The Byrum Family

Welcome to our life. Loving our boys and enjoying every second!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

brown bear, brown bear...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

More Coupon Shannanigans

I've had a few people asking me questions about the whole coupon shopping thing, so I figured I would just type it up here in one place. It's just much easier. The main thing that I have learned with this new way of shopping is you really should never have to full price for ANYTHING. The key to this is building a stockpile of things that you use either once in awhile or everyday. If something goes on sale super cheap and you have a coupon also, you should stock up on that item if you know you will use it. Kmart has events once in awhile where they double all manufactures coupons up to $2. So any $2 coupon doubles to $4. This is when you should stock up on these items if possible. Also, some grocery stores double coupons, locally here I'm pretty sure just scholaris does and they only double up to $1. The idea of stockpiling is not to be a pack rat or to just have "things". When chicken breast goes on sale for $1.79/lb or less, stock up. Freeze it. When things are cheap, use the opportunity to buy it so when you need it, you won't pay more for it. We have whole chickens stocked in our freezer, chicken breast, pork loin, hamburger, ground turkey, sausage, bacon, basically every type of meat you can imagine. It was all purchased at bottom prices, so now we don't really "need" to go shopping for anything except our fresh fruits and vegetables. Everything we buy during the week is stuff that is not only on sale, but what we have a coupon for. Obviously most produce items don't have coupons, but occasionally you will find coupons for fresh items as well. I recently got a whole pineapple for $1.24 because it was on sale for $1.99 and I had a $.75 off coupon.

I get lots of questions on where I get the coupons. Some people subscribe to multiple sunday papers. I buy one paper on Sundays, usually a LA times and My Dad gives me his Sunday paper inserts too. Then I follow several blogs that list deals going on at all the stores. These blogs do all the work for you. They find the deals, tell you the price of the item, where to find the coupon, many times offer the link to print it out right from there, and then they tell you the final price after the coupon. Some of the ones I follow are....

A Thrifty Mom

Coupon Cravings
Deal Seeking Mom
It's Hip to Save
Krazy Coupon Lady
For the Mommas
Frugal Living at it's finest

I never really kept close track of our expenses, but I was curious to know how much money I was saving once I starting feeling comfortable shopping with coupons. When I put all the #'s in, I realized we were paying over $900/mo on groceries before. Sometimes more, sometimes less. The very first month that I spend the whole month shopping carefully with coupons and really shopping around all the stores, I literally cut our grocery expenses in half.

If you look at the post below from Albertsons. you would think that I was feeding my family just these processed foods all week. I bought nothing fresh, no veggies or fruit. I am still building my stock pile of things I want to keep on hand and with the deal they had going on, it was a good opportunity to do some stocking up on things I would need the next 3 or 4 months. I don't just shop a one store, it's usually 3 or 4. I organize my list when the adds come and I decide what i am going to buy, but I technically don't really need to buy anything. Below is another example of a more "normal" shopping trip for me. I bought mostly fresh fruit and veggies, some meat and a few things we could use through the next week or so. This was at Spencers...

There are a few things I feel I should mention... :)
#1 Yes that really is a 3 pack of Coors Light 22's
#2 What you can't see is there are not one but two packs of ground turkey there. Buy one get one!!
#3 I know you love the yogurt pyramid. Those are 10/$4 with the coupon in the ad. They will also let you pair this with a manufactures coupon to save even more
#4 Who can resist a bag of fritos once and awhile, plus if you read the ingredients there really isn't that much "junk" in them...Not to mention they are amazin
#5 Look how presh Kaden looks even though he is sick once AGAIN...
#6 I paid $42.85 for it! Total savings on the receipt read $35.95. Not bad for 38 items.
#7 How amazing do those grapes look? They are called "Holiday Grapes", they are huge!!! I took a close up just in case you were interested. Ha ha...I'm such a nerd

Friday, November 6, 2009

Albertson's catalina deal

If you have been reading my blog for a little bit, or know me in real life you know that I have started shopping with coupons. Also if you know me, you know that sometimes I can get a little obsessed with some things. So I have become obsessed with saving $. Not a horrible bad thing to be obsessed with. I have stopped posting all the "great deals" I was getting, because I figured that may be a little boring to read about... :) However, I just have to post this one because well it's just too good to not. Albertsons is doing a catalina promotion where if you spend $30 in participating products you get $15 back in catalinas after the transaction. Catalinas are coupons that print out at the end of your transaction, and they are basically a coupon that is $. This was the first time I have tried a catalina promotion. You can only get one catalina per transaction, but if you do several transactions and break it up you can get $15 back for every transaction where you spend $30 in participating products. Basically if you spend $60 in products in one transaction you will only get $15 back, but if you break that $60 in two transactions, you actually get another $15 back. So I went last night. I did this all in 3 transactions. I took one picture of everything, but I will break it down by transaction so you can see how I did it. I'm not gonna lie, this took lots of organization before hand and a plan. I had coupons for most of the items I purchased as well. I did the self check out and it did take awhile to check out. So here is the picture of everything I got...I know it's not the best picture, some things are hidden but you get the idea of the quantity of stuff I came home with. Here is the break down of how I did this and what I actually paid.

Transactions #1
Large box of Huggies diapers
3 Knorr pasta side dishes
4 boxes of lipton soup mix
2 bags of chex mix
1 box betty crocker potatoes

before coupons $43.64
after coupons $29.74

paid and received $15 in catalinas to use on my next transaction

Transaction #2
3 boxes of Fiber One bars
1 Light best food mayo
2 wishbone salad dressing
8 cans of green giant vegetables
5 pillsbury crescent rolls (the boys love these)

total before coupons and catalina $52.82
after coupons and catalinas $12.08

paid and received another $15 catalina to use towards my third transaction

Transaction #3
2 pack of papertowels
12 pack of double roll toilet paper
1 Orowheat bread
1 Tabasco sauce
1 bag nestles chocolate chips
1 pack of corn tortillas
1 Tide laundry detergent
2 English muffins
1 dozen eggs
2 6 packs of danimals yogurt
1 Suave Shampoo
1 Suave Conditioner

total before coupons and catalina $ 54.59
total after coupons and catalina $19.57

So in total I got 44 items for a total of $ 61.39
total before coupons and catalinas would of been $151.05
total of $89.66 in savings!!!!
Pretty good considering the diapers, laundry detergent and paper goods alone would have been close to $40 on sale, and that is only 4 of the items I came home with. I would say 45 minutes of planning and organizing and 1 hour at the store was well worth it for the deal I got.

Feel free ask questions if you have them. I can tell you that we have cut our grocery bill in half by my new "obsession". For us, that is $ in our pocket that can go towards all the other things that cost $$. Like gas for our car, rent, utilities, etc... It's kinda like I got a job but never left the house, well except to go to the grocery store...

This is how our cupboard looked as of last night...Eek. It kinda looks like it's going to snap in half!

Halloween 2009

We had a good Halloween this year. In the past we have taken the boys down to the village to trick or treat. Last year they didn't close down the street and all that was separating the cars from all the kids was some yellow tape. It just didn't seem safe with a gazillion kids down there and cars driving through. Apparently they decided to shut down the street this year, we still decided to skip it and just trick or treat in our own neighborhood. This was both of their first time trick or treating from house to house.

Kaden caught on really quick, we talked about it for about a week before, so he was ready. He kept singing "trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat, if you don't I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear!" He thought that was just hilarious. I told him that he couldn't actually say that to our neighbors. He never did bust out with that during the night, Thank god! He did really love the whole process though. Knocking on the doors, then ringing the doorbell...he would burst out with "TRICK OR TREAT!" before they could say a word. It was funny. He was really polite and always said Thank you. He didn't ask for one piece of candy while trick or treating, he was so focused on getting to the next house and getting more candy in his bucket. Everyone commented on his muscles and he loved feeling like a true superhero.

Austin, being just over 2 was understandably a little more cautious and scared. He did love getting all the candy though, in fact he was opening the candy he was given before they even shut the door and said good bye. I swear that boy ate 100 pieces of candy that day. I can only imagine how scary it must be for a 2 year old to walk the neighborhood and see all the scary stuff. There were ghosts, wolves, monsters...things he never sees. He wanted to be held a little bit, but overall I felt like he was pretty brave. I have to say he was the cutest batman I have ever seen...
Mike and I took a video of them running around the living room on a complete sugar high doing ring around the rosie and basically bouncing off the walls.

Earlier in the day I dressed the boys up in their costumes and we surprised my Mom at her work. They really liked doing that too. My Mom loved seeing them in their costumes. She came over later and took the boys trick or treating with us too. It was a good year. I'll just stop talking about it and post the pictures now. They were so adorable in their superhero costumes...

They love their Grammy!