Saturday, February 27, 2016

Couponing. -- far from extreme.

It used to be that couponing meant that you could get a lot for free.   Especially at places like Rite Aid. 
I'm not seeing a lot of regular necessity things on big rewards.    By watching coupons when we need heigene items, I can usually get them for near free.   I don't carry a lot of those things,  I buy toilet paper at Costco and that's about it.  When I can find detergent for free or almost free, I go for it, otherwise, I get Costco.    

As far as food is concerned, we are trying to avoid a lot of ready made food.  It isn't always good for you and it's almost always more expensive.   Cookbooks are full of easy ways to make good food fast.    I do buy instant mashed potatoes, and some canned soups and frozen pizza.   

There are still a lot of coupon opportunities for what I call real food. loads coupons the first day of the month.   You are allowed to print two coupons per household.    There is a limit on how many coupons can be printed, so the high dollar ones go fast.  You snooze, you loose!    Common courtesy says don't print all the coupons. Just the ones you are likely to use.    

Favado is an app for your phone or other electronic device that is supposed to tell you the sales for a particular store.   They aren't always accurate , but a good benchmark.  They match coupons and tell 
you where the coupons are located.    You still have to read the fine print because they don't  always do that.  

Our ads come on the Tuesday mail for Alberways!    And QFC ( Kroger) if they have an ad that week.   Grocery outlet and Winco don't have ads.   And Fred Meyers comes in the Sunday paper.   I can get the Sunday paper on Saturday at the dollar tree for a dollar.    I pull the inserts and the Fred Meyer food ad.   I put inserts on a file folder after I date them  and give them a quick look-over for things that I know I always buy on a weekly basis, like yogurt.   It makes it easy when I find a coupon matchup that give you the name of the insert and the date it was released.    I keep back three months.    

All this takes minutes a month.    It saves sometimes 75 percent off you bill.   Usually about five dollars or so a week.   Hey, it usually means about three hundred dollars , or another ten percent off our groceries a year.   It all ads up.   That's like thirty dollars an hour and I can do it in my pj's LOL.  

There is no double couponing on this state that I have found and most stores will not let you make money on a sale.   The only time that happens is with Ibotta or sometimes with reward points.   

Ibotta is an ap that gives you rebates on food--even things like bread, milk, and veggies.   When you have enough credited to your account, you get it back in a card to anywhere from Starbucks, Amazon, Walmart and more.    

I don't calculate Ibotta money against my food budget.   I spend 75.00 a week for two of us plus supplementing two others and that includes keeping a stock.    

The USDA has stats for  4.income levels based on number of people in the family and their ages.    
It is for actual food eaten.   We are at half.    Which makes sense, because I try for  our food at  1/2 price.   

No one thing makes that happen , it is a combination of efficient scratch cooking. Couponing, watching sales and trying to match coupons to them, only buying our everyday staples at 1/2 or less and stocking.

You can eat well on four dollars a day and have food in the pantry at the end of the month.    It takes time, it takes patience, but it can happen.

Groceries on the cheap is looking at the Put Dinner On The Table meal train from a different
 pro spective.  The emphasis is on purchasing good food( shelf- stable/ freezer staples )at the lowest possible cost and purchasing enough to last you until it goes on sale again -- Keeping a controlled non-perishable stock of the things you use on a regular basis. It means that when you shop, rather than purchasing just what you need for a day or a week, you  buy a loss leader protein, produce you will need on sale, a stock item if it's a RBP, and dairy instead.    This allows you to put well balanced meals on the table consistently  for a four dollar a day budget per person.   You spend more time on the planning and shopping end of the meal train and less on the cooking end by cooking efficiently.    

Four dollars a day is the target amount for people on snap.   My premise is that of you can do it on four dollars a day, spending more isn't hard.   You still get more bang for your buck.    

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