Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Truth about Wal-mart

Here's their slogan "Save Money.  Live Better."  Now I do agree with the bit that if you save money, you will live better.  I've been on this flyer watching, coupon using bandwagon for more than six months now.  And it has saved us a ton.  But what drives me nuts is that most people assume that Wal-mart is the cheapest.  That if they shop at Wal-mart they are getting the best price.

Here's the truth.  It's simply NOT true.

I typically only shop at Wal-mart if an item is on sale, or because they will price-match to other stores flyers.  Not because I think everything there is a bargain.

For instance, last night as I walked through, the LifeSavers and Gum packages for Christmas were on for $2.50 each.  Safeway had them this week as 2/$4 plus 10% off if you spent more than $35 in groceries.  Their Christmas Rice Krispies were on for arond $3.50.  Across the parking lot at Sobey's you can find them for $2.99.  I realize that this is counting pennies.  Bu $0.50 minimum on each item you purchase in a week can quickly add up.

I am also fully aware that you'd have to know the deals in order to well, know the deals. And not everyone wants to shop at a million different stores (I hear you here.  That's why price matching is a gem).

What I'm trying to get across (and off my chest), is please do not shop at Wal-mart because you think it is the cheapest.  If you don't want to flyer watch, Superstore is a much better bet.  Really, it is. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Downstairs Stash

Are you ready?

That's my basement stash (& my dog Clifford) :)  It works really well given our basement isn't yet developed.  The top shelf was already there, and my husband added the bottom two for me.  It's hard to tell what is on those shelves so I'll explain some of it:

  1. 20 boxes of cereal
  2. 13 cans of diced tomatoes
  3. 5 packages of 24 toilet paper
  4. 12 boxes of kleenex
  5. 9 bottles of laundry soap (all over 40 use each)
  6. 6 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner
  7. 6 bottles of Fantastic cleaner
  8. 2 bottles of ketchup
  9. 4 bottles of mustard (I use it for a Honey Curry Chicken recipe... trust me, we don't use mustard on much else).
In addition to those things there is:

  1. Pasta
  2. Peanut Butter
  3. Salsa
  4. Tostitos
  5. Pop
  6. Tomato Sauce
  7. Paper Towel (I tried couting but gave up.  At least 12 rolls plus a Costco container)
  8. Goldfish
  9. Oatmeal
  10. RedHot Sauce
  11. Tuna
  12. Pizza Sauce
  13. Crackers - alot of Crackers.  Probably as many as the cereal. 
  14. Swiffer mop refills.
  15. Laundry stain remover.
  16. Windex
  17. Rice
  18. Annie's Noodles
  19. Ok, this list could keep getting longer, I keep seeing more things - lol.
None of these items were free (unless it was a BOGO), but they were all cheap, cheap, cheap, and almost all of them were purchased with coupons.  Part of the reason for the amount of cereal, is twofold.  Cereal is expensive so it's great to buy it when it's cheap, and cereal boxes also have coupons on them.  It's a bonus when you can get cereal cheap & with coupons!  Some of the coupons on the boxes I have downstairs are for free yogourt, Glad products, and Icecream.

The stash downstairs does not show items that I keep upstairs, such as other bathroom cleaners, shampoo, conditioners, toothpaste and body wash. 

I'm really proud of our wall of food & cleaning items.  It's nice to know that we could go a few weeks without needing to get more than produce and refrigerated items, and be more than alright.  It's like having our own mini little grocery store right at our fingertips.

Does it convince you to create a stash of your own?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There comes a time

When you have been shopping only with deals, that you no longer need to buy groceries.  My flyers FINALLY arrived on my doorstep this morning.  It took four weeks of calling Flyer Force and asking for them.  I sat down and looked through them, and NOTHING jumped out at me.  I could take advantage of getting sme ice cream for free (Nestle on sale at Sobey's, with a $5 off any brand ice cream cereal coupon), and I could pick up some more Christie Crackers (such as Triscuit's) for $2, but none of it is needed.  Our stockpile is sufficient.

When I first started using on cash, and the limit of $125 a week, we needed that limit.  Our stockpile was still growing, and it took that much per week to grow it/maintain it.  But I've been noticing more and more, that that money has allowed me to buy frivolous items.  Last week I picked up a foldable chair for each of my kids for $5 a piece at London Drugs.  And I picked up the boxes of 6 packets of Real Fruit Mini's for $1 a box at Wal-mart.  Items that are needed?  No, not really.  Nice?  Sure.  But, it didn't surprise me this morning when I realized I need to pick up nothing this week other than produce and milk.  Looks like this will be a $40 grocery week. 

Guess it's time to trim down that $120 budget a bit.  Maybe bring it down to $100 or even crazier $80?

If you are out there, and still reading this, would you like to see my stockpile?  I'd be happy to show you!  Post back and let me know :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Comedy of Flyers

For the third week in a row, my flyers did not arrive.  I looked outside my front door Thursday to see they were on the neighbours steps, but not mine.  One more call to Flyer Force, and she said if the manager didn't bring them by that night, that she would have them brought over by a courier Friday morning.  I went about my day with the kids, and pulled into the driveway noticing my neighbour was out in his.  I went over, youngest on my hip, introduced myself (again) and asked if I could have his flyers.  He looked at me and said "What do you do with them?"  I chuckled inwardly at this comment.  It's true.  What I'm working so hard to have delivered, is one item most people are happy to not receive.  He thought this was all too comical, and was happy to pass me his flyers, saying he just "burns them in the winter."  Score.  More flyers for me (this weeks came with some good coupons from Rexall!).

Maybe next week I'll see Flyers on my steps?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Still here, Still saving!

I've been away from this space, but have still been busy learning this new art of saving.  Here are some of the new to me things I'm doing:

  • Hounding Flyer Force to deliver flyers to my doorstep.  I've been having to buy the Herald every Thursday to access a paper copy of the grocery store flyers.  I'm hoping that this week will be my lucky week and flyers will arrive free on my doorstep.  (If you don't get flyers, call Flyer Force - they are friendly and perhaps they can set you up!).
  • Using these Flyers at stores to price match.  Similar to coupons, the first time I asked for a price match, it felt a little bit like "really, you are going to do this?".  But, if it is just one item I need from a different store, so much easier to get it while I'm shopping where I'm getting the majority of my other groceries.  Just make sure it is the exact same item - weight/size, brand etc.
  • Trading coupons!  Through SmartCanucks, I have done my first successful coupon trade with a couple ladies in Ontario.  A great way to get rid of coupons you aren't going to use, and get ones you will.
  • Still shopping with just cash.  The $125 was a great weekly amount for my family, but was hard to take out of the bank machine so I've reduced it down to $120 for the month of July.
Have you started changing your shopping habits?  Any great tips to pass along?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fundamental Truth

Here is what I know to be true after couponing and looking for deals since April.  If you are going to coupon, and look for deals, you need to get over yourself.  You will be shopping in places you may never have been willing to go to before.  I hear this more than anything else - I would never shop at 'so and so'.  I understand.  For me it was Superstore.  I hate (yes I still do) what I refer to as 'Stupidstore'.

My SP is not one of the new fancy locations.  It's an older store that is absolutely nuts on weekends.  I avoided it at all costs.  I'm lucky I can go there during the week at quieter times of the day.  I used to only shop at Safeway - I liked it there.  Clean, organized, and I knew my way around.  But here is the thing.  By being willing to shop at places you never would have seen yourself before - you will save money.  Lots of it.

We are down to $125 a week this month.  And with three weeks under our belt, this is a fine amount for our family.  We are able to get all of our essentials, plus get other stuff to stock up on.  It is crazy to me that by only shopping at SF for weekly items, and paying full price, we used to spend $1200 a month.  In our third month of couponing and saving, we are now spending $500 (4 weeks in June).  And you know what, we have more food and supplies than before.

Yes, I am doing all the shopping.  My hubby used to do his fair share, but with me looking for deals, I now handle it all.  My husband said this past weekend that he "doesn't know how I do it" and that "we never seem to go without whatever it is we want."  This feels like a huge compliment.

I want to tell you that if you are willing to stretch your shopping boundaries a bit, it will do wonders for your pocket book.  For me, this has meant I could buy a new dress guilt free this month, some new yarn, our family went out for a nice dinner, and Nate can splurge on extra beer.  And all these extras came without worrying we were stretching our budget.  How wonderful is that?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June Good Food Box

Our Good Food Box arrived today.  I've been looking forward to this since the beginning of June!  There were many similar items to the box we received in May, but also some new goodies as well.

My kids quickly dove into the grapes :)  (Don't mind my sons overalls - lol.  He'd just woken from a nap and I hadn't done up his snaps yet!)

In the box we found:

Bag of Celery
Bag of Potatoes (I've concluded with the monthly delivery of this box I no longer have need to purchase potatoes or onions).
Bag of Onions
4 bananas
2 Mangoes
5 Granny Smith Apples
2 Grapefruits
Bag Carrots
Head Lettuce
2 Green Peppers
Butternut Squash
4 Oranges
3 Bunches of Broccoli
1 Zucchini

The Good Food Box is now on a break until September.  Sign ups at our pick up location start September 5th.