Another thing I need to get into again is shopping with coupons. I have done this in the past, and saved TONS of money on groceries. And the last few months I have done it a little, and haven't saved NEARLY what I could have been saving. So I am going to repost some info that I have posted before on my other blog. Along with some updated info. Hopefully this will encourage you to do a little work and reap some big rewards.
First, this year I am going to be tracking my progress with an Excel Spreadsheet that can be found HERE. Thank you to The Coupon Project!!! That way I won't have to try to keep some notebook that the boys will drag off and end up drawing in. Now it is on my computer, and very handy to pull up and add to!
Second, I have a Coupon Binder! You can check it out HERE. I buy coupons either from the local gas station on Sundays, but more times then not, I buy them from Coupons & Things by Dede. There you can buy whole inserts of coupons. They are much better coupons then end up in my local paper. I match the coupons up with store sales and take advantage of stores that double and triple their coupons.
Third, I meal plan. I had stopped doing this for a little while, and BOY DID I NEED TO GO BACK! I find that when I don't meal plan, our eating is not as good! We don't eat out, but I make a lot fast foods at home. But aren't always packed with good stuff either. I also am in such a rush at dinner time, that I always WISH that I had a plan! If I make a meal plan and keep it, I can have something in the crock pot cooking, I can have frozen meat already dethawing the night before. I can have the bread rising and ready to eat by the time dinner comes around. Planning your meals helps in MANY ways. And most always insures that you have all of your ingredients! Which is a bonus!!!
Forth, I make a shopping list, AND I STICK TO IT!!! Before I go to the store, I look at the ads, usually on-line. Then I make a list of what I think I have coupons for, and what I need for the next week or 2. Then I check through my coupons, noting on my list any coupons that I have. Then I can pretty closely figure up what I will be spending.
Fifth, I shop only once a week. You have to figure what works best for you and your family, but don't go more than once a week! If your list contains all of the above, you won't need to shop more than once. The problem with going more than once, is the temptation of picking up something else that you "need". I used to shop at Wal-mart, and I remember coming out of their EVERYTIME with over $100, when I would just run in to get a few things! Never again. I can't afford that!
Sixth, make more from scratch! Don't be afraid to make bread, or a casserole. Find a friend who can help you, if you just don't cook, and ask them for help!!! My sister told me the other day, that she loves homemade bread and would like to make it, but the yeast scares her! The whole rising thing, then kneading, then rising again... It can be scary! Until you do it! Putting together a casserole and then serving it to your family for the first time, can be scary too! What if they don't like it??? BUT WHAT IF THEY DO!? Follow the directions, take your time! You can do it! I personally don't buy much convenience type food. If I buy a 2 liter of soda, it will usually sit in our backroom until we have company or another special occasion. Chips, I will buy a bag, then they will also sit in the cupboard for a special occasion. Instant mashed potatoes, no thanks. Meals in a box or bag, no thanks. If I can get those items free with coupons, I usually give them to our local food bank. My family's health is important to me!
Last, set a dollar amount and stick to it, but be flexible! I know, contradicting myself! But not really. If you currently spend $200 for your family of 4, and you KNOW that could come down, Set an amount of $150, then if that was super easy set it lower for the following week. But if you "fail", don't be afraid to try it again. Failures are how you learn!
There are MANY resources to learn how to "coupon" and save money by matching coupons with sales. Here are a few I use:
If you watch those sites also, you can get TONS of free samples on things you may like to try! Or samples that are GREAT for traveling.
We will see how well I do again, when I really work on it. In the past, I have saved well over $150 a week on groceries (including toiletries, diapers, etc). And right now I am feeding, diapering a baby and cleaning all of the above with $100. Actually I think I am feeding the dogs out of that too. But it can be much better! For a while I was spending $70 or less per week!
Hopefully you are encouraged to check out some sites and try it yourself!
See More Frugal Ideas on Life As Mom!