"Two are Better than One!" ~Ecclesiastes 4:9

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saving and Spending

In our household, I feel that it is my job to primarily do the shopping. I'm not sure how it began that way, but that's how it has been since day one. I'm sure partially I took over instinctively because I was worried people would get the first thing in our budget that Todd came across for their wedding, instead of the perfectly wrapped, thoughtful gift I would visit 3 stores in order to find. I'm sure the other part was that Todd's grocery shopping habits included buying chips and salsa for dinner. Additionally, If I were to send him to the grocery store for wheat bread, he would probably come home with white bread because it was five cents cheaper. So, needless to say, I have taken it upon myself to be the shopper in our family - not that I am heartbroken over this title!

Seeing that I have so much more time on my hands lately and have very much embraced the more expensive "all-natural" health kick, I am also taking it upon myself to be the spender, and the saver. I have always loved a good sale, negotiating the price of something down, or a good coupon. However, I am kicking it up a few notches and trying to make my coupon clipping worth my time, and possibly a part time job! I have signed up on Kraft foods to get free pre-market products in exchange for survery responses. I also signed up for a one year subscription to All You, a magazine full of manufacturer coupons and saving ideas. I have recommited myself to daily working on my MyPoints account -- this means answering online surveys and simply clicking on links in exchange for giftcards to retailers. We purchase the Sunday paper when we are in town so that we can get the coupon circulars, and save anything that finds its way into our mailbox. And, I have this great little coupon clipper from Pampered Chef that is magnetized so it sticks to the fridge, and I am so in love with it! I even use it to quickly slice open those difficult to open bags of things like powdered sugar and cereal when cooking. Yes, everyone needs one! With all of the new coupons we have, my little handheld expand-a-file coupon book had to be upgraded to a full flegged binder with dividers and sheet protectors. And, it now has a bonus section for retailer coupons, giftcards, restaurant coupons, and menus. What can I say, I got carried away!!

Having numerous wedding gifts, birthday gifts, Fathers Day gifts, etc, etc, etc to purchase in the next few weeks, I went to work. I signed up for Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons via email under my maiden name years ago, so I updated my account using my married name, new address, and email and now inadvertantly get double the coupons. I used them as well as a free shipping promo to get some wedding gifts en route to brides and grooms with June weddings without even leaving the house or clipping that huge blue coupon! Don't underestimate me, I do have a pile of those blue coupons that I will be using tomorrow to purchase a few more wedding gifts for those whom I can hand deliver to. Today, I used Barnes 'n Noble prefered membership to purchase two books, and three cards that would have totaled over $30, but instead paid $20! So, now that I have mastered the retail sign up, email coupons, and circulars routine, I am on to upgrading my grocery store saving.

When I use coupons in the grocery store, I am so excited to save $10! Maybe this feels like a huge feat to me because I understand my handicap - I will not purchase things that I know we will not eat or use simply because I have a coupon for it. I don't even waste my time clipping the coupons I know we won't use. However, when I do use a good amount of coupons, the cashier seems to always share a story about someone who came in and purchased hundreds of dollars of groceries for twenty dollars. I don't think I will ever make it to that level, but my goal is to at least feel half as good as those mega-savers when I leave the grocery store. This will most likely mean always shopping with a grocery list and sticking to it, printing online coupons before I leave the house, remembering my reuseable bags to get the instant ten cent rebate at Whole Foods for each one, and continuing my current rituals. It means I will have to stay very organized, and stop by drive-by grocery shopping adventures that happen several times a week.
As a stay-at-home wife, I hope that my saving efforts can make my time at home more productive. I may not be bringing in regular paychecks, but at least I can help realize regular savings. Any helpful hints, great coupon sources, or mailers that I need to be signed up for??...Please share :)

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