I received this letter:
I use a lot of her recipes. The ones we love I highlight. I cook ahead so make double and freeze half. If you plan your meals you can buy your meat in quantity and ingredients in quantity. That saves time and money. We do a lot of meal remakes.
3) Determine your 10 items. The ten items you buy each week and work on couponing for them.We buy a lot of yogurt and cereal.
a) That means determine what their “rock bottom” prices are. If you have to have soda then a 12 pack is usually around $2.25 at its lowest. When it is at this price buy 2 because the normal price is around $4.50
b) Buy items when they are in season
c) Stockpile. This is my formula if cheerios are $3.99 and you can buy boxes at $1.00 then buy 4. If your family will eat them. If not then buy what your family will eat.
4) Stick to your list. I give myself $10 of “fun” money so each person gets a $2 treat… The kids are so good they usually decide they are going to add their money together to get a bunch of stuff.
5) Do not buy three or two or one of anything to save $.50 unless you need them.
6) If the store brand is cheaper than what you can buy with a coupon then buy the store brand. I buy a lot of store brands on things we do not care about. I mean oatmeal is oatmeal.
7) You need to bring a calculator to the store unless you are me and can do consumer math in your head. You need to figure out cost per ounce. If it is cheaper to buy the larger size do so. If using a coupon on two gets the same volume for less do that. READ packages box sizes are deceiving.
8) Get your healthcare items for free when possible that adds to the money you have to spend in your budget.
9) Organize a coupon swap box at a library or a coupon train where you share coupons. I actually have just the inserts sent to me it is cheaper than buying the paper. We receive the wallstreet journal so I do not need the paper for anything other than coupons.
10) Know the coupon cycles and store cycles and watch to see when your ten items go one sale.
The final tip is relax. I always think it would be great if I could spend less but I have to factor in time. It takes time and money to run all over the place. It takes time to cut out 1 million coupons. I would rather spend my time with my family so I spend enough time to stay in budget and the rest of my time is spent enjoying my life.
I would also suggest you have a goal each week and stick to it. I have to coupon shop. I took all the extra money I was spending and I signed up for my kids prepaid college funds. The money leaves my account each month so I have to make sure it is in there.
If you have questions send them to firstname.lastname@example.org subject: Ask Madame Deals
I will answer them each week. I love learning with you and from you! Amee