Just wanted to share another great resource I've found in my search for deals on the Web. The Stretching a Buck blog is great for finding good deals, coupons and awesome giveaways. Marcy is currently giving away a $100 Home Depot gift card, so check it out!
There are a couple of great giveaways on the Web right now that YOU should know about. First, Mars is giving away free chocolate! Every Friday morning, go to the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act Website, enter your info, and if you are one of the first 250,000 people to do so, you will get a coupon in the mail for a free single-serving chocolate bar -- M&Ms, Twix, Three Musketeers, etc. You can enter each Friday between 9 a.m. and midnight ET, so hit Mars up for some free candy!
The other giveaway that I'm loving is for a free tube of Burt's Bees chapstick. Burt's Bees is doling out 1,000 free tubes of their famous beeswax chapstick daily through June 20 in honor of its 25th "Burt day." The giveaway starts daily at a random time between 9 a.m. and noon ET. Visit the Burt's Bees site for more details and for your chance to win. AND, as of this posting at 9:52 a.m. ET, today's giveaway hasn't started yet, so you've got a good shot at being one of the first 1,000 visitors!
It's people like Frugal Dr. Mom who really challenge me to do what I'm doing as far as savings on groceries AND doing even better with money-saving. For the month of May, Dr. Mom fed a family of five and four pets for $78.03 TOTAL. For the whole month. She bought $1,051 worth of groceries, pet food and other household items but only spent $78.03 (after an FSA reimbursement). That's AMAZING.
I had the chance to share with my small group last night about what I'm doing with coupons and money-saving. I really enjoy telling people about it and (hopefully) helping them save a little money, too! I promised the group that I'd post my notes on here, so here they are:
Why use coupons? Any amount of savings from your normal grocery budget is an improvement! With some time and effort, you can save 50-75% on your grocery bill!
How did I get started with couponing? I was reading the blogs of some friends of mine, and they were talking about how they'd started getting into saving money on their groceries. From there I started doing research on my own and found a whole bunch of folks on the Web sharing about the ways they are saving ridiculous amounts of money on their grocery bills -- and seemingly in ways that I could pretty easily do myself! If a mom in Tennessee can feed herself, her husband and their three kids on a grocery budget of $50/week, then I should be able to do that for just me and my husband!
How do I do my grocery shopping? I choose to shop at Publix (of the stores we have in Tuscaloosa -- Publix, Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie, Bruno's, K-Mart, Super Target) because of great buy-one-get-one deals, good sales on produce and meats, stackable coupons, double coupons up to $.50 and the penny item offered every Sunday and Monday. I also prefer the overall quality of Publix's products.
The Publix sales paper comes out on Wednesdays, so I usually start my shopping list on Wednesdays.
I usually visit Publix 4 Pennies, along with looking at the sales paper, to make my list. P4P lists all the ongoing sales at Publix, PLUS the coupons that match up with them.
I make my list primarily based on what's on sale with other items added in as necessary.
Finding coupons Publix accepts three types of coupons: Manufacturer coupons - found in newspapers, online and in-store Store coupons - Good only at Publix; found in-store or sometimes by mail Competitor coupons - Target, CVS, Bruno's, etc.
You can stack one of each of these types of coupons on one item. Also, when you buy BOGO items at Publix, you can use one of each of these types of coupons on each item.
You can also find coupons by buying/trading online.
Maximizing savings As much as possible, base your list on what's on sale.
Try to find a coupon for everything you buy. You'd be surprised what you might find one for. I've found coupons for things like fresh pineapple and strawberries, hamburger meat and packs of chicken.
Be willing to put a little time and effort into it; it's going to take a little longer than simply writing out a list. I usually take between two and three hours per week preparing my grocery list.
When you find a great deal on something you use a lot, stock up on it. Don't feel silly buying a bunch of one thing. At one point I had seven boxes of cereal, six boxes of 100-calorie packs and six boxes of pasta in my pantry -- and I just started doing this about 4-6 weeks ago!
Be willing to shop around. I do most of our grocery shopping at Publix, but I also look for deals at Target and CVS.