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Tag Archives: coupons
Last week’s discussion about coupons leads me to a discussion on how to make the best use of your new stock pile of groceries in your pantry – and in my case under my bed and in my closet. I call this the ability to shop from my pantry. The kids use up the last of the ketchup? No problem, there are three more bottles on the top shelf of the pantry along with mustard and mayonnaise.
I have made the mistake of buying items because they were cheap, only to have them go bad before we could use them. I’m a little wiser when stocking up and check the best by date. If that bottle of ketchup is best before next summer, how many bottles will we use before then? I also need to have an idea of how many bottles are already in the pantry and buy accordingly. If it’s an amazing deal, I still may buy more than we need and pass them on to my family or food banks.
By matching coupons with sale items, I stock up on items we use at their lowest price. The ability to shop from my pantry allows me to use that stock pile until the item goes on sale again.
As food prices rise, I stop seeing those “really good prices”. For example, I used to stock up on flour every November or December because it would go on sale for 50 cents for a five pound bag. I haven’t seen that in a long time. It still goes on sale at that time of the year, but more like $1.50 for the same bag, but it seems to go on sale for that price more often. I also don’t see as many coupons for flour. Consequently, I buy fewer bags of flour throughout the year. One strategy to offset my flour purchases is to grind whole wheat to make my own flour, which is also healthier. I’m still using white flour for much of our cookie baking, but it works for us.
What strategies do you use to keep your food costs down?
I’ve been using coupons long before TLC’s Extreme Couponing came into existence. I do save quite a bit of money, averaging around 40% of my grocery bill. I stock up on things while they are on sale, but I don’t have a basement full of Pop Tarts. Here’s my tips for Everyday Couponing.
There are several websites to print coupons as you need them. I don’t like signing up for so many sites and loading their software onto my computer, but I use them occasionally. I prefer to get my coupons from the newspaper. I have four Sunday papers delivered to my home each week, then cut out and organize them while watching TV.
I’ve tried the folder method, where you store each week’s entire coupon inserts in a folder. After making your shopping list, cut out the ones you need. This method made it hard for me to get out the door to actually go shopping. Sometimes it would take me over an hour to make list and gather my coupons.
Next I tried the binder method. I bought baseball card holders and put them in the binder. Each page was used for a grocery category like baking supplies or condiments. I liked this method better because it’s easier for me to cut the coupons during my down time instead of when I’m heading to the grocery store. I also like bringing all my coupons with me. I never know when I’ll want to check for a coupon. The downside of the binder was their were only 20 categories suggested. Some categories like condiments had several different items and it could be time consuming to find a specific coupon. In hindsight, I could have made my own categories and reduced my frustration.
My current system is a file box or a coupon organizer. My friend gave me a Coupon Caddie. It’s a cardboard briefcase with 200 sections to organize my coupons. If I need a coupon for mustard, it can be found in the section called … wait for it… Mustard! The Coupon Caddie business has come and gone, but Amazon sells sturdier ones. The binder works; it’s just a lot easier to flip to what I’m looking for and pull it out of a box instead of a thin plastic pocket.
The most effective way to use coupons is on items that are on sale. I use the free site Pinching Your Pennies to match up coupons with items on sale. Choose your state and your local store and a convenient list is at your finger tips.
Check back on Thursday for part two in my coupon series! In the meantime, share how you organize your coupons!
This is written by one of Raejean’s kiddos.
Assorted 10 Reasons I Love Mom
The following are completely and totally true, despite what Raejean may say.
2. She is beautiful.
3. My mom thrifty. (Have you seen her parties?)
4. She has turned our family into the best Cub Scout family ever! (The Pack helps the Scout Grow, The Scout helps the Pack Go)
5. My mom is a great writer.
6. My mom thinks every quote is from Kid History.
7. She saves 15% or more on groceries.
8. She is super skinny.
9. She breathes.
10. She made me!
It’s me, Raejean; I regained my computer from my kiddo. This week started out crazy and has left me frazzled with no brain cells for writing. Thanks for the somewhat truthful guest post in the style of It’s a Crafty Life’s Ten on Tuesday!