Something new is coming soonNo tag for this post.
It has been a while since we got to make a trip to the mountain cabin with the inlaws, but this past week we were able to make it up for a few days. Nice getaway, and the kids love cooling off in the lake.
A few shots taken while we were there:
Tags: family photojournalism, personal
With a big change in our family’s financial situation, we have began watching our finances more closely and finding ways to save money when we can. The Mrs. decided we should watch a show one night called Extreme Couponing. And while some of the people featured in the show seem to go a little overboard (like having a stockpile of cat food when they don’t have a cat), the saving percentages were staggering.
Having a good sized family (four children in the household), we discussed the possibilities of saving money and stocking up on items that we go through a lot, such as cereal, pasta, laundry detergent, etc. So we grabbed some coupon inserts, did a little Google searching, and built our first stash of coupons. These coupons, coupled with watching sales at the local grocery store, allowed us to quickly stock up on 22 boxes of brand name cereal (for around $10 dollars after coupons), lots of pasta (for free), and other goodies that we use on a regular basis.
Several of our friends on Facebook have asked about how we do it, where they would get started, and how much time they would have to invest. Since I have a little extra time on my hands these days, I decided this would be a good time to start a resource for friends to help them save as much money as possible, while not being too time consuming for them (as they have full time jobs, families, and little free time).
We will start off with resources. The first resource everyone should look at is the coupon inserts in your local paper. For us, this is the Friday newspaper. I usually buy one paper, and see what the coupons are for the week. Two inserts, Smartsource and Redplum, usually have quite a bit of savings in them (dependent on your shopping needs). If a particular week has coupons that are really beneficial to you, then buy a few more. Sales and coupons, according to what I have heard and read, go in three month cycles. So, if you can get a three month supply of products, you have already saved a ton.
Next are online resources. My typical rotation is SmartSource.com, CouponBug.com, CouponSuzy.com, RedPlum.com, CouponCabin.com, and Coupons.com. Keep in mind that a lot of these sites pull their coupons from the same sources, so you will be limited to how many you can print from a specific IP address.
What does that mean to you? You might be only able to print two or three of each coupon from home before your “print limit is reached”. Some sites pull from different resources, so you can double up your efforts. I have printed as many as five to seven of the same coupon from different sources before. Plus, if you’re hanging out at a friend or family member’s house, grab their computer for a few and print more. (or if you can get to them from work without getting fired).
Once you have your initial stash of coupons, how do you effectively use them to maximize savings? There are some great resources that tell you the best places to use your coupons to save the most money. One blog to follow is Mom’s Need to Know, also found on Facebook. She will not only post some of the better coupons, but posts about which stores you should use those coupons at to make the most of them.
Facebook can be a great leveraging tool for finding coupons and free samples. If there is a certain product that you use on a regular basis, search for them on FB and “Like” them. More often than not, they will have a Coupon or Special Offers tab.
You will also want to know your local stores (whether it be grocer, department, or drug store) coupon policy. An example would be that our local store will double any coupon under one dollar. So, a 75 cents off coupon suddenly becomes a $1.50 coupon. If that particular item is on sale within the coupons valid dates, your savings could be exponential. Always look at the sales ads and know who doubles coupons. When you can walk out of a store with over $100 of merchandise for under $20, then you’re on your way.
As a side note, if a store offers a “store savings card”, always get it. This can add up to even more savings on in-store specials. And ALWAYS check the clearance rack/aisle. You can still use coupons on items that have had their prices slashed for clearance.
More to come in the next post, including more resources, coupon stacking, and strategies. Please let me know if I have left anything out or if you have questions.Tags: coupon, shopping