The Art of Being Thrifty

The title is really appropriate, I think, because being thrifty really is an art. You have to really work at it and become skilled at it for it to really blossom. I would have to say, so far, I would consider myself a starving artist...just starting out but fully passionate about what I am doing.

I have taken up couponing - again. I have tried this so many times before, I have wanted it to work, but it just hasn't, or I lost interest because I didn't know how to use the coupons to their fullest benefit and so I wasn't seeing great results. It never was worth the time I put into clipping and filing. But now, I have found wonderful blogs like
MommySnacks and $5 Dinners, among many others. I wanted so badly to see the results that they were seeing. I started doing a lot of research thanks to a friend named Google, and some posts on a couple of groups I subscribe to over at Cafe Mom, and found a TON of good information!

So I set off on my couponing adventure about 3 weeks ago. 2 weeks ago was my first "official" coupon-shopping-trip. I saved some - not as much as I would have liked but I got a few deals and it intrigued me enough to try it for a second week. Of course - I had only collected about 2 Sunday's worth of coupons at that point (and the first of those Sundays I made the rookie mistake of buying only one paper! Gah!). So this week I forged ahead - and saw quite a bit more savings. Still, not as much as I hope to eventually, once I get really good at 'The Game', and have a few more Sunday's worth of coupons under my belt. But, good, nonetheless. I got a lot more groceries than I would normally have gotten for the amount of money I spent.

My shopping trip consisted only of Kroger this week - because I didn't see a lot of freebies elsewhere and I haven't gotten completely comfortable with the CVS or Walgreens game just yet. I am learning - but I wanted to tackle Kroger first because it's the store I do most of my weekly shopping at anyway. So...Kroger. As luck would have it, I live about the exact same distance from 3 different Kroger stores (one in a small town to the west of mine, and two in a somewhat larger town to the east of mine) - and while one town's stores might be only doubling coupons one week, the other's might be tripling them - as was the case this week! The larger town had the same sales, but were only doubling coupons. The smaller town's store was tripling them (up to 50 cents - making those worth $1.50!). So off to the smaller town I went - and I was able to get quite a few deals but I will just mention a few:

*Suave Shampoo & Conditioners - 10/$10 - I bought 6 of these using 3 coupons ($.50/2) - making them $.25 each! Not free, but close - and it is the beginning of my shampoo/conditioner stockpile! Total cost - $.25 each!

*Frank's Hot Sauce - $1.25 for the small bottle - these weren't on sale but I had $.50/1 coupons that I used to make them FREE - I bought 4 of these (my husband likes hot sauce). I still have some coupons left in case the larger bottles go on sale, but if not before they expire I will get more of the freebie smaller bottles if they triple coupons again between now and then. Total cost: FREE!

*Cottonelle Toilet Paper 4 packs - 10/$10 - I bought only 4 of these (because that's all I had coupons for) - but I had 2 coupons for $.50/1 - making those 2 packs free, and 1 coupon for $.50/2 - making those 2 packs $.25/each. Total cost: around $.13/each!

*Quaker Snack-size Rice Cakes - 10/$10 - I bought 2 (because that's how many coupons I had, plus they only had one flavor left) and used a $1/1 coupon on each, making them free! Total cost: FREE! **I got a rain check for these as they were out of several flavors, and bought more of these coupons off of Ebay, so once I get them I can stockpile some of these freebies!!

Plus, I haven't bought these yet - but last week's sale had 10/$10 on Suave deodorant, which I had a couple of coupons for (2 $.50/1 coupons, doubling them making the deodorant free) - so I got a rain check for them. Then I bought more of those coupons off of Ebay and once I receive those I will pick up a ton of deodorant for FREE also - so that will get my deodorant stockpile started! Now if I can just find a good deal on toothpaste, which I am almost out of, and a really good deal on some toilet paper - which we go through like water - I'll be thrilled!!

So, all in all, a good trip. I ended up getting $156.66 worth of groceries for $95.52 (not to mention earning my $.10 off per gallon of gas!). Not as good a savings as some who have been doing it for a long time, but I am still not as flush as those people on coupons, and I am still working on once I have those things in place, I will be doing a lot better, I hope. But - even if I never do better than this, $60 worth of savings is SO much better than I have ever done before - so I am one happy, thrifty, not-so-starving "artist"!

Until next time - Love,