Frugal Friday--Grocery Gaming, Part Two (Deluxe Plan)

9:19 AMHeather

So, last week on Frugal Friday, we tackled the idea of upping your game when it comes to saving grocery money by using what I call my Basic Plan. The Basic Plan is centered around shopping by the sales circulars of your grocery store, which is a great alternative if you do NOT want anything to do with clipping coupons.

But, today, we'll move onto my Deluxe Plan. We are getting more serious here, folks. And, yes, please do try this at home! This might be the plan for you if:

* You desire to cut your spending and increase your savings
* You have some time to commit to planning and working to cut costs. I'm talking maybe 1-2 hours per week.
* You are open to the idea of using coupons.

If this describes you, let's dive into the step by step how to's!
1. Follow the steps of the basic plan.
2. You are ready to add in the step of couponing. As you get started, consider these three things.

-- Set a regular time to do your coupon clipping. Consider combining your coupon clipping/organizing time with watching your favorite television show or listening to some favorite music. Since coupons come out in the Sunday paper, you should build this time into the beginning of your week. As you store up your coupons, you'll need to clear out expired ones. I do this at the end of each month.

-- You have to get coupons. Consider a Sunday only paper subscription. Ask a friend or family member to give you their coupon inserts if they don't use them. There are also other sources for obtaining coupons, such as online printable coupons and e-coupons. Here are some websites for printable coupons:
www.couponcabin.com
www.coolsavings.com
www.couponmom.com
www.coupons.com
www.printable-coupons.blogspot.com
www.coupons.smartsource.com
www.allprintablecoupons.com

-- Choose an organizational system that works for you. The most popular three that I know of are: keeping the entire coupon booklet--even 3-hole punching them into a binder, clip your coupons and keep them in plastic sleeves in a binder--such as baseball card sleeves, keep your coupons in an accordian file either by item category or alphabetical.

3. As you make your grocery list based on the sales of the week, gather your coupons for those items and clip them together with a large paper clip. Carry your entire coupon organizer with you, as you may realize while shopping that you need them.

4. Try to buy with coupons AS MUCH as possible. If you do not use a grocery store that double and triples coupons, then you may consider switching to a store that does.

5. Consider these 5 "Maximizing your coupon" tips:
* Use coupons for Buy One, Get One Free sales
* Combine store coupons with manufacturer's coupons
* Wal-Mart matches competitor's advertised sale prices--use coupons, too
* Use e-coupons WITH paper coupons (cellfire.com and shortcuts.com and
pgesavers.com)
* Use coupons on clearance items

INTENTIONAL challenge: I am a stay-at-home mom who has the time to clip coupons now that my kids are older. This is part of how I can "earn" money for our family budget. You can keep your couponing simple--or take a more complicated approach. You can choose all of the above ideas or even just one or two. Consider the time and energy you have in this season of your life. What is one idea you can take away from today's post to try on your next grocery trip?

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