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Month: December 2008

What Coupons and Ad Matching Loss Leaders Do for My Pantry

What Coupons and Ad Matching Loss Leaders Do for My Pantry

Guest Post from Hopefulone of All Things Frugal

pict0498If you or a spouse were laid off would you still be able to eat? After living off of unemployment and juggling bills would there be much $ for food left?

If you got snowed in for awhile, could you feed your family for more then a few days? Will the rising food prices really strain your budget? Are you living paycheck to paycheck already? Do you have debt you want to pay off?

In this day and age there are so many reasons a person would want to stock up on some extra food items aren’t there? The economy is uncertain, fluctuating prices that tend to be only rising, job lay offs, natural disasters – just to name a few!

How does one begin to create a supply of food storage in their home then? Simply by one can or box at a time. Some people can’t change their budget so they simply “hide” what food they feel they can do without for the week as they put away their groceries. If they need to eat it they do. Otherwise they leave it in food storage and slowly it builds.

Sometimes I have asked myself “do my kids really need another $20 toy they might break, or should I spend that $ on food storage?” Then I figure that by shopping at Aldi I could get about 3-4 cases of canned items for that price and stick the toy back!

I love to stock up on loss leaders since each week there is usually a great deal somewhere. I buy bulk on a deal if it’s decent and buy as many as I can afford. Last year tuna was on sale for $0.25 a can. So my hubby got 100 of them. They don’t expire till 2010, so we’re set for awhile with tuna:) When macaroni & cheese was only $0.16 a box, he also picked up 100 of them – that wasn’t enough we found out and wished we’d have gotten more now that they are over 50 cents a box.

I set aside $55 a month just for snagging the stock up deals. By setting aside even $10-20 in one’s normal weekly food budget and shopping loss leaders you will be able to have a stockpile of food in no time too.

If you add in couponing you will do even better! When I notice that Skippy Peanut Butter goes on sale for .99 I look to match that with some coupons. The more the better! TheCouponClippers has been a great resource at times for me. If I order right away at the beginning of a sale I usually get them by the weekend to nab the deals. If the store is sold out of something I get rain checks if they offer them. If there is a great deal I will go more then once to shop the sale.

Once when a store brand sugar was only $0.99 for 5lb. bags I called and asked if I could get 40 packages ordered for myself so I wouldn’t clear their shelves. They had them on hand and didn’t mind to set them aside for me. One other store had a limit of only 2 on sugars on their sale and wouldn’t order more. It still never hurts to ask!

Eventually after buying in quantity you will only have to replace the ones you’ve used when the next sale comes around. By doing this you may never pay full price, ever again, for anything.

One trick is gathering as many Grocery Ads as you can get your hands on. I pay less than $3 a week to have a newspaper mailed to me from 30 miles away – the ads actually make it to me. Then any of those stores’ great sales I just Ad-Match at my local Walmart with their Price matching policy. Needless to say I easily recoup my $3+ weekly as I get coupons in the paper as well.

I receive about 1-2 ads a day in the mail and as I go through each ad I circle the deals. I write a big C by the ones I want to match with a coupon if there’s one. Then the night before I go shopping I grab all of my fliers for the week. I make a menu from what’s on sale, grab my list of things that we’re needing as well, pull coupons, and head to town the next day. I take along one very organized by aisle list, with my price matches written out. If something is on Ad Match I put it in one area of the cart so it’s already sorted before the check out. If I have a helper along we just take 2 carts and sort as we go – with the Ad Matches separate. I try to always go to the same cashiers that know I’m honest and they usually don’t even ask to see my Ads any more.

With this system I now usually have on hand a 6 month supply of canned/boxed food to refill our pantry from. I also store bulk oatmeal, rice, dry milk, and beans etc. in 5 gallons buckets for longer food storage. By doing these few things we are able to keep our food and weekly budget at $70-$150 for our family of 8. Since we are constantly eating out of our food storage and adding back to it-we keep it rotated as well. Some weeks if there aren’t any great deals I don’t even have to shop if I don’t want to.

If you can afford to have an extra week supply of food-start there. Work up to a month supply, then a 3 month and so on. When my younger brother was laid off, it felt like a huge blessing to me that I was able to give him not only food, but razors, deodorants, soaps, Toilet paper, and laundry soaps etc. so that every penny he got from unemployment went right to his rent and truck payments till he could work again. He has been back to work and laid off 4 more times but thankfully he has started his own food storage plan and now weathers the ups and downs much better.

I hope that building a food storage will not seem overwhelming. Being prepared is a wonderful gift for our families. It has not only blessed our immediate family but our extended families and neighbors when they have been in need as well.

As I’ve heard one lady say “If you don’t get strange stares when shopping-you’re doing it the wrong way:)” Now go grab some deals and stock up!

Hopefulone is a Stay At Home Mom to six little hooligans ranging in age from 10-2. With 2 sets of twins in the lot:) She has been stretching her husband’s paycheck for 17 years now as they continue to live on one income.

Here is another article she wrote recently about Food Storage with a few more resources to share over at her blog All Things Frugal. She can be found there in her spare time waiting for comments;)

Stocking Up on Your Family’s Favorites Made Easy

Stocking Up on Your Family’s Favorites Made Easy

The following is a guest post from Erin at I am Frugal.

Erin is a mom of two trying to stretch her family’s budget while her husband completes his college education. If you enjoy her money-saving tips, consider signing up for her RSS feed or email digest.

Building up a food storage for your family can seem like a very unrealistic and daunting task to take on with limited funds available in your budget! I heard of a great way to start building up your supply of “comfort foods” that I have been working on for the past month or so and wanted to share how the plan worked to get everyone started.

Here is how the plan works…

1. Sit down with your family or spouse and pick out your 10 most common meals that you eat at your house, these are your “comfort foods!” If you were going through a struggling time like the loss of a job or natural disaster where you couldn’t get everything you needed right when you needed it, you would tend to panic (at least I would)! But, if you had some of your “comfort foods” to help you through this time for say a month or two, you wouldn’t notice the struggling times as much in the beginning. This would buy you a little time. So sit down with your family and pick 10 meals your family eats on a regular basis!

2. Gather up your Recipes for each of these 10 meals and write a detailed list of everything you need in order to make each of those meals. List everything!

3. Now multiply each ingredient on your list by 9. This will give you enough ingredients to make 90 (9*10) or three months’ worth of meals. In other words, if you need one can of corn for a certain meal, multiply it by 9 and you obviously will get 9 cans of corn. Do this with EVERYTHING on your list!

4. When you have multiplied everything by 9 this will equal the amount of food you will need to build up a 3 months supply of your “comfort foods.” Now keep a hold of that list for the future!

5. Now you just need to go and buy all of the supplies! To some of you this may be easy, you can just whip out your little debit card and not have to even think twice about whether or not you can afford this right now. But…if you are like me, you have VERY limited money to be spending on anything extra. So I would suggest starting very small. I am going to try and do a 1 month supply of food first and then repeat the process two more times. In other words, I’m going to multiply each of my ingredients in my list of “comfort foods” by 3. That way I have 30 days worth of meals. When I have reached that goal I will simply repeat the process again until I have a 3 month supply of “comfort food” for me and my family.

I think this is such a simple and realistic way to start off with your food storage. From here you can rotate your food, and it is easy because it is food you are actually already use to using. Some of your ingredients may be difficult to store for a longer period like your fresh produce ingredients. Because of this you are going to want to look for substitutes with some of your items. If you are needing milk in a recipe you might want to buy some Non-fat Dry Milk to store instead. Non-fat Dry milk really is not that bad when used in baking. Also, frozen foods have almost as much nutrients as fresh and you can freeze almost anything. You can also replace things with canned items or use dried spices and herbs instead of fresh.

Just remember to START SMALL! You don’t have to build up your food storage in one day, and you should NEVER go into debt to build up your storage! If you can’t even do a one month supply right now, pick a few meals to work on and each time you go to the grocery store grab an extra can or two of something. Slowly work on building up your supply.

From Deal Seeking Mom: What are your best tips for starting a stockpile? Do you take a different approach? I’d love to hear about different methods!

Seven Easy Ways to Cut $1 A Day (Or More) From Your Budget

Seven Easy Ways to Cut $1 A Day (Or More) From Your Budget

In honor of the kickoff of The One Dollar Give, I’d like to offer you seven quick and painless ways to trim $1 a day or more from your budget. It’s my hope that you’ll use these tips to free up some extra pocket change to help others in need this holiday season.

  • Pack your lunch every day instead of eating lunch out.  Stay tuned for a cool giveaway later this week that will make packing your lunch more fun!
  • Drink more water instead of juice, pop, and sports drinks.  Added bonus – it’s healthier!
  • Plan your grocery shopping trip beforehand making sure to utilize coupons to their fullest.  You could easily cut out $7 a week using this tip alone!
  • Turn your thermostat down 5 to 10 degrees at night for a comparable savings on your heating bill.  You’re less likely to notice the cooler temperature when you’re sleeping, and it gives you a good reason to snuggle with your significant other!
  • Utilize your local library instead of purchasing books and magazines.  This is an especially great way to provide your kids with a steady variety of new books to keep them interested in learning to read!
  • Replace standard light bulbs with CFL bulbs, and be diligent about turning off unused lights.  Enlist your kids to help and teach them a valuable lesson about saving energy!
  • Learn how to maximize shopping at drugstores and never pay for toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and many other items again.  Check out the links on my Drugstores page to start learning how!

Please join us at The One Dollar Give in our quest to help 31 different charities throughout the month of December.  First on our agenda is Brittany sharing her experiences with Compassion International.  We’re looking forward to your participation!