Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grocery Shopping With a Penny Pinching Lunatic

I haven't always used coupons. When I was raising three small children and working and attending school I felt I didn't have time to put into it. In fact I made several attempts at saving and failed miserably. I was disorganized with the coupons and never bothered to look at the sales ads. Shopping was a hurried affair racing through the store and tossing items in the cart, sometimes without even remembering what was in the cabinets at home. It would have been to my advantage to save then but at least I have the skill now.

Once I made a commitment to this way of shopping it has become quite easy. Every Sunday I purchase two papers. I read through the paper and then I clip and organize the coupons. Occasionally there are really good coupons for pantry items that I use large quantities of. If there are then I will buy two more papers.

I organize my coupons into envelopes according to my own categories. I've never liked those pre-made coupon organizers. They are too small and there aren't enough categories. My envelopes are leftovers from old card sets and they are lined up in an old five by seven index card file box. The best thing about having your own system is creating your own categories.

When the new grocery ads come out I see what I may purchase if it is a good enough price and if I am running low. Before I shop I make a list and bring only the coupons I will use. I cook pulling what I want from my freezer or pantry. I never pay full price anymore. My family never feels deprived because we have what we want.

I never run out of toilet paper for instance and have to run to the store to buy a four pack for $2.74 because I have several 24 packs in the hall closet that I purchased for four or five dollars.

When people complain about the price of an item it makes me happy to know that when they were buy one get one free the previous week I bought eight of them and used my coupons to get an even lower price. I don't like being at the mercy of the ever fluctuating prices.

One more step is pulling the coupons that have expired once a month. It may sound like a lot of work to many people. It is only a small amount of extra work for me but it is all worth it for the savings in my grocery budget. The savings are huge sometimes. I usually save more than half off the bill. On one recent trip I brought home $130.00 worth of groceries for $30.00.

It may not be for everyone but it sure helps me trim my budget.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Exhaustion

I've picked up extra shifts at work so the hours were good this week. I worked yesterday, then baked cookies til midnight, then went back to work this morning. After work was a whirlwind of visiting relatives and delivering cookies. I'm so exhausted, yet a full day of housework awaits tomorrow.

While at work this afternoon a man came in read the headlines on the newspaper by my counter and started yelling at me about the current administration and how we didn't need this health care plan and how he's looking forward to when we get rid of "him." First of all, I'm there to work. I'm a quiet person who remains professional at all times so I just back up, ask them what they need, or do something to diffuse the situation. If I were a bolder person I would have said, "So you don't believe I deserve health care too?" At work in the service industry you have to remain polite and bite your tongue sometimes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I owe anyone who's been here a huge apology. I would also like to say sorry to Kelly at who was nice enough to give me a guest spot on her blog on December 9th, and I didn't even drop in and leave a comment. She has an excellent site, by the way. You should visit.

My only excuse is that I allow things to weigh me down and cancel out my voice. Instead of logging in when times are tough and pounding out something on my keyboard, I choose to do things like sit in a chair and stare at a wall instead. I know, real productive.

I'll explain how my silence started. First I have a son who is incredibly talented (totally unbiased motherly opinion here) in art. He was accepted to an art school in California. His paperwork was complete and he was going to go full time and live on campus in student housing so he used the last of his money to buy a plane ticket and off he went. When he arrived he was told that all of his loans did not go through so he could only take two classes instead of four and he would not have a place to stay. We were broke in Florida and my son was homeless in California. He stayed as long as he could hopping from one couch to another, went to school and looked for work. he never found a job or a place to stay so I used the cash we had saved to repair our car to bring him home on a bus. It was a little bit cheaper than a plane and when every penny counts...

Second, my dad was planning to visit over the holidays. He has prostate cancer which leached into his bones. He's been surprisingly healthy but he's a tough man. When he went for his check-up he found he needed two units of blood and further treatments that cancelled his plans.

Third my sister who is diabetic had an amputation over a year ago that never healed properly and she had to go in for more surgery to remove more of her leg. She's recovering now and working hard to build up her strength and balance.

In addition, my eldest daughter and her year old son were planning to visit when her grandfather came down. She was starting to get her life in order. Her boyfriend found a full time job, they purchased a used car, she was going to school, and they were set to move into a rental of their own. Then the car broke down and they couldn't take the rental because it was outside of town where they would need a car. She dropped school. Then, worst of all, her boyfriend sliced almost half his finger off on the saw at the meat packing plant where he worked. He then lost his job because he failed the post accident drug test. Lovely.

Other than all of that, everything is fine. I am working as many hours as they will give me. We are packed into our two bedroom house. My youngest who moved here with us originally has one bedroom, my husband and I the other. Currently, my son has the living room floor, two air mattresses have popped. We don't have money for extravagances but we are surviving.

I really can't complain. My husband, youngest daughter, and myself all have jobs which in this area are particularly hard to come by. Even fast food restaurants seldom hire. I just hope my son can find work soon.