1.14.2009

Supermom Series: THE THRIFTY MOM

The next Supermom in the series is Katie. You can find her blog, Wanna Be Crafter, HERE. Katie has the wonderful skill of money management. Her grocery shopping saving abilities alone are unparalleled! So I asked her to share some of her secrets.
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When Lyndsay asked me to write a post about how a thrifty mom keeps an orderly house I was excited, then I started to worry that it might be hypocritical of me to write about that, as I sat next to my unmade bed, at my desk with papers strewn all over, and dirty dishes in my kitchen sink. Then I decided it is ok, because though my house is no model of perfect neatness and organization, I am getting better all the time, and I have learned a lot about saving money without letting it take over my life.

There are endless ways to cut back, and hundreds of books and websites with buckets of ideas and information out there. The cliché is true, time is money- the more time you put into it, the more money you can save, and even if you don’t have a lot of time (which, of course you don’t!) there are some simple things you can do. I am better at housework in the mornings, but by the time the kids are in bed I don’t want to do anything that can’t be done in front of the TV or on my computer, so that is the perfect time for me to plan my shopping. Most of the work involved in saving money is done well before you enter the store.

I look for ways to pay less on everything I buy, but this started getting really long so since we all buy groceries, and they are no fun I’m going to share some tips for grocery shopping today. Your grocery budget is probably the most flexible expense you have, and you may be surprised how much you can shrink it with very little effort. And I’m not talking about eating lots of Hamburger Helper and Tuna Noodle casserole- (unless you happen to like those things...) I have tried a lot of methods and settled into this simple system:

Shop the sales. The grocery stores put out new ads every Wednesday, check your paper, the mail, or online. Set aside some time to go through them and make a list of the items on sale that your family uses at each store.

Make a menu. Once you have your lists ready, plan your menus for the week, based on what is on sale and what you already have.

Stock up on sale items. If chicken breasts are on sale for $1.67 per lb, buy a few extra pounds (if you have the freezer space) so next time, when it’s not on sale, you don’t have to pay $3.50 per lb. When refried beans are $.75, buy 10 cans so you don’t pay $1.50 next time. After doing this for a while you build up a nice food supply that comes in handy when you don’t have time to go to the store, and you’re tempted to drop $20 on pizza delivery.

Be careful about limits. If the ad states a limit, be sure to include that in your list because if you pick up more than the limit, you will pay regular price and that’s no good.

Use Coupons with store sales. It really doesn’t take a lot of time to cut coupons, and you can save a lot of money with them. Many grocery stores double the value of coupons up to $1 every day. Coupons come in the Sunday paper—get more than one set if you can. I get 3 Sunday papers, and my mom gives me her coupons, so when my hand soap goes on sale for $1, I have 4 coupons for $.35, which are doubled to $.70, and I get 4 bottles of hand soap for $.30 each. When my favorite toothpaste goes on sale for $2, I get out my 4 coupons for $.75 which become $1, and I get 4 bottles of my toothpaste for $1 each. If you have kids that can handle scissors, put them to work cutting them for you! (make sure they don’t cut off the expiration date or barcode though)

Organize your coupons. If they aren’t organized, you won’t use them, and that’s a messy waste of time. I bought a little index card file and labeled some cards with grocery categories and I stick my coupons in there and take it with me every time I go to the store. I regularly save at least 50%, often 70% or more off my grocery bill shopping this way, and my pantry is fully stocked. When I am waiting in line at the bank or drive through or picking my kids up from school I can go through and pull expired coupons out to keep it organized. Easy peasy.

I think it’s important to remember that the money you have is a blessing—sure you and your husband work hard for it, but certainly there are people who work just as hard for less money, so be a wise steward of what you have been given!
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List Maker and Coupon Taker
Etsy, $16

Deluxe Coupon Organizer
Amazon.com, $35

E-Z Coupon Holder
Organize.com, $4

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About me said...

This was GREAT! I'm glad you are sharing these moms with us. It's a great way to start the new year by introducing new way of making your year better. I hope I can really get this one down my 2010!

april kennedy said...

I am sooo bad about remembering to use the coupons. If I had that cute organizer from the esty shop...I might be more inclined to use them...and remember them!

Thanks for all the great pointers. I am so stuck on Trader Joe's that I forget to check sales at the other grocery stores.

Awesome idea, Lyndsay! Thank you. And I am so glad I didn't have to wait until next week to be introduced to your next "spotlight". I wasn't sure how often you were going to do!

Alison Taber said...

ooooo…I'm diggin those coupon holders. That is my biggest problem, it actually remembering to USE the coupons.

Babeich said...

This is awesome - I was just thinking of how to organize something like this last night, so your timing is perfect!

KatieJ said...

Thanks Lyndsay- those coupon holders are great! I think I might need a new one now...

Emily Ruth said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Katie! I needed this so much today. Rog and I were just talking about saving more moola on groceries and now I feel like I can: ) Awesome.

Shauna said...

Go Katie! I love that bolded purple paragraph...and the making a menu w/what you have & what's on sale...good tips!

Shorty said...

Another great post! Thanks for the tips and links to getting organized for the grocery trips. I'm actually motivated to clip coupons!