Are you spending lots of it this month?
I've really been putting effort lately into saving money at the grocery store, and Christmas gifts. Coupons have been my friend for some time, as well as generic products and planning my meals around what foods (especially proteins) were on sale. A friend of mine recommended a site which has really been helpful to me:
Krazy Coupon Lady
Have you ever heard people celebrating their shopping trip where they walked away with $120 of stuff and paid $4.23?? Well this site explains how that kind of huge savings is accomplished. (Though I personally haven't gotten a deal like that yet! My best week was a little over $70 of stuff with about $13 out of my pocket.)
So I wanted to pass that nugget of info along to you in case you too are always looking out for ways to help your family's finances. It does take an investment of time. I would say about 1 hr. of planning for grocery trips... you have to look over the sales, find coupon match ups- either in the paper or online at the particular store site, or coupon sites. The Krazy Coupon lady does much of the match ups for you at the national stores but for my local grocery store, the "leg" (actually finger work!) work is up to me. I've also gotten great deals for Christmas gifts:
Bath and Body Works: FREE item (up to $13 value) with $10 min. purchase
and my BBW was having a buy 2, get 1 free sale, so I paid for 2 and received 2 FREE! =)
Hallmark: $5 off $5 purchase
and yes, I was that ultra cheapo hunting around for an item as close to $5 as I could find. = P Last week, I had two $10 off a $10 purchase, so I got a beautiful baby's first Christmas ornament for Leila for just a couple of bucks. Fear of 3rd child not having a traditional ornament and needing years of therapy to cope with the feelings of neglect....alleviated. ;) (TOTALLY JOKING!)
I've really gotten the biggest discounts at RiteAid. By combining manufacturers coupons, RiteAid coupons, either clipped out of the weekly flyer or from the Video Values program, along with the UP+ savings, I have really been stretching my weekly budget. And when you watch 20 Video values, you receive a $3 off a $20 coupon. Last month it was $4 off, and here is hoping that it goes back up in Jan.! Watching videos does take time (they are about 30 sec.s each)... but it produces real savings AND I can do this while nursing and cuddling Leila. In addition, RiteAid offers a special program for December "Gift of Savings" in which it's very easy to earn a $20 RiteAid gift card. Mine is in the mail already. There is also their single check rebate program. SO between allllll of that, I have been doing all my toiletry and household buying at RiteAid and been paying much less than even generic at WalMart. I have a family of 5 (fun to say that!) and have $80 weekly to work with. We've got to all be fed, cleaned, diapered etc. for $80 a week. So getting free toothpaste, cheap (but nice brands) shampoo, free razors, and diapers for at least 50% less than normal price is sooooo helpful.
The Krazy Coupon Lady, and I know many other sites, do a great job of breaking it all down for us so I won't go on any further. Just wanted to enlighten anyone who didn't already know that we can spend less!! It's takes time and prior planning. But the savings are significant and well worth it!
One last thing: every week that I do this, I get better at it. Just like everything else, practice makes perfect... so don't be discouraged if you don't save 75% on your loot at first. After you get home, take out your receipt and calculator, and figure out where you saved the most and where you didn't. ANY savings is better than none. But it's only a savings if you actually use/need the item. Don't buy something your family doesn't use just because it's cheap.
I think this is fun. And rewarding. I love coming home with my arms full of bags, but money still in my pocket. I figure out my exact savings and brag to my husband. He's really impressed with me. Every penny I save is one more he can spend on taking me on a date. =)