Penny Pinchers


Page 12 of 26


Time for a change of stores

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I've always been one of those I'm-not-shopping-at-two-grocery-stores kind of people.  I've argued against it more than once.  And yet...I'm about to do it.  First, the why:

We've been eating much more produce lately and only buying organic chicken and sustainable fish.  As a result of all the produce I've been buying (berries for yogurt, cantaloupe to go with every meal, apples for lunches, veggies for salads, sautes, etc) my grocery bill has skyrocketed.  In the past two weeks I've gone $50 over my usual budget for that amount of time.  Something has to give.  Who has the cheapest produce in town?  Sprouts.  In fact, I just compared 5 fruits and veggies that I bought last week at Safeway to the same items at Sprouts this week.  The difference?  EIGHT DOLLARS!

Sprouts also has really good deals on organic chicken and fish.  They have the same dairy products that we buy at Safeway too.  BUT not everything is cheaper there.  Trying to find basic pastas, olive oils, etc can be a challenge.  So while bulk roasted almonds sound great, expensive organic pasta doesn't.  So now, here's the how:

I plan to start heading to Sprouts once a week to get produce, meats and dairy items.  Possibly even grains and bulk nuts.  Then, about once a month, I"ll make a trip to Safeway to stock up on pantry staples like cans of beans and crushed tomatoes, canned tuna, olive oil, pasta, etc.  That way I'm not really shopping at two stores a week. 

I think this solution will work well.  After the next two weeks we'll see if it's made a difference!

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Saving for the future

By Julie Norman
Friday, May 23, 2014

It's a much more long-term way of looking at saving money than a simple coupon, sale or FREE offer from Safeway (of which I had 3 this week...but, more on that later).  Saving for the future is something that takes commitment.  It means finding ways to put aside money that, sometimes, you'd much rather spend on a new television, tablet or phone. It means keeping that pair of running shoes for one more year instead of buying the latest Hoka Ones, and getting that mountain bike fork rebuilt instead of buying a new one.  In the long run, it will be worth it.  So here are a few ways I've found to make saving for the future easier.

1. Retirement: Every year I do my best to increase by 1% the amount of money going into my 401K from each paycheck.  Right now I'm up to 11% (I think)  and I'd like to get all the way to 15%.  Saving for retirement is important, and starting at a young age is best.  Right now I can take a few more risks with my investments because i have plenty of time for them to recover if something goes wrong. You don't have to hire a stockbroker or anything like that to start a retirement plan.  Probably your work offers one, and if not, you can go to your bank and set up an IRA.

2. My Savings Acct: The savings acct is SO tempting isn't it?  That money is just sitting there...just waiting...but you must resist! That money is there for a rainy day.  For when the refrigerator breaks, for when the sprinkler system goes ka-put...for when the oven quits working...but how to you make yourself put money in it?  I schedule 15% of my monthly income to go into my savings acct each month without me having to touch it.  7.5% of each paycheck (roughly) gets transferred on the days I get paid each month.  I never even have to look at it. Direct deposit...automatic transfer...almost all in one fell swoop. It's an easy way to make sure some money is set aside.  They say you should have anywhere from 3-6 months' worth of income set aside...some even recommend more.  Right now I have about 2.5 months'.  So I've got a ways to go, but at least I'm making an effort.  Even if you can only afford to but 5% or even 2% of your paycheck aside, do it. A little savings provides comfort and security.

Oh and finally, take advantage of store cards and free offers!

We're making jambalaya next Friday (yes, I wrote next week's menu last night) so the French bread will be perfect...we aren't gluten-free folks, but it's baking mix...I'll take it!  And free laundry detergent? YES PLEASE!

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Penny Pinching photos

By Julie Norman
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Well, it may not look like much, but my steady supply of lettuce from the garden has kept me from having to spend that extra $1.79 on it each week at the grocery store.  Of course, I've ended up spending it on cantaloupes (which just sprouted in the garden), berries (which I'm not growing) and tons of other items...by this fall, hopefully, I"ll be bypassing the produce section all together due to an overabundance of items in the garden!

Also, today at lunch instead of driving somewhere or spending money out at a restaurant, I brown-bagged it and spent my lunch break doing this:

Frankie the cross-bike and I headed down to the riverfront trail...and of course we took a detour out onto the levee just past the railroad bridge. It was cool, cloudy and just perfect for a lunch time ride.  Best of all? It was FREE!

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Spring Consignment Shopping and…a link!

By Julie Norman
Friday, May 16, 2014

Tis the season for Spring consignment shopping!  I saw yesterday on their facebook page that The Encore Shoppe was having a big sale starting today.  So, I recruited my friend and fellow blogger, Richie, and we headed off in search of some deals.  Right as you enter the store, on the right, you can get stuff for as low as .50/cents!  If I'd been in the mood to shop for corduroys that's where I'd have started.  Instead, I was on a mission for these items: a khaki skirt, a new shirt and a black cardigan.

SCORE!  I found all three of those things plus a super cute polka dotted dress.  Want to know how much I spent?  $25.  That's all!  For FOUR items!  I could have saved even more if I'd had taken in their latest coupon from the coupon book.

So don't miss out!  Grab a coupon and go find some cute stuff.  Richie got a basket to organize all her mail.  See?  You can find just about anything there!

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Coupons and BOGO paint

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The new Coupon Book is out! There are lots of great coupons for this time of year including coupons for:

  • Lunch with your best friend
  • Stress relieving massages
  • Vacation car tune ups
  • and Home Improvments

Click here to browse all our great coupons from the latest coupon book.

Speaking of home improvement, I got the following info today along with a Press Release about the new Paint Studios at Ace Hardware stores:

This weekend, May 17th and 18th, at your local Ace Hardware store folks will be able to get a FREE gallon of the award winning Clark+Kensington paint and primer (rated #1 by leading consumer magazine) or Valspar Optimus with the purchase of one gallon, so it's a BOGO deal, perfect for spring sprucing up around the house or if you're selling a great way to freshen up with high quality paint on the cheap. The savings is up to $95 bucks, which is huge.

Ace did not pay me to promote that, I just thought I'd throw it out there to help anyone looking to spruce up their house this spring.

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Page 12 of 26




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