Friday, February 13, 2009


Those of you who did the Spin Cycle last week made quite an impression on me. The topic was certainly eye catching. MONEY! The actual assignment was "Turning Dollars into Sense". I'm more than a little embarrassed to say that until I needed to create a link, I've never actually visited Sprite's Keeper and her blog. Once there, I knew I would be back. For those of you who have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, let me explain. Sprite's Keeper hosts a weekly writing assignment called The Spin Cycle. Each week she assigns a prompt and those who care to play have a week to create a blog post about the given topic. Each player links back to SK's site and then is listed there so that readers can check out all the different posts written on the topic. At least that's how I understand it.

Between Jan's (of Jan's Sushi Bar) and Thistle's (Of Thistles and Maple Leaves) posts I was both encouraged and then inspired. Then Pseudo of Pseudonymous High School Teacher came along with her post about Walmart and The High Price of Low Cost and! My mother, Lucy, loved Walmart. We called her a Walmart groupie and often joke that if there isn't a Walmart in heaven that she is lobbying for one now. If the reports are true, there is no room for Walmart in heaven.

There is no denying that the economy is in the crapper. People are losing their jobs, their homes, their life savings and more. Everyone is feeling the crunch. If you are one of the fortunate ones who haven't been hit hard by our nation's current economic downturn, you are surely aware of it and maybe a little nervous. And Americans are not alone in our misery. People all over the world are affected. Who of us hasn't given some serious thought to how we can cut back and try to keep more some any of our hard-earned cash.

My thought processes evolved slowly. After reading the above-listed posts, I thought about what I've done to cut back and how I could write about it and share it with you. Then I thought about how everyone must be looking for and finding new ways to economize. Why not invite others to write about their saving savvy too. Together we are a wealth of information. I believe that we can all learn from each other. There's not a lot in this world that is within our control. Wouldn't it feel good to make a difference? If something I write can help even one person to save a few dollars, that's good enough for me.

I've asked a few of my blogging friends if they would be interested in participating in a project like this. The response was overwhelmingly positive. If you would like to share what you're doing to keep more of your dollars in your pocket, feel free to use the Money in the Bank title and the piggy bank photo. I only ask that you link back to this post and leave me a comment. I will announce all the participants here. Initially I thought of choosing a specific day of the week to post our tips but I'm lazy, inconsistent and prone to procrastination I didn't want to force those restrictions on you. (And Janie at Midlife Slices didn't want to do it that way.) Do it when the mood strikes. I'll keep it going until we run out of ideas or we've achieved economic recovery……..whichever comes first.

Without further ado, here is my first offering:

Making a List and Checking it Twice

I'm not what you would call a planner. I'm pretty much a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. (Much to my mother and youngest daughter's dismay) So it comes as quite a surprise even to me that I am so organized when it comes to grocery shopping. I've tried to ignore it but it's in my genes. When I was a young girl, my mother and grandmother (who lived with us) would comb the weekly grocery ads for bargains. They would make their lists and then spend their entire Saturday going from one store to the next in search of the bigger, better deal. They were better women than me. They would drive across town to save 2 cents on paper towels at this store and go to another store on the other side of town because ground round was on sale. I'm not that crazy good. There comes a point when my time has more value than the 2 cents I will save and I just suck it up and pay the higher price. Nevertheless, the lesson didn't go unlearned.

Each week, I sit down with my laptop and open the local grocer's ad online. First I go through the entire ad and plan my weekly menu according to what is on sale. We'll call that list #1: The Menu. My next step is to make a list of all the items on sale that I want to purchase. List #2: Sale items. List #3 is really just a continuation of List #2. I review the menu plan and see what else I need that isn't on sale. List #4 (I'm just CRAZY for lists, can you tell?) is also a continuation of #2 and #3 where I add miscellaneous items that we need like toothpaste, toilet paper, laundry detergent and the Diet Coke that My Harley Stud requires to quench his addiction.

Here's where I might lose you as some may consider my list-making a bit neurotic. But I swear if you will take the extra 20 minutes to follow these instructions, you will not only save money but will also save time. The last step of this list-making craziness is to take #s 2, 3 and 4 and arrange all the items on a brand new list according to the aisles in your store. Yeah, I know, it might seem a little obsessive but you will thank yourself if you're anything like me. And I know you are. At least YOU are. You know who YOU are. You commented on my last post how you are just as forgetful, distracted and scatter-brained as I am. This could be YOUR saving grace.

If after trying my grocery shopping method, you feel compelled to send expensive gifts to show your gratitude, (something that comes in a little blue box would be nice) just shoot me an email to request my shipping address and I will be happy to oblige. *wink*

Check out these money savers too:

Jan at Jan's Sushi Bar

Jan has combined her money saving skills with some great ideas for Valentines' Day. Check her out.

Nothing Fancy

Calling all book lovers!

Midlife Slices

She's got a million of 'em

If you would like to play along, copy the piggy bank photo, use the title, leave me a comment telling me of your post and link back to this post. The beauty of this game is that there is no schedule. When you have a tip, take the pig and run with it.

Happy saving!


Anonymous said...

Wow...that's some organized shopping. You need to come up here and give my clients (and me) some lessons on how to do it up right! Very impressed...i need to try this method out.

Post looks great, i bet loads of people start stopping by to share money saver ideas...are you ready for that!! I'll try to come up with something this weekend...perhaps i will try to focus on the psychology of being frugal, i kind of like ranting and being the humbug LOL...


Anonymous said...

We make a list only because otherwise we forget things and have to make a second trip. I've never been the run all over town for the best deal kinda gal when it comes to groceries since in general you burn up in gas what you would have otherwise have saved.

We do however buy all of our perishables at Kroger grocery who seems to have better perishables than the discount stores, and then buy all of our canned goods, paper goods, etc. at Wal-mart. Seems to work for our pocketbook.

The Blue Ridge Gal
(great post!)

Beth said...

I am a list person. I don't go through the whole menu and sale item list - but I do make my grocery list in the order of the layout of the store. I can't wait for my husband to wake up because he keeps telling me no does lists in the layout of the store. And I love being right!

cheatymoon said...

That's quite a method. My other half tends to do that and split shopping between a few stores. I like this concept. I am super frugal, I'm sure I will have a post or two to link... Have a good weekend!

MsMVNJ said...

Thank you for the tips. I'm awful - I keep a pad on the fridge to check off things as we run out and then when I get to the store, I realize that the list is on the fridge! I need to become more organized and frugal - this will help!

Lori said...

Great post! Love the picture of the piggy bank! I already do something pretty similar to you except that I do go to two different stores but only because they are across from one another so don't have to drive far. I too, have made my final list according to where they are in the store...I thought I was the only one that did!

I am excited to read future posts from different people on this topic!

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, when the kids were small and I was much more dedicated to saving money while shopping, I did the same thing you do - went over the store's circular (since I had no car, I couldn't drive to different stores for different bargains, so we shopped at the store down the street), made my menu based on what was on sale, made a grocery list that I DID NOT deviate from, and made that grocery list based on the layout of the store.

Beth, you can go "nyah-nyah" at your husband twice.

Anyhoo, my "Money in the Bank" post is up:

Have a lovely weekend, y'all.

Anonymous said...

I'm working on my post! Great job, SMB!!!!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Thistle-I think a post on the psychology of being frugal would be very interesting.

BRG-I live out of town like you do so traveling from store to store doesn't appeal to me as I drive enough. But I will sometimes get my fruits and veggies at a farmers market which not only saves money but is so much better than what is in the store. It's a bit of a drive though and sometimes I'm just too lazy.

Beth-Nothing better than a good "I told you so" LOL It sounds like there's a few of us.

Movie-I look forward to reading your frugal tips.

MsMVNJ-I'm terrible too. You wouldn't believe how many times I've left the list at home. I've started putting it in my purse as soon as I finish and that seems to help. *sigh*

Smiles-I swear we are all related somehow.

Jan-Thanks for playing. As you can see, I've linked your post. It's great and oh so timely.

Fancy-I can't wait to hear your tips.

Pseudo said...

Well, I'm not off to a great start. The first thing I thought was, "if I were rich, I would pay someone to do this for me."

Thanks for getting this started SMB! I will start thinking about my first post. Rough blogging week for me as I have a house guest.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Enjoy your house guest and jump back in when he/she leaves. We'll be here. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Well, hi! Thanks for the send up, first! Second, I love seeing forums like this get started. I will think of ways we have gone to save money and try to hop on this too. (I don't think my own Spin would qualify since I really took liberties with the subject!)
Nice to "meet you"!

Lynn - the piggy bank painter said...

Ya know, I have LOTS of piggy bank photos you could use. And they would be more colorful than a plain white one : )

Anonymous said...

My "Money in the Bank" post is up.


rachaelgking said...

Ugh. I wish I could be that organized! Maybe this will be the year I finally grow up a little (financially)...

Beth Niquette said...

How VERY interesting! Goodness gracious. I have so much yet to learn.

Thanks, my friend, for your comment on my blog. (grin) Take care, and have a lovely day!

Anonymous said...

Every week I tell myself I'm going to join the Spin Cycle and I always forget. Punch me in the shoulder next time, would ya? I love your idea! I'm a work-in-progress when it comes to money saving ideas so we'll see if I can think of anything but in the meantime, I'm seeing what you have for me! Sticking to the list...I know that works. It really does!

Anonymous said...

Man, way to throw me under the bus and make me look all bossy. It's not like I stomped my feet and said....NO, I don't want to do it THAT way. gaw.....

Now I've got to go work on my "money in the bank" post because YOU told me to. Now who's the bossy one??? *wink*

Anonymous said...

My post is up and it's 12:05 a.m. so I'm going to bed but you can find me here:

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Sprite's Keeper-You're quite welcome and thanks fo stopping by. I hope you will play along. And thanks for the inspiration.

Lynn-Geesh, what was I thinking! Have to blame my midlife mush brain. Have any with money in them?

Fancy-It's listed. Great job too!

Lilu-I think you're growing up just fine.

Beth N-Glad you enjoyed it. :-)

BV-Consider yourself punched. I think SK left a good prompt this week. Money in the bank has no schedule so when you have something just take the pig and run with it.

NotBossy aka MLS- Bwahahahaha! Geesh, can't a girl take a joke. *wink*
And btw, I think you misunderstood the instructions, thanks to your gentle suggestion, there is no schedule and no time rule to post. When you have something, take the pig and go with it. That's the beauty of it.

Consider yourself linked and great post by the way! It sounds like you've got a million of them.

Anonymous said...

That's great! That's exactly how I do my grocery shopping, too. Although with the gas prices the way they are (even though they're down from $4 a gallon, but still), driving across town to save two cents sense. LOL

I laughed when I read your routine, because I do the same thing. I shop at WinCo, a discount grocery store and Costco. The only thing I get at "regular" grocery stores in meat and produce. The meat and produce at the discount grocery store is less than stellar. And the humanity at those stores leaves a lot to be desired, but I try to contain my natural inclination to flinch. LOL

I make my menus from the meats that are on sale at the regular grocery stores, and build my menus around that. Then I do a list for Costco, a list for WinCo an a list for the regular grocery stores for the meat and produce. Sometimes I end up at four different stores throughout the course of the day. But I really save a lot of money that way and I get the best quality for the best price.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any $48 slices of cake on your list. What's up with that?

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Mama-I like Costco too but I hate fighting the crowds so I usually just stick with my somewhat higher priced but good quality store and shop the sales. I love BOGOs.

Deadenders-Now why are you blowing the "surprise" of my next post? Thanks for stopping in.

binks said...

Sweet peas! I can't remember the dang bags, what makes you think I am going to remember a list?? If the list isn't written on my hand, it is sitting on my desk or kitchen counter. Right next to the stinkin' green grocery bag.
Publix's BOGO free are da bomb! Am I right?!?!

Anonymous said...

I'm in! I posted this morning.
I feel like I need to tell myself I'm linked or something.. :-)

CDB said...

This is a fantastic idea! Thanks for getting it going. I Spun on the Cost-Saving Spin last week, but since it wasn't earth-shattering, I'll try to come up with a new post to link up. Great idea! I am prone to procrastination, so I loved that reference. (: