Showing posts from February, 2011

How To Organize Coupons

If you play your cards right, you’ll find yourself holding multiple copies of each week’s coupon inserts.  Score!   That’s money in the bank, baby!  (& food in your pantry, too!) But, that excitement can turn into Coupon Claustrophobia in a hot second!  “What do I do with all of these flyers?” “Am I supposed to clip ALL of these coupons out individually?” “If I actually DO, then where do I put ‘em?” “They just end up expiring anyway, so why bother?” “It’s a $5 item…it’s NOT worth me combing through this stack of mayhem to find a 35 cent off coupon!” My BFF Ginger finally gave me the epiphany I needed.   We sat at lunch & I took notes so fast my pencil was smoking!  She showed me her method AND 2 other variations. In the end, you should do what works best for you.   Our brains are wired differently & some peoples’ methods would drive me crazy!  Likewise, my method might not be the perfect one for you, so I’ll show you all 3 & let you pick your favorite.  (Even then, you’

Congrats! You're About To Be Bi-Lingual

Let's learn our new second language! If we're going to be talking about coupons, we'll need to understand most of the standard abbreviations & other coupon slang. Here's a start: Basic Coupon Lingo $1/2                       One dollar off of two items .50/1                      Fifty cents off one item $/$$                       Dollars off when you buy XX dollars WYB                      When you buy MFR                      Manufacturer OOP                      Out of pocket BOGO, B1G1       Buy one, get one FAR                       Free after rebate MIR                        Mail-in rebate Types of Coupons RP                          Red Plum coupon insert (Tuesday mail) SS                         SmartSource coupon insert (Sunday newspaper) PG                         Proctor & Gamble coupon insert (Sunday paper monthly) Tear Pad              A pad of coupons hanging from a shelf in the store Catalina                A coupon that’s printed at the c

Tuesday Nights

Each Tuesday night, I park myself at the kitchen table with the following: • The new batch of sales flyers that just came in the mail • A hard copy of my price-tracking spreadsheet • A red pen • A glass of wine I scour each ad individually. If I see a price I think is a good deal, I consult the spreadsheet. If it’s not the lowest price for that particular item, I return to the flyer & continue searching. If it is that item’s lowest price, I write that week’s cycle number on the spreadsheet near that column & circle it. For example, the upcoming week will be my 42nd week of price-tracking, so I will write a “42” in red by the Cycle column. I also write the store that’s offering that price. It helps me track cycles & is crucial when price-matching. Trust me, it’s worth the effort! Remember, that the whole point of that sales flyer is to convince me to shop at their store. They really can pile on the ***stars***, exclamation points!!!!!, bright colors &am

How To Track Prices

Now that you have access to the spreadsheet, here are 2 things you should know about it. First, I realize that it looks a bit funky. I used a Google program to allow it to be available online since blogspot doesn't appear to allow me to attach a document. Here's the best way to save it so you can use it easier. After you click on the link for the spreadsheet, Click on "File" in the upper left corner as shown in the green circle below. Then select "Download As" & choose which program you use. Voila!  Save it to your computer to use forever.   Second, I used some abbreviations for some store names. If you live in Las Vegas, you'll hopefully be able to deduce which stores I'm talking about. If you don't live in Las Vegas, you'll be replacing those names with your own awesome, local stores' anyway. What the spreadsheet tracks: • Food or Household Item (by category) • Lowest price I have found it at • What store offered that

Best Grocery Prices

Today is a big day.  I feel like a proud Mommy sending my only child off to college. Only, my kid is my price-tracking spreadsheet & I'm sending it to you. This spreadsheet will quite possibly be the single-most important tool for your Money-Saving Mission.  I know I have saved hundreds of dollars because of it & would be utterly lost without it. It contains 42 weeks of grocery prices in 11 pages.  And, not just any grocery prices, but the very best ones I was able to find. People who live outside of Las Vegas should use it as a guide & a groundwork.  Sit with it each week & adjust the prices to match your flyers.  (Dear Southern friends:  Take pity on us that we have to exist without Publix, Kroger & double coupons.  Oh, how I envy you for so many reasons.) People who live in Las Vegas can use this as a living, breathing, ever-changing document that's ready to go. No matter where you live, this will help you make sure you don't accidentally p

Top 3 Places to Find Good Prices

B efore we dive in, let's re-cap our new shopping strategy:  1- Find what items are at their lowest price each week so we don't accidentally pay more for something than we have to. 2- Use a coupon for that item. 3- Buy enough of it to last us until the next time it's at that awesome price. So, now that we've changed our shopping strategy, what do we do first?  We've gotta find out which items are at their lowest price this week.  (Some people call it the "stock-up price" since that's when we want to stock up.) Here are my 3 favorite places to find the good deals. #1- Circulars (Flyers) Grocery stores’ flyers usually arrive Tuesday in the mail to show you the prices that begin on Wednesday. Drug Stores’ flyers are in the Sunday newspaper (they're also on a stand in the store, but your trip will be well-planned long before you walk in).             Grocery Store sales typically begin each Wednesday & end on the following

Now, Let's Have Some Fun!

Whew!  Thank goodness all of the "serious" stuff has been covered. If you survived the groundwork & are still's fixin' to get fun!  :) Here's the very basic premise that has saved us the most money.  Don't worry...I will explain all of this in great detail another day.  We're just laying the foundation tonight.  (Shoot, I felt like I owed you some sense of hope after the smack across the head from this morning!) I’m going to start out by explaining the basic shopping process that has saved our family the most money.  I'd feel cool if I was the one who created this, but thousands of people use this method.  ...because it's ridiculously effective. First, we had to adopt a new mindset about how to shop for groceries & household items. How Most Of Us Grocery Shop Now 1-We make a list of what we want to eat & go buy some.  Some of us diligently plan our menus for the entire week before we go shopping.  The rest of us just

Why Now?

Hey, everyone! Today is my first actual post & it needs a bit of explanation.  Please bear with me.  It might not be pleasant for a few minutes, but please know that I am genuinely doing this out of love. This blog will be about saving money & it will be fun! BUT , today might be a little bit scary.  I was not ready to start posting yet, but this past week lit a fire underneath my typing fingers.  I was working on making my content all nice & pretty for you, but you're about to get it pretty raw & hard-core today.  But, it's only because I love you.  :)  I promise we will have fun after I get this post out of the way. I have been very heavily burdened over the last few months.  I have had an overwhelming urge to help as many people as possible to have more food & more money than they had before. That led me to start this blog.  What led me to begin posting much sooner than anticipated is as follows: Food prices just hit an all-time high.  I bega