Category Archives: Personal Finance

Saving money, hating coupons and an important tip!

Couponing is the worst. Yup, I said it. More on this later!

Instead of trying and failing to document every cent I spend, I decided to work on reducing our grocery and food expenses for the month of September. This decision came after several days of not blogging and thinking about chucking the whole “No Spend September” challenge. But then I remembered that being on #teambroke is not fun and that I really need to get the spending under control. The challenge is now going to focus on a few key areas including reducing our monthly spending on food and groceries.

First, I decided to change my grocery buying habits. I normally pick up the majority of my groceries at a small grocery franchise called Fresh and Easy. It’s the cutest, most convenient store by my house! However, they seem to be a little more expensive than others and do not take coupons at all. Then I’d head over to Whole Foods for my son food since he is on a ridiculous vegan, gluten-free and soy-free diet due to allergies. Afterwards, I finish off at either Sprouts or/and Trader Joe’s for mostly the meat products we like. This month, I am trying to get most of my groceries from Target. As a red card member, I get an automatic 5% discount on all purchases. Target takes manufacture’s coupons, offers its own coupons, has a savings app called Cartwheel and can be used with several online saving apps. I also love shopping at Target. Channeling my overwhelming desire to shop at Target to food purchases makes perfect sense!

Second, I am going to try to earn cash through apps including Ibotta, Saving Start, Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon. Bloggers seem to rave about these apps and review them highly (with affiliated links of course!). If I can make $20 or so this month from these apps, I’ll proclaim success in this area.

Third, I am going to eat leftovers and random items that have been sitting in my pantry/freezer for months. Although I wish to take my family along with me into the kingdom of leftovers, I fear I will be on this journey alone. I promise not to eat anything that has gone bad or expired.

Lastly, I am trying my hand again at couponing. I hate it. Honestly using coupons stresses me out. I always feel like I am spending more money just to get a few cents off. I am terrible at matching store coupons and manufacture’s coupons. I get personally insulted when the cashiers scrutinize my printed coupons. But, I am going to do it for September and see what happens. My first attempt was yesterday. Trying to organize all my coupons and saving apps and managing my 5 year’s son mini-melt down apparently was more than I could handle. When I returned home and started scanning my receipts, I noticed that gum was not an item on my list. I had a strong recollection of picking up gum to buy, but figured that I had left it in the shopping cart. This morning as I prepared to tackle Whole Foods, I noticed a pack of gum in my purse. I reviewed my receipts again. No gum on my receipt. Great! In my attempts to use all of the correct coupons, manage my son and check out, I must have inadvertently put the gum in my purse! Because my mom raised me right, I went back to Target this morning and paid for the gum. I think the cashier thought I was a bit crazy as she said, “You owe a whole $.93!” Whatever, I can enjoy my gum with a clear conscious!

Tip for the day: Don’t accidentally steal!

For real, what are your money saving tips for groceries because I clearly need it?

And the non-spending continues

Several day update…

2/6 – $2.15 It was Friday at 8pm and I hadn’t spent a penny. On the way home from a kids’ activity, the children start asking for treats. My son wants french fries and my daughter is craving ice cream. My son literally starts crying when I tell him we are going to eat something at home. There are few things he can actually eat that he enjoys with fries being an absolute favorite. I know I should say no for reasons including budgeting, no spending goals and general good parenting, but I cave. I have a Wendy’s key tag that gives us free Jr. Frosty with purchase. $2.15 on medium fries and free ice cream. Cheap treat, but still money spent.

2/7 – Zero spending – Day #3

2/8 – Zero spending – Day #4 – I did pick up a few food items at Fresh and Easy, a regional grocery store. However, I used $8 worth of rewards points and none of my own money!

2/9 – Zero spending – Day #5

I am learning quite a lot about our spending as I do this. I definitely didn’t realize how many times I buy the kids’ snacks. I am also facing major roadblocks with meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking, but that’s for another blog post. For now, its great to have a growing awareness of the leaks in our budget!

I am on a roll!

Catching up!

My week became extremely busy and I lost track of keeping track. Here’s a recap of where I am at:

2/3 – Zero spending

2/4 – Spending:

Gas: $34.56
Target: $40.65 (general household items like Advil and soap)
Son’s doctor’s appointment: $15
Parents night out for Feb 13: $20

2/5 – So, here’s what happened:

My daughter had a belt test in her taekwondo class. The instructor announced at the beginning of the ceremony that each kid would get tested, earn their belts and then the parents would take the kids out for ice cream. I am not really sure why he decided to say that! Sure enough, my kids were begging for ice cream at the end. I thought about my no-spending day challenge and how I had gone the whole day without spending. I tried to come up with a way to get free ice cream for a few minutes, but then caved. I sold some of their clothes for $15 the day before, so I used that money to purchase $6.48 worth of frozen yogurt.

So far, only two days of non-spending.