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The truth of the matter, when we were unemployed I learned how to grocery shop with coupons. Lots and lots of coupons. I had a file cabinet in my kitchen that housed all the coupons from the Sunday paper. I was the crazy coupon lady but I had also figured out that there were 3 items I had to cut from our groceries to help us save money.
So when people ask me how to cut their spending I always ask what is your grocery budget? To this day I still have a grocery budget. When my husband asks me to cut spending, this is the first place we go. I check to see if I have been using a meal plan and if I am cutting my top 3 items from the list.
This is what I cut first:
1.Sugary treats. Cookies, fruit snacks, granola bars, these are all treats that frankly don’t help a diet, nor do my kids need them. On top of that my kids would rather have home made any way. Yes, that means brownies and ice cream too.
2.Chips, these are really empty calories at the end of the day so they get eliminated from the grocery list. If I had a coupon and the chips were on sale then I would re-evaluate if we can get them.
3.Pop, juice, flavored drinks. You don’t need them to live. The amount of sugar in juice and pop is outrageous and you will be healthier if you give them up. All you Diet Coke lovers out there, don’t hate!
Now that I KNOW what I’m going to cut I start on making a meal plan for the week. I used to make elaborate meals. They often looked like salad, meat, vegetable, fruit, starch and bread! That’s a boat load of food for a small family of 4! So I had to learn how to decrease how much food I put out.
So I did a little research and came across a website called $5 Dinners. This website did all the planning for me and the meals were easy! You can click this link to learn more! They even had it so I could customize the meal plans for our preference. The best part for me is that they already had a meal plan that was gluten free so I didn’t have to do much thinking about it. They also have links on their website that links to coupons so you can print them and take them with you for your shopping trip! Seriously, this is a God send to easy meal planning! You need to check it out!
Let’s talk about coupons for a hot minute! Coupons are monies off your groceries. They may only be $.25 or $.50, but that is still money you don’t have to spend out of your pocket! Though I don’t have stack and stacks of coupons from the Sunday paper anymore, I still use them.
Where do I get the coupons?
Most of the coupons I use today are electronic. The grocery store I shop at has coupons on their website I can add to my account that is linked to my phone number. Even Walgreens has the electronic coupons that is linked to your phone number. Once a week I login and click on the coupons and they are ready to use.
Also, if you are not using Ibotta, you are leaving money on the table! This is a FREE app that you download to your phone. It is totally easy to use. You can use my referral code by clicking this link and get $10 for free after your first rebate! The app is so easy to use. All you do is click on the store you are shopping in, click the items you bought and take a picture of your receipt with your phone. Ibotta stores the money in an account and you can either have it sent to you via PayPal or in gift cards they have available.
To me, using Ibotta is a no brainer! It’s couponing on your phone. You don’t have to clip, remember to bring them to the store and give them to the cashier, all of which I have forgotten at one time or another. Ibotta has saved me time and money!!
If you want to learn more about coupons, there are so many websites about them! One of my favorites is CouponMom.com. She has all the coupons you need for the week on her website! It is truly amazing. Her website has been around for years and it is one that I would frequent when I was coupon crazy!
When I was cutting our grocery budget originally, back in 2010, I managed to cut it down to $80 week. Now we are at $125/week. Consistently. I do stick to my top 3 items to cut from the grocery budget. Also, having a meal plan is a sure way to stick to a budget.
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 8 years. Before starting her blog, she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.