I often get comments that couponing is too hard, too time consuming and really not worth the effort. I do agree that it does take some work, but I find the $$$ I save well worth it. HOWEVER, there are lot's of other ways to save time and money.
- Buy in bulk You can find BIG savings by buying in larger quantities at stores like Costco or Cash & Carry. Even Walmart has a bulk section. Many times a 25 lb bag of something can be just as cost effective.
- Purchase with a friend Recently, Gramma and I went in together and bought lean ground beef freshly ground by a local butcher. He gave us a deal for buying 60 lbs. unpackaged in one purchase. more on what I did with all that hamburger soon Maybe 25 lbs. of something may be too much for your needs....split it with a pal and spend 1/2 the money.
- Shop online Check out online sites like ShoppingDaisy or ShopAtHome for the lowest prices from the comfort of your own desk.
- Shop sales and from weekly ads You may not get the lowest possible price, but if you simply wait for the items you use most to go on sale, you WILL save some money. Buy as many of that item as you'll use within a reasonable amount of time. Then you will not need to purchase them again until they are next on sale. (sale cycles usually run in 3 month cycles)
- Make your own Cook from scratch using what you have at home already. Be creative in the kitchen. Search for "home made" anything and you'll be surprised what's out there. I've been experimenting with this and have really loved it and have saved quite a bit of cash. Even if it's semi-home made you'll save some pennies.
- Make a budget And stick to it!! Set an amount you want to spend on certain items (groceries, gifts, household etc.) and when that's gone .... STOP buying! It's easier said than done, but it really does work.
- Menu Plan Planning your menu will help you use what you already have on hand and will decrease those "quick" trips to the store for ingredients. How many times do we run in for 1 item and come out with 10. Those impromptu trips will cost you more than you realize. Also, planning ahead and being organized will save time...and time is money--right?? I'm sure you've heard of freezer cooking....if you're gonna make one...make another and pop it in the freezer for another night.
- Shop less Decide when you will shop (every 2 weeks, once a month) then get what you need and don't go back. I used to menu plan for the month and shop once. I saved a significant amount on my grocery bill.
- Don't eat out when we lived just up the road from every restaurant chain possible our monthly spending on food skyrocketed. Sure it was convenient, but it was also super unhealthy and very spendy. There are a lot of copycat restaurant recipes out there for your favorite take out. You could even have a "restaurant" night at home and make it a time for family fun ideas from McDonald's, Denny's and Pizza Hut coming soon
I have used and still use a combination of all of the above. I go through periods of "extreme couponing" to times of shopping only once a month. I will often spend 6 months or so stocking up and then I sit back, eat from my pantry, buy only the essentials and/or fresh stuff (milk, eggs, fruit etc) and save save save. There's no right or wrong way. Find what works for you and watch your savings grow. Whether you want to save a little or a lot......spend hours of just a few minutes..... saving money CAN BE EASIER than you think
(even without coupons)