Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How I do this stuff....

FIRST AND FOREMOST: I am still learning and am no expert. Second, I cheat a lot using the websites from the top right on my blog here. My goal: feed my family and have all the miscellaneous items we need for under $800 a month. This also includes eating out and all other random little expenses that fall under "misc." It is basically $200 a week for everything we could possibly need. I would LOVE to get it lower as I learn more on how to save money, but for now..I feel as though this is a good goal.

So, the paper comes on Sundays (which I pay like $0.69 for). I go straight to the weekly adds from Walgreens, CVS, and Target. Then, I go to the websites listed at the top of my blog and a lot of them basically tell me what to do. They will say stuff like "match this weekly add deal with this coupon from a specific sundays paper, so you have to save your coupons each week. I didn't use to keep coupons of stuff I do not regularly use or think I would need, but now that I am getting all this random stuff for free, I am keeping all the coupons until they expire. You never know when they are going to offer something for such a good sale that using a coupon will EARN you money. So, I match the coupons with the weekly adds. Then I have a binder that has slots for each store that I visit. I keep everything organized in there.

I ALWAYS pull out the coupons and weekly sales that will make me money because of overages, and even if I do not need the product...who cares, it was free and I earned money getting it. Someone I know will use it. However, all the other items that I use a coupon for are things we actually use. I do not buy something just because I have a coupon if I will not use it.

These weekly flyers will also tell you about "register rewards" that their particular store offers. Register rewards are little pieces of paper that you will get when you check out that are as good as money on your next purchase.

Target, in my opinion, never really has great sales and their stuff is more expensive, but sometimes if you can get a Target and manufacturer coupon together, you can save more and make it worth it.

I also shop at Aldi. Google if you have one in your area, and then rush out the door and check it out. Their stuff is DIRT cheap. It is no frill and very basic. No name brands and not a TON of stuff, but almost all the necessities. I get a TON of staple items and every bit of the kids snack foods, milk, yogurt, bread, and eggs there. Almost everything is cheaper than even the commissary!

I shop at Sams for meats and dog food mostly...haven't decided if I think it is worth it or not.

I get all of the food that I do not get at Aldi (veggies, meats, fruits, sodas, etc.) at the commissary. They have military coupons for certain things and they accept manufacturer coupons.

Basically, my week consists of this: Spend about two hours sorting and organizing coupons on Sunday.....go to Aldi, go to commissary to get everything else I need for the week, go to get anything random that Target has on sale that I need, go to Walgreens on Tuesdays to get all their good sales AND military discount (only Tuesdays), then go to CVS later in the week. If you do not do the really great sale items early in the week, it is fairly likely that you will not get the deals, because all of the products will be gone. Everyone wants the free or almost free stuff, so it goes quickly. Try and get all of your shopping done at the beginning of the week.

I meal plan. That way, I can buy more in bulk and only buy foods that will get eaten before they expire. I buy the meats that are on mega sale or "managers specials" and plan my meals around them. This saves us money.

I know all of this is in no particular order, but this is how I do a lot of it. I will update more as I learn more.

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