Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Couponing 101 - Now what?

If you did your homework a few weeks ago you checked out The Grocery Game, Money Saving Mom, and Thrifty in the Cincy. Hopefully you've been clipping (or at least saving) the inserts from your Sunday paper. So now what? I had some doubts and questions when I started.

1. I don't have any of the coupons that I need.

This is where you have to be patient and diligent about clipping your coupons. If you notice the expiration dates on your coupons, you'll notice that they expire in 4-6 weeks. What this means is, it will take you a good 4-6 weeks before you have all of the coupons you need for a particular week. This part is frustrating in the beginning. Trust me, give it a good 6 weeks before you give up.

2. I didn't spend any less at the grocery.

Another frustration in the beginning. As you begin stockpiling (buying items when they are at their lowest price, before you need them) you will notice that your NEEDS list will still be pretty long. As your stockpile grows, your needs list will continue to shrink, as will your grocery bill. This can take a few months time. Once you feel that your have a pretty good stockpile, I would suggest starting a grocery budget. Look at what you are currently spending per week and what you think you could easily manage to start. We used to spend at least $125 a week in groceries. I cut back to $100, and then to $75. Could I cut it more? Sure, but $75 gives us plenty of wiggle room, room to buy all natural and organic products, and works for us. By cutting $50 a week in groceries I've freed up over $200 a month for other things. What would you do with $200 a month??

3. I don't see anything that I use.

Some weeks are better than others. There are definitely weeks that I don't see much on the list that we need/use. Those weeks I spend less than our weekly budget or stock up on some organic products/meat/etc. I also suggest being open to trying new things, and new brands. Would you try a new deoderant if it were free? Would you try a different brand of bread/milk/butter/vegetables if it saved you money? We've tried different cuts of meat that were on sale, but weren't cuts we would typically buy.

What I don't suggest is buying items just because they are a great deal. Even if I can get it for free, I don't let my kids eat sugary cereal. Daniel doesn't like boxed lunch meat. These are a couple of items that we NEVER buy, even if its free. It wouldn't be used and would go to waste.

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