Since we started eating healthier this year, a large part of our grocery budget goes to fresh fruits and veggies. To keep our grocery budget under control I typically make an Aldi run since they have such great prices on produce. Since we had a list a mile long of projects we needed to tackle in our back yard I didn’t want to spend my afternoon running errands. We had to go to Walmart to pick up light bulbs and a couple other items so I decided to price match the produce in this weeks Aldi’s ad. I was surprised to see just how much money I saved.
Q: I’ve heard couponing is like a full time job. I’d love to learn how to save my family money but not if it takes tons of time. How do you find balance?
A: We’ve all heard the stories and seen the pictures. Overflowing shelves. Toilet paper stuffed under the bed. Hours and hours spent planning and organizing for just one “quick” trip to the grocery store.
It’s more than a little intimidating!
But here’s the thing. Couponing does not have to become your life. You don’t have to spend days planning for a single trip to the store. My hope is that you learn to coupon effectively in a way that you will be able to maintain. One that allows you to save money, shop wisely and find that all important balance. The bottom line? Couponing needs to fit into your life….not become your life. The truth is that the most important roles in our lives lie far beyond the grocery cart. But it is far too easy to get pulled into a mindset where clipping and planning claims more of your day than you ever intended.
So where is the balance?
It is in you. It is in finding a system that works and one that allows you to achieve your savings goals without giving up time with those you love. With that in mind here are three quick balance tips to help you keep things in perspective.
1. Limit Your Stores
It can often feel that if we want to make the most of our savings, then we are going to have to hit every store every week. This is far more than any one person can sanely take on! So choose one or two stores with the best deals of the week and stick with them.
2. Find Your System
There are tons of different couponing and organizational systems out there and they all have their strengths. It doesn’t so much matter which system you choose, only that you pick one that works for you and stick with it. This will save you time each week not only as you plan but also once you get to the store.
3. Enjoy Your Savings
Too often I hear people getting caught up in how much other people were able to save. This is not a competition! It’s about making a difference in your family’s budget. So enjoy the savings you snag and don’t worry about what others are doing. Whether you save 5% or 50% you still saved money.
If you’d like to learn how to save BIG without investing all your time, order my new book Couponing for the Rest of Us: The Not-So-Extreme Guide to Saving More. You’ll learn step-by-step how to reduce your grocery bill!
Coupons in the Beer Aisle? You bet!
Did you know that expired coupons aren’t trash? It’s true!
Military families are allowed to use coupons up to 6 months past their printed expiration date! While the service pay rates are no longer below the poverty level, they are in no way great when you have a family. Can you imagine what a blessing it would be to receive a bundle of valuable coupons from someone back home – and realizing they cared enough to send them?
If you are interested in dropping off coupons to be sent to military families, you’ll be happy to hear that the Dupont Community Credit Union has kindly volunteered each of their branches to be a drop-off point for unused and expired coupons destined for the military. You can click on the image below to read more about the program and see the dropoff locations:
If you don’t live near a Dupont Community Credit Union you can mail the coupons to the address below.
Unit 5200, Box 105
APO, AE 09461
Phone – 011-44-1638-522641
Questions? Email – email@example.com
NOTE: Please don’t drop off coupons expired PAST the 6 month limit, or the military base personnel will be forced to sort through huge boxes of unsorted coupons to find usable ones. Please send coupons that are just recently expired, and if you have time – tuck them into envelopes sorted by categories (i.e. Food, Baby, Household Cleaners, Toiletries, Pets….) Thanks!!
Although we’ve posted about how GREAT Manilla is before – we’d like to remind you about this great organizing tool as you start working on Spring Cleaning your bills, subscriptions, online vouchers and more.
Sometimes I feel like I’m being crushed under the sheer weight of info I have to keep track of. If you’re like me, you’re juggling too many balls – and you need about 10 more of yourself to keep them all in the air. Enter this awesome web-based organizer called Manilla. It’s a totally free service that helps you out BIG TIME by making it easy to manage things like:
- Bank & Credit Card Accounts
- Bills like Utilities, Dish or Cable, and Phone
- Subscriptions to Netflix and magazines
- Loyalty Programs (auto, hotel, airline, etc…)
- Vouchers bought from Groupon or Living Social
Keep all this info organized and accessible under *1* Password. Manilla keeps your info secure under just ONE login (so you don’t have to remember all the other ones from all those other credit card, bill, magazine, & daily deal sites). It presents everything in an organized way. Look at the example below of a typical account.
Doesn’t this just make you feel more sane?
Manilla even sends you friendly reminders when it’s time to pay a bill, renew a subscription – or use a reward before it expires! (I LOVE THAT)
Oh yeah – Manilla has a Free mobile app too!
I almost forgot – they’ve just come out with a new mobile app for iPhone & Android - so you can easily check out your accounts on the go!
How is it Free?
So how is all this awesomeness free? (You’re gonna like this!) Companies are tired of spending all that money on paper bills and statements – and as a result, they’re willing to foot the bill for us to have this Free Bill manager!
*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Manilla. All opinions are 100% my own.
The weeks following a big holiday are one of the BEST times to pick up ordinary items to stockpile in your pantry. For instance, you can stock up BIG TIME on Ziploc bags in the aftermath of Christmas - while everyone else is running for the toy aisle, you can be making a beeline for the baggies! Here is a little list of items to hunt down – as well as the coupons you’ll want to print out. You might want to keep in an envelope or special binder-pocket and bring along as you hit various stores over the next couple weeks. You never know what you’ll find – so keep your eyes peeled!
Have you ever been printing several things when suddenly one item you were printing gets stuck? You go to investigate and there’s one print job that has an ERROR – and it won’t allow anything else to print. ARRGGHH!! I’ve been there too. So of course – you click “Delete” to cancel the troublesome print job – and it proceeds to delete until eternity… It says “Deleting….” but it never actually moves on from that point.
If you are tuning in after viewing our segment on WDEF News 12 this morning I’ve included the information we talked about this morning below! Thanks so much for stopping by.
Recently, Coupons.com made some changes to their site. Unfortunately, it seems a little slower to load and thus far seems less user friendly. Just in case you missed our previous post, a hot tip on how to click through pages of coupons faster you can read it here.
Often times we find new printables listed under specific zip codes. Since coupons.com changed their site, we’ve gotten several emails asking how to search for a specific zip code. I’ve included a couple of screenshots below to show you how.
1. This is what you’ll see at the top of your screen.
2. Click LOCAL COUPONS.
3. Enter Zip Code, then click the orange arrow button.
4. Click back to COUPONS, by clicking the first tab. You can also scroll through categories of coupons by clicking either food, health care, personal care, etc. (see arrows below)
That’s the scoop. It’s super easy!! Click coupons.com to try it.
Just a reminder, right now you can get a FREE 1-Year Subscription to the Coupons.com Savings Club! This normally costs around $30 per year and gives you access to higher-value coupons than normally available to print. It’s an exclusive club for couponers only – and for a limited time only – they’re giving away free membership here.