There are ways to get more for less and then there are ways to get even more and stay within the parameters of the rules....
I have a fun family project for you, your spouse, kids, neighbor kids... whoever you can grab to go to the store with you!
Of course, you have to realize that the word "FUN" is relative to whomever you may enlist. My kids, for example, considered this a project quite unworthy of mentioning to anyone that they have ever known or might even consider knowing for the rest of their lives! They humor me anyway...
Some stores, as you may know, double or triple certain coupons. There are also different stipulations for different stores. One store I go to will double coupons up to .50, and triple up to .39. However, you can only use 3 of the same coupon per transaction. Another lets you use 4. But if there's a super great deal, why stop at only 3 or 4, right? Awhile back, Cottonelle toilet paper was on sale for $1 for a 4-pack. I also had a .25 coupon that my store will triple, making the TP only .25 each 4-pack.
So on the way to take my kids and a couple of their friends where they needed to go, I made a stop. They filed in, I passed them 3 coupons each and a dollar bill so that each of us could purchase 3 packages of Cottonelle. I have to tell you...My son said to me, "Mom, why do we need all of this toilet paper?" I believe they think there must be a toilet paper fairy that magically replaces the rolls as they disappear!
Now you don't always have to kidnap the neighborhood. There are other less attention-getting ways to get more for less. But believe me, you can get creative and save a lot with just a little bit of ingenuity.
So I paid $4.50 for 72 rolls of toilet paper. That should do us for a bit!
As always, just email me or post on this blog with any questions you may have. We can all use a little help to make life run a little smoother.
We've all heard "knowledge is power." In the couponing world, knowing your store policy can give you great freedom and help you save more, or it can really cost you and even ruin your future saving endeavors.
Basically, don't abuse the system. Your goal should be to take the tools available, then use them properly and according to design. This will give you maximum results without causing problems with your store management. Believe it or not, they are our friends!
One store that I frequent has had to revise their self-check procedure because of people trying to use expired coupons. Ouch! Please be reasonable. Some stores do have a policy to accept coupons that have expired up to a certain number of days (usually 1 or 2), and that's great! Just find out first. . .
The store is probably taking the hit and not receiving the manufacturers refund, but they've decided it's worth it for them. However, when a few selfish people decide to take advantage of the system, it can ruin it for everyone.
Get to know the managers and show them by your courtesy and cooperative behavior that you can be trusted. They may even give you a heads up on special shipments that are coming in!
You might be asking, "What does saving money on groceries have anything to do with the gas prices?" Well, let me tell you... I’m always amazed at the people who don’t realize this money saving tip. I receive 10 cents off per gallon on gas several times a month. *See below for example. That adds up to some nice savings!
Consider the gas stations at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Gas prices there are usually lower than the market average. Here are some money saving tips that you might not be aware of:
Check out store discount cards. At some grocery stores, including Wal-Mart stores, you can save 3 cents a gallon when you use their discount card.
It's important to ALWAYS check your cash register receipt and those sometimes annoying extra advertisements that print out at the register. They sometimes offer fuel discounts and coupons that you might overlook if you're not careful.
Also ask store personnel if they have special promotions available for their fuel centers. These promotions are available at selected stores across the country. You can find information in store advertisements and on their Web sites.
Store promotions often reward shoppers with additional discounts on gas when they spend a minimum amount on groceries.
For example, shoppers can save 10 cents per gallon of gas if they spend $50 or $100 at their store sometimes in one trip, or within a given month. You either receive a coupon or the discount will be automatically programmed on your store discount card. I always love it when I can tell my husband that the gas I pumped in my car that day was 10 cents per gallon cheaper than all the gas prices around.
Some stores that offer these discounts are Kroger, Albertsons, Giant Eagle, and Tom Thumb/Randall/Safeway stores. It's different in certain parts of the country. So just ask at your store.
So there you have it....so get out their and shop....and save on gas while you're at it!
I don't know about you, but every time I go to the grocery store, I see more and more higher prices and I'm about fed up!
But my problem is how do I get the word out to all of those people out there to let them know there is a better (and cheaper) way! You see, I'm the kind of person that will see a mom with 4 kids in the store putting something in her basket, hand her some extra coupons I have for that item and then let her know about the great deal they have on aisle 9!
It's just a matter of gaining knowledge and putting that knowledge into action... Do you know that billions of manufacturers coupons are printed every year, but less than 2% are actually used? There is a goldmine at our fingertips and in this economy I think we could all use a little gold! Don't you think?
Also remember, there's much more to consider..
********************* When we say groceries, most people immediately think "food" and they would be only partly correct!
However, if you want to save a bundle, but don't think the quality of food coupons meets your needs, think about all of the "other" items that you purchase at the grocery store or drug store.
The list is unlimited! There are paper goods, cleaning products, personal care items, pet foods and supplies as well as baby products. I also like to donate to local charities. So when I have opportunity to load up on non-perishables, that's always an excellent way to do it without breaking the grocery budget.
It's Spring and a great time to load up on all the specials on cleaning products for your Spring-cleaning projects as well!
Let me kow if you have any questions or comments. I'll be glad to help in any way that I can.
For a detailed, step-by-step guide to coupon shopping, I have a 2-hour training on CD called the Coupon Detective Academy. For this extensive in-depth training and continued support CLICK HERE or on the Academy ad in the right hand column.
To help answer a question one subscriber asked, I like to do most of my shopping on Monday. It is towards the end of the sales week (most stores in my area run specials Weds through Tues) and I've picked up my coupons from this week's paper to use. Your stores sales may run differently.
Early morning is also a nice, relatively crowd-free time to shop. I always get my shopping done quite a bit faster if I can make it to the store by 8:30 or 9 in the morning. I really hate to shop when I have to wade through mayhem and noise!
But keep an eye out for Sunday specials! A lot of stores have "Sunday only" specials. If I don't have time to do my bulk shopping on Sunday but I know there's a really great deal like $.99 bread or eggs, sometimes I'll run in just for those special items.
Spring has finally sprung here in the great state of Texas! The parks are full of people, dogs, activity and fun! I love watching the colors transform the surroundings...time to get to my flower garden!!! But first.... It's Monday....time to set the week's menu and head to the grocery store. So here we go!
MONDAY: Boy's Night Out and Girl's Night Out...It's not very often that we are able to do this, but everybody's schedules worked out so that our 2 sons could go out with Dad and our "not so little anymore" daughter and Mom are having dinner out together. Relationships are important! Don't forget to make special times together. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just make time...
FRIDAY: Hamburger Helper! My husband and I have a dinner invitation, so I keep boxes of Hamburger Helper for my kids on hand because they are often on sale.(Hamburger Helper, not my kids!) The kids love it and are old enough to cook it up themselves, no problem!
SATURDAY: BarBQ Chicken on the grill -Kraft BBQ sauce is on sale at Albertsons this week! You pay just .25 cents each with coupons that are on or near the product at the store! No clipping necessary!
Pasta and Alfredo sauce - Last week I bought "Classico Four Cheese Alfredo" sauce that was on sale. Coupons made it a fantastic deal! So we are going to try it out with some Penne Pasta! And...Green Beans
This is a great time of year and I love the changing seasons (although in Texas where I live, if you didn't like the weather today, just wait a minute, it's fixin' to change!)...I also love great deals!
There are many things that you may not be aware of that are great money savers you receive as a couponer. Did you know that you can often purchase an item that actually costs less than the discount you get for the coupon?
Let me explain...
For instance, my store had "Weber Grill Marinade" on sale for $.89 each. I also purchased a package of pork chop steaks on special at $1.00/lb. (I used the Peppercorn marinade and put them on the grill....they were fabulous!) Anyway, back to the marinade. I had a coupon for $.50 which my store doubles. So they took $1.00 off at the register for my $.89 product. I bought 10 packages of the marinade, so I actually made $1.30 on that purchase!
...That went to help pay for the jar of pickles that my son dropped on the garage floor...oh well, we can't be perfect!
I saved over $93.00 this week at the grocery store and spent $72.00 for my family of 5! And let me tell you, my teenagers can eat like nobody's business!!
Kroger is still having their awesome "March to Savings" special where you get $4 back when you purchase 8 items from selected merchandise. There's lots to choose from and coupons to match for SUPER savings!
I really have been trying to get my menu plan posted earlier....Maybe next Monday I'll do better! :) Hope you enjoy these recipes! I planned a pretty easy menu for the week...enjoy!
Monday: Beef Stew- Now I must admit, I doctor this recipe a bit. I added a bit of spice with some Monterrey Steak spicy seasoning and a bit of Worcestershire sauce. Then I thickened the broth a tad by mixing a couple of TBS flour with water and adding it before serving.
Rotisserie Chicken on sale at the Albertson's deli. With veggies and biscuits
Loaded Baked Potatoes - Adding toppings to everyones satisfaction!
Chicken Salad Using left-over Rotisserie Chicken, boiled eggs, fresh veggies and the myriad of accumulated dressings we've gotten for free by COUPON SHOPPING!! And of course, home-made croutons (see post from Feb. 24th)
Pizza Hut - Having a special deal - $10 for any pizza, any toppings, any size!!
Saturday: Chicken Panini with Roasted Bell Pepper (I've used Rotisserie Chicken & left over Fajita Chicken and both are great!) I don't have a Panini Press, so I put the sandwiches in my electric skillet, put another pan on top with canned goods to weight it down and to press. Works awesome!
I would like to address a question from one of the Coupon Detective Subscribers:
QUESTION: Often, the coupons I see in our local newspaper are for items I wouldn't consider purchasing. Are there other places to search for coupons?
First let me say that I used to say the same thing! But when I became an avid coupon shopper I came to realize all that I had been missing. Yes, there are lots of coupons that I don't use, but the savings I receive from the ones I do use far outweigh the ones that I don't. And I now use so many of the coupons that I never thought I would ever use.
Sometimes I will try a product I've never used just because it's free or really cheap. I either find a great product that I'll continue to purchase, or an item my family really doesn't like. Any extras of that item usually get taken to our local charity. But I also found there are many products we do use on a regular basis. For example: vegetables, cheese, lunchmeat, frozen foods, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent, the list goes on and on.
Every week there are different coupons and I continue to find great products.
As far as other places to find coupons, you can go online and print coupons as well. (Most people know that by now....)
One really good site is http://www.smartsource.com/ You just select the coupons you want to print. Check with your local grocer first to make sure they accept coupons printed from the internet. Some stores are a little picky. You may need to keep the coupon on the page you printed it on so that the web address is shown at the bottom of the page. However, most stores are getting fairly friendly to the online coupon shopper.
When printing online you will only be able to print a dedicated number of times per coupon (usually 2). But you can often go to another site and find other coupons you can print for that product as well. Don't sell yourself short..
Tuesday:Baked Talapia - (No recipe) This is simple and tasty. I spread "Can't Believe It's Not Butter" on each fillet and sprinkle Red Pepper on top (generously for my husband, just a few for my daughter, and inbetween for the rest of the family) Then Bake at 350 in the oven until the fillets are done.
Friday: Heat up the grill!! Burgers are on the menu to celebrate this spring-like weather!!
Saturday: Fajitas! I buy the pre-marinated Beef and Chicken Fajita Skirt Steak. There's nothing like it! Simple to throw in my electric skillet or on the grill. Then slice in thin strips and prepare whatever fixins' you like with your fajitas and you have a smash hit!!
If you have watched the news at all lately, you've probably seen reports on the rising grocery prices and ways to help save. First of all let me just say, "Don't panic!" And second, "Don't listen to everything you hear from the media."
My local news station did a report where they price matched 4 different stores. (Target, Kroger, Tom Thumb, and WalMart) They bought identical items at each store and found that Target and WalMart beat out Kroger and Tom Thumb, with Target slightly cheaper than WalMart.
If they had bought different products or even the same products at a different time, their findings would have been been different as well. For the most part however, this is probably fairly accurate if you head into your grocery shopping without a game plan.
However, the smart shopper who wants to maximize their savings will take some time to organize and head to the store with information and strategy. Usually, it's actually the more "expensive" stores that give you the greatest value when you buy at their sale price and also use a coupon. A lot of these stores will also double or triple coupons which give you even more savings.
I want to take just a minute to share how I plan my menus. Since I've been coupon and deal shopping for several years now, I do things a little differently than when I first started out. But if you are just starting to coupon shop, you still have options, it will just take you a bit to have a stockpile of inventory.
First of all, I know what is available in my pantry, freezer and 'fridge from deals I've gotten in past weeks. So when I'm looking at my recipes, those are the ingredients I'm keeping an eye out for.
Then, I also know the great deals I will be getting when I grocery shop this week. So I add those to my scope as I'm perusing. If I find a recipe with an ingredient I don't happen to have on hand, I either put it on hold for another week or add it to my shopping list. But I don't stop there! I check to see if I have a coupon for that particular item either in my stash or online. It's very rare that I purchase anything that I don't have a coupon for or it is at least on sale. Check out the Academy if you don't have a system!
Salmon Croquettes - This one is a blast from the past! My mom used to make these when I was a kid. My sister and I would put syrup on ours! Some people think that sounds gross! But don't knock it 'til you try it! LOL! We'll also have Veggies and Brown Rice with this.
Spaghetti! My daughter's favorite. I have to indulge her on occasion. Plus, Prego spaghetti sauce was on special last week, so there you have it!
Chicken Pot Pie - You can change this up to your families liking in so many different ways! Or use leftover veggies before they go to waste.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup!
Let us know if you try any of these recipes and what you think. Or if you have a great recipe to share, that would be great too.
As always, let me know if you have any questions or sage advice of your own!
Have you heard about Swagbucks? It's a search engine (just like Google) that pays you for doing websearches! They have a toolbar that you can download for free or just bookmark their page to use whenever you want to do a search. (That's what I do!) I do multiple searches every day, so I can potentially make $20 bucks a month just for doing what I already do. I'll let you know how I do after my first month!
You have to register if you want to earn your bucks.
45 Swagbucks = $5 Amazon credit
They accumulate as you do your regular searches throughout the month. Your Swagbucks never expire, so you can save up for anything you want just by searching!
Saving on your grocery bill is something you can do by not wasting what you already have. Do you ever end up throwing out the last few pieces of dry, stale bread? No one wants a sandwich with that old stuff! Turn those crusty things into yummy croutons, and it hardly takes any time at all! I don't ever buy those expensive boxes of croutons they sell at the store. These croutons are so good, my kids like to eat them as a snack!! And they don't break your teeth like the store-bought variety.
As many slices of bread as you have or want to use. This recipe can be adjusted for amount and personal taste.
Olive Oil (1/4 cup or so)
Garlic Salt - 2 tsp
Oregano - 1 tsp
Grated Parmesan Cheese - 1 TBS
Stack the bread and cut into cubes -put into a ziploc bag
Mix oil and seasonings - Pour into bag with bread cubes
Mix well - if you misjudge the amount needed to cover bread, just add more ;-)
Place in a single layer on a baking sheet
Cook in oven on 300 for 30 minutes or so turning once. (If you like them crunchier, cook longer; chewier, cook less)
Wa-La! You have a delish topping for your salad! Don't worry about what to do with left-overs. There are never any left....at least not at my house!
This has been a crazy couple of weeks here in our household. Does life ever get less busy? Homeschooling highschoolers can be a challenge in itself! I always say that I think I learn as much or more than they do. (Do I really need more Algebra?!) Save me!!! Also as my kids grow, drive, get jobs, some things can be a bit overwhelming. But I do love to see them becoming the beautiful individuals that they are. I love my kids!!
Well, it's Monday again, so here is my Menu for the week! Enjoy!!
Monday: Creamy White Chili and cornbread (Love this on a cold day. My husband, who isn't a real fan of "creamy" type dishes even loves this)
Thursday: Family Birthday Dinner at Steak 'n Shake (used coupons!) PLUS we got 2 free coke glasses for our purchase!
Friday: Nachos and movie night (These can easily be adjusted to use ingredients your family enjoys or prefers)
Saturday: Leftover Extravaganza
Sunday: Hamburger Pie(I must admit, I do my own recipe in my head. This was one of the first things I made when my husband and I got married! But this recipe comes fairly close to what I make. I used leftover mashed potatoes from Tuesday's meal)
Post a comment on what your family liked or didn't like if you try any of these recipes!
I thought it would be a great idea to join the Menu Plan Monday group! I will show you every Monday what my family is planning for dinner. I usually plan meals with what is already in my stock in the pantry and refrigerator. Then if there is something on sale that week that catches my eye to use, I will add that to my list. So here's the list for this week!
This month there are some great Catalina deals confirmed at Safeway, Albertsons and Krogers stores (including Fred Meyer and Smith's)
Just what is a Catalina you may ask? A Catalina are those great coupons that print when you check out at the register. They can be manufacturer or store coupons that can be used on later purchases. If you buy certain products, they automatically print at check-out.
This month, Buy Kraft Ranch or Italian Salad Dressing (16 oz or larger)between 2/5 and 2/18 and get the following Catalinas:
Buy 2, Receive $1 Catalina
Buy 3, Receive $2 Catalina
Buy 4, Receive $3 Catalina
But wait! That's not all! Don't forget to match up your purchases with Kraft dressing coupons for even greater savings!
The Uni-ball pen is great for anyone that is proactive in protecting their identity and valuables. Awhile back someone stole a check out of our mailbox, had some checks made up with our account number and started writing checks on our account! It was a mess to get straightened out...we did end up getting all of our money back, but it took alot of time and was a huge headache! So, my husband and I are always looking for ways to help protect us in anyway possible.
"Bad Guys" will often use chemicals to remove the ink from your valuable documents. The Uni-ball pen keeps them from being able to do that! To get your free Uni-ball pen, just go here: http://www.uniballsuperink.com/ They will send you one in the mail.
I am a work-at-home Mom with the most amazing husband and 3 kids anyone could ask for. Homeschooling 2 teenagers keep things hopping, but keeping the pantry and fridge stocked is of upmost priority with growing kids who seem to be hungry 24/7! Couponing for me has been a life-saver in more ways than one. I am happy to share my wealth of couponing strategies that have helped hundreds of families across the U.S. save much more than a little on their grocery budget.
Debra from Mansfield, TX (family of 7)
I am so EXCITED!!!! Becky!! You’re not gonna believe it! I had soo much fun last night on my first "planned" trip to the grocery store! With your hints and notes, I Really got it! Along with my normal groceries I spent a total of $76.53 and saved.......are you ready...........$91.06!!!! And I know I didn't really plan it all out. It will be awesome when I do and have a good stock of coupons!! This IS really fun! We really are going to need you because I have a friend (who does coupons) and she saw something about (a sale) but couldn't put it all together! So glad I have YOU! THANK YOU!!! (My husband) kept adding up the receipts. . . he thinks its awesome!
Lin from North Richland Hills
Becky, I just wanted to tell you THANK YOU for your Coupon Detective Academy. I’ve never really understood how to coupon shop, but you made it so easy to understand. It was very clear, concise and easy to follow. After hearing the seminar, I started applying some of your training and strategies. I started small and my first trip to the store to use the coupons I saved HALF off my bill! And that was just a trial run. I can’t wait until my next shopping trip!
Ann from Bloxom, VA
Becky..... you can bet I have been listening to your training. I like what I hear. My hubby does too he actually was listening to it with me. He said dang must be nice not to have to buy sugar every week (lol). . . . I am learning alot and I am hoping to soon put it all to use. Thanks sooo much. You’re a God send.