Friday, October 8, 2010

Frugal Friday -- Halloween Style

Halloween is fast approaching, and it is stressing me out.

For one thing, the town where I live has decided to do trick or treating the day before Halloween, but we don't normally trick or treat in our community. Does this mean I have to buy candy (which I haven't budgeted for) since we may actually be home on Halloween?

Possibly MORE pressing is the fact that I haven't bought my daughters costume yet. Costumes are so expensive these days, for something a child only wears once (maybe, MAYBE, twice).

Last year I bought her costume from CostumeSuperCenter.com and I was very pleased. I managed to find the costume at a reduced price, and was very pleased with their customer service and return policy, even though I did not need it. They have a clearance link on their website, with TONS of costumes at really low prices, including the exact costume my daughter wore for only $10! If you actually spend over $60 on their site, you can get free shipping through Sunday with coupon code FRs60.

Another online site I've looked at is Buy Costumes. They have LOTS and LOTS of costumes that I love. They also have a large clearance section of costumes, including a devil costume I'm eyeing for my daughter at $15! Don't worry, they the TONS and TONS for the teen and adult crowd as well. I plan to save even more with these coupon codes:

VAMP10 - 10% off Any Order
Skull20 - $20 off Halloween Costumes
MAD10 - 10% off $40 or more
bogo20 - Buy One Get One 20% off

Hey, look at that, I am a little less stressed about Halloween now. I think I've got this costume thing handled with out breaking my tiny piggy bank.

As for the Saturday vs. Sunday night trick or treating, I think I may print my coupon for free chips and queso and take the family to Chili's. That sounds less expensive (and more relaxing) than buying a bunch of candy. ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Frugal Friday -- Grocery Tips

Last night, I did our grocery shopping and spent just over $100 on two weeks worth of groceries!!!

Yeah, I am a little proud. =)

So to stroke my own ego, I am going to post my top 10 grocery buying tips. I really do hope you find some of them useful.

1. Try the store brand at least once, on everything. We have found that most store brand canned vegetables are great, except green beans. Store brand green beans suck.
But, try the store brand atleast once, on every product that you buy. Most of the time we are pleasantly suprised (some are even better than the national brand!)

2. Pay attention to how much things cost, otherwise how will you know when it is *really* on sale. I have found more than one store that advertises some thing "on sale" and it really hasn't been marked down at all.

3. Pay attention to how much you actually use/need/eat. If our family will only eat half of a dish, then we have the leftovers for lunch the next day. If your family despises leftovers, then freeze the left overs for another week.

4. Make a budget and stick to it.

5. Make a list before you leave, of exactly what you need, and a base price for that item. I usually use Walmart's price as my base price, because they rarely have weekly sales on grocery items. Also, our list with base prices should never be over what we set our budget as. If it is, obviously I have a problem, and our list needs to be modified.

6. Look at local sale papers and through your coupons to see what's on sale and what you have coupons for. Remember at Kroger, they double coupons up to $.50 and you can also load electronic coupons onto your shoppers card. The electronic coupons and any manufacturer's coupons you have can be used together!

7. Tweak your grocery list to reflect any items that you now want to buy. If I wasn't planning on have spaghetti, but spaghetti sauce is on sale and I have a coupon, I should probably have spahgetti.

8. Buy meat in bulk, when it's on sale. Meat goes on sale in cycles too! When meat is on sale, stock up. When I find meat on sale, I typically buy enough for 1 or 2 months. I buy whole chickens and cut them up. Even if I'm not stocking up, I only package and cook what I need. If a package of porkchops has 4 in it and I only need three, then I open and re-package it to three and one. Eventually I'll have three one chop packages that I can cook together. People, this is where I save the most money. Also pay attention to reduced meat that needs to sell quickly. As long as I freeze it, it's just as good.

9. Sacrifices are going to be made. We don't eat steak often, and sandwiches are on the lunch menu for about half the time.

10. Go grocery shopping alone. I'll be tempted enough to break away from my list without my husband or children there to help.

P.S. My best deals last night were: Fields Bologna (on sale at Kroger for a $1, plus I had a $.40 coupon that they doubled) for $.20, and Three cases of Kroger water (buy 2 get 1 Free) for $6.