This series of posts will help you learn how One Fabulous Mama rocks one fabulous budget for her family of five. I'm going to start with using coupon and sales ad match ups to create a stockpile of groceries and other sundries. As I mentioned before, most folks seem to think that simply using coupons will make them like the folks showcased on reality television. Well, you might get to have a garage filled with crap (Who doesn't need 100 bottles of mustard, right?), but if you stick with me, friends, I'll show you how I spend $350 a month to feed, clothe, and care for my family of five by implementing smart and practical frugal living strategies- hold the mustard. ;o)
Remember, $350 is what works for my family. YOU have to figure out what will work for your family. Isn't that neat how that goes?
First thing I do each Sunday and Wednesday is check the new ads for that week's sales at the stores in which I shop. I choose to shop at Publix, Aldi, Kroger, and Ingles. I also shop at a locally owned discount store, Bell's. Neither Bell's nor Aldi accepts coupons, so there are no match ups for me to consider there. I also check the Target ad just in case because I have access to two stores in nearby communities.
You may have noticed the absence of one of your favorite stores from the list above. These are just the stores in my area. You may have a Winn-Dixie or a Bi-Lo. I don't. I choose not to shop at Save-A-Lot and Food Depot, although both are also located in my town. I don't shop at Wal-Mart. Not because there isn't one here. There are actually four within driving distance of my house. I simply choose not to spend my money at Wal-Mart. You can read all about that here if you'd like, but I can be a little soap box-y.
Now, this isn't like back in the day when you would physically flip through the sales ads. Sunday and Wednesday are when they arrive in the newspaper or hit the stores, but I check the ads online at Southern Savers. Southern Savers is a regional frugal blog out of Tennessee that does a mighty fine job of matching coupons with sales ads.
I select those items which I want/need and cut my coupons for them. To learn how I organize my coupons and "cut no coupon before its time," go here.
Southern Savers gives you an option of printing a list the items you're getting. I choose not to do this because I want to save my ink. However, if you are new to couponing, I would suggest printing a list. You can also jot down a quick list of the items you will be purchasing, making note of size and the price you are expecting to pay.
On this particular week, I will purchase the following items (to check the ad again and see these items, go here):
Kraft Velveeta Cheesey Skillets for 49 cents each
Crescent Rolls for 50 cents each
Pedigree dry dog food for 99 cents each
I can purchase up to 10 each of these items. Publix allows up to 10 of the same item to be purchased with coupons in the same order. I think this is a more than fair policy, but our hoarding "extreme couponer" friends may devise schemes for splitting transactions and such. We don't need more that we will use during the sales cycle or than we can donate, right?
I will cut the coupons I have for the number of items I would like to buy. I place the coupons and a list (if I'm using one) in an envelope marked "Publix" and that is all I take to the store. I go in for those items only.
I make one weekly trip to the stores which have items I will place in my stockpile. I determine which stores warrant a trip by scanning the match ups at Southern Savers. I call these weekly ventures "quickie trips." I am in and out as quickly as possible and take care of everything in one day. This works best for me because I live 17 miles from the nearest grocery store and we are a one car family.
If you have questions about this practice, you can leave a comment below or email me at mamabee@OneFabulousMama.com. I'll be happy to help you, friend!