Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saving Money at the Checkout

I have been a coupon clipper for years and normally that process takes about an hour a week to find, clip, and organize the coupons I use. Then, of course, it takes probably another 45 - 60 minutes to peruse the weekly grocery ads and match up coupons to the stuff I want to buy. The two hours are well worth the time since I am organized before I get to the stores so it takes less time to get the things I want and get out of the store.

Since I am a single person, most of my savings come from the purchase of pet food, pet snacks and most anything pet related. I watch for sales, buy one get one free offers, 50% off offers and use my coupons for the sales. In the pet aisles, I can then get pet snacks and food for free or almost free. I also am a member of "in store rewards" programs at the stores I frequent. That way, I get some money back (to spend at that store), get cents off for gasoline (when gas was at $4.05 a gallon at Safeway, with my "earned points", I filled my tank for $3.89 a gallon instead). On the average, I will spend maybe $400.00 (not including cigarettes or alcohol) in one week, but at the same time I save $200.00 of the $400.00 and still get the brands I want to use. If I were to purchase other brands, I would save more. Again, since I am single, I only shop like that about once a month and just purchase fresh fruit and veggies to supplement the rest of the month. Which means I spend maybe $60 a week for me and my pets. Not a bad deal! Of course, if you live in an outlying area with no close access to lots of stores then the system probably wouldn't work as well for you and there is the cost of gas to figure in also.

Most major grocery stores are online now and you can peruse the ads and your own personal "grocery list" and then print out your list, complete with a picture of the item. There is an option for adding things that are not in the ads to your list also. I know that Safeway, Albertsons, and Fred Meyers have this on their websites. I think they are pretty helpful since I can print it out instead of deciphering my own handwriting!

I personally have used which is a free service that you can print coupons through and I've used where you can purchase coupons for restaurants for a big discount like $6 for a $25 coupon - the only hitch is that to use the $25 coupon, you have to spend an additional $10 in cash. Still a good deal though and a good way to get to know restaurants/cafe's in your own area that you might not otherwise go to. I think getting $35 worth of a nice dinner for a $16 investment is pretty good! Another coupon place is and is basically the same as the site. For current savings offers in many different stores, including department stores is a good site and registration is free. I also subscribe, for free, to which has coupons for groceries, restaurants, auto stuff and other stuff.

I have not subscribed to any of these next sites, I am only giving you the information that they are out there! The The Grocery Game is a service you pay for but it is fairly unique because it matches sales to existing coupons and tracks product prices to help you get the best buys for your money. There is a 4 week trial subscription for $1, which I think I will check out! It basically does everything I do by hand, on the computer! Another is My Clipper, it's a free membership and has a searchable database for more than 650 national merchants. Coupon Mom is also a searchable database and has links for free offers and samples as well, it has a free membership. An interesting site to learn about saving money in just about any venue is The Dollar Stretcher and it's worth taking a look at.

Many major stores, like Safeway, have delivery service for a fee. I've not used those services, but if I was unable to get to the store due to health issues or whatever, I would seriously consider it. What I didn't know is that has a grocery service with free shipping on orders over $25. That would be a good deal for your non-perishable items. There is always the warehouse stores like Costco where you can buy in bulk.

These just a few of the "savings/couponing" places online and I hope this article has been helpful to you.

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