6 bags of Banquet chicken nuggets...crazy huh?? Well I am splitting it with a friend so only 3 bags are staying at our house. The total this week was $50 ($90 something before coupons), which is higher than usual for me. But I did earn a $10 gift card to Publix and I can never get the Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper for less than $3 a case...and at our house it is a necessity.
At the end of last year I wanted to make my couponing more exciting. I had couponed for more than a year at that point and while there were some deals that made me feel great, it had lost some of the excitement. So I decided to set myself up a budget for 2011. I gave myself $250 a month to spend on groceries and drugstore items (paper products, medicines, cleaning products, and stuff like that). I found a nice excel spreadsheet that someone had created and put in my goal. The way the spreadsheet works is you enter each receipt on a monthly tab and then it rolls up into a nice summary. Below is my completed table for the first quarter of 2011. It is great to see where you are spending and saving the most. After January, it became obvious to me that I was spending too much at Walgreens for what I was getting, so I stopped going there unless they had a really good deal on something I really wanted.
It is hard to see (I think you can click on the picture and see it better). The great news is I have been under budget each month (in February $82 under) and that my savings rate is around 81%.
I am usually not a fan of budgets. I consider myself a saver but usually when I set myself up on a budget I immediately think of something I “really” need. But this budget has been a lot of fun. It is a game for me. How to get everything we need, and the most, with the smallest amount. And then using those items to create meals. Of course I still have some trips where I just walk into Publix and grab what I want. But those trips get logged in the table as well, so it helps me to try my best to plan ahead. I am still thinking of new ways to throw some excitement into all of this. But for this week 8 cents jars of peanut butter and 50 cent milk has me pretty excited! Happy shopping!
Yesterday the AP published a news article about the skyrocketing price of food. This is due to several factors including the increase in oil prices and vegetable crops not being as plentiful. Food prices rose 3.9% in February, the steepest single month climb since 1974. I am sure you noticed foods that you buy seem to be increasing in price each time you shop. But you can do something about it. While there may not be a coupon for everything you need on your list...it still makes a difference. Yesterday at Publix my total was $128.37 before they started taking off my coupons. I ended up paying $80.14, which included $50 in gas cards...so I paid around $30 for the food pictured here. This weeks sales will make the kids very happy...lots of things the kids always want and that make packing lunches very easy. I will go back to the store this weekend and get milk, produce and a couple of meats and expect to spent around $20. That will be right on target for spending $50 a week on groceries.
I am always surprised how things work out when I request "special" customer service from a store. Somehow this weekend I lost a small wallet that I carry my drugstore "fake" money in. It was quite a bummer because I had $11 in CVS money and $10 in Rite Aid money...which can go a long way at a drugstore. I figured CVS would be able to reissue my money...they are always so accomodating. I had heard Rite Aid does not reissue rewards. So this morning I called...and the outcome:
CVS: even though my "money" shows up on the website when I log in under my account the lady on the phone says she can only reissue my $1 reward, not my $10 one. I am shocked and really bummed.
Rite Aid: based on everything I read online I wasn't even going to try. But they have an instant chat where you can talk to a customer service person. I told her I lost my $10 heart healthy reward and wanted to know if it could be reprinted. Without hesitation she said she could mail it to me (but they generally do not reissue them).
So I only lost $10 now instead of $21 and my loyalty has slightly shifted towards Rite Aid. Now if I can only find a way to get back some of that "losing my mind" feeling from losing the wallet in the first place.
And since I have no picture to go along with that story...