Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 20: July Food Challenge $1/1/1 Couponing

Money spent on groceries: $0 (we're down to 1 quart of milk, thanks to my yogurt-making experiment and so will need to pick up a few things tomorrow.)
Money spent on household/cleaning needs: $15.53
Ok, so y'all remember earlier this month when I bought those cleaning wipes out off the clearance rack and stated, "$10 for the month on Household/Cleaning Supplies". Well, even if we subtract that $2 credit, that leaves $13 spent, or a $3 overage.
But I've got $8 in Walgreens Rewards Coupons that I can spend as long as it costs more than $2...and I got 12 bars of soap for $0.28!

Are you confused, yet?
Well, today, I got to have lunch with my Coupon Saint Q's lovely Queen B and was given some insight into how this couponing can actually work for someone like me, who can't spend $50 on $400 worth of amazing items. And, I'm probably wrong. And opinionated. And judgemental. And what's that going to do? Cost me money. Cost me wisdom. And possibly, if I'd kept at my donkey attitude, cost me a precious friend. You see, I'd voiced my skepticism before. If you've been a reader on my blog, you know that I have spent over two years of my life trying to downsize and declutter and not be a hoarder. So there is fear lurking there in my heart. Fear and worry. Worry that I'll fail. Or not be good enough. Or look stupid.

Ms. B gently and kindly made some good points. Thankfully, I actually listened to her, because not wasting money is a real thing with me now. She offered me an example:

   She had 4 coupons for $1 off any Jergens 3-pack bar soap (or lotion or hand soap)
   Dollar Tree sells all of these products for $1 each
   The amount I would owe Dollar Tree would be tax-only or $0.28 for 12 bars of soap.

That's a pretty incredible deal. It's about as close to free as you can possibly get.

Now, Ms. B does couponing in a way that actually earns her family income. I'm incredibly proud of her! She has a knack for finding the really good deals and then adding them to other deals, if possible and really making her dollar stretch. I'm not so good at that level of couponing. However; I wanted to try it out. I bought a packet of two different coupons: soap and then a $4 off coupon for Aussie shampoo/product. And as soon as I could, I went and bought the items. Today was one of the very few times (actually going to Dollar Tree and getting said soap deal) that I was like, "whoo hoo"! In my past, I've saved close to $45 in coupons, having spent over a $100 to get that $45 in savings. That was one other time in my adult life to get that kind of deal.

It takes mental effort and long-range planning... "How many bars of soap will I actually use for the next few months?" Answer? "I have no idea, because I've never actually paid attention to how much my family uses of something." I mean, let's be honest, Friends! It wasn't' until last week, when one of YOU mentioned "perhaps figure how much milk you use in a day to be able to buy enough to last for several days and save you having to go to the grocery so often." That piece of advice changed the game for me! But, I'd never done it. How many loaves of bread? How much fruit? So now, we're just taking it a bit farther into cleaning supplies so that when those incredible deals come around, you can pounce on them and say, "Our family needs 4 bottles of shampoo between now and Christmas." and you nab it.

So, speaking of shampoo...
I know it's a good deal, but it's like it is only halfway done.
Aussie hair products, regular size, on sale 2/$6.
Plus, the added bonus of a $2 register rewards coupon for the set purchase.
Coupon: $4 off any two Aussie products
Price per pair: $2.48 (tax on regular, $6 price)
In hand: $2 coupon
So, technically, I have $8 of "free money" to spend on other stuff at Walgreens.
I haven't used those yet, but I will, because they expire in about 2 weeks.

This is where Ms. B would advise, "Now you take this other coupon and go back and use it with your register rewards, so that each of these other products will only cost you $1 or less each."

So, I'm going to try to be wise.
Admittedly, I've gone over the budget I made up earlier.
Am going to give myself an extra $15 of household/cleaning money ($25/mo). Over the next couple of months, I should at least be able to accurately tell you, "my family needs this much...." and it be just the right amount.

Today's Housekeeping Haul: $15.53
- 12 bars of soap
- 8 bottles of shampoo/conditioner
- 2 bottles of liquid dish soap
- 2 bottles of liquid hand soap
- 1 package of dishwashing packets (17 count)
- $8 in Register Rewards money

And yes, I will be going back for more soap before my coupons expire!