At the savings starting block

Recently, I've been learning a lot from The Frugal Muse and other sites about creative ways to save on products—and even get things for free. My husband and I have been inspired to put some effort into this and start stacking up savings. While it's always beneficial to be careful with money, the economic conditions and our growing family have motivated us even more.

Last night, we braved the spring snow storm (OK, drove just a few blocks) and went to Walgreens. Right before, we spent a few minutes looking at store fliers and coupons we'd collected and tried to find some good deals by combining sales and coupons. Then, we marched into the drug store with a fistful of coupons and a plan.

When we got to the store, we hit a few bumps in the road. We realized that some of those "deals" were not deals at all. For example, we had a rebate offer for a certain type of shampoo, but since it was a super expensive variety, even with the savings it would be more than we usually spend on shampoo. And a few of the products were out of stock. In addition, we forgot to clip a $2 off coupon and give it to the cashier for one of our items. Oops.

On the whole, though, it was worth the small amount of effort. We saved more than $40 (including a few free items: shampoo, Pepsi, and Excedrin) on a variety of items we use all the time, such as toothpaste, laundry soap, garbage bags, and batteries.

With a bit more practice, I think we'll be on the road to saving big.

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