Sunday, April 5, 2009

Save Some Money

Paring Down the Grocery Budget

One of the first places most people can cut back on expenses is the food budget. The frugal rule of thumb is $25 per person per week, but most people I speak with spend much more.

If you think like I used to, that clipping a coupon to save $0.35 on an item is a waste of time, you're right. There is another, better way to use coupons however- one that WORKS!

First step, buy multiple Sunday papers. If you have access to a larger city's paper, get some of those too as they likely have different coupons. (For example; I buy 4 of my local paper and 4 LA Times.) Separate and match each coupon flier page by page, staple the like coupons together (taking care not to staple over expiration dates or bar codes), and cut the coupons out. All coupons, even the ones you won't use as you can trade them for some you will.

Now go to a site like A Full Cup and search for your local stores. Ideally you want to hit at least one drug store (I use Walgreens) and 1-2 grocery stores, as each store runs different deals each week.
On the forums for those stores you can see what is on sale and/or clearance and match them up with your coupons.
Best case scenario is to get paid to take products, or get them for free, but you'll never have to pay full price again!

Get the free-cheap items in quantities that will last your family 3-6 months (from sale to sale, but not so much that they'll expire before you can use them). This will allow you to build a stockpile so that you can choose what price you are willing to pay, rather than shopping when you need an item and have to pay whatever the price happens to be that week.
There are some items that you never need to pay one penny for again; shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste..

I'll get into specifics over the next few days. But for now... what are you waiting for? There are FIVE coupon inserts in today's paper. Go get some!