Tag Archives: coupons

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?

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Target, my heart

I have been ignoring obvious things we need to purchase for a while. We ran out of dishwashing liquid, but who needs that. My daughter must have grown an inch over spring break and none of her pants fit her all of a sudden. I have been pretty creative with her outfits; I put her in dresses with leggings that could pass for capris instead of just short pants. Yesterday, I finally caved when I went to get some pain relief for a migraine and there was none. A few minutes later, I reached for my son’s allergy medicine and there was also none left. I knew it was finally time to brave the store I have been avoiding, Target. 

Overall, I was pretty good. I got some clothes for both kids that were buy 1, get the second 1/2 off. I also picked up a few household items and got $10 back in Target giftcards. I found myself picking up items, but them returning back where I found them because I didn’t really need them. After checking out, I headed over to the pharmacy department to pick up my medications. When I paid for them, the pharmacist handed me a coupon for save $5 with a purchase of $25. I remarked that I wish I had that coupon before I brought clothes for my kids. She then worked some receipt and coupon magic and handed $5! Very cool!

That was yesterday. Today, back to no spending with day #6 for the month! Have a great week everyone!

35 Cents Lessons

My quest to not spend any money until Wednesday was tested in a big way today. Everyday, I log onto my Bank of America account wishing that some magic money appeared and praying that I did not write a check back in November that has finally been cashed. A quick scan revealed that I was pretty much in the same boat I was in yesterday minus a few dollars my husband spent. Feeling pretty confident that I didn’t actually NEED anything, I told my husband that I was going to hold off on grocery shopping until Wednesday. His response, “Sure, except we really need bread.” Darn it! He was right. What was I going to feed my picky 7 year old for breakfast and what was I going to make her sandwiches for school with?

Where was I going to get bread from? Brainstorming, I came with three creative ways I could purchase bread without using my credit card. First, I checked the mail to see if there were any magical coupons in there for bread. That turned out to be unsuccessful, believe it or not. But I did find a coupon for free GoGoSqueez I requested a few weeks ago which was nice since I don’t have any fruit to put in my daughter’s lunch box. Next, I headed to Best Buy and tried to purchase a gift card to Target with the $25 certificate I got for some December purchases. The cashier thought I was crazy, “No, we only sell Best Buy, iTunes, Visa and Amazon.” When I asked if I could buy the Visa card, she of course said that I couldn’t use the certificate for Visa gift cards. That would have been too easy, I guess.

Finally, my last idea was using my ShopKick app to score a $2 or $5 gift card. Shopkick is an app that gives you points when you walk in or scan items in select stores. Problem was that I didn’t have enough points on it to add up to anything. So, I decided to go on a little journey for some points. Starting at Best Buy and ending up at Target, I managed to score the points I needed to get me to $2. I was hoping for $5, but it just wasn’t going to happen without wasting gas. Surely I could find a loaf of bread for less than $2, right? Wrong! Even at Target, the cheapest bread I could find was $2.36. But it was only $.36 more. I definitely had enough loose change in my wallet to pay for that. Confidently, I headed to check out with my free coupon and iPhone app opened with the on the screen.

Of course, as soon as it was my time to pay, my iPhone timed out and my coupon disappeared. Frazzled, I tried quickly to find it feeling the stares of the people behind me. I even offered to let the family behind me go first, but they said they weren’t in a rush. Then all hell breaks loose. First, the cashier doesn’t know how to scan my free coupon. I am not sure what she was doing wrong or if she just didn’t know what she was doing it, but she had to call over a supervisor for me to get the free applesauce. After a few minutes, both Target workers figure out how to let me use the coupon. Then, it was time for the shopkick e-gift card. As she scanned my phone, the machine kept asking her how much I wanted to put on my gift card instead of taking the amount off. The cashier must have asked me about three times, “How much is this for again?” and I would repeat $2.  I tried using humor to hide how embarrassed I felt blaming technology and apologizing every time her angry machine beeped at us. I could see the line behind me growing and the people judging me and my $2 gift card. Finally, the manager was called over and I had to tell her the amount I was trying to redeem. I am not sure the manager got it to work, but she somehow was able to take the amount off leaving me with $.36. Instead of using the cents I had in my wallet, I automatically reached for my target debit card and had her run that. I just wanted the whole thing to be over. My target card reduced the charge by 5% so I ended up paying 35 cents for apple sauce and bread.

As I walked out, I had an overwhelming sense of sadness and embarrassment. Many people in our country struggle with feeding their families everyday. Had I really wanted to, I could have charged the entire amount and walked out of the store. The imaginary voices and thoughts of those around me judging on my life humiliated me. I could hear them saying things like, “Why is she making such a big deal over $2?” “How is she wearing TOMS but can’t afford bread?” I was mad at myself as well. How did I put myself in this situation? Why is my credit card out of control? Why didn’t I just charge the $.36? Would it have really matter?

I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes collecting my thoughts. I realized that I am blessed that I actually know when my next paycheck is coming. I was proud that I didn’t waver in my goal and run my credit card which is what got me into this mess in the first place. Most important, this is my fault! I spent money on things I didn’t need in December so that now I don’t have money for the things I need in January. I can’t blame anyone for this predicament except myself. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I hope I remember this next time I go to charge something I don’t need.