Let’s face it: no matter how much fun we have finding, clipping, filing and using coupons, the ultimate reason that we do this is to save money. However, as I have talked so many other coupon enthusiasts through the years, I have noticed that we can become so caught up in the coupon experience that we don’t always get the very best prices possible. Now, we all have good reason why we may purchase something even if it means paying full price (horrors!) but that should not be our regular practice. So here are some Dos and Don’ts to help you shave your grocery budget down to its very minimum.
Dos and Don’ts
- Consider how much it costs to make the item from scratch. Cake mix is a great deal, but only if it’s cheaper than the flour, sugar and spices that come in it. The same is true of canned icing, pasta mixes, etc. Now, it is not worth the time to think about this too much for an item that you only using once in a while, but if you make brownies several times a week, it may be worth your time to comparison shop.
- On the other hand, consider your time, too. For instance, canned icing may cost more than that made from scratch, but I find making icing a real pain, so I’m happy to buy the canned stuff. My sister, on the other hand, enjoys making icing and is glad to spend the time for the better flavor.
- Set a base price and stick to it. I have a few rules of thumb that I base all my purchases. For instance, I won’t pay more than $1.00 for a dozen eggs unless I am completely out, nor will I pay more than $3.00 per pound for cheese. So, if the price with coupons is less, I buy. If it’s significantly less, I stock up.
- Plan menus around grocery shopping, not vice versa. Rather than plan to have pizza every Friday, make pizza anytime you want, as long as you have frozen pizzas or the ingredients for making pizzas on hand.
- Base your purchase on the fact that a coupon is expiring. If it’s not a good deal, you’re better off just to let the coupon expire.
- Let your family become food snobs. Use whatever plan your family finds acceptable to encourage your children, and spouse for that matter, to eat what is set in front of them.
- Become a brand snob, either. The nature of coupon use is that we tend to get the best prices on the newest products. So, if you feel that you can only use one type of laundry detergent, you must accept that this decision will cost you more money than being open minded.
- Buy things you don’t need. Consider this: even if you only pay 50 cents for room freshener, that is still 50 cents you can’t use on something else. So unless you have a problem with carpet odors, leave it on the shelf.
Susan Mathis loves both her family and saving money, so she has developed some serious skills to allow she, her husband and their children to live a champagne life on a beer budget. Please check out some of her other ideas at The Coupon Cupboard.
I am really excited that Susan will be writing posts for Adventures of Frugal Mom. She is an amazing writer with loads of tips to share.
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