Several have asked me, for conversational sake I'm sure, what my resolutions are for this year. My usual answer would be to eat less chocolate and therefore loose about 10 pounds or so. You know what that answer will get me? Nothing, I love chocolate! Not that I secretly won't be working on loosing some weight. Seriously, who isn't? I refuse to set myself up for failure and I really don't like people being my food police. You know what I mean. You go to a restaurant and order fries instead of sliced tomatoes and there he/she is, looking at you like you just broke a personal promise to them.
So, I have put thought into a resolution and I hope I have one that is more realistic. Couponing. No, I am not going to try to stock up on 850 rolls of toilet paper or frozen isle junk food just to be able to use a coupon. I am however going to set aside time each Sunday and clip coupons, print coupons, search store ad's and hopefully, save some money.
I started this venture this morning at 9am. I printed online coupons and I am waiting for my husband to return home from work with the Sunday paper so I can clip the coupons from there. As of next week I am getting it delivered, Sunday only. I wanted to see if the price of the LA Times Sunday edition would go down after the holiday. It didn't but I still found a good deal. Then I created a spreadsheet in Excel to track my coupons, retail store specials and my weekly shopping list. This will help me with my weekly budget. I can tweak where I need so I don't overspend. Since I really don't know exactly how to organize myself just yet, it's taken me about 7 hours to do everything I have set out to do.
SWAGBUCKS: I started by going to a coupon site through Swagbucks.com this way when I use the coupons I selected I also will earn Swagbucks. If you haven't heard of Swagbucks or you have but you aren't sure if it's worth it, let me tell you that in my opinion, it is. In the last 2 years I have gained enough Swagbucks here and there just from searching the Internet to get enough money in Amazon gift cards to buy a very nice Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker, a Harry Potter DVD set of all 8 movies, some e-books for my Kindle and other things I honestly cannot remember at the time. My point being, not only will I save money with the coupons but I will earn Swagbucks points that l one day turn into an Amazon gift card. Swagbucks has a lot of different options for you to spend your points but I choose the Amazon card. I also find that mathematically, if you order multiple $5 cards, you get more for your points than saving up for a larger dollar card.
TARGET: Target not only accepts manufacturer coupons but they also have printable and text coupons for the store. You can go to the target website for more information. I also use a "Red Card" that gives me an extra 5% off. It's a debit card attached to my checking account, not a credit card. I believe they have credit cards too but I am not interested in one. Lately I have been buying my ground beef from Target. I did research and found that they do not sell ground beef with pink slime in it. If you don't know what pink slime is just go to Youtube and search it. Yuck! The ground beef at Target is usually at a good price too. This week it's 2 lbs for $7 at my local store. Not everything is a deal though. They are currently running a special where if you buy 4 of some particular products you will get a $5 gift card back. Now if you actually need those items, it would be worth it. In my case, after careful thinking, I chose to not go in that direction. I would have ended up with items that I really didn't need to spend the money on at this time just to get that $5 back. Last week I spent $62 at Target and was able to purchase enough meat to make dinner for a week as well as buy some needed grocery items.
WALMART: I personally don't shop at Walmart unless I absolutely have to. Honestly, it's just too big of a store and the lines are always really long. Where I may save a few bucks, I loose in time. However, they do take coupons so if I am in the area, know I will make out really well, I just may find the time.
Warehouse Stores (Costco, Sam's Club): I used to have memberships to both of these stores. I don't anymore because I just don't have the budget to spend at one time there. Buying in bulk is great for many but for me I need to shop in smaller quantities because I don't have $200 plus dollars to spend on just meat. I need to make that money spread out better.
Local Grocery Stores: I would love to have more than just two stores to go to but I don't. I live in a very small town on a mountain and the local grocery store is very expensive and I only shop there when in a bind or just need to get some milk. The store down the hill is a Stater Bros and while it's not the greatest store in the universe, they are not so bad either. I always look at the meat specials first. London Broil feeds my whole family so when it's on sale I am sure to buy at least 2 or 3 if I can afford it at the time and put one in the fridge and the others in the freezer. Chicken is expensive. I am sometimes needing to buy the bags of flash frozen breasts because I would have to win the lottery to afford it fresh. But the moisture content in the flash frozen chicken is nice when you are making lemon chicken or any chicken with pan sauces. You just need to realize you have to consider the extra liquid you will be adding to the pan and adjust your recipe very slightly.
Beware of end cap displays! I never grab what is on an end of an isle without checking the actual isle first. So many times I find a better deal. And for goodness sake, look up and down. Don't shop just from the center of the shelf. Especially with cereal.
Yes, I am normally a very smart shopper but I know I can save more if I just take the time to use coupons. I'll post again about this as time goes on and honestly report if I saved enough to make it worth my Sunday. Hopefully I will get much better at this and not take 7 or so hours.
Wish me luck and Happy New Year!