Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random Picture Challenge

I decided to take part in the Random Picture Challenge by 4 Little Men and Girly Twins. It seems like fun! This is the 8th picture in my January folder. Yes, a bit strange, huh? Well, I had been meaning to blog about this anyways. Since the New Year, I have been working hard to try and save us money. I can't really work outside the home (except for my occasional sales job), so I needed to find something I can do at home. I decided a great first step would be lowering our grocery bill. I don't know about you, but ours can get unreal sometimes. So I set a budget ($100/week - includes formula, diapers, personal products, meds, etc.) Many of you know that we live with my parents so my mom also contributes a percentage on top of the $100. In order to get our budget down to this, I have begun getting serious about coupons and sales flyers. Hence the above picture.
That was my first trip to Walgreen's, using coupons and sales. I spent $20 on all the products above. I'm not convinced it was the best I could do. I definitely learned some things - for instance, the toothpaste and toothbrush was not the deal I thought it was. I bought it anyways, but regretted it later because I know I could have gotten a better deal. The Tylenol PM that you see is $14.99 all by itself normally, so spending $20 on everything isn't too bad. The Garnier Fructis was probably the best buy of the day. Walgreens had it on sale for $2.99. Then they had a store coupons for -$2.00. Then I had a manufacturer coupon for -$1.00. So they ended up oweing me a penny for each product you see. (Yes, you can combine manufacturer coupons and store coupons on a single item.)
Here's an idea of how I have started out. First, I sit down with all the local sales flyers. I go through them one by one and circle what looks good to me. Then I go through my coupons to see what I have that matches what's on sale. I probably won't buy an item just because it's on sale (unless we really need it) if I don't have a coupon too. The first time I did this I went through all the flyers and then through my coupons. It was too confusing because I couldn't remember which store had which product on sale. Going through one flyer and comparing the coupons then tackling the next is much better.
This does involve going to multiple stores, which takes time. But I just look at it as a part time job. Jobs take time, right? And I try to go to some of the stores when Garr can keep the kids. Also, you have to be careful to make a list and stick to it or you will be three or four times as likely to impulse buy (depending on how many stores you go to)!
This is my third week and although it does take quite a bit of time, I am excited about how we are sticking to our budget and even have extra food at the end of the week! There are also some good coupon sites where someone else does the work for you - you just read on their site what the deal is and which coupons to use. I think my friend, Danielle, has that info on her blog. You can check it out there. :)


Lauren said...

Hi Jessa,
I just found your blog today and I wanted to tell you (if you don't already know) about It is a great resource for helping you match up store sales with current coupons. It will save you so much time and a ton of money!! I was able to cut my grocery bill in half!

Shasta said...

I know other moms who save money like this and I think thats just awesome! I'm all for good deals but I'm not sure I could be as dedicated as some. You did great!

Anonymous said...

Jessa: You're doing a great job - and not only saving money for you guys but Dad and I are saving money now too because of your hard work and dedication to this. Thank you! Love ya, Mom

Kara said...

Now that is a random picture. And very interesting.

Juls said...

WOW, I'm really impressed by your money saving skills. I've been thinking about doing this, and keep telling myself I don't have the time....but it would so be worth it, to save some money. Maybe you can be my inspiration!

Lauren G said...

great job! I made so many mistakes my first few weeks too, but the important thing is to keep going! You can return the toothpaste to Walgreens to get your money back to get a better deal some place else. I did this once because of the same reason. Keep us posted I know you will do great!

Linda said...

I am so very proud of you. Great job!!