Monday, October 06, 2008

Budgets and budget busters

With all this talk about the economy being so terrible, grocery prices going up, gas prices going up, etc., etc., I thought we could discuss what we're doing to make our dollars stretch to meet the budget (or "spending plan," in case you don't like the word "budget.")

Here's a couple of things we're doing...

Potty-training Daniel and Sarah... never mind that Sarah is only 14 months old and isn't walking yet - I'm sure the girl can use the potty and save us all those $$ we spend on diapers! OK, I'm just kidding, but we are working on Daniel, and that will help!

Using E-mealz... Seriously, I should have thought of this before they did - I'm sure I could have made a fortune! Subscribe to E-mealz ($15 for 3 months - use the coupon code "Dave" for a discount) and get a week's worth of menus, complete with grocery lists, every week! Just log on and print them off. Take it to the store and you have a PLAN for your week's meals and you have all of the groceries on hand! The best part is, if you live near a Kroger or Publix (or a few others that I don't live near), they tailor the menus to whatever is on sale that week. Very cool. Unfortunately, I don't live near either of those, so I have tried the Wamart menus and the Aldi menus. Currently, I'm using the Aldi menus, and the meals have been great! I'm using Aldi because the grocery list for seven dinners runs between $50 and $65, which is pretty good. I can usually make the seven dinners last for two weeks, so that fits nicely into my budget.

Coupon shopping...
This takes on various forms. I buy the Indy Star every Sunday (when it has coupons, that is). I used to cut all of the coupons out and use them when the products were on sale at stores like Meijer and Kroger who would triple coupons. Some of the stores have changed their policies and I've found a way that I like a little better because it takes less time. Now I check out the Grocery Gathering at BeCentsAble for stores like CVS and Walgreens. Contributors from various blogs list the deals for the week, complete with links to printable coupons and a list of coupons that match the sale items from the weekly paper. When I'm completely organized with my coupons, I put them in file folders for each week so that I can find what the blogs mention. That doesn't always happen, but it's my goal!

Here's an example for this week, since Sarah is refusing to be potty trained (hee, hee), I still have to buy diapers. CVS has Playskool diapers on sale this week - Mega pack for $10.99. An online site has a printable coupon for $2 off per pack. I got a coupon from the coupon printer at CVS today for $4 off any $20 Playskool purchase. I can use two of the $2 coupons along with the $4 coupon (that's called "stacking" in coupon-ese). That means I can get two Mega packs for about $14. I currently have about $22 in Extra Bucks from CVS - those are coupons you can use like cash for anything in the store. You can earn them every week on various products - the Grocery Gathering will tell you all about it! Anyway, I can use $12 in Extra Bucks for my diapers so I can get them for about $2! They would regularly be $29.98. The best deals are the ones where I can earn Extra Bucks back when I spend them, but that's not always the case.

Walgreens doesn't require you to have a store card like CVS does. We don't have one in town, so I don't go there as much as CVS. They offer register rewards instead of Extra Bucks - still worthwhile. They also offer products every month that are completely free after rebate.

What are you doing to save money?

5 comments:

Keetha said...

Refusing to pay my bills.








oh I kid

Amy said...

We're trying not to eat out, which is a challenge when the drive to post is 20 minutes and we pass Starbucks, McD's, BK....sigh. I watch Albertson's ads and stock up when they have 10/$10 deals. This week the deals included 1/2 gallons of milk and cereal. And waffles. Guess what the kids are eating. Oh--and I'm trying to lose weight, which means I'm not eating. :) Bryan's completely potty-trained, but he wears pull-ups to bed. Because he sleeps on the top bunk and I REFUSE to clean up a messy top bunk in case of an accident. I think Brady will start potty-training when Barry gets home. That'll be so nice....both the potty-training and Barry's return. :)

Kim and Mike said...

We're doing the coupon thing, too. I love the fact that Walgreens also does rebates and you can earn 10% more if you have the rebate added to a Walgreens gift card. Sometimes you can use a coupon and get a rebate back and actually EARN money on the item! For example, Food Lion (my grocery store) had Glade Wisp candles on sale last week for $6.99 and I got 2 with a BOGO coupon. (They gave me $9.99 back - the original price!) The register then printed out 2 coupons for $3 off my next order. AND, I have a coupon from the paper to get $9.99 back. So, I actually earned $12!! I love it when it works like that!

jenny mealy said...

We are eatting out never-and I am making a menu so I have just what I need on the grocery list. The list is a new thing too, I usually just wander and pick up what sounds good, not a cheap way to shop.

oh and by the way...you've been tagged, check my site.

Amy said...

I wish Keetha's idea would actually work...