Three Tips for Saving with Coupons in the New Year
Now that the New Year has rolled around you may have started thinking about ways to cut costs at the grocery store. It’s a great time of the year to commit (or recommit!) to saving money, so in today’s post I will share with you my three biggest tips for saving at the store.
One note: this article is not about extreme couponing and extreme stockpiling, but about buying what your family needs at the lowest price.
Watch the ads and buy on sale. If you do nothing else, buy food only when it is on sale – or do so as much as possible. Find a store that offers BOGO sales (buy one, get one) as well as double coupons. Don’t be surprised if this store has the highest prices of products NOT on sale; that’s okay! You won’t buy not on sale once you have at least one backup of each item you use most.
- Think of it this way, as an example: Suppose Publix and Big Chain Superstore both sell taco mix: $2.79 a box at Publix and $2.49 at Superstore. If I never shop sales, the Superstore price is best; but if I do, Publix always runs BOGO sales on taco mixes, so I can get two for $2.49, or $1.25 each; plus, I will pair that with a fifty cent off coupon that doubles, which means I will get two boxes for $1.49, or $.75 each! Compare that to $2.49 each at Superstore and you can see why shopping sales is best.
- You’ll need to spend about thirty minutes each week perusing ads or checking out sites like couponmom.com and southernsavers.com to find out what is on sale at the lowest price. How does this work?
1. Use the websites listed above to save time. I go through and see what is on sale that I don’t already have one back-up of in my cabinet (ie: taco mixes, spaghetti sauce, boxes of pasta, bags of rice, beans, condiments, toothpaste). Both sites list products that are at their rock bottom price for the week.
2. Put items you don’t have a backup for on your list, along with fresh items such as produce and meat. For meat, I know rock bottom prices (more on this later). So if chicken breast is on sale for $1.99 I purchase at least four packs to make it through a month – that way, I can go through the sales cycle and not buy again until it hits that bottom price.
3. Stick to the list! I do this as much as possible, though there are things we buy that are not at the lowest price because we like them (ie: store brand yogurt pretzels and at times fruits and veggies).
Menu plan. This is a huge part of saving money. If you don’t have a menu in mind, chances are you’re going to make a last minute run to the grocery store and pick up what is not on sale to make a meal. It takes about twenty minutes per week to menu plan. Do this by:
- Checking your cabinets. What do you already have that you can make?
- See what’s on sale. If you know you have taco mix and hamburger is on sale for $2.99 a pound, there’s dinner! Pair what you have with what is on sale for the week.
Match coupons with sales. Shopping sales is one way to save some money; using coupons is another. Pair these two together and you can save a ton! Use the websites listed above to find out what is at the lowest price and where you can find a coupon to go with it. Save your weekly inserts and print what you don’t have in those. Both of the sites listed above tell you exactly what insert the coupons are located in (Red Plum, Smart Source, P&G) and if there are printables or store coupons available.
If you are going to coupon clip and try to save more at the store this year, commit to approximately one to one and a half hours each week in the beginning. This time will be reduced once you get a routine down (more on this in a later post).
What are your strategies for saving money at the grocery store? Are you interested in couponing in the New Year?
Image via Flickr: jridgewayphotography