When I first moved to Hawaii, I remember going into slight shock every time I went to the grocery store. Food is more expensive here, along with gas, housing, activities and everything else! It’s a tourist destination so more often than not we are paying tourist prices. The majority of the food here has to be shipped from the mainland. And after shipping a car here, I know that’s not cheap! Thank goodness I found my friend Suzanne from Healthy Coupon Mama to help me save money in the food department! I’m so excited to have her guest post for us today. Suzanne has been living in Hawaii for 14 years and knows how to get by on a budget like no one I’ve ever met! She coupons, but not like extreme couponers and she finds ways to use coupons to give back, like this and this.
Today she is going to give us a few tips on how to be a busy mom and save a few bucks at the grocery store without wasting hours clipping coupons.
Most people react to the fact that I coupon with some sort of shock and awe. It’s like I’ve done something amazing or impossible. And they’re all thinking the same thing – how? I know couponing sounds a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. It takes a certain amount of time and organization, but it is possible to do it on a realistic level. I don’t stockpile. I don’t clear shelves. I just buy what my family needs. And, yes, I save a LOT of money.
Let’s face it. Unless you’re using coupons, you are throwing money down the drain. And if you’re living in Hawaii, you are most likely paying $4 for a loaf of bread and over $6 for a gallon of milk. But who has time? I’ll tell you – people who want to save money. So whether you want to coupon as a hobby, or out of necessity, you are going to save at the register when you use coupons.
Where Do I Get Them?
There are so many sources to get coupons these days it’s enough to make your head spin. The key is to keep it simple.
The Sunday Paper – The only way to guarantee coupon inserts are in your paper is to subscribe. Besides, there’s nothing like getting coupons delivered to your door. Try to strike a deal on a subscription. I was able to lock in $1 per Sunday issue versus $2.25 at the store.
Internet Printables – There are a plethora of internet sights to print from. I check http://www.coupons.com/ (Coupons.com) once a week on Saturdays for the latest printable coupons. You can print two copies of each coupon per computer (or device if you have a wireless printer).
Coupon Database – If you are looking for a specific coupon, you can use a database to search for it. As far as I can tell they are all the same. I use the one from http://m2minspiredhawaii.com/coupon-database-2/ (Mom2Mom Inspired Hawaii).
Facebook – It’s a good idea to “like” the pages of products and brands you use. Whenever there is a coupon available, you’ll be in the know.
Where Do I Keep Them?
There are many methods of filing and carrying coupons – the coupon binder, the envelope system, the box method, etc. You have to find the one that works for you. For me, it’s two coupon filers – one for food and one for everything else, divided by category. They fit easily in my purse for low pro couponing. Keep them current and keep them organized for a more efficient shopping trip.
How Do I Use Them?
I check on Sunday each week for the retail and drug store ads, and Wednesday for the grocery stores ads, and look for what is on sale. Then, I match those items up with the coupons I have on hand. If there is a coupon I do not have, I search for it in the coupon database to see if it’s available to print. Then, I make a detailed shopping list and get ready to save.
A Few Extra Pointers
Sale + Coupon = Time to Buy – It takes a little getting used to buying something when you haven’t yet run out of it yet. But if you buy it at the lowest price, you will not pay full price when you do. Stock up when the price is best.
Coupon Verbiage – Make sure to read your coupons for size and quantity restrictions and, especially, expiration dates.
Rain Checks – If a sale item is not available, or has been cleared from the shelves by other shoppers, ask for a rain check.
Clearance – Clearance, to me, is like Christmas. The only thing better than clearance is clearance + coupons. This is where you will most likely score items for free or next to nothing. Take the time to browse this section.
This is just a starting point. You can expand from here. Just keep in mind, in order to succeed, you can’t catch every deal. If you keep it realistic, and save your family money, then you are one step ahead of the game. Happy shopping!
I love how she breaks it down and makes it a simple process. Not so scary right? How are you going to start saving money on your groceries? My favorite thing to do is using the Target Mobile coupons. What is your favorite way to save money?
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