My Real Life

March 2, 2012

Five Question AND Frugal Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 6:00 am
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1. Where is your favorite vacation spot and why?
I’d have to go anywhere other than the Jersey Shore to have a different vacation spot.
Wait!  I’ve got one!
One summer, we took the kids to North Carolina for a week.  Topsail Island.
It was fantastic.
Quiet, hot, deserted.
2. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Oh, there are so many.
Must I pick one?
Um…The Vampire Diaries.
Dipping a Hersey bar in a jar of peanut butter.
My awesome yoga pants that have never seen a yoga class, but are well, well-worn.
3. What is your favorite fashion trend right now? Or, in the past?
 Uh, I’ve kind of always been a big fashion don’t, so I’m not even really sure what the fashion trends today are.
And, since that last sentence had the word “always” in it, it’s safe to say I didn’t know much about the fashion trends of any time.
So, I think I’ll just go with yoga pants.
4. What are your spring break plans?
Not a thing.
I’m hoping to spontaneously do things like the museum, the park, etc.
But, plans?
Spring break isn’t for plans.
5. What baby names do you hate?
Aw, I don’t want to answer that, because, undoubtedly someone who named their baby those names will read the blog and be offended.
I will say that I don’t understand why so many celebrities feel the need to name their children names that aren’t really people names, but they aren’t my kids so I don’t really worry too much about it.
Baby names I love?
Alas, I have no children named Emma, Olivia, Sara, Jack, Sam, or Max.
Those are 6 of my favorite baby names.
Now…as for the Frugal Friday portion of the post…
My friend, Jen, shared this article with me.
I absolutely love stories like this.
I’d love to think we could do this, but I have my doubts.
Happy Friday, everyone!

February 17, 2012

Frugal Friday – Couponing

Filed under: Frugal Friday — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

Today’s installment of Frugal Friday is all about couponing!

I used to be a coupon phenom.

I had a binder and a system and had articles about couponing published and did really, really well when I shopped.

I still coupon, (yes, it’s a verb), but I don’t do as well as I used to, and it’s because I’ve stopped putting in the effort.

However, after today’s post, I am re-inspired and am going to put my coupon nose back to the grindstone.

For today’s post, I interviewed my friend, Lisa, about her couponing skills.

Lisa always posts on Facebook about how well she does at the store, and it’s impressive, so I figured she’d be an excellent choice to share her tips with us!

Read on and enjoy!

1. Approximately how much money do you save using coupons on your grocery bill each week?
It really just depends, but I save anywhere from 40% to 70% on my bill each week. I have had many good trips to the grocery store. Last night for example, my bill was $165.26 before coupons and $57.72 after coupons; that is a 65% savings.

2. Where do you get your coupons? Do you use multiple coupons? Where do you shop? How much time does couponing take you?
I get my coupons from the following sources:
• Sunday Paper
Smart Source
Coupon Network – lots for baby coupons
Money Saving Mom
Living Rich With Coupons

My mom also gives me her coupons that she does not want – I also share my coupons with her too.

I usually shop at ShopRite, CVS and sometimes Walmart. I do not go to multiple stores, unless it is something I use on a daily basis. For example, I went to Acme the morning because the Chobani Greek Yogurt was on sale for $1.00 each, but with my coupons I got 6 of them for $1.80.

I spend about 2 to 3 hours a week couponing and organizing myself for my grocery shopping. I do it mostly while I am watching television or in the car (while in the passenger seat, not driving – LOL!)

I sometimes us multiple coupons, but I don’t buy 125 bottles for mustard like on Extreme Couponing.

3. What is your method of shopping? (ie: making the list, coupon storage (do you clip all of them, or just the ones you use), matching coupons and sales, etc.
I have all my coupons in envelopes by the following categories:
Milk, Frozen, Cleaning, Healthcare, Snacks, Can/Sauces, Paper, Breakfast, Drinks and Baby
I also have an envelope labeled “Shop-Rite” – I put all the coupons in the envelope that I plan on using that week. I only use that envelope when I go shopping so I am not searching in every envelope.
I tried organizing the binder with the plastic sleeves, but that just did not work for me.
I cut mostly all the coupons but, something that I really won’t use like dog or cat food I will not cut. Sometimes if there are coupons I won’t use and I know someone that uses the product, I will give it to them.
I do match up the sales with the coupons, but for not all stores. I always match-up for ShopRite and CVS. I will not go to multiple stores for the weekly stores, unless it is something I use on a daily basis. For example, I went to Acme this morning specifically for the Chobani deal I mentioned earlier.   One time, at Stop and Shop, I got 10 Healthy Choice Meals for free!
The site Living Rich With Coupons matches up all the sales items for almost every store you can think of- Shop Rite, Acme, Stop and Shop, Wal-Mart, etc… IT DOES ALL THE WORK FOR YOU! It also tells you where to find the coupon- whether it’s the internet or the newspaper. It is a GREAT website. I use it every week to help me shop.
Sometimes if there is a product that I don’t use and I get it for free, I will give it to a friend or donate it to a church. Recently, I got about 100 jars of baby food for free. I gave some of them to a friend and my sister who is expecting a baby in April. I recently put together 7 baskets together that consisted of health, cleaning and food products for a tricky tray that is raising money for a cancer fund. The baskets only cost me a few dollars each to make, but worth about $35.00(each).
Also, this past Christmas I put basket together for my 98 year grandmother of all non-perishable, cleaning supplies and paper products for about $30.00 which was worth over a $100. She loved her gift, because really, what else does someone who is 98 need!!! LOL! I plan on doing the same things next year.

4. Have you ever had cashiers give you a hard time about your coupon usage?
Yes, I went to Foodtown with a bunch of internet coupons to buy items that were on sale.  When I got to the cashier, she told me they didn’t take internet coupons, which was not the case. I asked to speak with a manager and she let me use the coupons. I was not happy, because I HATE wasting my time.
Some of the cashiers at Shop Rite sometimes say “You always do so well with saving money!  I need to do this, when I shop!”

5. What is your best tip for people looking to save big with coupons?
• TIP 1# Use the site
• TIP 2# – Get organized! Separate your coupons in categories whether it is with envelopes or a binder.
• TIP #3- Try not to get overwhelmed- You can get that way at first! Take deep breaths!
• Tip #4 – Make a list of what you are buying and put a C next to it if you plan on using a coupon.
• Tip#5 – Reuse your plastic bags- you are being GREEN and saving money at the same time. I have to be a little better about reusing my bags.
• Tip#6 – Sometimes you can save a ton of money on meat if you can hit a time when they mark the meat down when it’s one or two days before it is still good; after you buy it, either cook it or freeze it.

It’s fun and you can save a ton of money!

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