With the most recent expense of our dog (and the need for new tires...for both cars, winter coats for the kids, countless house projects, etc.) we've had to tighten up our budget...again. One of the main areas a family can cut costs is in the food budget. Obviously I'm not saying cut out how much you eat; though it might help with losing the last of "baby" around my mid-section. Rather, I'm suggesting cutting out how much you spend. With a little effort, you can cut your grocery bill in half. For awhile I started my own coupon blog...but then I realized I was putting in a lot of work for very little reward; I enjoyed couponing, not blogging about it. However, there were some good pieces in there to get you started. So here goes...
I've heard the following comments regarding couponing:
1. It takes too much time to cut and organize coupons and then match the deals
True, it does take time. I found the initial start up to be the most time consuming. Now it usually won't take more than an hour a week for me to clip and organize my coupons. And matching the deals? There are SO many websites that will do the matching for you! My faves: Frugal Living NW, Money Saving Mom, Coupon Mom In fact, some women don't even clip coupons at all until these websites tell them which ones to clip.
2. You can only buy junk food with coupons
As you can see from the picture below, there isn't a single item of "junk." And, I essentially got paid to purchase those items. Also, there are tons of opportunities to buy cosmetics, toiletries, etc. for free or close to free. If you don't eat it, and it helps you buy it for free, donate it! (This will make more sense later)
|All the items above cost me $9.45 out of pocket. However, I had a $10 coupon to spend on my next purchase. It was like I was paid $.55 to buy all those things. The fruit was organic too.|
3. We've all been there (meaning I must coupon because I have to)
Whether you "have to" or not, couponing is a great way to save money. Why give all your hard earned money to the store when you can get a better deal on it?
4. Don't you have to go to a zillion different stores?
Unless there is an amazing deal elsewhere I tend to stick with Albertsons, Fred Meyer and Safeway and I will usually only pick 2 of the 3 of those to visit. If Rite Aid has a great money maker I will go there but otherwise I don't bother. Walgreens is another great money maker but Walgreens is 20 miles away usually making it cost prohibitive.
5. And just plain "Why?"
For me, it's fun; like a game. Where can I get the best deal? What store will pay me to buy this week? My family would rather spend our grocery money on something fun. In addition, we are currently on one income and attempting to remain free from credit card debt so it makes sense to shop frugally.
More to come (but not too much because this isn't a coupon blog ;) )
Readers: What do you do to save money? I need all the tips I can get!