Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taking a coffee break to say what's on my mind

And I don't even drink coffee. Unless of course it's filled with chocolate, caramel, whipped creamed, blended with ice and tastes nothing like coffee. ;) But some days I wish I did. Then I'd have a reason to sit down and read a magazine or write a blog post. So, since it's been so long since I've really talked to you all, I'm taking a coffee break.

This past month I've been caught up in trying to play the coupon game. Do you know what I mean? There are a plethora of blogs that spoon-feed all the "deals" right to you, so in theory it could take you less time to find them. But there is just so much information to sift through. I've been visiting places such as this one, this one, this one, this one and this one. And my hats off to these ladies for taking the time to work as hard as they do so that others can save money too.

In theory this is all good. As long as you can filter out the things you don't need and only buy what makes sense for your family. Ah-hem...I said you have to be able to filter. This means not purchasing 6 panini grills at 1am because they are only $11 and wouldn't they make great Christmas presents? Thankfully they shorted me 3 of them. I think being up at 1am with a 4 year old that won't sleep, is taking more of a toll on me than I had realized. I have lost my ability to filter. So to the 3 of you, whoever you end up being, that receive an unnecessary and most likely unwanted panini grill for Christmas this year...I am sorry. If it ends up in your Goodwill pile, I won't feel bad in the least. And hopefully if you are reading this, we can all just have a good chuckle about it.

David recently started getting us the Sunday paper. I thought that would be a great time to take the coupon "game" seriously. Afterall, if someone out there can spend just $30 a week on groceries for a family of 3, then surely I can stick to our $100 a week budget for 5. Right?

But at what cost? Yesterday the kids and I were in the car from 10am to 3pm running from store to store. We spent $16 in the McD's drive-through so I think that about negated all that I saved. I did come home with a few Christmas presents for girls, but they were with me so no surprises there. Needless to say everyone missed their afternoon nap and the girls were in rare form for Cubbies that night. In fact when I picked them up I was pulled aside and practically reprimanded by their table teacher because they hadn't listened to their teachers at all and ran around the room the entire time, like savages. I slinked away feeling like an aweful parent. That my kids would be the ones that the volunteers say "oh boy,those girls are here again." Is it possible to be kicked out of Awanas? I'm afraid we might find out.

After dinner I got back in my car to run 3 more errands. I finally got to my third stop at 10pm. Wednesdays are double coupon days you know, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to double those $0.25 coupons. Fine, so 2 of them were $1.00, but you get the idea. I walked in to start looking for all those good deals only to find that some of them were no longer available. I ended up leaving without buying a thing. I just couldn't think any more. I felt dazed and confused and knew I would make bad decisions. My heart wasn't in it. And I didn't know where I was supposed to store all those items I was going to stock-pile anyway. All I could think about was going home and crawling in to bed. So that's what I did. And this morning, I woke up with a sore throat. Lesson learned.

Somewhere between all the running around I did yesterday, I was able to give myself a reality check. I kept hearing in my head "Why am I doing this? It's just not worth it." Maybe when all my kids are in school I can do it. But until then, who wants to drag 3 unwilling littles around with them all day when all they want to do is play outside? And who wants to leave the house the minute their Hubbie gets home so they can drive around in the dark going from store to store? If I had more time on my hands I too could be hitting CVS, Walgreen's, Wal-Mart, Target, KMart, Rainbow Foods and Cub Foods. I'm exhausted just thinking about that.

Instead I choose to stick with my favorite (Cub) and plan my weekly meals around their loss-leaders. Clipping coupons that make sense, but for the most part just buying the store brands because they are always cheaper anyway. We've already switched to Target brand diapers and formula. And you know what? Sam leaked just as much in Pamper's as he does now in Up & Up. And the cheaper ones are actually cuter with their blue and green polka dots. And all formulas are regulated by the FDA so they have to be equally nutritious. These two alone save us $100/month.

And while I'm still on my soap-box can I just say, do you know how many reward cards I have added to my wallet in the past 2 weeks? I've got one for Gymboree, The Children's Place, Old Navy, Babies R Us (Toys R Us), and Rainbow Foods. Enough is enough! And I refuse to play the CVS and Walgreen's games. Why can't these stores just let their prices be their prices? I know, it's all about advertising and getting you to come in and come back. Maybe I'm too cynical, but now all I see are the huge marketing giants behind all the little perks, gizmos and programs.

From now on I'm just sticking to my list, shopping alone and only buying what I need. Can I get an Amen?

Alright, that coffee break has long since been over. In the mean time I've given 2 time-outs and saved Sam from playing in the toilet water too long. Yep, I just found him with toilet paper in his mouth and I'm afraid it came out of the toilet. *sigh*


Linda said...

Amen and amen! (That's a double amen.)

Lula Bee Boutique said...

Angel, good grief girl!!! No, you do not have time for all that!! Now that both of mine are in school, I have time for a little, but I ONLY do the Publix sales and I found ONE website that matches up the coupons to sales for that store...everything else gets bought at Walmart and that its it! I have my days free and that is ALL i have time for. You are so right, it is not worth it if it takes time away from your family...just gives you another job. I had not clipped a coupon in 7 years before this month.

Spencer Family said...

I only have one kid and the thought of dragging him from store to store just wears me out. I think you are so right about being careful with what you are already spending your money on and using your time instead to spend with your little ones playing outside or making memories--not clipping coupons and trying to get as much as you can for as little money as possible. (can you tell I've thought a lot about this too? :)

Angel said...

Thank you ladies! I figured I wasn't alone. I found myself buying things like cans of soup and pop tarts this week. What was I thinking? We don't eat like that! I make most everything we eat from scratch. I would say that a majority of coupons are for processed foods. Next summer I'll be focusing on canning things from the garden. I'd rather stock up like that way.

Allison, I knew Lon was in school this year but didn't put together that you now have your days free. Duh! I bet that is a lot of fun. You must be sewing up a storm (when you're not at Publix that is LOL).

Jessica said...

I hear ya! I too was playing the coupon candy land (one step forward, five back) only to finally realize that there are things in my pantry we'll never consume just because they were a great "deal" :O and the pennies saved were costing me major bucks in gas shuffling from one place to the next. I'm sticking to buying in bulk those items we do use like meats and what not when they are on sale and keeping them in our deep freezer and only checking 1 or 2 sites with coupons over a $1 only when time allows. I love one of my stepdad's sayings: "Women go broke saving money." So true, so true :)

Kori said...

I agree your kids are too small to run from store to store- This is a cool blog-
I only do super target and costco so i like seeing her target articles -

You can save money just by staying home and playing :) and much more fun then drving around :)

The weather is perfect for the backyard these days :)

Karamat said...

AMEN! We're lucky to have a good, reliable, and (realativly) low cost store close to home. I use coupons where I can, stock up on good sales when I can, and use store brands where we don't notice the difference, but the "game" of when, where, and what to buy for the best deal is more than I can do with a family, a job, and life commitments.