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I’m back! ;)

August 24, 2013

Hey Everyone! I’m back after a bit of a break. I haven’t forgotten about  you!  ;)

The last couple months I’ve been focusing on another project. I’ve been hard at work with the team at We Support Paula Deen to help line up grocers to carry Paula Deen Foods products. I’ve really loved doing it, and I’m still very involved with them. Now that my daughter is back in school, I have a little more time to post here. I’ll probably be posting 3-4 times a week.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting the best healthy deals from stores across the country. Kroger, Safeway, Albertson’s, and many more. You will also be seeing more fashion related posts as well.

If you are looking to get started in Saving Money, check out my Savings 101 series.

I really look forward to reconnecting with each of you. Please email me any time with ideas or questions to fashionablysaving@gmail.com

Have a great day!

Susan

Extreme Couponing TLC – Can we really do that too?

August 5, 2013

I’ve decided to dedicate a post to the TLC show Extreme Couponing. My next couple posts will be on coupon ethics and stockpiling so I thought I’d explain why I’m very passionate about using coupon guidelines. My stockpiling perspective is related to what I’ve seen on the show as well.

For those of you who don’t know a few years ago TLC put out a “reality” show called Extreme Couponing where people who use coupons demonstrate savings on shopping trips. Like any reality show, it wasn’t based on reality at all. On every trip the savings was a at least 95% or even more. My savings trips are 50%-75%.

I’ve heard people ask how can I get the savings they get every week. The truth is you can’t. If you are saving 50%-75% on your shopping trips you are doing great. One of the problems with the show is that the stores they shopped at consistently bent or even broke the store policies that all shoppers have to stick to.

One benefit that Extreme Couponing had is that it brought alot of attention to couponing. Many new people were interested in saving money and that’s great! I think that everyone should try to stretch their money as far as they can especially in this economy. The downside is that is was a reality show and most reality shows make everything more exaggerated to get attention.  The main issue that I have with what has happened on the show is that many times coupon usage guidelines and ethics were thrown out the window. I’ll be posting more about them later. Knowing coupon usage guidelines is very important because we are using coupons like cash to pay for our items. We can do this because in the terms of the coupon it basically states that if we use the coupon properly the store will be reimbursed from the manufacturer for the face value of the coupon. If we don’t use the coupon properly the store may not be reimbursed for the value of the coupon.

Also on EC the stockpiles that they had were a little much. Their stockpile basically takes over their whole house. I look at stockpiling differently. I have a stockpile of foods, personal care and household products but it’s enough to last me 3-6 months at the most. The thing to keep in mind that the sale where you get toothpaste for free at your supermarket will come around again. The cycle of sales that I’m talking about here is called a sales cycle. I’ll probably be talking about this tomorrow. Depending on where you live in the country sales cycles can be anywhere from 2-3 months maybe 4. So every 2-4 months your favorite products will be at a rock bottom price. There’s no need for you to buy 50 tubes of toothpaste (unless your donating, and if you donate please call the store and ask them to order for you). Keep in mind that there are many other people trying to get the same deal that you are. I’ll probably be talking more about sales cycles tomorrow. So feel free to ask me any questions you have.

Question from a reader

August 5, 2013

I got a comment on the Coupon for Paula Facebook Page  recently from a lady. She uses coupons but has a hard time finding deals. Her  problem is very common. One of the most common misconceptions about coupons is that you buy things you don’t need because you have them and they don’t save you any money. 

Every week that coupons come out the stores want you to use them right away. They even have little ads beside the coupons sometimes listing the price of the items at their store. It’s easy to think “Great, I’m sure the item is on sale and I have a coupon for it. So I’ll get a few this week.

Please remember this, just because you have a coupon for an item doesn’t mean you need to buy the item now or ever if you can’t donate it or your family won’t use it.  I’ve been talking about coupon organization today for this reason. We need to have a way to organize our coupons. Whatever method you use to organize your coupons keep in mind that the store prices vary like we talked about yesterday. Sometimes the item that the coupon is for is full price sometimes it is half price (stock up). This is why it’s important to follow a coupon blogger that covers your store.

The best way to utilize your coupons is to wait until the item is on sale or has a promotion and then use the coupon. This is the way to get the best deals on your families favorite products.

Here’s an example

Let’s say there was a coupon for .50/1 box of Original Cheerios , your store will double to $1. ( I’ll get into doubling later) You buy 4 papers because there is a lot of coupons that your family uses.

Your local grocery store’s sales
(Week of coupon) Cheerios Week 1 $3.50
Cheerios Week 2 $3.00
Cheerios Week 3 $2.00
Cheerios Week 4 $3.00

The week to buy your 4 boxes of cereal and get the best price is Week 3. If you buy the cereal on Week 3 you’ll get each box for $1. Compare it to buying the cereal on Week 1 you’d spend $2.50 on it.

If you have not found a coupon blogger that covers your store please let me know.
I hope this helps, if you need further clarification let me know. I’ll be talking about why you want to buy more than one of a product when it’s at it’s lowest price (stockpiling) tomorrow.

Extreme Saving – Minimum Effort Maximum Reward

August 5, 2013

I’ve been sharing with tips for saving money over the last few days. Saving money has sometimes been over-complicated.  It doesn’t have to be. :)

Over the past  few days we’ve been talking about how supermarkets can save you  money, more money than you can save in the stores you’ve been avoiding.

But is it really possible to spend less money and less time in a supermarket than you would in stores like Walmart, Target, Kmart etc that have dropped Paula?

Yes, if you plan it right.

 

You see all the things we’ve been talking about using menu’s, following sales cycles, using coupons on the items your family purchases when they are on sale, stockpiling, and following a coupon blogger  each play a part in your savings. It’s like a puzzle if you are  missing some of the pieces it won’t come out the way you want it to.

 

Remember to find a coupon blogger with a website to cover your store. You may need to look at your ad to see good deals on meat and produce. Briefly scan the other departments as well.   Some  times the bloggers only cover the best deals or the deals with coupons.  It usually takes me 30 min to review my ad and see what the best deals without coupons are and  meat and produce is on sale. Each region can sometimes have different meat and produce on sale.  Go to the store website enter your city and state. Many stores have an option to look up meat and produce.

 

Please  keep in mind that not everything is cheap or free, especially if you are buying meat and produce. :)

 

Here’s how I would plan my trips

 

I would look at my ad (takes about 30 min)

I  would go to a blogger that covers my store and review their best deals.( 15-20 min)

I would pull my coupons (20 minutes if I have a lot )  I just file mine according to date and insert

Then I would jot down a quick menu with what I had and what was on sale

Put my coupons in a small accordion file

Shop

 

Here is an idea based on a recent sales ad for Kroger. This is a bit of a slow week so  this is what you can typically expect. :)

 

Thanks to the Krazy Coupon Lady for the ad match up :) *Please keep in mind that with any links I share, their coupon usage may be different than mine.*

 

Meat

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast $1.99 lb

 

Produce including Frozen

Bird’s Eye Frozen Vegtables  $1.17 after coupon

 

Dairy.  Refrigerated and Frozen

Birds Eye Voila Meal $2.49 after coupon

 

Grocery

Kellogg’s Cinnamon Jacks $1.29 after coupon

Eight O clock Coffee $2.99 after coupon

Green Mountain K Cups $2.99 after coupon

 

Buy 4 Save 4 Promo (Final price reflect promotional price)

General Mills Cereals $1.38 ea after coupon wyb 2

Chex Mix, Bugles or Gardetto’s .74 ea wyb 2 after coupon

Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers $1.49

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $1.58 ea wyb 2 after coupon

 

Grocery List – if something is not in the ad I list an approximate price.

 

Then after going to the Krazy Coupon Lady  where I got the best deals of the week. I would then  make a list with things that the Grocery store  had in the ad.

 

Breakfast

(2) Boxes of Kellogg’s Cinnamon Jacks $2.48 after coupon

(5) Generic Yogurts .30 ea $1.65 (in ad)

(2) Eight O Clock coffee  $5.98 after coupon

(1) Kroger Orange Juice $1.5o (in ad)

(1)  Dozen of Kroger Brand Eggs $1.25 (in ad)

$12.86  plus a coffee for next week

 

Lunch

(2) pkgs of Kroger Brand Lunchmeat $5 (in ad)

(2)Loaves of Bread $2 ea (approx)

(2) Generic Mac and Cheese $1.50 (approx)

(1)Peanut Butter (2)

(1) Bag of Doritos $2.50 in ad

$14.50 for lunch

 

Dinner

(3) Bird’s Eye Voila $7.50 after coupon

(3 1bs)  Chicken Breast $6.00

(1) Bag of Sliced Cheese  $2.50

(1) Brown Rice $1.00

(1) Jar of Kraft  BBQ Sauce $1.oo

(4) bags of Bird’s Eye Frozen Veggies $4.68

$22.68 for dinners

 

Snacks and misc

(1) Kroger Fruit Snacks $1

(4) Chex Mix, Guardetto’s, or Bugles $3/4 wyb 4 after coupon

(2) Milk $6.40

(2) Kroger Ice Picks Popsicles $2

$12.40

 

$62.44 for the week.  You may want to add in whatever fresh fruit and veggies are on sale at your store.

 

So how do we make this work for our family to eat all week? Here’s where menu planning comes in If we plan a menu we will save time and money in the store, and throughout the week since we’ll have a plan on what to have for the week

 

Here’s a sample menu

Breakfast

Milk, Eggs, Cereal, Orange Juice, Yogurt, whatever fruit is cheapest

 

Lunch

PB Sandwiches, Lunchmeat, Mac and Cheese,  Leftovers

 

Dinner

BBQ Chicken w/Rice + Frozen Veggies

BBQ Chicken w/Baked Beans+Frozen Veggies

Birds Eye Voila X 3

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (if you need butter that will cost a little more) + Frozen veggies

Breakfast for Dinner Eggs and toast with whatever fruit is cheapest

 

Snacks

Popsicles

Chex Mix, Guardetto’s, Bugles

Fruit Snacks

 

I hope this gives you an idea of  how you can save at a grocery store. After reviewing the ad, visiting your favorite bloggers match up of the cheapest deals, and planning a menu based on what’s on sale you can put a list together to shop.  It will probably take a little over an hour at first while you are looking at the ad and so on but then your grocery planning and thinking about what’s for dinner is done for the week.  A list like this also helps to fend off impulse purchases and last minute trips to the store. You can save a lot of time by planning ahead and putting together a  menu for the week as well. Many grocery stores are laid out the same and if you have an organized list you can be in and out of the store in 30 minutes.

My favorite coupon bloggers

August 5, 2013

Here are a few of my favorite coupon bloggers

Hip2Save –  Collin is awesome and a lot of fun to follow. She doensn’t do grocery ad match up’s but she does do drugstore match up’s . She keeps her site constantly updates with the latest coupons and deals.

The Krazy Coupon Ladies – Heather and Joanie are fantastic. They break down ad match up’s for the drugstores and many grocery stores as well. I ‘ve learned a lot of what I know from them.

The Coupon Project – Angie does an amazing job. She’s on the West Coast and covers stores like Winco, Albertsons, Safeway, and Fred Meyer. She’s very ethical like I am.

Money Saving Mom –  I think I got introduced to using coupons through her site. Crystal offers amazing tips for home organization and management as well. I honestly don’t know how that woman does it. :)

Check these ladies out and sign up for their daily emails to keep up to date with all the latest deals and coupons.

Savings Star

August 5, 2013

I’ve heard a few questions about Savings Star.
https://savingstar.com/

They have a mobile app as well.

Saving Star is digital coupon website. The difference between Savings Star and other digital coupons is that the coupon does not come off at the register, it’s deposited into your bank account after you’ve reached $5 threshold in savings. You also have the option to turn it into a Paypal gift card. Amazon Gift Card or donate to the American Forests.

What you do is you go to Savings Star’s website and load all the information on each of your store loyalty cards Kroger, Publix, CVS, Safeway . . . whatever you have. Savings Star will track your purchases at each of those stores. This is really cool because it will work at most stores. Once you reach $5 in savings you can cash out your savings at their website.

A couple things to keep in mind
(1) Each coupon only applies to one item and you only get one of each coupon. For example if you wanted to buy 3 boxes of pasta and savings star had a coupon for it. You ‘d need two other paper coupons to get the maximum savings.
(2) The Savings Star coupons are manufacturer coupons. This means that they cannot be used with other manufacturer coupons. These coupons cannot be stacked with manufacturer coupons. They can be stacked with store coupons.

There is one exception to this sometimes they have a coupon called one or more where it would look like this $5/$15 Proctor and Gamble Products. This is like a catalina coupon and it can be used with manufacturer coupons.

(3) Once a coupon has been loaded to a card they have no way of getting it off. So if I know that I have a higher value paper coupon, I might not want to load the Savings Star coupon unless I was buying more than one product.

The Krazy Coupon Ladies have done a video about Savings Star check it out herehttp://thekrazycouponlady.com/2013/05/12/video-how-to-use-saving-star-coupons/ *Please keep in mind that with any links I share that there coupon usage may be different than mine.*

Saving on Meat

August 5, 2013

Many of you have asked me about saving on meat. Meat goes on sale and markdown just like everything else. First we’ll talk about sales on meat and then we’ll talk about markdown’s on meat.I’ll also share a few tips to save on meat and stretch it further as well.

Every week in the grocery store, there are sales in every department including meat. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the stock up price list from the Krazy coupon ladyhttp://thekrazycouponlady.com/wp-content/uploads/home/stock-up-price-list.pdf?18bf82. For example,if packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts are BOGO. BOGO sales are a great place to start, because you are sure that you are getting a 50% of discount. Plan your menu around the meat that is on sale. Each week it will be different meats that are on sale.

Secondly, ask your meat department what day they mark down meat. The usually do it at a regular basis. As long as you either cook it within a day or so or freeze it you’ll be fine.

Other tips for saving on meat are

1) Look for coupon on meat. Often times you can find coupons for Hillshire Farm, Hormel Pork, Perdue, and many more brands. Use this in addition to a sale to maximize your savings.

2) Use meat as a condiment not just by itself. A whole chicken will stretch further if used in soups, stews, casseroles, and so on than if you served it by itself. Also when you poach a chicken keep the liquid to use as a broth.

3)Consider going meatless one or two nights a week. I have Italian ancestry so pasta night is a staple in my house. Some of the newer healthy pasta’s have more protein. A couple other sources of protein are eggs and beans. What are your favorite ways to save on meat and other sources of protein.

*Please keep in mind that with any links I post that their coupon usage may be different than mine*

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