I thought I would do a blog on my couponing progress! And also to solicit beauty advice. Let me start with the beauty advice...
Now that we going down to one income, I am trying to look at ways to cut back. One area where I know I can cut wayyy down is on beauty products. I used to purchase salon hair care products, and organic make up and skin care. I figured it was just easier to go with what my Stylist and Esthetician recommended because I have never been into experimenting with hair and make up things. About every six month I think "I'm a girl, I should know this stuff". So I sit down to figure out how to beautifully style my hair or put on awesome make up, and it usually lasts about 10 minutes. I then realize how bored I am and I go read a book.
So in preparation for going down to one income, I am going to have to get much more beauty product savvy. I am keeping my skin care the same, but I am going to start shopping the drug stores for hair and make up products. Not only are they cheaper, but I can put my newly acquired couponing skills to good use! So far I have been buying L'Oreal products for my make up and I LOVE their foundation. Its 17 SPF, very light and creamy, has great coverage, and blends well with my skin. I also thought I would try Dove hair care because I love most other Dove products, and I've been really pleased with that as well.
So what drug store beauty products do you love??? I'm especially interested in hair styling advice from anyone with thick, curly hair! But all other beauty advice is desperately needed :).
As for couponing, Nick and I have really been getting the hang of it! Its become our Sunday ritual.
- After church, we go and buy a Sunday paper.
- We go through and get the Smart Source, Proctor and Gamble, and Red Plum inserts, among others and clip the coupons that we like. I also check around online for coupons. You can find a lot on Smart Source, Red Plum, and Coupons.com online, but you should also check with the manufacturers of your favorite products.
- I then organize my coupon binder (shown below - I tried to get Nick to model it for me, but he did not want to have his picture taken.) This is an absolute must have for me. Its just a regular binder with dividers and baseball card holders. There's no way I would be able to keep track of what I have and use them without it. I take out expired coupons, review my current coupons, and add the new ones that I have. Its helpful to have tabs to sort by categories.
- Then we go through the circulars to pick out good deals, we primarily focus on CVS, Walgreens, and Winn Dixie. When we started, I subscribed to a service called "the Grocery Game". Its a list of different stores and their products, and it tells you which items are free, should be stockpiled or which items to only buy if you have to. It also tells you where you can find the items. It was very helpful in the beginning, but I don't use it as much anymore. I highly recommend trying it if you want to save a lot of money couponing, but aren't really sure how to get started. There are also BLOGS GALORE on devoted to where to find deals.
- Then, I make sure I know what I am going to buy before I go in the store. I have my coupons ready and Nick and I go through the store and get each item.
- We repeat weekly to stockpile the best deals and to make sure we use our Register Rewards and ExtraCare Bucks before they expire.
This is part of my current stockpile - its primarily my bathroom, cleaning and laundry products! I don't have a picture of my food to show because we usually end up eating what we get :). Most of these items we bought for less than $1. My personal favorite is the Dove Men's Body, which we made $3.75 on... hey if they are going to pay you to take it, then why not? Also, our blood glucose checker, which we made $10 for purchasing :). If you know anyone that wants one, we'd be happy to give this to them. Another favorite, CVS gave out a coupon for a $25 gift card for transferring a prescription (hello prenatal vitamins!), isn't that awesome???
I've definitely seen the best savings at CVS and Walgreens with their Register Rewards and ExtraCare Bucks, but my food savings has gone down drastically as well. I haven't had to change anything I already did. I still refuse to buy most overly processed foods, and I can find a lot of coupons for healthy items. I also find that WalMart really does have the cheapest prices, and so when you add a coupon to that... its magic. It helps to try to plan your meals around what coupons you have and what is on sale.
This isn't exhaustive, but I added up all of the CVS and Walgreens receipts from this year that I could find and between those two stores we have spent $82.65, and saved $156.78! Not bad for 6 weeks worth of purchases, and we probably have enough items stockpiled to last for several months if we stopped spending money right now.
So I welcome any tips anyone has on both beauty and couponing!