Monday, April 28, 2008

How to grocery coupon - Week 1

I thought I'd launch a short series of posts on how I use grocery coupons to my best advantage to reduce my budget. Without further adieu:

Week 1


-If you have not already, set a weekly grocery budget. For now, set this at the level you have previously been spending. We’ll decrease it later.

-Tighten your belt a little bit. Aim to eliminate about $10 worth of luxuries from your budget for this week. This is not forever, it’s just to get you started and to free up some money for “investment purchases.” Consider eliminating one meal out, 2 convenience meals, or 2-3 meat meals to free up this $10. This $10 will be a strictly stockpiling budget. Do not dip into it for other things.

-Make a list of items that you buy every week or that you must have in your pantry. This will be your initial stockpile list.

- If you have time, do a quick pantry inventory.

-Clip coupons from your weekly newspaper for items that you always buy. If you must buy an item this week, use the coupon. If not, place the coupon in an envelope or file box to be used later.

Divide your grocery budget into 3 parts:
-Make a “need list” of items that you will definitely need this week and are out of. Try to keep this list as thin as possible.

-Read the circulars from your grocery store (in print or online). Make a list of sale items that are on your stockpile list. This is your “sale list.” If you have coupons for items on your sale list, pull them from your file immediately and use them. Buy these items, whether you need them this week or not. Remember you are *only* buying things that you regularly use. Don’t buy frozen pineapple if you’ve never used it before.

-Make a “luxury list” of things you’d like to have if you can afford them. Add these things to your grocery list only if they are within your budget.

And with your $10 stockpile budget:
-Now, choose the 2 best-priced items from your sale list (the deepest discounts), and spend your entire $10 stockpile budget on these items. This is your stockpile list. If canned corn is 50 cents and it’s on your stockpile list, you can buy 20 cans. This will save you money later, when you don’t have to buy it for 80 cents a can.

-While you’re in the store, make sure you keep track of how much you spend. You should notice if you’re being overcharged or if a coupon you used didn’t get taken off.