Regardless of how much we think we have grown, matured, or come into our own, we all understand that we must learn to play the game. It is not who has all the marbles that is declared the victor, but the winner is the one who finishes the game without sacrificing the marbles in neither his pocket nor his head. As I complete my first thirty days of my 90 Day Cash Only challenge, I am proud to report that I am still the proud owner of my marbles.
I am also proud to admit that I have become much better at playing the game. If no one ever told you, saving, having and earning money is game, please allow me to pop your bubble The trick in the victory is to come away with your scruples and increase your wealth with honesty. Nothing is more straightforward than living a cash only life. During this challenge, I put away my credit card, yes that is singular, and even put away my debit card. I went raw dog and did exactly as I was told, cash only. Now, I am cursing because I still have sixty bleeping days to go. But, I digress, back to the game.
Saving money is game. In this game of life, you need something in the bank. If you have ever seen an episode of Extreme Couponing, you know it can be addictive. Those women spend hours a day playing the saving money game. I am cool and cute; I do not have that kind of time to spend so that I can come out of the store with 12 boxes of Kotex, six cans of hair spray and spend $.86. I am not stupid though, so I modified my couponing, and set off to Bi-Lo. I was armed with $70 in cash and needed food for two weeks. It took me an hour and a half, but after the weekly meal deal, fresh fruits and veggies, a boat load of coupons that were doubled, plus my Bi-Lo bonus card, I spent $58.85. I also saved money and got a $.05 credit for each of my own shopping bags. I brought 3 and saved $.15. I earned $.20 on my Fuel Perks and can now take that off per gallon of gas. Oh hush, in this game, the object is to get more, spend less, and come home with something. I am now hip to the coupon game.
I met the Krazy Coupon Lady and printed coupons from there.
I visited the masters on saving with coupons.
I have free printable coupons.
I am proud to get Fruit Juice for $.58! It means more money in my pocket.
The object at the end of the 30 period, is to use only cash and keep a journal. My journal is live and I hope you are enjoying my journey. I am. Because I have learned a great deal about money and my spending habits. The next sixty days are going to be tough, because now I must pull my credit reports, have a conversation with my stalker, Sallie Mae, and review my insurance. I also have to donate 10% of my income to a charitable organization. If it is what I need to do to increase my wealth, then I will.
I am getting better at playing the game, and I am building up my marble stash. I am not afraid to move forward, size up some new opponents and head towards the championship. However, first, I need to take on some regional champs. Who’s got next?
- How to Make Couponing Fun and Save Money while Teaching Your Children to be Frugal (allstate.com)
- Benefits of Using Money Saving Coupons (dominicspoweryoga.com)
- Extreme Couponing Tip: See the Bright Side of Couponing (livingrichwithcoupons.com)
- I found another one! $2.00 off TWO (2) packages of U by KOTEX Tampons (bxcheapskate.com)
- Hurry and Print…$2.00 off TWO (2) KOTEX Natural Balance Products (bxcheapskate.com)
- No Spending Challenge – $100 Cash Giveaway (wellkeptwallet.com)
- 5 tips at the grocery store that will save you an extra $100 a month (savings.com)
Next June will mark my 22nd wedding anniversary. Hubby and I are planning a really cool vacation and I plan to fully enjoy myself without cumbersome worries of how are we going to eat when we get back from this lovely little trip. I have begun to save large chunks which mean there is little room left for play money. I thereby had to put myself on a cash diet. I can only use my credit card or debit card for emergencies. This past week I have truly learned the value of a dollar. I have also learned that there are something’s that I will not buy, not even for a dollar!
As I previously stated in one of my early post, I have begun to coupon. I am now a step below extreme couponing and hovering around extreme value shopping. I have become, what I consider, to be very clever. I am recycling everything from pieces of left over roast, which are transformed into taco night, or in this weather, a hearty stew. The stews are great to also use up the leftover peas and carrots in the fridge. I am even stocking up the pantry and deep freezer. Let me tell you how.
As I was leaving the house to start my bargain shopping, I noticed the planters on the front porch needed fall plants. Normally, by this time, I would have added some Mums, but I wanted to stretch what I have until it is time to put in the Icicle Pansies. I head over to my friendly neighborhood Lowes. Instead of shopping in the front, I head to the rear of the garden center to THAT rack. Yes, the rack of shelves with sad, lonely, and deserted plants. I have found the ones on the ends are the healthiest and easy to revive. I picked up two hanging Tahitian Bridal Veils for $1 each. They need to be repotted so next I head to Roses. Instead of purchasing the name brand bags of potting soil for five bucks, I opt for the local no name bags for $1. Hey, it’s dirt. I am going to add some plant food when I repot them anyway. Now it’s time to get really busy.
I am headed to the buy one get one sale at Food Lion. I have already added the sale coupons to my MVP card buy downloading the digital coupons to my frequent shopper cards. The hard copy of manufacturer coupons in hand, I have a $1 off of two boxes of Cheerios, which just happen to be on sale for buy one get one. Armed with my sale ad in hand, I pick up bags of chicken breast, shrimp, Doritos, and a large 39 oz container of coffee. I save $1 on the coffee, which I purchased for $7.99. I am on a roll. I purchased high end ice cream at buy one get one along with high end butter crackers. Zesta Whole Wheat Crackers at buy one get one box is great deal; grabbed two of those.
I load up the mama mobile and make my way to Kroger. They are having a ten for $10 sale. Here, you have to be very careful. Last week, the same store brand vegetables I got for $.88 per bag are now in the 10 for ten sale; this is not good friends. I did pick and choose which items were a good deal for a buck, but Lipton Rice mixes are a dollar anyway, so this is not really a good buy. Staples purchased, I now have my local independent grocer’s ad, or the local IGA. These stores are great for pantry items. There is a five for $5 sale going on so I stock up on two pounds bags of rice, hot sauce, ketchup can goods and dry beans. I also grab a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters for $6. I do have a freezer safe bags in the trunk for my cold items. These wonderful bags keep food cold for 3 hours.
My last stop is to the local Bakery outlet. Tuesday and Friday’s at the John Derst bakery outlet has bread on sale for $.79. Wheat bread, cinnamon raisin bread, Kaiser Hamburger buns and hot dog rolls are all for $.79; with no buying limits. I have found that you can freeze bread for up to 3 months and when you defrost, it is good as new.
My pantry is stocked. My fridge and freezer is full and my bank account is not empty. I have a full tank of gas, my hair is done, and I have a few bucks left in my working account for just in cases. I did all of this today, including my hair, for a mere $160.00. It’s okay, you can say, “ooohhhh!” I know I did.
I must close out now because my new issue of All You arrived in the mail. The cover says there are $94.55 worth of coupons inside. I have work to do.
I am addicted. I am not shame and I will shout from the rafters that I am hooked. I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing and once I saw how much money they were saving, I said, “I can do that!” I started clipping and I also started saving money. I am far from extreme, but I am, unequivocally a coupon clipper.
Ironically, I can remember a time when whipping out a coupon was considered low class and made the bearer appear to be a cheapskate. People who clipped coupons were rumored to live in a house full of cats, made quilts and homemade jams. In essence, they were regarded as a step above being a hippie. Not anymore, welcome to the new breed of savvy shoppers and coupon clippers. Let me help you get started. It is easier than you think.
First we must determine what kind of shopper you are. If you are not organized enough to have to deal with a little purse of coupons, or have hours to spend price comparing in the grocery store, then we can start here. The easiest way to save is with your frequent shopper cards and make them work for you versus just having them dangling on your key chain. Kroger and Bi-Lo offers you Fuel Perks. The money you spend in the store earns you a few cents off your gas purchase at each visit. You can also download coupons to your rewards card and when you check out, they automatically take the savings off your final purchase! BiLo even offers you double coupons so you can save twice the money. I know right! No clipping, no coupons and you don’t have to seem like a crazy cat lady who makes quilts and jam.
Saving at the grocery store isn’t your only option. Crafters have long been saving at Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. The great thing about craft stores, if you have a coupon from another store, they will honor the discount. We can take it one further. If you are a teacher, you can also get teacher discounts at Joann’s and save an addition 15%. These programs are also available at Staples and Office Max. No matter what you are into, if you look, there is a coupon, a Groupon, and Living Social break. If you have a smart phone, you can download coupon apps and have discounts and bargains at your fingertips.
Now, I can understand if all of this couponing is far too much of a commitment, then here is the perfect solution, just price compare. Use that smartphone to help you make some smart decisions. There are several bar code scanners that will scan the price, and give you the best deals in a 50 mile radius, including online.
There are all types of coupons to help you save money when you want to dine in or dine out. Find out if your favorite location has a frequent shopper program or a loyalty program. I am one who believes in getting my money’s worth and each day I am out looking for ways to save money, cut lost and reduce my back end, literally and figuratively. You can find the savings approach that works best for you or you can search on Twitter and search under coupons. You can get real time updates on savings.
I have looked into Coupon Suzy and a few other sites, but those are more regional. The economy isn’t going to turn around on its own and in the meantime and in between time, I am working on some Christmas quilts for my great nieces and some jam from some pears my friend send over from her tree. Happy savings!