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Archive for the ‘Coupons’ Category

In my quest to become less wasteful, I have stumbled upon frugality and it seems that these two actually go hand in hand.  Dictionary.com describes being frugal as being economical in use or expenditure, prudently saving or sparing…. wait for it…… not wasteful.  I am learning that when you make a decision or commitment to be less wasteful, you also make the decision to be more frugal. 

The first area that I am working on is being frugal with my money and that has led me on an interesting journey into the world of “frugal mommy blogs” and couponing.  So let me just say, I never thought I would EVER clip a coupon let alone use one, but I tell you what ….now that I have started, I almost can’t stop…. the deals are actually quite fun to find. 

 I am also realizing that deal hunting and couponing take some planning and a little work, especially when you are new at it like I am.  But by checking out blogs of women who coupon and doing the “deals” that they do, I am beginning to catch on and I am really enjoying myself.  It is becoming a hobby, it is also causing me to make menus, grocery lists, and to keep track of where my money is going… because I really want to see how little I can spend. 

One of the important things about couponing that I have had to learn is that stockpiling is key… no not planning for the end of the world, but creating a storehouse of supplies so that you are not forced to by products that you need at the store when they are high priced, but actually buying them when they are as cheap as you can get them, even when you may not need them at the time and saving them until you do.  I had never thought about this before but grocery stores make their money when you come into them without a list, looking for that one thing that you “need” and walk out with 50 dollars of stuff you may or may not need just because you saw it.  Usually that thing you needed isn’t on sale when you need it, so not only do you pay full price for it, you also pay full price for the impulse buys you made while in the store to get that one item. I did that so much before.  It is vital to purchase things you may not need at the time for rock bottom prices so that you aren’t paying top dollar later.  I struggled with this at first, especially because I was trying to eliminate “stuff” and wasn’t really sure how that all tied together.  However, as I started to see the concept written out on other peoples blogs and read about their successes in fugality, I have become a believer.  Buying things that you don’t need yet at low prices frees up money to spend on things that aren’t as easy to find a coupon for; things like fruit and veggies.  Understand?

The other thing that I have learned is the importance of planning my meals out of the food I already have and to actually make a menu and a list.  This takes a little more time, but eliminates those wasteful trips to the grocery store two hours before dinner because you forgot one ingredient and end up coming home with a trunk full of stuff.  I don’t know about you but when three o’clock rolls around and I don’t have anything planned for dinner and I am already tired from a day with the boys, I am so tempted to just eat out or just run to the store for something “fast.” 

I could go on and on, but I think I will let some of the blogs that I have come across speak for themselves. The first blog I found was Freebies4mom.  She has lists of things you can get for free, sweepstakes to enter, product reviews, etc.  From there I found, MoneySavingMom.  She also lists out things you can get for free, deals that she has found at grocery or drugstores.  She has a great description or how-to on the drugstore game (more on that in another post).  MoneySavingMom also has a lot of good advice about being frugal in general.  The next blogs that I found are other deal making blogs… The”Cents”ibleSawyer, SisterlySavings, and MommySnacks.  I check these alot for suggestions on what coupons to use and where.  If you are interested in all of this start with some of these sites.  Look around at what they offer and follow their blogrolls to other people who have advise on couponing and being frugal.

  All of the items pictured here were part of one of the first, big frugal shopping trips I took.  I had a list of stores to hit and what to get and what coupons to use.  Everything you see here was either free or under 50 cents.  Yes, it is a lot of non- perishables and not a lot of food, but remember stocking up on things you will need at low low prices allows you to have cash free to buy the things that you need that you really can’t stock up on.  Literally, I paid pennies for this stuff.  All stuff I will use.  Bring on the M&Ms.

  Total out of pocket for this…2.48.  Without coupons I would have paid 16.78.  A few of the items actually made me money.

Ok… so… lots of info.  Check out the blogs and keep checking back here as I detail more in upcoming posts.

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I admit it… I am not proud of it, but honestly I didn’t even realize I was one until recently…. I am a waster. 

I am terrible about turning off lights, I let the water run when I brush my teeth, and lots of times I leave the refrigerator door open when I am pouring the boys apple juice.  I can’t say I have been ignorant about it completely, but truthfully I am a little on the lazy side when it comes to this kind-of stuff.  I have been sacrificing frugality (is this a word?) for ease.

Anyway, about a month ago now, I watched an Oprah (by the way Oprah has lost her recording place on my DVR schedule, more on that in another post) about how much the average American wastes, from food, to electricity, to time.  She gave two families, one with high school-aged children and one with kids around my kids age (maybe slightly older) a challenge… they were not allowed to watch tv or use any of their electronic devises, including cell phones. They were not allowed to go to the store (of any kind), no bottled water, no eating out and they had to do it for a week.  They started out by showing the us, the viewers, what an average wasteful week was like for the families and then we got to watch as they experienced what turned out to be a really interesting challenge. 

As I was sitting there completely appalled by their wastefulness, I suddenly realized that I am not much better. Sure my boys don’t play five hours of video games a day and talk on their cell phones and we don’t have our TV on 24/7 in every room of the house (only one TV anyway), I often throw out food because I bought more than I needed and didn’t plan meals using the food we had.  Unlike one of the families, I don’t buy my four year-old Starbucks 4 times a week, I do, however,  buy myself a lot of coffee at a coffee shop when I could just as easily make it at home.  As I watched, I realized that my wastefulness may not be in the same areas as these families, but I am still wasteful. 

I was challenged by watching these wasteful families and decided to try and change some of the things that I do in my life, in order to be more frugal with our finances, food, time, and the amount of waste we create.  Here is a list of what I have come up with…

1. stop buying bottled water- plan ahead and bring water bottle from home for everyone

2. only buy coffee at a coffee shop once a week and make my lattes at home (they are turning out pretty good by the way)

3. turn off lights when we leave the room, shut the door to the fridge all the time, adjust the water heater temp, and set the temp throughout the house as low as we are comfortable, turn water off during teeth brushing and remind the boys to do these things as well

4. limit the boys TV time to 1/2 hour a day if that (this is harder than I thought)……  I was appalled at how much TV the kids on the challenge watched…. video games too…. I am determined that I will avoid video games for as long as possible…I am NOT judging those of you who let your kids play them.

5. inventory what I have in our pantry and fridge and plan meals based on what we have already, avoiding the grocery store as much as possible- this has actually been pretty fun and Brandon is even getting into the challenge with me…

6. plan weekly menus and grocery lists- when I shop only buy what is on list (hard!)

7. clip coupons!!! … Never thought I would be doing this….I have a post coming on this later… I am amazed that in my first few tries I have gotten a ton of free stuff as well as saved myself so much money….I have some amazing websites to share later

8.  recycle everything that I can- even those cans that I would rather just throw away because I don’t want to wash them out and that glass that I will actually have to drive to dispose off because it doesn’t go in our recycling cans (I am amazed at how much this has cut down on our waste)  I am even getting things out of the garbage that others have thrown away that should have been recycled… yeah me!

9.  limit our eating out… plan when we will do it and stick to it

10.  pay attention to what is wasteful, what I don’t need, what my family doesn’t need

So far, I have done pretty well.  Over all, I am being more conscious about what I do, especially where I spend my money.  If you have ways that you are letting go of being a waster let me know…. I know there is so much more that I could do.

 

 

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