Here are a few tips that I want to pass along to anyone who wants to start clipping coupons, stockpiling, and saving big :)
- First I want to emphasize this point and that is start slow, take your time, and be patient. When I got started with this it took me a long time to really understand what I was doing, what a good sale looks like, and how to put it all together. Please realize that this does take practice! Don't get frustrated if you go to the store and you don't save as much as you like. The point is you SAVED! I would much rather have my $20 or $30 then to give it to Kroger so get excited about your victories and know that you will only get better as you practice this skill.
- Don't feel like you have to create a stockpile in one shopping trip. If something is on sale for a rock bottom price and you have a coupon, then by all means stock up! If something is free (like the pasta and tomatoes this week) then print lots of coupons and stock up! However, do not neglect getting items your family needs in the first few shopping trips JUST to get the cheap items. Our family started out doing this slow and you may need to do that as well. The goal is to start stocking up on the things you can get for pennies or even free each week so that eventually you are ONLY purchasing the cheap items and your weekly necessities (produce, milk, etc.).
- A lot of you have asked me about this and so I want to address the idea of creating meals while building your stockpile. I use to be one who made a list each week based on the meals that I wanted to make each day. Once I started stockpiling this began to change a little bit and now I don't do that at all! My suggestion to you all who are beginners is to continue creating your menus (if you like doing this) but be aware of what is on sale and what you can get cheap. Check my blog every Sunday and see what you can get for cheap or free and incorporate those items into your menu for the week. If you do this while still stocking up on the cheap items, eventually you will be able to create your weekly meal plan based on what you already have on hand. My family is at the point with the stockpile that I go to the store just to get what is rock bottom (or free) along with our necessities (produce, milk, sometimes meat, bread, etc). When it comes time to make up our weekly menu I base that on the meat I have in the freezer, the sides I have on hand, and the veggies that are either fresh, in a can, or in my freezer! I love that my menu items are already on hand and planning is now much easier for me!
- Also remember the importance of your brand loyal items and stock up on those when they hit rock bottom prices. A lot of these items may not go on sale for another 3 months so your family needs to be stocked up enough to last you until the next sale cycle hits. If you are a beginner you may have the urge to rush out now and stock up on items that your family is brand loyal to just because you have a coupon. I urge you to start becoming aware of what a good sale is so that you get the best bang for your buck. Feel free to post prices on my Facebook page (or here) that you are unsure of and we can all chime in on whether or not we have seen that item cheaper. Again this does take some practice, but I want all of you to be successful and to really save at the grocer each week :)
That's all I can think of right now, but if you have questions about getting started please do not hesitate to ask! I struggled with this concept for several years before I really got it and I hope that none of you have to experience that with your couponing venture :)