Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Saving Money

I have been getting involved in coupons. I was always under the belief that they really didn't save you much money, because you could always buy generic cheaper. Well, I have discovered that this is not always the case. Coupons can save you a lot of money. Shopping smart and changing the way you look at how you shop are key ingredients to saving a lot of money.

I discovered two blogs that got me started in coupons. Money Saving Moms, and IMommies. It has taken me about a month to start feeling the coupon love, and really get what I am doing, but I have already scored some great deals. I got $60 worth of free cheese from Target, $.10 full size toothpaste from Lowes food, a free box of cereal from Food Lion, and quite a few deals from CVS. I signed up for a reduced rate Sunday paper to get coupons, and made a few mistakes at first, but overall, there are some great deals to be had out there with a little foresight and planning.

Some other resources that I am using are the Grocery Game to save myself some time in finding good deals. I signed up for their $1 for the first 4 weeks, to see how it worked, and I have discovered that for my area, only the Kroger list is really worth paying for. Yes, it is a paid service, but I save a ton more than I spend on it. I have saved between 40-60% on groceries each time I have shopped at Kroger since using this list, and a lot of has been without coupons.

This has taken some time initially to wrap my brain around it all, and begin to organize my personal system, but it has been fun each and every time I save a bundle or get a really good deal on something.

Here are some tips that might be helpful if you want to shop the deals.
1. Use online coupons.
2. Learn your local stores' coupon policy
3. Use the internet to find the deals
4. Shop CVS and other drug stores
5. Only buy the things on your list
6. Stock up when the price is great... learn to have a stockpile and then "shop" from home as needed.
7. Don't buy what you don't need, unless it is free (you can then donate it to charity)
8. Loose brand consciousness... if an item is free would you try it?

I am still in the learning process of this all. One area I am working on is working within a budget. I am totally excited to test myself on how cheap I can be with our family's food budget. I am going to start very slow and work my way down. I plan on keeping up and even raising my standards in the quality of the food I purchase while doing this. Are you ready to try?