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Okay, so far we have the basics understood and you’ve got your coupons, now lets put it together.
I need to use these coupons and sales to get everything my family needs, not just have some crazy amount of toothpaste and starve because we still can’t afford food.
To truly start to feel like it is coming together is going to take time, about 6 weeks to be exact. Each week you need to pull up the list on Southern Savers for the store you shop at and purchase anything on the list that you will use. Get enough of those items to last you 6 weeks, because they will not be back on your Southern Savers list for a few weeks.
For the first few weeks you will still have items you need. Remember that anything you need that is not on sale is full price and is going to hurt not only your budget but also your savings totals. For these items buy one weeks worth only. Hopefully soon you will see them on sale and can stock up then.
Each week you keep buying six weeks of the sale items that week and one week of your “have to get” items. Week by week your needed items list will get smaller and smaller as you slowly stock up. Also week by week the amount that you save will start to go up. By week six you should be seeing that 50% saved or more!
If your stores are not listed on Southern Savers, open up your weekly ad. Circle everything in the ad that is buy one get one or all the items that are 40% off or more. Now open up the coupon database and look for coupons just for the items you have circled. You’ve just made your own store list!
Remember: To truly save money you have to still focus on what you are buying. If you begin buying everything that is a great deal even though you don’t really need it in your house you really aren’t going to save any money. Just because something costs 50¢ doesn’t mean you have to get it, if you continue not buying it (as you always did before coupons) that is 50¢ saved!
A few tips to save even more:
Buy any item that makes you money. It’s just that simple. If you see that vitamins are going to be on sale for $2.50 and you have $3 in coupons, that means in most stores that you will get 50¢ off your total purchase. That becomes 50¢ off your milk, meat, produce… In the end donate the items you don’t want. We keep a box in our pantry and when I get home if items were purchased that we won’t use they go straight in the box. When the box is full give it to the homeless shelter, food bank or even take it back to the grocery store most have donation bins right there!
Utilize rain checks. Most every store offers rain checks on deals in their weekly ad. For grocery deals the store doesn’t need to be out of every item, just one variety. This actually makes getting a rain check pretty easy. Head in to grab Pop Tarts and there are 23 (or some other crazy number) different flavors. Odds are one of the types you wanted will be out. You are still able to get a rain check, and don’t have to make your kids suffer through some horrible type. Tell customer service in most grocery stores what you were wanting and they will write the rain check. Most stores will write the rain check for the entire brand, not just the flavor you wanted. So now I could come in and get any kind of Pop Tart I wanted.
Special days to shop and extra incentives. Many stores have senior shopping days, special sale days or even incentives to use your own shopping bag. Take a few minutes to get to know the folks at your store and just ask! They will give you the scoop on anything they offer.