Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stockpiling with a Purpose

After two months of avidly couponing I feel like I've got a healthy stockpile of personal care items: Shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, body wash, etc. At least enough to get us through the summer. I snagged all of these at extremely low prices and I know I don't have to worry about purchasing them for awhile so I can just replenish my stash when these items are free or almost free. There are a few things I'd like to add: Diapers, Wipes, kids shampoo, & paper products. We can NEVER seem to have enough of these around. I had happened upon a good deal at Walgreens awhile back on some kids shampoo and wouldn't you know the Littles got a hold of a bottle and used almost the entire thing to make bubbles in the tub. :( And a week later did it again. But I'm still keeping my eye out.

So, What do you do when you don't need anymore toothpaste or razors but that deal is just too good to pass up? I like to call it 'Stockpiling with a Purpose'. A purpose beyond just our personal everyday use. Here are some examples of other 'purposes':

* Stockings
My kids (& hubby) always get toothbrushes in their stockings. I've gotten most of them already. CVS & Walgreens constantly have candy deals like the TIC TAC one a few weeks ago. I got some of those. Gum is constantly a good deal too. I've thought about chocolate but I'm afraid if I know it's there I may hit up the stash, defeating the purpose. Now my girls aren't old enough for make-up and razors but those would be great ideas too. Chap stick, cartoon bandaids, fun school supplies all are great. Razor cartridges & shave cream work well in 'The Man's' stocking. I've already started a stash of these so at Christmas time they are ready to go and my gift budget can be focused elsewhere.

* Gift Baskets
A few years ago I got this really cool book on gift baskets. It has basket ideas for EVERY occasion and lists of what to put in them. Each list starts at a very basic price point of $25. Then it gives items you can add to bump it up to a $50 value and then some even go up to $100. I usually do a couple of these at Christmas time but they would be great for baby showers, birthdays, and a get well gift for a friend. Almost anything could work for these. If you have a nice healthy stash then it's easy to bless some one even though your funds may be low. A book I read recently suggested finding baskets at yard sales for pennies and then having them available for those gifts.

* Charity
I've seen a lot of 'extreme couponers' donate a large amount of their stockpile to a local charity like the food bank. Our church has a clothing closet as well as a food pantry and some of those food items that we don't normally eat but are always on good sale would be PERFECT for this. Think Ramen, cereal, & canned goods. Also, some of those soap, disposable razor, and sample size freebies might work well as donations. Be sure to check with your charity/church first.

*Ministry Opportunity
My dad recently share a story about a man he runs into at a transit center in our city. This man shouts offers of "free burgers" which of course gets a lot of attention. He says the interested parties must answer a question in order to get a free What-A-Burger voucher. (I have no idea where he gets these) He starts out by asking basic bible knowledge questions like "Who built the Ark?" and slowly builds up to the real probing questions. By the end of his encounter he's usually pricked the heart of at least one passerby and is provided an opportunity to share the gospel. Now I know soap/razors/shampoo may not be as enticing as a burger but FREE stuff always gets someone's attention and this would be a great way to giveaway some of those freebie food items and share Christ.

Just some of my thoughts on how to make a good use of some fabulous finds... If the item is free or almost free and it's not inconvenient to snag it, why not? If you've got the space to store it then it could come in pretty handy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grocery Shopping with Coupons

I have a hard time with this. "They" say you are doing well if you can save 50% or more. Extremer's save about 75% on a regular basis. I am no where near this. I'm not sure how they do it. I clip my coupons, I check the websites for match-ups and good deals but I just don't feel like I'm able to save lots. There are a few things that I feel hinder me and I'm o.k. with that. Mostly it's because of our eating habits. We almost NEVER eat beef, at least not at home, maybe twice a month and we buy it straight from the farm. And when the budget allows we also get our milk and eggs there too. We almost never have soda in the house unless company is coming over. (Now, in full disclosure I must admit that pregnancy makes me crave some good ol' Dublin Dr. Pepper from Chicken Express, so this is on occasion - or lots of occasions- in our home). I share this because a lot of the food I find on spectacular deals tends to be the stuff we wouldn't eat, or at least not buy normally.

I try to shop at Albertsons or Kroger because they will double and triple coupons. Last week Albertson's had several things on sale Buy One Get One free and an even better sale of Buy One Get Two Free. I stocked up on some lunch items for here at home and beverages to take up to the pool. There was only one item on sale at Kroger this week I wanted so I just price matched it at Wal-mart with the other items I needed to get. If I have a higher value coupon that can't be doubled at the other stores I will use it at Wal-mart. Their non-sale prices and store brand are consistently cheaper than the other stores unless they are on sale. It's not hard for me to find good prices on pasta, which we do eat alot of.

I haven't done much grocery shopping at Target but this week I've got a manufacturer's coupon I'll stack with a Target coupon to get some yogurt for the girls fairly cheap which will make for good snacks. I'm not a big stock-piler on grocery items for three reasons. 1. I don't have much pantry space, 2. I won't stockpile food items in my garage because I live in Texas and it's currently 180 degrees in my garage, 3. I'm concerned about critters... bugs, mice, etc. Now I do have a large chest freezer so freezable things I'll more than gladly stock-up on.

So, I'm at a loss. What do you do to save on groceries? What kinds of items do you find on sale consistently? Do you meal plan and then shop to your plan or do you buy what's on sale and make meals out of that?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A little peace & quiet

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. And I still haven't gotten around to that one promised post... but I will. Just spending a lot of time in my head the past week or so, pondering big, possibly life changing, decisions and being reminded once again that being an adult isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Tonight I sat on my couch and looked around. Basketball game on the tv, little one watching a movie on the laptop right next to me, husband tweeting away on his phone, and the faint sounds of the big girls watching a movie back in their room. Too Much! While I love all of the conveniences technology affords us sometimes I just want to shut everything down and take a breather. I'm trying to take a break from Facebook just because it sucks up SO much of my time and really, not knowing every little detail about everyone's day isn't going to kill me. I find I tend to over share on Facebook anyway and staying away helps me to keep things to myself that maybe don't need to be shared... And I'm just trying to change the routine a bit before baby comes along.

So that's it. Just checking in.