First of all, I am a total novice at this whole saving money, being frugal, cutting costs deal! So please take this information for what it is worth. In one short month, I have culled nuggetts of information from hundreds of money-saving websites putting into practice the best ideas for my own family. There are quite a few of you who have asked for more info and pointers. Here is what I do each week.
1. Grocery Sales!
Every Wednesday morning I go to www.grocerysmarts.com and pull up the Nevada sale lists for Smith’s and Albertson’s. If you live in Utah or Nevada, you are in luck. Grocery Smarts is totally free!!! A lot of people use www.thegrocerygame.com, which is the same idea, and more well known, only I don’t think it is free. But if you are in a state that doesn’t offer a free site like GS then it is definitely worth the few dollars a month to subscribe–IMO. These sites match the weekly sales and promotions with existing coupons….Priceless!!!
The other great thing about Grocery Smarts is that it is on a rating system so if the on-sale item has three stars then it is comparable to a Wal-Mart price. Four and Five stars mean deeply discounted, beyond anything you could find at a discount store.
First, I print as many online coupons as I can. Grocery Smarts links to the major online printables. But you can get them from www.coupons.com or you can sign up for other sites like www.couponmom.com. It just depends on how you want to go about it.
Second, I subscribe to www.shortcuts.com and www.upromise.com. These two sites upload coupons to your grocery store club card account like Smith’s and Albertson’s. So when you purchase the item, all you have to do is swipe your card or put in your phone number and it automatically discounts it.
Third, I subscribe to the Sunday only paper. But I get five subscriptions–the maximum allowed for Sunday only delivery at the rate I receive. If you are serious about saving, bite the bullet and subscribe. It will pay you back in your first trip!!! The key is to have as many coupons for an item as you do members of your family. What good does one box of fruit snacks do my four kids. But when I can buy five or ten at once…all on sale and all with a coupon. Hello, score! That also goes for the printable coupons. You are allowed (for most things) to print online coupons twice. We have three computers, so I am able to get six–and that’s just at my house.
Fourth, I faithfully read mommy blogs that have tips and tricks. Although I subscribe to many, right now www.moneysavingmom.com is my favorite. I am always finding extra deals on her site like my recent Kashi, Ocean Spray, Yoplait score. They were all in different posts on her site. I combined them into one Target trip–saving a ton of money for our family.
3. Planning Meals
My two favorite sites right now are www.5dollardinners.com and www.crockpot365.blogspot.com But there are so many more out there that I look at.
I will not lie, it takes me some time to look at the sales, print off, match up, and organize online coupons, and plan our meals ahead of time–but it is so worth it. Did you see my Target post? Cranberry juice has never tasted better. And it is my job as a SAHM to be a responsible steward of the income that Adam earns for our family. So I also feel really good inside. *insert sappy smiley sigh* Now that I am getting the hang of it, navigating the lists and matching up coupons doesn’t really take that long.
I have added a few of my favorite new sites under Be Prepared and Frugal Moms over on the side bar. I’ll add more as I deem them actually worthy of the side bar. :)
A personal talent that I posess is the ability to wade through lots of information and pull out the best of the best, and to leave the rest behind. Adam and I have had a lot of practice at perfecting this skill with our fertility and adoption options. So learning the way of the frugal has been relatively easy for us. And it is seriously so much fun–I mean who wouldn’t smile when they walk out of the store spending significantly less than they saved.
The biggest grocery skill I’ve learned so far is to Pay Attention. I went to Albertson’s the other night with no coupons, and I still scored some amazing 10 for $10 deals. I came out saving over 50%, and I felt really good because I know I got the best deal for the situation I was in. Paying attention also stopped me from buying a few things that I normally would’ve picked up like bananas. But they were outrageously priced, and I actually knew that they were because I have started to engage. Instead, we are finishing up the oranges that I got on sale a couple of weeks ago. :)
We budget our food and gas from the 15th to the 15th, so I will report our first full month’s accounting in a week or so.