Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seven months later, it ends.

Last winter break, I was cruising the internet, completely burnt out from all my classes, and enjoying my free time. In searching for a muffin recipe for my mother, I came across a money saving blog. From there I found more and more blogs, and I was intrigued. I knew that we were in debt. I knew that we spent way too much at Wal-Mart. I knew that if we didn't do something to stop this I would never be able to get the things I wanted - a MacBook Pro, a Mustang - without getting more in debt. I was sick and tired of having to turn down movies and outings with my friends because I didn't have the money. After seeing how many bloggers managed to get free shampoo, soap, groceries, I knew I had to try it.

I started couponing in January 2009, the same time I started this blog. And while I never really kept up with the blog, I kept up with the shopping. I managed to master Walgreens, and now have a linen closet full of shampoo/conditioner/lotion/etc. I have so much in there, that blankets that belong in that closet no longer fit! I guess I have to clean it out!

I've grown a lot in these past months. I've come to realize the difference between needs and wants - that Mustang? It's a "want", definitely not a need, and I won't be getting one anytime soon. The MacBook? It's a possibility. I am in the market for a new laptop, so we'll see. I'm slowly learning not to be embarrassed at cash registers and to stand my ground. If I'm using a coupon correctly, there's no reason for the cashier to disagree with me; I just need to make sure they know that. I learned the value of time - it's not worth arguing for fifteen minutes about a $1 coupon that didn't go through.

I'm also learned that I spend a lot of time on this - way too much. If I'm online, you bet I have HCW or one of my favorite blogs open. During the semester? You can bet that I was planning my Walgreens trips around school. It was annoying coming out of a class or lab and still thinking "Oh, I have to stop by Walgreens". I actually felt like I had to stop by - it wasn't something I did for fun; it was something I had to do.

And yes, I did enjoy it. But lately, it seems like a chore more than something fun. So I'm taking a break from couponing. Once this semester starts, I won't be couponing. I need the time for school, and I'm tired of having to search fliers, remember coupons, use them before they expire and everything else that goes with couponing. I am stocked up on HBA stuff, which will be enough to last us through December. Hopefully in December/January, I can pick up enough deals so that I can stock us up for next semester.

I have a little less than a month before this semester starts, and I'll be using it to hunt for deals on what we still need. Just to make sure I don't forget, I'll make a list of what we need:
--Toilet Paper
--Contact Solution
--Toothbrushes {Target/Wal-Mart, free}
--Face wipes {maybe}
--Freezer Bags
--Sandwich Bags
--Snack Bags

--Pasta {Wacky Mac, Alberstons, $0.34 'til 8/14; Ronzoni, Wal-Mart, $0.50 'til Friday}
--Peanut Butter {Walgreens, next week, $0.25/each}
--Canned Tomatoes
--White Flour
--Sugar {Alberstons, before Friday}

I think that's everything. I may be missing some stuff, but we'll see. My plan to to only have to buy produce, meat and dairy for the next few months, and only buy loss-leaders. We'll see how it goes.

So one more thing: will this blog continue? Yes. I have yet to manage to figure out this thing called "budgeting", and we are still in debt. I'm also hoping to start menu-planning, and being more organized and this blog shall serve that purpose. I will try to update it about twice a week, but we'll see how that goes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

June Budget Update && July Goals.

June Budget:

Let's review my June Budget Goals:

1) Stick to a Walgreens budget of $80/month or $20/week.

2) Stick to a grocery budget of $200/month or $50/week.

3) Stick to a gas budget of $40/month.

Now, let's see - did I stick to it? I have no idea. I lost track of my receipts, so unless I hunt them down, I won't know.

I know for sure that I went over gas budget, but that was expected. Gas is up to ~$2.50/gal here {if not more}, and I had to drive 30 miles out of town on many occasions. Total spent on gas for the month? $69.71

I'm pretty sure I came under on my Walgreens budget. After my last post, I found my giftcard which had about $35 on it, and I used that. It lasted me almost all month, so I'm guessing I spent $60 at Walgreen last month.

July Budget:

1) Stick to a Walgreens budget of $40/month.

So far I've spent $6.11 at Walgreens, and the next two weeks? They look pretty bland! Oh, and let's face it - I have plenty of shampoo/body wash/soap/etc. to last us quite a while. Plus I'm going to need the money for gas.

2) Stick to a grocery budget of $200/month or $50/week.
This still feels pretty reasonable to me as I have not mastered the art of stockpiling food. So until we can get some more food in this house, I'll keep it at that much.

3) Stick to a gas budget of $80/month.
I drive a lot. And it's mainly because I have to, not because I'm cruising around the streets due to boredom. Oh, and gas is expensive.

4) Record spending within two days of buying the items.
Seeing as this was my downfall last month, I'm making it my goal this week.

So far:
Walgreens - $6.11
Gas - $0
Grocery - $33.03