Life is funny sometimes. It takes hard times to develop certain skills. I have always been a coupon clipper when they presented themselves on packages or in the mail, but I never sought them out until recently. Times had been tough for quite some time, so it was imperative for me to find ways to cut our expenses, and groceries were the most expensive thing on the budget that could be adjusted. So I have learned a few tips over the last couple of months that have helped me cut our grocery budget from $600 a month down to $350. YES! ALMOST IN HALF! Okay, so maybe I am getting a little carried away here, but I am super excited to share these with anyone who can use the help in this department.
Here’s What I Do:
Pull the weekly advertisements from the local supermarkets. I find that I can make a menu plan work off of whatever the specials are for that week. There are a few odds and ends that I get at Walmart once a month. I compile my grocery list based on the specials only.
Create my menu plan for the next 10 days using what I have and what I intend to buy. If I am missing one or two ingredients I’ll then add them to my list. For those items I will compare the brands to purchase whatever is cheapest. I am not afraid of store brands, and can doctor up a sauce if need be. Once or twice a week we have breakfast for supper (eggs and bread are super cheap, and the kids love it).
Then I link through my Swagbucks account and look at the Swagbucks coupons. Their database is huge, and you get rewarded for using the coupons on top of it. I only print off the coupons that I would be using for that trip. To print off more than that might tempt me to spend more money, and it costs money to print the coupons that you don’t use (in ink and paper).
Before I head to the store, I look through the coupons offered on the following sites: iBotta and Checkout 51. iBotta is my favorite, and the one I have saved the most money on thus far, however I save regularly on all three. I select the savings associated with only the items I am shopping for on that day, and head out to the store. Here are links to set up accounts if you don’t already have them. http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/aprilorr for the printable coupons and links to online deals. https://ibotta.com/r/hbaqcjm for online coupon application. https://www.checkout51.com or it’s in the app store (all of these helpers are free).
I usually save 40-50% by just shopping the store specials and using my loyalty card. My coupons save me about 10% on top of that. And then once I receive the rewards from the coupon applications, I usually get a few dollars back per shopping trip.
Once each month I do a Walmart run. We need to pick up a few items that are in general less expensive there than the supermarkets. For example last week a dozen eggs were 0.49, so I stocked up. I also pick up my one vice….coffee creamer. I save about $4 per month on creamer by getting a couple of large ones at Walmart once a month. Toiletries and health items are usually least expensive there as well.
My tips for Walmart shopping are very similar:
Make a list
Clip coupons on swagbucks
Link through the apps
There’s one additional step – after the sale I scan the receipt into Walmarts savings catcher, an option on the Walmart application.
A couple of times a month I stop by the Dollar Tree. Everything is $1, so many things I save money on there. These are usually odds and ends that I don’t need very often, like batteries, pet treats, office supplies, and some cleaning supplies. Basic items that need to be picked up mid week (milk, bread, eggs, and butter) I get those at the local Kwik Trip (they’re usually cheaper than anywhere else).
There are other ways to save on groceries as well.
Growing your own garden
Buying in bulk
Pre-making freezer meals
I hope these tips have inspired you to see just how much you can save too!
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I’m April, a wife and mother of two. Since the end of 2010 I have been battling autoimmune diseases: and facing those have left me with limited physical abilities, limited energy, and limited funds; so I created this blog to document my journey : to simplifying my life, hopefully finding tips and tricks and resources to help save me time, money, and energy. I am hoping not only to share my journey, but to inspire others with similar challenges. Personally I think everyone would welcome ways to save time, money, and energy, but to some it is imperative. The content you can expect to see includes life hacks, organizational and time management resources, tips and tricks to saving money, ideas and resources for making money doing simple tasks or passively, and simple inexpensive gift giving ideas. To those of you who may be concerned that this may just be one big pity party, I want to be clear. I have conditions that have altered my abilities, but this is about taking as much control over my life as I possibly can, and to make it a positive experience. I will not however, turn anyone away if they ask about my illnesses specifically. Perhaps they are newly diagnosed, and need some advice that I haven’t shared. I encourage those individuals to contact me any time. I want people to be able to positively bounce ideas off of one another to make it a blog that everyone can benefit from.