I have a new hobby. It's not that I NEED another thing to do, this just kinda happened. And it's good for our family, well, at least good for our budget.
Remember this story? The true one that The Colonel wrote about me almost 10 years ago now?? Well, I just thought I was frugal back then. I bought things on sale, I clipped a few coupons, I complained and got free stuff when service wasn't up to snuff.
But it was nothing like what I'm doing now. Back then, I never would have gotten all this...
Yes, I got 28 items (5 packages of TP, 3 pizzas, 10 2-liters of Coke products, bread, bananas, 2 packages of butterscotch chips, hummus, bacon, tomoatoes, croutons, pot roast seasoning, and mascara) all for TWELVE DOLLARS.
How did I do it? By watching the ads, clipping coupons (paper and online), taking advantage of store deals and brands...and by shopping smarter! All of these things are things I had to buy anyway - brands I always buy, but I just paid less, WAY less.
I don't know how it first happened. I was on a blog, and clicked on a link and clicked on another, and all of a sudden I found this whole other world. The world of coupons and freebies and discounts and spending LESS money! I've added at least 10 new blogs to my reader, all that have to do with being frugal.
Some of the things I've learned?
* Never pay for toothpaste, shampoo or toilet paper again - those 5 packages of Cottenelle I bought above? FREE - I didn't pay ONE penny for them. I had 5 $0.50 off one coupons, and my store (owned by Kroger) doubles coupons, so they were FREE! Now, I don't like using the drug store shampoo (makes my uber-expensive color fade too fast), so I'll have to suck it up and keep buying salon shampoo.
* Don't clip coupons out of the Sunday paper - save the whole insert! I used to clip coupons I thought I might use in the next few weeks, and then they'd expire before I used them. Now, I save the whole insert, watch the ads, and can buy things I might not have thought of before - but they're super cheap w/ the sale and a coupon.
*Take advantage of online coupons - you can either print out coupons online or there are a few websites where you can load coupons right to your grocery store card and the discounts come off automatically. Check out these websites for that: cellfire.com, shortcuts.com, P&G eSaver
There are tons more tips and deals and info on these blogs...which have become some of my favorites to check daily, if not more frequently.
Deal Seeking Mom
Money Saving Mom
The Grocery Cart Challenge
It's Hip 2 Save
Stretching a Buck
The New Frugal Mom
Some of these women share ideas and post together or post very similar things (i.e. weekly store deals), but that doesn't bother me. Seeing it more than once helps it sink in or reminds me to check out a good deal.
In this economy, these ideas are really helping us save money without giving up things we're used to. And it's helping me learn how to stock up my pantry for those weeks when I don't want to spend very much at all at the store. This has made a big difference to us lately, so I thought I'd share w/ all of you. Happy Saving!!