Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Meals and Coupons

I've had several from the coupon coop ask me to post about making meals from the list and how this saves me money. That is far more detailed than my brain tends to work, but I will say that I did sit down and make up a mock meal plan from the list this week. Where it is now, I couldn't say. It took forever, and I'm not sure I actually finished it, but I came really close.

So here are the things I want to say. First, you have to build up your stockpile and this can take up to 3 months, AND you may feel as if you are spending extra money because where you may need only 1 of the items immediately, you will end up buying 3 of those items to last you through the 3 months of stockpile. They way this actually saves you money is that you buy 3 at the rock bottom price instead of buying just the one you need right now at the rock bottom price and then having to buy it two more times at higher prices. The stores and coupons work on a 3 month cycle, so they do come back around, so for something you need every month, one may find it rock bottom sale 4 times a year or so. The remaining months of the year you will end up over paying unless you stock enough to get you through till the next sale. So...Initially you may have to put in more money than you expect, but in reality you are saving a bundle!

Here is my personal example. Last time detergent was on sale for 1.98 I bought two or three (can't really remember). I'm nearly out, so I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a similar deal. I didn't find anything even close until this week at Eckerds when I found larger quantities for 2.50. I bought 2. I didn't have to pay for them out of pocket though because last month I bought items that had free-bates (rebates that match or exceed the price paid). I paid nothing out of my grocery budget for my two large detergents (stockpile and need) and something else that I can't remember now.

The story for Walgreens is similar and better. My rebates are bigger there. I went to Walgreens for water because 24 pack was 3.99 and for easter eggs and baskets for Stone and Mercy's Easter Egg hunt on Saturday because they had hinged eggs for .59. I bought a few other items that I don't recall off hand, but I didn't spend any of my grocery budget because of the huge rebate I have on a Walgreens gift card. I chose the gift card because I made 10% on my rebate. My rebate that month was $60 so I made an additional $6.

As for dinners in my home, it varies. Sometimes we nearly spend no more than .60 a person, and sometimes we spend up to 3.00 a person, but you compare that with eating out and you are saving a bundle! If you dig from your stockpile for most of your food, you spend even less. Today we splurged. There are these new frozen skillet dinners that literally take 10 min. to cook and looked superb. They are Jose Ole. They had coupons for then in the paper and they were on sale at Bi-Lo yesterday. After the sale and the coupon it still cost 5.00 a bag, but the bag states that it feeds 2, however it feeds 3 1/2 in our family. Jason and I both ate sizzling rice, black beans, and chicken (and all kinds of onions and peppers and sauce) fajitas, Mercy ate the rice and beans but didn't want the chicken. And!! I have leftovers for my lunch tomorrow. Now as for tortillas, I had in my stockpile those taco dinner kits and only used half of the shells (didn't get the tortillas).

Another thing in my house is that I try to not waste any food (as long as it is still good). Often when we have a chicken and rice dish the leftovers are never enough for more than one person, but I like to recreate it into soup using chicken boullion. combine the soup with a sandwich and you can feed 2-3 people. Or I just eat it for lunch the next day.

This is the way it's done. This is the way we live. The grocery game doesn't seem to work for everyone. It does take time and least at first. But into the 2nd month, it seems to me that the work is now beginning to take off and the ease of it is setting in.

This is a pic of many of my freebies. This is not all mind you. There are two more things of Kotex pads and one thing of tampons, there are 2 tubes of Crest toothpaste and another of colgate that we are currently using. There is the deoderant that I'm using now that was a freebate. There are two more bags of cat food all of which I hope to give to my friend with the cat. There is one more thing of dog food and another bag which my friend is already using and loving. She'll be getting all of the dog foods (all free--no need for rebates). If I had been on the ball last week I would have gotten as many blood glucose testing kits as I had coupons for, but I wasn't able to get to it. Between the sale price at CVS and the coupon in the paper, I was able to walk out of the store without paying a penny. I'll be donating those to the local free clinic run by our church.


it's a Mom thing said...

Let me just say that I'm still amazed to this day that you make this work. Like you've said, this couponing thing is your hobby. I'm just not getting the "hang" of it. I might give it a few more weeks, then I'm heading to Aldi. Like all hobbies go, if it's not fun, you won't keep doing it. I'll just have fun by admiring all of the FREE stuff you get! OR maybe I should just pay you to get my groceries. :)
Well done!!!