Category Archives: Getting Started

WFMW- Budgeting

Prov. 31:16

She looks over a field and buys it, then with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.

I may not apply this verse with fields and gardens.. but the following post explains how I “put money aside” in order to can fulfill this trait!

Ever since I moved out of my parents house… 18 years ago.. I’ve always tried my hardest to keep a budget. When I first started, I was waitressing, and bringing home lots of cash. As a young woman on my own, I knew I needed to find a way to keep my money set aside for paying bills like rent, food, electric, gas etc… but it was so hard to keep track! As a waitress, it was exciting to walk out the door on a Friday night with $200 in small bills in my pocket.. but it was also easy to BLOW almost that much money going out with my friends or on a trip to the mall.

So.. I started budgeting.

I knew what my “fixed” expenses were, so I wrote them down.  Then I figured out what I would typically make in a month.  Then I came up with percentages for each expense based on the formula expense/income.

I wrote these percentages down on envelopes labeled with the appropriate category.

Then, every night, when I emptied my pockets of all that cash… I would sit down with my calculator and put the right percentage into EACH envelope. That way.. I KNEW that when the rent was due… I would have enough money to pay for it!

Over the years… I grew up! (how on earth did that happen so fast by the way?)

I changed from an all cash situation to earning a paycheck, and I also added quite a few “categories” to my expense list as I added people to my family. 🙂

So, I developed a spreadsheet to be my “envelope” system on my computer.

realtimebudgetcapture

For demonstration purposes I've used random numbers in this image.

This “budget” spreadsheet is something I open everytime I balance my checkbook or use my Quicken. It is formatted on one tab to have an easy at a glance summary of how much money I have set aside into each needed category.

There is another tab that looks like this:

)

Numbers used are not real! 🙂

This tab helps me figure out what my percentages are…. AUTOMATICALLY! That way, as my needs change, and my budget changes.. I can easily change and update my “envelopes”. 🙂

I’ve created a version of my spreadsheet that has “comments” on the main page so that I can make it available to you all! The “comments” are like directions for how to use each column and tab properly. But once you get it all set up it’s really simple and really only involves a weekly  copy/paste to accurately divide out your deposits.

Here’s a view of it with the comments attached. Remember, they can be turned off in excel once you get the hang of it!

formulamakerwithcommentscapture

If you’re interested in downloading this excel spreadsheet for yourself, you can get it here:

Deni’s Budget Spreadsheet

It will help if you go ahead and think about the categories that might work for your family budget. Remember to do your Fixed expenses first, and your discretionary expenses last.

After you get everything set up and start using this system, it’s important to make sure you don’t “steal” from a certain category just because you seem to have leftovers. This system really helps keep you organized with your spending. If you find that after a year you have a major surplus in one category, then you can take from it and readjust your budget number to reflect what you actually need. I’ve found that in the “electric” category it seems like I have “extra” for a few months… but if I leave it there.. it really helps during those super cold months when the heat bill goes up or during the really hot months when the AC is running full blast. I don’t even notice that my bill is higher than usual because I left the surplus alone on the months when my bill was lower than usual.

Make sense?

Well, it works for me! 🙂 Let me know if it works for you too!

siggy1

PS- If you want to see some more Works for Me Ideas

Click this picturew4mw

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Filed under Getting Started, organization, Works-for-Me Wednesday

Helpful Spreadsheets

excel_2007

I’ve found that spreadsheets give me a strange sense of satisfaction.

Here are a few very helpful spreadsheets that I’ve found around the web.

Grocery Geeks– has an overall grocery savings spreadsheet that I use for all my grocery/household/toiletry items.

Crazy Coupon Ladies– offers a scenario spreadsheet to help you plan your trips

IheartCVS– offers a CVS tracker that helps track your spending AND your ECB’s. I altered this one in a separate spreadsheet to also track my Walgreen’s spending and RR’s.. but haven’t figured out how to add in the rebate stuff too yet!

Pinching Your Pennies– has a Price Book that I’m going to attempt to use. It gives you a list of average good to excellent prices for over 150 normal items. (I’m printing it out and keeping it in my binder) and also some blank pages so I can begin to track prices of certain things between stores here locally.

Maybe I’ll invent some of my own someday. 🙂

Here’s one I made for my family to use for budgeting purposes many many years ago. I’ll be posting about this in a WFMW post soon!

Download here

or view a preview:

siggy1

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Understanding Walgreens

walgreensgc

Walgreens is very different from CVS. You do NOT need a “membership card”.. but you have to really work the system to make it work. Here’s my attempt at explaining how I “work” the Walgreen’s store! It’s a little more confusing than CVS.

  • First you have to pick up the monthly Easy Saver Rebate (ESR)book at the front of the store. This rebate book has more than just rebates, it also has Store Coupons! We call these ESR q’s (Easy Saver Rebate coupons) These coupons are not rebates.. they are actual coupons to use on today’s purchase.
  • Take advantage of the rebates available. Especially FAR items (Free After Rebate) I’m not suggesting you buy something you don’t want… but when you start off, it’s nice to give yourself a fully loaded Walgreen’s Gift Card to work with.
  • Use the online rebate claim form here. AS soon as you get home from a Walgreen’s trip, enter your receipts online and save the form until the end of the month. When the month is over, and you know you won’t be purchasing anymore available rebate items, you can easily submit your rebate online. Select your payment to be loaded onto a Walgreen’s Gift Card… and Walgreen’s will ADD 10% to your card at the same time!!! It takes about 5 or 6 weeks to get your card the first time, but after that you can simply “refill” that card online and have your money available within days. There’s no stamps to buy and no envelopes to fill or forms to keep track of… it’s all very organized and user friendly!
  • Now, back to those ESR q’s These are Walgreen’s store coupons and can be combined with manufacturer coupons. You can also find more Walgreen’s store coupons in the weekly ad. You only need one Walgreen’s coupon per purchase. For instance, if I have a Walgreen’s coupon for $1 off Tylenol. I can purchase 2 boxes of Tylenol and give them 1 coupons… and $2 will be taken off at the end! Of course, the best situation is to also have a manufacturer coupon to stack onto that. 🙂
  • Count your items! You may be wondering why this is important, but Walgreen’s has a policy that you can’t have more items than you have coupons. They don’t mind you stacking.. but they have a clause that makes their register beep if you don’t plan ahead smartly! Here’s an example:

Buy 2 bottles of Tylenol for $3.99 each= $7.98

Give them 1 ESR Q for $1 off = -$2

Give them 2 Manufacturer qs for $1.50 off = -3

You have 2 items and 3 coupons!!! The machine will BEEP at you! So, what do you do? You need a “filler” item in this case. Before you go checkout, you need to check out the clearance rack or the “toy” area… you can often find items for .25 or even .10 over there that you can throw onto your purchase in order to use that 3rd q. The trick is to make sure you don’t grab a filler that was worth more than the value of your smallest coupon!

  • Combine coupons with rebates for even greater savings!
  • Did you read the CVS tips? Remember ECB’s? Well Walgreens has a similar program called Register Rewards. (RR’s) RR’s are like cash back to use on a later purchase. But they are not the same as ECB’s. There are pros and cons to the RR’s vs. the ECB’s at CVS.

Pros:

  1. No membership card keeping track means NO LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU GET THE DEAL!

Cons:

  1. You can’t use an RR from one company to purchase the same exact items again. Meaning- if Scrubbing Bubbles has an RR deal… you can’t turn around and buy more Scrubbing Bubbles with that RR. BUT, what you CAN do is use those RR’s to buy another item that generates RR’s… and then turn around and use those to purchase more Scrubbing Bubbles… which then gives you more RR’s again. I call this “cycling” RR’s.
  2. These RR’s count as a “coupon” when it comes to the “count” I mentioned above.
  • Total combination deals usually end up as moneymakers. Be on the lookout for items that have a rebate, a Walgreen’s q and a manufacturer q.
  • Eventually, you will get to a point where you are only spending Gift Card money and RR’s and NEVER any cash!
  • Walgreens also has a very unique program that benefits us for 2 days a month. These are called “Double Dip Days” and they occur at the end of the month. This is when last month’s ESR book has not yet expired and this month’s ESR book is already out!  You might have to ask your cashier for a copy of the new book if you don’t see them out yet. During Double Dip Days you can sometimes find coupons for the same exact item in both books… and you can use them both in addition to your manufacturer q’s, rebates, and RR’s.
  • Educate yourself with Walgreen’s deals, just as you would with CVS deals. Hot Coupon World is very helpful.. especially in finding out what those double dip day deals are! I also look at WagstoRiches for scenarios or IheartWags .
  • Know your rules as you plan. Same as with CVS
  1. Buy One Get One Sales– You can use a coupon for the one you buy AND for the one that’s Free! For instance, if deodorant is on sale for $3 and BOGO, and you happen to have a coupon on that deodorant for $1.50 off. USE TWO of those coupons and both are now FREE!  Here’s the math for those that need to see it…. 1st one $3.00 + 2nd one 0.00= $3.00 Coupons 1st one -1.50 2nd one -1.50= -3.00  $3-$3=0
  2. Buy One Get One Coupons– You can use a Buy One Get One Coupon ON a Buy One Get One Sale and they will both be FREE! How? Walgreens rings up both items at regular price. Walgreens then deducts the 2nd one as part of their sale. You hand them the coupon, they look at the screen and see what you paid.. and they enter that price (as a negative amount)
  3. Understand why coupons are good for Walgreens. Stores EARN the value of your coupon PLUS 8 cents on every one they turn into the manufacture! They profit from our coupon use!!!
  4. Overage– if Walgreens has a sale on an item for $1 and you have a coupon for $1.50… you can use that “overage” to plan the rest of your purchase. You can’t get “money back”.. but you CAN add that into the cost of another item making that item cheaper. I’ve used overage to purchase items that are hard to find coupons for. Just make sure you stick to your # items = # coupons rule!
  5. Sometimes a Walgreen’s machine will beep and not allow overage. In this case, if your cashier doesn’t know his/her rules the might convince you either to buy it without the coupon or not at all. But.. one thing they CAN do is manually INCREASE the amount of the product for the price called for on the coupon. I once had an Excedrin coupon for $2 off, but the Excedrin was on sale for $1.99. My cashier simply adjusted the price of the Excedrin to $2 and no more register beeps. 🙂
  • Use the cosmetic counter to check out. The cosmetic counter cashier is usually trained more when it comes to taking coupons, because Walgreen’s prefers that we use that counter so we don’t slow down the main lines.
  • Be nice to your cashiers! Help them out by knowing your rules and having your coupons and items in order before you get to the register. And if you’re doing multiple transactions and there are people waiting in line… do your 1st transaction, then go to the end of the line to do the next one. Being frugal doesn’t mean we have to be rude and annoying to everyone around us! 🙂

Hopefully some of this will help you get started with Walgreens! Good luck and Happy Shopping!

Please, feel free to leave me questions here!

siggy1

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Filed under Getting Started, Walgreens

Understanding CVS

xtracarelogo1CVS shopping is not just a simple “running to the store” thing anymore! CVS shopping has become a whole “game” to play that can be quite confusing sometimes. So let me try to explain it here for all the beginners out there!

  • First of all you need to get a CVS Extra Care Card. You can pick one up at the counter at your next visit.
  • After you get your card, go here and sign up online to keep track of your Extra Care Account. Once you sign up, they will send you occasional emails with coupons! I think the typical first coupon email from CVS is a $4/20 and can come in very handy in making some of your early purchase. The $/# coupons are highly sought after and are usually “card specific”
  • Do a “dry run” walk around CVS once to get to know your store better. Look for the Price Checker Machine… and scan your CVS Extra Care Card while you’re there. It will print out coupons specifically for YOU! Look up towards the front of the store for the monthly ECB booklet. It’s a flyer slightly smaller than the weekly flyer.. but it has more pages. Look in the back of the store for any pharmacy booklets that mention “Savings Inside”  for coupons on many different CVS items or medicine items. Occasionally CVS will also put out a Beauty Handbook FULL of coupons on both name brand items and CVS only items. All these coupons are coded as CVS coupons and CAN BE STACKED with regular manufactor coupons!
  • Educate yourself with other websites when you are planning your CVS trip. Hot Coupon World Forums has some wonderfully talented people sharing their scenarios for a few weeks in advance! This site is positively crucial to helping people learn to play at CVS! Moneysavingmom, iheartcvs , and Keeping the Kingdom First are also great places to get educated! Follow along on their challenges and scenarios and be thankful that there are so many ladies out there that enjoy helping others!! 🙂
  • Now that you are learning, it’s time to PLAN your trip! Using the examples of others, look through the weekly ad and your own coupon stash and find a match up!  Look for items that are on sale to combine with your coupon. In the beginning, you may be thinking that you don’t “need” toothpaste yet… but try to remember that someday you will! It costs WAY more to buy it simply because you’re out of it than it does to buy it in advance when it’s at it’s cheapest price.
  • Know your rules as you plan.
  1. Buy One Get One Sales– You can use a coupon for the one you buy AND for the one that’s Free! For instance, if deodorant is on sale for $3 and BOGO, and you happen to have a coupon on that deodorant for $1.50 off. USE TWO of those coupons and both are now FREE!  Here’s the math for those that need to see it…. 1st one $3.00 + 2nd one 0.00= $3.00 Coupons 1st one -1.50 2nd one -1.50= -3.00  $3-$3=0
  2. Buy One Get One Coupons– You can use a Buy One Get One Coupon ON a Buy One Get One Sale and they will both be FREE! How? CVS rings up both items at regular price. CVS then deducts the 2nd one as part of their sale. You hand them the coupon, they look at the screen and see what you paid.. and they enter that price (as a negative amount)
  3. Understand why coupons are good for CVS. CVS EARN’s the value of your coupon PLUS 8 cents on every one they turn into the manufacture! They profit from our coupon use!!!
  4. Overage– if CVS has a sale on an item for $1 and you have a coupon for $1.50… you can use that “overage” to plan the rest of your purchase. You can’t get “money back”.. but you CAN add that into the cost of another item making that item cheaper. I’ve used overage to purchase items that are hard to find coupons for.
  • Work with your ECB’s. ECB’s (Extra Care Bucks) are like cash in your pocket. When you purchase an item in the beginning, try to purchase items that generate ECB’s. As you become more comfortable with CVS’ing, you will learn to “Roll” your ECB’s and find that real money isn’t coming out of your pocket anymore.  The first time you buy something that generates ECB’s it might seem like you’re buying something for too much. But once you have that ECB in your hand, you can then use it to buy MORE ECB items.  It’s easier to show you than to tell you about this…. recently I rolled 5ECB’s like this:
    2- Colgate MaxFresh w/ Mouthwash beads- on Sale 2.99 each Get 2 ECB’s each.

    1- CVS Kids antibacterial spray- on Sale 1.99 Get 1 ECB

    1- Reese’s peanutbutter cup- on sale .50 (this was a filler.. my total was 3 cents short!! ( )

    Total before tax/q’s= 8.47

    q’s used: $8

    -$1 (used 2)  Maxfresh-CVS Beauty Handbook

    – $1 CVS product- CVS Beauty Handbook

    – $5 ECB on hand from last week

    Total Paid OOP .51 and earned $5 ECB’s right back.   Can you see how I actually got all of those products for free??? That’s how ECB’s work. 🙂

  • Utilize Rainchecks! Don’t be shy about asking for a raincheck. If CVS is out of an item they have on sale, or marked with an ECB promotion… ask for a raincheck!!! You can always pick it up later and still get the great deal. Some CVS’s will also honor your expired coupon IF they can’t restock before your coupon expires! Don’t ever be afraid to ask!
  • Get to know your managers, and if you’re having trouble.. contact Customer Service! CVS is a customer first type of company and they readily handle problems via phone or email.
  • Sign up to be a CVS advisor! Go here and sign up to help them by doing surveys. I’ve been an “advisor” for about a month or so and they’ve asked me to do 2 survey’s. I earned 10 ECB’s just for comparing my CVS ad with my Walgreens ad one Sunday! I also earned 2 ECB’s for offering to do another survey but then discovering I didn’t qualify to do it. This is a win win situation and it’s a FREE way to earn ECB’s!

Hopefully some of this will help you get started with CVS! The first time you begin to “get” CVS’ing it will be exhilarating! I still get a little shaky when I start handing over my ECB’s and walk out of the store with a bag full of stuff for little to no cash at all! Good luck and Happy Shopping!

Please, feel free to leave me questions here!

siggy1

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Filed under CVS, Getting Started

Everything has it’s place

(Scroll to bottom for updated version!)

One thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I tend to accomplish more when I’m organized. My life can get messy if I don’t take the time in advance to organize things!

So, when I took on the whole idea of couponing… I got set up with a coupon binder right away. There are many different ways of organizing one’s coupons, but for me a zippered binder seems to work the best. I’ve taken pictures of my binder and I will explain how I’ve organized it to work best for me.

The binder I use is an old, ripped binder leftover from my kid’s school work last year. 🙂 I didn’t have to spend any money on it this way…. recycling at its finest.

In this picture, you can tell it’s not even zipped at the moment. The front section has a zippered area where I stash the coupons I wasn’t able to use at the register (sometimes this happens and I don’t like to have loose coupons floating in my purse!)

On the inside of my binder, you will notice that I have a pencil case (another leftover from my son). This case carries my papercutter and/or scissors, pens, postit flags and a highlighter. There is also a bunch of notecards just to the left of that case. I often write my store specific lists on these notecards when I’m planning my trip. I also have a calculator in my binder. I’ve found it very handy while at the store to be able to figure out the price on on the spot deals, as well as keep track of my spending on big grocery trips where I didn’t make a complete list. The highlighter and postit notes get used most frequently while going through the ads and planning my shopping trips.

Also included in this particular binder is a very handy accordian file system. This is where I keep my individual store flyers. I also have a section here for “uncut q’s”. There have been times when I bought multiple papers because of a few particular coupons.

So, for those extra inserts, I write a list of all the q’s inside of it, mark the date of the paper as well as the oldest expiration date, and paperclip all of them together. When a big sale comes up on these items, I can quickly scan through to find the coupons I need to cut.

Now, for most of my coupons I precut them all. Even the ones I’m not sure if I’ll use or not. I’ve discovered many new products in the past few months because of this. You’ll be surprised how fun it is to “buy” an item you’ve never tried before because you have a coupon that makes it free! I do however, make a pile of coupons that I KNOW I won’t use (like baby stuff and cat stuff) and I send those on to my coupon train.

I lay them out on my table, separated out into sections that match my binder’s categories… which makes it easier to put them in when I’m all done. Here’s a picture of 2 newspapers worth of coupons! When I have more than 1 paper, I divide each insert and lay the pages flat on top of each other before cutting.. this saves time and finger power!

cvs-and-wags-0111

To organize all of these cut q’s, I’ve placed photo pages that hold 2 toploading 5×7’s into the binder. Each pocket holds a category of coupons. The first page has a section for my Check-out q’s and Re-file q’s. (Sometimes if a store is out of a particular item, I will have to refile my q later) When shopping I start with my “planned” coupons in the refile section and as I put the item in my cart, the q gets moved to the checkout section. This helps speed up the checkout process which makes my cashier happy and the guests in line behind me. 🙂

Now, because I am organized, but also cheap… when I bought dividers for my sections of coupons and discovered they were not wide enough to stick out past the other pages, I created makeshift tabs out of colored index cards. I’ve broken my sections into the following categories for easy page flipping:

Toiletries, Cold items, Boxed/Bagged items, Household/Cleaning items, Store specific/entertainment

Once you flip to that “section” you will then find that each pocket is also labeled. The longer I work at my couponing, the more pockets I end up with. For now this is how I break down my sections and pockets:

Toiletries: Makeup/skincare, Medicines, Feminine Products, Soaps/Lotions, Razors/Shaving, Hair, Deodorant, Tooth Health

Cold: Refrigerated Items, Lunch meats/Cheeses, Meats, Frozen Goods

Boxed/Bagged: Cereal/Breakfast, Snacks, Beverages(not cold), Breads/Fruits, Condiments/Dressings/Spices, Boxed/Pastas/Baking/Canned

Household/Pet:School supplies/Pets, paper Products, Kitchen, Bathrooms, General Household cleaning, Laundry, Household goods (like batteries, lightbulbs etc), Airfresheners/Candles.

Store Specific: Each store I use has a separate pocket for store specific coupons and ECB’s or RR’s.

Entertainment: fast food, restaurants, movies clothing stores etc.

As particular pockets end up getting overfilled, I then subdivide them even more specifiably by adding new pockets.

At the end of each month I go through them all and pull any expired coupons. I’ve heard that some overseas military families are allowed to use expired coupons, but I haven’t actually sent mine on to them yet.

Okay… now that you’ve seen a glimpse of how I organize my coupons. Would you like to see the stockpile I’ve been building? I only started in July… and  you need to remember that I’ve  spent LESS than I normally spend. And here is my growing stockpile. It’s my very own store of stuff I don’t need to buy anytime soon. 🙂

in the guest bathroom closet, extra toiletries and pantry items

in the guest bathroom closet, extra toiletries and pantry items

in the kitchen, extra frequently used food items

in the kitchen, extra frequently used food items

NEW BINDER PAGES

The longer I coupon, the better organized I become. I found that after awhile the 5×7 pages were getting rather full, and I was often wasting time in the grocery aisle with a handful of coupons looking for one in particular. So, I did some googleing around and found a better format.

I bought a few packages of baseball card holders at Walmart… and now my pages look like this:

cvs-and-wags-008Within each “category” section like Toiletries… I then have a sticky tab labeling each page with it’s smaller category, like Deodarant. Then on that page, each slot holds ONE brand. That way, when I’m looking for a particular coupon, I can simply turn the pages and see each one in an instant without removing a whole “pile”.

cvs-and-wags-009This system takes a little bit longer when I’m filing them, but it makes everything so much faster and easier to flip through while I’m shopping.

I still keep a section in the front just for CVS and another one for Walgreens. I reused one of those old 5×7 pages to hold rebate forms and additional $/$$ coupons.

cvs-and-wags-005

Anyway… hopefully this system might be helpful to one of you! It’s paid for itself over and over again… and I love always knowing where my coupons are! You’ll never see me fumbling for that illusive coupon anymore!!!

siggy1

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Filed under Getting Started, organization

Coupon Basics

Proverbs 31:13

She shops around for the best yarns and cottons and enjoys knitting and sewing.

I may not be knitting and sewing yet.. but here is how I “shop around”!

I am certainly no expert at couponing yet… but here are a few rules that have helped me get started in the past 2 months.

First- start off by clipping the coupons from your local Sunday paper. You may even want to start doing this for a few weeks prior to actually shopping this way. At Hot Coupon World there is a subheading for “Coupon Discussioin by source” where you can get a preview of the upcoming inserts in your paper. If you see a bunch of coupons of things that you frequently use, it might be worth purchasing a few extra papers. Or, ask you friends and family and neighbors to pass along their inserts instead of throwing them away.

(Hey… to my family and friends…. I’m still looking for extra inserts myself!!!)

Then- organize your coupons to make them easier to find. (Look for my upcoming post on how to do this!!)

Next-when a good sale at the grocery store OR pharmacy store like Walgreens or CVS happens on the same item that you have a coupon for… STOCK UP!! For instance, my family loves Pop-Tarts. My kids absolutely devore them! So, when a recent Sunday insert had coupons for $1 off of 2 boxes AND my local Publix ad showed Pop-Tarts to be Buy One Get One Free… I stocked up! There was also a rebate form from Kellogs that very same week to get $10 back when you buy 10 boxes. So… I ended up with 16 boxes of Poptarts completely free after that rebate!!!

Now, at the Grocery Game, they provide you with a color coded list of when items are at their rock bottom combined sale/coupon price and suggest that you only buy it then. However, if you need an item… try to at least get it on sale and use a coupon.

As the weeks go by, you will begin to build up a “stockpile” of frequently used foods and toiletry and household items. I noticed that the first month of doing this, I spent slightly less money than normal… but had tripled the amount of stuff I brought home. Now, I am at a point where I really only need to buy my “need” items like milk, eggs, bread and meat. (I don’t own a big freezer or else I would also be able to stock up on some of those items as well when they hit really low prices) And my budget for food and household items is half of what it used to be!

I keep my stockpile separate from my regular foods… otherwise my teenage son would eat it all in a week! 🙂

It’s easier for me to plan ahead prior to shopping for the most part. I search around at the forums and blogs online to see what deals others have found, and match up the preview ad’s of my local stores with the coupons in my binder and make a list. I still bring my whole binder with me to the grocery store though, just in case I find an unadvertised deal on something I have a coupon for! Planning in advance also helps the checkout line go smoother. Cashiers usually appreciate it when you have all your coupons organized and handed over to them neatly. 🙂

I also find that sometimes I just can’t pass up offers that make my items FREE even when I already have enough! I can start donating some of these items to shelters and others places without any worry about providing for my own family!

Other rules that you may not be aware of:

Most stores allow you to use a Buy One Get One Free coupon combined with their own Buy One Get One Free Sale which means BOTH items are FREE!!!

Most stores also allow you to use multiple coupons when they have a BOGO sale… like if ketchup is on sale BOGO at Publix… and I have 2 different coupons for $1 off.. I can use one on the one I paid for and another on the one that was Free!!

Some stores also allow you to “stack” a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon. Other stores allow you to use competitors coupons. Some stores even double coupons up to a certain amount! (I’m in Florida though, and haven’t found any that do this yet.) Be sure to check with your local stores to find out what their coupon policies are BEFORE shopping! It’s also helpful for you to know as a consumer that you are not “robbing” the store of anything by using coupons. The store gets reimbursed the exact amount of the coupon PLUS an additional 8 cents for each coupon!!! Your store actually MAKES a profit when we use coupons! Many cashiers do not realize this… so if you find a grumpy cashier… smile and let them know!

You should also be on the lookout for items on clearance racks… often times you will find coupons to combine with these super low prices making the item free or nearly free.

Be aware that some stores offer special store “bucks” back when you purchase certain things. These can come in very handy when combining deals. CVS and Walgreens and Target do this most often.

Well, that’s the basics for now…. I’ll add to this post as I think of more things.

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Filed under Getting Started

Pr. 31:13 She shops around for the best……

Since this is my first post at my new wordpress blog, I figured it’s best to start of with an introduction! My name is Deni, and I am a 35 year old stay at home mother of 2. My son is 13 and my daughter is 11. I have been married for 15 years to my highschool sweetheart, and I am also a photographer and owner of my own photography business.

This past year, has brought us back to some hard times financially, reminiscent of the years when we survived on military pay with 2 small children. Okay, well, maybe it’s not that bad… but its definitely time to tighten the wallet and re-learn ways to be wise with what the Lord has blessed us with. A good friend of mine mentioned a thing called The Grocery Game to me earlier this summer and after few months of barely making ends meet, I finally did some online research about it.

I signed up for the $1 trial, and quickly discovered that I could easily cut my grocery bill down dramatically just by clipping coupons and comparing prices between stores. I then looked around the internet for “coupons” and discovered a whole “family” of bloggers who not only provided links to coupons, but also posted about the deals they had found. I learned to love shopping at Walgreens and CVS for my beauty and household supplies, and all about “stockpiling”.  Pretty soon I was hooked and ready to share my own deals with everyone too!

I decided not to continue on in my membership with The Grocery Game… because for me, as a stay at home mom, I have the time to sort thru the ads and websites and find the best deals on my own. But, for any working mom’s out there.. I would definately recommend a membership there.

So, here on my blog I plan to join in with many other wonderful women who are committed to saving money and earning the trust and respect of their loved ones at the same time. I will add some “getting started” tips, some coupon links, and then start posting my actual savings starting tomorrow.

Deni

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