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Saving Money 101

October 5, 2010

Some of you have asked me exactly how do you save money and still eat healthy? Well, that was my problem when I first started couponing also. It has taken me a while to figure it out (and by no means am I an expert at this).

First thing you want to do is make sure you have a good printer. (Make sure you can set it to black and white only so you don’t waste lots of color printing coupons.)

Visit these websites for good (real) coupons. Print limit is normally two per coupon (but these reset usually at the first of the month).

www.coupons.com

www.smartsource.com

www.redplum.com

Second thing you need to do is get a subscription to your local Sunday paper. When there are good coupons in the paper you will definitely want to buy more than one (three is a good number unless you have a huge family and need to buy tons of stuff).  

Sign up for cellfire and Upromise.

Cellfire allows you to load coupons directly to your store card (Kroger, Food Lion, etc.) The coupon is automatically deducted from your ticket when you buy that particular item.

Upromise allows you to upload coupons to your store cards as well. However, you don’t actually see this money come off your receipt. The “coupon” amount is put into an account for you, your children, or anyone who is or will be going to college. See upromise.com for more details.

I actually downloaded cellfire to my blackberry, because occasionally there are different coupons on the app than what you will find online.

Now I’ve told you how to get the coupons……but what you really need to know is how to shop with the coupons.

Use your ads in the Sunday paper to look for good sales. It takes a while to really recognize some of the best sales, but it will come in time. I don’t buy anything (except bread, milk, and fresh produce) unless it is on sale.

The sales usually rotate about once every six weeks. You might see a particular item on sale every week, but normally it will only hit rock bottom pricing once every six to eight weeks. So….when that happens you want to have your coupons ready to use on the sale item and STOCK UP! I buy enough to at least last six weeks when it’s a really good deal. The first month you may actually spend $20 more each week than you normally do. This is because you will need to start a stockpile of the items you use on a regular basis. Once you are past the first month or two you will really start to see the savings because then you are only purchasing items when they are on sale (and most of the time with a coupon). 

Coupons aren’t the only way to save!!!!!!!!! I buy in “bulk” (well it’s what I would consider bulk for two people).

Remember what I said about the sales rotating every six weeks?  This happens with meat too. So when there is a great price on meat, I stock up. Unfortunately, we don’t have a deep freezer. However, we keep the freezer we do have pretty much full all the time. I buy at least ten pounds of whatever meat is on sale. Typically there is one week (sometimes two) out of the six week rotation when there are really great deals on meat. Those weeks most of my budget goes to buying just meat. I also have to buy freezer ziploc bags so that I can split the meat up for several meals.

With hamburger meat, I actually patty out about a third of what I buy so that when we want hamburgers I don’t have to mess with it! (Make sure to label and date all your meat so you know when you put it in the freezer.) But I buy ribs, chicken, roasts, pork chops, etc. when it’s on sale. I just buy ALOT of it!

If you look in the sales papers you can usually find at least one or two good sales on produce each week. We try to eat what is on sale, but I’m kind of picky so it doesn’t always work out that way.

We eat ALOT of salad. I used to buy the salad mix and just add dressing. Now I buy the veggies seperate. It’s cheaper and lasts double the amount of time as the bag salad.

It takes time to really see the savings…give it a month or two at least. You will definitely need to stockpile stuff when it is on sale to really be able to save the most. I’ve been saving on average between 50 and 80% each week. The really cool thing is that even though we are spending much less, we have a ton more food here and we are actually eating better quality stuff! 

The thing that has helped me the most is researching what others do. I have learned soooooooo much from www.southernsavers.com and www.hip2save.com.  These are my two favorite sites. I check them at least three times a day everyday. Not only do they post coupons and sales, but there’s also alot of freebie stuff posted on there. Today I got a Coldwater Creek scarf for $4.10 just because I saw it on www.hip2save.com.  I would have never found that sale on my own because I rarely shop Coldwater Creek.

I know I have covered alot in this, but these are the basics. I want to help EVERYONE save as much money as we are. So feel free to email me with questions. I actually enjoy doing this!

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From → Coupons

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