Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frugal Shmugal

Hello out there-ther-ther-ere! Ok…that is my best attempt at an echo. That is my best attempt to say I feel like I have been missing. Well, actually “Hello out there” would mean everyone else is missing? Wouldn’t it? Oh well… I can’t figure out if I haven’t had much to write about or if I’ve been so busy reading your blogs I can’t find time to write my own. I do have a lot going on so I should have a lot to write about…but where is the time. I feel like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland and I’m not really sure what I’m late for…. I’m always here for the very merry unbirthdays we have on a weekly basis. So why does it seem I am in a frantic state and not sharing with my bloggy friends? What have I been doing?

Besides reading your blogs and besides finding innumerable cobwebs and dust bunnies that can’t seem to quit yelling at me and besides taking care of a wee toddler and an ever moving infant, I’ve been frugal-ling. That’s my term…don’t steal it. I set out on a venture to learn how to buy $200 worth of groceries for $50. Did I succeed? Huh! Hardly. Did I have an aneurysm over it? Definitely. Did my husband suggest Xanax? A few times.

Apparently there is a system. The system is very easy to understand from the safety of your own home. It’s really simple. However, throw in the wee toddler, the ever moving infant, and a husband that decided to tag along on an hour long lunch break and "simple" turns into frantic aneurysm. This whole Walgreens and CVS (excuse me) shiznit is for the birds. In the best perky smiling voice I have, “Spend $15 on Aveeno or Clean and Clear products and earn $5 of Register Rewards.” Combine that with your $2 off Walgreens coupon found in the drug store coloring book in the back and your “$1 off when you purchase 2” manufacture coupon and you can get 2 bottles of face wash for FREE! Right. But don’t forget the $15 of Aveeno and Clean and Clear stuff you just purchased that it might take you a YEAR to use AND the fact that you don’t get to use those $5 RR in this purchase. SO, go back and do another transaction and buy more crap you don’t need so you can get it for free, but be sure to pick up something small so you can use your manufacturer coupon and your RR because you have to have the same number of items as coupons and you can’t use your RRs on the same thing you purchased because it won’t produce more RRs and you want to keep them RRs rolling! OK?! CVS does the same thing with ECBs, also known as Extra Care Bucks and it is a much easier system. Still, I don’t need anything found in the drug stores that I can’t get for cheaper at Wal-Mart with a little less stress.

Now, here is the deal. The drug store biz does work for some. I follow a few blogs that seriously get gallons of milk, boxes of cereal, and all sorts of toiletries for free. But dang…my brain just does not work that way or maybe I just don’t can’t take the time to do it.

But I did want to save my family some money because I think we need to be better stewards of our money. (Note: I’m a Dave Ramsey follower without Gazelle Intensity.) So, how did I do it?

First, I moved four of the money saving blogs I found to a completely NEW blogger account. These women are so on top of good deals and finds, I couldn’t find my regular, real blog reading list. I was so busy making sure I didn’t miss a deal I had to start popping deals… I mean pills. See what I’m sayin’? So, I moved the money making/saving ladies over to another place that I could only visit once or twice a week. Second, I went back to my twice a month shopping routine from the weekly “catch a sale” shopping trip. Third, I did subscribe to the local Sunday paper for ads and coupons. (Which has been delivered to somewhere 30 miles away to the wrong address…thanks Times News! There goes another pill deal!) Also, I am doing online coupons. Fourth, with those ads I’m doing comparison shopping at Wal-Mart and utilizing the best sales with coupons at Food City. Also, where I can bear to not be brand loyal, I’m buying Great Value brand products. Fifth, and I believe most importantly, I’m doing Meal Planning.

And the results are… $33 in savings at Food City, a free Gallon of Milk, and tons of savings at Wal-Mart beyond the regular savings you can find there.

Now, I cannot say I have completely layed down the drug store temptation. However, I believe I have been able to set things aside for a bit and take the process a little bit slower. If you want a chuckle, picture me with a binder of sorted and labeled coupons and sales papers cruising through the store. I also created my own price comparison document with everything we use listed on it that I keep on hand. Didn’t Nate say something before about me not being able to do something casually?


Tony C said...

In what language is this post written? I don't recognize it.

Suzanne said...

In reply to the above comment: That's "Cheapskate" talk! I love it! I love that you were doing this! I hate that you almost had an aneurysm...
I am brain dead due the adjustment of my new part time job! And thinking "when am I going to see all this money?"
Miss hearing from you!

Momma Such said...

Wow that sounds like a lot just to get a good deal! I have tried the whole coupon thing and with 4 boys I just can't seem to make it work. I really wish I could though! I switched from Wal-Mart to Kroger and I always use my Kroger card and download coupons online straight to my card and I'm saving quite a bit of money. That's just me though. I hear others say they save elsewhere. Good luck! :)

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Wow you are my hero! That is something I would like to do, but I stink at it. I used to clip coupons, but would always forget to bring them. Then if they were inmy wallet, I would forget to hand them over. So I stopped altogether.

Tracy said...

My problem with coupons is that they are frequently for convenience type items that I don't buy any way. But if they work for you - that's great!

I so agree with your goal that you desire to live frugally to be a good steward. I'm right there with you.

I find that menu planning really helps. I get the local grocery store ad in my mail box (sometimes that has coupons and sometimes those are useful) and kind of use what's on sale to plan the menu around. I've also found it helpful to go through the whole do-I-really-need that routine when considering purchases.

I'm grateful that my kids don't have problems with our simple lifestyle. They do sometimes say we're different than other people but my 21-yr old son delighted me recently by pointing out that he likes the way we are.

J. L. W. said...

Wow! Kudos to you for even attempting it! I have never been able to get the whole drugstore thing to work to my advantage. Once in awhile I get a good deal but not weekly. I would just end up with stuff I don't need. I love Wal-mart and now Target since they opened up a store five minutes away.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

This is HILARIOUS. And scary at the same time. I'm telling you. Cut from the same cloth. How many more ways can I say it? Oh, we have the same first name, too. (!)

I do Southern Savers and Money Saving Mom, and SOMEtimes I can tolerate reading some of the other money savers blogs, but I get overheated easily.

But your RR description had me ROLLING. I felt the same way about CVS, which is supposed to be easier! That was all the aneurysm I could stand.

Amber said...

Okay, so I'm a little behind on my reading :)
But I got such a kick out of this post... I tried this for a while... I hope it works out better for you. (and I'll leave my comment to that - LOL!)

Jessica-MomForHim said...

Too funny!! I can totally relate to the aneurysm thing--it is really confusing, especially at first and especially if you are "chasing deals". There are SO many deals to be had, but it is very overwhelming. You have to learn to limit yourself--focus on saving on a few items, or at one store, that sort of thing. It can be done! Like you said, you're taking baby steps, and that's what it's about. Even a little savings is better than none. When that gets easier, stretch yourself to save a little more or in a different area. You'll get the hang of it--remember, you just started--cut yourself some slack! :-)

The NEW Mommiez Blend said...

Oh you are my kind of gal! Loved this post! Almost made me spit out my coffee--yes it's 1pm and I'm drinking coffee. Don't judge. When you are a stay at home mama the clock means nothing. The sun comes up and the sun goes...that's what time it is. I just want to send a hug your way and say you rock. Stop on by anytime. :) I have to little man is eating my valuable only printable twice per computer coupons!