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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Couponing

Ok...I deleted my previous post, because I'm a moron. I admit it. Anyway, I wanted to share with you how I have been saving money by using coupons. So, although this will be a condensed version of my previous post, you won't know the difference, because....I DELETED THE OTHER ONE!!! =(

     Ok..here goes. So it's Sunday, and there are coupons to be clipped in the various inserts. I am not as good as those extreme couponers out there who are able to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars on their grocery bills, however, I am learning and I have been able to save some money. The little tricks I have learned so far, is that although we don't have as many options for grocery store shopping here as those in the Continental US do, it can be done. I have found that by registering your Safeway card on line at Safeway.com, you can 'clip' coupons that way--and the discounts are applied directly to your card... then you're able to use paper coupons you have actually clipped on top of those deals. That's one way to get around the 'cannot double or triple' rule that applies to most coupons. Anyway, it does take some research. I go to various websites, such as Coupon Mom, Mysavings.com, etc., where I can find coupons for a wider variety of items. In the Sunday paper, you will find weekly grocery coupons that usually are good for only a week or so. The exception is the insert that has RedPlum coupons in it, that have a longer time before they will expire. Also, I like Walmart's canned stuff. I mean you might care, but I really don't--about name brand kidney beans. A bean is a bean...so if it's 75 cents cheaper per can, it works for me. I draw the line at Mayonnaise though. Best Foods is a must.
Another trick to this whole thing is to keep your coupons with you so that when you are walking through a store and stumble upon an unadvertised deal, you may be having a lucky day by having a matching coupon for that item. Stuff on discount on closeout aren't usually advertised either, so that works too.
     I know this sounds like way too much work, but it isn't really, once you develop a strategy. I decided that I was going to attempt to spend only a certain amount of money on food and household essentials such as detergents and toothpaste. So, I put myself to the test about 5 weeks ago. I spent $300 on a couple of shopping trips, which involved going to several stores. I decided to purchase my bread from the Love's Bakery, and my eggs from KaLei eggs. Other things like fresh fruits and vegetables from farmer's markets or Chinatown. (only vegetables from Chinatown...thank you). Ok. So over the course of the last 5 weeks, I spent the bulk of my budget in the course of a couple of days. By adhering to a weekly menu, and sticking to it, I have been able to feed my household without overspending. By buying my meats at Costco and dividing up portions into Ziplocs, I have found that I am not as wasteful with too much left-over stuff. I have discovered that if I cook a big pot of something..like Pork and Peas, or Chili, it can last us about 2-3 days by eating the leftovers. Of course we pack a home lunch--sandwiches or whatever so we don't get overdosed on Chili. It works. Then I only have to cook about 3-4 times a week max. I refrain from running to the store to pick up last minute items...I have forced myself to be more creative with canned goods or boxed items that have been decorating my cabinets for awhile. What were they there for anyway?
     So If you do the math, I have been able to feed my family for about $60.00 a week...and if I wanted to get technical, which I don't so I won't itemize..it was even less than that, because not all of the items I purchased with that $300 were edible. I got toilet paper, deodorants, soap, toothpaste...and my favorite, I got two Reach toothbrushes from Long's for 49 cents by using a $1.50 off coupon with the purchase of two. I found them on sale for a buck a piece. I was very impressed with myself. So if the whole idea can be implemented for toothbrushes, why not for everything else?
     I know it can seem cumbersome and time consuming, but I had to think about what I wanted to accomplish here. By applying what I have been learning about couponing, I have been able to save money for other things. It's very very nice to be able to do that. As I learn more, I will share. It's a little trickier here in Hawaii, but if can can....if no can....lol. (inside Hilo joke)
Happy Sunday ...have a good one!

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