Getting my frugal on: the monthly Big Lots trip


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I have been reading a ton of money saving and frugality blogs lately. In part, this is due to my plans to cut back spending drastically in order to meet hefty savings goals in 2011, and in part it's because I have this fascination-horror thing with extreme frugality that keeps me coming back for more even when I don't want to. Still, I had these blogs in mind when I headed over to Big Lots today. I generally go about once a month, just to see what is there and to restock the things I know I can get more cheaply there. Last time I went, I posted about it. I was awfully proud of my discounts that time, and I *think* I may have done even better today, so I thought, in the spirit of the frugal bloggers, I'd tell you about my trip again.

Today's haul included:
-1 box Kashi trail mix granola bars, $2 (regular price $3.89-$4.69)
-4 boxes Annie's Mac N Cheese, $1.20 each (regular price $1.99-$2.99)
-4 tubes Tom's of Maine toothpaste, $2.50 each (regular price $3.74-$5.34)
-3 cans organic Del Monte diced tomatoes, $.80 each (regular price $1.69 each)
-3 bottles Green Shield organic cleaner (bathroom, kitchen, and all-purpose), $2.50 each (regular price $3.95)
-1 package 38 Hefty UltraFlex 13 gallon trash bags, $6 (regular price $6.99)
-1 50 square foot roll Reynold's recycled aluminum foil, $2 (regular price $4.10-$4.99)
-3 15 ct tins Zhena Gypsy Teas Superberry Pink Tea, $2 each (regular price $4.90-$9.99)
-1 32 oz bag Aunt Jemina yellow cornmeal, $.80 (regular price $1.98)
-3 packages 4-count Fuji AA batteries, $1.70 each with $1 each rebate (regular price $3)
-2 packages 4-count Fuji AAA batteries, $1.70 each with $1 each rebate (regular price $3)
-1 3 pack Scotch Brite scrub sponges, $3 (regular price $3.99)
-1 2 pack Mr. Clean latex gloves, $1.20 (regular price $2.70)
-1 4 pack Bridgeport glue sticks, $1 (regular price $1.99 for similar)

I know what a true frugalista would say looking at this list--most of it I didn't need to buy at all! Granola bars and mac and cheese are convenience foods, I can make my own vinegar-based cleaning products, and I ought to be saving aluminum foil and trash bags. And I hear that, I really do. But the reality of my life is that some level of convenience is required. Besides, lots of things on this list are necessities--canned tomatoes and cornmeal are both whole foods, and I'm not about to go toothpaste free!

My favorite find today, though, was the batteries. Like many people, I'm sure, we go through a ton of batteries--remote controls, Wii controllers, electric toothbrushes, and on and on. And yes, these are modern, non-frugal luxuries, but since we have them and use them, it's better to get cheaper batteries than more expensive ones, right? After the rebates, the batteries I bought today were $.70 for each package of four. You can't beat that!

The other thing that impressed me was the tea. I'm going to be trying to cut back on my coffee consumption in the next few months, and I am hoping to meet some of my hot beverage needs with green tea. The problem is, I don't like unadulterated green tea, I think it tastes like dirt. My fingers are crossed that these teas, with their berry flavorings, will go down a bit easier.

There you have it. Me, moonlighting as a frugality blogger! How'd I do?


I miss big lots so much. I always felt rich there. :)

Good haul! I definitely think dedicating part of a budget to stock up items is a good thing. I think convenience foods more than pay for themselves if it means avoiding a meal out or unplanned lunches, etc.

dude. you and big lots. my hell.

so these are things you would have normally purchased anyway, right? that's my fear: buying stuff "on sale" that i wouldn't have purchased anyway.

have you seen the pyschodoodles on TLC who got six hundred dollars of groceries for three fiddy? but it was like TWO GROCERY carts of gatorade and i'm sorry, if your electrolites are that out of balance you need to see a doctor.

Not too shabby! I need to visit Big Lots, you buy a lot of the things I buy!

And I agree w. Heather re: convenience foods. Things like Kashi bars keep me from getting take out for lunch.

Laura, I can honestly say every single thing I bought I would have bought anyway, with the possible exception of the tea. I would have bought tea, but I may not have bought that type of tea. Anyway, yes, this time it was pretty much all stuff on my list.

I never thought of buying batteries at Big Lots. I'm so glad you posted that because now I will definitely look for those!

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