Monday, March 14, 2011

Coupons, coupons, coupons!

I love games…always have. My paternal grandfather (the original Paw Paw) taught me to play Gin Rummy when I was a kid, and it was all downhill from there. When we would go visit in the summer Paw Paw and I would spend hours playing Gin Rummy. I think I only REALLY beat him once, although he did let me win a few times. After Joe and I were married I tried to teach him how to play. After losing game after game he decided that we weren’t meant to play card games together. Additionally, Joe tried to teach me to play chess. After one night of lessons I beat him 2 games in a row. We haven’t played since. Joe also taught me to play Texas Hold ‘Em, but when I play with him I know when he’s bluffing, so I don’t join too many games. In college my friends and I spent countless nights playing Spades or Hearts, and when I lived in Boston my roommates and I would spend all day and night playing game after game. All that to say, I love playing games!

In fact, before Joe and I got married, and even after we got married, we were members of the famous Alexandria BGC…Board Game Club. Ok, so it wasn’t exactly famous, it was just some friends from church who would get together and play board games. But we always had a great time! Unfortunately as people got married and started having kids, our BGC time came to an end. I miss the BGC. Maybe it’s time to start another one…a family friendly version.

The odd thing about me liking games is that I’m not too competitive. I don’t get upset if I lose (others may disagree), and I much prefer to play games for the fun of playing, not to win. I do, however, love the feeling I get when I master a game, specifically video games. A few Christmas’ ago Joe bought me a Nintendo DS. I play it nearly every night and have completed several games. As soon as I finish one I’m back at the store looking for another. I don’t know if I was excited or embarrassed when Joe’s niece and nephew asked me to help them complete Super Mario Brothers on their DS.

All that said, I have found a new game. And unlike the others I’ve played, this one is actually beneficial! It’s a coupon game! I started playing last summer mainly just to see how much I could save. I wasn’t very good at it and stocked up on a lot of good things, but not really the right things (we still have 6 bottles of shampoo and conditioner and about 6 sticks of deodorant). I didn’t really know all of the rules…yes, there are rules.

I kind of went on a hiatus for a few months, mainly because I didn’t feel like it was very practical. I was getting great deals on the stuff I was buying, but I still had to pay full price for the stuff we needed (meat, milk, eggs, etc.). And keeping track of the coupons was really hard for me. I didn’t have a good system so I would end up with a whole lot of expired coupons shoved all over the place. For Christmas I got not 1 but 2 copies of “The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half.” This book taught me all about couponing: how to get the best deals, how to organize my coupons, how to save on things that I need but there aren’t coupons for, etc. With this help of this book Joe and I have been able to cut our grocery bill down to $50 a week…yes, even I’m shocked that we can do it. And I can promise you that we aren’t living on tuna and Ramen Noodles (even though I did make a pretty mean tuna casserole last week). We are eating normal meals, some are even more elaborate than I made before our strict grocery budget. I’m pretty impressed with us, if I do say so myself.

I think I was most excited last weekend when I made Joe take me to CVS before church. There were 2 things I wanted to pick up, but one thing in particular. Joe and I both wear contacts, and if you don’t wear them just know that contact solution is very expensive…it makes me cringe every time I have to buy it. So, at CVS they had contact multi-purpose solution on sale for $7.89. This was already a good deal since the regular price for this particular brand is $9.99. To add to that I had a coupon for $3 off…now we’re down to $4.89. As fate would have it, this was also available for CVS Extra Care Bucks (like money in your pocket) so I got $4 in ECB. Yes, you read right, that means I basically paid 89 cents for a $9.99 bottle of contact solution…an 89% savings. HOLLA!

When I get great deals like this it absolutely makes my day! It gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and like I am really contributing to the family budget. I am convinced that I could get better deals if we lived in a less expensive part of the country, but at least I can get some good deals. Paying $11 for $30 worth of meat isn’t too shabby.


EssBee said...

I miss the BGC too!

Amy said...

So, to be honest, you don't know me very well, but I'm a blog stalker. We met each other in FYC briefly, but you might not remember me (my husbands name is Ben if that helps). I've been reading your blog/praying for your family since Joella was born. After reading this post I just had to leave a comment. 1) I'm a huge gamer too, and am wondering why I never heard about this BGC when I lived in Alexandria (I live in San Diego now). 2)I coupon all the time, and have just recently been seriously couponing at Grocery stores...mainly Vons. Please share what sites you use. I'm a big fan of and then use for the grocery stuff.