Tuesday, January 20

A Trip Without Coupons

We ran into Food Lion a few days ago for a frozen pizza for dinner and a few other things on the spur of the moment, and came across some great deals. We managed a 46% total savings without a single coupon!

Food Lion 1/16:
+ 4 Tombstone 12" frozen pizzas (on sale, bogo)
+ 13 Food Lion Apple Juices 64 oz. each (on markdown for $0.92 ea)
+ 16 Campbell's Soup 15.4 oz. microwaveable (on sale, 10/$10)
+ 5 Smart One's invididual frozen pizzas (on sale, $0.49)
+ 1 Food Lion gal. skim milk
+ 1 box Food Lion graham crackers
+ 2 Gala apples (fresh)
+ 1 bag Santitas tortilla chips
+ Tax
=$51.04 out of pocket, $42.86 saved, 46% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.19

We were so thrilled with this trip. We managed to buy 5 lunches for me, 16 lunches for DH, 4 dinner pizzas, and 13 big bottles of juice for DS -- and everything averaged only a little more than a buck a piece! And we didn't even use a single coupon. Wow!

11 Days Left...

How am I doing on my New Year's Resolutions? Well, let's review. These are the resolutions I set.
My New Year's Resolutions:
1 - Make a monthly budget and stick to it. (see below for January's goal)
2 - Limit impulse buying by discussing all $20+ purchases with DH first.
3 - Plan monthly goals for improvement. (see below for January's goals)

January Goals:
1 - Budget for food/household/eating out: $500 (basically this should cover everything except for routine bills and gas...will start with a high limit this month and try to work down each month of the year)
2 - Read more books to DS.
3 - Convert the dining room to a playroom for DS.
Well, so far I am sticking to the budget. There are 11 days left in this month and I have about $100 remaining from my $500 budget. There are a few groceries I know we need that probably won't wait until next month, and DS's birthday is less than a month away...it will definitely be close!

As for impulse buying, I have only bought one thing on impulse so far this month without talking to DH about it. It was cloth diapers...my weakness; 8 yummy bamboo velour PeanutButter & Ellie Molly preflats. I couldn't help myself. The only positive is that I paid for them out of my PayPal account which is funded by things I have sold on Diaperswappers, so it doesn't come out of my monthly budget money. Still, I will try to do better.

January's goals are going pretty well. DH and I are both reading more books to DS, which is great for all of us! As for the dining room to playroom conversion, some of DS's toys have been moved in, we bought 2 toy organizers at Target on sale that will serve as new furniture in the room and will be paid for by selling our dining room items, the dining room rug has been sold on Craigslist, and the other dining room furniture has been listed. We still need to sale the table, chairs, and cabinets.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are great! Lately, we've gotten a lot of them, many of them even for free. Here are a few of the latest:

* $25 Blockbuster GC - Christmas present
* $5 Harris Teeter GC - given free because a catalina coupon didn't print at the store
* 3 x $20 Lowe's GC - free for buying $300 worth of GC's right before Christmas (We shop there a lot, so we bought a few GCs for Christmas presents and kept the rest just for our personal use. You can't beat $60 at Lowe's for free!)
* $25 CVS GC - free for having new prescription filled
* $45 CVS GC - spent $40 Bonus Reward dollars from DiscoverCard credit card

Craigslist Buys and Sales!

We love Craigslist!

A few recent buys:
* A Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair that perfectly matches our kitchen table $80
* A bag of 18m boys clothes (over 50 pieces) $30
* A huge lot of Little People sets, animals, and people $40

A few recent sales:
* 2 cans baby formula $8
* Bumbo baby chair $25
* Dining room rug $50
* Cloth diaper doublers $30

I don't normally count these transactions in the budget monthly totals because I usually try to use my "sales" money for my "buy" money.

Kroger Redeemed!

I wrote a post not too long ago entitled "Crappy Kroger" because although I had a very successful trip, my catalina coupons did not print and I left the store feeling very upset. As an update, I want to say that Kroger completely redeemed themselves. I emailed corporate Kroger and explained the situation. They kindly put a $10 credit on my Kroger card, which was worth almost double the value of the coupons I should have received. Yay!

A similar situation happened on a recent Harris Teeter trip: a $4 on-your-next-order catalina did not print for buying $20 worth of Gerber products like it was supposed to. I took my receipt to customer service where the manager took my information and told me he'd email corporate. I got a phone call the next day saying that corporate would be sending a $4 OYNO coupon as well as a $5 gift card for my trouble. I picked them up today! Yay!

January is more than half gone....

Here are my spending totals for the first half of the month!

Eating Out:

+ $3.53 McDonalds 1/2
+ $12.92 Papa John's 1/2
+ $10.51 Jersey Mike's 1/6
+ $4.96 McDonalds 1/6
+ $29.86 PF Chang's 1/9
+ $16.13 Jason's Deli 1/12
+$16.70 Pei Wei 1/15
Total: $94.61

+ $19.73 Harris Teeter 1/1...saved $28.74, 59% savings
+ $17.24 Food Lion 1/4...saved $0, 0% savings
+ $5.48 Harris Teeter 1/4...saved $12.00, 67% savings
+ $31.04 Harris Teeter 1/4...saved $48.50, 61% savings
+ $37.41 Harris Teeter 1/4...saved $40.23, 52% savings
+ $1.62 Food Lion 1/5...saved $0, 0% savings
+ $12.16 Kroger 1/9...saved $14.40, 54% savings
+ $8.90 Food Lion 1/10...lost receipt
+ $57.83 Harris Teeter 1/12...saved $36.10, 38% savings
+ $44.47 Trader Joe's 1/15...saved $0, 0% savings
+ $51.04 Food Lion 1/16...saved $42.86, 46% savings
+ $0 CVS 1/20...saved $100.51, 100% savings
Total $286.92...saved $323.34, 53% savings

+ $6.22 UPS 1/14
+ $9.11 CVS Pharmacy 1/10...earned a $25 gift card**
Total: $15.33

**This was for a prescription purchase. You are not allowed to use ECBs to pay for prescriptions, so this was out of pocket because DH bought it and didn't have my gift card with him. Our insurance was supposed to cover the prescription, so it should have been free. DH is going to call them and try to get that straightened out. On the up-side, we had a coupon for a $25 Gift Card with a new or transferred prescription, so we did get that! :)

CVS in the snow!

Hooray for snow today! Although I must admit I was a bit scared that CVS would be closed because of it and ALL my Extra Care Bucks were expiring today! I called this morning and they told me they'd be open all day--lucky for me! :)

I went in with $65.45 in ECBs that I had earned on Dec. 20th. There weren't that many deals I was excited about this week though, so I am super impressed that I was able to earn back $57.96 in ECBs! I was afraid I was going to lose a lot more than that! And I'm also psyched about all the soda we were able to get.

(Sorry there are no pictures...my laptop with the camera software is currently out of order.)

+ 2 Mountain Dew 12-packs
+ 2 Caffeine-free Pepsi 12-packs
+ 2 Pepsi 12-packs
+ 1 Diet Pepsi 12-pack
+ 2 Nutra-Trim weight loss gum packs
+ 3 Soy Joy 6-pack bars
+ 1 box Lorna Doone cookies
+ 2 Maybelline NY mascara
+ 3 American Greetings cards
+ 2 Nasogel
- Coupons ($2.00 )
- ECBs ($65.45 )
+ Tax
=$6.38 on GC, $0.00 out of pocket, $94.13 saved, 100% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.00
*Plus I earned back $57.96 in ECBs and 4 CVS coupons!

In other news, I am way behind on updating spending as of late, so I'll get to that soon! :)