Monday, August 31, 2009

The Sunday Paper and Coupons

The Sunday paper brings tons of ads and circulars and coupons every week for $1.50. And there are about 17 places that we could buy the Sunday paper on our way home from church,. Not too shabby, right?

A while back a discovered that Dollar Tree dollar stores will sell the Sunday paper for $1. Even better!

Right now, though, the Delaware News Journal is running a deal where you can get the Sunday paper for $1 a week - delivered! This is huge, since delivery is usually more expensive, and it saves the trip to a store when we're tired and just want to get home after church. I've been getting it delivered for a few weeks now and am soooo happy! To find out more and to order go here. The promotion is running through the end of September, so you have a little bit more time to make up your mind...but it is so worth it!

The other thing that I have learned over the past few months about buying multiple copies of the same paper. I have only done this a few times, mostly because I have a relatively small family right now, especially since our third member is less than 8 months old and I puree her food! Depending on the coupons in the paper, buying multiple copies can make you money! One big thing about couponing is that most grocery stores (Acme, Super G, Food Lion in our area) will double manufacturer's coupons that are under $1. So a coupon that says '75 cents off' really gets you $1.50 off! Walmart and Target do not double coupons though.

Since this is just an overview, I wanted to clarify a few things. There are different coupon inserts that come in the paper: Red Plum and Smart Source come at least one of each most weeks. Once a month Proctor & Gamble puts out the P&G brand saver coupon insert. This is usually the only way that you can get coupons on P&G products from the paper. Sometimes there are additional special inserts. A few weeks ago Kellogg's put out an insert with a ton of coupons for their products. Smart Source and Red Plum also have website where you can print additional coupons (duplicating those found in the paper!). Here are links for SmartSource and Red Plum. also has free, printable coupons.

You can also find out about the coupons that are scheduled to be in the paper a few days before they come out by checking the Sunday Coupon Preview website! How cool is that?? One thing to remember is that this is not set in stone; some coupons are regional. Its a bummer, especially when I get really excited about some rare coupons and they end up not being in our paper!

I try to take a few minutes to look through the whole pile of circulars because there are sometimes coupons hidden in the ads. Restaurants do this a lot, especially places like Ruby Tuesday (which is in Middletown). This week there was a whole coupon booklet from McDonald's that includes a coupon for a free small coffee with no other purchase necessary!

Glancing back over this post I realize that I can be quite long-winded. I really enjoy the chance to share what I've learned. I enjoy the "game" of couponing and deals, especially knowing that my ability to look for deals saves us money. The biggest thing that I've learned in all of this is really a life lesson. If I'm not careful, I can make saving money and finding the next great deal an idol in my life. When I approach saving money as something that will give me a sense of fulfillment, I am doomed to be disappointed, especially when something goes awry in my cleverly crafted plans because the grocery is sold out of the great sale or I leave my coupons on the roof of the car and don't realize it until I'm at the store (sad, but true story).

So I hope that what I've said is helpful, especially about the great deal on the paper and some of the places you can get additional coupons online. There are some way-serious couponers out there, but don't be intimidated! Don't try to do everything at once, but pick one thing to start with, and go from there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Food Waste Friday

This is my first time documenting our food waste, and even though I worked on the fridge this week, there is a good bit here. I'm hoping that it will improve a lot now that I have the accountability of putting up a picture!

The large container is only a few pieces of spinach left over from a huge bag we got at Costco. We did a pretty good job getting through that. The cucumbers (top right) and spinach dip (top left) are from a large family party a few weeks ago. We ended up with a ton leftovers, but again, I am pretty pleased with how we've been going through them. The pork (bottom right) is the only thing that was really bad. I hate wasting meat. It was a shoulder roast that we ate as leftovers a few times, but after #3 got tired of heating it up. I should have invited people over the night we ate it -- its so much better the first time and would have been a really easy meal with company.

Hopefully next week will be better!

go here for more information about Food Waste Friday!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cloth Diapers

My husband and I have a 7 month old girl. Before she was born we talked about cloth diapers, mostly because it seemed like they could save us a lot of money. I did A TON of research and ended up feeling rather overwhelmed most of the time. Probably some of that was related to the anticipation of having our first child, but also the unknown void that seemed to encompass all things related to cloth diapering. We knew no one who had used cloth diapers and half the time I mentioned that we were thinking about it I received the knowing looks from experienced parents who told us that it was a hassle and besides, who wants to fold little white cloths and stick their child with a pin!
We weren't completely scared away from the prospect of cloth diapers, but not exactly ready to dive right into it either. When our daughter was born, we planned to use disposables during the adjustment faze, so that we weren't jumping into first-time parenthood with all sorts of other first-time things. Through the generosity of family and friends, we had a bunch of newborn disposable diapers that we were given, and during the 2 months we used disposables exclusively, I believe we only spent $10 or so ourselves.
After our daughter arrived, I continued to research, this time a little more seriously - it was for real now! And the research did help us out a lot. I was able to find out about several different programs that let you try cloth diapers on your child without having to buy them! This sounded ideal for us because we had no idea what was good or bad or anything! The program that we went with is through Jillians Drawers, a company that encourages all kinds of natural parenting techniques and is based in Ithaca, NY. We can say without a doubt that it is because of Jillians Drawers that we are such fans of cloth diapers!!
This program let us try 7 different kinds of (brand new!) cloth diapers for 3 weeks for just $10! And they have an 800 number that is basically an ask anything line because they want you to succeed with cloth! That was sooooo helpful for me, especially with not having anyone who had done this before. I remember when I got my diapers in the mail (the day after ordering) I looked at the different washing instructions and was COMPLETELY overwhelmed. I called Jillians Drawers and they talked with me for probably 10 minutes about the different ways to wash, how to take care of them, etc. Since my daughter was little, I thought my diapers were going to be too big and I wanted wait a couples weeks to start, and they said that was no problem - just let them know when I started using the diapers, and they would count my 3 weeks from then, not from when I got the diapers.
I could go on and on. We have been using cloth for nearly 6 months all day everyday. We use them out at the store and even on weekend trips away. The two times we've traveled out of the state (to Florida and Vermont) we opted for disposables. And both times we were so ready to get our daughter back in cloth! Our total investment in cloth has been about $250 for 14 diapers and a washable diaper bag. We've spent $10 for disposables for our week in Vermont. This is our 23rd week using cloth. Do a little math and we are just 2 weeks away from paying for ALL our cloth diapers supplies! Not too shabby. Actually, I would say that is rather thrifty!
More installments about our cloth diaper adventure in the weeks to come!

Monday, August 24, 2009

What is thrifty living?

I love finding a good deal on just about anything. And since I am blessed to not have to work outside of the home, I have made it a priority to use the time that I have at home to learn about how to make the most of the resources that I've been given.

Thrifty (according to Webster's) is being "careful in the management of money or resources." And so the purpose of this blog is to share the ways that I've learned to be thrifty. I see thriftiness as a quality that can be honed even in times of plenty. The idea behind the concept is to manage what you have. If I have a lot of extra money, it is thrifty to save, invest, give, or even buy something special. The money was well managed. If I do not have a lot of extra money, it is thrifty to see what spending I can cut out to meet my immediate needs. There are many ways in which thriftiness and frugality overlap, especially now with so many people fighting the slow economy and shrinking wallets. Many people are learning that there is a big difference between wants and true needs. But I believe there are also times when it is a good investment to spend more (provided you have the money to spend).

I'm still learning what works and what doesn't, but my hope is that through this blog I can share what I've learned about being thrifty. In the process I'm sure there is plenty more that I will learn!

Right now, the plan for this blog is to have regular posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Mondays (though not this Monday!) will feature something to do with food...a sweet grocery store deal for the week, an easy recipe, or a thrifty method. Wednesdays will be more home and living related. I use cloth diapers on my daughter, so this will be something that I focus on frequently! On Fridays I will be participating in "Food Waste Friday" by going through my fridge every Friday, cleaning out anything that has gone bad, and being held accountable by taking a picture - yikes! (This is not my own idea. I will tell more on Friday. If you want a head start, you can read about it here.)
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