My tip for today is to use coupons*. Do you see that asterisk after the word "coupons?" It should be a REALLY big asterick. I do use coupons, but I only use coupons for brands that I MUST use. I buy all of my canned goods at Aldi's and anything else that I know that I can't get cheaper anywhere else. I try and cut down on using brand names as much as I can, but we do have some "have to" things like Angel Soft toilet paper, Cascade dishwasher soap, and Secret antiperspirant. I also use my manufacturer coupons to Kroger because they will double coupons up to 50 cents. (Check with your local stores to see what the store policy is on coupons.)
I will also use coupons if I can use the manufacturer coupon in conjuction with a sale or store coupon so that I'm spending less than I would if I got the store brand. I do this type of couponing the most at Walgreens. I use the website Money Saving Mom (it is in my Simple Blog list too) because she will show you what the deals are at Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, and sometimes Costco and Wal-Mart, as well as some other random deals. Again, I really try to buy the things that we USE, not just get stuff because it is cheap/free. So I don't always get some of the deals that I see on coupon blogs because it just isn't worth it to me to make 10 trips to buy stuff so I can get coupons so that I can get the stuff I need for free.
I also use the coupons that Kroger sends me. I shop at Kroger for 3 main reasons - One, it is pretty close to my house. Two, they do double coupons. Three, they track the items you purchase, and then about every couple months, they send you pack of 10ish coupons for items that you buy regularly. I've got coupons on 3 separate occassions for a 24 pack of drinking water for FREE. Most of the time, the coupons are for at least a $1.00 off the item.
Oh, I forgot another reason I shop at Kroger. They have a store discount card, and I try to not buy anything that isn't discounted by using the discount card, or I have a manufactur or store coupon for it. Most of the time, I save equal to what I spent (so say I spend $75, it means I got $75 off in coupons and discounts.)
Oh, yea, another reason I shop at Kroger is that you can load coupons from Shortcuts.com and Proctor and Gamble right on to your card. That way, you don't have to print it out or cut it out, etc. I think I went to the Kroger website to set it up.
Maybe I should have labelled this tip - Shop at Kroger instead of Use Coupons, LOL. But if you live in an area that doesn't have a Kroger, you may have one of their affiliates (check on at Kroger.com). You also may find that it is cheaper for you, and the type of shopping that you do, to shop at another grocery store. I went to all of the main grocery stores in my area (Schnucks, Meier, Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Jewel-Osco.) and priced out the items that I would generally buy at a grocery store (as opposed to a drug store, discount store, or Aldi's). I took my grocery list and wrote down the prices of the items and compared it. It took me AWHILE, but I learned that for my family, Kroger was the winner, especially when you added in the coupons that they send and the double coupons, etc. But you may find that another store works best for the type of items you buy and the stores that are available, etc. I also will look at the sale papers and I will be willing to go to another grocery store if they have something on sale that that is a very good deal, particularly if it is an item that I am trying to use to build up for my 3 month/one year supply/once a month cooking.
So use coupons, but don't get too caught up in it, and it is easy to get caught up in it once you start. My goal is to buy the things that are on my master list as cheaply as possible, and using coupons can sometimes help me spend even less than normal.