Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guide to using coupons

Guide to using coupons
Here’s a guide for different options involving coupons
Use coupons in the Sunday paper. Look through the ads, cut out the products you use and redeem them. It’s a pretty simple strategy. Buy two papers if you need extra coupons.
Use coupons in conjunction with sales. Get a copy of the weekly flyer for your grocery store and buy items that are on sale and you have a coupon for. If your store offers it redeem the coupons on a "double-coupon day."
Learn the fluctuations in prices. Keep a price book to determine when a sale item is truly a good buy. After tracking the prices for awhile, you’ll learn to spot a great price without your book.
Stock up on rock-bottom prices. Using your price book, when product hits it’s lowest price, use all your coupons for that item and stock the pantry. The rule of thumb is to buy about 12 weeks worth, as that is the typical time before the item will hit a rock-bottom price again.
Use a service to tell you what to buy. There are sites that specialize in putting together lists of the above information for you. They match the sales, coupons, and rock-bottom prices:
Grocery Guide
Coupon Mom
The Grocery Game (paid site)
Trade or buy coupons. Need more coupons for that terrific sale? Use a coupon trading site or clipping service to purchase multiple quantities of the coupons you need.
Trading Sites
Coupon Forum
Coupon Chix (now a paid site)
Coupon Trader Central
Sites to Buy Coupons (Clipping Services)
The Coupon Clippers
The Coupon Master

Monday, March 30, 2009

Living within a Budget

So many times over the year I have attempted to live within a budget. I have done the math. I add up the expenses and add up the income. I have done the math trying to figure away to pay down the debt. Always looks good on paper but so hard to follow thru for me. This has been going on for over 10 years and here we are still living pay check to pay check. Nothing in the bank and the pay checks never go far enough.
Once again I have added up our income. This can be different month to month due to self employment on the internet which is lower than a year ago. Bottom line is expenses are more than any income that comes in. I go thru the expense column and try to cut it down. Gift giving is very small. Giving to charity is no where near what I would like it to be. Clothing budget is nil we rarely buy anything new. We have basic cable but we want some kind of entertainment. No movie channels just basic. We have given up the land line. Internet and cell phone costs a bit but that is part of the business. We do not drink or smoke any more so no expense there. The one bad habit I have is going out to eat. When we go out to eat we choose to eat at places that cost less than $10.00 each and then eat very little for breakfast and dinner. I do try to use coupons when we go out to eat.
I have been reading Mary Hunt's Cheapskate Monthly paperback that I found at a thrift store. She says there are three ways to change the numbers on your monthly plan.
Increase your income
Sell your assets
Decrease your expenses
As I have shared we are moving to Texas. Not only will this bring us closer to family but I will be working with family which will increase our income. I have been busy trying to get rid of the excess items we have on ebay or garage sale. I live in an apartment so can not have a lot of garage sales.
The only way I know that we can cut expenses is to stop going out to eat. That is what I will work on the month of April. Hope to get the food budget between groceries and eating out smaller than the month of March.
What is the normal for 2 adults a month for food? At one time I had a site that gave out the average for a family of 2, 4 and so on and the amounts for Frugal, Average and above average. I have misplaced this information. If anyone has it I would love for you to comment. I would love to hear how others are cutting their budgets in these tough times.
I know times are tough for us but then I look around and see those that are losing their jobs, those that have lost their homes and are on the street and shelters. No matter how bad things are for us at this time we have some steady income every month and for that I am grateful.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Never To Late to Start continues

Well I have been blogging for almost a month. This has been a tough month for us financially. We are living basically on cash only. No charging on credit cards for the first time in awhile.
We have also been busy trying to sell some of our items so we can move to Texas. So much stuff. I am a pack rat. Sales have been slow at my internet site and at my part time job. I would like to have a sale but our apartment is so small and there is so much stuff hard it is hard to think of having anyone come here. It all seems so over whelming.
We found an apartment in Texas which requires a deposit plus they want a fee of $125.00 called an Administrative fee. Basically paying to have them prepare the paper work. What a gimmick to get more money from us. To top it off they want money immediately to save the apartment. To do this you need to pay on line at their site, oh by the way that is a cost of $19.95 every time you do that. Not once to set it up but every time you pay. Well of course I complained that this is throwing money down the toliet. I have done a lot wrong financially but I rarely used ATM's and I surely to not want to pay this $19.95 fee. After some complaining they agreed to waive it this time for us. The ladies at the leasing office shared that some tenants do this a lot. Hey guys, if you pay your rent every month this way because you do not want to walk to the office that is $239.40 a year.
So much to do before we move at end of April.