Saturday, January 1, 2011

Figuring it out....

So, as many of you know, I fancy myself as somewhat of a bargain hunter. It all started when my mom would take us (all 3 girls) to garage sales as a kid, buying clothes and lots of other stuff second hand. We would get really excited when we saw toys because we knew we could take our allowance and buy much more than we could at the store, for less money. In kid terms, all that equaled was, well, more toys!

Now that I am grown, and I have 3 kids myself, I am doing the same thing! I love going to garage sales. Over the years we've gotten some really great finds by buying 2nd hand. When my husband and I first got married, we got our Christmas tree at a yard sale for about $5! I have bought baby clothes for all 3 kids at garage sales. Then I discovered consignment sales. Slightly higher prices, but they are all in one place, which saves gas. PLUS, you can sell WHILE you buy, and someone is doing all that work for you!

I also just really love a good deal anywhere I can find it. We got a new store called Dirt Cheap, where I live. I found tons of brand new educational workbooks for 90% off the list price, some as low as 10 cents each. And of course, since we are a homeschooling family, I stocked up! My husband also found us a really nice MR. COFFEE coffee maker for $8. It was brand new in the box, never even opened!

In effort to save money, about 2 years ago I started shopping @ aldi for everything but my meats. My husband is the one who works outside the home, so we like to cut corners where we can. Then a friend told me that she was saving money using coupons-so much so, that it was cheaper than buying the generic brand! I was all for that, but I never did figure out what to do. I would go to the grocery store and bring 5 or 10 coupons with me (mostly for things that were not on sale or not something I'd be, and I honestly thought I'd be getting a good deal.) Then I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was not saving like she was, and I didn't know how she did it. Picture this- I'm fumbling down the aisles digging through my purse for that coupon I knew I had. Half the time, I dropped them while walking up and down the aisles. OR I would clip them and put them aside, only to lose them or forget them before I even went to the store. Sound like you? I asked the people I knew what I was doing wrong because I honestly didn't get it. And they all said the same thing. BUY A Notebook with 3 rings, and buy a couple packs of baseball card page protectors.

So, that's what I am doing. I just started saving all my newspaper inserts and ones from the mail and I cut them out and put them in a binder. I have it organized by aisle type. To be honest, that did take a little while-a couple hours-mostly because I have been saving all my coupons since the beginning of November and I had to cut them all out and organize them.

I only recently figured that out, and it really saves alot. I'm also going to work on building a stockpile up of items. That's one of my goals for the new year, to not have to make any purchases out of necessity other than what is normal weekly buys (milk, etc). I know almost always when my husband (who is a deodorant snob-he only wears a particular kind and brand-Old spice) runs out of deodorant, I'm going to end up paying $3 or $4 for it, and he always seems to be running out!!

So, now that I got my binder, and I had 2 or even 3 coupons for some things, I checked out the coupon websites and made the list of things that were 75% off or more. I also checked the sales papers to see what kind of deals were going on, and if I had coupons or online coupons on my kroger card. Did you know that if you shop @ kroger, you can use a manufacturer's coupon (the paper kind, either one printed off the computer, or from the newspaper) AND go to and load e-coupons on your card. You can use both of those. If you use both of those, and combine it with a good sale, I'm finding you can get top dollar items for cheap or free! Now, I don't claim to be the first person to figure this out. I am still learning myself, and there are alot of great sites, tutorials and videos out there explaining what to do. Each store has there own deals and policies regarding coupons. CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens are all drugstores in my area that offer some type of rebate program that prints out receipt tape with $ off your next order.

It really is like an addicting game that is so much fun! You can get as much or little as you are willing to put into it, but for me, the hunt is half the fun--the huge payoff is when you "win" at the cash register. Earlier this week I bought $75 worth the stuff for about $15, and today I bought $55 worth of stuff for $15 at one store, and $16 worth for $3 at another store, and another $18 for $4 at another store!! This is so much fun and there is nothing like feeling like I am winning the coupon game!

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