Noah sitting in the snow
Now I know what some of you might be thinking...are you really saving money when you are driving to 4 different stores. Fortunately for us, those stores are all within a one mile radius of our house. I made the trip in a total of two hours, and that was really due to driving b/c I was super fast in the stores...or at least I felt like I was. :)
All of the refridgerator and freezer items
All of the panty items plus soda
The list of items I bought includes: 2 twelve packs of Faygo Cream Soda, 4 boxes of assorted pasta, 4 boxes of pudding, 2 Dove deoderants, 2 bottles of Listerine, Reynolds Wrap foil, 2 cans of chicken noodle soup, Windex wipes (have a rebate to make these free), 2 containers of Lysol wipes, Colgate toothpaste, 2 bottles of Soft Scrub, 2 boxes of Corn Pops, Intuition Razor, Head and Shoulders Shampoo (to see if it will help get rid of Noah's cradle cap), Gillette Shampoo, Skintimate shaving gel, 3 jars of Beech Nut baby food, 2 boxes of Ritz Crackers, 2 packages of paper plates, Puffs tissues, Carefree pantiliners, 2 boxes of Beech Nut baby cereal (Rice and Oatmeal), CVS hand lotion, 2 HIP eye shadows, 2 packages of Ball Park hot dogs, eggs, Nestle break-n-bake cookies, Texas Toast, 2 packages of premium dog treats, organic bananas, 3 lbs of pears, and 2 lbs of peaches (all fruit is for Noah's baby food).
Are you ready for the grand totals?? Note that I did two separate purchases at both CVS and Walgreens to get the most out of my savings.
Stores /Money Spent/ Money Saved
Meijer /$11.29/ $10.37
Marsh /$24.68/ $28.79
CVS #1 /$15.30/ $8.30
CVS#2 /$3.30/ $15.46
Walgreens #1 /$18.25/ $11.68
Walgreens #2 /$0.93/ $16.63
Total Products Value: $164.78
Total Spent: $73.75 - I only paid 45% of the products' value
Total Saved: $91.23 (YIPPEEEE!!!) That is a 55% savings!!!
Plus, I have a raincheck for more Beech Nut baby food at Marsh because they were all sold out but the deal was 4/$1. I was told to always ask for rainchecks, and I'm glad I did! I also have a $4 in Extra Care Bucks from CVS to put toward my next purchase. Again, the idea is to buy things on sale and add coupons on top of those sales. My stockpile has begun, and it's looking really good!! I felt so good coming home last night and showing off all my deals to Ryan. I also learned a couple things. First, just because a store (at least the ones I went to) say 2/$5, that doesn't mean you can't just buy one item for $2.50. So, if I have a coupon for $1.50 off one item, and it is on sale 2/$5, I will just buy the one item, making it cost just $1. However, if my coupon is $2 off 2 items, I will go ahead and get both products. Also, when shopping at Walgreens and CVS, you can use multiple Register Rewards or Extra Care Bucks on your purchases. For example, I had a $4.50 RR and $2.00 RR and was able to use both at one time on my purchases. I still need to get out to Kroger today because they are having some great deals and today is the last day before their sales change. Wish me luck in our 10 inches of snow as I head out to Kroger later tonight!!!
Noah meeting Baby Kayla for the first time
Candace and Jackson (with his faux hawk) surrounded by kids while opening presents
My friend Beckie is the goddess of spending wisely. She came over a couple weeks ago to give me her tutorial about how to save as much money grocery shopping. I really thought I had the hang of things...making a menu each week and only buying things that we needed for those meals. While I know I was saving money, I'm going to try Beckie's method for shopping. Rather than buy what you need at that very moment, Beckie's method is to buy things only when they are on sale...and when you can add coupons to the sales in order to get the best prices. Of course you can't always do that...for example with milk...but for most things it does work great. In one shopping trip to Walgreens, CVS (these have some of the very best deals I've noticed!), and Meijer, I spent $83 (I only had $90 left in my budget) and saved $55 with coupons and sale prices. Can you believe that??? I wish I had taken a picture of everything I bought. My favorite deal was getting five 12 packs of Pepsi products and 2 bags of Frito Lay products, which totalled $20 and getting $10 in register rewards at Walgreens. I turned around and bought paper towels and toilet paper and almost got them for free. I was so excited, I laid everything out on the counter and took Ryan on a tour of all our great deals. :) I should also mention that I did my shopping from 9-10:30 p.m. after Noah was in bed so I didn't have to worry about rushing back to feed him. The stores were empty (of course), so it was just me, my coupons, my calculator, and isles of products. :) Here are some really great websites to use:
http://www.thegrocerygame.com/ (I am going to sign up for this program this week - and if you decide to do it someday, say that I referred you!)
The Grocery Game basically does all of the work for you. You have to pay a small fee monthly (like $4 at most I think), and you can find out where to get the best deals on items. It’s a weekly list of the lowest-priced products at your supermarket matched with manufacturers’ coupons and specials -- advertised and unadvertised. They do all the hard work and research, and present it to you in a straightforward format. My friend Beckie showed me her list, and you wouldn't believe all of the free items you can get by using manufacturer coupons and store coupons/sales. It's pretty wild! You can even make money on many occasions. I'll let you know how it goes when I start. For now, I've just been looking at the weekly grocery ads and writing down everything I want to buy, trying to find coupons to match, etc. Needless to say, it's been a lot of work. I'm really looking forward to trying something more efficient!!
My favorite deal of the day is my new Kitchenaid Mixer! I finally bought one today after eyeing them for the past 2-3 years. The one that was perfect for me is originally $240. Kohls had a deal where I could buy the mixer for $199.99. If I went in today before 1 p.m., I could get an extra 15% off ($30). This brought the price to $169.99. I had a $15 dollar off coupon in my Zoobook. Plus, I signed up for Kohls emails and got to print a $5 off coupon. This brought the price to $149.99. PLUS...my mom got me a $50 gift card to Kohls for my birthday, bringing the grand total to $100!!! Not only that, but Kohls was also offering a $20 Kohls gift card by mail through one of their rebate programs. So, I technically spent $80 out of my pocket since I'm going to get a $20 gift card soon. I'm so excited because I love this mixer AND I got a great deal. These people behind me were watching the lady scanning all my coupons and gift cards, and they were like, "How much did you end up paying?" "That's incredible!" "You must be a super shopper!" It was funny...and it felt really good. :)
So what does this have to do with Noah, probably not a whole lot at the moment. I am hoping, though, that as he gets older, he makes responsible choices with his money, too. I hope that we are good role models for him in this way. I look forward to giving him an allowance each month for doing work around the house. I like the idea of it being monthly rather than weekly. :) Plus, I am excited to help him understand the importance of giving some of your money away. I think it will be neat to see him decide how to tithe his money...whether it's to purchase food for our church's food bank, buy gifts for children at Christmas, cancer research, homeless people, animal shelters, etc....it will be Noah giving some of what he has earned to other people or organizations that really need the money to get their needs met. I'm watching him now, bouncing in his Baby Einstein bouncer, and just thinking how beautiful he is and how much I love him. I really don't think life gets better than this.
The toy to the left is the one that Dan and Kristen got him for Christmas
Christmas for us began on Sunday, December 21st with my mom, Kent, my uncle Tom, and my grandparents. After an awesome church service on God's grace, Ryan, Noah, and I drove down to Martinsville where my mom and Kent live. We had lots of delicious appetizers and had a dirty Santa exchange. Noah got a Leap Frog Activity Table and a cute little outfit from his Nana and Grandpa Bauer. His great grandparents picked out a big stuffed dog for him (you'll see it in a picture later). I thought this gift was especially neat because they gave me a HUGE Nipper Dog (the RCA dog) when I was little. It's fun to think that even after they are in Heaven, Noah will have that big dog to remember them. By the way, Noah had so much fun opening his gifts! He would wave his arms and jump up and down while opening his gifts. It was really cute and unexpected for him to be so involved with opening them at his age! Ryan got a new saw and now won't have to borrow the neighbor's every times he needs one, and I got another Stephanie Meyer book (which I finished two days ago), some fun stuff to do my nails, and a Willow Tree figurine. It was a great day with our family!On Christmas Eve Eve, we were having some pretty terrible weather around Indy. We drove through the city, which was a good thing since 465 got shut down that evening, in order to get to Ryan's parents' house. Noah woke up with about 20 minutes to go in the car and began SCREAMING! I'm telling you, there is nothing so overwhelming as a screaming baby (not fussing - bloody murder screaming) while driving in bad weather. By the time we reached Ryan's parents' house, I just handed Noah over to his Mama and took a little break to unload the car and gather myself. :) We have a tradition that every Christmas Eve Eve, our family and Ryan's sister's family both stay with Ryan's parents (Noah's Mama and Papa). We had a delicious Christmas dinner and just hung out with each other. Noah put up a HUGE fight that night trying to go to bed. Typically, I rock him for a couple minutes and put him in his crib awake. I didn't want him to ever rely on me rocking him in order to get him to fall asleep. We wanted Noah to be able to soothe himself to sleep. Well, this particular night, he just SCREAMED and SCREAMED and SCREAMED! After about an hour of fighting us, he finally went to sleep. I was so exhausted! We woke up the next morning and opened gifts. It was really fun because Ryan and I picked out great gifts for Mady, Mikayla, and Micah, and we loved watching their faces as they opened their gifts. Mady got the Gourmet Cupcake Maker, Mikayla got an Easy Bake Oven, and Micah got this huge race car track set. They were so excited! Noah got a Baby Einstein book, a Polar Bear toy (shown in a picture below), and some money for his savings account. I feel like I'm forgetting something...but I hope not! Kelli's family picked out a little bongo drum toy for Noah, and Kelli also got Noah a Calvin and Hobbs book that has an entire collection of comics. She wrote Noah the sweetest letter inside the book about how Ryan used to love to read Calvin and Hobbs and would just laugh and laugh. It was a really thoughtful gift! Noah got tired about halfway through opening gifts and needed to take his morning nap. So after putting him down, we finished opening gifts and had breakfast. Awhile after that, Kelli's family had to go home to get ready for church, as their church has Christmas Eve services, and Joel works at the church. Ryan, Noah, Kya, and I headed home and just relaxed. I made some Christmas cookies with my awesome cookie press (thanks Kel!), and Noah and Ryan set out a few cookies and some milk for Santa. Then we put the little man to bed. We watched It's a Wonderful Life, a tradition that we started a few years ago, and then headed to bed ourselves.
On Christmas morning, we came downstairs, and Kya got to enjoy her presents first. Then, Noah opened his gifts! Santa brought him a nice toybox...that Santa sure knows what he's doing! He knew we needed somewhere to put all of those toys. :) Ryan and I also bought him a little Sit-to-Stand toy and a car wash toy that he'll someday get to play with in the bath tub. For now, he likes to play with it in his new play room.
Well, that was Christmas this year. Again, most of these details are mostly for Noah as he gets older. We know he won't remember his first Christmas, but at least he'll be able to read about it. We hope you had a very Merry Christmas, too!!