Saturday, January 10, 2009

A year of thrift

One year ago this month, I stumbled upon a website that has literally changed the way our family functions. I have always been a bargain shopper, but Money Saving Mom takes thrify to a whole new level, and one that I never knew existed. Within a few weeks, I had subscribed to the Sunday paper to begin adventures in couponing, including learning how to get all of our toiletries for free by CVSing. I was hooked.

I have to admit that the process isn't always fun for me. There have been several times this year that I have been in tears of frustration because of the amount of time and effort it takes to do all of this. Brian has even started teasing me because about once a month I tell him in almost the exact same words: "I'm not sure if this is worth it."

But it is. You should have seen how giddy I was when I came home from the grocery the other night. My first transaction was entirely diapers. Having 2 kids in diapers gets quite costly, so you have to strike while the bargain is hot. Through a combination of deals, discounts, and coupons, I bought the following:

The total cost of these diapers without discounts would be: $169.42.

I paid: $56.75 - that's a savings of 69%!!!

(and technically, I didn't pay anything, because I had rebate gift cards that paid for them, but that's another story)

Some of these diapers will be gifts for new babies arriving soon, and many of them will be for our family.

So then I went back into the store to get the groceries that we needed for the next week or so. (Some people go to the store methodically every Saturday, but I'm not that organized. I go when I feel like we don't have any food left.) Again, through a variety of deals and coupons, I got a cart full of groceries worth $137.92 for $58.05. That's a savings of 58%!!

Overall, even though we've added another child to our family that eats 6 jars of babyfood per day and goes through a lot of diapers (related?), I am spending less per month on groceries and toiletries than I was at this time last year. My CVS receipt says that I saved over $2,000 in 2008. I feel so fortunate that blogging has helped me in yet another way!!

And if you think that any of this is impressive, you should see my friend Beth! She is completely incredible. She walks out of stores with a bunch of stuff and pays like 30 cents. She has launched a new blog, where she's sharing some of her secrets: Coupon Coach.

If any of you live locally and are interested in this, let me know. I am thinking about having a Money Saving Party (you know, like Pampered Chef, except instead of spending money, you learn to save it?), hosted by our very own Coach.

So how about you, what has been your best money saving strategy this year? I want to learn more, more, more!!


Jen said...

Hey, EM!
I am really interested in saving money at the grocery store, but I often find that coupon clipping conflicts with my goal of feeding Will a local, organic diet. Ultimately, I guess I just have to balance the two goals. Do you have any tips?
Have a great day!
Love, Jen

bluedaisy said...

Oh how I wish I lived close by! I am in desperate need of a pep rally to help me commit to this and make the time for it! I do some couponing, etc. but not nearly as much as I could. I will check out her blog!

Weed said...

Thanks to you, I also started CVSing just about a year ago. I've also done a little bit with Walgreens, though I find it a bit more difficult. I use various websites to help me match up coupons with sale items at the grocery to help us save money, though I struggle with filing my coupons in my organizer once I cut them out--I need to be better about doing that. Anyway, just wanted to thank you to introducing me to the wonderful world of Money Saving Mom and CVS! It's saved us SO much in diapers!!

Pam said...

count me in! I would love to learn more about it.
Thanks for yesterday too!

tracy, cindy's friend from 101 (ud) said...

Hi Emily,
I have recently ventured into full-time stay-at-home motherhood (I was working from home full-time before, while also staying home with our daughter), and I feel like this information is such a godsend as I figure out ways to cut costs & bargain shop! Thanks so much.
ps: Are you so excited for Cindy's wedding?!?!
pps: Your kids are adorable. I don't check blogs/comment very often, but I have linked to yours through Erin & Kelsey, and think your kids are just precious.

Charity said...

I'll come over if you have a little party...IF...The timing works out for me. I'd really love to.

Erin said...

Wow. You are seriously awesome. I only buy diapers at Target (Target brand) or the store brand at discount-y grocery store here called Shop n Save.

SO, my fav thrifty move is that Shop N Save has a $10 off $50 purchase about every other Thursday. That's HUGE, right? Well, I'll make my first stop for dry goods in the a.m., on my way to work. I'll buy diapers mostly, but also TP & paper towels, which can sit in my car all day.

Then I'll make another $50 stop on my way home from work, for regular food stuff. Then Brett will make a THIRD $50 stop on HIS way home. So we save $30 in ONE day! It makes us feel good.

Greg said...

>what has been your best money saving strategy this year?

A. Cut up the credit cards.
B. Went on the wagon.
C. Ignored Christmas.
E. None of the above.

JD Long said...

My wife is the thrift master around our house, but we have found that Costco diapers work well for us and are priced right (although no where near as cheap as you found 'em). She also made most of Ada's baby food... including recycling our Halloween pumpkins into a ridiculous amount of baby food. But that kid gets her veggies! For us the baby food making was more about control of the ingredients than thrift, but both were accomplished.

We also tried to get our dog a job as the Old Navy spokes-dog. That didn't work out. If it had can you imagine??? That would be the best blog post ever! OMGBBQ!!!!!!11!

Jen said...

Hey, EM!
One thing that I do now is to shop in the bulk food isle. Hope to talk to you when you get back from your second Christmas!