Vacation!!! We finally get to take a full week vacation in the Outer Banks…
We used to have use of a shared family home down there and the first two kiddos literally grew up running on the beaches like something from Lord of Flies but for the last 2 years it has been rented out solidly.
This will be our second Summer missing OBX as a family and we have been badly homesick.
The tax return hit the bank account and we decided a family vacation was a must!
Yes, that money could have been spent in places we need it (aren’t there always “places that need it“) but with one kiddo just about ready to fly the nest…well we need at least one more wonderful family vacation before that occurs.
Memories trump money sometimes ya know.
We need the beach and the time together!
So here we go! Our little home away from home this Summer for one week…isn’t he beautiful?
I dream about Mr. Kingsford daily now.
For the first time in about 15 years we will be renting a house there so we opted for one that we can walk to the ocean and watch the sunset over the sound…
It should be glorious!
Now that the count down (in my head) has begun I know I have about 3 months to save as much as I can for our spending money while we are there. I figured many of you may be in the same boat as I am…
A small army to feed while on vacation can be super expensive. No really…it adds up FAST!
Especially with beach prices.
I start the planning and saving NOW.
When you walk into a grocery store with a binder in arms ready to do pricing battles…well nothing screams “don’t get behind me in the register line” louder. Nothing.
If you see a person in the line in front of you with a binder you have TWO choices…
Wait and see how they do it and how much they save (this happens often)
Decide that this is NOT going to be fast. Actually, it will be the opposite of fast. Run!
While most of you know I feed this crew just about all organic and as “plant based” as I can get in them (granted the teens aren’t always on board with my crunchy ways) I still use good old fashioned coupons.
Crazytown! Right?! I hear it all the time “Coupons are all for junk.”
I am here to tell ya they actually do exist for organic stuff.
You do have to dig a bit deeper but I tend to order the organic ones off of coupon clipping sites like:
The Coupon Clippers
Bargain Coupon Clippers
These sites allow me to target the coupons that our family uses most.
In our case mainly paper goods, organic foods (like organic almond milk and Kiefer..no really I have $50 of coupons right now for those two alone.) and things like batteries/lights/kitty litter/pet food etc.
I know many of you CAN afford the fancy dancy 100% organic, crunchy lifestyle (I am jealous)…we can not.
When I talk plant based diet with folks I often hear “But we can’t afford the organic stuff” and my answer is always “If you can only afford the regular strawberries on sale for $1.50 (actually got them last week) over the organic $7.99 a pint version you don’t just skip the berries you simply wash them extremely well. They are still a better option than a bag of chips. Promise.”
(FYI I will be posting how I clean my produce later this week 😉
By cutting my costs in the “household products” departments it gives me a larger budget for the produce and health food isles.
I am far from being a “crazy couponer” with a stockpile full of products that we will never use…
I am extremely picky what comes in my door.
Sometimes there are some processed foods that make the cut…remember those pesky teens?
My son in particular would rather just starve to death than eat many of the healthy meals I make.
All I can do is make sure he knows what he should be eating and hope one day he comes to it on his own. But at least he will eat a salad, veggies and fruit 😉 Baby steps.
Can we just talk toilet paper and paper towels?
I literally am in complete wonder at the speed with which this family goes through them.
I must save $200 a month alone by couponing paper products.
Would I love to walk into Whole Foods and buy those beautiful, eco friendly/organic papers?
Yes. Do I have the money too? No.
In the last year I have watched the “how” I save money change alot! How?
I now use apps ALL. THE. TIME.
I figure I need to start a little “Money saving Monday” series reviewing each of my favorites apps and favorite ways I save…and any you guys would like me to try out.
This week I am sharing my new favorite Ibotta do a girl a solid and use this referral code: kotxqbv if your try it out so I can add the referral credits to my vacation fund 😉
This app…oh how I love it…let me count the ways.
Once you get past the fact that it feels a bit like “Big Brother” knows your every move…and you realize nothing you do in this world these days is actually private…
Well you might as well get paid for what they are already tracking :-/
How it works?
Well you find the products that the store you are in is offering to give “rebates” to you for purchasing.
You make the purchase (don’t forget you can use clipped coupons in combo)
Then take a picture of the receipt and scan the products barcode.
It may seem like a bit of a hassle at first but once you get into the habit it really doesn’t take much of your time.
Last week I had a paper coupon for like $.50 off (can’t remember if it was $.50 or $1.00 hmm my mommy brain is fuzzy) then Ibotta was giving back $.50 rebate for it…then Kroger had it on sale (they still do this week…the Ginger flavor is my jam) for $2.27. If you have ever purchased Kombucha you know this is CHEAP! And did I mention yummy?
Paper stuff…same story.
This week Walmart Ibotta I can pick up $1.00 rebate added to my little “vacation fund” for purchasing Scott Paper towels (which we always need anyway). I have several coupons for the paper towels so I will get another $1 or so off…they are around $5 to begin with.
The $35 in my Ibotta account above is from 1 week of using the app.
I will keep the account growing each week and then “cash out” about 4-5 weeks before our vacation to make sure the check makes it here in time.
Our family (6 people, 3 dogs, 1 cat and 1 bunny) typically average $300-$400 a week in groceries.
If your jaw is on the ground then you should totally understand why my money saving ways are a necessity.
We have 2 in private school and one homeschooling and in college. Cha Ching.
I always get a giggle when people talk about how expensive it is to have a baby…you know what is expensive? Older kids. THEY are expensive.
Not complaining one bit….just problem solving over here.
Coupon clipping, and money saving apps AREN’T for everyone.
It reminds me of homeschooling…it’s not for the faint of heart…lol!
This is a J.O.B.
If I can save $200+ a week then I look at it all as my part time gig.
The time I put into this IS making us money. It may not always seem like it but when you put the budget together at the end of each month (be sure to log your receipts) you will see that you saved the bucks. There are definite rules I set for myself though.
- My number one rule is “Don’t buy something just because it’s a great deal unless you are REALLY going to need it or use it.” Cause THAT is wasting money.
- You must have a location to store the “stockpile“. You will literally end up with a massive stockpile of toilet paper, toothbrushes and razors. You will be soooo thankful for that pile but it will need a home.
My little pile is in our garage, living on some shelves. Toiletries are in a plastic drawer storage thingy.
Cans and jars may live out there as well…bags and boxes come inside (cause I am always paranoid about mice. It IS a garage after all.)
- Don’t ever be embarrassed by using your coupons. Trust me if the world were to go to crap tomorrow…at least you will have toilet paper, razors and toothpaste to sell to all your neighbors who will be soooo thankful you have a small grocery in your garage.
They will be lined up begging for a roll. It’s the little comforts of life 😉
- Use couponing etiquette. Don’t be a jerk to the cashier.
If something isn’t scanning correctly I always assume it is my fault first…read the coupon again, find the product THEN we can figure it out together. It’s just a coupon so no going all squirrely on the cashier. Be kind….you are more than likely walking out with tons of free stuff so focus on THAT. Smile. Breath. Smile some more.
- If you can get free products that you will never use…get them and donate them.
No really…donate that stuff! Do I wish I could not be donating overly processed food? Yep…but sometimes in life free food is just better than no food.
Grab the deal. Share the deal. Help your community. Keep a section in your coupon book for the food products your family won’t touch. If you come across the free deal that matches up in your travels…throw it in the cart and find it a home.
Use your thrifty powers for good 😉
Well that sums up this weeks.
Next week I will go over Shopkick. They are another favorite.
Until then…my favorite “haul” this week.
CVS. Oh how I love CVS…glorious app, wonderful coupons and extra bucks.
God Bless Extra Bucks.
54 rolls of Toilet Paper
6 rolls of Paper Towels
Smarty Pants Vitamins
Carols Daughter natural shampoo
4 Boxes of Kleenex
Should have cost: $118.68
What I paid: $51.35
Amount saved: $67.33
I took an hour of prep time on this journey before going to the store and an hour in the store shopping…
so it’s like I made roughly $30 an hour.
Not bad for a part time gig 😉