Monday, April 4, 2011

Thrifty is Nifty

I'm always running across a magazine article or talk show segment about a woman who buys $400 worth of groceries for a $1.37. I think these people must be practicing some (practical) form of witchcraft and tell myself, There's no way I could do that. I am trying to save more, though, and am clipping coupons more regularly. I've also subscribed to a couple of websites who send out emails about bargains. To pinch a few more pennies, I'm shopping at different stores for different items in an effort to get a good deal. I honestly don't know how these women save so much. I run my ass all over town toting around 20 pounds of cuteness on my hip, and I still can't seem to save enough to make me say, "Wow! I need to share this with someone!"

I shopped tonight and came away with what I think is a pretty good haul for what I paid. Since it was cold and rainy (and Ameila and I were grumpy from our stormy day), I decided to only hit two stores: Kroger and Walgreens. I have been trying to shop less at Kroger since I can save more at the dread Wal-Mart, but I refuse to go to Jackson's Wal-Mart and didn't feel like driving the 20 minutes or so to Milan. Plus, I always end up having to swing by Kroger anyway because their meat department is better.

 In no particular order, here's my rundown and some pictures. See what you think.
  • 2 lbs lean, ground turkey
  • Large bottle of baby wash/shampoo ($1 off coupon)
  • 18 packs/jars of baby food (I make most of my own food but if I have a coupon that makes the premade cheaper than what I can make, I use it--especially for fruit since it's a good snack to throw in her bag and I don't have to thaw it)
  • 2 boxes of baby oatmeal (on sale and part of a "Spend $25, get $5 off" promotion on baby stuff)
  • 5 bananas
  • Can of Italian tomato paste
  • Two 1 1/2 pound (3 lbs total) boxes of Similac (I had coupons PLUS two five-dollar checks from the company)
  • 1 "squeeze butter"
  • 1 box Special K protein bars (on sale for 4.99)
  • Package of 192 wipes (.02 for each wipe after $1 coupon)
  • Pack of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bag frozen "steamer" corn
  • Three 1/2 gallons of milk (cost less than one single gallon)
  • Pack of taco cheese
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 pack of spaghetti
  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 package Lipton Spanish rice
  • 1 package low-carb soft tortillas
  • 24-ounce moisturizing body wash
  • 2 cans Schick hydroshave gel for sensitive skin (BOGO - Total of 3.79)
  • 1 loaf Sara Lee sliced bread
  • 1 fat-free Italian dressing (for chicken)
  • 1 BBQ sauce (for chicken)
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 24-count family size decaf teabags
  • 32-ounce liquid dishwashing soap
  • 1 jar Bertoli reduced fat pasta sauce
  • 1 large can Hunts spaghetti sauce
  • 2 boxes Uncle Ben's wild rice ($1 off 2 coupon)
  • Large box of Cheerios
  • 3 lb bag of frozen boneless/skinless chicken tenders

After adding in my register rewards at Walgreens and a few other random coupons,  I spent 126.14. That's quite a bit of money, but for what I had to buy, I think I did well (and I only bought what we needed--any extras are due to BOGO free).   I do know that I spent less than usual, so regardless of whether or not I "could have done better," I did save us some money. I mean, the formula alone costs $40-45 normally! 

I'm sure some of you frugal shoppers are shaking your head and adding up all of the money I could have saved by buying more generic.  But pretty much everything namebrand was CHEAPER than the generic either due to a weekly sale or coupons.  And there are just some things I insist on buying brand name, e.g. Cheerios or any other cereal. 

I can get quite a few meals out of this if I use some of the random ingredients I have at home (you know--the ones you end up with that just don't seem to work with any of the other stuff you have?) I'm sure some of you are horrified at some of the food we eat, but at least we aren't eating frozen dinners each night or eating out like we used to all the time.  That would be SO much easier.  Plus, you'll notice that there's not junk food--no cookies, chips, Little Debbies, etc. 

I want to start putting more time into clipping coupons and browsing the store circulars for the best prices.  I need to learn the policies of each store (who doubles, honors other stores' prices, etc) so that I can make the most of the coupons I do have.  And I want to figure out how in the hell someone can walk in a store and end up being OWED money by the time she leaves. 

I just don't want to have to compromise my soul to do it. 


Anonymous said...

I think you did a great job! I coupon regularly, and with coupons, it only works on namebrand things. I do buy storebrand if I need it now and don't have a coupon to buy the namebrand. I remember the formula days and you're right they are freaking expensive. But you also have the checks coming to you, so that's good. There are ways to save more money, like try to buy more than one paper. You get twice the coupons on sunday. I just buy the Sunday one instead of subscribe. It's cheaper for me to do that even if I buy two. You can go to a website and check to see if buying the paper by two will be helpful that week or not. Then only buy what the coupons and sales are. I know that's hard when you are starting out, but just keep extras at a minimum. Then buy more than one using the extra coupons. If you don't want to buy the paper, you can go to a coupon clipping website, and they will clip them for a small price for how many you want. That's also how those people who get their bills so low do it. They usually spend about 3 hours or so trying to put their list together, then go to the store and scope out deals, then go home and plan, plan, plan. Then they buy in bulk and store it. That's why you only buy what's on sale. The items are only on sale once every 3-6 weeks. I was able to get my bill cut down to half because I followed the rules. is great and she teaches you how to do this for free! Good luck and with practice you'll get there. (P.S. don't skip any papers. You may miss out on the best deal ever!)

Molissa Allen

Andy, Rebecca, Aislinn, Lucas, & Sweet Pea said...

Great job, Amber! You should add Money Saving Mom on facebook and check out if you haven't already. :)

Gigi said...

SENT YOU A LINK TO A (maybe? probably? hopefully?) cool coupie app...