Oh Costco…..

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I follow a blog of a woman that is all about savings, making things from home, and pretty much just living life.  Well she does this once a month post about her trip to Costco.  Her goal is to not go over $100.  It intrigues me and I look forward to it each month.

She shows some of what she bought as well as her receipt, and each time I see it I think “how the hell does she get out of that place for under a hundred dollars?”.  Seriously that place sucks you in with all kinds of crap you NEED!!!  So I decided to show my trip to Costco, a Real Housewife with a minimal amount of restraint…

First, let me say I was clearly off my rocker to go to Costco the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

This time of year Costco has even more stuff that you know will be gone in a few short weeks, so you are already in this buy it now or never see it again state of mind.  Seriously, they must pump something through in the air because as soon as you walk in your eyes get big and you suddenly feel the need for two carts…. The list of ten items, out the window.

So what did I buy?  Some of the needed items were for all the holiday baking I do like sugar and flour as well as some staples I like to keep in the pantry all year such as my favorite Better Than Bouillon (this stuff is the greatest).  Mr. Housewife needed some of his usual purchases as well.  The combo of that alone was a bit spendy.

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Pine nuts are not cheap, but at Costco you can get this 1.5 pound bag for $23.99.  No, it’s not exactly cheap, but for organic it’s a very good price.  Next time you are at the store take a peak at how much they are, you will totally understand.

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It’s definitely not melon season so they are a bit higher priced than in the summer months, but the kids and chickens love them so you know….

Then came a few things that always get added to the cart when you go a little hungry….

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Their soups are really good, and such an easy quick lunch, $10.99 for two containers is a steal in my opinion so into the cart it went.

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And the cheese…. I showed a little restraint and only came home with these.  The Le Delice De Bourgogne, to die for!!!

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How the heck did these two items get in the cart?  Oh yeah, I tossed them in.  Definitely not something for all palettes, however, at $59.99 the caviar was a great price to what I normally pay at my favorite caviar shop downtown.  The truffle mousse, it was just ok, won’t buy that again.

 

Costco will sometimes carry my favorite makeup, Bobbi Brown, so when they do I like to grab it.  This was priced at $39.99, which is lower than at the store.

Of course there were other things that went into the cart, but you can see how it’s freaking impossible to stay under $100, unless you go a couple times a week.  There are times we go and don’t get as much stuff, but on average we get sucked in.  And looking around at the other people in there with their overstuffed carts, we aren’t the only ones.

So in the end we went a little over $100, but I sure got some cool stuff!!

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One Week In….

Monday was the last day of the first week of my $100 dollar a month challenge.  Nobody complained about the dinners and I only went to the store once, spending $20.15.  To be honest, I was kind of giddy that I had money left over to carry to the next week and even more giddy when I realized I probably won’t need to go to the grocery store this week.

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I’m really thankful to the calendar I made for the month of meals, it’s keeping me on track and pretty much keeping the work to a minimum.  It took about two hours to do it from start to finish, and it included going through the freezer to take inventory of the meat we had as well as the pantry.  I finally get the whole meal planning thing, it’s totally making sense.  Next month I’m thinking of trying a once a week shopping trip meal plan where I use the store ad to shop sale items only.

The other bonus to all this is the lack of food waste.  Because I’m trying to make sure everything lasts in order to fulfill their use in my meal plans we don’t have much waste, in fact, so far we’ve had none.  I love that!  Everyone gets enough to eat, but we are not overstuffed, we are just right.  Before I would make so much food, then we would all overeat but still leave tons of leftovers that would usually get tossed.  It’s a new me I’m telling you….

My goal for this week is to stick to the meal plan and do what I can to not go to the store.  Today I’m making homemade baguettes to go with our cheese and canned fished dinner.  I honestly don’t want to run to the store for crackers, and yes I know that whipping up some baguettes is not something most people would do.

For now I need to go start some bread….

http://food52.com/blog/10044-dan-leader-s-4-hour-baguette

Grocery Budget

This morning I had to go to the grocery store to buy a few things we needed for the upcoming week of dinners.  I wrote my list and only added one extra item while at the store, bananas.  My shopping trip included onions, celery, two loaves of bread, lettuce, and bananas which came to a total of $20.15.  In all honesty I thought I would be more in the $12 or so dollar range, so I was a tad shocked.  When I’m working with such a small budget I was hoping to have a bit more to carry over to the next week, but it looks like that won’t be happening.

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One thing about sticking to this budget, shopping is much quicker, I went right for what I needed which meant skipping 90% of the store.  Next week, if I need anything I will pay a little more attention to prices.  This week the items I purchased I really didn’t need to do that.  Being mindful of what you throw in the cart is key and is pretty much a no brainer, but when that’s what you’ve been doing for years it can be a hard habit to break.

Shopping without the twinadoes was and will continue to be another key factor to sticking to the budget.  My little loves tend to toss whatever their little hearts desire into the cart, some of it gets put back but the majority comes home with us.  They will be hearing the word “no” a lot more, and yes, there will be tantrums.

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Next week I already know I will need to buy some crackers and tomatoes for two of the dinners I have planned.  I could be over the top and make some baguettes in place of the crackers since I have all the ingredients on hand.  Not sure what I’ll do about that one.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I can make the $100 dollars last for the month, will I have much left, that I’m not sure.  What else I know, the months of $2200 on groceries has ended, not quite sure what I’ll set for a more reasonable amount for or family will be, that will take a little figuring out.

I know I’m lucky, I’m able to adjust my budget and doing a $100 for a month is a sort of test and wake up call for my family.  For some, this is their reality and their true budget.  Where I live (literally) I have million plus dollar homes to one side and on the other more reasonable priced homes.  We all shop at the same two grocery stores in town, but what I noticed this morning, was what is being put in those carts.  The conversations people have about what they can and cannot purchase.  On Facebook this morning someone posted a picture with a saying “when you have more than you need build a longer table not a higher fence”, something to think about.

Of course I’m curious as to what budgets people set for themselves, whether out of necessity or because they want to keep their spending in check.  Care to share?

Garage Sales, Yes or No?

This weekend there was a city wide garage sale happening.  I had never heard of this and I’ve lived here for over six years!!  Poison Ivy informed me of this and asked if I wanted to go together.  At first I thought, heck no, all those crazy people driving around trying to find deals, then I thought, why not?  I’ll be one of those crazy people driving around looking for deals and I’ll have Poison Ivy as my tour guide.  If nothing else, the sheer comedy of the afternoon would be well worth it.  She didn’t want to go out until 10 am so I thought I would make use of the morning and get some grocery shopping done, but I never made it… I ended up going by a neighborhood that already had their signs up so I turned in.  Next thing you know it’s almost 10am and Poison Ivy was ready to join the bargain hunting.  My car was now full so we took her pimpin minivan.  I think if she died tomorrow (God forbid) she would want to be buried in the thing.

When I get to Poison Ivy’s house she is having a conversation with her six year old, asking him if she can borrow money.  Then proceeds to his room where she scours for money.  By this time I’m crying from laughing so hard, I just found this to be way too comical.  But in her defense, she didn’t want to have to drive all the way to a cash machine to get money.  Ten minutes later we were all in the minivan heading out to scour the garage sales.  I don’t even know how many we ended up going to, it was just one big blur of garage sales.  Part of me loves garage sales because you get to snoop at other people’s stuff and part loves to find a great deal.  The majority of the stuff I would say is nothing I would ever want, but every once in a while you find a real treasure.  I figured the odds were in my favor with a city wide garage sale.

After only a few sales Poison Ivy had gone through her whopping twenty dollars.  Thankfully, being the girl scout that I am (actually I was never a girl scout) I was prepared and had money for her.  Each stop was made into a good time.  We found the humor in it all, and were lucky to find some pretty cool stuff.

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Here are a few of my scores… a bento box for .50, a Korean pot for $2 (I scored 8 Mikasa plates at the same sale for $3, looked them up and they were going for $69 for 5), and these adorable chopsticks with little origami swans on each paper holder for .25.  One of my great scores was this canopy and pillow, but in green.  I have to give credit to Poison Ivy for spotting it, I would have walked right past it.  She actually has a good eye for stuff and showed me several things that I normally wouldn’t have given a second look.  I did end up with a car full of stuff, I did end up getting the eye roll from the hubs, but I also ended up with some pretty cool stuff.

I can honestly say I’ve never had so much fun going to garage sales, nor have I have gone to garage sales for over three hours!!!  Batman and Robin were beyond great through all of this, I was totally amazed.  My twinadoes wouldn’t have made it through the first sale….

And to think, they do this again in the spring.  Get the pimpin minivan ready Poison Ivy!!

Couponing….Clip This!!!

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I have to fess up, I got sucked in to the Extreme Couponing show and gave it a whirl…I think I gave it a good whirl too.  Every Sunday I pulled out the ads for that weeks’ sales, pulled out the coupons and looked through them.  I would see if I could match up sales with coupons and be like those coupon queens on that ridiculous show.  Then I found coupon sites on Facebook.  They did all the work for you!!  They would post deals with the coupon match ups, the only work left was to go get them.  Well, that and clip the coupons.  It kind of sucks you in, especially when you are at home with toddlers, it’s cold outside, and your mind feels like it needs a challenge.  Of course, with the matching done for me, there really wasn’t any challenge.  I think that’s really where my desire to do couponing started to fade.

Even with a waning desire to clip and save, I forged through the hubs eye rolls and sad attempts at coupon jokes, the looks of cashiers like I was trying to pull something, the disappointment of going to a store only to find they were out of whatever I was looking for.  Apparently, if you want to be successful at this couponing stuff you have to get up early and get everything.  But then the call of my garden started… The thought of running around looking for stuff I really didn’t need just became a hassle.  Besides, I did have enough laundry soap to last a year, and no, I’m not kidding.  I even gave a bunch away and still had more than enough.  Body soap, razors, shaving cream, dish soap and shampoo/conditioner was my thing.  Not sure why, maybe because I really do use a lot of that stuff.  The food stuff, well, they don’t have too many coupons for food that my family really eats.  The stuff I did buy either got used to barter with the neighbor or donated.

My coupon organization wasn’t really at the extreme couponer lever either.  I didn’t have a big binder with ten thousand slots for my coupons.  I didn’t have a room designated to cutting, sorting, filing and whatever the hell else they do with those things.  I didn’t have 72 papers delivered to my home every Sunday.  Nopes… I usually sat on the couch with my twins rolling, tearing, throwing and doing whatever they wanted with them.  Meanwhile my poor hubs would say “babies, don’t touch mama’s coupons, she needs them”.  It was actually comical.

I’ve read several blogs where people say they hate when people say it’s a game, well sorry folks, that exactly what I though of it.  It was like a puzzle, what coupon fits where to get me something I want for super cheap.  I think I needed something for my brain to figure out, something that would make me have to think about something other than diapers, naps, tantrums and everything else that goes with my twinadoes.  So feel free to scoff and say I wasn’t a real coupon because you would be correct.  I just wasn’t.

A few weekends ago we were at our friends Metalhead and Merlot’s house for a barbeque and he told me about how his post office had “tons of coupons in the recycle bin”.  I though, what the heck I’ll check it out.  I told him to take me there, so in the middle of his barbeque he drove me the mile down the road to look.  He wasn’t joking.  There were tons of them, and I spent a good 15 minutes picking them out.  Then to top if off, I had my husband stop on the way out and did the same thing.  And here’s where I knew my time as a couponer had really come to an end….of all the 50 inserts I pulled out of recycling I ended up using four Pediasure coupons.  Really?  Oh I still have my little wallet size divider that has some coupons, I’m sure quite a few are expired, and a stack of inserts from the Sunday paper.  But you know what?  I really don’t have a desire to go through them.  Oh, I still see posts from my favorite coupon site (I mean she was on Extreme Couponing), but the urge to participate just isn’t there.  In fact, I really chuckle when I see these women, and some men, talking about their 27 transactions they did to get free paper towels.  And for the record, I never did the ten zillion transactions.  Nopes, just wasn’t that into it.