The photo above is of all the free items I got during regular grocery store trips during April (about $100 worth). I used The Grocery Game report (www.thegrocerygame.com) to track what items were on sale and which ones were free after using coupons. I just had to pay sales tax. I didnt include "buy one get one free" items (I classify those items as 50% off rather than free). I loved getting the free makeup since that is usually a "splurge" item.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
There are a lot of sites out there for all types of coupons, but today I’ll be focusing on printable online coupons specifically for groceries. The key to using coupons successfully is organization. There are some things you should do before you start using the websites:
- Before you sign up for these sites, I recommend that you create a free e-mail account especially for this purpose. The last thing you want is to sign up for a bunch of websites who will fill your everyday e-mail in box with spam. Of course, you’ll also need a printer and paper so you can immediately print the coupons.
- Allocate an hour or so to signing up to the various sites and write down your passwords in a place you’ll remember so you can quickly go back and obtain coupons each week. If you don’t think you’ll get around to making a record of your passwords, since you’re not exchanging credit card information, you may want to standardize your passwords so you don’t have to remember a bunch of them. When you sign up at the sites, you may need to download their free printer software, so it will initially take a few minutes to set up, but once you’re set up, you can go in and print out coupons as often as you like. Also, many of the sites run on the same software, so you may only have to download it once.
- Refer to my blog dated April 25th regarding organizing your coupons in a file.
Many of the sites list the same products at the same time. The downside to that is that it can get repetitive. The upside is that if you see a product that you could use a lot of, you can go to one site and print some coupons and then once you’ve reached your maximum printable limit at that site, you can go to another website and print more.
I go in to the free coupon sites once every couple of weeks to browse and see what they have. I then print some coupons and put them in my coupon file. It’s a great way to supplement the coupons you clipped from your local newspaper.
- Visit The Affluent Pauper Site regularly to print coupons (the bar is on the left hand side of the screen under "about me").
- http://www.thegrocerygame.com/ has a ton of printable coupons and you don’t need to be a member.
- http://www.couponsurfer.com/ This website is really busy, but once you navigate where the coupons are, you can go back time and again.
- http://www.couponclippers.com/ – you can purchase coupons for a minimal fee. For example, if you’re loyal to a certain product, you can try to find coupons for that item (I go there to stock up on coupons for diapers, Dove soap, etc.). I recently saw a coupon for $1 off organic milk in my local newspaper (an expensive product which isn’t often discounted). A couple of days later, I logged on to this site and ordered a bunch of the coupons so that we can buy our milk at a discount for the next couple of months.
Other ways to get coupons:
- Google – do a search by product name.
- Your local store’s website – see if you can sign up to get online coupons or receive their flyers.
- Entertainment book. I have the
version of the Entertainment book. It’s $15 right now and provides discounts off your Kroger grocery bill each month until November 08. Atlanta
If you find any great other grocery coupon websites, let me know!
Friday, April 25, 2008
I *LOVE* The Grocery Game (http://www.thegrocerygame.com/). I’ve been using The Grocery Game process for almost two months now and each time I go to the store, I save at least 50% on retail prices. I aim for 75% and it’s now become habit for me to accumulate free things when I shop.
Here’s how it works - The Grocery Game website tracks what promotions your local store is currently running and then matches up what coupons were in the paper recently for those items, resulting in a report that indicates what items you can purchase this week at rock bottom pricing (think 50c for a marinade that is usually $3.29, $1 for bread that is usually $2.99 etc). The report is color-coded to indicate what items are on a good sale, what items are at absolute rock bottom prices and what items you’d get for free after coupons. The items are listed by the store’s typical layout, making it easier for you to shop and you print out your list. You can sign up to The Grocery Game for a $1 trial and then after that, you pay according to how many stores you wish to get reports for (you will definitely recoup the money on your first visit to the store if you use the system correctly – in fact, I saved so much in the first month to buy a freezer for all the groceries I get on sale). If you decide to sign up for a trial, please send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can send you the link and get a referral credit (every bit helps!)
Here’s what you need to do after signing up:
You buy at least two copies of your local major newspaper every Sunday (the ones with the coupons in them). Here in
You then need to manage your coupons. You can do this two ways:
- Clip and file the coupons that you plan to use for your family in a large check file (I have the following categories: Today, Baby, Beverages, Cans, Cereal/Bread, Desert/Snacks/Candy, Drugs, Frozen, Paper/Cleaning, Refrigerated, Toiletries/Cosmetics, Other), or:
- Remove the coupon inserts, put the date on the front and keep them in a file so that you can go back and clip the coupons when you see an item on The Grocery Game report you wish to buy.
I do a combination of both. I clip all the coupons that I plan to use and file them in my coupon file. I then keep the coupon books in tact, put the date on them and file them away. That way, I can carry my coupons whenever I go shopping and take extra advantage of any unadvertised specials the store may have, but at the same time, my coupon file is not overfilled with random coupons I’ll probably never use. But if an item comes up FREE on The Grocery Game report or it’s ridiculously cheap for an item that I might not normally use, I can still refer back to old flyers and clip the coupon.
Then… go shopping! Challenge yourself to only buy items that are at least 50% off the usual retail price and stockpile those items. After a while, you’ll find that you create new rules for yourself as to how much you will spend on an item. In my opinion, you should never pay more than 75c for a box of high-end toothpaste (I’ve accumulated about 10 FREE boxes in the past month), name-brand hand soap is no more than 30c and name-brand frozen veges no more than 50c a bag! You will be amazed at the amount of totally FREE stuff you accumulate. I’ll keep posting photos of my free stuff so you can see that’s it’s really possible.
If you want to make a habit of only buying items that are both discounted and coupon-worthy, I encourage you to go online and find free printable coupons to complement the coupons you get from the newspaper. Next time, I’ll tell you about what websites I’ve found that have printable coupons.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
My name is Gayle. I have a husband and two kids and we live in a normal working-class suburb in the greater-Atlanta area of Georgia. My personal mission is to find ways for families to save money on everyday things so that we can all put our hard-earned cash to better use. I’ve so far found some pretty cool ways to spend less on everyday items and want to share my findings with others.
This quest for savings came about recently as a result of two things.
First, like a lot of people, we’ve recently gone through some tough times financially due to unfortunate circumstances and we needed to figure out how to drastically cut down on what we would normally consider "essentials".
Secondly, I watched a show on Oprah about Freegans (people who dig through trash for free stuff in order to cut down on consumerism) and for a split second imagined myself in a dumpster at the back of Walmart one starry night in search of free stuff so that I could feed my family on a budget. Although it would probably take truly desperate measures for me to dig through the trash at the back of a grocery store, it made me wonder. Could I use less? Could I spend less? How is it that I am spending so much on groceries while there are larger families out there that live on much less than we do?
There are a lot of books written on trimming budgets and learning to live within your means. A lot has been said about “the latte factor” (if you cut out your daily dose of Starbucks – you could put X amount in to retirement each year, etc.). But what about those of us that don’t do Starbucks every day? What about those of us that cook at home and avoid takeout as much as possible? What about those of us that don’t spend inordinate amounts on entertainment? What about those of us who are sitting back trying to figure out how to cut money on simple things like our grocery bill when we still have two kids at home in diapers? I feed my family leftovers. I make my own yogurt. I try to be a thrifty buyer too, but that grocery bill is still a large line item - what gives?
Well, I did manage to cut down that seemingly never-ending grocery bill. Have you ever gone to the store at the beginning of the week and realized that you don’t have much cash that week, so you’re only going to buy the essentials and next thing you know you’re handing the Walmart cashier $50 for two or three bags of stuff? No more! Next time I write, I’m going to tell you how I’ve started saving at least 50-75% on my grocery bill while still shopping at the same stores and buying the same brands. There are families all over the country implementing a very simple and clever method to save.
Until next time… be well!