Here's the deal. Gas prices are ridiculous. Food costs continue to rise. Everywhere I turn, someone wants more of our money. It's getting out of hand. Something has to give. Since no one is going to allow drilling in Alaska for oil, it's up to all of us to learn to save and stretch our dollar. For me, it has become a goal to save as much of our money as I possibly can. Long gone are the days of going to Walmart and buying that cute little shirt or that new board game on a whim. Nope. Not going to happen anymore. So, what am I going to do you ask? Well, I've already started. I started two weeks ago and I'm on a mission.
It all started when a friend at church suggested trying the Grocery Game in order to save money on groceries. I remembered the GG because there had been a piece on the Today show about it a few months earlier (I blew that off). I decided that I would spend the $1 trial for four weeks and see how it went. Shortly after I signed up, my MIL had a heart attack and not long after that, my BIL passed away suddenly. Needless to say, the GG was pushed to the back burner and I forgot all about it. Ok. No problem. Well, not quiet. Because I didn't cancel my trial subscription, I was charged the regular fee for the next eight weeks. After I picked myself up off the ground, I decided that I was just going to have to use the GG to my advantage until the eight weeks were up. Then I would cancel. Those next eight weeks proved very eye opening. With the GG, I was building a stock pile and saving a little bit of money. Instead of canceling my subscription, I renewed and have been using it ever since. **If you've never heard of GG, please visit the site and read about it. If you have questions, email me and I'll try and help explain anything I can.**
The same friend told me about their CVS shopping trips and all the extra care bucks they were earning and using to their advantage. I decided to give that a whirl too. On the first shopping trip, you have to invest a little bit and purchase at least some things that earn ECBs. I needed several things and they had a pretty good sale going so I purchased about $40 of stuff. I walked out of there with $21 in ECBs to use on my next purchase. The next week I made my shopping list, purchased a few items that would earn new ECBs and paid for my stuff with the ECBs I had earned the week before. Now, I didn't quite work things right so I ended up spending more out of pocket than I wanted. However, this was a learning experience and although I was mad at myself, I knew it would take a few transactions to catch on. Yesterday was my third trip to CVS. A new ad was out and a new monthly ECB catalog was available also. I did plenty of coupon researching over the weekend, I bought two Sunday papers (because there were really good coupons in it), and I wrote out what I wanted to buy. I worked out my transactions on paper (and I was sure to take it along when I went shopping) and got my coupons and ECBs in order. Here's what I walked away with:
1 Listerine 3.49 (earn $3.49 in ECBs)
2 CVS band aids 3.98 (earn $3.98 in ECBs)
4 CVS cotton swabs 12.76 (earn $12 in ECBs)
Used $1 off listerine and $18.97 in previously earned ECBs
OOP: 38 cents
Earned $19.47 in ECBs
2 Dawn $2 (earn $1 ECB)
1 Brut deo $3.39 (earn $3 in ECBs)
Used 2/.25 dawn coupons, $1 off Brut coupon, and $3.89 in ECBs
OOP: 14 cents
Earned $4 ECBs
1 Listerine $3.49 (earn 3.49 in ECBs)
2 Oral B 2pks $13.98 (earn 13.98 in ECBs)
Used $1 off listerine and $15.47 in ECBs
Earned $17.47 in ECBs
1 Gillette Phenom Razor $9.99 (earn $4 in ECBs)
1 CVS cotton swabs $3.19 (earn $3 in ECBs)
Used $4 off razor coupon and $7.48 in ECBs
Earned $7 ECBs
Later on in the evening, I had to take some movies back. It just so happens that there is a CVS in the same shopping center as the movie store. So, I just had to go in and see if they had any more Brut deo (my CVS only had one). I was happy to find that they did have more so here's what I did:
1 Brut deo $3.39 (earn $3 in ECBs)
Used $3 ECB
OOP: 43 cents
This deal could have been better IF I had more of the $1 off Brut coupons but I didn't.
2 Brut deos $6.38 (earn $6 in ECBs)
Used $6 in ECBs
OOP: 85 cents
Again, if I had more of the $1 off Brut coupons, this would have been an even sweeter deal. I can still purchase one more stick of deo before I hit the limit so I'm waiting to see if I run into another one of those coupons. Even without the coupons, I got plenty of deo for a little of nothing. I made ECBs to roll over and I'm pretty happy with my purchases. Doing the CVS thing is a learning process and I know I'll get better at figuring it out as I make more purchases. Once you make your initial investment, as long as you purchase wisely, you can keep rolling the ECBs and really save yourself a lot of money.
I want to say a special thanks to my friend A and her hubby, who introduced me to all of this. Secondly, my faithful friend, Jenny, is always quick to answer my questions. She has lots of patience with me. There are so many helpful blogs out there. I can't name them all but I do want to mention Alyssa over at Keeping the Kingdom First. She has answered every question I've thrown at her and I believe she truly wants to help others learn how to save money. As an added bonus, she's pretty cool too! I'm happy to have her as a new friend! Check out her blog if you are interested in saving money by shopping this way. She has really inspired me to be more frugal about how and where I spend our money.
If you're totally overwhelmed by all of this, welcome to my world! It does seem overwhelming at first but the ultimate goal is to be good stewards of what God gives us. All it really takes is a little bit of preparation and you can save your family more than you would imagine.
**No pictures of my stuff because I sent the camera to West Virginia with my girls**