I found out a nice little secret idea. Forget about it! Yep, this is my secret to saving money. Here’s the story:
In 2014 most of you read that we had the house fire. During the months that followed, tons of wonderful people (a bunch that we didn’t even know?!) were sharing things with us. They gave us clothes, toys, furniture, money and gift cards. Well, we were getting so many gift cards that I had to come up with some type of organization system for them. Some needed to be used up immediately after the fire (clothes, grooming supplies, etc.) but some would not be used until we had our home back (food, namely for the pantry and freezer. My method was to put them all in a small metal box that a friend gave me for crafting. It was about the size of a 3×5 index card. I purchased an index card alphabet file and stuck it in the box. Now I could place each of the cards under the appropriate section – smart right…maybe?!

gift-cards

It has been almost three years since that fire. When I was cleaning some stuff up, I found the box. First instinct was to shake it (have no clue why I did that – duh!) and it made noise, so I opened it. The individual file cards were still in there, so I decided to check it one more time. SURPRISE….two Safeway grocery cards!! WOO HOO – even better was when I called on them to find out they had not lost any value! We started the first of our new year with $150 to spend on groceries – yea!!!
Once upon a time, I carried a Safeway savings card, but for the life of me could not find it now (figures). We got to the store and the first thing I did was sign up for a new card – machine was broken (figures again – yes, I am giggling at myself now). The nice lady in the booth did tell me that the card would work just fine but to try to register on the machine next time I come in. Now, I remember thinking to myself “Sure I will – not – I very seldom go to Safeway to shop since it is more expensive UNLESS you have their card – which I hate deeply!”
I took the card, caught up with my sister and grandson, and we continued to shop. The cart kept getting more and more full – got me a bit worried. We could not afford $300 worth of food at that moment and really did not need that much. Our last stop was at the deli at which point my sister and I decided; there was enough food in the cart to not hit up the deli.
Time for the damages!
My sister and grandson were unloading while I grabbed my new Club Card and the two gift cards. I also took out my checkbook waiting to see how bad the damages were. The cashier kept sliding foods; the little dinger kept dinging, the total kept growing on the screen. I had shown her the new club card and the two gift cards before she started, now she was asking for them.
She scanned the first – $50 off. Then the second $100 off. Then the club card…the dinger kept dinging. The noises stopped, and she announced to me:
“Your total is .75¢.”
I am sure the look on my face was shocking enough to scare a ghost – I thought I heard her wrong, so I said: “HOW MUCH?” (yes, my voice did get louder here!) To which she replied the same –
“Your total is .75¢.” (This time with a really big grin on her face!)
I stood there stunned for a moment, then glanced over at my sister who was now starting to giggle a bit. I calmly dug into my purse and pulled out a one dollar bill and handed it to the cashier. The gal waiting in line behind me leaned over and said: “Can I shop with you next time?” At this point, we were all laughing. Two more people behind her also requested to shop with me.
So now, the family pick-me-up motto for this year is “only 75 cents, ” and anytime we feel a bit stressed, one of us will look at the other, say “only 75 cents,” and start laughing! Over $200 worth of groceries for .75¢ – can’t beat that way to save!
Well, I have told my sister that I am going to try this for 2017 Christmas time. I am going to pick up a gift card (Walmart too) and every time I shop in that store, add $10-$20 to the card. Then just shove it back into my purse for “saving” purposes. I will try to remember to share with you, toward the end of this year, if this worked or not. Wish me luck! I don’t think it will be as nice a surprise as this Safeway visit was, but it may just make my Christmas shopping easier!
( I got the idea to share this story with you from a fellow blogger’s 2016 resolution: https://achatovercoffee.com/2016/12/31/new-years-goals-stash-some-cash/ She also has a pretty good sense of humor and shares some great ideas on her home improvements. Check her out if you get a minute!)
merry-christmas    to me in 2017???

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