Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Saving Money.....For a Purpose

I have always loved the idea of frugality. Who doesn't like a deal?!? For the most part, I have aways tried to manage a "frugal household". I grind wheat to make our bread, cut the kids hair, grow a lot of our produce and we now have chickens! (For eggs, we're not frying our pets :) We have also pretty much always done without a cell phone plan, tv bill, car payment (partly due to generous "hand-me-down" cars from relatives) and other "extras". About a year ago, we searched for more ways to cut back. With Kenny in seminary, plus gas, insurance and utility bills rising (while income stayed the same!), we needed to find a way to keep our living within our means. After pouring over the numbers, the only thing we could find with wiggle room, was the grocery budget. I had used coupons in the past, but not on a regular basis. So, I read up on the subject, searched blogs, and started clipping. OH.MY. I had no idea how dramatically I could reduce our grocery budget by simply learning a few "tricks". Within a few months time, we had gone from spending about $120 a week on groceries (diapers, meds, cleaning supplies, etc included) down to $75 a week! We are now down to about $60 a week, and have a maybe unrealistic goal of spending only $45 a week this summer once our garden is in full bloom. We will have to see how that goes.....because I hope to have 2 in diapers by then! (Or maybe one in diapers and one potty trained!)

Today, we found some sweet deals at Kroger: All of these items, before coupons and catalina deals would have been just over $112 plus tax. We paid just under $46 !
(It does not look like much in the picture, but trust me, it is a LOT of food!)
Then, we headed over to CVS, and got the following items for a grand total of $3.10

I am not sure who would pay $28 for these 4 items, but that is what the total would have been without coupons and sales.

Sometimes, I get caught up in the "fun" of the coupon game, and love to get a deal just for the sake of a deal. Crystal over at Money Saving Mom has been my inspiration in the coupon hunt. She talks about "saving more so that you can give more". With our adoption, I am more motivated than ever to spend less. Bringing our peanut home depends on it! But without a "goal" to why we are making hard or simply inconvenient choices (like not fixing the broken AC last summer), it is easy slack off and start spending or just swiping the card. Seeing our means as a way to bless others and further His kingdom is our ultimate "financial goal"!

Some weeks, in the grand hope of saving 20K for an adoption, I also like to set "little" goals. Recently, Andrea has shared a bit about Wiphan ministries in Zambia. I love this ministry and what they are about! So, a "little' goal I have set for the next couple of weeks in my grocery shopping is to shave an extra $30 off of my spending and buy one these awesome Wiphan shirts:

click on the image to buy a shirt!

The profit from the shirt feeds and educates an orphan for a month! It is also a great way to "advertise" for Wiphan, and hopefully lead others to their site and the work that they do. I was looking over my Kroger receipt a bit ago, and noticed how easy it was to save crazy amounts of money, all by printing out and cutting out a few coupons. And to think those tiny steps to saving will actually impact a precious child in Africa!

OK, so I get weekly requests of "how do you get groceries that cheap?" I am getting set up to teach a little couponing class, and I have some idea of also teaching a class this summer on nutrition/whole grains/canning/ preserving/ and stocking up. Still thinking on how to narrow that one down! If any of you local ladies would ever like to go with me to the grocery store and see "how to do it", just email me. (And yes, I also go grocery shopping with the 3 kiddos..... it is exhausting!) There are hundreds of great couponing/frugal sites and blogs out there, and honestly, I spend very little time looking at any of them. (When I am on the computer, I'm looking at all of your adoption blogs!!!!) Here a few of my favorites:

* Money Saving Mom: Crystal's love for the Lord and her family is so evident in each of her posts. How awesome is this.... Crystal and her husband just saved 100% down to buy their first home?!? She is also a homeschooling momma, and has great tips, recipes and recommends on her site.

*Southern Savers: If you like to ease of weekly matchups from each particular store here in the South... you will love this site!

*Freebies 4 Mom: I don't spend too much time signing up for freebies, but my favorite thing about them are the great high dollar coupons that typically accompany any free item. If you love geeting free goods in the mail, this is the site for you!

* Shortcuts: download coupons to your shopping card....plus you can stack these e-coupons with paper coupons for great deals!

*My Blessed Life: I love Myra's site.....her love for her hubby and little boy are so evident! Myra has some amazing decorating on a budget tips!

*Keeper of the Home: This is not a couponing site, but if you are interested in whole grains, soaking, fermenting foods, whole foods or anything along the "Nourishing Traditions" lines, THIS is the site for you! I recently found it, and love everything I am learning. My "have to have" book list is getting dangerously long as well....humm, maybe I should go clip some more coupons. :)

Do you have a favorite "frugal site" or are you selling something (like an adoption tee or anything to support an orphan/widow ministry). Leave a comment with your favorite site or fundraising link so I can check it out. I would love to add your fundraiser to my "little goals" list of what I am saving for!

4 comments:

  1. THAT is AMAZING!!!! We love saving money too- for more adoptions :)

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  2. Julie,

    Are you familiar with www.time2saveworkshops.com? I like their website. These ladies do couponing classes also. They have one this weekend at Mable White Church. I met someone who went to one, and she said it was great. It covered everything.

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  3. You can save your money while shopping at supermarkets by using printable coupon from http://www.clickmycoupon.com/ and get discount offers on your favorite products and services.

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  4. Have you ever considered cloth diapering (cloth wipes too!)?? We do, and LOVE it! It is not a big hassle, and two more loads of laundry a week when you have kids is really not that many!!! It saves a ton of money, and with your sewing skills you could even make some of the diapers - there are tons of web sites with free cloth diaper and diaper covers patterns. (And I'm not talking about old fashioned gerber pull-up pants and flimsy birdseye prefolds!)

    We have a $100 monthly food budget (includes, diapers, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc). With our newly adopted baby it has been a bit more challenging because she requires formula! But we've still been able to do it!!!

    Happy money saving!!

    Sarah

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