Saturday, November 6, 2010

How it works

So here is a pretty basic outline of what I do before I visit the grocery store:

  1. Make a meal plan
    1. I have enjoyed using EMealz, as a basis to my weekly meal plans. SweetHeart and I use the "meals for two" with match ups from Publix. Since SH works at Publix, and it is so close to our house I like how EMealz matches the weekly-ad at Publix and various meals. 
    2. Meal plans are helpful in keeping you focused on what you are going to fix durning the week. I also find it encouraging. If I know what I am going to fix for dinner each night it keeps me accountable, and away from eating-out (which can be a blow to the budget if it is unplanned).
  2. Look at my coupon collection and visit coupon match-up sites
    1. I keep all my coupons together. I DO NOT cut out coupons weekly. I keep the SmartSource (SS), RedPlum (RP), and P&G BrandSaver (PG), for each week in a clip together. For example, when I purchase TWO Sunday papers this week I will take out all the coupon booklets bind them together and stick a post-it on the front that has the date 11/7. Then I place it in my coupon bin, the place where I keep all my coupons. When you visit coupon match-up sites they have coupons labeled by the type of coupon (SS, RP or PG) and the date.
    2. I keep all my Publix Yellow advantage flyers, the ad with the coupons, clipped together separately. For now Pubix coupons do not expire, despite the fact there is an "valid through" date. It is Publix policy to accept all their coupons, expired or not. Do not be confused, they will not accept expire manufacture coupons or competitor coupons. So make sure it is a Publix coupon before you use it.
    3. I visit this coupon match-up site in order to see the weekly awesome deals at Publix and the coupons I can use.  I find the thread that says "weekly ad with match-ups" and the dates for the current week. The people who post the match-ups do an fabulous job matching the coupons using newspaper coupons, internet coupons you can print, and other types of coupons. Also on the site there are other various match-ups for different stores Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, ect. If you feel ambitious or want to visit a store other than Publix feel free to navigate the other threads. 
  3. Make a Grocery List
    1. I am a list maker. I love making to-do lists, housekeeping checklists, christmas checklists, and especially shopping lists! Keeping lists help me to stay organized, help to free up room in my mind and help me to stay away from the crazy shopping runs where I go in for milk and spend $100 dollars on a gallon of milk!
    2. I look at the meal plan and compare it to my pantry and stockpile closet. I place the needed items on my list. 
    3. I look at the coupon match-ups and see if there are any cheap items I can stockpile. Stockpiling is a very important concept to successfully lowering your monthly grocery bill. I stock pile items such as laundry detergent, cleaning products, paper goods, salad dressings, canned items, pasta, cereal, frozen vegetables, or any other item that I can use, or more importantly donate. As a side note, I enjoy stockpiling and using my coupons to purchase items for a minimal cost and donating the items to various food banks, women's shelters and even the local animal shelter. I encourage you to do the same if you begin to enjoy super coupon-ing!
  4.   Finally I visit the grocery store 
    1. When I visit I make sure that I have all the coupons matching my grocery list. I dislike going to the grocery store and having to dig through coupons to find one that might match a sale item. 
    2. When I go to check out I ask the cashier if he/she would like the coupons before or after they ring up the items. Typically they like to have them at the end, but I find it courteous to ask. Also,it is important to keep in mind  that each cashier and each individual store is different in their openness to coupons. The Publix where I shop is very open and accepting. If you encounter confusion when checking out do not give up on coupon-ing please feel free to ask me any questions, and please try again.
  5. Finally enjoy bragging about how much you SAVED!!!
The above process may take time, but as they say "Time is Money". To me it is important to save money and spend it on other worthwhile things including missions at my church, date night, and even a new pair of shoes (using a coupon or sale price, of course). And it is my hope you begin to start thinking similar thrifty thoughts!

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