Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Confession Time

Okay, I have a confession to make. I spend way to much money on groceries and toiletries. I have not been a good steward of the money that God has provided KJ and I. I have been one who just goes to the grocery buying whatever I feel like without a super clear cut plan on what to make for the week and thus way overspending. I haven't looked at the sale ads to plan my meals around sale items or clipped coupons. I really haven't put much thought into it, just going along my merry way buying what appealed and spending an absurd amount each month. Neither KJ or I really thought about it until the other week, we sat down to map out our new budget for this school year (two kids in school means A LOT less money each month). When we really sat down and looked at the appalling numbers and realized how much we could be saving if I would just put a little more effort, commitment, and diligence into my shopping and planning, I was super convicted about it all. My job as the homemaker is to be a good steward of our money and I have not. I would not get a good performance review! Nor would I hear "Well done good and faithful servant." I am now completely committed to cutting our grocery and toiletry budget by at least half but hopefully even more in the coming months.

Some of the ways, I am going to do this is by being super diligent to a meal plan and sticking with it! I would like to plan my meals around what meats, dairy, and produce are on sale at the stores I shop at. I want to stick to my list with no impulse buys (this is big because I am very very bad at impulse buying!). I am also going to try and make all of our breakfasts to cut down on the money I spend on breakfast items (ie: cereal bars, frozen waffles, and frozen pancakes.) I am off to a good start with this as I now have a huge stash of homemade frozen pancakes in the freezer as well as a loaf of zucchini bread! I am also going to try and become a diligent coupon user. There are a lot of great web sites and blogs that help out in all the areas I have described above. One thing that really has my interest is playing the CVS and Walgreens game. You can amass some significant savings by shopping at these stores and learning how to shop with coupons, sales, and extra bucks.

CVS has some amazing deals. Each week they offer some great sale items and with coupons you can get these toiletries for next to nothing and get CVS money back. Walgreens has great deals too but they don't offer money back. So anyway, after much, much research, reading, and amassing coupons, I was ready for my first CVS and Walgreens trips. You can see what I scored below! I want to leave you with some links if you are interested in learning more about shopping for steals at CVS and Walgreens. One of the best resources I have found for learning how to be a better shopper in general but also at CVS and Walgreens is Money Saving Mom. She has amazing tips and advice for how to create a grocery budget, meal plan, and shop for amazingly cheap. She feeds her family of 4 for $35 a week. I won't ever get there as I am not willing to shop as much as she does for deal nor can I give up all the fresh fruits and veggies we eat but I am excited by the wealth of ideas and knowledge she has. In her blog, she also outlines the major deals to be had at both CVS and Walgreens each week with where to find the coupons you need to do the deals! A huge time saver. This link will take you to the CVS deals for this week. At the bottom of the blog post are links to take you to places to read about how to play the CVS game. Another great website is She has lots of great advice but also, you can research the great deals your personal grocery store is having that week with the coupon needed beside each deal. This was a huge help to me this week in planning my shopping trip! I was able to get some great deals at Kroger on dishwashing detergent tabs (I scored Electrasol tabs for $0.33 for a good size box!) I also got a great deal on shampoo for the kids (Loreal kids for $0.55) I wouldn't have found or figured those out without reading her line by line site for deals.

Anyway, with more diligent planning and shopping, I hope to be a much better steward of the money we have been given to steward. I believe this is my Christian duty as a wife and mother to be the best steward I can be. Like I said I was really convicted! So enough about all that, now for some fun. Here are the deals I got at CVS and Walgreens this week.

This was the purchase that got me started in the CVS game and will hopefully carry me through quite a ways. The deal was if you spent $20 (before coupons) on any Maalox, Excedrin, or Gas-X item you would get $10 back in CVS extra bucks which can be used on anything in the store for your next purchase. Well this turned into a great deal. With coupons, I spent $13.28 out of pocket for the above items including tax. However, I got $10 extra bucks back, and extra $1 buck back and a $3 off a $15 purchase coupon back! So really, when you look at it that way I only spent $2.28 for all the items. My goal is from now on in my purchases from here on out to use little if any of my real cash to purchase items. Hopefully, with coupons and extra bucks plus the great sales they have each week, I can keep our house stocked with toiletries and stuff for very little cash! Incidentally, that $3 off a $15 purchase coupon I got to use on another purchase, is figured before you lay your coupons down. So say I had a total of $16 (before coupons), I could put that down making my purchase $13 and then you could subtract any more coupons you have and then pay with extra care bucks and hopefully earn more extra care bucks to replace the ones I spent.

This was a great deal on these toothpastes. This was my second CVS transaction. I got both toothpaste tubes for only $0.05! They were buy one get one and I had two $1.50 coupons to use. That gave me a $0.21 overage which they applied towards my tax on the items which was $0.26 resulting in my 5 cent purchase.

From Walgreens this week, I got these shampoo and conditioners for free! Yes free! They were buy one get one free on sale thru Walgreens and there was a buy one get one coupon in Sunday's coupons. So I got both free! Sweet!

Anyway, all I have read says it really takes a 3 month commitment to doing this to see the huge, massive savings you read about. You have to have the time to amass coupons and stock up on things when they are on super sale instead of just buying it when you need it. I hope to give it the full 3 months and hopefully, I will be getting our toiletries for pennies! This has taken awhile to figure out and I am still figuring it out but it is actually a lot of fun to see how much you can save and how cheaply you can get things you need.


Anonymous said...

awesome...but I admit I'm still completely confused. I am a huge meal planner (at least 2 hours a month spent on planning) and I do plan around flyers and sales and do shop at multiple places...but every time I read about this CVS and Walgreens thing it just makes my head spin! :)

Joy said...

That is awesome Christy! I will be very excited to follow along on your journey! The CVS thing still boggles the mind as I think for us I would end up buying a ton of stuff that we would not use to get the free stuff. I don't know! I am however a big fan of planning meals for the week although I don't shop the sales well. We just pick one grocery store to go to and hit their deals which is a little less stressful although I do spend more than $35 a week in groceries but not to to much more! ;) Way to be a thrifty shopper!

Jennifer said...

We don't have CVS here, but I agree with daisyeyes: I really don't understand the savings at that store. I look forward to seeing how you work it, Christy.

I plan a menu every month, but being so far away from a grocery store, I only go two, maybe 3 times a month and try to limit my stops to one or two because of gas prices. I have noticed the prices have been creeping up in the stores. My husband and I just talked about cutting out the Schwan's man.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for sharing your shopping experiences. Well, I like online shopping most.