Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coffee Chats: Saving Your Moolah (and a Coffee Guest!!)

Are you tired of spending lots of money at the store? So are we! And today we're going to chat about a few things we can do to save money at the register...

Nicole: Hey there! We are so excited to have a guest with us today!

Holly: We want to introduce you to our friend from college/Nicole's roommate for a year: Emily Matthew!

Nicole: Emily, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Emily: Sure! My hubby and I have been married for about a year and a half. We moved from beautiful PA to cold MN right after we got married for Jared to attend seminary. Right now, I'm teaching piano lessons and being a wife-y. :)

Holly: Well, if you can handle cold winters in MN, you can handle our craziness here!

Nicole: Isn't that the truth! If we're not mistaken, you have an interest in couponing, thrifty buying, and saving money, which is what we want to talk about today!

Holly: 'Cause we all love a good deal!!

Emily: I love saving money!!

Holly: So how long have you guys been focusing on saving money??

Emily: For me, pretty soon after Jared and I got married. Being on a seminary budget is tight, and we needed to do something. Couponing/thrifting was the a logical thing for me to try.

Nicole: I think that is what happens to a lot of people. We don't think too much of saving money until we have to! I know that is how it was for my family.

Emily: I know! Before we got married, both Jared and I worked full time, good paying jobs...neither of us really had to think about saving money too much. After we got married, reality hit!

Nicole: Was it hard for you to come to that reality and make the switch?

Emily: Honestly, not really. My mom was always into couponing and saving money, and I grew up watching her do that. I was excited to try it out for was fun for me!

Holly: So are you a big coupon fan??

Emily: Yes and no :D

Nicole: You are going to have to explain!

Emily: When I first started couponing, I went way over-board and actually spent over our grocery budget a couple times. Some of that was ok, because I was building a stockpile. On the other hand though, I think sometimes couponers would do well to keep moderation in mind. Buying stuff you don't need just because you have a coupon isn't really saving money. :) Right now, I'm kinda in the middle. I coupon some and enjoy finding good deals, I just try to keep in mind that just because something's free with a coupon doesn't mean I need to "buy" it.

Nicole: Agreed!

Holly: It really is a matter of looking at what you need. I could see how it's easy to get caught up in the "game" of it!

Emily: Exactly, especially when the "game" is so much fun!

Nicole: So besides couponing, are there any other ways you try to save money?

Holly: I make my own cleaning products and such which I find saves a lot of money over time.

Emily: Ditto

Nicole: Nice!

Holly: Well, that was easy! What about you, Nic?

Nicole: Um, not spending? Does that count? :) I really do try to keep my expenses down to NEEDS and not buying-on-a-whim stuff. I go to the store with a plan and (mostly) stick to it.

Holly: Good plan.

Nicole: And coffee is a need. Just sayin'

Emily: Shopping with cash is great for that too! That really helped our budget! (gotta love Dave Ramsey)

Holly: We're trying that. It's hard to get used to it, but I'm looking forward to the savings!

Emily: It is hard to get used to it, but the benefits have been great for us

Holly: Good to know!

This will be a pretty intersting question since we all live in vastly different areas {Nicole: Canada; Emily: MN; Holly: NC}, but where do you like to shop to save money?

Nicole: Here in Canada, we have a *fantastic* discount clothing chain called Frenchy's. It has forever altered the way I buy clothes! I can get name brand, like-new clothes for only a couple dollars. Other than clothes, there really isn't a place to get anything cheap. :( Food is about double what it is in the States, and there are no coupons or drug store games up here!

Holly: Wow, that has to be tough.

Emily: Sadness!

Nicole: We really just have to shop for discounted produce...things nearly past the date, or watch store flyers for sales. How about y'all?

Emily: I grocery shop at a lot of different places, but I think my favorite is Rainbow Foods...a local grocery chain that doubles coupons on Wednesdays. I've gotten a lot of free food there! I mostly follow different blogs to see what's on sale at the different stores. Since we live in a metro area, it's very feasible to hit up a bunch of different stores...they're everywhere!

Holly: We have the opposite problem of Emily. We live in a small town with only a couple stores, so between that and sharing a car with my husband, I find it hard to get a lot of deals. Typically, I shop the good deals that Ingles has, go to Walmart or sometimes Aldi for the rest, and CVS for non-grocery items. We have a really nice Family Dollar in town that has some surprisingly good deals.

Nicole: Dollar stores can be a surprisingly good place to get some things...not food, but other things.

Emily: True! Holly, do you coupon?

Holly: Short answer: no. :) Long answer: 95% of what we eat is unprocessed foods {produce, meat, pasta}, and it's hard to find coupons on that stuff. Not impossible, but hard. As far as non-grocery stuff, I make a lot of it myself or we use alternatives {ie: cloth napkins instead of paper napkins} And I found it just wasn't worth it to buy a paper for one or two coupons. If I see a good printable coupon, I grab that, but otherwise, nope. Makes me kinda sad that I don't.

Emily: Well, you can totally be thrifty and save money without couponing. :)

Holly: And that's what we try to do. For sure.

Nicole: I think it is more important to eat quality food than to coupon!

Emily: For sure!

Holly: Absolutely! You can save money now on yucky foods or save it in the long run medically.

Emily: Very true

Nicole: Great thought! Besides quality food, what are some other things you gals think it is ok to spend money on?

Emily: Quality coffee? :)

Holly: LOL!

Nicole: Certainly!!!

Holly: I am ok with spending money on things that bring lasting memories. A night out to eat might cost more than eating at home, but it's special and fun and worth the extra cost every once in a while.

Emily: True! I think it depends on what's important to you...if something is important to you, then see if you can make room in the budget for it! We have a monthly "date night" budget, and each have a little tiny "spending money." We just work on staying within our budget.

Holly: Same here.

Nicole: That is a good point. I guess you wouldn't want your kids to only remember you clipping coupons or running around to several stores to get want them to remember that you loved them enough to do what was best for THEM.

Emily: Yep

Holly: So, to wrap things up, what is your favorite saving-money tip you can share with everyone?

Emily: I have two - #1: Take things slow and try not to get discouraged...don't try to start saving hundreds of dollars a month. Just find little ways to save here and there and those savings will add up! #2: Shop with cash :)

Holly: Love it. Nicole?

Nicole: Do what works for YOU! It is great to read lots of information on couponing, saving money, etc, but just are not those people will blogs spending virtually nothing each week. You are YOU and your circumstances are different and stores and products that are available are unique to you. So don't get discouraged, just find your groove!

Emily: So true

Nicole: Holly?

Holly: As for me, I'd say amen to all of that plus: see what you can make from scratch. Weigh that against the time/effort/cost of ingredients to make it and if you can save a few bucks for little effort, go for it!!

Emily: Cooking from scratch is awesome! :)

Nicole: You'll probably get better quality, too!

Emily: And store bought granola doesn't make your house smell amazing...just saying ;)

Holly: As long as you don't burn it!!

Emily: Very true :)

It's your turn! What are you best tips for saving money at the store?? We would love to hear them!!


  1. Great advice. I try to go to Aldi, and dollar stores. I have been little by little learning how to make my own cleaners, toiletries, sauces, mixes, etc., cook from scratch {I agree you shouldn't sacrifice your/your family's health to save money}, and when I find good recipes for these things, I add them to my recipe book. I am also trying to make my own snacks at home instead of always buying them. Thanks for the tips. You are always inspiring! Tiffonie

    1. When we lived in NC we LOVED Aldi! We used to sing, "Aldi, Aldi, thats our store, we shop there because we're poor!" =) That is great that you are learning to make so many things from scratch, it is definitely worth the time and effort! Thanks for commenting!


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