Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Couponing for Necessary Items

Of course, we don't need packaged granola bars, cookies, cereal, carnation instant breakfast, pre-made soups, peanut butter, mayo, mustard, etc, etc... Couponing isn't only for processed foods & unnecessary things! I promise!

Here are some things everyone uses:

Toilet Paper
Paper towels Napkins Deodorant Razors Shaving Cream (of some sort) Soap Toothpaste
Laundry Detergent
Dishwashing Liquid
Cleaning Sprays

You can purchase these things for very very little. Most of these things (ok, not the paper products & laundry det.), I've bought for under $0.50. I can't stand the thought of buying these things for more, now! I will substitute something so that I can wait for a coupon, if at all possible.

Here's a picture of some necessary things that I bought today:
These were items I bought from Walgreens & CVS. I spent $1.94 for all of it. When I paid for it, not only did I use coupons, but I also used CVS "cash" or "Extra Care Bucks." I had $4.99 of it (so if I didn't have any CVS cash, it would have cost me $6.93).

After I bought the items, I received $3.80 in ECBucks to use on my next purchase.

So even though I buy cereal & granola bars & Oreo Cookies in bulk when there's a really good sale, those aren't the only things you can buy with coupons. You really can get things that you use on a day-to-day basis.

Happy Couponing!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reusable Bags

When the whole reusable bag thing started, I didn't really jump on the bandwagon. But now I really like them. I use them for all sorts of things - taking a trip, dividing the food bag from the toy bag and such, taking some loose items to church that won't fit in the diaper bag. But mostly I use them for grocery shopping.

Typically I leave them in my car so I won't forget them, but I do forget sometimes. It's just a matter of making it a habit. Sometimes I need plastic bags for trashcan liners, so I purposely will leave them in the car.

You can get ones with short or long handles. I like the long handles because you can easily throw them over your shoulder. You can also get ones that are insulated for those cold items. They are usually $1.00.

Some stores give you a $0.05 discount per bag that you use, I'm sure there are more:

Farm Fresh
CVS (must buy the $0.99 tag per bag and remember to bring it with you, not sure if this is a great deal...)

Doubling Coupons

Here are some common places that double coupons:

Harris Teeter:
$0.99 and under doubled everyday.
Every once in a while, they will have Super Double Weeks: $1.99 and under.

Farm Fresh:
$0.99 and under doubled everyday.
$1.00 and under doubled on Wednesdays.

$0.50 and under doubled everyday.

I've seen signs for double coupons here, but it's pretty rare, and pretty random.

Farm Fresh

Remember for today (wed) only, you can double your $1.00 coupons. (They double up to $0.99 everyday). Click here for this week's farm fresh matchups. There are some printables that you can use, in case you don't get the paper (but let this be a reminder to get the Sunday paper if you haven't yet!)

A couple things I'm taking advantage of tonight (these are the final prices after sale, coupons, and doubling):

$0.97 & $0.98 cereals.
$0.99 tostito chips (coupons are in the FF ad)
$0.78 Ragu sauces (coupons are in the FF ad)
$0.48 14.5 oz Delmonte Tomato Cans

****To get the best deals at Farm Fresh:

1) Buy items on sale, preferably their rock bottom price
2) Combine $1.00 coupons with items on sale
3) Double those $1.00 coupons on Wednesdays (Strategy: On Wednesdays, a $1.00 off coupon is more valuable than a $1.50 off coupon. This is because the $1.00 one will double to $2.00, but the $1.50 one won't.)

**Of course there are some items for which you won't find coupons, so in those cases, keep your eyes open for the lowest prices on that item and buy it in bulk when you see that price. Plan your meals around what you have in your pantry!

Cheap Crock Pot Meal

This week (Today thru next Tuesday) at Farm Fresh, boneless chuck roast is on sale for $1.68/lb. This is a great price, perfect for stocking up. I'm planning on getting 9-10 lbs tonight.

Here's an awesome recipe for Crock Pot Bbq Sandwiches, and how much I paid for each item. (Hunts Bbq sauce often goes on sale for 10/$10, so I get a few at a time at that sale)

2 lb Chuck Roast. ($3.36)
1/2 bottle of Bbq Sauce, any flavor ($0.50)
5 hamburger/sandwich buns ($0.94)

Cut off the obvious fat from the roast. Put it in your slow cooker in the late evening. Cook, covered, on low overnight. Plug your nose when opening your bedroom door the next morning (especially if you're pregnant!). Pour bbq sauce over roast at your convenience, and break up with a fork. Let it sit on low or on warm, with the cover on, until you're ready to eat it (that day, of course). Spoon the bbq on the buns. Side with chips, fries, or fruit, green beans, or cole slaw - whatever you're in the mood for.

The recipe makes 5 Sandwiches for $4.80 or $0.96 each!! I've seen chuck roast for $3.99/lb before. Why would you pay that much when you know how cheap you can get it? Think about how much you pay for one at Doumars or Arby's....Lots more than that.

Have anymore good chuck roast recipe ideas? Comment and let us know!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reward Your Hard Work

What tends to blow my budget? Coffee. We just love coffee. I would love to go to Starbucks (not loving Dunkin' right now for a few reasons...) every time I got in the car: in cold weather - a nice hot vanilla breve americano, and in hot (if I'm not pregnant) - a VENTI vanilla breve iced coffee. Do you know how little actual liquid is in a tall or a grande iced coffee? Hardly ANY! I can drink them in two sips.

Aaaanyway, I'm trying something to help me gain two things: to keep myself under my food budget, and two, to allow myself to get coffee without feeling $guilty$.

My strategy. I've allowed myself a food budget. This includes house toiletries, too. However much I UNDER-spend that month, that is the amount that we can spend on coffee NEXT month. Isn't that sneaky? I'll let you know how it worked for March. So far I'm doing OK. But hey, it is March 3rd. Haha. I'd better be doing well.

So if you're having trouble sticking to a budget, try and give yourself a little competition. If you're that type of person. I pretty much thrive on competition, and it's usually with myself.

For any of you who are interested, when I am pregnant, and it's really hot outside, I like VENTI iced vanilla breve americanos. Very tasty. And if I don't mind spending more money (or if it's one of those serious hormonal days), I like green tea frappucinos. Oh so good.