Grocery budgets are hard! Everyone has to eat and buy things they need for their homes. As hard as they are they can also become a treasure trove for your Disney fund! If you make a plan, execute your plan, and use up everything you bring into your home, often times you can save some serious cash for your Disney fund.
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It has been so long since my last check in! This has been a very busy past 3 weeks. Today I want to talk about my love of the $0.99 Cent Store! I recently discovered, that I was spending about $900 a month on food, household items, and eating out. I lump all household purchases such as paper products and cleaners with food including eating out. Its just easier for me that way since most of those things get purchased at the same stores. OUCH… is right that hurt big time! I thought I was only spending $600.00. Now that I am living on a strict budget, in January I started tracking where every dollar was going. This is tedious process and I would rather do a 100 other things. But this is the only way I know to be sure we stick to a budget.
In January I spent $908.00, February I spent $847.98, and in March so far I am up to $636.05. $125.00 of that is from eating out. We took the kids to Chuck E Cheese and ate Chickfila one time. Normally we only eat out once a month or less. I started brainstorming ways to lower the cost. Like most of you I meal plan, shop the sales, use up what I buy, do pantry clean outs often, use apps to save money, and coupon shop. The one thing I wasn’t doing that I had done previously was to shop the $0.99 cent store. As I started making more money I just got lazy!
I use to go the $0.99 Cent Store weekly. It is really inconvenient for me and far from my house. That is the main reason I stopped going. It takes me 35 minutes one way to get there. I decided to add it back into my rotation for 2 weeks and track my savings. To see if it was worth my time to shop the $0.99 Cent Store again. Week 1 I spent $80.00 and saved $289.00. Week 2 I spent $42.00 and saved $168.00. I based my savings on what the same or comparable items would cost at my local grocery store. Just in that 2 week span I saved $457.00! I wanted to slap myself for my laziness after I saw how much money I had been wasting. Why did I ever talk myself out of driving over there I will never know!
I have had to learn a few tricks to maximize my savings! First and most important, go to the $0.99 Cent Store before you make your meal plan. You never know what you will find. Be flexible in what you will eat this is the best way to save money. Everything at the $0.99 Cent Store and stores like it are there because its a discontinued product, close to the expiration or best by date, or mislabeled. When shopping these type of stores have an open mind. Last week I saw 4 lbs of Publix sugar labeled as pure cane sugar free sugar. That was a misprint. Its just regular sugar at the bargain price of $0.99 for the bag! If you aren’t sure you family will like a product buy only 1 or 2. That way if no one likes it you haven’t wasted a lot of money. Try and find out which days they get new items. Plan on going that day or the following day. Utilize your freezer to stock up on staples when you see them. You can extend the shelf life by using a freezer. Most things freeze well. Don’t just walk down the food aisles walk down each aisle. I have found headphones for $3.99 that sell at Macy’s for $19.99. Goody hair accessories, Faberwear kitchen gadgets, all kinds of name brand toys, full size name brand paper, and cleaning products. Google is your best friend! Most of the time you can Google a product from your phone to read reviews while in the store. Most areas of the country have a $0.99 Cent store or a similar discount grocery store. Do some research and find one in your area. Even if you have to drive a ways to get to it. The savings are well worth it!
This is how I have added the $0.99 Cent Store into my meal planning and shopping habits. Every Friday, I go to the $0.99 Cent Store and a do a full store walk thru. If I only need a few things usually milk and produce I go to HEB afterwards. I have cold bags in my car that I store the food in while shopping in HEB. If I have to go to town any other time, I make a quick stop in to check the cold cases and produce. Those are the areas that change almost daily. Biweekly on pay check weeks, I do a big HEB or Sams haul as needed. This depends on how much stuff I have gotten from the $0.99 Cent Store some weeks its not needed. I meal plan for two weeks at a time every other Saturday based off what I have on hand. On the weeks I have a lot of food or I am skipping the big hauls. I tweak my meal plan on Thursdays. Get creative with what you have on hand. If you can’t come up with any ideas get on Pinterest and search. That always inspires me! On big shopping trip weeks. I go on Sunday mornings super early like as soon as the doors open! The later you are getting to the stores on the weekends the more people are shopping, and the longer it takes you. My goal is to get my grocery budget down to only $700.00 a month.
For Swagbucks below you will see how I earned and how much. All the small things add up overtime don’t overlook them. I have been in a Swagbucks funk. I just haven’t felt motivated to try. Sometimes I just need a break that is what the past few weeks have been for me. I aim to earn at least $25.00 a week. That hasn’t happened. I am working on getting back my SB mojo!
Surveys – 3,795 ($37.95)
February Meter Bonus – 1,200 ($12.00)
Shop and Earn – 921 ($9.21)
Amor Coffee Trail – 512 – $1.00 cost = ($4.12)
Discover Offers – 288 ($2.88)
Coupon Prints – 200 ($2.00)
Swago Board – 50 ($0.50)
Survey DQ – 23 ($0.23)
SB Codes -15 ($0.15)
Search and Earn – 14 ($0.14)
Grocery Receipts – 10 ($0.10)
2/20 – 3/12
My Swagbucks – $69.28
My Husbands Swagbucks – $0.00 (He is still working on the garden.)
Checkout 51 – $20.25
Ibotta – $20.75
Paypal Cashback – $3.56
Sold hens – $14.00
Sold eggs – $8.00
Found Money in my purse and around the house – $39.98
Total to date – $810.01
Gift cards, and cash balances:
Southwest Gift Card – $177.12 for a $200.00 balance
Cash Remaining in my Disney fund – $632.89
Use code C2D70 to get started with 70 SB! New to Swagbucks? Swagbucks is a way to earn points by doing surveys, watching videos, and discovering new things. All these points, called SB, can be redeemed for gift cards from hundreds of major retailers including Target, Walmart, and you can also redeem your points for Paypal!
If you are not a member of my Facebook group Saving for Disney with C2D (The SavEars) you should go join! It’s FREE and we help each other out. You don’t have to be saving for Disney to join. It’s a fun way for all of us to connect, and get to know other like minded individuals. If you are new to Swagbucks, they will be more than happy to help you along and answer any questions you may have!
Every day there is a new daily thread started that lists ways to earn Swagbucks. This helps everyone reach their goals. Just search Swagbucks after you go to the Savears group and you will see it!
Want to earn even more with Swagbucks? Sign up for the FREE 7 day email course below!