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I've received three emails this week from sweet couponers who are struggling to feel like they're saving as much as they'd like each week at the grocery store. I think part of it may be after reading a recent post where I shared what our grocery budget looked like (and many of you chimed in too!) I know that is such a common feeling, so I wanted to share a few tips that might help you pinch an extra penny or two without sabotaging your coupon success!
1. Seriously consider additional ways to re-use things to help you save extra at the grocery store. I've shared before that there are some little changes we've made that have really helped our grocery budget go further, but here's my absolute favorite one (that you can see above): try to save as much as you can on plastic & paper products. Here's the thing: I can pick up cheap snacks, cleaning supplies, and even toiletries just about any day of the week, but finding big savings on trash bags and paper towels is just hard to do. So, because I'm plain old lazy (and don't want to spend all my time hunting down a deal!), I double up my plastic grocery sacks and hang them on my kitchen cabinets for trash bags. (Gasp! My secret is out!) This has been a HUGE money saver for our family, and while we do also have regular kitchen sacks, I probably only go through one or two per week because of substituting with the smaller (free!) bags instead . . . plus they're the perfect size for my kids to take out to the trash after dinner each night!
2. Remember that all families are different. At our house, I may cook two to three big meals per week, but the rest of the nights we either have leftovers or sandwiches as we race out the door to our children's activities. My husband really isn't a big eater (I know that sounds nuts!), so if he has a big lunch with someone at work he's pretty content to come home and have a pb&j for dinner. We also have a “couponed” frozen pizza or breakfast for dinner at least once a week, which definitely helps us squeeze our grocery budget. This works for us, and we don't feel like we're missing out on anything, but may not work for your family. Consider your family's needs, and base your grocery budget on that.
3. Where you grocery shop will make a big difference in your savings. I shop at a fantastic store that doubles coupons everyday and takes quite a few competitor coupons. I also go with a very specific plan in mind, so that I'm only purchasing the things that I need while they're at rock bottom prices. While I'll occasionally pick up something extra that's not on my list, it's pretty rare, because I really want to stick to my budget. If you can, make a list of exactly what you're going to purchase (including how many of each item), and determine before going into the store what your bill will be.
4. If you're purchasing organic produce & meat, your grocery budget will be bigger than someone else's . . . and that's totally okay (in fact, you're doing a great thing!) Plan to spend anywhere from $10-$20 extra per week if you're purchasing organics, and then just don't stress over it. (Really!) You can also check out a few tips on how to save when using organics over HERE.
5. Only compare yourself to you. If you watch Extreme Couponing (or even see my crazy friend Shannon's deals), you may be overwhelmed by how well some folks can save. Remember though, these may not be representative of they're saving every day. So don't compare yourself to anyone. (Did you hear that????) Instead, save the very most you can for your family, do the best you can do, and move on.
Do you have any tips on how to pinch extra pennies in your home? As always, I'd love to hear them . . . you know when you leave a comment it makes my day! 🙂