Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday’s Super Savings

With my hours at work being cut by one day a week starting in July and new job prospects slim, I’ve started putting some cost saving measures into practice.

Almost everything I’m doing to cut corners were lessons I learned during childhood when my parents were living paycheck to paycheck and raising three kids. There’s so many images forever branded to my brain of spending all day Sunday at the supermarket loading up five to six carts worth of food because it was double coupon day. Or waking up at 4 a.m. to hit the sales early for our back-to-school supplies in a town 30 miles away because the deals were better. And always guarding the mounds of clothes, toys, and household goods my mom would pile by me at rummage sales while I pilfered through the free boxes searching for hidden treasures of junk.

My mom probably doesn’t realize how much of an impression she left on me about how to make every penny stretch a mile more than it should. These of course were lessons she learned from her parents, who were farmers raising nine kids on next to nothing while having their income at the complete mercy of Mother Nature.

Never in a million years did I think I would be back to spending my weekends clipping coupons and strategically planning out my shopping trips so I could get the best bang for my buck. But with $500 less a month coming in, I don’t have much choice.

That said, I’m finding a bit of satisfaction in being frugal. It’s probably just the romantic in me thinking of it as getting a first-hand experience of what my parents and grandparents went through. I’m sure the nostalgia will wear off sooner than later, but for now, I’m going to be a bit of a braggart in how much I saved today.

After a day’s worth of coupon clipping and shopping, I ended up with a total of 64 items for $116. That’s less than $2 an item—even with the $1.50 I spent on Sunday’s paper factored into the mix.

My total savings at the end of the day came to 31 percent, meaning $52 extra in my pocket. So, what exactly did I get for less than $2 each?

Fresh Produce
  • 5 apples
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 cobs of corn
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 bags of salad
  • 2 mini watermelons
  • 1 bag of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • 3 loaves of bread
  • 2 blocks of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 carton of eggs
  • 1 bag of marsh mellows
Nonperishable & Frozen Goods
  • 10 packages of Ramen noodles
  • 6 boxes of cereal
  • 6 packages of Morning Star sausages
  • 4 packages of Boca Burgers
  • 2 bags of brown rice
  • 2 packages of Morning Star crumbles
  • 1 bucket of Smart Balance
  • 1 jar of peanut better
  • 1 bottle of ketchup
  • 1 box of Hamburger Helper
Household & Pet Goods
  • 2 packages of razors
  • 1 package of paper towels
  • 1 bottle of dish soap
  • 1 box of dog treats
  • 1 post card
  • 2 shirts
Sure, I had to stop at six different stores, but they were all along the same street. Yeah, some of my stuff probably isn’t completely organic or necessarily healthy, but I’m living on a tight budget now and organic is luxury and non-healthy foods are comfort.

So there you have it. A penny saved is a penny earned. There’s still more I need to trim out of my budget, which is already as lean as it can be with $75 in reduced rent and putting all my student loans into forbearance, but I’ll figure it out. I am my mother’s daughter after all.

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