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The $200 mission....
One mom. One Mission. One dinner plate at a time.

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The scissors were flying...

Today was the big test....shopping day. Fortunately or unfortunately, our pantry had run quite bare so we basically needed EVERYTHING. That's what happens when you go 2 weeks where my part-time paycheck is the primary income.

Anyway, this was the first attempt at utilizing the Couponmom system. It took me a while last night to go through the best deals lists for my stores, match the coupons, and then plan out exactly where I had to go...but I imagine that as with anything, the more I do it the less time it will take me. By the time I went to bed last night I was Little Miss organization though, with my list (by store I would be shopping at), coupons, and a bit of nervous excitement as to how things would look by the end of the day.

Now, I should mention here that I actually visited 6 different stores today. Yes, I know...first reaction is that any money I might have saved on grocery was wasted on gas! But I am in a very fortunate position on that matter - all 6 stores are within 10 miles of my house, on the SAME stretch of road. The Wal-Mart is the furthest away and I had to go there anyway, so we literally just rock-hopped our way up there. And I learned a few things that will save me some time later on...

My first stop was the Price-Rite, for two reasons. One, historically they have the LOWEST prices on basic grocery items. But two, I wanted to get some hard info on their prices for comparison. This is where my OCD side kicked in...I shopped with my grocery list in one hand, and a notepad and pen in the other. I now have a spreadsheet of pricing on everything I normally get at Price Rite, so that I know for certain if a deal that SEEMS good is really the ABSOLUTE best. The Couponmom site shows you the percent saved for each Best Deals item, but that is the percent based on THAT store's regular price. So what is 50% off at Shaw's might actually be higher that my regular Price Rite price. Now I have a base reference guide to double check and make sure extra trips are worth my while.

I then hit Stop & Shop and Shaws for just a couple of items at each store. The meat sales were good so I was able to stock up, and a few produce items were below the Price Rite price so I went for it. I hit Walgreens for a battery sale but passed on a purchase because the Wal-Mart has better prices. CVS for laundry soap (100 loads for $4) and then on to Wally World for the last few bits and the things I know I can get cheaper there.

I did find that for household items (cleaning supplies, paper goods, etc) I should probably hit Wal-Mart first and check to see if their price is lower than the grocery store price before the coupon. A couple of things were slightly cheaper so my coupons would have saved me even more, but this was a learning experience so I didn't sweat it too much.

I also learned that when I am talking about a goal of $200 per month, I'm probably talking about 2 big shopping trips (stock up on meat, non-perishables, household supplies) and 2 small ones (milk, produce, eggs). I was beating myself up about what I actually spent today until I realized that I have enough meat for almost 3 weeks of dinners, the canned and dry goods will last a couple of weeks, and the paper goods will go 6 weeks or further.

So what was the final bill? I spent $75 at the Price Rite, and then about $65 at the other stores collectively. BUT....between hitting the sale items and combining with coupons according to the Couponmom system, I saved $55. For me that's a MAJOR feat...and I feel like my goal is more of a possibility!!!

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