Proverbs 22:7

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2012 Sorority House Shopping - Part 2

As the Staples commercial says... "That was easy." I'm done, with the exception of the Vanilla spray - the same darn thing I had trouble finding this time last year. This Fall I need to remember to grab an extra bottle to NOT USE at home. Vanilla is NOT a summer scent. Ugh.

I had my 20% off coupon to use at Big Lots, which just made the prices that much better. Helped me keep almost everything under budget this year, even with tax included. Last year I saved big money on some key purchases, but those savings helped cushion the tax and other items that I was unable to bring under budget.

Item Annual Quantity Need Budget (50%) Actual Comments
Toilet Paper 156 Rolls 156 $50.00 $41.99 80 triple rolls = 240 regular rolls. $0.175 per roll. See Below.
Paper Towels 52 Rolls 24 $15.00 $12.84 24 rolls. $0.535 per roll.
Trash Bags - Large/Tall 300 Bags 75 $10.00 $7.96 76 bags. $0.105 per bag.
Dish Soap 12 Lg Bottles 9 $14.00 $10.66 2 gallons = 256 oz = almost 11 regular (24 oz) bottles. $0.046 per oz.
Dishwasher (Liquid) 24 Bottles/330 packs 110 $15.00 $16.03 135 packs. Package size increased from 110 last year.
Bath/kitchen hand soap 24 Bottles 20 $15.00 $12.84 Three 56oz bottles each with a 7.5oz refillable bottle. 190.5oz total = 25 7.5oz bottles = $0.514 per bottle
Napkins 6 Packs 6 $4.50 $4.28 See Below
Kleenex 12 Boxes 10 $8.00 $6.42 1 regular box = 75 tissues. I got 5 family size boxes of 200 which = 13 regular boxes
Windex 2 Lg Bottles 1 $2.00 $1.71 2 regular bottles. They only asked for 1 bottle, but I thought the bottle was kinda small, so I got 2 since it was still under budget.
Bathroom Cleaner 2 Lg Bottles 1 $2.00 $2.40 See below
Kitchen Cleaner 3 Lg Bottles 1 $3.00 $2.40 1 bottle.
Sponges 2 Packs 2 $4.00 $3.42 I got 4 total sponges, but they are a higher quality sponge. I wanted 8… but budget didn’t allow that. These that I bought can be washed and reused.
Duster 1 1 $5.00 $2.66 Microfiber duster with collapsible handle.
Vanilla Scents 2 Sprays (bottle) 1 $2.50 $0.00 Haven't bought it yet. Couldn’t find it. I tried 3 places. Vanilla is a fall/winter scent. I'm still on the hunt for it.
HE Washer Cleaner 1 box? 1 $5.00 $4.26 1 bottle.
Oxyclean 1 bottle 1 $2.00 $0.86 See Below
    TOTAL $157.00 $130.73 $26.27 under budget. Still need $2-$3 for Vanilla Spray once I can find it.

Toilet Paper: Sam's Club had the best deal on TP this year. The 2 big boxes on the bottom of the pile are the TP. I promise, it's soft fluffy TP, and not single ply yucky Scott's brand. The chapter ran out of TP last year and had to buy more during the Spring. So this year, I wanted to be extra cautious about TP claims that their roll equaled however many regular rolls. Last year, Charmin mega rolls claimed to be  the equivalent of 4 rolls each... and even though they were BIG rolls, they still, obviously, weren't enough. So this year I checked multiple brands regular rolls, and determined that a "regular roll" generally has anywhere from 120-170 sheets on it. So I split the difference and determined that a regular roll has 150 sheets, and double roll, therefore, should have at least 300 sheets, and a triple roll should have 450. (I highly doubt those Charmin rolls last year had 600 sheets each on them! Psh! Live and learn, I suppose...) The commercial brand TP that I selected this year had exactly 450 2-ply sheets per roll, and claimed that 40 rolls = 120 regular rolls. Price per box was $20.99 with tax, or 17.5 cents per regular roll - waaaay under the 25 cents per roll maximum that I'll buy TP at. I checked prices at Sam's club, went to Big Lots, looked at their options, and ultimately went back to Sam's club to get the TP because it was the best deal. Better yet, because I am so far under budget, if the powers that be who are reading this think that it would be better to have 1 more box of TP, to be on the safe side and hopefully not run out this year, there's still plenty of room in the budget to do so. Just let me know if I should get one more.

Napkins: Ugh… just realized the cashier only rang me up for 2 packs of napkins, instead of the 3 I bought! Well… it should have been 3 packs of 250 count napkins = 750 napkins (only needed 600). I was supposed to be over budget on this but since they only rang up 2 packs instead of 3, I'm under! Comes out to $0.57 per 100, but it really should have been $6.42 or $0.642 per 100. Next time I go back to big lots (which is often) I'll tell them and pay for it at that time.

Bathroom Cleaner: Edit. Scratch that. I was overcharged on the bathroom cleaner. The bathroom cleaner bottle and the kitchen cleaner bottle looked very similar, but they were NOT the same. The bathroom cleaner bottle was $1.95 before my discount was taken and tax added, and I should have paid a total of $1.67 for it. However, she scanned the kitchen cleaner twice, which was $2.80 before discount and tax. I guess she thought they were the same bottle. Boo!

OxyClean: First off, in my previous post, I mentioned something about oxy powder. I failed to realize that the wish list said "bottle" for oxyclean. Not tub or bin (indicating powder), so therefore I concluded that they are actually looking for the liquid kind. SCORE! Well, the problem is, name brand OxyClean in a bottle is $5 a bottle. And even the Clorox Oxy stuff at Big Lots was $2.80. Even after the discount, it was over budget, and I was doing SO GOOD staying under budget for almost every other item, that I just couldn't buy it at that price. So, I bought an empty spray bottle instead, and I fully intend to mix up two mason jars full of homemade Oxyclean for them to refill with. And... well, if they don't like it, I came in far enough under budget that if they want the name brand commercialized stuff that bad they can still afford to purchase it. Won't hurt my feelings none. :)

I'm 17% under budget, which is comparable to last year (18%). I'm blaming the dishwasher packs. The packs of 110 last year were $13.78 after tax, which is $2.25 lower than I paid this year. That $2.25 would have been JUST ENOUGH for me to beat last year. Well, boo!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 Sorority House Shopping - Part 1

Well... it's that time of year again! Last year I documented my journey to buy a years worth of household supplies for Alpha Xi Delta at Southern Poly and I'll be doing the same again this year. The list is shorter this year, as they still had supplies left over from last year. Here's what we're looking to get, the estimated retail cost, the budgeted cost (50% of retail price), and the amount I actually spend on those supplies.

As last year, I'm looking for the absolute best value, while purchasing convenience factor for college women. Those of you who know me, know that I'm currently on a "hippie" journey of going all natural, non-toxic, etc. If I had my way, I'd be COMPLETELY frugal and I would make homemade dish detergent for them, as well as other frugal household cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. But something tells me that college girls may not be as welcoming of frugal non-toxic alternatives to the mainstream cleaning products that everyone is so used to.

Funny thing is, just last weekend, I cleaned my cleaning closet. I had practically full bottles of Windex, kitchen and bathroom cleaners that I dumped down the drain and tossed. I totally should have saved those and donated them to the chapter rather than spending money to buy them new ones :( I just wasn't thinking about the fact that I would probably do the sorority house shopping again this year and when I made the toss. Luckily, I do still have 2 big bottles of dish soap, but since then, I've made my own homemade dish soap, which is in mason jars under my kitchen sink. So, that's 2 less that I have to spend money on out of their budget because I'll just give them to the chapter to help save their money.

Here's this years shopping list:

Item Annual Quantity Own Need Estimated Retail (of Need) Budget (50%) Actual Comments
Toilet Paper 156 Rolls 0 156 $100.00 $50.00 $0.00  
Paper Towels 52 Rolls 28 24 $30.00 $15.00 $0.00  
Trash Bags - Large/Tall 300 Bags 225 75 $20.00 $10.00 $0.00  
Dish Soap 12 Lg Bottles 3 9 $27.00 $14.00 $0.00  
Dishwasher (Liquid) 24 Bottles/330 packs 220 110 $30.00 $15.00 $0.00  
Bath/kitchen hand soap 24 Bottles 4 20 $30.00 $15.00 $0.00  
Napkins 6 Packs 0 6 $9.00 $4.50 $0.00  
Kleenex 12 Boxes 2 10 $15.00 $8.00 $0.00  
Windex 2 Lg Bottles 1 1 $4.00 $2.00 $0.00  
Bathroom Cleaner 2 Lg Bottles 1 1 $4.00 $2.00 $0.00  
Kitchen Cleaner 3 Lg Bottles 2 1 $6.00 $3.00 $0.00  
Sponges 2 Packs 0 2 $8.00 $4.00 $0.00  
Duster 1 0 1 $10.00 $5.00 $0.00  
Vanilla Scents 2 Sprays (bottle) 2 1 $5.00 $2.50 $0.00  
HE Washer Cleaner 1 box? 0 1 $10.00 $5.00 $0.00  
Oxyclean 1 bottle 0 1 $4.00 $2.00 $0.00  
      TOTAL $312.00 $157.00 $0.00  

Based on the budget, and reviewing the prices I spent last year for certain products, the goal unit price I want to spend for each item is as follows. I know that I will not be able to meet the goal price for each of these because a 50% budget of the retail price is difficult for some of these items. So, I'm hoping to come way under budget on the things that I can, so I can be slightly over budget on those harder items, and still be under budget once everything is purchased. The ones with a *** next to them are the ones I think I will, unfortunately, be over budget for, but that doesn't mean I won't try!

  • Toilet Paper - $0.25 per roll
  • Paper Towels - $0.50 per roll ***
  • Trash Bags - Large/Tall - $0.10 per bag
  • Dish Soap - $1.00 per bottle
  • Dishwasher packs - $0.13 per pack
  • Bath/kitchen hand soap - $0.75 per bottle
  • Napkins - $0.75 per 100 napkins ***
  • Kleenex - $0.75 per box ***
  • Windex - $2.00 per bottle
  • Bathroom Cleaner - $2.00 per bottle
  • Kitchen Cleaner - $3.00 per bottle
  • Sponges - $0.50 per sponge ***
  • Duster - $5.00. Funny, last year my budget for a duster was only $1.50. I met that, but I guess it was an "el cheapo" duster that didn't last. Will have to move up in quality this year!
  • Vanilla Scents - $2.50 per spray can
  • HE Washer Cleaner - $5.00 (did not buy last year)
  • Oxyclean - $2.00 (did not buy last year) * Grumble Grumble. Really wish I could convince the gals to use the homemade version of this: Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide... I would totally make several mason jars full for them, if I knew they would use it... but they probably want the powder commercialized version. 
The link I posted for Kitchen Cleaner above will take you to a page with homemade recipes for cleaning products - the first one is super stupid simple: All Purpose Cleaner - Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. For the cost of a plastic spray bottle,  I could make this for them! Arg! Oh well, can't convince everyone to be hippie like me, but I can use my blog to educate, if nothing else.

I'll keep you all posted on the prices I'm able to get! Let the shopping begin!