Wednesday, January 5, 2011

6 Easy Ways To Save Money With Or Without Coupons

Most of us have a goal to save money this year. Saving money at the grocery store is one great way accomplish part of this.

Whether that extra money goes into the savings account, helps to pay down debt or like hubby and me just helps us stretch our dollars, cutting the grocery bill is where it is at.

With the current economy as it is more coupons are being used . When we use coupons properly and follow the following rules, we can cut our grocery bill sometimes up to 50 percent.

Here are 6 simple ways to start saving at the grocery stores this year:

1. Understand the Sale Cycle
Just about everything in a store will go on sale at some time, so why would you pay full price if you didn't have to?
The cycle can differ depending on where you live in the country. Sales can run every 6 to 8 weeks and up to 12 weeks in some parts of the country. For us to save the most, we need to watch for sales and only buy at the low price. A great example is cereal, regularly it can cost $4 or more for name brand cereals. When it goes on sale we can buy it $1.50 to $2 a box. You will have already saved 50% and we haven’t even used our coupon yet!

2. Make Price Book
Know what items you normally use and what is the lowest price you have seen them or bought them.

3. Stock up at the Sale Price
Since we know that items are only on sale every 6-12 weeks, its important to buy enough at the low price to get from one sale to the next.
For some products this may mean 1 or 2, and for others items we may have to stock up a little more .
How much will we need of that product? You need to know how many you think you will use in a week or a month time. Then multiply that amount by the cycle your stores are on. If your family eats one box of cereal a week and it goes on sale ever 6 weeks we need to stock up 6 to 7 boxes to get you by till the next sale.
You may not be able to stock up every thing at once but do what you can and soon your pantry will be stocked.

4. Use those Coupons
When you are shopping and see that great price, that is the time to use the coupon! You are allowed one coupon per item so that means if you want (5) boxes of cereal and have $1 off coupons you can use FIVE coupons!!
a. Buy the Sunday paper each week.
b. Ask friends and family for their unused coupon inserts. It can be unbelievable how many people do not use coupons.
c. Watch for tear pads or coupon booklets in the store. If it is a product that you use take a couple.
d. And watch for printable coupons. You can usually print them twice.
e. carry your coupons with you every time you leave the house. You never know when you will come across a sale that you did not know about.

5. Focus on your favorite stores
If you have (2) name brand stores and they are within a reasonable distance get to know them.
One may offer some items at a better price and the other better prices on other items.
Get to know your drug store some items are best to buy there. Why would you buy toothpaste at the grocery store when you can find it often at the drug store FREE or almost free with sales, register rewards and coupons.

6. Don't be loyal to one brand and know your unit price
If one brand of ketchup is on sale and you have a coupon why buy the other brand. How about using the store brand? Have you tasted it? Most time it is just as good as the name brand.
Figure out the unit price. One item may look like a better deal but by knowing the unit price we will know which item is the best deal.
This morning's news had a story on how some companies are not raising the prices but are lowering the quantity in the packages. Name brand orange juice, same price but maybe 4 to 6 ounces less in the package. Looks the same but is not. This has been going on for over 6 months. This is where our price book will come in handy. We know the price by ounce of what we use.

Remember we want to use our coupons when an item is on sale.
Stock up when on sale and soon we will have a nice looking pantry of food to use in our recipes.
Make our menu plan around our pantry and what is on sale that week.

Be flexible with your menu plan.. if ham is on sale that may be the time to buy a ham and make several recipes around it or freeze part of the ham to use in the future.

Thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together... and please remember never under estimate the value of a small amount of money.

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