Lots and lots of questions are coming my way because of the news links. People think that it takes a ridiculus amount of time to save so much money. It really doesn't if you think about how much you spend on food, the vitality of it (it's not like you can go without or eliminate from your budget), and how you can control what you spend by implementing a few basic techniques.
My first suggestion to the beginner who wants to start saving in tremendous ways is to start a grocery journal. Get a basic notebook of paper and keep track of the sales and deals at the stores. Sounds hard? You only add ONE page to it a week. Grocery ads start on Wednesday morning and run through the following Tuesday of every single week. So review the ads and write the store name in notebook and then write down everything they have on "sale" that your family eats. (This is NOT your grocery list). By recording the sale prices of all the local stores, you are able to compare the prices and after several weeks of doing this you'll start to see a pattern in what goes on sale and what you would call a difference in Best, Better, and Fair prices. When products are at their Best prices, you match the item with a coupon, purchase in quantities to last until the next stellar sale, and watch the savings add up.
For an investment of 1 hour a week, you start saving 50-90% on your bill. If you're like the average American family spending $125 per person/per family a month on food--that's A LOT of money every year. If you were able to buy the EXACT same stuff you always buy, but spend half of what you normally do--how much money are you saving? Thou$and$ is my guess. So think of the time you spend learning these tips as YouR JoB--and you are PaYinG YouRseLf with all the money you save.
Simple question I get all the time--where do you get all the coupons? I get one a week of all the coupons from the Sunday paper, which I pay $2 for. It's most cost-effective to review sites that vendor coupons in bulk. Not only do you get specifically what you want, you can buy them in quantities that would be virtually impossible without scavenging the recycle bins of every house in your neighborhood (some people do it this way to save $, but what is their time and dignity worth?) I order from coupon clearinghouses like www.thecouponmaster.com, www.thecouponclippers.com, and www.ebay.com. There are other places/businesses on the web that coupons are available for free, like www.coupons.com, www.smartsource.com, www.redplum.com-- but the quantity is limited to 1-2 prints per coupon, so buying in bulk with a print-out is not really an option.
Tip for the day: make a list of what your family eats. Make a list of all the ingredients, snacks, drinks, basics, and essentials that fill your cupboards. Figure out what you need to restock and build a 3-month reserve of--then add this to your master list of items to watch and buy when they go on sale. Stores run their ads in cycles and you'll find that everything you use goes on sale sometime. So when it does, be prepared to find the coupons that match the product with the sale and buy enough till the next sale. That's where the grocery journal becomes invaluable, because you'll start to see the cycle of when the items go on sale.
The key to saving is to not just use coupons, but to use coupons effectively by putting them on the lowest sale price. More tips to come.....
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