Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saving the Bucks

A few months back, I decided to start trying to save my family learning how to use coupons and store sales effectively. I had hoped to learn from a master at our church, but due to several setbacks, I was unable to do so. Even though I was unable to learn via the route I had planned, I was blessed even more when I prayed to God to lead me to places where I could learn how to provide for my family by reducing our food and personal need items budget. I prayed, and He provided.

I was led to THE MOST FABULOUS MONEY-SAVING BLOG OUT THERE...becentsable. It is truly amazing. Through this blog, I have learned how to save money using coupons, sales, hidden deals, everything! They have so many awesome links to sites that offer freebies, tips, coupons, and more education! AMAZING! Before finding this site, I thought coupons were kind of a waste of time (kind of like the people who impatiently wait behind me in the CVS lines). Now I know they are a FANTASTIC way to save LOTS of money. And who doesn't like having extra money???

Proverbs 31:15 says, "She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls." Then verse 20 says, "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy."

If any of you are like me, you have wanted to help people but never have the extra money to do it. By learning the tricks of saving money for grocery and household items, you'll have that extra money/stuff to give to those in need.

A couple of you have asked about the CVS deals. I found this super great post from Money Saving Mom (via a link of a link off of becentsable). Check it out, and you too could be getting stuff for free at CVS. I, myself, have become a CVS stalker. I've been every day this week waiting for them to restock their shelves and to continue to pick up FREE items...and even to get paid to take a couple of items out of the store!!! YEA! If I can learn, you can too!!!

CVS 101

After I first read this, I could have kicked myself for telling the CVS employee that "No, I don't have a CVS card, and that's ok. I don't need one." I was giving away FREE stuff!!! Oh well. At least I know now. Who knew? Me...someone who uses no medication (99.9% of the time) is an avid CVS shopper. Kind of ironic, huh?

One more thing...another SUPER GREAT blog is Taylor Town Preview. Check 'em out! This site has links to TONS of FREE stuff and has lists from every week's coupon books (SUPER GREAT if you set up the coupon filing system that becentsable explains. It is the only way I could do coupons and have any sanity. I'm not a coupon clipper).


Anonymous said...

i'm so excited that you shared these links! i'm trying really hard to budget and stop spending unnecessary money too. but, i found the link to the money saving blog really confusing. maybe my brain just isn't fully awake yet, but i didn't know where to start. any tips on where you started?

annieck said...

First things first...ONLY BUY WHAT'S ON SALE. I learned this via Homeschooling Four's website.
As for becentsable, I was a little confused at first too. I found the site via another money-saving mom's site. It took a lot of trial and error before I really started to get it. Everyone is different, but I would start with getting and organizing coupons. For me, I started with an accordian-type organizer, and it drove me crazy. I wasn't always sure which letter of the alphabet I should organize things under. Then it would stress me out flipping through coupon after coupon to find what I was looking for...not to mention cutting all the things out! For me, the notebook organization way works best. Some people have found the becentsable notebook organization system confusing when they first read it. I did too, but after a little time and effort, I finally had the "aha!" moment. I'll try to take some pictures of my notebook pages, and that may clear up any confusion that you may have (or you may prefer the shoebox or accordian organization methods. Everyone is different).
Once you get your coupon organization going, I would find out what your favorite stores' policies are when it comes to coupons and price-cutting. If you let me know what stores you have close to you, I can try to help (or direct you to places that have the policies listed for you). For instance, Publix accepts any competitor's coupons. Also, when they have BOGO deals, if you only buy one, it's half price (at Winn-Dixie, if you only buy one, you just forfeit your free one. Ever store is different.
If I were you, I would visit, and on the left hand side of her page, at the top, click on "$50/Week Food Budget". She does a GREAT job of explaining how to get started. She's awesome!
Also, becentsable is about to start an online money-saving seminar via email. It starts Monday, and you can sign up for $20. The seminar is 11 weeks, and they are going to teach all the tricks of the trade. If you don't want to do that, they also offer and ebook for $15 that has all the tricks too. :)
AND...don't count out CVS. I'm LOVIN' it!!! And I don't buy any drugs! I feel like I'm beating the system somehow. :)

Anonymous said...

thank you so so much!! i'm excited!! it's so funny how life changes. saving money...that's what gets me most excited these days!! ;) thanks again. by the way, i do most of my shopping at publix. i know they're expensive, but they have a great selection of organic stuff and when you catch them on the right day, they have great deals. i NEVER would've thought about CVS. i have a card (b/c i have one just about everywhere), but i never use it. i'll have to check that out for sure!!

holly said...

Nannie, help! I read that CVS 101, and am so stressed out. Do you end up with a closet full of deodorant that you don't need? Do you actually end up getting to buy stuff you need? I would love to talk to you about CVS.

annieck said...

It is kind of overwhelming. I get all kinds of stuff...make-up, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shower gel, soap...nearly all of my toiletries. You can all kinds of stuff, though.
Whenever they have stuff that I can get for free (like TONS of deo), I get it with plans to give. For instance, Channing's Civitan group gives gift baskets to the residents of nursing homes around Christmastime. Since I'll have extra stuff, he will be able to put that in the baskets. You can also use it to give to shelters.
Call me, or tell me a good time to call you, and I'll give you the low down on CVS. It takes a little work (like the THREE transactions it took me to save the big bucks last week), but it's WELL worth it. I can't tell you how much I've saved on personal care products. LOTS! And the good thing is, I'm not having to go generic to do it. :)