I’m thrilled to welcome Ellen of Thrifty & Chic Mom as a guest blogger. I’ve been stopping by her blog for awhile now, and it’s a great resource for moms trying to stretch their dollars. She also offers plenty of fun giveaways. Ellen will be sharing a series of posts on my blog that will help you embrace a more frugal lifestyle. Many thanks for her insight and for giving me a break as I care for our newest family member.
Hi. My name is Ellen, and I am a Roman Catholic SAHM of two with one on the way and you can find me at Thrifty & Chic Mom. I am thrilled today to share with you my money saving philosophy as it applies to coupons and hope it encourages you to take the plunge and start couponing and saving your family money.
On my blog, each week I do the coupon and sale match ups for CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Meijer and Target, as well as host fun giveaways. I hope you will stop by and say hi.
As I continue on my journey of saving money and stretching my dollars further I have slowly reshaped the way I shop and view my money. This attitude is constantly evolving, but I am going to attempt to explain my thoughts, philosophy and methods in order to help you enjoy the benefits of saving money as I have.
This mainly refers to shopping for grocery and household items but can be applied in other areas as well.
I regularly shop each week at two grocery store and two drug stores. Yes, I know that is a lot of time and travel. This is only worth it if you have the stores all within a short distance and the time to do it. If you spend too much gas driving around, the savings are not worth it. I’m lucky and have Kroger, Giant Eagle, CVS and Walgreens all very close. Meijer is a bit farther, but the deals are worth the drive.
Each week I look at the deals at my grocery stores and decide where I am going to shop based on the store with the greatest number of applicable deals. All week I keep a running grocery list on my fridge, which I update as I run out of basics. Then based on the items I have on hand and the deals running that week I make a meal plan and add the missing ingredients to my list. Next, I take this list and add to it based on the items that are great deals, these items are not necessarily for the upcoming week but are such a great price that they are to be stockpiled for the future.
I buy constantly for the future. By that I mean that by stocking up on items when they are on sale I already have them on hand when I need them. You should almost always buy when:
* it is a great deal
* you will use it at some time, now or in the future
* it is either non-perishable or freezer-friendly
* it will not put you over your budget (unless you have money to wiggle with)
If these criteria are met, buy as much as you can without blowing your budget. By stockpiling in this manner you will build a great supply to pull from in the future. This way you can plan your meals based on what you have and what is on sale. Planning your meals and shopping this way can drastically reduce your monthly bills.
A word of caution: If you wouldn’t buy it normally, don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. For example, I do not buy most snack foods. So even if cookies are very cheap, I still do not buy them because it does not help me save money if I buy things I normally wouldn’t. I make snacks at home instead because it’s cheaper and healthier for my family. Try to stick to your normal shopping list by saving money on those items you would usually buy; that is the best way to reduce your cost.
I also shop at both CVS and Walgreens for my household items and some grocery items. If the item is FREE I always get it (as long as we will use it or it is good for donating). If it is cheap, I check my stockpile and assess whether it is worth purchasing based on my future needs. Once again buying for the future is key. Now should be already covered from past week’s shopping.
Hopefully, this helps explain the way I shop and can help you develop your own shopping strategy. For more couponing and money saving advice, please stop by Thrifty & Chic Mom. And thanks so much to Kate for letting me post on her site as she enjoys her growing family!