To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Did It! I Did It!

And let me tell you I was feeling somewhat uncertain about it.

I'm talking about couponing. I'm talking about a complete and utter life style change in how I
plan my menu and shop for groceries. And of course the I manage our finances.
My friend Melynda is the coupon queen. She gets $125 worth of groceries for something like twelve cents. After listening to her stories of shopping triumphs I've been curious about the process but hesitant to actually try to figure out how it works. It seems so complicated! But on Saturday morning I went to a couponing class at the school taught by Molly, who budgets about $25 a week for groceries. No, they aren't eating peanut butter sandwiches all day every day but she is getting like $163 worth of groceries for less than $35.
Yea, but there's probably a bunch of stuff she buys that I wouldn't use. That's what I thought. Only that turned out to not be true. Very few of the items she bought were things that my family wouldn't eat. (Sorry, but no matter how sweet the deal, my beloved just will not eat Hamburger Helper :-)
So I got excited. And convicted. I mean, if there is a way to cut my grocery budget down even $50 a week how could I not learn to do it? $200 a month in savings is $200 a month, you know what I mean?
A couple of things first.
Noah is the patron saint of couponing. (Thanks, Wendy, for that info!) Meaning that you want double the coupons. Buy two Sunday newspapers, coupon magazines, and print two of every coupon that you will use. Because if an item is BOGO (coupon lingo for buy one get one...and yes, there is a whole new language to learn in this strange coupon world.) you can still use a coupon for each item.
Example: Spaghetti sauce is BOGO. You also have a coupon from Sunday's paper for $1 off. The regular price is three dollars a jar but remember it is a BOGO so instead it's like they are $1.50 each. And then you add on your coupon, one for each jar, and you end up paying fifty cents each for a grand total of $1 for what normally would cost you six bucks.
Another thing to know...stockpiling. The goal is to work the system to your advantage and buy up items when you can get them at a really incredible deal so that you create a surplus. That way you won't need to constantly be paying for some items because you have amassed your own personal supply.
An example of this?
Oh, I am so glad you asked because this is my deal of the week! Also, my first coupon deal period and I am pretty proud of it.
At Publix this week Ritz Crackers are BOGO. My coupon was for $2 off any two boxes of Ritz. So, I paid $1.79 for both boxes which breaks down to about .90 cents a box. Beating even Walmart's everyday low price of $2.50 a box. Needless to say my first deal also became my first stockpile. I bought six boxes :-)
All in all, I spent about $50 less on our groceries this week. Being honest though, I have to say that I had the makings for three meals already in our pantry which contributed to the savings. But I do expect that to become the norm as I learn how to play the system and get the most from our money.
And learn how to make my own laundry detergent.
And learn how to buy a whole chicken and use it to make my own stock and cut it up to freeze for different meals.
Oh, and I must find the new location of the discount bread store...
I'm really looking to hone some of those Proverbs 31 skills.
Want to share what you do to spend less?


Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth Marchlewski said...

I'm pumped!! You have got me sold on it!

s g said...

eh - You almost have me persuaded. Still a bit skeptical though. Six boxes of Ritz crackers would last my family two years. Claire will breeze through those Ritz within two weeks. Have you got an area ready for your stockpile?

I'm excited for you, don't get me wrong. Still just trying to work out through what I see as kinks. Probably should just buck up and give it a try instead of nay-saying. :)

Mel said...

I'm so happy you just went for it. Good for you!

s g -
It works. As with everything, there's always a kink or two. Nothing that would ever keep me from getting my good deals though.

Mike and Molly Spivey said...

yay!!! Way to go!!!!!

marty said...

Sarah, I actually have a coupon for you...for those yummy pita chips :-) it! do it! Think of the stuff you could have on hand to bless someone with.
Mel, your phone call yesterday strengthen my resolve to follow thru...thank you! We have got to figure a way for you to teach this at church.
Molly, your class was such a blessing on Saturday. Your desire to honor God and love your husband is clear and I am very grateful for the younger teaching the older!

Amanda Marchlewski said...

GREAT JOB! :) Fun isn't it?