Monday, June 9, 2008

To Coupon or Not to Coupon...

....that is my question.

A while back I mentioned that couponing doesn't work for me. Anytime I have tried to use coupons I found that I was a) spending more money, b)getting things I didn't need, or c) all of the above. However, with food prices getting way out of hand I decided that I need to do something to keep our food budget from going crazy.

The first thing I needed to do was swallow my pride. See, I hear people talk about how much money they spend on groceries and I sit back over here, rather smugly, thinking about how much less I spend. When I heard about a family of 5 spending $700 every two weeks on groceries and toiletries I about hit the floor. But then I read blogs about people spending $200/month on their family of 5 and I quickly discount them for crazy. After all, if I can't get our budget down to that then these people certainly must be crazy. Or maybe they are doing something that I need to learn and figure out.....

So after I swallowed my pride and started looking/asking for help on trimming my budget I'm still confused. On the one hand, Amy at the Tightwad Gazette doesn't use coupons and has found the same experience that I have had. On the other hand, Crystal at the Money Saving Mom has an amazing system for couponing and seemingly saves a lot of money.

This is where my black and white personality goes to war. It says that they can't both be right and there has to be one best way to do things. One way will save the most money. The other, will not.

I realize that at this point someone will comment that I just have to do what works best for my family. Does going out every few days to CVS work best for me? Shopping at Aldi's? Only eating every other day?

Enough rambling for now. I have decided to really try this coupon thing. I signed up for the Sunday paper and will be searching for coupons all over the place. I'll give this until the end of the newspaper subscription (26 weeks) and then I'll decide if I'm saving a lot of money or not. I guess the scary thing for me is that this is new and not in my comfort zone. I'm worried that I'll end up spending more money and completely blow the budget. But I'll give it a try. Any tips?

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Tiffany asked what I meant by the "Crunchy" in my name. Crunchy is a term that I heard a while back to describe people who live a more natural life style compared to the mainstream. Here is a fun quiz to find out how crunchy you are :-) I scored a 160=Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy, Granola Earth Mama!

I wanted to add a disclaimer here. I don't say this as a more-holier-than-thou kind of thing. I am using the term "crunchy" to describe how I am trying to live my life. But I certainly have no problem with a few convenience foods every now and then. Nor do I think that you're a bad person if you buy disposable diapers. This is what works best for my family at this point in our lives. I would like to be able to afford more organic/natural food items, but right now I'm taking the more frugal route with our grocery budget.

I guess that's the ironic thing to me. Much of the things that are considered "crunchy" I started because they were frugal to me (cloth diapers, making things from scratch, etc). I do homebirths because I much prefer being at home with a midwife than going into a hospital to a Dr I've never seen before. To me it's about as close to ensuring a safe birth as possible!

Must run for now! The kids are back from the playground so I need to find something for them to do in this tiny space :-)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Frugal Friday

The statement was made recently that I have been very frugal while living in our little hotel room. The funny thing is that I was looking at our grocery bill and thinking about how I was spending a ridiculous amount of money on groceries. But I suppose that since the alternative is eating out all of the time then I know I've done a decent job. Here's what our meals look like:

Breakfast-Continental Breakfast or cereal/instant oatmeal (that I made before leaving)
Lunch-PB&J or leftovers
Dinner-Something cheap, easy, creates little leftovers and is hopefully not completely bad for you. So far we've had things like Mac & Cheese, Spaghetti, Frozen Pizza, Frozen Crock-Pot Meals and Hamburger Helper type meals.

These kinds of meals are normally reserved for the days that daddy is in charge of dinner or mommy is having a really bad day dinner. But since I only have a dorm size refrigerator I don't have room for many of the additional ingredients that cooking from scratch requires. We are moving into our new house next Friday so all frugalness will resume at that time. Until then I'm trying to balance easy with frugal :-)