A New Year is upon us. Usually when folks think of New Yearâ��s, they come up with a resolution they are going to try to abide by. Go on a diet, be more organized, start an exercise regimentâ�¦ you name it, someone probably stated it as their resolution. This year I decided against a resolution and opted to go for a revolution insteadâ�¦ a revolution in the way I shop and spend. Iâ��m turning the purse upside down and inside out. Actually, I started my revolution about 6 months ago. Itâ��s just that I like it so well Iâ��m going to keep things turned upside down.
Iâ��m a â��keeper of the purse.â�� As the keeper of the purse itâ��s my job to hunt down the bargains with which to feed my hungry family. I used to open the fridge and pantry, check on what we were out of or low on, list the items and look for the best options to fill it. We bought it because we needed it. When we bought it, it was usually the cheapest generic item available at the cheapest place we knew to shop.
My revolution began when a friend introduced me to a new way of shopping... Buying things when they are at their lowest possible prices, then paying them down with a coupon. We already had plenty of breakfast cereal but when I learned I could buy a name brand box of granola for 7Â¢ now or pay full price later for the cheapest generic item available, I opted to start buying when things were on sale and filling the pantry, fridge and freezer that way.
The past 6 months of coupon shopping have not only revolutionized the way we spend but the way we think in terms of shopping. We are spending a fraction of the amount we used to on groceries and toiletries and our pantry doors are bulging. It used to be the norm to spend $100+ on a weeksâ�� worth of groceries. Now we buy the same amount or more with better quality and pay $10-$15.
Is it time to turn your â��purseâ�� upside down and rethink the way you shop?
Tips for the trade:
* Do some research. There is probably someone in your area who has a web site where they list the local grocery stores weekly sales add and where you can get coupons to match each item on sale.
* Buy a Sunday paper with coupon inserts. (I usually buy two.) An easy way of keeping track is putting the whole insert(s) from that week in a separate file and clipping what you need, when you need it.
* Most grocery/toiletry items rotate on a 6-8 week sale cycle. Meaning, they go on sale every 6 to 8 weeks. Learn to buy it when it is at its lowest price and stock up.
* Grocery stores often double manufacturer coupons. Some accept competitor coupons and publish store coupons as well. You can use a manufacturer coupon, store coupon, and competitor coupon all on the same item.
* Research again. Find out what your store policy is regarding coupons. Some stores double coupons 60Â¢ or less, others may be 50Â¢ or less. If your grocer doubles a 60Â¢ coupon it will be worth $1.20. Therefore a 60Â¢coupon for an item would be more valuable than a 65Â¢ coupon at that store.
* Take it one step at a time, one store at a time. I have two favorite stores that I stick to, one grocery store and one pharmacy. Between the two all my groceries and toiletries are covered.
* Start small. If you can buy one or two items that you know are a great price without a coupon and find a coupon to go with them, it will help you get a feel for the game. Nothing beats paying a few pennies for your groceries or better yet getting some for free.
* Find a coupon companion. You probably have a friend or two who is already into coupons. Hook up with them and ask for a few pointers. It also helps having someone to swap coupons with.
* Ask questions. There is no better way to learn.
* Have fun. It may look overwhelming and like a lot to grasp. Thatâ��s why I encourage you to start small. When you can understand on a small scale how to shop and save then you can take it large scale and it will still be lots of fun.
Note of encouragement: It took me a couple weeks to really get the hang of what I was doing. I thought coupons would be an all consuming task. Itâ��s not. It takes me about 15-20 minutes per store to get my list and coupons. It is well worth the $100â��s we are saving every month.
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