SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks











{March 15, 2013}   The Price of Procra$tination

Had a hankering for something sweet last night...

I have spent most of today piddling around the house, finishing nothing.  Super Nana has the kids for a family to-do (that I’m too cheap to do lol) and I’ve been situating my coupons for a long-needed grocery trip.

I have three envelopes of expired coupons to ship overseas to Coupons to Troops.

My grocery list fills a page a college-ruled notebook paper.  What have I done?

“It is what it is.”  That’s one of my favorite sayings.  Granny-at-the-Farm always corrects me, stating, “It is what you allow it to be.”

I’ve allowed my stocks to become completely depleted.  I know there is no way of staying within my $50 budget.  And it’s my own fault.  Again, routines and habits.

My coupon binder is stocked and organized.  My list is done.  I’m planning to restock my freezer meals, which I know runs about $60 alone, but I can get at least 15 gallon bags into my freezer for that, $4 each, and there are always leftovers from those meals.  My reusable sacks are sorted and counted.  I’ve matched the ads for the 2 stores I’ll shop today.

Why do I have this sense of dread?

It is what it is.  Maybe I can surprise myself and come out of this more cheaply than I thought.

***

$153 after coupons and store rewards.

Procrastination was quite pricey!

In the wisdom of my 3 plus decades, I have discovered that everything in life can be treated as a learning experience and this was one of those experiences.  I also did not check off everything on my grocery list, transferring many items to the next one, but my pantry is nicely stocked.  I had snacks for my lunches each day this week, the monkeys had bananas for a few days and have moved on to devouring fruit cups, and there was meat with green veggies at every dinner.  Win-win-win, as far as I’m concerned.

Did I have the ingredients on hand for Grandma Sweitzer’s oatmeal cookies?  Nope.  That project can wait for spring break.

Did I have the ingredients to make a yummy meatloaf and potatoes?  Yup.  And Monkey 2 is loving a meatloaf sandwich these days.  Go figure.

Anyway, my whole original point was that when we put things off, it costs us dearly.  It costs money, time, space, whatever.  My trip to the grocery would not have taken as long, nor would it have had the same financial sting, if I’d planned better instead of running out of everything.  I will take this lesson into account the next time I put off a chore!

What has procrastination cost you?

~ Katie

Advertisements


{February 21, 2013}   One of Those Coupon People….
Couponers!

Couponers! (Photo credit: Timberland Regional Library)

Grizzly is very excited to be participating in his very first grilling competition this weekend, which meant a quick trip to the grocery tonight.  I told him earlier today that he could go by himself and he paid me quite the compliment: “It’s better that we go together.  I’ll spend $100 where you’ll only spend $50 and get more stuff.”  Love love love my big redneck!

So off we went to the Brookshire’s down the street.

After poking around a few aisles together, he went off to the meat department while I started hunting for a meat-free soup for tomorrow’s dinner (Monkey 1’s request since we’re all up into Lent).  I had some fairly decent  Progresso coupons (they would double and the soup is on 2/$4 still) and was trying to locate just the right one when this familiar-looking guy comes up and says, “What’s the big seller today?”

I guess I gave him the “teacher” look, because he corrected himself, saying, “Oh, you’re a shopper.  I thought for a minute you worked here.  Wait, you’re one of those coupon people!”

Um….

  1. Turns out the guy is Jeff Ferrell from one of our local news stations.
  2. I don’t like being lumped in as any “those _____ people.”  Makes me think of the Wal-Mart people.

I clutched my precious binder to my chest, telling him kind of firmly that no, I’m not an extreme couponer.  He figured out that he’d mildly offended me and said it was a good thing, not an insult.

I might just stop watching Channel 12….

Am I embarrassed by my coupons?  By my cheaptitude?  Well, heck no.  I don’t want to belong to part of a group. Especially not the extreme couponers.  No offense, but that show is over the top. I’m as excited about a free pouch of tuna fish as the next couponista, but my toilet paper will not overrun the monkeys’ habitats.

Couponing  is not a freaking cult.  It’s a lifestyle. It’s a conscious decision to spend my money carefully and get as much as I can for as little of our hard-earned wages as possible.  Why should that classify me as “one of those coupon people?”

Unfortunately tonight, I proved how un-extreme I am.  I was only at about 25% savings, which is not great for me.  But I went without a list and without a plan (forgot the dishwasher soap) so in reality, it wasn’t the worst.  And my groceries, after coupons, were actually lower than the competition meat.

So if Jeff Ferrell talks about the crazy woman in the grocery with a beat-up binder this weekend?  Yeah, I’m that chick.

Are you embarrassed by frugality?  How much is too much?

~ Katie



Coupons Ecover

 

If you watch that show, you know that different stores have different policies when it comes to purchasing limits and coupons.  Some stores limit how many like items you can buy at the sale price, how many coupons will double, price matching, etc.  Before you head to the store armed with your detailed list and carefully organized coupon collection, familiarize yourself with the store’s policies.

 

Where can you find your store’s policies?  Most stores these days have websites.  That would be the first place I check for coupon and sale policies.  You can also enter “_____store coupon policy” into your favorite search engine.  Make sure it is as current as possible!  With the popularity of that show, stores are changing their policies a lot more frequently.  I check the internet about once a month for updated policies, as I surf for printable coupons I might need/want.  As I tend to primarily shop four stores, this doesn’t take much time.  If you can’t find the policy online, ask at the service desk when you’re at your chosen store.  They should either have hard copies available or can tell you where it can be located.

 

Why do you want your store’s policies on hand? I keep my store policies in sheet protectors at the back of my binder.  They are dated so I know how current they are.  Having a hardcopy of the policy in my binder backs me up if there is a misunderstanding at checkout.  For example, I had a cashier tell me that Brookshire’s does not accept internet coupons.  I was able to show him in the store policy that Brookshire’s will accept an internet coupon as long as it has a bar code and scans properly.  Most checkers are happy to make the customer happy, but they have to follow their store’s guidelines.

 

I think that’s all I have for store policies.  It’s important that you know them and it’s important that you have them on hand to support your successful couponing.  The better prepared you are, the more money you will save.

 

Do you have anything to add?

 

~ Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



{December 29, 2012}   Stretching My Grocery Buck

My favorite gift for Christmas this year is a gift card to the grocery store.

Gift Card Holders

Gift Card Holders (Photo credit: campbelj45ca)

Cuckoo crazy?  Maybe.  But Visa Giftcards and cash can pay bills – and often do.  A Brookshire’s gift card is only good for my belly or my gas tank. I’ve written before about my grocery budget (this card will take care of a week) and couponing. I feel the challenge all the way to my toes now.

How am I going to stretch this money and get serious bang for my holiday buck?  I want to see if I can get two week’s worth of goodies for $50.  Here is my game plan:

  1. Match my ad to my coupons (duh).  35 cents and under will triple, 50 cents to 36 will double.
  2. Plan a 2-week menu.
  3. Bring my re-usable bags – they’ll get me 5 cents off per bag.  Right now, I have 14 bags, which is a discount of 70 cents.  I think I can come up with even more by using some of my 31 gifts totes.
  4. Use my rewards points to take 5% off my total bill.

Now, I won’t be buying meat with this gift card, unless I find an amazing deal, because we have a deer at the processor right now.  I also won’t be buying paper/plastic/cleaning foo fah because I get that at CVS (my Double Extra Bucks are coming in about 3 days!).  This will be straight food.

The hurdle I may face is that we are still on Christmas Break, meaning my monkeys are home for another week.  Those extra days when I’m back at work, they’ll be eating pb&j corndogs at PawPaw’s, but for the next 9 days, they are my little pantry raiders.  I’ll plan some fiberlicious snacks to cover that.

Do you think I can cover 2 weeks’ groceries with $50?  Any tips you want to share?  I’ll let you know how it goes.

~ Katie



Last night while DH and our friends watched the Notre Dame game, I cuddled up in my favorite chair with a blank calendar.  After all, how can I suggest menu-planning as a money-saving tip if I don’t practice it myself?  I filled in the calendar (in pencil) with family favorites and some great recipes from a wonderful website I’ve pinned (4 weeks of freezer-to-crock pot recipes and grocery lists – FREE!)  In no time, I had built a menu plan.

After planning my menu, I started putting together my grocery list.  Looking at the list, I figured it would be about $200, which is approximately what I budget, but I had no room left for cleaning supplies or toilet paper.  I justified it by telling myself 1. Most of my cleaning supplies are recipes that don’t cost much, except my Soft Scrub, to which I’m addicted, and 2. some things would last more than the month I’ve planned.

This morning, while DH and the monkeys were in the woods, I perused my Brookshire’s and CVS SmartPhone apps.  CVS has some decent deals, and I missed the good deals at Brookshire’s.  But for my groceries, I would have to go to the grocery store and save CVS (TOILET PAPER) for another day.  I cleaned out my coupon binder, as some coupons are close to expiration and some expired yesterday, and started matching coupons to my list.

Please note – If I find a better deal without the coupon, the coupon gets put away!

My original plan had been to go to the grocery when I first got up this morning, but there was frost on my car and I was feeling lazy, so I watched a movie while I double checked recipes and made breakfast for the hungry hunters.

I finally went to the store at 10:45.  And spent about and hour and a half shopping.  Partly because I love grocery shopping, and partly because I was making such a haul.  By the time it was said and done, I spent $156.21, had $7.65 in coupon savings (bought lots of off-brand today), and $33.61 in store card savings for a total of 23% savings. I did not purchase a pork roast (needed for pulled pork sandwiches) or a ham, both of which were on my list.  This was not a shining coupon day for me.

However.

I bought a lot of things that were not on the list.  DH’s friend Jamie asked me last night to make chili today, and I had nothing but some ground antelope – no beans or seasoning.  There was a sale on yogurt that I had coupons for and the monkeys love.  We didn’t have to have blueberry pancakes, but it gives everyone a change from cereal.  I bought 7 boxes of cereal today, one off-brand, but 6 of them were 3/$6 AND I had a coupon for $1.50 off four.  My Chef Michael’s dog food coupon had expired and the canine kid loves poultry, so I used a good coupon on some canned food that was on sale.  All in all, I had 117 items on my receipt.

The way couponing works best is to match your coupons to your sales and STICK TO THE LIST.  My menu plan is only dinners, and I probably could have done the grocery trip for $60.  But it’s been a while since I’ve been to the store, so I felt like we needed the extras.  And my cereal comfort zone is 12 boxes, which I’m in the process of rebuilding…

After putting up the groceries, I started the chili.I started out with the two alarm kit from the store, but didn’t exactly follow the directions.  This is the way I made it:

  • 1 lb browned ground beef
  • 1 lb ground browned antelope
  • Two Alarm chili kit – follow the directions to begin
  • 2 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce – usually I use my homemade red sauce, but didn’t can any this summer 😦
  • 4 cans chili beans
  • 3 cans kidney beans

I use the biggest pot I have and let it simmer all afternoon.  After DH, Jamie, and Danna all had healthy servings, I filled 3 quart-sized freezer bags.  When I use them later on, I will add some more beans, and maybe some rice.  I can also use one of the packages for chili dogs on a Monday night!

While the chili was cooking, I also made quart packages of chicken and dumplings (2 quarts) and chicken rice casserole (3 quarts) for the crock pot.  I’ll have to add cheese to the chicken and rice when I cook it, and I’ve learned to cook the rice separately or it has the texture of grits.  The quart packages may not work really well in my crock pot, but it’s worth a try.  The recipes I started with from www.sidetrackedsarah.com are just too much for my family.  They fill gallon bags to the brim and I end up with leftovers for days upon days.  Of course, she feeds a family of eight, not four.  So I’ve modified her recipes a little to suit my family.  And her recipes are terribly inexpensive to make, especially if you happen to have plenty of deer, antelope, wild hog, etc. in the freezer.  They take no time to throw together and you just dump them in the crock pot in the morning.  Easy peasy.

Another mess in the kitchen means it was another productive day.  Right?

Do you have any good freezer to crock pot recipes?  We’re having taco soup tomorrow.  And probably Tuesday. And Wednesday….darned gallon bags!

~ Katie

 



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: