It's a new year and time for the you-know-what. No, not diet, although that's on my to do list as well, but that other thing we all do around this time each year. Make resolutions. EEeekk!
Normally, I sit down with my pen on New Years Eve and begin listing all that's wrong with my life, and then I formulate a plan
that even the most devout of resolutionists would have trouble sticking to.
Need to lose twenty pounds? A thousand calorie
diet and an hour of exercise at 5 am should do the trick. Buried in debt from
Christmas? Then no eating out until at least the Fourth of July.
You get the picture.
But this year I decided to try a more different approach. Since I'm now only working part time so I can be closer to a full time Mommy, I've resolved to trying to live a more frugal life style. I'm not going to be weaving cloth anytime soon, but there are many things, I've learned, I can do to maximize our income without changing our lives very much.
Have you seen that show Extreme Couponing on TLC? It's kind of like a train wreck for me and the Bigger Little Mouth as its a cross between that old game show Shop 'Till You Drop and Hoarders, but quite addictive, I must say.
I actually started couponing in December, and throughout the Christmas holidays I cashed in at CVS. Literally. I funded all of the fun stuff during our recent vacation by using the CVS gift card promotions. When you purchased $30 of specific merchandise ( before coupons) you got your choice of gift cards. I got about a hundred dollars worth of cards, most Amex gift cards, then used coupons/CVS rewards to pay part of the bill (usually about $15.00 of the $30.00), thus making most of the purchases free or very lost cost items we use everyday such as TP, Papertowels, Cereal, Toothpaste, Hair Products, Cosmetics etc. etc. So I would end up with $30 worth of merchandise + a $10 Amex gift card for around $15.00.
This weekend I also utilized some restaurant coupons and we saved a ton. Three adults, one teenager, three kids and baby ate out at Steak and Shake for only $25.00! Eight people total and that included four adult meals, three kids meals, four regular sized milk shakes, two kid milkshakes and a side of applesauce.
This is how we did it.
Last Sunday's newspaper contained a sheet of coupons. We used the four meals (sandwich and fries) and four shakes for $19.95 coupon. That took care of the three adults and the teenager.
They are also having a special promotion where kids eat free for each $8.00 you spend. When we purchased two kid milkshakes for $2.19 each the three kids got free food and we added a side of applesauce with another coupon for 99 cents for the baby.
In my pre-frugal days, I would have easily spent $50 or $60 on the same or equivalent meal for two reasons. I didn't have the time to do my homework, I wasn't organized and I wouldn't have had the coupons handy and I would have been embarrassed to breakout the coupons when out with friends.
But you know what? Almost everyone I know these days is on a budget. The other family with us appreciated the low cost of the meal and was more that happy to play along. We had a great lunch with yummy milk shakes for dessert that neither of us had to prepare of clean up after and we had a great time.
Thumbs up from all!