Tag Archives: money

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?

Fathom Money

The other day, a coworker finally paid me for girl scout cookies she brought a while back. Since all money was due a month ago, I had paid for these cookies with my own money. Every year it seems like someone forgets to pay me, so I chalked it up to a loss. Anyways, I found myself with an “extra” $16 in cash. Today I found myself at McDonald’s again. Had I not had this money, I probably would haven’t stopped. But with a coupon, I ended up spending $3.80 on a value meal which my kids split. The danger with me and cash is that I always feel like it doesn’t have a job, so I seem to spend it on random items. I also had to pay for my daughter’s end of the year medal for baseball which was another $6. I was happy to have the cash on hand to pay for this. Getting this money started me thinking about all the extra money that may or may not come in from reimbursements or returns this month. In rank order of how certain I feel that I will get this money, here are the possibilities:

  • $65 – Husband returned some shoes; just waiting for the credit to appear on our credit card statement
  • $40 – Husband claims he brought items for work which they will reimburse him
  • $100 – Husband received a raise that will be reflected on his 4/15 paycheck; I calculated that it should be around $100 but I could be way off. (Long-term plan is to increase his 401K contributions by this amount since he’s not maxed out yet)
  • $550 – Husband is supposed to get reimbursed for travel expenses. Since this isn’t through work, I don’t know when or if we will see this entire amount or any actually.
  • $250 – Mother-in-law told me she would be putting a check in the mail last week; I’m skeptical about this also.

As I typed all that, I noticed the main person who seems to be responsible for having people owe us money is my darling husband! No judgement, just an observation. Overall, if we get all of it, that would be about $1,000. I haven’t added any of this into our budget for the month. Since this is a very tight month for us, it would be really helpful if even 1/2 of it came through. How do you deal with budgeting and random unreliable sources of money?

Money Conversations – Part 2

Today my husband and I went to get his retirement plans order. We met with the same lady I met with on Friday, but spend a little more time in her office. His plans are a bit more complex as he has the option to pick how his plans are invested. We switched over some of his plans that were very conservative to a little more aggressive. Finally, we switched his Roth IRA from Primerica to a non-fee one. It felt odd to be talking about years like 2040 and 2050, but I am happy we did this retirement tune up.

Since we were both off work, I suggested we grab a quick lunch at a restaurant nearby. We could have ate at home, but I wanted a space to sit down and talk about money. I had a feeling that if we went home, we would get distracted by life and not have this conversation. Our talk was really productive. It was tense at first with a bit of blaming. He shared how my constant nagging over finances and comments about how we are over budget aren’t helpful. I countered by saying that I didn’t how else to emphasize the gravity of our financial situation. I also added that overspending every month is a horrible financial plan both now and when we retire. Learning to spend within our means is a habit we should develop immediately. In the end, we agreed to review our finances and budget each week. We are also going to take a good look together at our expenses and see what we could reduce. It was definitely a conversation that needed to be had and we both left feeling like we have a game plan going forward.

The $17 we spent on lunch was definitely worth it!