Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Feeding a Family of 5 on $50 a week!

Yes, that is written right.  $50 a week takes care of my family.  This includes all groceries, diapers for the baby, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, personal care items, etc.  Couponing and deal finding takes a while to get the hang of, but do not give up.  It is worth it!  I have gotten a lot of questions on where to get started.  This post will explain how I do it the SMART way.

Stockpiling: Stockpiling is the best way to make your money stretch.  When you find a great deal, you buy enough for your family that will last until the next good sale.  Yes, this means buying more than 1 can of sauce during a sale.  Whatever is on sale that you will use, you buy.  Even if you do not need it that week, you may need it the next.  For example, if spighetti sauce is on sale for buy one get one free, and I have a coupon to go with it making it $.50 down from $4, I buy at least $4 worth, or 8 jars.  It would be equal to buying 1 jar and getting the other 7 free!  If you waited until you NEEDED sauce and paid the $4, you would have paid out $32 compared to the $4.  That's a savings of $28!!!!  Stock up enough that you do not have to pay full price for anything.  Watch the sales every week to see how to plan.  Ask neighbors, friends, and relatives for their unwanted coupons so you can get your stockpile growing. 

Make Good Decisions: When you coupon, you need to make good decisions.  Remember that you do still have to pay tax on things, even items that are free after coupons, so make sure you're not wasting all of your money on tax for things you don't need.  It's not a good idea to buy 20 boxes of poptarts on sale and not have any money leftover for fruits and veggies.  You also have to take a fair amount of time planning.  I typically take 1-2 hours before I head out to do my shopping.  Yes, that's a lot of time, BUT, if I save $100 on my shopping bill, it's like getting paid $50 an hour to coupon and plan! 

Always Give Back:  After you have been couponing for a while, you will find that you have so much stuff that you cannot possibly eat it all or use it all before it will go bad.  This is the time to box up the extras and visit your local food pantry or homeless shelter.  Don't be a hoarder or a shelf clearer just to have it all sit and clutter up your house. 

Responsibility: As a couponer, you can help or hurt the coupon world.  Do not abuse the couponing system.  When in doubt about a coupon, ask management before using.  Make sure that your coupon is for the product that you have.  You cannot use 2 manufacturer coupons on one item.  At Target, Publix, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS, they allow you one STORE coupon and one MANUFACTURE coupon.  The coupon will say on it what it is.  Please, please PLEASE do not abuse couponing.  No making copies of coupons, that is illegal and many stores have stopped taking printables due to coupon abuse.  Do not abuse "free item" coupons.  Just use common sense and not greed to guide you.

Teach Others: Friends don't let friends pay too much!  Be sure to share the shopping skills with others so they can learn to save too.  Everyone works hard for their money so they should be able to keep it!  Don't pay more than you need.

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