The greatest thing about blogging, is that you can get answers and opinions to questions so quickly. From people I know in real life (and several of them I miss so much because I left them in Phoenix), to people I know online from message boards and such to people I don't even know at all who were kind enough to provide advice. Thanks all, for your input on yesterday's post, I really appreciate it.
So, just a couple things regarding the feedback I got yesterday:
Milk for Sophie. Apparently, she should be getting only 24 ounces maximum and 16 ounces minimum. Very good to know. I must sound like the most clueless mom ever, especially since I actually have two other children. In my defense, both of them were extended breastfeeders who developed a milk allergy early. Bria is also allergic to soy, so soy milk was out, she hated goat's milk, and at that time rice milk wasn't at all easy to find, so we just kind of didn't give her milk once she was weaned at 16 months. Chloe breastfed until she was nearly two, and she just drank rice milk after that, but she didn't seem to want it for the comfort as much as Sophie does. Sophie weaned herself before she was a year old and also has a dairy allergy. I have her drink rice milk because I'm pretty sure she is also allergic to soy since her cheeks turn bright red if she has any. So, anyway, the point of all that: we will be limiting her. Hope she doesn't freak out. Yesterday she only had 2 bottles, probably 8 oz each, so that's great. We'll try and continue the trend.
Coupons. Many of you have mentioned websites you go to and things you do to match up your coupons with the ads. Some of them include: Coupon Mom, Pinching your Pennies, and Grocery Guide. I know that several of my Arizona friends have participated in Coupon Sense, and I also did for a while when I lived down there.
So, I have used Pinching your Pennies and Grocery Guide in the past, and I checked out Coupon Mom today. They all have their pros and cons, and are all great sites that help you get the best deal with your ads and your coupons. I actually really liked Coupon Mom, except that she only has one grocery store listed in my state and it is the one that doesn't usually have the best deals. However, she does have Walgreens on there and there is one being built in my town now, so I'll for sure use her then. All of them are free sites, you just have to find your store's ad and then find the coupons listed. Some of them will tell you where to get the coupon, and others will just tell you the amount of any coupons that are available. Coupon Sense, on the other hand, is a paid service, but is relatively cheap when you consider your savings.
So, I needed to do even less work than that (all in the name of simplification), so I went ahead and joined Grocery Game. It, like Coupon Sense, is something you pay for, but I'm currently using the 4 week introductory trial which only cost me one dollar. After that it's 15 dollars every 8 weeks for two store lists. I figure a couple dollars a week is worth it. Not only do the Grocery Game lists tell you what is on sale, match up coupons for you, and tell you exactly where to get them, they also keep track of what is the best deal so you don't have to. If something is in green, it's free (obviously a great deal), if it's in blue, it's dirt cheap, but if it's in black it isn't the greatest deal, even if it is in the ad. I desperately need this information, because I am never sure what is a good price, especially for meat and produce.
So far, I don't always have the coupons needed to get the great deals because, after all, I've only received one Sunday paper since I've started. I do print coupons online, but stores are becoming more and more reluctant to accept them. I used to think that coupons weren't totally worth it because if you bought the name brand at x amount off, it was still costing more than if you just went ahead and bought the store brand. This is true, which is why it is so helpful to use one of the above websites. The coupon doesn't do you a ton of good until you also have a great sale to use it with. Yesterday I got ten boxes of Quaker products (life cereal, granola bars, organic oatmeal, etc.) for under $1.00 a box. This wouldn't have happened if I had used those coupons when the merchandise was regularly priced.
Finally, even if it seems like coupons are always for stuff you would never buy, you can still save quite a bit on healthcare items, cleaning supplies and paper goods. But, I understand if you don't want to do it. I've always gone in spurts and just shopped at WalMart, since they generally have the lowest prices. Couponing is a lot of work. Again, why I joined Grocery Game. With that list there isn't nearly as much time involved in prepping for the grocery store.
Finally, someone mentioned buying grains and spices in bulk. Not like Costco bulk, but like serve yourself from the bins kind of bulk. This is an excellent idea. I will have to see if our local health store offers this, otherwise I'm probably out of luck since I live in such a tiny town. See, I don't even have a Costco or a Sam's Club either. I let my Costco membership lapse since it is an hour away and I was only getting there once every three months or so. Didn't make it worth it to me.
So, that was a novel. And since you're all fast asleep now, I'll just quietly tiptoe on out of here!
Sweet dreams, and happy couponing (if you dare)!