Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saving Money

In this economy most people are looking to save money any way they can. I have always been a pretty thrifty person but in the past few months I have found myself looking for ways to save even more. With the economy on such shaky ground, who can afford not to.

One of the easiest ways of saving money is to reducing eating out expenses. I figured the best way to do that was to write out a menu for the week and stick to it. This was rather painstaking but I managed to get an entire month's worth of meals on our calendar. The next step in saving some money was to start shopping the sales and using coupons.

My theory has always been to buy the specials from the grocery store and the rest from Walmart or Sam's Club. It take some planning and a bit more time but in the end, I find that the saving really add up.

To save even more on our weekly grocery bills, I use coupons. I have always clipped coupons but sometime over the past few years, I have become a bit lazy in using them. I am not sure why except that perhaps the older my kids get the busier my schedule and therefore the less time I have to plan ahead.

I did a bit of online research to figure out the best ways to use coupons and the best places to find them. I thought I would share some of the best links.

1) It's Hip to Save has a great post describing easy ways to save time while you're out to save money. While you are there, if you are new to couponing, you might want to check out the Couponing 101 link located in the Information Station. There are a bunch of other links to great money saving ideas.

2) The Grocery Game is a website that scans sales flyers for grocery and drug stores and matches them up with coupons. The list identifies items that are on sale, tells you when and where to find the coupon (online or in the coupon flyer from the newspaper) and also whether it is a good buy. Items are color coded - Green for too good to pass up, Blue for stock up and black for pass unless you need it. The site does charge for the service which is $10 for 8 weeks of one store list and $5 for each additional list. You can get a trail subscription to the service for one month for $1. I subscribed to the service for the trail month and found that my local store did not have some of the sales listed and also I was unable to find some of the coupons that were listed. While I did like the concept, I don't think I will continue the service beyond the trail. For those new to couponing, this might be a good site to get you started.

3) Get Rich Slowly (I like the website name) has an article on how to save $100 (or more) at the grocery store this month.

4) Jill Cataldo aka Super Couponer has some great links on her blog. She teaches super-couponing classes (click on the link located in red on her blog) that teach you how to save money on groceries and get groceries for free or pennies on the dollar. I am unfortunately not near any of her classes so I'll have to make do with her online tips for now.

5) Coupon Clippers is a service that list that claims to be the largest online grocery coupon clipping service. You can order coupons for a small handling fee. They also have sales alerts. This service would be great if for instance your store had a buy one get one free sale on something you use on a regular basis. If your store doubles or triples the store coupon, you could get the item for pennies or even free. So if you have several coupons for this item you could really stock up.

6) Coupon Mom is a free list with a ton of money saving links. You can subscribe to their newsletter (which I highly suggest). I found a link on the site that allowed me to look up coupons for the items that I use. It does take a bit more time than using a site such as Grocery Game but it is FREE.

Obviously in order to use coupons, you must have them first. In addition to the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper, you can find coupons in All You Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens magazine. To print online coupons, you can go to Coolsavings.com and Coupons.com. Most manufacturers websites are also a good place to find printable coupons. A few even offer an email newsletter with money saving coupons attached. General Mills recently sent me an email with $4.75 worth of coupons.

The bottom line is that saving money takes some time and planning ahead is the key to maximizing your savings.

Happy Savings!


Jack Glen said...

You can get free coupons, online coupons, discount coupons from http://www.clickmycoupon.com/grocery-coupons.htm and get discounts on the grocery items that you purchase.

Kim Eckhardt said...

And yet another reason why I love you. :)