I Saved Over $200 This Week – Secrets of an Upcycled, Jesus Loving, Frugal Mom on a Budget

Okay, so if you read my upcycled homeschooling on a budget post a few weeks back you know that financial times for us have been rough due to my husband not working as a result of 3 emergency surgeries since last year. Needles to say my already frugal habits have been pushed, stretched and multiplied.
Supporting a family of 5 on a small budget of one income while paying for hospital bills, groceries and utility bills can be difficult if you don’t plan accordingly.  Planning accordingly means intentionally taking manufacturer coupons, online coupons and competitor coupons to my local grocer when shopping to add to my overall savings. In most cases many grocery stores will honor competitor coupons while also allowing you to use a manufactures coupon and a discount coupon from their store. That can equate to lots of money in savings. If you read through towards the bottom you will discover another great way to get actual cash back in your pocket every time you shop. Its so simple its silly!

For me, saving money comes naturally as I absolutely despise paying full price for anything. What makes it difficult at times is that I don’t like to pay full price and I don’t like to purchase cheap things or bad food. We eat healthy, I cook almost everything from scratch and Organic is the way to go in our home. An example of my dislike of cheap things is my preference over the years for Timberland Earthkeepers, Kamik and Sorel boots. These are all conformable, durable boots that help my back pain, feel great on my feet and can be very inexpensive if you know how to shop.
I mean a few years ago we literally saved $200 on a pair of Kamik boots that normally cost around $300. After a few online coupons they were purchased for under $70 with free shipping and have lasted me many years. Other boots and clothing items have been purchased in thrift shops and online using promo codes that can easily be found by entering in Google the online store you shop at and adding promo code next to the store’s name.
In seconds you will find tons of promo codes that can be used during checkout online shopping.

Now, moving on to my savings these past few days; let me share that this week the battery in my truck went and I could not drive the older kids to school. Our little one was in bed with daddy who is still recuperating after a week in the hospital due to an emergency surgery 2 weeks ago.
I felt like crying after hanging up with our mechanic who said it would be $150 with installation plus the gas it would take me to drive almost 45 minutes to his shop.
So what did this frugal momma do? I got online of course.
First with God and then with Google, lol.

I found the battery for my truck at Advanced Auto Parts for $149 and after some online promo codes I paid a total of $90 and picked up the battery in their local store, 5 minutes away. After jumping my jar I was able to make it to their store. And who knew that they install batteries for free! So I walked away saving $60 just on the battery alone.

Later that day, while all were asleep I took a look into our fridge and realized that we were running low on poultry.
Since I only shop during sales and when I have coupons I looked at my coupon stash and realized that I did not have any discounts available. I checked online for the Wholefoods discounts at my local store and Whoelfoods coupon book and was happy to find these GF, antibiotic and hormone free cooked chicken tenders on sale for BOGO free.  The total price of purchase for these was $3.50 per box for almost a pound of tenders. Compare that to purchasing uncooked; antibiotic, hormone free or organic chicken and you would be paying about $8 per pound without a sale plus having to cook it and use other ingredients for an added cost, not to mention your time.
So I was feeling really happy.

But my happiness and sense of frugality continued! I also got a fantastic deal on organic cereal. I used a few coupons inside the Wholefoods coupon book for March/April plus coupons we found at Mambo Sprouts, Common Kindness. Coupons.com and a few other online coupon sites.
I purchased 8 cereals for $1.99 each equating in a total savings of $24. Now, right about here things started to get interesting. While still in the store, I logged into a little App called Ibotta. This App is a must have for all smart phone, savvy and frugal people. It gives you cash back on purchases you make that match the products they are featuring. Turns out they were giving back $.50 per each of the cereals I purchased at Wholefoods. Redeeming your savings is as easy as photographing your receipt with your phone or tablet and unlocking savings by reading, watching short videos or sharing via social media.
With Ibotta I was able to save an additional $4 on all the cereals I purchased making it possible for this family on a budget to enjoy delicious, organic, cereal for the next few weeks at $1.50 a box instead of the regular price of $5.

Now here is a little trick. If you see that Ibotta has $1 back on Milk and you need to purchase 2 milks then ask your cashier to do separate purchases. Or give your older child the money and have him or her check out at a different lane. It is never to early to teach our children the art of good stewardship. By making separate purchases with 2 different receipts, you can redeem more than one item and get $2 back on your purchase. To do this make sure each person in your household opens an Ibotta account so that you can redeem your cash back on each account.
But the savings do not stop here. Be sure to clip online and newspaper coupons for the milk before you purchase it. Check your local store and shop when items are on sale, then use your coupons and redeem your cash with Ibotta.

My savings continued online as I purchased overstock organic cold cuts from Organic Prairie at 50% off with free shipping.  You can visit their site here. Be sure to look on their current specials and discounts on FB and on their website.
We also pack in extra savings purchasing in season fruits, veggies and other foods at local CSA’s and farmers markets. To find one near you click here.
Also remember that many stores will honor competitor coupons, will double the value of coupons and will let you use 2 or 3 coupons per item. I recommend that if you are serious about shopping and saving don’t forget to print out the coupon policy for each of the stores you shop at and be sure to check with a manager each month to insure the policy has not changed.

For more awesome ways to save when shopping at your local grocer, check out this book and this book. They have fantastic info for the frugal momma and papa.

May you and yours be blessed!
Lots of Love,
Mariana AKA the frugal, upcycled, Jesus loving momma!


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