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  • #31
    I agree with you, BarbeyGirl. I was a coupon queen many years ago because, back then, I could get them for cereal and whole wheat bread, and non-consumables like laundry detergent. These days, where I live, most places have a membership card or, like Hannaford's, advertise that they don't have gimmicks, just low prices. I get the random coupon with my sales receipt and, if it's for something I'll buy, than I use it, but that is very rare. I even get manufacturer's coupons in my junk mail occasionally but, once again, it's for stuff I don't use.

    For the type of food I buy, and the quantities I buy for just me, I don't see the coupons.

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    • #32
      Barbey:
      When I first got into couponing (before I became primal), I would spend more time on the coupons. Part of being primal for me is simplifying my life and setting up systems, and also, as you pointed out, the vast majority of the coupons don't apply to me anymore. That's where those blogs come in. I can quickly sort through the junk and get to the good stuff; they've done all the work for me. On www.moneysavingmom.com, there is a table of contents of all her posts over on the right-hand side (scroll down a bit, under her "best of" section -- that's a must-read, btw). Rather than scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, I just go there and pick and choose what I'm interested in. Of what she has there right now, most I won't even bother to click on; waste of my time. She has admitted herself that she doesn't even use most of the coupons as her family eats natural foods as much as possible, and she's even on the coconut oil bandwagon now too. Also, a lot of her site is about tuning us into great sales on clothes, shoes, etc. Last week, she alerted us to a super-cute top with a ruffle neckline that was on one-day-only sale at target.com for $4.88. A couple of weeks ago, it was a super-cute pair of shoes from Lands End for $6.99 (I got in on that deal). We pretty regularly crash merchants' websites!

      I used to get the Sunday newspaper and sit down with the coupons, but now I don't even bother wit that. A lot of the coupons are now digitized. You go to a website and put them into your "basket" and they load onto your grocery store's frequent buyer card. There are coupon databases now, where you can go if you are looking for a coupon off cat litter, etc.

      The outstanding TP deal I got was via the blinkie machine (you've seen those in the stores, right), stacked with a sale, stacked with an in-store promotional Q from their weekly flyer. When you find a deal like that, you buy it regardless of if you actually even need TP at this moment. I don't spend my time hunting down deals -- it came to me via my local frugalista site.

      Another thing that we do with coupons: If there is a big sale going on, say, on Arm & Hammer cat litter. I will go to ebay and buy a set of 10 $2.00 off Arm & Hammer coupons from a coupon merchant for a buck or two. This is a targeted way to save money on the household items you use all the time. I did this with my favorite deodorant. I have about 8 things of my preferred deodorant stacked neatly under my bathroom sink that I got for I think it was 78 cents each. This couponing angle is sale contingent, meaning the sale is what sparks the focused coupon hunt on ebay, so you can stack the deal.

      It's a LOT more fun if you have a gal pal who is also into this stuff, for sharing and bragging about the triple stack you just pulled off.

      I do agree with you that couponing the old-fashioned way is inefficient. Times have changed, and little old church ladies have figured out a way to work the system.
      Last edited by TigerLily; 10-17-2010, 04:12 PM.
      "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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      • #33
        One thing we here on MDA could all benefit from, since most of the coupons no longer apply to us, is to plan our weekly menus around the food sales. For example, my Safeway is having a big sale on cauliflower and broccoli this week. (I don't bother with organic for those.) I wait until the sales flyers come out each week, then figure out what's gonna be on the menu.
        "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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        • #34
          Originally posted by momofredheads View Post

          We hang our clothes on the line for the most part so that saves a bit of money on the electric bill. At least until the freezing weather comes, than I can't.
          +1 Why someone would spend money on coins for a dryer (or worse, buying a dryer) is beyond me. Plus, it keeps your clothes looking nice, not pilling, etc.
          I hang my clothes over the shower, so I do it year round.


          My sister cuts my hair.
          I always use up all my food and eat leftovers before buying any new groceries.
          I always check online prices before I would buy anything in a store.

          I had a bunch of really nice clothes that were size zero (I know I don't ever want to be that size again!) . Sold everything I could in a consignment shop and ended up getting almost 100 dollars for it.
          Last edited by Zo; 10-17-2010, 05:54 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by TigerLily View Post
            One thing we here on MDA could all benefit from, since most of the coupons no longer apply to us, is to plan our weekly menus around the food sales. For example, my Safeway is having a big sale on cauliflower and broccoli this week. (I don't bother with organic for those.) I wait until the sales flyers come out each week, then figure out what's gonna be on the menu.
            Exactly!!!
            Starting Weight/BMI: 184/29.7
            Current Weight/BMI: 130 /21.0
            Ultimate Goal: 125/18

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            • #36
              Wow, terrific ideas! I've been living on unemployment for almost a year, so I know how to squeze a buck. I'm delighted to see others do too! I'm taking notes!

              In sunny California, we have yard sales all year long, and I go "shopping" on the weekends with a list. I buy ONLY foods on sale. I pay cash for food, and when the cash is gone I eat from the freezer.

              I use "You Need A Budget" software to manage my budget, and it's been a life-saver. Living on last month's income (as recommended by YNAB) has given me a great deal of peace during my current situation. I arrive on the first of the month with the money to live on already in the bank -- no juggling checks to cover the larger bills. Peace!

              I keep my TV/VCR/DVD player on one power strip, and my desktop computer/monitor/printer on another, and I turn off the power strips when not in use. That alone dropped my utility bill 50%.

              I'm finding that doing "without" isn't all that hard, and I plan to keep living this way once I find work and bank the excess. This way of living is fun and creative. Would love to find other frugalistas in my area!

              Oh, and I have no debt. I rent an apartment, which gives me flexibility to, for instance, move to a cheaper apartment if that becomes necessary. but it hasn't so far, so I'm staying put for now.

              I'm considering joining The Compact -- buy nothing new (except food, and a couple of other pre-decided items) for one year.

              But the thing that has helped me most in keeping costs down is -- WANT LESS. My goal right now is to get my possessions down to a level where I have the least amount of stuff that still gives me a comfortable and functional life. I'm aiming for a "minimalism meets opulence" lifestyle -- for as little money as possible! Just as the primal woe gives me a "diet" that I can follow for the rest of my life, I'm using my current financial situation to help me design a financial lifestyle that will sustain me from here on out. I want a frugal lifestyle that is so comfortable that I will not be tempted to escalate it when my money increases.

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              • #37
                OK I'm going to answer this before I read everybody else's responses and get more good ideas!

                I do a LOT of thrift shopping. Me and my daughter (when she's here) find clothes, sometimes furniture for the house and other things. I do have to be careful not to buy something JUST because it's a good deal. I buy only what I need, and I have a running list of stuff for the house that I keep an eye out for. Most of my work slacks I got at thrift stores, and most run about $5.

                We shop at the commissary (navy market) for most stuff, though they're not always the best deal. They have started carrying some bison and grass fed stuff though on occasion, which ends up being cheaper than other places, so we try to stock up. We also buy veggies there because it's a lot cheaper. We also use Trader Joe's for some stuff (like almond butter) because it's the best buy.

                I agree with NMG that I'd rather spend a little more on something I know I will REALLY use a lot, then a little money on something I don't REALLY love.

                Most of my clothes I prefer not to dry anyway, so we hang on the line when it's nice, and I hang inside on hangers when it's cold. I only dry about one smaller load (light dry) a week, and one regular load (towels and jeans and stuff). I feel like not drying them and washing them gentle makes them last longer too, retains the color, but I'm not 100% sure, it just makes me feel like it does!

                We do low key christmasses around here. Usually the kids get one big gift (big to me... $50 or something) that they really want, and then a stocking with treats and some fun stuff and games and socks and undies! But we're not huge consumers here. Although my son (almost 15) wins at that one. We talked the other day and I said he's hard to buy for (b-day is coming up) and he said "that's because I don't want anything." And it's the truth. The occasional book if one comes out in the series he's reading... an occasion video game, though mostly we rent them for $6 since he finishes them in a weekend. He's the best non-consumer I know. This is a kid that DIDN'T want an ipod. I'm trying to learn from him this year...

                I recently acquired (thanks Kuno!) a dehydrater, and am learning to make veggie chips (so no more buying those) and jerky.

                In addition to trying to be more frugal, I'm workin on trying to be more green. So buying less things in bags AT ALL. That's probably a whole other thread, but it does tie into money, too, as those things cost more and can be replaced cheaper and greener.

                Now... I can't wait to find other people's ideas to steal!!
                sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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                • #38
                  Ah, the gift-giving holidays. I've been working hard to discourage that tradition among my friends and family. This includes birthdays. I don't have kids, so it's easier. I have (most of) my friends trained. I'd much rather spend the money on cooking them a lovely meal and sharing time with them. And lord knows I don't need more stuff in my life! Nor do they.

                  I don't put up a tree, either. At most, I put a couple of Poinsettias on my mantle and a centerpiece on my table.

                  This has saved myself and my loved ones lots of money while still allowing us to honor the seasons and each other.

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                  • #39
                    I have gotten to the point, if I'm not using it, I unplug it. For example: the microwave with a green clock. There's a lot of energy running through that microwave just to run that clock. When most of the time you have a cell phone that has a clock or a clock on the wall. Or the TV... When my son is not watching tv, I pull the power strip out of the outlet. Lamps too. We've been using candles around the house rather than lamps, and those only get lit up when the sun goes down so as to not watse them.

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                    • #40
                      And I'm alreaady finding things I forgot! We do have internet, but no cable TV, we watch stuff on Netflix (9.99/month) or hulu (free). Or we don't watch.

                      I'm not home much during the week, so the heater doesn't get used much, but I do use it occasionally (I'm hypothyroid so get super duper frozen to the point of not being abel to function even with layers of clothes!) But, we shut the front half of the house leaving just the small living room and kitchen and turn on the heat until it's warm, then turn it off. Pilot light is off when heater is not in use.

                      I'm going to be composting, but looking for a deal on a bin. But that should help with soil for the yard as well as trash bags as most of our stuff is recyclable or compostable.

                      I have one credit card, which I'm not using and paying down right now, and two payments left on my car. I just spent money on a tune up and oil change, and need to buy new tires this month, though I'm babying it as much as possible to get as much out of it as I can as I don't want to have a car payment for quite a while. (I hope to be able to buy a used car next time, and have the cash to do it.)

                      I think PrimalPatty's right in that Wanting Less helps a lot. Getting out of the consumerist, commerical, materialistic realm. Cutting out TV helps as does being primal and getting old.

                      I was reminded that I used to be super frugal when I was younger. I had copies of the Tightwad Gazette, and bought almost nothing new. Even the kids christmas toys were usually things I found at garage sales for super cheap in good condition. And all of their clothes were thrift store or resale. Time to get back to my roots.
                      sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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                      • #41
                        Patty... I agree on the gift giving. I'd rather have a get together and hang out.

                        We do still buy a tree, but usually get it just a few days before christmas when they're discounted. I ahve all my ornaments and it's a fun simple way to celebrate the holidays with my kids. Since we don't do MUCH else, the tree is a good deal!
                        sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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                        • #42
                          I'm going to be composting, but looking for a deal on a bin. But that should help with soil for the yard as well as trash bags as most of our stuff is recyclable or compostable.
                          You should look into worm composting. All you need is some old storage tubs, a way of putting holes in the bottom, and some red wigglers and you will have year around worm compost for gardens and indoor pots.

                          I do what others have said: pay in cash up front so no interest, Look for deals, don't pay for television, etc.

                          I also brew my own wine. I have probably 20+ bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and another batch on its way along with a blueberry wine. I have had some batches come out better than $10-$20 bottles and costs are negligible especially if using home grown fruit.

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                          • #43
                            Oh my god, thanks for posting about You Need a Budget, primalpatty.

                            I am seriously considering leaving Mint.com and switching to this. This thing is fantastic.

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                            • #44
                              TIGHTWAD GAZETTE!!!! Amy Dacyczyn is my guru. I, too have all her newsletters from way back when. I also have her books, and I re-read them regularly. Also, "Your Money Or Your Life." Man, I wish I was smarter about money when I was younger! On the other hand, without these influences in my younger years I'd be in a world of hurt in my current situation. Thanks to these folks, I'm able to live a comfortable and fulfilling life on very little money. So something must have stuck!

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Rivvin View Post
                                Oh my god, thanks for posting about You Need a Budget, primalpatty.

                                I am seriously considering leaving Mint.com and switching to this. This thing is fantastic.
                                I like it because it once I understood it, for the first time budgeting made sense. Their philosophies of "give every dollar a job" and "live on last month's income" have given me true peace about money. It also gave me the tools to put myself in a financial position to plan for an extended unemployment. And it is flexible enough so that if my income changes from month to month it doesn't derail my budget plan. It's easy to project for different scenarios, too. And if that's not enough, their forums are extremely helpful. It's an exquisite tool. I also like that it's on my computer and not online, making hackage less likely. They have released a recent upgrade, and I understand it's even better. I'll consider it once I get a job! I haven't checked out Mint.com, but YNAB has given me the perfect tool for my needs. Until I discovered this, I didn't think it existed.

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