What you need to do is get you some COUPONS!!!! I love coupons. Love them. You can get coupons through inserts in your local newspaper, online at places like http://coupons.smartsource.com/, http://boodle.com/, or other online sites, and from stores themselves. Pay attention to the blinking coupon boxes on aisles, look for tearpads with coupons..collect, collect, collect. If you can get multiples of the same coupons... awesome.
Next, you need something to keep all of those coupons in. An envelope just won't do. You can purchase a coupon organizer from the store, but if you are like me, you will outgrow it quickly. Some people have a binder that they have filled with the clear pages baseball cards or photos go in. These work pretty good, but be careful, because if you turn it upside down on accident, they will go flying. I use a box I got from Rubbermaid. It's about the size of a shoebox, but it is made like an index card box. It closes and clamps shut so my coupons stay put. Be sure you put your name and contact information on your coupon holder in case it gets lost or left behind...it happens more often than you think. *blush*
After you have a container, divide your coupons into categories that make sense to you. You can go buy the aisles at your favorite store, or similar categories. For example, I have:
breads, fruits and veggies (because they are all in a similar area in my usual stores)
snacks and cereals
These are what works for me. Yours may be different.
Now that you are set up, you can start shopping. DON'T be a snob. It's ok to be brand loyal to certain things..if I don't have Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, my kids will mutiny, but be flexible. Try new things!!!
Match your coupons to sales. Usually, once a coupon is out, it will be on sale within 4 weeks. That's not an ironclad rule, but it's fairly accurate. Sometimes, the item will be on sale that very week....sometimes, they fool you. It will be on sale that week, but cheaper in 4 weeks. This is where it's handy to have multiples. If you buy a couple of that product this week, you still have coupons for the next sale.
Items also rotate. What is on sale now will generally be on sale 12 weeks from now. If you can buy enough to get you through that 12 weeks, you will see it again. This isn't possible with all products, such as certain perishables, but most things can be stockpiled.
Look for stores that double coupons. Some do, some don't. If they don't, that's ok, too, but you can get pretty good bang for your buck at a doubling store. My Kroger, for example, doubles up to 50 cents, so I can save $1 on every item that I have a 50 cent coupon for.
Couponing isn't hard. It may seem overwhelming at first, but pretty soon, it is second nature, and the rewards are amazing. Next blog, I'll let you in on a few more secrets.
Today's product review- Macaroni Grill Chicken Marsala boxed dinner.
These are not with the frozen foods, they are with other boxed dinners like Hamburger Helper, etc. You add your own chicken.
I have to say, this is incredibly delicious. It's a little pricey...I found it to be 50 cents cheaper at Walmart, and I used $1 off coupons, so I ended up paying $2.50 a box, but it was worth every penny. I love Macaroni Grill, and I love chicken marsala. The instructions were easy to follow, and it was done in about 20-25 minutes. Can't beat that. It made more than I thought it would when I opened the box. I would recommend it. There are other varieties, but so far, I am so in love with the chicken marsala, that's all I have tried. Hope you like it!
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