Sunday, May 8, 2011

Plants and Coupons and Savings, Oh My!

Black thumb, Green thumb, Big Thumb, Small Thumb, Tom Thumb... whatever type of thumb I have, I could not seem to get my tomatoes to survive.

I was very blessed that as my mother's day gift this year, I got to shop at a garden centre (and also at the local Farmer's Market) so my gifts this year included tomato plants so I don't have to worry about the seedlings that I killed in the transplant process...

*NOTE*: Sorry about the backwards photos, the only "camera" we have is in our computer, and it flips the pictures. I can't figure out how to flip them back around... and hints?

The top photo is of the window planters I bought and the soil (which was supposed to be great for starting vegetables and for transplanted vegetables... but the tomatoes still died). You can see my SAD little sprouts in both pictures.

The only vegetables I've been able to grow from seeds are zucchini. They are in the large red container at the back. The healthy-looking plants in the yellow containers are the herbs I bought. Maybe someday I can grow herbs and vegetables from seeds that look that healthy...
In the front are seeds I'd like to grow when it gets a little warmer. They are cucumbers, radishes, peas, and carrots.

Plants and Herbs I've purchased include:

-3 tomato plants
-a cherry tomato variety (I can't remember the name)
-Juliette, a plum tomato variety
-Lemon Boy, a yellow variety

-Italian Parsley
-Chocolate Mint (I'm excited to use this in baking this summer!)
-Lemon Thyme (I love using lemon in cooking!)

I'll be buying more, probably some peppers and some more herbs.

As for Couponing this week, I've had a TON of success.
Where I live in Ontario, there are no stores that match coupons, and there are no "double-coupon" days, so we can't get the same amount of extreme savings seen on the TV show "Extreme Couponing".
This doesn't mean that a shopper in Ontario can't have success, they just need to be smart about when to use coupons, and to take advantage of the price matching that most stores do.

My favourite place to grocery shop is NoFrills, because there's a location less than 3 km from our apartment, and they have great produce (most of the time). They also price match and have very reasonable regular priced items if I need something last minute.

My shopping process goes like this:
1. Read every grocery flyer and mark down the sale items of foods we love/need/would like to try
2. Search my coupon stash to see if I have coupons for sale items. (I don't use the coupons if the item isn't on sale.)
3. Write down my list of what I'm buying, how many, and how much I'll be saving with each coupon, and how many of each coupon I have.

This whole process can be done in less than an hour, and I often do it while I watch TV or listen to the radio after my son is in bed.

When I have my list complete, I fold up flyers that I'm using to price match, and put them into my coupon binder so that I can make sure to get the best deal possible. I always bring my complete binder with me incase I see a great sale that wasn't advertised in the flyer.

This week I saved 44.4% of my total. I would have spent $122.09 before coupons and price matching, but I only spent $67.80 ... so I saved $54.29!!!

My best sale items were:

Dove hand lotion (I use hand lotion like crazy while I'm pregnant)
- Regular price $5.99.... I paid $2.49

Pepto Bismol
- Regular price $8.99... I paid $3.47

Cheez Whiz (my Hubby's been asking for weeks, so I got 4 jars)
- Regular price $5.19... I paid $2.88

Lysol Toilet Cleaner
- Regular Price $2.5o... I paid $1.98 and got TWO bottles

Glade Freshmatic Odor Sensor Air Freshener (not a regular item, but I wanted to try it)
- Regular Price $9.99... I paid $3.99

There were more items, but before I started using coupons, I would regularly spend over $120 a week on groceries, getting just the essentials. I got much more than the essentials for a bit over half of what I used to spend.

Those savings don't include the toothpaste I got for $0.38 a tube instead of $1.27, or the diapers I got for about $9 off... but I had to go to a different store on a different day for those prices.

I just want to encourage people out there who think couponing is difficult. There are many free websites (even in Canada) where you can have coupons mailed to you, and if you get a free weekly paper (we get the Kingston This Week) every few weeks there are free inserts.
So even if you don't buy the paper, you can still find free coupons and save your family money.

And that's something everyone should love!


1 comment:

  1. Great job on the deals! Oh, how I love deals. :-)

    The plants look great too. Wonderful job.