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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Taking Pictures and Posting on Instagram Saves us $1377.09 in 4 months!

I post a lot on Instagram these days. It's so easy, and instantaneous. I don't have to have enough space to upload my pictures, or deal with text that's wonky. I can share deals instantly and with pictures! But, once in awhile I have more to say than can be properly featured in a quick Instagram post. This is one of those times. If you have read this blog for awhile now you know there are some sure fire ways to decrease your grocery spending.
1. Using the flyers weekly to buy on sale items
2. Knowing when items cycle down so you can always buy them at their lowest price
3. Menu planning(using the on sale items, your pantry, fridge and freezer stock)
4. Combining deals like sales, coupons, points offers and cash back apps
5. Using points to buy groceries(Air miles, Optimum, PC Plus)
6. Buying meat and produce from the discount area or when it's marked down for quick sale
This may not be an exhaustive list, but it's a start. The latest thing to add to the list is photo groceries. To become more conscious of where your grocery money goes resolve to take pictures of everything that comes into your house for one month. At the end of the month you can, if you so choose, arrange this into a nice collage.( I use picmonkey and befunky). Why would you do this you ask? Well, here's my story. 
In April of this year I decided to start posting a collage of our families grocery purchases each month. At the beginning of the year I had budgeted a lot more for groceries as I found last year I was having trouble staying on budget. We feed a family of 4 with our youngest being a 15 year old boy, my husband has Celiac disease and my daughter avoids gluten and milk products. The first 3 months I was pretty much on budget. April I decided to really keep an eye on things and be more creative with sale items. Since then our grocery spending has been pretty much half of our allotted budget! The accountability of posting so everyone can see has been a bonus for me! Because of the excess we were able to buy a new to us hot tub!(ours was on it's last legs). See my Instagram for that whole story if you are interested. 
So, what easy steps can you take? Maybe just starting by keeping a running tally of your grocery spending? I keep all the months receipts in an envelope marked August. On the front I tally up the spending weekly as I shop. At the end of the month I add up each stores receipts to see how much I spend at each store. 
Maybe a second step the following month could be to start getting in the habit of taking pictures of your purchases. I try to make sure our kitchen table is cleaned off before I shop so that upon arriving home I just place the items there quickly and take my pictures. I usually separate by store, but this is totally not necessary. 
The third month you could make your collage. It's quick,easy and free with Picmonkey or Befunky. 
Finally, if you are brave, you could share on Instagram, your blog or wherever. I'd love to see! :)
In the end by being more conscious you will find you'll spend less. You'll also have a neat way to go back and track when items cycle throughout  the year. I just make a separate folder for each month's grocery pics on my computer and then toss them all into This Year's Groceries folder at the end of the year. 
From April to July end we have shaved $1377.09 off our spending!
What do you think? Could this work for you?
Instagram @savingyourhardearnedmoney

Monday, June 1, 2015

Grocery Spending for May 2015

Happy June all! Well, it's that time again. Time for a monthly report on grocery spending in our house. The grand tally came to $363.64. All those groceries are pictured above.(you can click on the pictures to make them larger) As you can see there are a lot of cleaning products and bbq sauce. Combining coupons and money saving apps these were all money makers. So, that means some of my grocery spending this month has been covered by this! In case you are interested here's a breakdown by store spending.
Walmart made $128.44 profit
Rona made $54.15 profit
Independent $26.40
Quality Greens $7.96
IGA $4.34
Cooper's $16.60
Costco $110.83
Save On $73.75
Safeway $36.60(got 162 AM which will equal $17.05 cash)
Superstore $114.16
Shoppers $155.59(cashed in $100 worth of points and made 97885 points this month, which will be worth $206.07 in groceries)
 June's spending will probably be higher as we have another adult, gluten free, dairy free eater living with us from now on. Being accountable by having to post this is quite motivating so I hope I can keep the costs down.As you can see I have some cashable points stocked up which I could use at Safeway or Shoppers to stretch my budget further. Want to see what's on sale and where daily? Follow me on Instagram where I post much more regularly. @savingyourhardearnedmoney

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Month of Groceries in Pictures

Happy May! I thought I might share some of my weirdness with you in order to possibly help you save money on groceries. When people say their grocery budget is x amount of dollars, my question is, "What does that include?" So, for inquiring minds like mine, I thought I'd show you a month of groceries at our house. The collage above represents everything that came into our house in April. The only thing not included in this total is the clothing in the one picture.(You can click on the picture to make it bigger if you want to see better.)
 I have been taking pictures of my groceries for several years now. The reason?
1. To be aware of what we were spending our grocery money on
2. To be able to look back to see when things cycle down in price
3. It entertains me
The Steps:
A.Whenever I get home from grocery shopping I arrange my purchases on the counter in groups of the store they were bought at and then I take a picture. 
B.I have a plain white envelope where I keep all my receipts for the month.
C. I keep a running tally of where I am at by adding up receipts weekly and writing the total on the front of the envelope. 
D.At the end of the month I add up all the receipts by store and make a running list on the back of the envelope
Using Cash Back Apps
As you can see this month was heavy on the cleaners and smellies. Why? They were all money makers using Snap Saves and other apps. They have offers for Pledge $7 cash back. Pledge was on sale at Walmart for less than that so I'd buy some when in store. Same with the smellies, which I gave away. Money saving apps are a great way to save on your grocery budget. In April I received $186 from Ch51 and Snap Saves. If you don't like to use coupons, but want to save money, this is a good option. (If you use coupons in combination with these apps you can save even more!) All you do is take a picture of your receipts and you are done! In Canada we have:
 Snap Saves, Checkout 51, Save.ca, Cart Smart and Zweet
This month was stock up on toilet paper month. I have found the best deal to be this Soft and Pure case that goes on sale once or twice a year. (May/Sept). The cases cost $17 and there are 36, 2 ply rolls. One case was free at the Grand opening of our Independent store, due to a $10 gift card and 6000 points they gave. April was also the month we needed laundry detergent. We buy the Costco bucket which costs $19.99 and lasts us about 4 months. 
Saving on Meat
As you can see most of our meat has the discount tags on it. I find this a very helpful way to save on the ever rising costs of meat. Mid week is usually when most stores mark their meats down.
Combining Points and Air Mile deals
As often as is possible I try and combine points deals and air mile deals with my shop. For PC points I use the PC plus app and buy my offers at Superstore, but I often Price Match a lower priced store to make the deal even better. This month I cashed in a total of $173.16 in points.(PC Plus, Shoppers, CT)
Buying in Season on Sale Foods
Each week I check the online flyers. I use Reebee and Flipp to make a picture grocery list on my phone. I also use Sale Whale to check the for the lowest price of an item. I subscribe to my city's fresh fruit and veggie store flyers which get emailed to me once a week.
Shopping the Clearance sections
Many stores now have Clearance sections tucked away on a back shelf somewhere. These are good places for find amazing deals.
For more ideas and daily deals join me on Instagram. I'm savingyourhardearnedmoney You can click the Instagram link at the top of the page to go straight there. Happy saving! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mail In Rebates and Making Money

The insert that came in our free paper yesterday was filled with new mail in rebates(MIR). I love to use these to get free products and to make money. Here's some tips. Right now there are 7 free product MIRs and 2 B1G1 MIRs. How do you get these if you don't get the inserts? There are several ways. One is to buy your local paper with the inserts inside. The other is to see if there are online printable forms. Click on the name of the rebate to go to the form.

                                                                    Air Wick                                                                                                                      


 To start it's important to read all the fine print. 
1.Date of purchase: When does it start and end. Some MIR come out a few days before the purchase date. So double check. Sometimes I hang onto MIR for awhile waiting for a good deal to combine them with, 20X the points at Shoppers or an Airmiles deal so it's important to see when they are expiring too. The Lysol, Finish,Durex and Veet need to be purchased by May 10. 
2. How much is the maximum you can spend?
Veet $23.55 (covers product,taxes and postage)
Durex $27.29 and $18.09 (covers product,taxes and postage)
Lysol No Touch $17.90(covers product,taxes and postage)
Air Wick $12.50(covers product,taxes and postage)
Finish $8 (covers product,taxes and postage)
Resolve Gold Oxi-Action $7(covers product,taxes and postage)
3.Do you need to circle the purchase price? Do you need to write the UPC code on the receipt or cut it off and attach it?
4. Don't forget to fill in the MIR form.
5. Photocopy you receipt and filled in form for your records
6. Mark on your calendar the day you mail it and how much you should receive back. There are lots of apps to keep track of MIRs if you prefer this method.
Now a few extra notes. Most MIRs want your original receipt so you can only do one MIR per receipt. Also, some MIRs repeat many times a year. For example the Lysol No Touch, I do it every time it comes out and have not had any problem. It looks like the Finish rebate is 3 seperate offers for $8 back as you can see the mailing addresses are all different.(one is box 13444, 13437, 13450) so you should be able to do this three different times. I have often used coupons in combination with MIRs. Again be sure to read all the fine print.
Next to make the best use of your MIR why not combine them with a points event? This weekend Shoppers is having their spend $50 get 20X the points. The VEET MIR could possibly be almost half that! The way I figure out how much points are worth is: I use the maximum redemption which these days seems to have fallen to $200=95000 points $21.05 if I spend $50. So, if I were to spend $20 on the Veet I would get $8.42 back in points. Rexall has a spend $50 get 80 Airmiles this week. The coupon is here   I use Airmiles cash so this is worth. $8.42. There is a grand opening points event at our new Independent store, if you spend $60 you get 6000 in PC Points($6). So, as you can see there are many ways to make your MIR go further. Do you do MIR?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gluten Free Shake and Bake....Yum!

I know it's been a long time since I have posted! I am spending my time posting on Instagram. It's what I was looking for,a way to share deals instantly! I have found lots of like minded savers and really enjoy it. If you want to check it out you can go to Instagram online or on your phone by getting the free app. My link is at the top right hand page of my blog. I found this chicken at Save On the other day. It seems Thursday morning might be the best day to score awesome clearance meat deals! We used to love home made shake and bake but since hubby's Celiac diagnosis we haven't had it. I decided to try making it by substituting gluten free crackers and flour. I was skeptical but I think the reason it turned out so yummy is because of America's Test Kitchen's gluten free flour mix. You can find that here.

Homemade Shake and Bake - (from the Tightwad Gazette)

4 cups ATK flour
4 cups ground gluten free crackers or cracker meal
4 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3 tbsp paprika
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Mix together. Put in Ziploc or well sealed container, store in fridge. Use 1 cup in a Ziploc bag, wet chicken and then place in bag, shake to coat. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 40-45 mins.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Target Spend $50 Get a $10 Gift Card August 22-24

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Target is having a 3 day spend $50 get a $10 gift card deal starting today. Here's my shop. Total spent was $75.93 after $19.88 in coupons and $2.81 in Red Card savings it came to $53.24. I did CH 51 for the Tresemme, Dawn and Advil for a total of $5.50. I also did .75 for Lean Cuisine through Zweet. $16.79 I will get back for the Alamy MIR. I got a $10 Target gift card and a coupon for free eggs(value $2.99) on my cereal and 2, $1 off coupons on my tomatoes. Grand total....all of this for $15.39!
Here's the breakdown
I pricematched the following:
Superstore
Kotex U pads $2.93(I used 2 coupons a target printable available online and a manufactures coupon, both were worth $1 each) Total .93
Dawn dish soap $1.93(I used the P&G coupon insert in today's paper for .50 x 2 and my Checkout 51 offer for .50) Total $2.36 for 2
Celebration Cookies $1.97(less 3 manufacturer's coupons for $1, .75, .75) Total $3.41 for 3
Advil $6.47(less coupon for $3 from Advil.ca and $3 from Ch 51) Total .47
Lean Cuisine $2.47($1.50 coupon from their Facebook page and .75 off from Zweet)Total .22!
Walmart
Alymer Tomatoes $1.24($1 off wyb2 coupon from can) $1.48 for 2 cans plus 2 more $1 off coupons on can
I had coupons for $1 off for the Inkjoy pens which were $1 making them both free(in today's Smartsource insert)
Target Clearance
Market Pantry cereals were on for .98
Coconut clusters $1.39
I hope you can get some good deals! :)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zweet Money Saving App Now Available for Android Devices

Zweet money saving app now available for Android devices The Zweet money saving app is now available for Android devices. I have been using it on my Ipad for awhile now and really like it. As you know there are quite a few money saving apps out now.
1.Checkout 51 was one of the first, and is available on Apple and Android devices(if you haven't signed up and want to my personal link is here you will get $5 for signing up before Sept 3 and uploading a receipt within 60 days.)
2.Snap Saves also available on Apple and Android devices
3. Cart Smart available only on Apple devices
4. Zweet now available on both Apple and Android devices

Every little bit helps these days with our ever rising grocery costs. I find the easiest way to use these rebate apps is to sit down when I get home from grocery shopping(who doesn't need to sit down after that!?) and quickly scan my receipts for any qualifying purchases.
The things I like about Zweet are that they usually always include fresh produce in their rebates, and they don't sell out like the Checkout 51 and Snap Saves ones do(at least not yet). I have been a member of Zweet since April and haven't yet cashed out. Cash out is at $20. I am at $14.25.
Checkout 51 I have cashed out $85.75 so far this year.
Cart Smart $10.50
Snap Saves $22.50
That's a total of $133.00 in cash rebates on groceries I was buying anyways! No coupons required! But, if you use them you can double your savings!
Do you use these apps?