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Don’t use coupons? Think you can’t save money using coupons? I challenge you !!!

Posted on : 18-11-2009 | By : The Wife | In : budgeting, Groceries, Stockpile

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I wrote this in response (as a comment) to a comment quoted in a post on the Five Cent Nickle blog.

=========================================================

Coupons are the single best way to reduce your grocery bill to nearly zero – on a consistent basis.

I feed and beautify a family of 6 (4 boys) for less than $400/month. Additionally, the last 2 months we’ve been supporting 2 other families (3 ppl and 4ppl) without depleting our stockpile or increasing our expenses. Additionally, we’ve given bags upon bags of food and toiletries to our food bank (this is very much needed right now).

I spend an average of 10 hours a month couponing, matching sales, planning the shopping and actually shopping multiple stores.

We have our own business in which I work full-time, so it’s not like I’m a SAHM that works this into my SAHM schedule.

Saving money has NOTHING to do with buying “generic” vs. “store brands”. It has everything to do with being flexible in the brands you do use, keeping coupons for everything, including things you’ve never used before and matching the use of store coupons/manufacturer coupons/sales/catalina’s to make the most effective use of your money.

You must be willing to try new products – to integrate things you’ve never eaten before – to make use of what is inexpensive.

I love challenging people who say they “save as much or more using generic” or people who say that coupons never come on the products they use (I guess they don’t take showers or baths, brush their teeth, wash their clothes, clean their homes, eat breakfasts, lunches or dinners, etc). In October alone we saved $100 off our previously “normal” budget of $675/month for our family of 6. However, the amount of food I bought for $525 was more than triple what most get for $525.

Stockpiling is KEY – buying enough of an item when it’s at it’s lowest price to stock up until it goes to it’s lowest price again (on MOST items it’s a 3 month cycle). Also watching for unexpected low low prices (ie, anything pork related was at an insane price the past couple of months because of the “swine flu” scare so I stocked up on ~100lbs of pork roast for 89c/lb) and, watching for seasonal items at their lowest – soups are always at their lowest in Sept/Oct/Nov, etc.

Anyway – I love that most people just are ignorant about coupons – it allows me to feed lots of people for very little money.

I also no longer care what people waiting in line think about how long it takes me at the checkout counter. They don’t live in my house and they don’t have to feed my family – I do. If going through checkout takes an extra 5 minutes (which it always does because of the amount of coupons I use) and saves me $500+/month – I’m doing it. I refuse to spend more money just to appease someone else.

I do love it when the person behind me sees just how much I save. When the total starts out at $150 and I end up paying $20, they notice. When the total starts out at $53 and I pay ZERO and I do TWO transactions back to back like this, they really notice. (these are real life recent examples).

Anyway – Mr. Stein – keep up the “get rid of coupons” mantra – I’ll keep using them :D

$500/month is nothing to sniff at – $6,000/year – that’s a great vacation every . single . year.

Stockpiling: to stock up when items can be had for free or pennies on the dollar

Posted on : 03-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Groceries, Stockpile

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I’ve been “coupon” stockpiling for a little over 2 months now.  HOWEVER, I have always been someone who stocks up at Costco on things that I never want to run out on: toilet paper, paper towels, deodorants, food items we eat regularly, etc. With that said, I usually always have a 2-4 week solid stockpile in our home.

Now that I’m couponing so intensely again, all that has changed.  I will now stock up on something as much as I am able to buy at the pennies or free price.  For example, we currently have 41 boxes of kleenex (well we have more, but I’m speaking about the ones I got free) because they are free.  Today is the last day to take advantage of this deal so I’m going out and getting anywhere from 12-20 more depending upon the stock the store has available.

Anyway, here are some pictures of my stockpiles, with explanations of what you are seeing within each picture.  Enjoy!

View 1 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

View 1 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

The top shelf back in the corner has 20+ boxes of cereal… the edges of the pantry extend pretty deeply beyond the doors (sort of annoying when trying to utilize said space!!).

View 2 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

View 2 of my main, near my kitchen, pantry

Again, top shelf has another 30+ boxes of cereal back in that corner.  My pantry stockpile here is actually somewhat low right now.  I haven’t been through a full cycle yet of sales/coupons (takes about a year) so there are things I haven’t stocked up on that we were using regularly.  Now however, we’ll use what I’ve been able to purchase at steep discounts.

View 1 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 1 of my laundry room pantry area.

My laundry room is nice and spacious.  However, we recently moved in and I don’t have anything really built in yet.  In another picture you’ll see some shelves we did put up – with supplies we already owned.  Now the quest  begins to find things free to better utilize this space.

View 2 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 2 of my laundry room pantry area.

I can’t wait to start taking advantage of Walgreen’s and Rite Aid sundries sales… my coupon stockpile is pretty solid right now so BRING IT ON you two!!

View 3 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 3 of my laundry room pantry area.

See what I mean about utilization of space??  I’m desperate for shelves, counters, etc.  I’m excited for the day this room will really function well.

View 4 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 4 of my laundry room pantry area.

As I said before, I did have some shelves and brackets so we put them up.  I really want to extend this whole thing towards the right… someday!!

FYI, 90 boxes of “helper” meals, all found for 62c a box.  Capri Sun’s were free, so were crackers.  Soups were 30c can or less, bars were free to $1.00 box.  Kraft Mac and Cheese was 30c box or less, cereal is 75c/box or less, etc.

View 5 of my laundry room pantry area.

View 5 of my laundry room pantry area.

Extended view of the last one… bin of snack size chips, bin of school supplies and 44 bottles of joint juice (free).  Oh, and the lovely cat box (sorry!!).