So last week my sweetie was spending a lot of time in the trackhoe, digging, staying cool in the a/c, and listening to the radio. He called me and told me he heard an interesting interview with a woman who lives right close in Conyers. When she and her husband both lost their jobs (they worked for the same company) she suddenly found herself in the position of trying to slash the family budget, so she started using coupons among other things. She was on the morning show to promote a seminar she was giving (only $5) on how to coupon & get other savings, with all the proceeds being donated to a local family whose husband and father was a cop killed a couple of weeks ago when he went to serve a warrant on a guy around here.
Jay and I spend a lot of money every week on food, household items & booze. Despite what you might think, groceries are really not all that differently priced from home. Meat is about the same (and we eat a lot of it) except for chicken which you can pretty much always get on the cheap. I’ve found a lot of stuff (especially potato or tortilla chips!) is even more expensive here than they were back home at Sobeys or SuperStore.Typically we spend anywhere from $80 to $100 on our weekly grocery shopping excursion to Kroger. Usually we make a few extra trips throughout the week to Ingle’s where we spend $25 to $50 extra each trip. And that’s with me planning ahead for meals, making my list and sticking mostly to it (when Jay hits the meat counter, you just never know what he’s going to pick up!) Mind you, all my wine gets purchased at the grocery store, but it is one thing that is much cheaper to buy here than in Canada. And if we make a trip to Wal-Mart to buy toiletries or other household items like garbage bags, cleaning supplies, etc. we always spend a minimum of $100. So I would estimate that we spend about $165 every week on grocery type stuff and $265 on those weeks when we go to the Wal-Mart (about once a month).
Our financial situation is not the greatest right now. He’s got a lot of pretty big payments he has to make every month and I’ve got a majorly huge credit card payment. We live solely off his salary and I try to keep up with my own credit card payment but I never know when or if I’m going to get any money. There’s hardly ever any extra to buy things like clothes or to go anywhere or do anything. It’s driving my husband freaking nuts! He’s not used to being this poor. He’s never been this broke in all his life. And you know we want to buy a new bigger camper, and we have to go to Vegas for Christmas to visit with his family, and we really want to get back to NB to visit my family someday soon. But as it stands right now, we aren’t in any kind of financial position to do any of that. We can’t even go away for a couple of days just to the mountains a couple of hours away in North Georgia for Memorial Day weekend. It’s not all doom and gloom on the financial front, we are making progress, paying off credit card bills one at a time (3 down, 3 to go, then mine) and we’ll soon (6-8 months time) have a loan paid off that’ll free up an additional $500 a month.
But in the meantime, I have to deal with a depressed hun, who longs to make things happen NOW!!
So he listened to this chick on the radio talking about how she cut her families grocery bill down from $900+ per month to just over $200. Then he called me to tell me her website http://www.qponqutie.com/
I’ve never been much of a coupon clipper. Though I loved it when me and Stacy had all those coupons for free wieners and pasta! But I checked out the site and then started gathering coupons. Let me tell you, it’s a lot more fun to go to those websites where you can print out your coupons at home when you have an American zip code you can type in for your area! I remember trying to coupon in Canada was always a hassle because lots of times the offers were only available in the USA.
I printed a few things from online and we started saving on Friday. Normally we only shop at Kroger or Ingle’s but because we had to go to the bank anyway and because it’s right beside a Publix, I scanned their sale online and found some good deals. Whole chickens 99 cents/lb. Dixie paper plates BOGO at $2.99. A Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon that I sometimes drink 1.5L for $7.49. Sargento shredded cheese two for $4. But the best deal was on deodorant for my hun, Right Guard Total Defense 5 BOGO at $3.99 … and I had a coupon for $3 off! So we got two of them for 99 cents. Fabulous! It’s not his regular brand but jeeze for that price you can’t go wrong. In the end we bought 2 whole chickens, 2 big bottles of wine, 2 deodorants, a lemon, 2 pkgs of Dixie plates, 2 pkgs of shredded Mexican blend cheese, a bag of baby carrots, and a bottle of Texas Pete hot sauce for $34.88, saving $16.45. Not bad for a first timer.
On Saturday we headed over to the new Ingle’s store. I really love this store in comparison to the one we always shop at (conveniently located next to the bar). It’s bigger and cleaner and every aisle has the organic stuff clearly labeled. They also have a much larger selection, stuff I can’t find anywhere else, like coconut oil and Ezekial brand pastas (which are pricey at $4.95 a box but full of fiber and low-carb in keeping with our diet). I didn’t buy any pasta this week, but soon … We went there solely because they had a dozen eggs on for 88 cents. The coconut oil was not badly priced at $7.14, I think it’s much more at Whole Foods or other natural food stores. Ingle’s also doubles coupons if they’re under a buck, so I had some 50 cent coupons for Newman’s own salsas and they doubled them to a buck. I found some low-carb tortillas that were on special for 99 cents a package so we got two packs and made chicken tacos for dinner.
In the end we bought a gallon of skim milk, 2 dozen eggs, 2 bags of pork rinds (snackage for my hun, blech!), taco seasoning, pkg of sundried tomatoes (which I’ve searched all over for and have found nowhere else, SCORE!), a jar of coconut oil, jar of Newman’s Own salsa, can of refried beans, can of water chestnuts, 2 pkgs of boneless center cut loin pork chops (4 in each pack), a bag of shredded lettuce, and 2 pkgs of low-carb tortillas for $33.25 saving only $3.03 according to the receipt but actually it was more because the in-store savings didn’t show up on the tortillas or pork chops (which were reduced for quick sale, $1.95 and $1.66). So it wasn’t quite the savings high I got at Publix but still I got a few things I’ve been looking for FOREVER and we actually got to have tacos for dinner, which was a huge treat!
Then on Sunday morning I sent Jay to the store bright and early (7:30am) to buy our very first Atlanta Sunday paper (the one where all the sales and coupons come out). At the local corner store you can buy a bundle of two papers (double coupons!) for only $3. He came back with a coffee for me and the paper and I settled into the bed with my scissors and an envelope and got busy.
Wow! Did they have this many sales and coupon flyers in the Sunday paper in Toronto?! How could I have not known about this?! I was hours and hours and hours scouring through these things and making lists and clipping. It took me so long to go through everything and make a plan that we decided to not even go out shopping on Sunday. Instead we went out last night.
We started at CVS. They have this neat rewards program where you get extra bucks coupons back on your receipt for some items you purchase. Recently we went to CVS so Jay could get nicotine patches and we got $5 extra bucks, so I already had $5 off our purchase in hand before we even walked in the door. I had some good coupons and there were some good sales. This was the most exciting shopping experience ever! I can’t remember what all the coupons were to break it down but in the end I got 3 jars of Bertolli mushroom alfredo sauce, 2 bottles of Palmolive dish detergent, a jug of Wisk 2x Ultra laundry detergent, 2 L’Oreal hair colouring kits and 2 Colgate toothbrushes for only $19.85. We saved a whopping $33.81! My hubby was impressed, even though we only earned one extra buck to put toward our next purchase.
From there we were off to Kroger for our regular weekly grocery shopping. I was a little disappointed because a lot of the best deals I had anticipated were already sold out or not available at that store. Still we didn’t do too bad. The best deal was Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce was on 10/$10 or a buck each and I had a dollar off coupon so we got one for free! I love getting free stuff! And that’s some good sauce, normally kinda expensive. We bought a bag of spinach, head of romaine, 2 cases of bottled water, 2 pkgs of baby portabello mushrooms, an eggplant, pkg of boneless skinless chicken breasts, pkg of bone-in split chicken breasts, lb of bacon, 2L of Sprite Zero, 2 bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, 2 pkgs of Oscar Mayer 100% beef franks, a tub of ricotta cheese, 2 packages of mozzarella sliced cheese, a box of big garbage bags, Suave shampoo, conditioner & body wash, and a box of 1 gallon sized ziplock bags for $57.21, saving $24.83.
So how’d we do this first week of actively trying to get the best deals … well, we spent $145.19 and our total savings were $78.12 (not counting those items at Ingle’s that they didn’t credit the savings on the receipt). We won’t be shopping anymore until next weekend, no mid-week pop outs for extra supplies this week cuz we’re stocked up. AND we bought a lot of stuff that we would normally do the Wal-Mart thing, so it’s a Wal-Mart kind of week, which means we’d normally spend an extra hundred bucks. So I think we did okay. We’re $20 below the $165 that I figured we spent regularly. I found some specialty items that we don’t usually buy. We’re stocked up on some toiletry and household type items. So I’m kind of excited about this!
I’m thinking if I keep it up, as we get going and I get better at figuring things out, we’ll save even more money! And that will be a very very good thing.