It is not uncommon in the grocery isle to find someone with a notebook full of coupons. Men, women and grannies are all trying to save a few dollars. The rampant craze of extreme couponing has taken to new heights and everyone wants to get in the game. Beware bargain shoppers, the supermarkets are four steps ahead of you. The blinkies in the aisles, the double coupons, the buy one get one deals and course the infamous ten for ten dollars are all designed to suck you in. The grocery retailers are counting on you and your impulses. They are also counting on your inability to see through the muck. You also fail to realize you have been had until you get to the register and realized you have spent too much. Allow me to help you circumnavigate the grocery store maze.
When you head to the store, make sure you bring along a pocket calculator and a shopping list. Your smart phone has the ability to be your best friend, but you must make it work for you. Instead of buying the biggest package on the shelf that is on sale, look at the medium size, divide the cost per unit and here is where you apply the coupon. It is just like shopping at a wholesale club, bigger does not equal better, especially if it will go to waste before it is all used in a household of two.
Hot food bars and salad bars are very tempting especially if you are buying for a household of two. However, the snafu comes in these items are sold per pound. You can buy boxed mac & cheese then and add cottage & cheddar cheeses to make it taste gourmet. An item on a hot bar that requires eight or more ingredients to make like chicken parmesan is a good buy whereas buying ham from a hot bar is not. Equally a bad idea is buying packaged deli meat. It is far more cost efficient to buy a small turkey breast, cook it and slice the meat off for your sandwiches and salad for the week. The same can be done with ham and chicken. One meat, several meals is really the way to save money.
Another item that people are usually wasting money on is bottled water. Invest in a water filter. You are paying your local government to pipe relatively clean water into your living space, it is drinkable as is, and you just need to get an inexpensive filter from Wal-Mart and you can refill your own water container. If you put it on your sink, it will also filter through to the fridge for your icemaker. You can almost calculate your savings.
Finally, my favorite is the three for five and ten for ten sales. These sale items can be tricky. Ten apples for $10 sounds great until you realize you are paying a dollar for each apple. Just buy a bag for $3 and be done with it. Add the apples to salads, desserts and other meals to ensure they do not turn or go bad. You can find a really good deal is the bags of frozen vegetables at $1 each. Spending ten or twenty dollars for frozen veggies can stock you up for a month.
I have found that the best ways to really save is to have a coupon on the items that you are buying one and getting one free. This is doubly valuable it you have double coupons. It also works well to have a game plan and review the weekly circulars to match your coupons with the best deals. Look for coupons that save you $1.50 when you buy two and if it a buy one get one, you have just racked up. Shop smart and make these sales work for you.
- More Tips and Tricks – BOGO Policies & More (vacouponqueen.wordpress.com)
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- Extreme Couponing: Coupons in Packages (suddenlyfrugal.com)
This holiday season, you save yourself a few dollars by making some Christmas gifts. I know, I know who has the time? That is the wrong question. The right question is who has the money to buy that many gifts? This nice wreath is made out of Coffee filters. The total cost for this project is about $10.
There are many simple projects that you can do that can either upcycle items already in your home or those items that need to leave your home. However, before we get to upcycling, let’s get back to those talents that you have that you can use to give or make gifts. Get your mind out of the gutter, you may be good at that but you can’t give it to your Nana!
Are you good at making cakes? You can make cake pops delivered in a nice basket from the Dollar Store. Are you good at making brownies, jams, cookies? All of these items make fabulous Holiday gifts. My neighbor makes a tin of cookies for us each year. The whole cul-de-sac knows when she is baking and we sit around like children awaiting our deliveries. I have another neighbor that makes fudge. I am not a fudge eater but am always glad for a gift that someone took the time to craft for me.
There are many projects and creative ideas available to you for free if you know where to look. I receive a free magazine from Lowe’s Home Improvement called Creative Ideas. It was choked full of so many great ideas that it inspired me to write. I am hoping to inspire you to try something different this year to save money and truly live better. This month’s issue takes you through easy steps to make wonderful holiday wreaths, headboards and upcycling home items. Upcycling takes recycling to a whole new level by recovering or repurposing items you already have in your home. Take that hideous chair that your Mom sent over to your new place. You don’t want it, but you can’t hurt her feelings. Give it a coat of paint, and add some studs and viola, you have upcylced items that you were going to throw away. You have reduced your carbon footprint, reduce landfill input and given that piece of furniture a reason to feel useful again.
I think the most exciting thing about the holidays is the decorations. Each year, we look for that special ornament to add to our tree. Have you thought about making ornaments out of every day simple items or really putting the décor into decorating? I went to visit my favorite crafter’s website, Martha Stewart. I have always considered her to be the McGyver of crafting. I saw where you can take mini picture frames and turn them into cute ornaments for the mantle or the tree.
Many of the websites have free newsletters, Blogs and magazines that you can have sent right to your home. It doesn’t matter what your skillset, there is something you can do that someone else admires. You can make a box of custom greeting cards. You can lay out a few pages in a scrapbook for a family member. You can buy a set of stencils and create a personalized box for a night stand. You just have to try.
Here is your starting point. Here are some Thanksgiving place cards along with the template courtesy of Ms. Stewart.
I am addicted. I am not shame and I will shout from the rafters that I am hooked. I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing and once I saw how much money they were saving, I said, “I can do that!” I started clipping and I also started saving money. I am far from extreme, but I am, unequivocally a coupon clipper.
Ironically, I can remember a time when whipping out a coupon was considered low class and made the bearer appear to be a cheapskate. People who clipped coupons were rumored to live in a house full of cats, made quilts and homemade jams. In essence, they were regarded as a step above being a hippie. Not anymore, welcome to the new breed of savvy shoppers and coupon clippers. Let me help you get started. It is easier than you think.
First we must determine what kind of shopper you are. If you are not organized enough to have to deal with a little purse of coupons, or have hours to spend price comparing in the grocery store, then we can start here. The easiest way to save is with your frequent shopper cards and make them work for you versus just having them dangling on your key chain. Kroger and Bi-Lo offers you Fuel Perks. The money you spend in the store earns you a few cents off your gas purchase at each visit. You can also download coupons to your rewards card and when you check out, they automatically take the savings off your final purchase! BiLo even offers you double coupons so you can save twice the money. I know right! No clipping, no coupons and you don’t have to seem like a crazy cat lady who makes quilts and jam.
Saving at the grocery store isn’t your only option. Crafters have long been saving at Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. The great thing about craft stores, if you have a coupon from another store, they will honor the discount. We can take it one further. If you are a teacher, you can also get teacher discounts at Joann’s and save an addition 15%. These programs are also available at Staples and Office Max. No matter what you are into, if you look, there is a coupon, a Groupon, and Living Social break. If you have a smart phone, you can download coupon apps and have discounts and bargains at your fingertips.
Now, I can understand if all of this couponing is far too much of a commitment, then here is the perfect solution, just price compare. Use that smartphone to help you make some smart decisions. There are several bar code scanners that will scan the price, and give you the best deals in a 50 mile radius, including online.
There are all types of coupons to help you save money when you want to dine in or dine out. Find out if your favorite location has a frequent shopper program or a loyalty program. I am one who believes in getting my money’s worth and each day I am out looking for ways to save money, cut lost and reduce my back end, literally and figuratively. You can find the savings approach that works best for you or you can search on Twitter and search under coupons. You can get real time updates on savings.
I have looked into Coupon Suzy and a few other sites, but those are more regional. The economy isn’t going to turn around on its own and in the meantime and in between time, I am working on some Christmas quilts for my great nieces and some jam from some pears my friend send over from her tree. Happy savings!
In tough ecomomic times, butter and eggs were a source of income for many families. Butter and egg money, made from the excess milk from the family’s cows and eggs that could not be consumed, were sold to buy fabric to make children clothes. The scrap pieces of material were sewn together to make extra bedding and balnkets for the cold winter months, pinics, and extra pallets for guests.
This ecomony has impacted us all and I fear the worst is still yet to come, and although we are seeing Americans tighten their belts, and cutback on wasteful spending, women are going back to traditional homemaking. Besides, who wants to pay $4 for a cup of coffee when you can brew your own pot, and have friends over to catch up while creating something beautiful?
The time I used to spend at the spa (deep sigh, tear slowly trickles down the corner of my eye) and weekend getaways with the girls are now spent sitting in my home, and creating hand made items to beautify it.
Although, times have not gotten so tough that I need to buy a cow and purchase some egg laying hens, I do have to tighten my belt and spend wisely on the items that I need. I am starting at t-shirt quilt for my son when he goes off to college, taking his old t-shirts to make it into a quilt of all his past activities, so that he will have a daily remainder of a well spent child hood. This saves me money on fabric , new bedding for his college dorm room, as well as recycling the old t-shirts. I will be sure to share a final picture of the project once it is finished.
Now, tell me what are you doing in these tough times to make a difference in your family’s income?