About Me

I'm a Utah mom, just trying to make ends meet. Several years ago, I was introduced to a new way of couponing. I've been addicted ever since. I have a hard time paying full price for anything anymore.

I love couponing so much, I decided to become a teacher for Grocery Smarts.

I teach free classes and show you how to get everything you need at the grocery store and still leave $$$ in your pocket. I'll also teach you the best ways to get and organize your coupons. The best part of the class is when I show you how to match your current coupons up with the current local sales - getting the most bang for your buck!

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August 14, 2008

Grocery Tips - food for thought

When I first started to coupon - my pantry was pretty pathetic. I either had a little of this and that or things that had been expired for years. There was no organization, rotation and it's pretty hard to make spaghetti with sauce and no noodles or a cake with no frosting (yes - I use a can most of the time).

When I was first introduced to couponing almost one year ago through Grocery Smarts I was on fire. I couldn't wait to run to the store and buy, buy, buy. As I've been doing this - I have become smarter and wiser. Here are a couple of tips I wanted to pass on.

1 - Always check the size (lbs, oz's etc) on the ad vs. what you put in your cart. Check for flavor as well (I see this a lot with cereal - a store will only have certain kinds on sale - but not every flavor of that specific brand). You don't want to get to the register with the wrong sized product or flavor, you want to take advantage of the right items on sale.

2 - Have the right number of Sunday papers for your family's needs. When I first started I was not going to order 4 papers - that would be ridiculous to have that many delivered each Sunday. I now realize that in order to consume the products in which I purchase as well as add to my pantry, I need those extra coupons to get me to the next sale. I now get 4 papers and will be picking up a fifth soon.

3 - Buy the things you need for the week and really stock up on those items that are on sale that your family will use and consume. I didn't fully understand this when I first started couponing. If you've ever been to one of my classes, I show a picture of some of the items that I purchased on sale back in May. I use it as a game. As I looked at this weeks sale at Albertson's I realized that the items in my picture are the same items that are on sale this week. Boy was I thankful too. I went to the kitchen pantry to pull out the peanut butter last week only to notice it was gone. I ventured downstairs to my food storage for another jar and realized I was picking up the last one.

4 - This sort of plays off of #3, but it's worth saying. Really give yourself about 3 months to build a good variety in your pantry. When I first started, I did not have the coupons I needed/wanted to buy all the things that were on sale. Buy the things you absolutely have to have for use and consumption and purchase multiple items with your coupons. Sales repeat every 3-6 months and in that time you will have the coupons you did not have when you first started.

5 - Take this for what it's worth - but it's been very helpful to me. I find that when I have my children with me, I really have a hard time concentrating on the items I want to buy. (True story - I was at Smith's a few weeks ago to purchase some gift cards and pick up about 4 things. Please note: Husband has been gone all week to Scout camp and it was Friday night - 5 days with 3 kids home alone..... Anywho....I was patiently waiting for the man to ring up all the gift cards I was buying and turned around to notice my 3 and 6 year old playing hop scotch on the colored tiles on the floor. This is the same area in which busy shoppers are exiting the store. Several shoppers had to stop and wait for my very pre-occupied children to move. I could automatically feel the anger building because we had the "let's be good kids talk" before we came into the store. Finally the cards were purchased and I was off in a flash to pick up the few items I needed. As I made my way to the last aisle in the store for my much needed Coke fix - I realized the 3 and 6 year old were gone. Oh, lucky me I found them in the seasonal aisle, sword fighting with those foam noodles you take to the pool. NEVER AGAIN WILL I TAKE MY CHILDREN SHOPPING WITH ME AGAIN!!!!). So, take this for what it's worth and I hope you have more well behaved children than I do!

6 - Lastly - please have patience. By keeping up with couponing, you will see a huge savings in your budget as well as a full pantry. There have been weeks where I just get so busy I don't want to make time to cut out the coupons and I go to the store without them. I always leave the store more angry because I could have saved at least half or more with the coupons, had I just taken the time.

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