Today is the first day of our online coupon class on Instagram with all the handouts being posted here on MyLitter. I am so excited to get started today! You can check back for all posts under the hashtag #mylittercouponclass. Grocery prices have been on the rise for more than 12 months straight now and many American families are starting to feel the strain on their budgets. Sick of getting up to the register only to be surprised with a $200 or $300 total? I’ve been there! I want to offer hope for all budgets, large or small. I will be teaching you how to cut your grocery budget by 50% of more. For most families, these will mean a savings or $100 per week, or more! I began couponing about 4 years ago with the help of a friend who was a “coupon queen”. Before that I would cut coupons every now and then, but I never saw much as far as savings from them. Plus, it seemed like I was buying junk food and things we wouldn’t use. I gave up all the time and thought it wasn’t worth my time. After my friend took my hand and taught me that there was actually a method and way to coupon it changed everything. I was able to see success in cutting those coupons out! We cut our food budget from $1,300 a month for food and toiletries to $425 a month and are always looking for ways to make it even less. Throughout today, I will be posting tip and videos helping you understand couponing a little at a time. The things we are going to talk about today are… 1. Learning the 3 key principles 2. Creating a budget 3. Rethinking your current strategy 4. Coupon Lingo The 3 Key Principles we will be talking about today are:
- 1. Use a coupon with a store sale
- 2. Stock Up for these items on a 3 month schedule or create a stockpile
- 3. Be consistent!
Use a coupon with a store sale – This is key to getting the lowest possibly price on items. A $.50 coupon is an ok coupon, but when an item is $2.99 regular price and you use that $.50 coupon, you are paying $2.49. Now, if you wait, and combine that coupon with a store sale, say for example that same item is on sale for $1.49, then you use the coupon it is now $.99!! Which is probably a stock up price. If you are not using coupons with store sales, most likely you are not seeing the value of coupons and will give up. All of a sudden coupons will be become VALUEable! One of the biggest mistakes I see newbies making is getting so excited to coupon they cut out all their coupons, and go use them all at once at the store…. spending MORE money “couponing” then if had not used a coupon at all! WAIT. Hold on to your coupon. ONLY use it if you can combine it with a store sale or promotion.
Stock up when the item is at the “Stock Up” price. – Seems obvious… but in order to save the most money and lower your grocery bill, you have to only buy items when they are at the lowest possible price combined with a coupon. To do this you will need an idea of what your “stock up” price is. I do a LOT of this work for you by writing the match ups for the stores and using a yellow STAR to tell you if it is a stock up price. Like you can see in the example above. If the item has a star by it, then it is a stock up price. This is why I buy multiple papers, so I have multiple’s of the same coupon. I want to buy as many as I can when the item is at it’s lowest possible price. So that I don’t have to buy that item again, until I can get the same great deal.
Be Consistent – If you get papers this week, then skip next week, then get papers the following week, you will not see the BIG savings. You have to be CONSISTENT! This is not a sprint. This is a marathon. You are not chasing a few deals here and there, you are changing the way you think and the way you shop FOREVER. This is a life long habit that you are getting into. People who chase the single deals to buy 100 of them, just to have, don’t hang in there long. They get overwhelmed and give up. That is because they are not really saving much or see a big dent in their overall budget. This is about a new lifestyle, one in which you are going to be saving HUNDREDS each month. You just need to be consistent.
Creating a budget is a BAD WORD, I know. Not fun and no one wants to do it… But having a budget doesnt have to be all spread sheets and fights with the husband. It can even be as simple as writing down what you have spent the past few weeks on groceries and start keeping track, that way you can see the difference couponing is making and adjust if you have to. Plus, it can be FUN to see how much you are saving!
These are helpful links for budgeting:
Mint.com – I love this! Plus it is free. They help you get organized
Dave Ramsey – Get his budgeting forms here
Buy MUST HAVE items first. I always buy milk and eggs first. These are things we cant live without and I don’t want to end up at the end of the week wondering how I am going to pay for them. Then I plan my meals (we will get to that later) buying the protein and fruit/vegetables from my cash. AFTER that, I coupon HEAVILY for all the OTHER items. Things like cereal, breakfast items, lunch stuff, condiments, snacks, drinks, dessert and all other food items that are “extras”.
In the beginning I think it is easier to shop for toiletries and paper products FIRST. Food is a little harder and you don’t see as big of a bang for your buck. So if you are getting frustrated, back off the food and just work on the other stuff!
This is an old idea… but it WORKS! Try paying with cash along with your coupons, it keeps you from overspending.
When you are working towards becoming an “extreme couponer” or just a money saving MANIAC… you are going to have to re-think the way you have been shopping. No more running to the store everyday to get dinner and just what you need for that day or the next. You are going to actually HAVE A STRATEGY!!
- Make a PLAN
- Look at the store ad
- Find the match ups on MyLitter
- Create your shopping list
- Cut your coupons
- Stock up
- Go to the store and SAVE MONEY
You will be buying the items that ARE ON SALE and USE A COUPON on them! You will be stocking up on what is the cheapest and best deal each week. Restocking your shelves at home with items you have bought at their LOWEST possible price.
I will not be buying everything at one store or at one time. I will be shopping a few SELECT stores and getting the very best deals they have to offer. Then I won’t have to buy those items again until they are on sale and I have a coupon. BUT I will also NOT be running all over town to get 30 more bottles of body wash when I already have 20 at home. That makes me waste my gas and my time, which is valuable! You are working off a 3 month rotation, and in that 3 months you will probably use 1-2 bottles of body wash. SHOP SMARTER!
Coupon Lingo is super important to learn, it can be like a completely different language. It is really easy to learn though and once you get the hang of it you can decipher all the coupon match ups witch will make all the difference.
If you want a full page of coupon lingo abbreviations you can go HERE and check it out.
Did you think you were just going to get off that easy?? Nope! You have homework! These are all things you can do mentally while you are sitting here reading this or in carline at school picking up the kids 🙂
– Take Inventory – I want you to think about what coupons you currently have and where you are storing them. What do you have as far as a stockpile? What kind of room do you have to stockpile ( it doesn’t take a lot, don’t worry!)
– Choose 1 Grocery Store – You are going to think about the stores in your area. If you don’t know what stores you have, Google it, or ask a neighbor. PRINT OFF THAT STORES COUPON POLICY. Read it. You can also use google to find the policy.
– Choose 1 Drug Store – Again, think of what you have in your area. It is going to be CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid. CVS is my personal favorite. But you pick the one you can get to the easiest. PRINT OFF THAT STORES COUPON POLICY. Read it. You can also use google to find the policy.
– Decide on a grocery budget – This isn’t going to be fun to see how much you are saving if you don’t know how much you are spending! Go back through the past few weeks and see what you have spent on groceries. Then mentally pick a number and set that as your goal. Let’s say in the past 3 weeks you have spent about $200 a week on groceries. Let’s pick a budget of $180 for the next week and see what we can do with that…. Baby steps….
Meet me back tomorrow for class, and we will go from here!