Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Night Before New Year...

I can't believe it's already the end of December and my experiment will start tomorrow. The reactions that I get when I tell people this are kind of funny. The people who never use coupons just look at me like I am nuts. My friends who dabble in coupons and want to know more about them (though will never actually take the time to learn) think its cool and ask me for the URL so they can follow my progress. I had the first negative reaction today from my friend Jennifer. She said she thought doing this and blogging about it was superficial because there really are people who can't afford to spend more than $45 per month. It may be superficial, but I also think its a good way to prove to myself, and you all, that you really can have a reasonable food budget with a little bit of effort. By blogging here, I'll be able to keep myself honest.

I had some coupons which were expiring today so I went and picked up a few things. Got some pretty good deals.

  • Kelloggs Special K with Strawberries. On sale BOGO but rings up $2.15 each. I had 2 different $1/1 coupons, both which doubled which means the 2 boxes of cereal cost me a total of $.30
  • Half Gallon of Milk. Regular price of $1.78. I used the in-flyer coupon to get $2 off milk when I buy 2 special K cereals. Final price, $.22 overage, which makes my final cost for the milk and cereal $.08.
  • Pierogies. Regular price $3.09 - $1 coupon (doubled) = $1.09
  • Bagel Bites. On sale 50% off ($1.39 each) $1/2 coupon doubled = $.39 each
  • Buddig 8 oz turkey breast. Sale Price = $2.19 -$1/1 coupon (from previous package I bought) = $.19

See you all tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2 Good Days in a Row at Homeland...

One of the hardest things for me about couponing is the guilt. I always tend to throw in a couple of full price items, just so the store makes some profit on me. This is especially true at Homeland which doubles coupons up to (and including $1). I went 2 days this weekend, the first time with "fillers" and the second time without. Here are the details:


~~1 Special K with Strawberries: $.15 after coupon
~~1 Special K Cereal Bars: FREE after coupon
~~1 Half Gallon of Milk: FREE with coupon for buying the above 2 items
~~1 Welch's Grape Juice: $.50 after coupon
~~1 Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice: $.50 after coupon
~~1 Daisy Sour Cream: FREE after coupon
~~1 Potato Chips (impulse purchase)
~~1 Dip (other impulse purchase)

I did much better on Sunday.


~~1 Special K with Strawberries: $.15 after coupon
~~1 Welch's Grape Juice: $.50 after coupon
~~1 Daisy Sour Cream: FREE after coupon
~~6 Buddig Meat Pouches (small pouch): FREE after coupons
~~2 Hostess 100 calorie packs: FREE after coupon
~~1 Mission Tortilla: $.72 after coupon
~~1 Loaf of Wonder Light: FREE after coupon
~~1 package tomatoes: FREE after winetag
~~1 lb hamburger meat: $.56 after coupon
~~1 A-1 Steak Sauce: $1.47 after coupon
~~1 lb hamburger meat: $1.56 after coupon for buying A-1

Less than $10, most of it tax, with more than enough food for the week. And my challenge month hasn't even started yet!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Only a week to go until the experiment begins!

I can't believe I am only a week away from my coupon experiment! Unlike merchandise, grocery stores don't have great after christmas sales, so you have to be creative. My grocery store only has a 4 page ad, but I still managed to find some great deals! This is my plan for this week.

  • Kellogg's Special K. I happen to love the Special K with strawberries cereal. This week it is on sale BOGO. My store will let me use 2 coupons on a BOGO sale so I am going to use my $1/1 Kellogg's Special K coupon. The cereal is regularly $3.79 so it will be $1.79 after coupon. I am also going to get a box of Special K Bars and use a free Kellogg's product coupon that I traded for. Final Price: Both Free. In addition, I have a coupon to save $2 on milk (no size restrictions) wyb Kellogg's Special K Cereal and Special K bars. I'll use it on a half gallon of milk, making that free as well.
  • Welch's Grape Juice. It's on sale 2/$5 for both the sparkling and 64 oz bottles (and maybe the 6-pks too). I have $1/1 coupons on each, so after doubling they will each be $.50.
  • Daisy Sour Cream. It's on sale for $.99 for the 8 oz container. I have a $.50/1 coupon that will make free sour cream after doubling.
  • Pillsbury Savorings. I have been wanting to try this but they are too expensive. However, this week they are on sale for $2.99. There are $1/1 IP coupons which will make them $.99 each.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Starting to Stockpile...

The end of December is a great time to start stockpiling items to help reduce your 2009 food bill. The typical rules of thumb apply. Don't buy more than you can properly store, don't buy more than you'll use before it expires (because if you through it out you won't save!) and make sure you'll use what you buy (unless its free!). A couple of examples of good deals I have gotten this week:

  • Kraft Cheese (shredded, blocks, crumbles and singles) are on sale this week 2/$4 at Homeland. Now Homeland regularly charges about $4 a bag for the shredded, so this is a good deal. Most of this cheese has a use-by date of March, 2009 so its an item I can stockpile and keep in the fridge for a few months (or even longer in the freezer). I also have a couple of coupons I have been using. I have (2) $1/2 kraft items. Doubled that gets me 2 bags of cheese for $2 or $1 each. I also have a coupon save $1 wyb 1 kraft cheese and 1 nabisco cracker. Wheat Thins and Triscuits are on sale 2/$4, so after coupon (doubled) I pay $2 for the cheese but get the crackers for free. They'll work great for snacks or with soup.
  • Grands Biscuits and Crescent Rolls. Both are on sale 3/$5 or $1.67 each. There are $1/1 printables out there for each, which gives you about $.30 overage per package after the coupon is doubled.
  • Progresso soup is $1.50 or $.40 after the $1.10 printable coupon. There is also a money back guarantee on these.
  • General Mills Cereal (select varieties) is 2/$5 and there is a $1/1 in the Jan/Feb All You magazine. I'm going to use it to get me a $.50 box of lucky charms. I still have about 3 boxes of free Rice Krispies, so I have plenty of cereal for next month.

I'm still keeping my eyes out for a good deal on manwich sauce. There is a rebate where you can get a $2 coupon for meat or buns wyb 3 cans. They let you do multiple rebates (3-4) so if I get a good deal on the sauce, I am looking at 6-8 meals for about $5.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The request for coupons began...

In an effort to get ready for my $45 in 30 days experiment, I started writing to companies yesterday asking for coupons. I wrote to the brands I use most often (since I'd rather not have to give them up for a month!) so we'll see what happened. So far I have written to:
  • Cheerios
  • Kraft
  • Hostess
  • DiGiorno Pizza
  • Little Debbies

I'm going to try and write to 5 more companies today, and every day, until the end of January. I'll keep you all updated on the results.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Getting ready for the $45 (oop) for 30 day food budget experiment...

Hi, and thanks for visiting! Despite the title of this blog, I am what I consider to be a moderate couponer. I like to use coupons and save money, but I also don't mind missing a deal or two on occasion (which is why I'm not an extreme couponer! LOL) I regularly shop at CVS, Walgreens, Homeland, Target and Walmart. It's not as easier to get great deals at these stores as it is at stores like Kroger and Publix, but with some planning you can do okay.

I just watched a video on where a couple ate for 30 days on $30. Every morning they had plain oatmeal. Lunch consisted of a pb&j sandwich on homemade bread. Dinner was beans and tortillas. Not very appealing and not healthy either. I started thinking that I bet with coupons I could eat a lot better, for not much more than $30. I decided to aim for $45 in 30 days, or a $1.50 per day. I thought it would be a good new years resolution, so January 1, 2009 is my starting date.

To make this realistic, I am not going to limit myself to only what I buy with that $45 though. I am a couponer (and a stockpiler) so I have a certain amount of food in the house. In addition, I have coupons that expire on 12/31/08 (including several for free products) that I will use before the start date. Therefore, to the extent that I have an item already in the house on 1/1/09, I may use it during the month without counting it towards my $45. However, I will not deliberately go out and stock up on items to "skew" my results.

My other caveat is that where I work we are provided with bagels every Friday morning and juice and soda every day. In addition, once a month I attend a meeting where lunch is provided. I am going to take advantage of this because its free food.

I'm going to update periodically between now and the start of my experiment so you can get an idea of the items I am buying. I am also going to start asking companies for coupons to help me reduce my prices for the items I buy in January.

Lastly, if anyone would like to join in the challenge, please feel free! With a little bit of time and effort, anyone can eat great on a budget!