I’ve been trying to figure out ways to cut costs in my household budget. Not just because of the way the gas and food prices have gone up, but because as my household manager it’s the responsible thing to do. I’m trying to play catch up now from some of the more idiotic financial mistakes I’ve made in the past. As a stay at home mom of 4, cutting costs has become sort of a game for me. An obsession.
I can remember back in the day (last year) when, by the time I bought product, I got out of the hair salon for just under $200 and my hair didn’t even look anywhere near as purty as John Edwards.
I found a really good hairdresser at Hair Cuttery, shocker I know, but this woman has a line waiting out the door for her. If I don’t let her blow dry my hair, it only costs me $13. I also color my own hair now. I wanted to find a way to get my box o’ hair color cheaper.
So I found this chick’s blog, I don’t know how I found it. It’s one of those I clicked on a link that lead me to a link that had me click on another link until I stopped. She has a post called, “Couponing For Dummies”
It was about www.thegrocerygame.com. I was turned off immediately.
I’d done this game when I lived in San Diego. Back then I didn’t care what kind of stuff I got because I was a fast food mom, poor Graham, it was all about convenience. That and I didn’t know how to cook worth squat. Most of the coupons were for crap food. It was also annoying because everybody and their brothersister did the game too, so if I wasn’t up at 4am, everything was gone and I got rainchecks from the grocery store. Ugh, just what I wanted, more paper to stick in my coupon organizer. I was also overwhelmed with the whole deal. I lost interest.
Now, that I’m all growed up, I’m less than impressed with coupons. It’s all crap cereal and fruit snacks, right?
I decided to peak at the grocery game again because it only a $1 for a 4 week trial. I can’t lose only spending a $1 right? I got the newspaper last Sunday and the first coupon I get is a $1 off Pampers. No Gavin’s not potty trained yet, he’s anal retentive, er penil retentive stubborn. I’m ok with that, he’ll learn, either that or the kids are really gonna work him in junior high if he’s still wearing diapers.
Anyhoo, “the grocery game’s” not just about coupons, it shows you where the best deals on food are in your area by tracking the sales trends for items. It also tells you when and where to apply your coupons if you want them. Just because you get a coupon in this Sunday’s paper, doesn’t mean you should use it that Sunday. It might not be good to use it for 3 more months. You’ll get deals on items like meat and produce and baby items and toothpaste and shampoo and razors and soap. Not just crap food!
The Sunday before last it took me the whole day to cut and sort and figure out what the heck I was doing and I started to wonder if it was worth it. I went to the grocery store and got $280 worth of items for $140. This Sunday was a lot easier because I had my coupon organizer and new what I was doing. sorta.
However, because I’m still a skeptic, I wondered, well, what if I took the list the Grocery Game gave me and compared it to Super Target or Super Walmart and applied the coupons and deals there? Surely the box stores would win, right?
I took the 3 little ones with me yesterday to Super Target to do some comparison shopping with a plan of comparing to Super Walmart the next day. Don’t even bother to say it, I’ll tell you the answer right now. Yes, I do have too much time on my hands.
Mom, why are we here so long and we aren’t we buying anything?
Mom, are we ever going to leave?
Nope, we’re gonna live here forever. See those tents over there? That’s where we’re sleeping tonight. We’ll finish your schooling in the book section and you can get married in aisle 9.
Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.
NOOOOO! We were just in there!
Madeleine it’s ok if you have Lisa Gavin be your puppy, but please don’t have him play dead in the middle of the aisle. People might run him over.
Here, here’s some chocolate. That will keep you guys quiet, well at least till it hits your bloodstream.
3 1/2 hours and 5 bathroom trips later we left and I tallied the results. The Grocery Game won. Sometimes in huge margins, sometimes by only pennies and on occassion, not at all. But all in all The Game won. Best thing of all? There’s boatloads of haircolor coupons in there. Now I just have to pick a color and stick to it.
There’s no way in hell I’m going to Wal-mart today for any more comparison shopping.
Pjmommy also got a job! Did I forget to mention that? It’s a grueling 6 hours a week. When I got hired I forgot to even ask how much I was getting paid because it’s obviously not a life changing amount. I’m only in it because I can take the little ones with me as I work in the daycare and my gym membership becomes free. I’m also hoping being forced to be there anyways will motivate me to workout more.
[update] I should clarify that with the grocery game I’m not running to a gazillion different stores. I go to Publix (which is our local grocer) and CVS and they’re two shops from each other in the same complex.