Saturday, May 1, 2010

couponing 101.

So, I have been trying to figure out how to save money. Turns out I'm not very good at it. I don't buy useless, unnecessary items. I don't go shopping all the time, just to go. (Oh yeah, I totally used to do that.) But I have been married for over 10 years now, have 2 children, and I really think that I have "grown up." I try to save money anyway I can, I am always looking for ways to make money, and I never ever buy things that are not on sale, unless we are talking about the $4.99 kids clothing line at Target (You can't really complain or get much cheaper than that!), or something that is really needed, like medicine. I don't buy things on a whim, and I try to make a list. But I still pretty much suck at saving money.

Lately I have been trying to play the coupon game. I searched and searched for coupons, figured out what was on sale, and even made a menu to go with those sale items. I was pretty excited about saving some money! But I was highly disappointed. I thought about going all over town, to buy certain things at certain places that were on sale and had a coupon, but then I figured that would take up way too much time. Plus, the cost of gas would really cancel out the savings. So I chose to shop at Publix.

I really like Publix. They are always friendly, the store is always clean (including the bathrooms), and they always have BOGO free sales! They also offer FREE antibiotics at their pharmacy, and I just happened to have a little girl who went to the ER last night for what we thought was appendicitis or a UTI but turned out to be an ear infection, who needed antibiotics! Such a deal! The bakery also gives out FREE cookies to the kids, so that kept them busy for a few moments while I checked out my list and got ready to shop.

I started down the first isle. So far, so good. I got my items, and even grabbed some "blinkie" coupons while I was there. But then the kids started getting restless. Natalie started whining about wanting a cupcake from the bakery, and as usual, I became the mockery of the store, with everyone staring at me, thinking "What bratty kids. What a bad mom." No, no one actually said those words, but I know they were thinking it. I've thought it about other people. Someone did say to Natalie that she was "never going to get it acting like that." Whatever. I somehow got her distracted, until she saw the "blinkie" coupon dispensers. She always has to run to each one, and grab ALL the coupons out! I hate it. But, oh well. Then Trini had to use the bathroom. Even though I had asked her to go before we left the house. By this point I was getting confused and frustrated with all of my papers (coupons plus my list) in hand, so I sent her in alone (something I NEVER do) and kept trying to reach the sour cream that was on sale. I finally had to get someone to help me reach it. Then Trini came out and we pressed on. The rest of the trip went the same. Trini had to pee AGAIN, I kept having to look at my papers, and the girls kept running around like hooligans. It took me over 2 hours to do my grocery shopping for one week's worth of food. And that isn't the worst part. My bill was $145.00!!! Looking at my full cart, I knew it was going to be high. I did have some items in there like cat litter and toilet paper, and a SunPass, but I didn't buy anything extra. My receipt did show that I saved almost $40.00 by purchasing items on sale, and I saved almost $15.00 with my coupons.

So what did I do wrong? I know that only time and practice will help me do the shopping faster. But what about my approach? I just know there's gotta be a trick to this thing. I did buy a lot of produce and "healthier" items. Maybe that was my downfall? But the thing is, I HAVE to buy those things. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am in serious need of lowering my triglycerides, and the only way to do that without medication is to eat more fruits and vegetables and less bread and pasta. Seriously, if you have the answers, please tell me! I really do want to save money, but I also want to save my life!


tweedlediva said...

Matt wanted me to tell you that frozen vegetables and fruits are an awesome and cheaper alternative to buying fresh- and often they have more nutrients in them because they are frozen so quickly after being harvested, where as fresh stuff can be days old before you get it at the store. And I'm going to write a blog post about how I grocery shop, because a lot of people have been asking me lately. Not that it's the end all be all, but it's a different option to consider (I don't really coupon at all).

jenheadjen said...

I have some thoughts... I will email you though! :)