Vanquishing My Debt

I'm 29 and trying to get a handle on my finances so that, one day, I can buy a home of my own. I've been reading personal finance blogs recently and decided to start one chronicling my own struggles and success (hopefully). I am lucky, considering the amounts of debt and tales of tragedy I've read about... but I am making some positive changes and moving in the right direction.

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Great Vons Triple Coupons Savings Experiment

One of my hobbies (yes, isn't that sad?) is saving money by combining coupons and sales - there's several websites devoted to helping people do this. A great paid subscription site is The Grocery Game, and the site I refer to (completely free) is The Coupon Mom.

One of the main thrusts of each site is that when you're able to get grocery items for pennies on the dollar, why not buy them and donate to a chairty, shelter, or food pantry? I seized on this idea the first time I read it and have made it a goal of mine to always buy something extra to donate.

I don't like donating money, because I believe that in spite of all the good intentioned people working in the organization, there is just too much uncertainty as to how the money will be spent. I also don't like the high percentages (in some organizations) of donations that pay for adminstration and expensive office space. I like donating tangible goods, like food, hygiene products, and clothing. This is the perfect way to donate quality items for cheap.

So when I heard that Vons was tripling coupons for 3 days this week, I went into overdrive. I think my fiance, R, was pretty stunned to see me in action!

These are the totals for what we spent, bought, and saved during the last 3 days when Vons was tripling coupons. We combined the Vons club card with sale items, and then found internet coupons that the stores tripled during this promotion. I didn't realize until I added up the receipts this morning, but Vons also had a promotion where you were given $10 off if you bought a certain number of General Mills products - which we did, in the form of Cheerios. So we automatically saved $20 this way (two different shopping trips at $10 each).

Total charged = $38.46
Total saved = $228.23
Total items = 112

Stuff we're keeping-
28 boxes of Stagg Chili (Dynamite Hot - my personal addiction!)
3 containers of Betty Crocker Frosting
18 boxes of Rice Dream rice milk (for R and his young niece)
1 head of iceberg lettuce
1 bottle of water
4 bottles of Simple Green cleaner

These are items that we'll be taking to a food pantry this weekend-
4 boxes of Betty Crocker Warm Delights
14 boxes of Hamburger Helper
1 box of Betty Crocker Muffin Mix
18 boxes of Cheerios (full size boxes!)
20 cans of Kerns Juice

We bought so many boxes of rice milk because I had bought coupons on Ebay about a month ago... like $1 for 15 coupons. While the rice milk wasn't on sale, with the triple coupons, it was still way cheap.

The chili was on sale 10 for $10... plus coupons... plus it's my secret addiction. :)

So it was a very successful 3 days... it inspires me to take this donation thing even more seriously.


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