Tag Archives: savings

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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January Recap

It’s a rainy Friday where I live today. I’ve had the desire to remain in bed since my alarm went off at 6am. To stay motivated, I created a list of thing to get done today so that I don’t sleep the day away. Number 4 on my list is blogging, so here we go. I decided to recap January since it is practically over. There has been a few successes and many failures this month. Lets review:

Finance: Save for trips and 6 months/in-case-of-life fund –  Win!
We did pretty well in this category thanks to a surprise bonus my husband received. Current savings: $1,433 (increased by $1,200). I’m 5% towards my goal!

Health: Lose 20 lbs and keep it off! – Fail!
I literally worked out once in the month of January and last night had cookies for dinner.

Health: Learn two new recipes a month (one allergy friendly that my kids) – Win mostly
This month, I tried two new recipes (stuffed bell peppers and stuffed chicken). In the words of my daughter, “This actually tastes good, Mom!” For the most part, I enjoyed it. The chicken was nerve-racking because I never can tell when it’s done. I rewarded myself by purchasing a thermometer to help with that issue. The fail comes with the allergy friendly recipes. I tried barley, baked beans and vegan pizza all which my son refused to eat. 😦 I am really at a loss when it comes to him.

Health/Finance: Meal plan weekly with at least 4 servings of fruits and veggies! – some progress
I only meal planned one week this month, but I have been offering veggies and fruit at each meal. No one is really eating the fruit and veggies but me. Much work needs to be done in this area.

Family: Teach my daughter 23 basic rules to reading phonetically – some progress
I have found an online tutoring service that she’ll start next week. I am hoping to see some progress. I tried working with her, but think I might be mildly dyslexic myself. There was a moment we were both struggling with the “e” vs. “i” sound while my husband and son thought we were insane. We’ll get it together!

Family: Ensure my son transitions well to kindergarten – some progress
We have a speech therapy assessment coming for him as well as his kindergarten placement assessment this month. It will be interested to see how he does.

Other:  Blog at least two times a week – FAIL! Well, this month has been better than some other months.

I am excited to do better in February!

Rethinking the budget, again!

I probably spend way too much time obsessing over our budget. In an ideal world, I’d be throwing every penny I have into paying off our mortgage and truly being debt free. However, I know myself. I could easily lose track of the important things in life on a quest to eradicate debt. What does Suze Orman say, “People first, then money”? My family should be a priority when I look at how we spend money. And myself! Hey, I am a person too, right? So with that, I have decided to automatically contribute to an IRA account. Its only going to be $150 a month, but I thought I should start some where. Since I don’t have a 401K at work anymore, its important that I do this. I should be maxing out my IRA, but that is a goal for another year. If there is any money left over at the end of the year, I will trying to add more.

Financial Goals for 2015
Roth IRA – $1,800
College funds for the kids ($100 a month per kid) – $2,400
6 months emergency fund – $20,000
DC trip (summer) – $4,000
Louisiana trip (Thanksgiving) – $4,000
Total money to save this year: $32,200

Savings to date: $228.41
Cash back from credit card: $55.04
Savings from 1/9 paycheck: $173.37
Needed to goal: $31,971.59