A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer

by Melody on February 13, 2012

Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

I will even be mentioning those methods that may seem insignificant to you.  I truly feel that anything that saves time is saving money in some form or another.

Stock-up Costco Trip

I made one of probably two trips to Costco this month and just about bought out the store.  I’ve never had so much produce in my cart all at once.  I picked up a 6-pack of romaine hearts, 10 pounds of organic carrots, pears at $.68/pound, two packages of bananas, eggs and milk.

My favorite purchase was these GoGo Squeez Applesauce Pouches for the Little Dudes.  On instant savings this month, they were just $.37 per pouch.  I love to throw these in the car when we’re running errands around lunch time or just need a fairly no-mess snack.  At $.37 each, there is no beating the price and the convenience.

Be your own champion

I had some daily deal vouchers that were going to expire soon, so I made a point to use them up this week.  On two deals, my voucher codes showed that they were expired when I tried to use them!  I very easily could have walked away from the whole thing, but I shot a quick email to both companies customer service departments and was able to get my codes extended.

A month or so ago, I placed an order with Green Mountain Coffee for some sampler packs.  Apparently, the packs I wanted were out of stock so they offered to replace them with something similar for the same price.  Sounded good to me.  However, I noticed when they refunded and recharged my card, they charged me $6 more!  The free shipping code I had used on the original order had not been honored.  Another quick email to customer service and all was taken care of.

My point in mentioning these things is that, especially if you are an online shopper, you need to be aware of your deals and purchases.  It’s very easy to lose information or miss a slip-up here or there, which can end up costing you more money than you originally wanted to pay.

The Queen of Substitution

One of the unexpected bonuses of shopping with coupons has been that I’ve learned how to substitute ingredients rather than run to the store to pick up something at full price.  In most cases, there is almost always something else that will work.

Case in point.  I wanted to make this Guacamole Hummus after I found avocados at a great price.  Got all my ingredients gathered and realized I didn’t have chickpeas.  Kind of a necessary ingredient in hummus.  Swapped out the chickpeas for drained and rinsed cannellini beans, now we have Guacamole White Bean Dip.  Still crazy good.  Bonus?  My kids wolfed it down.

Cleaning with ingredients around the house

Ever since Little Dude #2 was born, I realized how little I cared if the boys ate snacks off the floor.  I do not know why, but apparently it’s fun to dump out your snack bowls and do mule kicks while eating things straight off the floor.  This is not a battle I choose to fight.  However, along with this came the realization that I needed to rethink my cleaning supplies.  While I don’t mind that they eat snacks off the floor, I do mind that they are ingesting nasty chemicals along with those snacks.

I have been experimenting with some natural cleaners and have realized the many wonders of white vinegar.  I have been using diluted vinegar to clean the kitchen floors, vinegar and baking soda to unclog drains (which makes a cool science experiment for my kids) and vinegar to clean the coffee pot.  Apparently I didn’t realize how disgusting a coffee pot can get.  I used a bottle brush to scrub out the inside and it took 6-7 full pots of clean water to get all the nasty chunks out.  I was drinking this?

A few posts I gathered information from:
DIY Homemade Cleaners from Thrifty NW Mom
How to Clean with Vinegar from The Coupon Project

I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week.  What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Clarissa February 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I used vinegar and water to clean EVERYTHING until a friend had a Norwex party and I got hooked. Basically, their main product is a microfiber cloth that has silver woven into the fabric meaning – it wipes up EVERYTHING then KILLS the germs inside the fabric. No chemicals involved, just WATER! And I’ve used it on my entire house. It got lipstick stain out of my cream colored carpet, I use them on the kitchen counters, in the bathroom, walls, windows, kids, you name it. (I do wash and rinse it between bathroom and kids. Don’t worry…) If you’re interested, I’ve got a couple of friends that sell it. It’s like Mary-Kay… The best part is, I never buy cleaning supplies and it’s cut way down on our paper towel usage.


Trina February 14, 2012 at 12:03 am

One good way to save money is to never buy from (or join!) multi-level marketing businesses. I have learned first-hand how damaging this business model is to people. http://mlm-thetruth.com/. If you look around, you can almost certainly find a similar product that is sold for much cheaper, thru more upright sources.


Annie February 14, 2012 at 7:49 am

I LOVE vinegar.. and its many many uses (laundry softener, dishwasher rinse aid.. cleaning.. sigh..LOVE) however. My husband literally gags at the smell – I can clean something 5 hours before he gets home and within 10 minutes he’s going green and stating -you used the awful stuff in the house didn’t you??

I have found.. if I mix it with baking soda – he can be right there and doesn’t smell it – so that works for some things (I use it to clean my woodstove glass gunk) – but I’ve had to learn to find other supplies because vinegar sadly in our house is a no go (even with essential oils added and everything else I can think of 🙁 )

So I stock up on Method and Seventh Generation cleaners when they go on super sale..


annette February 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm

We love to use Melaleuca products. i have used them for 10 years and am never disappointed. i don’t have to worry about poisoning my kids with the chemicals that are in cleaners and detergents. They are inexpensive because you buy them concentrated and mix them in spray bottles. I can actually have my 3 year old daughter clean the windows without worrying that she is inhaling something harmful. LOVE MELALEUCA.


Trina February 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm

But Melaleuca is also a multi-level marketing (MLM) program. I will never purchase or support any MLM. As I stated above regarding another MLM cleaning product:

One good way to save money is to never buy from (or join!) multi-level marketing businesses. I have learned first-hand how damaging this business model is to people. http://mlm-thetruth.com/. If you look around, you can almost certainly find a similar product that is sold for much cheaper, thru more upright sources.


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