Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thinking about coupons and colons.

I am a terrible farmer. And Clay is a terrible chicken coop builder. And we might just be having a conversation right now as I'm typing this about who's fault it is that we only have 7... no wait.. make that 6 chickens left on Coal Creek Farm. I'm thinking that if an Architect can't build a coop to keep his hens safe then we've got a problem. Clay is saying the problem is with the farmer that refuses to lock up her chickens at night because it's too blinkin' cold. But, but, but, but.....

Also,

Clay told me one of our chickens has a prolapsed colon. What is with my chickens?! They like to crap out their insides and get eaten by coyotes!

So, instead of rushing to get my chicken doctor bag, I'm sitting on the couch thinking about what I did last night.

And I'll tell you all about it right after I spoink my chicken.......be right back.

False alarm. I'm the one that went to the eye doctor yesterday, but obviously it is the Architect that is having trouble seeing things. All chicken colons are in their proper places.

Now, back to coupons.

As I was clicking away on all the comments last night I came across one of your links that led me to The Coupon Clippers.

This was the first sight that didn't overwhelm me. I actually found a coupon for the peanut butter we use!

Now, you need to tell me, is it dumb to buy coupons?

It was so easy to find the coupons for the name brand products I use which I'm compiling a list of those items that I can't find a better or cheaper substitute.

Now, for those of you that want to know how I manage to keep to our seven fiddy for our groceries/household supplies, these are some of my basics;

1. We try to eat everything in our house before I go get more (with the exception of all the canned fruits and veggies and the frozen meats).

2. I don't make complicated meals. We have a large variety of meals, but they don't contain a lot of ingredients. I don't serve a lot of side dishes with our meals. We eat a lot of homemade soups.

3. I pretty much shop in those outer isles. I don't buy mixes or any sort of packaged meals except mac and cheese. Eliminating high fructose corn syrup simplifies my choices.

4. We don't eat cereal very often, this keeps our milk consumption very low. Instead my kids eat oatmeal which fills them up and uses less milk.

5. I use vinegar as my main cleaning product, but I can't live without Softscrub. I've tried, but I neeeeeeed it.

6. I bake a lot.

7. We don't buy juice or soda. We drink water with our meals and occasionally tea. We do buy soda on special occasions.

8. Apparently, I am now Amish.

I will also be getting a phone call any minute now from my sister begging me to please write more about coupons and shopping at Aldi. Because next to homeschooling, being cheap is her favorite thing in the world.

Okay, let's review for those of you that forgot what the heck this post was about.

Should I buy coupons? Do you buy coupons? To spoink or not to spoink? That is the biggest question.

26 comments:

Seven Danforth's said...

Chickens I want to buy chicks this year, way to many eggs we eat. I don't do cupons, don't drink soda's either, I do coffee A LOT, I wish I have in my back yard a coffee plant like I use to back in my country Puerto Rico. I will love to reast my own coffee.
Don't buy coupons, just mho! Now the chiro husband of mine here, will have the same problem of you arquitect over there.... I will need to do the structure...lol!

Rhea said...

I don't even want to know what spoink means. Please dear god let those chickens keep their insides in, because that's just foul...hehe (fowl?)

You have to BUY coupons? Doesn't that defeat the purpose? I'm so confused.

And, what the heck Clay? What kind of architect can't build a chicken coop? April, get off your warm butt and close it at night! Or get a child to do it...

Rosie_Kate said...

Am very confused about the coupon-buying. Uh... wwwwhhyyyyy???

And your bugdet-stick-to-it list is great! Very much like mine, to which I add once-a-month-only (bulk) grocery buying and some serious gardening and the preserving thereof.

And I've never had to spoink my chickens, so I'm no help there, either. Hope I never have to.

Clay said...

Maybe I should explain the coupon sight.

You buy a coupon for $1 for $.08 for a product you actually use. For someone like me who doesn't get the paper or want to spend a lot of time and energy hunting down a bargain this seems kinda reasonable.

Like the peanut butter. I only use Smuckers natural pb, so if I bought a coupon and saved $.80 wouldn't that be better than NOT using a coupon?

I might try it once and see if it's beneficial for me and maybe it'll get me started using other coupons. I dunno.

Stefanie said...

I've bought coupons on eBay, especially for my ONE splurge item: Douwe Egbert's coffee pods. They're $4.80/bag of 18; occasionally, I can buy twenty $1 coupons for less than $3. Watch the expiry dates, though!

Linda said...

What kind of chicken is the one you're holding in your photo? It's very pretty.

I think you're doing a great job with the budget, grocery shopping. I'm gonna check out the coupon site too. Every little bit helps.

p.s. my verification word to post this is ... shisozoo ... I think that could be your new special term for whatever it is you do with chicken colons.

Melody said...

That is pretty much how we live (overall - I do go crazy sometimes and buy the big bags of malt-o-meal cereal and milk full of hormones & steroids) too.

In addition to being cheaper, it is often healthier, too.

I like to buy whole foods in large quantities...like 50 lb bags and store them in 5 gallon buckets. It is cheap and makes me feel safer to have some food stored up for hard times. (I haven't been the same since I read Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, "The Long Winter"!)

It usually takes 3 buckets to contain 50 lbs of oats or wheat. I leave one bucket in the pantry and the other two I put dry ice in the bottom, then fill the buckets with the grain and put the lid loosely on. After the dry ice has evaporated, freezing all bug eggs in the grain, I put the lid on tightly and store it in a cool place.

So there you are. Just when you thought you couldn't get any cheaper! :-)

Jenni said...

I think your spoinking posts have helped me decide for good that I do not want chickens. I can buy eggs from several neighbors and I like the frozen, skinless, boneless, water added slabs of chicken breast at Walmart just fine.

I have the same question about buying coupons or paying for a coupon/sale finder service. It don't seem right. My mom used to be an expert coupon clipper. She would often get items for free or just pennies, but thinking back on it, I'm not sure they're all items I would want to have.

Juice, soda, and cold cereal are rare treats around here also. I usually only get cereal if I'm going out of town and leaving the kids with just Danny or having grandparents come stay with them. Once I bought three boxes of cereal just for a special treat and Naomi came running to me almost in tears asking where I was going.

Jenni said...

Hmmm...read your comment. I almost used that peanut butter as an example in my comment of why I have trouble with coupons! I only buy the Smucker's or Kroger natural pb unless it's to make a special treat like marguerites and then I'll get the store brand Jif type. But basically that's why a lot of coupons don't work for me. I have specific brands I like that I never get coupons for or buying the store brand or from Aldi is cheaper. Let us know how this coupon buying goes.

Renovation Therapy said...

I only buy them (in quantity) if it's for an item that's basically free with the coupon, that has a very long shelf life and I'm planning to stock up (read: more than 10 units).

Hope that helps.

Karen Deborah said...

I like the food list, I need to start baking homemade granola again for cereal. You can make hot ceral out of brown rice too. We are part of a homeschoolers co-op and buy grain and store it in 50 lb buckets too. I don't get it why you have to spoink your chickens so often are they needing more fiber in their diets or something? I'm not sure about the buying coupons either. How about toilet paper, do you get the cheap stuff or the nice stuff? Paper towels or not and do you get cheap shampoo? How else do you save money?
I like clorox spray, don't even have to scrub and it cleans the shower very well.

April said...

Linda,
That's a barred rock rooster, his name is Walkin' Charlie.

Karen Deborah,
I don't use paper towels and I buy the cheapest of all paper products. No name brands there. Just for you when I'm done compiling my name brand list I'll post it.

Jennifer said...

you've given me food for thought. i'm not sure how much we spend on groceries, but at the beg. of the year i began keeping track. i have a kitchen calendar just for that. i din't think of adding in the animal feed, though. i might not be so pleased with myself then... we are a homeschooling family of 7, with one dog, one bunny, 8 chickens (for laying), 2 pigs and many more meat chickens to come in the spring. i make homemade granola in my crockpot- it's great, and the kids love it. i bought a 50 pound bag at the bulk food store, and it's almost half gone already! i have recipes for cool stuff like detergent, cleaner, home made busquik, condensed chicken soup, ect...i shop much like you, so when i figure out the cost, i'll have to let you know. bet you can't wait! it just sounds so much funner and cooler when you write about it!

carole said...

April,
dang ive done this twice already! confound computer thingie...anyway.
I found your blog several weeks ago. I laughed until my cheeks were sore!
I was looking up how to make cheese from dexter cows of all things, and clicked on this, and then that..and then spent 2 hours reading your old blogs and forgot what i was doing! I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences...it was worth it to me. OMG the chicken stories!!!! Keep it up!
As far as winter, I dont know how you do it...im a native floridian, it was "cold" (highs in the 50's, lows in the 20's) here for 3 days in a row and i thought i was gonna die! yea i know this has nothing to do with coupons, i dont use them myself, but i thought i would write and let you know you were appriciated.

pam said...

I'd never buy a coupon. What with the free coupons being so plentiful. Sunday's paper and my secret weapon: the store where I shop has a website and posts coupons on-line. Maybe yours does too.

Also there are other websites with great coupons:
classymommy.com
freebies-4-you.com

Kim said...

I'm a big coupon user and while I've never bought any, the way you described this site makes a lot of sense. I'll be interested to hear how it works if you decide to try it. Most of the "free" coupon sites I've looked at were such a pain in the butt, I gave up on them. This would be worth it too, because there are many times the Sunday paper only provides one or two decent ones and that doesn't even cover the cost of the paper I bought for that very reason! Except Brian is a newspaper addict, so I guess I'd be buying it anyway.

Leslie said...

I do buy coupons on occasion. My rule is that I only buy coupons for things that I absolutely will not buy a substitute for. For example, I am brand loyal to Jif. No substitute will do for me. So, when Jif coupons come out I will buy some additional ones from ebay or coupon clippers. Same with Chunky soup (my husband takes it to work for lunch - not as good or as cheap as homemade, I know, but at least it keeps him from going out and buying lunch everyday). However, I don't buy coupons for things like canned tomatoes. Yes, on occasion, with a sale and coupon matched up I can get name brand tomatoes cheaper than store brand. However, it doesn't happen often enough to justify buying additional copies. Especially since store brand canned tomatoes are totally fine with me. Unlike store brand peanut butter.

Joy said...

I have to say, being the frugal gal I am, that saving .80 is MUCH better than not saving any!!! Especially, as you point out, when it's for an item you are going to buy with or without a coupon.

It does NOT save any money to use a coupon on an item you wouldn't have bought anyay - you just spent money you wouldn't have.

So, YES, save .80 on your special PB that is the only kind you will buy and enjoy the savings for buying a product you were going to buy anyway for LESS.

Good thinking!

And I don't even know what to say about Clay not being able to make a safe coop....

Clayvessel said...

Sounds like you have a good routine going.
Do you not do any bulk shopping at places like Costco/Sam's Club or a food cooperative? I think we save alot of money buying in bulk, especially on natural products through the co-op. You end up eliminating coupons altogether. Which we have done.

Rechelle said...

Please write more about homeschooling. Maybe you could have a special section where you post entirely about how you teach your kids at home. THANKS!!!

Elaine said...

I have just started using coupons big time. Two of our major grocery chains double the amount of the coupon if the coupon is $.50 or less. I have been thinking about buying coupons for specific items such as organic eggs. Sadly, no chickens allowed in the city. I think it would be worth the expense.

Not to steal your thunder, but we recently cut our grocery bill to $400 a month for a family of 5 including 3 teenage boys. AND I've lost 5 pounds since I don't buy the HFCS snacks any more! Oh, and I've found I can buy the soft toilet paper if I use coupons and watch the sales. Most grocery chains have the sales fliers online.

P.S.
Google coupon binder or search it on You Tube.

Miss Notesy said...

Rechelle,

I can sum up April's thoughts on homeschooling:

"Um... Am I supposed to be teaching on of my children?"

*wicked laughter*

Miss Notesy said...

I mean "ONE of my children", but then again, I'm April thinking so a typo is acceptable.

P.S. I'm homeschooling right now too. While I'm blog hopping. While my two year old is dumping out the pattern blocks. While my daughter is begging me to come help. While I'm ignoring her. While I'm thinking about just calling April and chatting for awhile and throwing in the towel for today. Even though we just began.

Norma said...

You've found the right reader. I'm the Columbus, Ohio anti-coupon queen. Ask me anything. You are doing all the right things and not falling for marketing schemes to cover up price increases and introduce new products you don't need.

Stefanie said...

Hey. I have a question!!!! If you don't buy paper towels, how do you drain bacon, sausage, etc??? Seriously. I wanna know. 'cause I don't wanna buy paper towels.

ingasmile said...

I have used Coupon Clippers for years and have purchased and sold coupons ebay and other trading boards. Since prices have gone up and we lost our local Dillons stores here in the KC area, I have done much less couponing. I still do it, but to a much lesser degree. I used to do big bulk shopping trips when Dillons would have their special Double Dollar Days but alas that is no more. Now I shop the ads with as many coupons as I can from the Sunday paper and from signing up with companies like Betty Crocker which now send me coupons in the mail. I couldn't live without paper towels!! I hate sponges and dish rags, they are just teaming with bacteria!! Take a food safety class and it will change your mind about paper towels!

Inga