Friday, July 25, 2008

Ways I'm saving money this week

Okay, as you know from previous posts, I am all about stretching the paycheck so that I can stay at home with Ada. I feel like part of my job as a stay at home mom is investing time in figuring out how to do this. Especially now when I only have one child, so I have more time on my hands. Plus, I have always loved to shop for good deals. I am a shopper. I love it. I love the entire process, so I think it's fun to figure out how to make the money stretch a little bit farther. There are several things that I am doing these days to pinch those pennies, things that I have learned from other mom blogs, in fact.

1. I am couponing. I am actually clipping coupons, saving the coupons in a cute little pouch, and, this is the crazy part, using the coupons. I am that girl in line, pulling the stack of coupons out of my pouch, and eagerly watching the screen to see what money I will save this week. Here is my secret for couponing. I only use coupons for items I would buy anyway. I refuse to buy something simply because I have a coupon. Now, I am willing to plan meals around the coupons. You know, the way you plan meals around what you already have in the cupboard. But I will not allow the coupons to make me spend more money on things that we don't need. And, rarely, I find a coupon for pampers or formula, and I feel like I struck gold.

2. I only shop at Kroger. Now, Wal-Mart may initially have better prices, but the Kroger card is amazing. You can download coupons onto your card to add to the deals you will already find in the store. Plus, every time I spend $100 at Kroger (which is weekly) I get ten cents per gallon off of already low priced Kroger gasoline. And, the store computer keeps track of what I am buying, and it spits out more coupons with my receipt on things that I am buying every week. For example, those longed for pamper coupons.

3. Speaking of Pampers, I am only using them at night. I won't lie, Pampers are the best. As much as I want to believe that generic brand will suffice, it's just not true. Pampers are softer, they have such a distinct baby smell, and they don't leak. However, generic brand will work during the day time when Ada's diaper is being changed every 2 hours or so. So, I am now buying a jumbo pack of pampers, which I keep upstairs in Ada's room to put on her after bath time before she goes to bed. Then I can rest assured that she will not wake up in the middle of the night with wet pajamas as a result of a leak (this has happened to us several times). And, I make those pampers stretch for a few weeks because I am putting generic brand on her during the day. This leads me to money saving tip number 4.

4. CVS extra care card. This card is AMAZING. It makes Kroger look bad. Really. You sign up for an extra care card, then you pick up a weekly circular (or go online), and you find the things in the store that will earn extra bucks. Let me explain by example. The other week CVS had a sale on Charmin toilet paper--the pampers of toilet paper-- and bounty paper towels. If you spent 20.00 on Charmin and bounty, you would receive 10.00 extra bucks. Well, the sale was so good that I was able to buy two huge things of Charmin and two huge things of bounty for a little over 20.00. Then I received 10.00 extra bucks back automatically, which is like a gift card to CVS. I turned around and bought a huge pack of pampers, which was also on sale, and got 10.00 off of the pampers. And left with more extra bucks to spend on my next shopping trip.

Let's go on. This week, the special was on CVS brand baby items. I spent 15.00 on two packs of cvs brand diapers and two packs of cvs brand wipes. I received 5.00 extra bucks back, which I plan to use today to buy four cases of diet Pepsi, which is on sale 4/11. This means that I will actually spend 6.00 to buy four twelve packs of diet Pepsi. If you are still confused, go here (click on the word here) to read a more detailed explanation of the "CVS game."

5. Okay, this is the last one for now. Rite Aid has a similar program, which I am just starting, so I don't know as well. It is called single check rebate. It works a lot like CVS, but instead of getting an automatic coupon with your receipt, you buy items in the store, you take your receipt home, plug your info. into Rite Aid online, and you receive a rebate check. For example, during July, if I bought one jumbo pack of Pampers I could go home, enter my receipt info. into the computer, and I would receive a check for 2.00. And the great thing here is you just receive money. I don't have to use that money at Rite Aid. Again, with both of these things I only buy what I need to buy anyway. For example, this morning, I went through the monthly Rebate Directory and marked things that we have to buy. That way, instead of buying them at Kroger, I will buy them at Rite Aid, and I will receive money back for them. Again, for a more detailed explanation, go here.

So just a few tips on how we are saving money. And I am ALWAYS looking for new ways to save, so please post any tips in the comment section, if you have them.


rhodes1 said...

I went and bought gas at Kroger hoping that I had spent $100 that month, and I could find a place to scan my card, and therefore wasn't able to save the ten cents. Should it have been obvious?

By the way, I rented the BBC Office. I've only watched the first episode so far, but it may be even funnier!

rhodes1 said...

I mean, couldn't find a place to scan my card.

LB said...

hmmm...interesting about the Kroger gasoline. I will check it out this weekend. Maybe it's a McDonough thing. I wouldn't think so, though. Okay, Scott and I will have to rent the BBC Office. We always watch the Office on netflix online. And last night was the one where Jim kissed Pam, and she rejected him--so sad. I am very eager for them to just be married. I don't like the possibility that they could still break up.

Ashley said...

LB, this is all great stuff. Really. I love to save, too. I had attempted to play the "grocery game." Google it. It is $10 every two months and they allow you to see what the BEST and LOWEST deals are for your store of choice. You buy a little more when the prices are low. Hence the potential to save big.

Now, question. How do you account for the fact that surely Wal-Mart/etc is cheaper than say, CVS? I guess the extra bucks get you under the WM "lowest prices." Just curious if it's REALLY a deal.

I am okay at the saving thing. We try and be good about those habits, too, so that one day, when it's MY turn to stay at home, we will not have a drastically different lifestyle to adapt to. Plus, like you said - it's actually fun!

Keep us updated! Be encouraged that you are doing a great thing for your husband and your family!

LB said...

Ashley, I have heard of the grocery game. Does it work? Is it worth it? I have considered subscribing.

As for CVS prices. Every month there are a few items that are actually free after extra bucks. For example, first week I started, Dove was on sale like this. And we have to use dove sensitive skin on Ada, so I only bought that soap, and received the same amount back in extra care bucks. I bought everything else at Kroger. Then, next time something we needed had a good deal with extra bucks, I used the extra bucks I already had to buy at a very discounted price something else, and I walked away with more extra care bucks. Does that make sense? You start very small, and it adds up until you are able to buy more. The point, in a sense, is to beat the system. There are many moms out there who blog about the best deals of the week, so it's like they do the work for you. Such a long comment on my own post--ha, ha:)

And so wise that you are already preparing for the day when you will be at home. We wish so, so badly we had done a better job at this. But, we are regrouping and starting where we are at now:)

Amy said...

I'm going to agree with LB about CVS. There extra bucks CAN be lower than wal-mart. (I do shop at both) One time, we got 4 things of toothpaste and for every dollar we spend we got extra-bucks back and were able to buy other things. I don't like their diapers though. I like babies-r-us brand diapers- which sometimes are on sale for 2 boxes for $30.

Ashley said...

Great explanation! I need to do more CVS shopping, I just forget!

As for the GG, honestly, it would be worth you trying once. At least to see if you would use it - I think if I had a little more time to "plan" for meals, groceries, etc. it would be more effective. And, same key: you can only buy what you would NORMALLY buy. Again, it is great to show you what items are on sale, which ones are the best and lowest deals, and where to stock up.

Julie said...

laura beth,
have you tried the grocery store Aldi? not sure if they are around mcdonough or not but it is a discount grocery store, european, .. they have their own brands and are all very good. they don't have everything so i usually go there and then to kroger afterwards to get whatever else i need. i have taken my receipt from aldi into publix and compared it against publix brand items for what i bought and every price was lower at aldi. worth looking into.
anyway, can't wait to see you guys next weekend :)

Mary Ann said...

Laura Beth,
I meant to write a comment when I first read how you are saving at all these stores. I am so inspired, especially at CVS, because we actually have one in Evergreen, and I shop there all the time. I am familiar with the extra bucks, etc., but I will now start reading the CVS circular that I receive in the mail instead of tossing it in the garbage. Thanks for the tips.