Stockpile is the Word

Everybody’s talking about stockpiles…stockpile your groceries, stockpile your necessities, stockpile, stockpile, stockpile.

I’d been discussing this with my husband for a while. Money always seemed too lean to put much towards extra things though.

Then I came across the show Extreme Couponers or whatever it’s called. Dang! Those people STOCKPILE…some to the point of hoarding imho. I mean for realz…what’s a 19 year old guy doing with 10 cases of diapers and 40 boxes of tampons? That’s just weird.

Their savings intrigued me though. Could I possibly begin my own little stockpile of products that would then take those things out of the budget for a while? We live on a pretty tight food budget, and all our household supplies (paper, hygiene, medication, etc) comes out of that line item. Being able to insure that those things wouldn’t have to be purchased for quite some time sure would take a little pressure off.

I began my research in the most obvious place…blogs! I’ve got some kick ass blogger couponer/stockpiler friends.

And then it happened…through my blog reading, I discovered the honey hole of savings that is CVS.

Oh CVS, where have you been all my life? CVS offers these things called extrabucks® (ECBs) on certain items each week. Basically, it’s like an in-house rebate coupon that you can use on your next purchase. [Here’s a quick side-note: It’s important that you keep track of these (and their equivalent–Balance Rewards at Walgreens) because they are NOT put on your card. You need the actual register receipt coupon.]

With five males living in my home, you can only imagine how much soap and deodorant we go through (that is of course if I can get the boys to take baths/showers. What is it with getting them to bathe?? Gross.), so I felt that was a good place to start.

Please spare me the details of how I’d save even more money making my own. They won’t use coconut oil/baking soda or milk of magnesia on their armpits (What? It’s a real thing. Check it out.), and the last time I attempted to make homemade soap, it molded. Compromises, people. We all have to do it sometime.

First, I got on CVS.com. I have an ExtraCare ® card from years ago, so I created an account with that. They post not only their current ad online, but also a sneak preview of the next week’s ad. I strongly recommend activating an account because you’ll receive special coupons in your email (like the $2 off coupon I received this week) as well as personalized offers (like the $2 off when I spent $8 on deodorant).

Next I visited several coupon websites to see what was available. I printed out anything that would be good for the next month so I would have a good selection but not have a huge coupon inventory. We’re not really brand-loyal people which is a good thing. It makes it easier to catch the good prices.

Then it was time to match the extracare® deals and manufacturer coupons. This is where the magic happens.

Using this week for example, CVS had Right Guard Antiperspirant on sale for 2/$8. I’m certainly not going to pay $4 for pit stick. So, I dug out a $1/2 Right Guard products coupon, a percentage off CVS email coupon, and a $2 off deodorant CVS web account coupon resulting in two Right Guard sticks for $3.54 including tax.

Now do you want to know what the BEST thing about that was?? After it was all said and done, I came out AHEAD on the deal because I also got $4 ECBs!

Here’s a helpful hint: Bring your ECB coupons with you! Here’s another one: Don’t wait until the last day of the sale to shop. The branch I normally shop at was out of several of the things on my list, so I made another quick run after lunch to finish up my errands and stop at another CVS in our town. There I purchased 2 body washes (2/$4), 2 shampoos (2/$5.50), 2 conditioners (2/$5.50) , a pack of M&Ms for Jeremy ($.75), and a 4 count package of razor cartridges ($16.79).

After using manufacturer coupons for each of the items purchased except for one shampoo (that would have saved me another $1 and I messed up not taking all my coupons with me so I could grab another one), the 20% off email coupon, and the $18 ECBs from my previous purchases, I paid $10.06. I also received $4.75 ECBs back.

Walgreens had a BOGO sale on Right Guard products this week. I used 4 $1/2 Right Guard products coupons to purchase 2 body washes and 6 deodorants and 4 $1/1 coupons for 4 bottles of mouthwash. I paid $24.40 and received $4 Balance Rewards.

Kmart also had a killer sale this week. I shopped there with manufacturer coupons and added almost 600 points to my Shop Your Way Rewards card (available through Kmart and Sears) that I’ll be able to use toward a future purchase. I spent $21.79 there after using coupons in conjunction with sales.

Here’s a rundown of what I purchased for $83.61 over the last two weeks between Walgreens, CVS, and Kmart (and don’t forget I still have $4.75 ECBs and $4 Balance Rewards for next time):

  • 10 body washes
  • 8 deodorants
  • 9 mouthwashes
  • 5 shampoos
  • 5 conditioners
  • 1 lotion
  • 1 Gillette Fusion Proglide razor
  • 1-4 pack of razor cartridges

I’m very pleased with that amount even if it’s no where near those crazy savings of the extreme couponers. Those are things that won’t have to be purchased out of our food budget (all of our household and hygiene supplies come out of the food budget) for the next several months to a year.

And, if we’re ever broke, I know that we’re not going to smell.

Overall, I feel that the better deals are to be had at CVS. I actually paid less out of pocket for the things I purchased at Kmart, but if I take the ECBs I received from CVS into consideration,CVS wins hands down. The benefit of shopping at Walgreens is that they offer store coupons that can be stacked with manufacturer coupons.

As I wrap this up, here’s a word of warning: Shopping CVS is like a game, and it’s very addictive. Even after only two weeks, I found myself pouring over scenarios of how much money I’d have to spend to receive so many ECBs, and on what I’d have to spend that money on.

There’s no savings in spending money on things you don’t need (paper towels and toilet paper in my case) considering I would have had to spend $12 to receive $5 ECBs.

I think too it’s important to know when to stop. I could keep adding these same things to my stockpile every single week for little money, but really…how many bottles of  body wash and mouth wash does a family need? I’ll keep an eye on the adds for something to use my ECBs and Balance Rewards for before they expire, but other than that our hygiene needs are pretty much met at the moment.

In the comments below, tell me how you save money on personal hygiene products. Do you make all your own? Perhaps you only buy the cheapest on the shelf? Do you have any advice for me to save even more money?

I’m a SAHM and No, We’re Not Rich

My name is Missy, and I’m a SAHM. And you wanna know what? We’re not rich, and SAHM life isn’t all designer clothes, luxury cars and bon bons.

Does this sound like an odd opening to you? Because for me and many other SAHMs out there, we hear this over and over again. It’s tedious.

Last week I was talking with my friend Rhonda who’s also a stay at home mom, and we began discussing the many things people say to us when they find out we don’t have 9-5 jobs, but have chosen to stay at home with our kids. I was surprised, pleasantly so, that I wasn’t the only one receiving my share of asinine comments about my husband’s income and our financial well-being.

From a family member, “Well it must be really nice to have your husband take care of you.” Why yes, it is very nice thank you. I love having a sugar daddy who provides for my every want and need. *Cue eye roll*

From a ‘friend’, “Wow. It must be really nice to be able to sit at home all day. Some of us have to work.” This one was a double whammy because I don’t ever recall ‘sitting’ for a whole day other than when I broke my leg and was unable to be on crutches for a couple days before I was up making supper for the family. I know, I’m a total slacker, but the housekeeper and cook were on vacation.

From people who don’t even know me, “Your husband must be really awesome to let you stay at home.” Because he lets me. Whatevs.

On the heels of these comments are the ones that really piss me off, the ‘Well if you can afford to stay at home’ comments: “Well if you can afford to stay home, you should be able to afford a new car.” “Well, if you can afford to stay at home, I don’t see why you can’t drive home more often.” “Well if you can afford to stay at home, why don’t you guys spend some of that money on some new (insert new item here such as clothes, vacation, furniture, blah blah blah).”

And my all time favorite, “You guys have the money.”

Very rarely do I have anyone around my age ‘get’ that I’m a SAHM because we have chosen this for our family, not because I’m ‘taken care of’ or that ‘we can afford it”. Why is this? Is it guilt, jealously, or the inability to understand that our values rank kids being raised by a parent higher than material possessions?

Because here’s our ugly truth about me staying at home with the kids. Some months we struggle. Some months we eat from the freezer because the only money we can move around in the budget to cover unexpected bills is the grocery money. Some months I’ve really wondered how we were going to even pay all our bills.

Some months I feel like we don’t have the proverbial pot to piss in.

My husband and I don’t have a clothing allocation in the budget. There simply isn’t enough money. If we need something, it has to come out of another line item.

Big Daddy gets first dibs on the gas money for the month. If he needs it and there’s not any left, I don’t get gas. He’s the one who has to get to a job. I don’t usually ‘need’ to go anywhere.

If we don’t have the money for something, we don’t get it. We did break this rule for the new-to-us vehicle we just purchased but there was a reason we chose to take on that payment. It is budgeted for, and will be paid off early.

The kids are provided for but they don’t get a lot of extras. They also don’t have a lot of clothes. It helps that with homeschooling they don’t really need many, but even when they were in public school, 2-3 pairs of jeans each was the norm. Rarely do any of them get anything ‘just because’. (And they very rarely complain.)

Thrift stores and freebies from friends are where it’s at. Why on earth would I pay full price for a brand new winter jacket when I found one for $4 that was in great shape at a thrift store? My son would have had those sleeves stained in a month anyway. The previous owner took care of that for him.

My point is that I don’t stay at home with my kids because I ‘can’. I stay at home with my kids because we choose that for our family. I stay at home with my kids because in this season of our lives, my husband needs to know that things at home are taken care of and my kids need to know they have their mama whenever they need her.

I stay at home not because we’re rich or because I’m lazy (which is also another zinger that’s been thrown out there), but because for us the sacrifice necessary to do so is worth it.

Yes, we are fortunate that my husband’s income is such that it’s feasible for me to be a SAHM. I’m so grateful for that.

I’d also be grateful if some people would shut their pie holes about our financial situation which is no business of theirs anyway.

Now if you don’t mind, I think I’ll go sit on the couch with a pint of Ben &Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream and ignore the children for the day while I watch my soap operas…because isn’t that what the rich do?