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A new level of frugal

Hubby and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary this past May. Since the 2 of us haven’t been on vacation without the kids since our honeymoon, we thought it would be the perfect time. We had a nice relaxing long weekend at Disney! It was wonderful. But I am not sure we were prepared for what happened next.

A summer of togetherness. 24/7 togetherness!

Since our return from vacation, Hubby’s business has slowed down like 100%. He is only working a handful of days out of the month for the last 4 months. So as the months past by, we have had to really tighten our belts and cut out unnecessary expenses. Of course, me being me, cut out all of my beauty expenses or at least went the cheaper route. Back to dying my own hair and waxing my own eyebrows. And no recent hair cuts. But having 2 boys in the house that needed haircuts every month was getting expensive.

So I bought a clipper set at BJs and learned how to cut hair.

I started with my son. I figured if I messed up then no big deal he was 5 and wouldn’t care.

 

Before

Before

 

After

After

Not too bad for my first time.

Then my youngest daughter wanted bangs. So back to youtube I went.

Before

Before

 

After

After

One side did end up a little shorter than the other. But for my first time, I think it was good. She was happy.

Since this I have done my son’s hair many times. I have to say I prefer cutting the boys hair, much easier and if you screw up just shave it all off. I have even started cutting my Hubby’s hair. Which was nerve racking because he is so particular about it. But I have done it twice and he was very happy. So I have saved us at least $100 so far. The clippers only cost $30. So far a $70 profit. And the more I do it, the better and faster I get. This past Monday, I did both boys in an hour. That beats have to go to Fantastic Sams and wait, not to mention the time and the cost of gas¬†it takes to get there.

Back to Basics~Grocery shopping

We covered how to make a menu. Now lets cover how to grocery shop cheaply.

Shopping List~
After you have a menu plan, you will want to make a list. Gather all of those recipes and make a list of every ingredient you would need. Even if you know you have it, write it down. If you need the same item for different recipes write down how many or how much. Nothing will throw you off your meal making stride like needing 2 eggs and only having 1. Now go through your kitchen and mark off all the items that you have already. While you are doing this, write down any items that are essentials that you might be getting low on. For us that would be flour, sugar, milk, eggs and Hubby’s coffee, just to name a few.
Now time for our sale ads. Go through and write down any deals you see that would be beneficial to your family. Maybe there is a deal on toilet paper or razors. Stock up!
Coupons~
I use to be one of those mom’s who couldn’t buy anything without coupons. This was before the TV show made us look like freaks. Why did we need 20 bags of dog food when I don’t have a dog? ¬†BECAUSE IT’S FREE!!! Then I saw the show and thought WOW I am spending a lot of time on couponing and coming home with a lot of junk I didn’t need just because it was cheap or free. It can be a double edge sword. You want to save money but you don’t want it to take away from your family time or become an obsession.
I still stockpile certain items using coupons. But everything I buy in excessive amounts is things that we use. Razors, shaving cream, body wash, shampoo, toliet paper and toothpaste are just a few items I keep a look out for deals and coupons. But I have 3 teenage daughters. If it was just me and my hubby, probably not.
Also having 4 kids, I keep a lot of snacks in the home. I always look for Buy one Get one (BOGOS) deals and coupons to match. This keeps my grocery bill down significantly. Once you get familiar with you store of choices sales, clipping coupons will be easy. I can go through a coupon book and know which coupons are good to clip based on what my store puts on sale. I also only clip coupons I know I will use.
But if your not into couponing, I have gone weeks by just making a list of what I need and sticking to it and never touching a coupon. It works just as well, you just have to resist those extra deals you might see in the store.
Now if you like the idea of coupons but don’t have time, try looking for a blog specific to the store of your choice. There are tons of bloggers out there that are doing the work for you. Just do a search for <Insert store name here> ad match ups. They will have all the deals listed with coupons for that item listed as well. They also show you the best deals of the week with a special symbol.
Prices~
I have been doing this for a while, so I have gotten pretty good at knowing my prices at the stores I like to shop at. Like I know for $14 I am going to get a little over 3 pounds of hamburger. But if I go to BJs, I will get over 6 pounds for around $15! Having a large family of predominant meat eaters this can be our most expensive category on the shopping list. But knowing where to get the most bang for you buck is the key. For me that would be a warehouse store. Again if it was just me and the Hubby, most likely not. You have to go what works for your family. Now if we were vegetarians, I would shop mostly at our local farmers market.
Which is another option, for fruits and vegetables, shop locally. If you are lucky enough to have a local farmers market then take advantage of the straight from farm approach. I have gotten some amazing deals shopping here.
For me the key, is to stick to a few stores and get to know them like the back of your hand.