Wednesday, October 29, 2008

changing the way I shop

I am a recent convert to coupons. Never used them before, as my time is too important to waste for a few cents, etc. But while I was home on sick leave, I watched a woman on Oprah, a lady called the Coupon Mom, get over $200 worth of groceries for $37. She wasn't smarter than me, she didn't spend hundreds of hours to get the deals, but she had a system that works. I went to her website Coupon Mom, read her e-book about her system, and signed up. I have reduced my grocery bill by over 25% and it takes me 15 minutes a week. I know I sound like one of those cheesy infomercials, but seriously... It doesn't cost anything, and it is mostly common-sense. It just never occurred to me to put any serious thinking into grocery shopping. It's just something you do, right? Another damn chore on the list.

It isn't just coupons... it is timing. Planning menus and buying based on what is on sale, and then using coupons to further reduce the cost. The coupon mom website is tied into local sales circulars (in our area its giant food), so you can generate your grocery list from the database, and then she tells you what coupons have come out that match your list. Really quick and easy.

I normally spent $180- $200 a week at the grocery store. Since I started this system, I spend about $120-$130. We have had no decease in the quality of our meals, or in the healthiness of what I make. It takes me an extra 15 minutes a week to use the coupon mom system, and then the normal meal planning time I take deciding what I'm gonna cook for the coming week. Then I do my grocery list. Saving $50-$60 a week is not enormous, but it does help offset the increase in our heating oil bill, and in our tax escrow bills.

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