Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Nursery

     I woke up in a cold sweat several weeks ago realizing the crib wasn't yet put together. Instant anxiety. Sure, the baby wasn't due for 2.5 month, but that little corner of the woman's brain that we all pretend doesn't exist was on high alert. Mental task list #1-put crib together. We quickly checked this off the list and weeks later we have the finished product...a sweet, simple little nursery.
 DIY artwork made with scrapbook paper:
 A recliner will go in the reading corner.
 Chalkboard made from vintage crib found at antique store.

The new and improved guest bedroom.
 Designed with Grandma and Grandpa White in mind.

Free is the Secret Word

     Big things are happening in Indianapolis. The Super Bowl is a week away. Celebrities are checking into to hotels. The national media has arrived. And the savings at CVS couldn't be better.
     Free has become my new favorite word. CVS paid me 3 cents to buy these cards:
     How did I do it? This week's ad boasts "buy 3 American Greeting cards and get 3 extra care bucks." The secret is to find cards for under a dollar. These cards were 99 cents. There are 40-50 cards to choose from. What are you waiting for? Ironically, the minute I stepped outside, a massive gust of wind blew one of my free cards across the parking lot. You'd better believe, my 8 month pregnant self chased that card down. I got paid good money to buy that card. 
     Likewise, I got my favorite bronzer for free:
    This organic based make-up is $11.99 at CVS. If you spend $10 on any item from the Physician's Formula line, you get $7 back. I got an additional $5 of Extra Care bucks because I reached my $50 Beauty Bucks spending goal. FREE.
    This soap was free:
    These diapers were free:
These kleenex were free:
This milk was free:
These wipes were free:
I spent $12 on all of these items:
Are you sick of me yet?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Empire Wins

I finally made it to Wal-mart. My goal was to save more than I saved at Marsh. I won by a small margin of $2. I saved $15 and got all of these items:
We are generally pretty healthy eaters. The pizzas are for a get together coming up at our house. I spent $52 after factoring the $15 worth of savings. I left feeling very unfulfilled. I can do better, I know it. Up next: Kroger. I've heard good things about Kroger savings and I'm going to dominate. Right? 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Did I mention the motivation?

     Our sole motivation for saving money is this kid growing inside of me. He or she has changed everything. Every time I walk by a gorgeous purse or pair of shoes, I have trained my baby to kick me in the ribs. Moving into my 8th month of pregnancy, I'm estimating the savings to be around $400. Good job, baby.
     In all seriousness, we are getting very excited to meet this kid. We took a tour of the hospital last week and I'm actually excited to spend a few days there. I love hotels and the maternity suite reminds me of a hotel.
     The nursery is inches away from being finished. It has been a labor of love. We didn't have much space to work with so I went with a very simple approach. I will post pictures when we get the last touches are hung. I spend a lot of time in the nursery thinking about how amazing it will be when our baby arrives. Work has kept me very preoccupied, but this baby is good at making his or her presence known throughout the day. I love the small reminders. Ironic that I got one right now as I write this.
     Kyle has been incredibly supportive. Sometimes I wonder if he can read my mind because of how well he takes care of me. Yesterday I was tired and stressed about the dishes and I came home to a spotless kitchen. Well played, husband. There hasn't been one cold morning where my car wasn't started. I'm pretty excited to meet this kid myself, but I can't wait to watch him hold the baby for the first time.
     Okay, this is getting sappy which means I'm hormonal and it's time for bed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Manslaughter by Shopping Cart

After several weeks and $160+ worth of savings at CVS, the day had arrived. It was time to tackle the enemy: the big bad grocery store chains. I'm not a fan of failure. In fact, I hate it, but I can't defeat something I don't try. And I can always return to my security blanket of CVS.

The strategy:
Start with two chains known for savings:

Marsh: after a little research I learned Marsh doubles any coupon under 50 cents. You must, of course, have a Fresh Idea card. Here is how I tackled Marsh:

  • I focused all my preparation with only coupons under 50 cents from the Sunday paper or mailers. I was strict with my number one rule of coupons: only clip coupons you actually need. 
  • I made a grocery list of all the coupons I clipped and I sheepishly dropped into a Marsh on a Monday evening. The list made it simple for me to navigate the store collecting my items. 
  • This time I wasn't worried on price of the item, I was focused on the savings. Here was my biggest mistake. Does price matter? Of course it matters if Walmart sells the same item for half the price. Who cares about coupons when you're already overpaying for the item. Pay attention to price.
  • I pull up to the cashier coupons in hand waiting for the moment of truth. Do they really double coupons under 50 cents? Yes, they do. 
  • Original Price: $46.42
  • Coupon Price: $32.52
  • Savings: $13.90 or 30% 
Here is what I walked away with:
Most people would be thrilled with a 30% savings, but after my success with CVS, this coupon game is like crack. I want more. Walmart is up tomorrow and I'm not in the mood to fail.  

***DISCLAIMER: Watch out for innocent bystanders while taking on this challenge. I rammed a woman with my cart and I almost ran over a small child. No amount of savings is worth manslaughter by shopping cart charges.***

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to cut $90 from your monthly bills with one phone call

The frugal streak has carried over to all aspects of my personal life and I'm looking for every opportuity to cut pennies. Want to save $90 from your bills? Follow these three simple steps:

1. Realize you are paying too much for cable. Remember when you had the monthly deal which was half the rate you're paying now? Our comcast bill was $120 and I wasn't a fan of that number so I called them and said I was canceling. Was I really ready to cancel? No. But the "retention specialist" on the other end is paid to keep me as a customer and I knew that. Suddenly he offered me the 6 month special at $60 for both internet and cable. What did I do at the end of that 6 months? Called and said I was canceling. My new specialist told me he would continue the offer another 6 months. That's $720 of annual savings/$60 bucks a month.

2. Do you really need cable? Besides getting sucked into reality trash television and an occasional ballgame, we decided it was time to cut the cord with cable. At the end of my 12 months of savings, I called the retention experts back and said I wanted to cancel. He "convinced me" to keep internet at a discounted rate of $30. I was already planning on keeping internet, but thanks for the offer. There's another $360/$30 a month savings.
3. Need a cable replacement? Welcome to 2012. Go to walmart and purchase a Roku Box for $70. Purchase netflix (known for dated movies and tv series) or hulu plus (known for current tv series) at $7.99 a month. The question is, would you rather pay $90 or $7.99 a month? Your choice.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ignorance is not bliss

Today I was at my weekly CVS extreme coupon trip and the cashier asked the woman in front of me if she wanted to enroll in Beauty Care Bucks. She waved her hand in complete disgust. The cashier explained it was free and she would get $5 back for every $50 she spent. The woman continued to say no, but cashier wouldn't let it go. It became a battle and eventually the woman took her bag and stormed out looking a little like this:
I pulled up with my envelope full of coupons and cart full of goods. I saved $36.99 on all this:
I spent $16.45 on all of these goods which was a little disappointing. I prefer to walk away spending under $10. We have a party coming up so we will use the coke and crackers for that. I got $5 toward my beauty care with the face wash which was only $2 after the coupons. 

Don't forget to enroll your card in Beauty Care Bucks. I haven't paid for my make-up in two months and I'm going to soon get $5 back. So remind me, why are you still paying full price for things?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

CVS has a dirty little secret

CVS has a dirty secret they don't want you to know. You know the coupon center you have probably never visited? Yes, this one:
It's spitting out coupons that work on any item in the store. So the coupon says $2.50 off CVS brand cold medicine and you prefer self medicating with wine. Well, it's probably going to work. I have been told by a top secret CVS employee that they will continue to take these coupons until they fix the glitch. So shop up, savers.
And, if you've never visited the coupon center during a visit, what are you waiting for? I understand your overspending ways because I used to be one of you. I have probably thrown away $300 worth of extra care bucks in my near 30 years just because I didn't want the paper in my purse.

By the way, last night, we saved $51.54 on all this:
Our bill was $6 after factoring in ExtraCare bucks. Yes, this blog is called FreakoMOMics for a reason.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lucky Charms and other not so lucky cravings

So the rumors are true, pregnancy really does bring on the oddest cravings and they come at the strangest hours. Two nights in a row I dreamt about blueberry donuts. Here are my cravings in no particular order:

Lucky Charms? Really? Good thing I discoverd the value box.

I ate these two weeks in my first trimester and now I can't touch them.

Dreams do come true. My husband brought me one.

I'm not as embarrassed by this one. I can't get enough green in my diet.

Doritos ONLY in cool ranch flavor.

If I could eat one thing everyday of my pregnancy, it would be fresh fruit. Too bad it's winter and fruit tastes like crap.

Mainly Culvers grilled cheese. I don't know why. Perhaps because I get get the icecream too?

Yes, icecream. Pretty standard.

Thanks to the neighbors, I ate an entire bag one night. It was amazing.

Particularly the salad from Some Guys Pizza. I think I ate it three nights in a row once.