First things first…you need to figure out how much you are able to spend/already spending towards groceries. Does this amount include eating out, health & beauty aids, cleaning supplies, pet food? This is where creating a budget helps out tremendously!! Not sure how to create a budget? Here’s just one of many good online resources: BUDGETING YOUR MONEY . I won’t get into the whole budgeting issue, (I’ll leave that to the professionals), but your grocery bill is one of the very few areas in your family’s budget that you CAN play around with and make changes to. From this point on the money that you can & WILL save by using coupons and combining them with your stores sales will be as much or as little as the effort you put into it. So get working on this first step because without a budget how are you going to know how much you are saving if you’re not sure how much you’re currently spending/able to spend.
Now…make a list of items that you and your family use and how much of that item you go through. We all use soap, shampoos, toothpastes, toilet paper, laundry detergent etc..(I hope we all use this stuff). Now write down how much of a stockpile you would like to have. 3 months, 6 months, a year? Here’s an example: We use about 6-8 rolls of toilet paper a week. That includes what the dog gets a hold of because someone doesn’t know how to shut the door behind them. If I wanted to create a 3 month stockpile of toilet paper, I would need approximately 96 rolls of toilet paper to last us for 3 months. (8 rolls x 4 weeks=32 rolls a month x 3 months = 96 rolls needed for 3 months) 192 rolls for 6 months. 384 rolls for a one year supply. Does your family eat spaghetti at least once a week? (we are spaghetti/lasagna eating fools) If so write pasta, spaghetti sauce, ground meat on your list. And again write down approximately how much you go through in a 3month,6month,or 1year period. Do you always have a salad with that spaghetti? If so, write down salad dressing, croutons, etc. (only write down things that will store well) These are the types of items that you will want to start watching the sales for and stocking up on when they have reached their lowest prices. Now, I’m not saying run out and purchase 96 packs of toilet paper all at once…lol… (unless they are free after coupon, then hell yeah!! But be nice and don’t clear off the shelf. Spread it out throughout the sale week.) I’m just saying, get an idea of how much your family goes through and slowly build up your stockpile to that amount. Get it? Got it? Good!! Let’s move on to the next lesson.
In LESSON #2 I’ll cover different places to get your coupons.