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Monday, January 25, 2010

Cha-Ching Shopping!

Boy has my world changed! I love Monday mornings. The alarm went off at seven and I sat in bed and drank coffee until almost nine. Then I started in on the Super Clean Plan. For those of you who don't know, the Super Clean Plan is something I found online that suggests that if you do seven simple things every day, you won't have to do the great overhaul mega-clean. Big Daddy and I did the SCP during the week between Christmas and New Years and it was really nice to spend maybe twenty minutes each morning doing chores and having the rest of the day to play. Like most things I did it just long enough to prove that it worked and then got lazy, but I'm back on the wagon today...

So what are the seven things? Well first I need to give credit where credit is due, this came from my crockpot hero Stephanie Dea who has another blog on top of crockpot365, called Totally Together Journal. There's some good stuff in there. Anyway, I've stalled long enough, here's the list:

Number 1: Make Beds Right Away

Number 2: Do One Complete Load of Laundry

Number 3: Empty All Garbage Cans

Number 4: Keep Your Kitchen Sink Empty

Number 5: Clean Up After Yourself and Help Children (husband?) Do the Same

Number 6: Bathroom Wipe-Down

Number 7: Before Bed 10-Minute Clean Up

I know that doesn't seem magical, and what the heck difference does it make if you empty the trash cans daily or as needed, and a couple of bowls in the sink isn't the end of civilization,and if I had time to do all this stuff my house wouldn't be out of control thank you very much...I know. I know. I know. I also know that the success of any methodical plan is not that each step is life altering, it's the discipline about doing things daily that makes the difference. My experience is that if I will make the bed the minute I get out of it, my day is off to a good start. There are lots of people who have always been bed-makers, and I salute you. I have resisted making my bed for four decades. I just didn't get it until I started doing it. A friend put it this way: messy bed=messy head. I know the two shouldn't be connected but I'm lazy and I collect clutter and I truly believe in my heart of hearts that most things are more important than housework, but I can't argue with the results. When I started making my bed and putting away my shoes, my life got better.

After I got the SCP started, then I checked my Grocery Game list to see if I need to go to Kroger today. If you have not heard of THE GROCERY GAME and you buy groceries on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you really really really need to try it out. I am not even playing.

So here's the dealio: The Grocery Game works on the principle that you should buy groceries when they are at the best value and stockpile them instead of buying things when you need them and paying whatever the store decides it costs. Now obviously you can't stockpile produce but the list does lead you toward items that are the best value so that you buy oranges when they're marked down fifty percent instead of the apples at full price. I subscribe to the list for Kroger because that's the store I'm most comfortable with, but they have lists for Albertsons, Tom Thumb and Walmart. To get maximum value, you need to use coupons, and the key is to use the right coupon at the right time. I know you're thinking and I've got time to deal with coupons? Is she crazy? It's easier than it sounds and it can make a HUGE difference in your grocery bill. Let's say it takes you an hour to clip coupons and plan the list, but you wind up saving 40% on your grocery bill. If you save 40% on a $100 grocery bill, you just got paid $40 an hour. Hmmm not bad eh? The way I do it, is I have the Sunday paper delivered to my house. I don't get the daily paper, just Sunday. I pull out the coupons (RedPlum, SmartSource and Proctor and Gamble put out coupons regularly), I write the date on the front of the first page of the coupon book in sharpie so I can see it easily and stuff it in the front of an expandable file. I do not clip anything until the grocery game tells me to and I purge old coupons when my expandable file gets full (it's rare to need a coupon that's more than a couple of months old because they expire and put out new ones every few months). The Grocery Game List comes out on Sunday and is good through Tuesday, so I check the list on Sundays or Mondays. The list has the item that's on sale, the coupon to clip (listed by date and section, for example if the list says .50 (s 1/24), that means it's a fifty cent coupon from the SmartSource section from January 24) If there's some really good deals I print the list and clip my coupons, if not, I don't. Some weeks if it doesn't seem worth the effort I just go to Sprouts on Wednesdays and buy meat, veggies and dairy and skip Kroger all together. Here are some examples from my list this week: Hormel Pepperoni is on sale at Kroger and if you use the coupon from yesterday's paper, it's free. How about bottled water at 70% off or Dry Roast Peanuts at 72% off. This isn't even a great week but by using the color coded list (green is free, blue is a good value and black are things your should buy only if you need to) and stockpiling so that you buy green and blue items because you have a stocked pantry, you can save a fortune! I can't imagine having kids and not taking the time to save money, if you're paying full price for cereal or fruit snacks or yogurt or toothpaste you really need to give this a one month free trial. I'd suggest having a couple of weeks of coupons saved before you do the trial, and hey, tell them jenhud13atyahoodotcom sent you!

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