Monday, May 16, 2011

Fighting Over Food

Before a recent quick weekend camping trip, my husband stopped at the store to pick up a few last minute items and came home with a few extra things that weren't on the list.  One of those items - a single can of Pringles potato chips.  That was fine for a special treat for our trip, but there are 4 of us in the family and 1 can doesn't go very far.  I volunteered to eat our regular food and let the others fight over the Pringles - which they literally did.  Each one has their own way of eating them too - my husband eats a stack all at once, while my children both eat them one at a time, but quickly.  I'm surprised no one was counting who was eating how many chips to make sure each one got equal amounts.  I promised that next time we decide to go on a weekend trip that I will buy everyone their own can of Pringles, put their names on it & when they eat them all - they are done for the weekend.  There may be bets on who ends up with chips at the end of the trip - I know it won't be my husband.

(UPDATE:  suprisingly the winner - or loser - who ended up with an empty can at the end of the trip.... my daughter.  In fact she carried her personal can of chips with her - maybe just in case she might run out of food.  The rest of us came home with some remaining chips.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Extreme Savings

I caught portions of the newest show "Extreme Couponing" and although I don't have a desire to stock pile items like they do (almost resembled hoarding), I can always learn a few tips from them.  While I usually try not to shop without at least one coupon, last year I really kicked it into gear (the economy and our personal finances were stressed) and sucessfully combined coupons with store sales that really cut down on our grocery bill.  I think one month I saved $100+.  Unfortunately a local store just stopped doubling and tripling coupons, so those extreme savings won't be as available as last year, but I can still try to do the best I can.  For example, today I visited 5 different stores and managed to save the following:
savings with manufacturer's coupons - $13.34
savings from store/membership - $20.25
total savings - $33.59 (which equalled about 22.5% of my total shopping bill for the day)
Certainly not the 95% savings those extreme people are managing, but it is still money I get to keep in the bank. Luckily I live in a small town where going to 5 stores isn't as big of a deal (some stores are on the same street or across the street from each other).  I also discovered that if I'm going to get serious about saving on groceries again I need to get better organized.  I may end up being one of those shoppers that hauls a binder around to hold all my coupons.  I've got to find some way to offset the outrageous gas prices. 
The stores I checked sales ads were:  Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, HEB as well as Dollar General and Target sales just in case I need to ask Walmart to match the price (just remember to bring in that flyer to prove the sales price at the checkout).  There must have been an extreme couponer visiting CVS & Walgreens this week, because a couple of sale items were totally wiped out.  I was suprised to learn that rain checks are still available at those stores, so next week I'll be able to buy those items at the sale price & still use my coupons for even more savings. 
This week Walgreens had a couple of buy 1 get 1 free products that were useful and CVS listed some items that if purchased would add extra bucks to your card toward future purchases.  CVS cards are free for the asking at the register.  I have never purchased groceries at CVS and Walgreens and honestly it was a little strange, but not awkward enough to keep me away from those savings.
This week I'll start tracking my savings just to see how well (or bad) I do - just out of curiosity.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.