No Money...No Problems!I am thrilled to be a guest blogger on Jessica's lovely blog today! Much like Jessica, I am a stay-at-home mom who tries to live well and eat well without spending a bundle. One of the ways that I save money for my family is by using coupons--I hope it's something you'll consider, too.
I used to think that coupons are for suckers who will purchase a product they generally don't buy just for the sake of "saving money” and a company’s way of conning people into trying their new products. I have learned, however, that coupons can save consumers (yes, even ones like me) money if used correctly. What is correctly? Well, here are a few basic strategies to get the most out of your coupons.
1. Buy the Sunday paper. Not only are there great comics (which I am a sucker for), crossword puzzles, and of course news--it is chock-full of coupons.
2. Only use coupons for items that you actually use, or products that you are not brand-picky about. (For instance, if there's a great deal on dishwasher detergent but it's not the one you typically use--it may be worth trying the brand that you can get a deal on. Why not?)
3. Study the ads for your local store. I am not all about going from store to store in search of a deal, honestly, so I stick to just my favorite store--Publix. I know that they announce the weekly specials on Thursdays. I pull the ads up online and use my coupons in conjunction with the weekly specials.
4. Use printable online coupons. I use coupons.com and smartsource.com. Many grocery store websites offer printable coupons, and surprisingly the Target.com website always has a generous supply of coupons available.
5. Use coupons with your store's promotions. A few weeks ago, Bic Soleil razors (normally $3.99/4-pack) were BOGO at my local grocery store. I happened to have two $2.00 off coupons (you can apply one manufacturer’s coupon per item, regardless of a BOGO sale at your grocery store). So, because the razors were buy one get one free and I had $4 in coupons, I walked away with 2 4-packs of razors for free!
6. Stack those coupons! Stacking coupons is using multiple coupons per each item you purchase. Most stores will allow you to use a manufacturer’s coupon in conjunction with a store coupon—and some will even allow a competitor’s coupon, too! I have saved SO much money this way-I can easily save 50% on “big ticket” items like diapers by stacking coupons.
7. Don't feel like you're being cheap! If you can save money, save it! Think of all the other wonderful things your money can do for you and your family. People behind you in the grocery line may roll their eyes when they see your stack of coupons, but believe me, when they hear your final total they'll perk up and start asking questions!
Being the skeptic that I am, it took me a long time to come around to using coupons. However, the first time I made out a list and shopped according to the sales at Publix, I saved $29.07! The kicker? I only actually spent $26.51! For a bill that could have added up to $55.58, I paid less than half at the small amount of $26.51--and that was only my first coupon experience!
Recently I spent $22 on $60 worth of groceries! (In this purchase was a $20 case of diapers, too—so for only a little over the cost of the actual diapers I brought SO much more home!) Your savings will increase as you get used to “couponing”.
One bummer about "couponing" is that there are not many coupons for produce or meats, which I would estimate that I generally spend 70% of my grocery money on. However, you can still significantly save on produce and meats by shopping with the specials. If broccoli is on special, incorporate it into your meals for the week. If whole chickens are on sale, roast a chicken! Shop and cook with the specials! In addition, frequent your local farmer's markets, if they're available. Produce is much cheaper through these venues because of low overhead and minimal mark-up. And as a bonus, you can feel good about supporting the "little man" and your local economy.
Here are some of my favorite coupon websites:
Living rich with coupons
Money Saving Mom
the Krazy Coupon Lady
Have questions? Need help? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org don't forget to check out my blog, Spartan Living.
Thanks Tristin! If you would like to guest post here on Thursdays, send me an email at email@example.com. Go save money girls! jessica