Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Proud Purchase!

The family has been sick the last week so I have spent a lot of time at home while they have been sleeping it off!  THis gave me a lot of time to prepare for a good shopping trip, but wouldn't you know it....there weren't any really great sales this week.  I did however manage to get a few items we use regularly at Walgreens for a great deal.  I think this is how I will attack it from now on....smaller groups of purchases.  It takes less time to prepare (only about 20 min this time) and I already had to go that way so I stopped in!  They didn't have everything I wanted because it is mid week, but I was informed they were unloading a truck and to come back later and they might be restocked! Sweet! best deal yet (only I had trouble with a few coupons at check out so I could have saved a few more dollars).  Here's what I got:

4 boxes of Splenda 100ct packets (I love lemonade and herbal tea so I'm trying out splenda)
2 Schick Hydro 5 razors (with one replacement cartridge each). 
3 cans chuck white tuna
8 bags popcorn (they were selling individually for .25 each)
2 packs stayfree maxipads 

Retail total: About $40 before sale discounts and coupons.  Here's the retail breakdown...razors retail about $9 each, the splenda and pads retail about $3 each, the tuna just over $1, and the popcorn is sold separately for .50 or more each. Plus Retail at Walgreens is a little more expensive then retail at discount stores like target or walmart, but with the deals they have weekly, I can pay much less!

Grand total out of pocket: $9.50!!!!  AND...I got a $4 coupon to use on my next walgreens purchase before 5/11/11.  So that's really like I got it all for $5.50.  Not too bad I say!    I want to go back and use the $4 on replacement razor cartridges when they are restocked, so I will get two packs for about $5...that's $2.50 each for TWO replacement packs (I think they are 3 or 4 count).   

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Couponing Venture

I am trying to learn the basics of the extreme couponing technique and I have been getting some success after a few weeks of trying it out.  I am not saving what the pros are by any means, but currently I am at about 50-60% savings per trip.  Many of the "pros" use coupon clipping services and buy tons of one item when it goes on sale and then stockpile it.  Plus they spend hours and hours per week planning their shopping trips.  Well, I just don't want to spend that kind of time on this and neglect other duties I have to do in my day (still trying to get my "system" organized) so I do my coupon practice on a much smaller scale, only getting 2-3 papers per week and getting only the brands and items my family will really use in the next few months (even if we aren't currently out of it).  Maybe one day when I have space to store items and am more experienced in couponing I can step it up and make bigger purchases, but for now it is working great.  Here is an example of what I got today.  I spent about $45 out of pocket but saved about $35 based on matching my coupons with store sales and promotions (store bonuses using savings cards) and making multiple transactions to get the most out of my savings.  It may not seem like a lot of items for $45, but many of these health and beauty items were items that are typically large make up, lotion, skin care, and razors.  Here's what I did: 

Transaction #1: Bought the two jergens and one biore product on a buy $20 get $10 rewards bucks.  I used one coupon (could have saved more if I had a coupon for each of the 3 products) but with tax, paid $25 for the three items (the biggest expense...this first transaction needs to be refined a little more).

 Transaction #2:  2 boxes bic razors, 2 bags nestle candy, 2 bottles loreal vive products, visine.  Used coupons for every item plus my $10 rewards bucks from my first transaction and that brought my total down to about $6 (that includes tax....which was almost $2). 

Transaction #3:  2 m&m eggs, 2 snickers eggs, peeps, 3 almay make up products.  Using my coupons for every item (plus b2g1 free special on the make up) my total came out to about $13.  Then I will enter my receipt number on and get an extra $5 rebate for the makeup purchase that I can cash or use in store for a future purchase. 

Went to Stater Bros. supermarket after that to make use of one or two deals at the end of the sales cycle and got all the food products in the picture (minus candy) for only about $7 using my coupons on top of the store promotions.  So that is 4 packs breakfast sausage links, 1 pack lunchmeat, 2 packs go gurt and one box cereal all for only $7.

On Sunday I entered my coupons from my paper into my excel spreadsheet I made to gain easy access to my available coupons, date received, expiration date, etc (takes about 30 min) then I planned out my drugstore trips for the week.  (usually at Riteaid, Walgreens or both).  I spent about 2 hours on it total, but it will get faster as I go on. 

When the supermarket ads come out tomorrow I will plan my grocery trip for the week, which takes a little more time, but I am going to set a goal at 2 hour planning time and $50 spending limit for now.  I have found some great local blogs that do the coupon match ups for you so you can decide where the best deals are.  I usually look at Stater bros, Ralph's, and Albertson's since they are all close by.  If anyone has any tips for me, let me know.   This couponing thing is kinda fun because I feel like I can get good deals (who doesn't want to save money?) and a shopping fix.....since my other shopping trips for fun stuff like clothes etc don't really fall into the budget right now!  Happy shopping!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A little of this and that...

Low Country Boil at Ike's Aunt's house.....YUM!

Waiting for the Balboa Island Ferry with Tiff and the kids

Jack really enjoyed his time at the beach......he loves the sand!

Couch fort (aka...mess).  Drives me crazy but I love seeing them have fun together and play!

Our little spring visitor.....luckily he only came by one day and haven't seen him since!!

Jog-a-thon at Dane's school. 

Although I have been M.I.A. for over a month, I still want to document a few things.  First,  at the beginning of March Ike gave his two weeks at his second job and went back to running the gym full time again and trainig.  I was nervous about it at first, because it means a drop in income/benefits but underneath the initial fear was relief for him and me.  He worked like a dog for 7 months and the plan was around 6 or until we felt the gym was stable enough to do so without us going crazy financially.  After he worked his last day I think we both felt a weight just wasn't the right thing for him to do anymore and it's purpose had run its course.  So he is back running the gym full time and I am at home with the kids more now.  I am glad to be home more (for now) because I feel like I can have more balance with keeping up with the house and kids.  I thought it would give me a little more time but I still feel like I stay pretty busy.  I think I go in cycles and it's like I can never make up my i want to be a stay at home mom or do I want to still be involved in my career?  I know I don't want the full time career right now because it is just too much and I think it is important for me to be with my kids as much as possible especially right now while they are still fairly young.  Then there are times when I think about going back to work and I get excited because I think I am good at what I do and it is important to feel that accomplishment and appreciation in that aspect of my life as well.  For now I am good but depending on what happens for us in the next few months, I may be revisiting the idea of either working again, or thinking about child #3.  But like I said...a lot is riding on how things develop over the next few months.

That being said, I posted some pics from my phone (not great quality...guess I need to upgrade again).  Dane had a jog-a-thon at his school to raise money and I think I still owe $1 or something...whoops!  I love watching him grow and develop and interact with is teacher and classmates.  I love seeing him learn. 

A few weeks ago we had a little visitor slither accross our front lawn, down the driveway, then off into the brush...YUCK!  I sat down on the sidewalk to put Jack down and turned to my right and BOOM...there it was about 5 feet away in the grass!  I grabbed Jack and jumped up so quick.  The snake was about 5 feet long....harmless, but gave me the heebie jeebies none-the-less!!

My sister came about a week or two ago for her spring break at the Univ. of Utah.  It was so fun to see had been about 9 months!  She came for 3 days and we met up with some cousins, went to disneyland, went to the beach, and just played with the boys.  I was hoping for better weather, but it was still better than what she left behind in Utah.  I have some more pics on my camera so  I will add those later.

I had to include a pic of this Low Country Boil we had for Sunday dinner tonight at Ike's Aunt's house.  Ike's cousin, Burke cooked up some good grub for his daughter's b-day party.  It was a variety of shellfish, sausage, potatoes, and corn...YUM!  I haven't had crab in forever!  Jack even tried it! Of course he just ran around biting and sucking on his little ear of corn most of the time but it was fun!

Ike went to the final four in Houston, TX this weekend and I'm staying up to wait for him to come home from the airport.  I have only talked to him briefly over the past few days because he has been so busy meeting up with his coaching buddies, and going to a ton of events.  I think it has been great for him and I know that is what he is really meant to do.  While he was there he texted me a few times that we need a weekend get-a-way...and Yes, I agree...we do!  I don't think we have ever been away from the kids...and it is about time!  Maybe we can work on that soon!  Anyway, he was really missed and I can't wait to have him back, but I'm glad he had a good time.  He deserved it after all the hard work he has done over the past 6 months!