I've been doing this thing where we interview site members. Our members are pretty amazing people, with lots of great advice.
One of them though had a really good tip and I thought it was pretty good advice.
Her thought was even if you don't want to be a hard core stockpilers and couponer extraordinaire, you can do date night couponing.
Find one or two coupons a week for something you'll use from the sunday paper. Or, if you don't take the paper, get some printables here:
Wherever you get them, clip or print at least $1's worth of face value of coupons, and then remember to redeem them. Put them in a little envelope in your purse, or tuck them in your wallet.
When you redeem them each week, tuck the dollar aside in an evelope and in one year, you'll have enough to cover a sitter for a date.
When you clip a coupon and it's only .50c, it doesn't seem very meaninful. In fact, it barely even buys a candy bar these days.
But a $1 a week savings suddenly is $50 in the year. And her comment was that a $50 bill is something real and tangible and it has meaning. You now a $50 bill is equal to a babysitter's tab, or if you don't have kids, it will buy you dinner and drinks, and at a really nice restaurant if you remember to use a buy one get one free coupon with it.
So, I challenge you if you aren't really a couponer to do a $1 a week redemption with your regular grocery trip and save the money. You'll see how easy it is to do, and hopefully we'll be able to convince you do click even more.
Archive for September, 2007
I've been doing this thing where we interview site members. Our members are pretty amazing people, with lots of great advice.
Four trips to the store...four times pulling out the debit card. In the course of an two hours, I saved $801 over retail on snacks and breakfast items.
It's that time of year again...my favorite time actually. Quaker sales are fast and furious right now.
Look in your store ads. Many stores in the country have $3 off 5 items. And dozens of stores have some kind of deal on assorted quaker items. Quaker items include Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup, as well as Life Cereal and Cap'n Crunch.
Here was the deal that save me the bucks and netted me 200 items for $36.
Albertsons in my neck of the woods has the Quaker items 10 for $15 with a $5 off instant savings at the register, and it can be used multiple times.
Between the $3 off $5 and a ton of manufacturers coupons from the Sunday paper I'd accumulated, I have enough to bring down each item, normally retailing between $3.29 and $4.59, down to .18c each. That's .18c for syrup, pancake mix, granola bars. 200 items literally filled an entire shelf in my garage.
Crazy thing is, I have enough coupons to grab another 100 items, and because many of the ones I have are $1/1 coupons, I'll probably be out of pocket $10.
You're probably thinking there's no way they'd use all that stuff, so why bother?
Well, you're right - we won't use it all. But others will, and for the price, I'm happy to give some away.
I have a brother-in-law who has raised my two nephews on his own since my sister is a flake...I give to them regularly.
The school likes the kids to bring things for snack once a month. Some kids can't afford to bring, so the teacher winds up out of pocket. 10 boxes of granola bars will keep her in snacks for the entire class for 5 days. So, we have enough to do that for several months, and I don't mind donating $1.80 to the kids' classrooms that way. Five days of snacks might have run her $30 for 20 kids, so I'm glad to help her keep $300 in her pocket this year.
The foodbank down the road rarely gets "the good stuff". For me, the good stuff is stuff you know a kid will eat instead of some of the weird food items that get donated there. And while people's hearts are in the right place when they donate, it's a shame if the food won't get used because the kids won't eat it. Oatmeal, cereal, and pancake fixings go a long way with little kids, and they're a nice way to encourage sitting around the table for a meal together when someone actually cooks.
Most ads end on Tuesday of this coming week, so RUN, don't walk, if your store has these deals. If you don't get in on them this time around, don't worry. Quaker sales are hot twice a year...once in Sept/Oct and again in January. So watch for quaker coupons with long expiration dates and hang on to them, because they are surely almost as good as cash when you can land that much food that has that many uses.
It's a lot of money. $50K is actually a huge amount of money. It's a hefty down payment on a house, a brand new BMW, it's your college tuition, or tuition for your one of your kids. It might be 10 family vacations, a home remodel, or a very generous donation to your favorite cause.
This morning, I gathered all my September grocery receipts to enter into the spreadsheet I use to track grocery savings. I've tracked grocery savings since January 2003, so nearly 5 years.
There were some very good sales this week on Quaker food items, and I'd cleaned house so I wanted to get the receipts in there. (As an aside, I'd spent $36 and saved $801 over retail, but that's a whole other entry.)
After I got caught up on receipts, I decided to see where I was doing. Every now and then, I'll got through and do some tallies.
Today when I added it up, I could see that this month's savings pushed me well over the $50,000 mark in savings since 2003!!! You might ask what I spent to have saved so much, and you'd be surprised to know that we spent very little compared to the average family of five...$15,196, which means that I'm running at an average of 70% savings over retail annually on groceries.
Mind you, in the beginning, my spending was a bit higher. The $15K represents one year of baby forumla, three butts in diapers (the last one got out of them last year), food for between upwards of three pets (we're down to one dog), assorted parties for all occasions (including all the beer and wine). It also has some aritrary things thrown in for good measure because they were bought at the grocery store...cds, postage stamps, flower arrangements, and emergency birthday gifts.
But by and large, it's food and household items. Our average spending for nearly 5 years for 5 people was $266 per month. That's only $1.77 per day per person to be clean and fed. That's less than a latte at starbucks.
So, what have we done with $50,000?
Paid off bills, taken great vacations, paid tuition for college, gotten through tough times when one of us was off work, funded a 401K....the list sort of goes on and on.
The reason I share this with you is not to brag....I can do that at Hotcouponworld....we have a whole section there dedicated to sharing brag stories. The real reason is to help people understand that the .25c coupon you might think isn't worth your time to clip is more than worth it. It adds up. It's real money and you can do real things with it.
Cutting down your spending and shopping with coupons can make a huge difference in your life. It has in ours and it will continue to do so. I see where my kids are interested in coupons now, particularly my 8-year old. Above and beyond being able to stretch our lifestyle and give them things we might not be able to otherwise, we're giving them the greatest gift of all. Teaching them to be conservative with their money by having them watch us do it will give them a huge leg up in life....better than my husband and I ever had.
If it's true that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, you might not be able to get a better job, but you can find better ways to save. And remember, your savings is NET after tax dollars. You can use your savings to build your personal net worth and get onto the positive side of the balance sheet. It will help you and your family in the long run.
So, what would you do with $50,000?
I love printable coupons! The convenience of being able to snag a coupon with values that tend to be higher than the printed counterparts in the Sunday paper makes planning my shopping trip even that much more fun. I know that I am going to save even more money because I zipped through Hotcouponworld's printable links in the Coupon Resources right before running to Albertsons.
In planning a trip for today, I went to go see if there were new coupons (and there are) but I learned something interesting. I entered my zipcode in the zipcode box, and the coupons available screen changed. The zipcode entry box is at the top of the right side of the page here:
Suddenly, there was a .50c/1 coupon for any Tree Top product. Tree Top items are 10/$10 in my area, so coupons that are good off any ONE is a great deal. Curious, I typed in my hubby's grandmother's zip code on the East Coast.
Up pops new coupons for Hood cottage cheese and Perdue chicken.
It's kind of similar to the notion that there are different values and products in the printed inserts across the country, and we see those when we trade coupons. And yet there are coupons and values that come out on the East Coast that I love getting here on the West Coast.
I think too that the values are based on a region's ability to double/triple coupons. We don't have that ability here much, but I know people back east like west coast values because they fall into the range that their stores will double and triple, so we wind up doing lots of trading for them on the board.
Now I am seeing people trading printables more as well because of the value and product differences.
So I thought I would pass it along cause it was pretty interesting.
Just as you know that leaves will fall off trees in October and kids will be crawling up the walls in May to be out of school in June, everything has its season and its cycle. Sales and deals are no different.
In tracking what comes on sale when for several years, you begin to see patterns develop, and you can almost predict to the week that fruit snack and peanut butter will be a hit in September, that Target will go 75% off after Christmas by right after the New Year (be there when it opens that day for the best stuff), and you should stock up on Jello in May (for all those patriotic jello recipes).
If you know the cycles and watch for them to roll in like the tide, you can literally save thousands at the store every year. From clothes, to gifts, to groceries, having a handle on the cycles will ensure you never pay full price, and never miss a deal.
For your planning pleasure, I am posting Sept/October deals. Watch for coupons that might go with the food items for an even better savings. You can refer to my blog from yesterday to find this month's printable coupons that match the sales happening right now. I'll drop in these in two-month increments so you don't get overwhelmed by the list. It will allow you to plan in managable increments.
SEPTEMBER - back to school; time to fill up on snacks! Pudding cups, Capri suns, fruit snacks, cereal sales start up hard again, peanut butter/jelly. Also, like clockwork, there will be Prego coupons in August, and plan on getting lots and using them in a hurry before they expire in September when the spaghetti sauce goes on sale. Sauce wars between Ragu and Prego this month. Campbells soups will go on as well and there will be coupons in the end of August for these as well. Lunchables are on sale this time of year, too.
Back to School Supplies and Apparel
OCTOBER - Stock up on holiday foods Stove Top, turkey, instant mashed potatoes, broth, cranberries, marshmallow, ice cream, pie shells, whipped cream, pudding. Look for great Kraft deals again this time of year. Piggyback those Kraft coupons when you can. Crackers are a biggie - going on for $1 or less a box. Lots of extra deals like $ off cheese WYB crackers. The real kicker is the after Christmas food deals! Save your coupons because pie fixings, fried onion, broth and canned green beans will be on deep discount. I got those onions for .50 a can, normally almost $4. These generally continue through December.
Crystal, Silver, and Glassware
ท Baking/candy-making items (choc chips, sprinkles, vanilla, corn syrup, nuts, etc)
So save lots, and Happy Shopping!
I'm going to try and do these generically because I realize that not everyone has the same deals as I do in other parts of the country.
But in general this week, we're still in back to school mode for groceries. This is the time of year that General Mills, (and by extension, Pillsbury and all other GM brands) and Campbells run some of their best sales of the year.
First off, get some paper in the printer cause you're going to be printing some coupons (if your stores accept printable coupons).
Ok. Have you looked those two pages over? Here's what you need to print.
Any of the GM coupons from the first site....those are just plain HOT!!! $1.10 off a box of cereal? This week at many stores across the country, Curves cereal can be had for about $1.50 a box. So with the $1.10 coupon, you're looking at .40c. Even better, is if your store doubles, you might save more on this.
Then there's the $1.00 coupon for pillsbury canned dough. The italian doughs like Pizza crust are on sale for $1.50 or less. Mine were actually $10/10 so I got them for free.
Warm bowls, progresso soups, fruit rolls, yoplait....the list goes on and on and it's all on sale. I went and spent $33 the other day (needed some high value items on this trip, so I spent more than if I had just bought the GM items) and I saved $115.
Switching gears, the Campbell's company has all their goodies on sale. Goldfish crackers, prego spaghetti sauce, soup....it's all on sale everywhere. In today's paper, there were all the coupons you could possibly need to use for match ups. So if you can snag some from other people who are foolish enough not to use them, then grab them and buy multiples of this stuff.
My favorite deal is going to be spaghetti sauce. The Prego is on sale everywhere. It's $1.25 a jar here....it's .67c a jar with no coupons at a store called Smith's in WY if you bought 15 jars. We got coupons valued at .40c/1, and I can use a double coupon with it, so for me, I am going to pay .45c per jar after coupons for spaghetti sauce that's normally $2.69-$2.99 a jar. One jar will cover my family for about 2 meals (not all my boys do spaghetti sauce.
It's sales like these that are so imporant to hold all your coupons, because when they strike, they strike hard and you're chasing deals all over the place, but saving big bucks in the process.
Watch for a whole blog on Sales Cycles. I've tracked what comes on sale when for the last several years, and have a comprehensive list to share so you can plan ahead for your deals.