Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 1/8 Getting Started Saving w/Coupons

People as me lots of questions when they see me using coupons--most come from the people behind me in line.  

I've been saving money using coupons since 1988.  As life would change so would my "need" or "desire" to use coupons.  Until recently, I did not have a system in place and it was very hit or miss.  I saw the Coupon Mom on Oprah and that is when I started think about how I would make this work in my own life.

I had 4 kids under 5 and life sort of exploded on me.  I made small changes.  Very small changes.  I wanted to save more money by spending less, try being more green, and I lowered my expectations in the dining department.  I used my culinary training to run an extremely efficient kitchen and try and not waste a thing.  All of the changes that I have made have been part of a slow process because life is busy and I have allowed myself to be happy with the small accomplishments, over time all the small things have turned into a more organized approach to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Fast forward to now.  My meals are extremely simple.  I have increased my "green-ness", increased my awareness on where my food comes from, strive for a whole foods approach to eating and still find joy in feeding 6 hungry people every night.  

Week 1 Assignment:

I will be using Dominicks as my example for the next 8 weeks.  It is the store nearest my home and most convenient for me.  If you don't shop at Dominicks than you can easily transfer the "concept/ideas" to your own store.   I will share three manageable ideas a week to help you get started with saving 45% and more each week.

1.  If you do not have a Dominicks card--please get one and register it online.  When you register it online you can then load coupons right onto your card!  When you shop regularly at the store they will offer you "personalized prices" which can include free items.  

2.  Develop a budget.  You will need to know how much money you can spend on what you "need" and what you can "stockpile".  

3.  Develop a Menu Plan.  If you don't know what you want to eat how can you shop the sales?  

If you create a month of menu ideas it makes it much easier to compare what you will eat to the items on sale.  I use Google Calendar to plan my meals--the advantages for me is that I can see what days I'm super busy and plan accordingly.  If my kids are in speech therapy, soccer, chess club and have a project due the next day . . . it will be a very simple dinner.  We do not eat out--if we do that is planned into the budget and the menu.  

I found that the easiest way to do this is make it a month long assignment.  I will add it to Week 2/8 of Getting Started Saving w/Coupons assignments.

This week at Dominicks if you spend $75 you will get a $10 coupon to use on your next order.  Please check the fine print--that does not include milk, juice and a few other things. Your will need to use your Dominicks card, so go back to #1 if you need to.

This is post 1/8 and I'm also writing a weekly menu list based on the sale items each week. At the end of this post you can subscribe by email if you would like to have them sent to you.

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