Monday, December 31, 2012

Stephanie's Savings






Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012 1:00 am
How to couponWelcome to the world of frugal living. This information is how I got my start with saving money. Like most people, my average grocery bill was anywhere from $100 to $125 a week. That doesn't include my frequent trips to the store because I was unorganized and forgot something. Now, on average, I spend $150 a month on groceries. This doesn't include my household, personal care, and non-grocery items — but most of those are super cheap or at times, completely free.

Frugal living isn’t always about using a coupon. It’s about saving money. Sometimes I use coupons and sometimes I don’t. I simply chose whatever the better deal is. If I need laundry detergent, I will purchase the store brand if it’s cheaper than the name brand with a coupon. I also make my own products if a deal cannot be found. You’ll hear me say or read posts on my website about how important it is to purchase more than one of that product while it’s on sale to build up your stockpile, but sometimes this isn’t always possible. The store may run out of a product and not offer a rain check, or you might be limited to how many of that product you can get. Recently I ran out of Febreze fabric spray, and a good deal couldn't be found. So I decided to make my own using fabric softener from my laundry stockpile and a few other products. Honestly, I like the homemade kind better. Many things can be tied into frugal living, so keep your options open.

How build up your coupons
Newspapers! The first thing you need to know is that purchasing multiple newspapers each week is key to getting lots of coupons. Yes, newspapers do cost money but the coupon value and savings will usually outweigh that cost.

If you pay $1.75 for your newspaper that's packed with $100 in coupons, and most products end up being 75 percent off to free because of those coupons, then that $1.75 is money well spent. Plus, you'll have the newspaper to read.

Purchasing multiple newspapers gives you more than one of each coupon, which in return, allows you to purchase multiple products when they hit their lowest prices. I wanted to keep within my budget when I started. The point of couponing is to save money, so don’t overdo it. I recommend purchasing four newspapers every Sunday. You can always get more newspapers if you need to, but this is a very simple way to keep within your budget. If you’re in the Lima area, you may want to check out The Lima News home delivery offers to see how you can get the Sunday-only subscription for as low as $1.25 per newspaper. That’s 50 cents less than the newsstand price.

Once a month, sometimes twice, Procter & Gamble releases a monthly coupon insert. At the beginning or sometimes the very end of the month is when the best coupon packages come out. Check out Stephanie's Savings (www.stephaniesavings.net) every Thursday to see what coupons will be coming out that weekend. This will help you plan ahead.

Sometimes the same week the coupons come out isn't exactly the best time to use them. Don't use a coupon just because you have it. You probably won't use all of the coupons you get, and that's okay. You're still saving money. Wait for a good sale to combine it with so you can get that product at its lowest price. A good deal might not come out until a few weeks later, so don't get discouraged. Other methods for getting coupons include clipping them from products you purchase, magazines, printing coupons, and more. To see what magazines are best for coupons, the top printing websites for coupons, and other resources, head over to www.stephaniesavings.net.

Reader questions

Question
If I purchase four newspapers a week, what do I do with all of those leftover newspapers?

Answer
There's a few things you can do with leftover newspapers. Instead of using money to buy paper towels, I use newspapers to clean my mirrors and windows. You can also donate them to animal shelters. They usually need them and will be glad to take them off your hands. If you have an idea of how to use leftover newspapers, email StephaniesSavings@hotmail.com.

Find out what items you can get for free, cheap, and more this week at Stephanie's Savings (www.stephaniesavings.net).

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