Today is another cold day and it has me thinking of Spring. I made a New Year's resolution a few years back to stop wishing my life away, so I am not wishing it was Spring, but I am looking forward to it. My thoughts are turning to my garden and making a cold frame. I would like to make the cold frame next month so we can get some cole crops planted early. It is usually too wet in the Spring here to actually plant in the garden. With the clay soil we have it is almost impossible to get into the garden before May. I am ready for fresh veggies way before then.
We are working away on our budget and paying off debt. The price of fuel oil is really hurting this year, and the cost of gas for our car is very high. We drive about an hour a day, one way to work. Fortunately, we carpool and are able to ride together.
Yesterday I found out I was chosen as a Purex Insider! I am excited about this as it looks as if I will have opportunities to have giveaways of Purex items on my blog. It would be really great to be able to give away coupons for free items. I really enjoy getting things for free and would love to pass that on to others. I will let you know as soon as I have something to give away.
I have noticed that so many more people are getting interested in couponing and saving money. I believe that God wants us to be good stewards of everything that He blesses us with. Couponing and stocking up while things are on sale is a very good way to be a good steward of you money. I have been using coupons for about 28 years and it has really changed over the years. But the deals are still out there and even if a coupon is only for $.25 that's a savings that can add up. I am fortunate enough to live in an area where some stores double their coupons and that makes it even better. I heard a woman say just last week that she uses coupons but you can't find them on fresh produce and a lot of other stuff she buys. I had in my binder 4 coupons on tomatoes and 4 on bags of salad. My main grocery store sends me coupons for a certain dollar amount when I spend so much in the produce section. If you search you can find coupons on almost anything you use. Here are some of my personal rules for using coupons:
1. Clip it. Unless it is something you know you will NEVER use. No since in clipping coupons for dog food if you don't have a dog. But if you are slightly interested in trying it, clip it. A lot of items are really cheap when they first come on the market and if you are interested in trying something but aren't sure you'd like, for goodness sake, don't pay full price for it.
2. Keep it with you. I always have my binder in the car with me. I have found some of my best deals when I wasn't looking for them and in unexpected places.
3. Be flexible. If you are brand specific it can cut down on your savings. There are a few brands that I really like, Viva paper towels, Dawn dish detergent, All Small & Mighty, but I am not so loyal to them that I would let them bust my budget. I buy Dawn at on sale at Walgreen's or CVS and never pay more than $.75 per bottle, but usually less.
4. Don't let the coupon rule you. The coupons I have on bagged salad gets me bagged salad cheaper than it normally cost, but head lettuce is usually so much cheaper, and makes a lot more salad. But sometimes if the bag salad is on sale it's worth it to me because you get more than one type of lettuce in the bag. You have to be the one who makes the decision on which to buy. Don't buy something just because you have a coupon. Do the math to figure out which is the best deal.
5. Buy when it is on sale and use the coupon. You should buy enough of something that you use to last at least 6 weeks. This week a small grocer in our area has a certain pasta sauce on sale 5/$5. I have looked everywhere for coupons and can't find any, but for that price I think I will still buy 5. I would love to have it even cheaper but I am okay with paying a dollar for it. Sometimes I pay that when I do have a coupon, so I am still getting a deal.
6. Know your prices. How else do you know if you are getting it on sale? Sometimes stores play games and make you think something is on sale when it isn't. For instance, BOGO free, I have seen adds that claim BOGO free and then you look at the price of one and realize it has been doubled.
7. Know your limits. I have standards, no more than $2.00/pound for meat, $.75 for toothpaste, etc. Know what you want to pay. Sometimes I have had to up my limits and am thinking I might have to up my limits on meat now. I have had some really good deals this year on meat, but I have a feeling that after 10 years, I am going to have to raise to $2.49 or $3.00 on some things. No not $3.00, I don't think I can do that yet.
8. Sensible stockpile. If you have $75 a week to spend on groceries, buy what you have to have first. Needs are the most important. Then if there is anything left over use that to stockpile something. Or just buy one extra something that you know you use regularly. Say you spend $73 on your needs, spend 2 on the pasta sauce that is on sale 5/$5. That gives you 2 extra pasta sauce that you will not have to buy next time. After a while you will have a good little stockpile going. Don't get caught up in stockpiling. There is no reason to spend money on something that there is no way you could ever use up before it expires or goes bad. Why would you need a lifetime supply of deodorant, today? And where would you store it? It is hard not to get caught up in a deal but keep your sense and you'll end up keeping your cents.
That's all I have for today, but there will be more coming.