How-To Series – Score Low Cost & Free Items with Sales and Coupons
Original post from The Lifeboat - www.thelifeboat.info
In my How-To Buy Healthy Food for Less series I will be blogging about how I save money and bring healthier food into my home. Last week I shared a outline of the gameplan I use, and today I begin to share the process of shopping and saving.
Begin with figuring out what you spend each month on grocery, personal care items, and pet food. It may surprise you how much you actually spend when you add up all the stops at grocery, drug, and pet stores. By spending a couple of extra hours on the weeks you shop you can save hundreds of dollars of the course of a year.
Here are the steps to save money on your weekly shopping trips to grocery and drug stores:
1. Purchase double papers every week (or 1 paper per person in your household - make sure you round it to a even number: 2, 4, 6, etc).
2. Pull the coupon and Publix circulars out of the paper - write the date on the front cover. Store in a container.
3. When you are ready to shop - go to sites like www.couponmom.com orwww.southernsavers.com. Find the store you are going to shop and pull up the weekly sale list. Items on sale will include information on where you can find a coupon. Check each item you want to purchase and then at the bottom of the list click the button to display your personalized shopping list and print. Be sure to click on any links for digital or electronic coupons (register on those sites if required - will ask for your Kroger plus card number). Print or load coupons to your local store shopper card (ex: electronic coupons can be loaded onto your Kroger card and when you scan your card the coupons are deducted for those items purchased). Create a list for each grocery and drug store you plan to shop at for the week and print out.
4. On a clean surface layout your shopping lists. Each item will show where if there is a coupon for that item (ex: SS 4/29 - SmartSource April 29 circular). Pull out all of the circulars for that date. Lay out on your table so that you can flip pages easily and once you find the coupon you can easily cut them from each circular.
5. Scotch Paper Cutter - greatest tool for cutting coupons. I encourage you to buy one and see how much quicker you can cut coupons!
6. Some stores will allow you to stack a manufacturer and store coupon on a item. In my area Publix will allow you to stack coupons, be sure to check your list to see if a manufacturer and a store coupon is available (check with your local Publix to see what store coupons they will accept: i.e. Target). On Buy One Get One items they will take a coupon for both items (2) - and you can stack coupons for both items (4 total) (great way to save alot of money!).
7. Write the number of coupons you cut out for each item on your list. Use the list while in the store, much easier than fumbling through coupons to count how many to purchase.
8. Stock up on items your family uses. Try to purchase at least 12 weeks worth of that item (normal sale cycle for an item). If it is a staple I use (ex: laundry detergent) - and a good price - I stock up around a month supply.
9. Purchase sale produce and meat. If ground chuck is at a good price - stock up enough to last you until you think you will find on sale at that price again (and shop different stores to get the best deals on meat). I will be blogging about ways to purchase organic and grass fed beef in future How-To posts - so stay tuned!
10. Be sure to shop drug stores - often times their prices will be better than Walmart's by combining a coupon and getting rewards bucks (ex: CVS offers extrabucks on items - purchase a razor for $8.00 - use a $4.00 coupon - and get $4.00 extrabucks to use on your next shopping trip = razor is free!).
I offer classes on Couponing 101 and go into much greater detail on the steps above. I would be happy to offer one in your home or for your group or organization, contact me at the link at the top of my blog. My hopes are that the information in this post will help you start saving money and am happy to answer questions - just leave a comment!