We got our Christmas tree up and decorated with only ONE glass ball broken by the kids...I call that a success! The kids love the tree and get so excited to see it every time it is on! We also set up my dad's old stereo system so we have Christmas music playing all day long...I'M IN HEAVEN!!!
Here is a picture of our tree:
I plan on adding lighted garland along the tops of the windows at some point! I will also be setting up a Christmas village and a train set...I'll post more pictures when they are done!
Sunday was our last time at the apartment...thank God! It is so nice to be able to let the kids be loud and not shush them 4000 times a day! It took an hour to gather the rest of our things and pack up...but we did it! Thank you, Google, for giving us a great place to stay for 30 days...we feel very grateful!
We also Skyped with family over the weekend. We finally had to set up the camera on the desktop because the kids refused to stand back from the IPad screen...oh, well. What can you expect from a 3 and 2 year old?
Today was a day full of ups and downs. We really needed to go grocery shopping but I have really been trying to start this couponing stuff and I hadn't prepared. So...while the kids ate cereal I spent 45 minutes creating a coupon list of things I wanted to buy that I had coupons for. I totally reccommend this site for anyone starting to coupon:
The local store that I shop at is Safeway and they also offer a lot of "load-to-card" coupons which means I don't have to print, clip, and organize coupons...they are taken off automatically at checkout...love it!
So at 9, the kids and I took off to go grocery shopping. The trip didn't start off too well. The kids were going wild, running in every direction, and being LOUD. After calming them down (i.e. putting Elijah in the cart and strapping him in) we finally started the long process of shopping with a plan. By the time we were finished, we had the ENTIRE cart overflowing with food and even used the part underneath.
You might be thinking...does she NOT have a grocery budget?
I do...I do. While this hasn't been my first time using coupons at checkout, this WAS the first time I made a conscientious effort to ONLY buy things I had a coupon for, or that were a GREAT deal. This takes time, energy, focus, and control...all REALLY hard things to come by when you are VERY pregnant with two toddlers....but I did it! Get excited...I'm about to tell you how much I saved...
First, though, we hit a snag. After over an hour of shopping, the kids were ready to go home and eat. I was ready to get home as well. We went through the checkout, gave the coupons, and paid. Nope, didn't pay. Because my STUPID bank froze my card. And since I don't have a debit number, I had no way to buy all this food. I could have just walked away and come back later to purchase these things...but I was not willing to waste the time, patience, and skill it took to get all of these things in a cart. I mean, I had 10 sheets of paper I had to keep referring to...there was NO WAY I was going home without this food!
So, I called Brian.
AN HOUR LATER it was FINALLY all figured out and I was able to pay. Brian had to send a fax, talk to multiple people, and tried to set up my debit # that STILL won't work.
We ended up being in the store for almost 3 hours!!!! But first, picture this: two toddlers who are hungry, want to go home, and have been in a grocery store for almost 2 hours, a pregnant lady who is tired, and two carts full of food in shopping bags...we looked a hot mess. We survived, but I can't say I want to test my patience with a situation like that again!
The kids did an amazing job. No, they weren't perfect, but for toddlers they did awesome! So, after all that grocery shopping...we went to McDonalds. I don't care. I was tired and the kids loved it. :)
So...for the awesome news! I bought almost 100 items that retail for $363.27. My take included:
10 boxes of pasta
10 bottles of Ragu
4lbs of Chicken
(3) Bags of Tyson Chicken
(5) boxes of Nature Valley Bars
(5) boxes of Pop Tarts
(7) boxes of cereal (assorted)
Diced Tomatoes and tomato paste
Mac N Cheese
Ice Tea packs
Hot Choc and Coffee for the Keurig
(3) bottle of KC Masterpiece BBQ
(2) frozen waffles
(3) Party size frozen meals
2 lbs of sandwich meat
green and red peppers
and sweet potatoes (the fresh stuff wasn't pictured)
After all of the in-store savings, coupons and manufacturer coupons my grand total was:
$175.85!!!! I saved 52%!!!
While I may not have walked out of there with everything for free like on the TV shows...I saved my family a TON of money by being a smart shopper!
When I went home and looked at the receipt, I noticed some awesome things:
I got each box of pasta for $.09 and each bottle of Ragu for $.085...WHAT?! I have no clue how they got so cheap...but how exciting!!! So, OF COURSE, I wanted to go back and get some more. I don't want to go and get 100 of each, or anything, but my family DOES eat pasta very frequently (at least once a week) and it has a great shelf life, so why not?!
After dinner (hot dogs, homemade mac n cheese, peas) I went back to the store and loaded up a cart of 30 Ragu bottles, 50 boxes of Barilla pasta, 2 bottles of Ketchup (we ran out!) and a broom (because we didn't have one). It was just my luck that I left the receipt at home proving what a great deal I had gotten because when I got to the checkout...it didn't give me the same price. WHAT?!
So, I asked if I could speak to a manager about honoring the prices. Now let me say this: I try not to be a greedy person. I did not clear the shelves and I shared with other shoppers about my great deal earlier in the day. However, the look that the managers had given me made me feel so dirty! I had to speak to 2 different managers (not sure why) and they both said they couldn't help me. I swear, I had a smile on my face the whole time, I apologized for being so difficult, and the only thing I asked was if I brought my receipt in, if they would honor the price. Had they been understanding and given me a simple "I'm sorry, it's not our policy to do that", I would have been fine! I didn't want to rip anyone off. But after the second manager gave me such attitude, rolled her eyes at me, and told me it "must have been a computer malfunction", I left steaming mad! I am not one to complain about workers...but you bet your bottom I am talking to a manager tomorrow about the way I was treated.
It has NOTHING to do with giving me the discount...but you don't have to be rude either.
In any event, I got a great deal on the food that I bought for the family and I am definitely going to be able to stay in budget this month!
For those who are wanting to save money this has helped me a lot:
Don't make a dinner list and then shop for those items. Shop for the items that are on sale and THEN make a dinner list with what you bring home! It will save you a lot of money!
Tomorrow will be full of planning meals, unpacking boxes, doing laundry, and setting out more Christmas decorations...and then a doctors appointment Wednesday morning!! Wahoo!!