How To Use a Weekly Menu to Save Money on Groceries

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Couponing is only one way to save money on groceries..and while it’s one of my favorite ways to do so, creating a menu can also help you make use of all the great deals you are getting.

I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve looked up from my computer and see that it’s 4:00pm and think “Oh crap, I didn’t take anything out of the freezer for dinner”. Then I’m forced to run out to the grocery store or get take out. I realized I was spending too much extra money due to my own lack of preparation, so..I decided to start a menu and it has made a dramatic impact on my food budget. I rarely have to run out last minute to the grocery store and it’s nice to know ahead of time, what’s for dinner!

There are a few ways to create your family’s food menu:

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How to Save Money on Chicken Breast + My Stock Up Price

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Chicken breasts are one of the main staples in my household. It’s one of the only foods my entire family agrees on! Finding deals on fresh chicken breast can be hard, because we rarely see coupons for fresh meat. Instead, I use a variety of tactics to save on chicken breast.

Buy in Bulk: My local Sam’s Club has chicken breast on sale for $1.88/lb everyday

Zaycon Foods: Zaycon is a provider of fresh foods at discounted prices. Essentially they set up locations throughout the US where they deliver on orders placed. You can place an order for Fresh Chicken Breast at $1.89/lb. (At least this was the price in my area!) You must order 40lbs to get this price.

Monitor Store Sales: The sales prices at my local grocery store can vary from $1.77/lb to $2.99 a lb depending on the week. I know that $1.77 is the absolute lowest price I’m going to be able to get chicken breast, so I stock up when it’s on sale at that price

Discounted Meat: Hit up your local grocery store either late at night or early in the morning! This is when they are re-stocking the meat selections and are more likely to have marked down the meat. Plus, there are less customers in the store, so you won’t have to fist fight anyone to get the discounted meat! ;)

As I mentioned before, my grocery store sometimes has chicken breast on sale for $1.77/lb that is the absolutely lowest price I’ve seen in my area, however I consider anything under $1.99 a stock-up worthy deal! Remember, prices in your areas may be different than mine, so it’s a good idea to track your local sales flyers and determine the lowest price.

 

 

How to Save Money on Food without Using Coupons

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Whenever I meet new people and when I tell them that I’m an extreme couponer, they almost always say, “Oh I wish I could do that, I just don’t have the time” to which I usually reply, “Oh it doesn’t take much time..If you just visit my website I break it down for you”. But here’s the truth….those people who don’t think they have the time, will never take the time to coupon. So this article is for them…and for you if I’m describing you right now ;)

Here are 4 ways to save money on food without using coupons:

1. If you aren’t going to clip coupons, the very least you should be doing is stalking your weekly sales flyers. Start to familiarize yourself with the highest and lowest prices you are paying for items that your family uses every week. For example, if your family goes through 2 jars of peanut butter a month, check the weekly sales flyer for the best price of the month, once you see it as the lowest price, buy enough to get you through 6-8 weeks. That is the typical sales cycle between sales on most items.

2. Meat and produce are must haves in most people’s home..and unfortunately, getting great deals on these are little harder to come by. That is why I want you to shop at grocery stores, first thing in the morning. This is when the butcher or produce manager has stocked the shelves with new product and marked down yesterday’s meat and produce. Even though it’s been marked down it is still good to eat. You can freeze the meat and just be sure to use the veggies within a day or two!

3. Although I don’t usually encourage people to shop at warehouse stores, I do recommend shopping at Sam’s Club or Costco if you aren’t going to use coupons. Buying in bulk has always been the easiest way to save a little money on groceries..it’s not the BEST way (that’s coupons!) but it does work.

4. Make a menu & stick to it: Believe it or not, you will actually save money if you create a weekly menu and shopping list according to what is on sale that week. This way you only buy what you need and you are creating meals around items that are already on sale!

What are some of your favorite non-couponing ways to save on groceries? Leave me a comment.

5 Frugal Coupon Storage & Organization Methods

5 Frugal Coupon Storage Methods

When you choose to really invest the time into couponing you quickly find out how important an easy to use storage method is necessary. With literally hundreds of options out there here are 5 Frugal Coupon Storage Methods that have stood the test of time and help you stay in budget. These are just a few of the ways you can store your coupons, but there are truly hundreds of ways and no two people choose the same storage method. Test out the inexpensive options first to determine what will work best for you before making an investment for a pricier option of similar design.

Staples® 3_ x 5_ Index Card File | Staples®
INDEX CARD BOX WITH DIVIDERS. This inexpensive method of storage is one that has stood the test of time and generations of couponers. The small plastic box with dividers is easy to use, roomy for the part time couponer and is easy to store or transport when needed. Clip coupons and sort by category using the dividers inside. Typically this works best for someone who plans on couponing part time or doing only specific/light couponing. The cost is anywhere from $3-$7. (Order here)

plastic file boxes | Staples®
PLASTIC FILING BINS & FILE FOLDERS. For those who prefer to keep their inserts whole this method is great because it’s not only inexpensive but it is also very mobile and allows for inserts to be quickly stored without fear of loose coupons floating around or falling out. These plastic bins are usually under $10 with a box of file folders in the $3-$5 range. Check thrift shops, goodwill or yard sales for gently used bins to fulfill this purpose. (Order Here)

shoebox - Google Search
SHOEBOX STORAGE. Whether it is an actual shoe box you have stuck in a closet or a small shoebox sized plastic bin this is another great option for a larger amount of coupons to be stored. Using heavy cardboard you can simply measure the width of the shoe box and cut out your own dividers or purchase inexpensive index cards or dividers for this purpose. Very similar to the index card box with dividers but on a larger scale, this method is one that works great for busy couponers. Average cost is free to $5.

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ENVELOPE METHOD. Grab a box of simple envelopes for $1 at the local dollar or retail store and create envelopes for each category. This can be as simple as using only 4-5 envelopes or as complicated as 20-25 breaking down the departments even farther by product or brand. This is truly the most inexpensive method around and longest standing.

Textured Coupon File, Diamond Pattern, Full Expansion, Teal | Staples®
COUPON CLUTCH. The ultimate classic coupon storage method is the simple coupon clutch like your mother carried when you were a child. This small accordion file clutch is available in multiple sizes for under $5. Use one for all of your coupons or buy one for each category you want your coupons divided into.
No matter what storage method you use, it is most important to stay organized when you set out to become an extreme couponer. These 5 frugal coupon storage methods are a great place to start on your journey to ultimate savings.

4 Price Tag Secrets Every Shopper Should Know

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Ever find something on clearance and wonder whether you should buy it right then or wait to see if the item will be marked down again? Well you might be surprised to know that most stores use a secret tag system that indicates whether or not the item has hit it’s rock bottom price:

Check it out:

Target: If a clearance price ends in an 8, the item will be marked down again. If it ends in a 4 it has been marked down to it’s final price.

Gap & Old Navy: Clearance items that end in a 7, have hit their final markdown price.

Sears: Clearance items that end in $.88 have also hit their final markdown price. Items ending in $.97 mean the item is discontinued.

Home Depot: Clearance items that end in a 6 or have a green price sticker have hit their lowest price.

Now that you know these secrets, you can use this knowledge to make better buying decisions while you are out shopping!
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Extreme Couponing: What's a Good Stock Up Price for Shampoo?

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Have you been keeping notes on our stock up prices? Every day we go over a stock up price on a common everyday item. Today we are talking about Shampoo! Now shampoo is a very easy item to stock up on because there is almost ALWAYS a sale on it. So whatever you do…DO NOT pay full price for shampoo!

Stock up price for Shampoo & Conditioner:

$1.00 a bottle – Decent deal
$.50 a bottle – Stock up deal
FREE – Buy as many as you can!!

Ways to save on Shampoo & Conditioner:

1. Check the clearance shelves: Hair care items frequently go on clearance sale if the manufacturer’s changes bottles design or product lines. You CAN still use a coupon on clearance item…so don’t let anyone tell you differently!

2. Drug Store Rewards – Get to know your drugs store rewards programs. CVS, Rite Aid & Walgreens each have their own form of rewards which will help you get a super deal on Shampoo!

3. Skip a day of washing –  Have I ever told you that I go for days without washing my hair? I have really dry hair, so washing my hair everyday actually dries it out. I can usually go three days without washing my hair…in between washings I use Dry Shampoo to tame any oiliness.

How to Make Candles Last Longer – 5 Tips

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Everyone loves a sweet smelling candle. They add so much ambiance and the perfect glow of light. The only problem is, candles are not cheap. You can pay upwards of $20 for a multi-wick candle and if you burn it on a regular basis, you are going to burn through your $20 rather quickly. So what exactly is the solution if you refuse to give up your candles? Luckily, there are ways to keep your candles burning a little more evenly and a little longer, thus giving you more bang for your buck. Take a look below at 5 ways to make candles longer. You may be surprised at how easy it is.

5 Ways to Make Candles Last Longer:

1. Give them a snip – This is an oldie but a goodie. You want to snip the wicks on your candle about a ¼ of an inch before you use them. This means, each and every time you want to use them, you trim the wick first. Keep a small pair of snips nearby so you can remember to do this between burnings. This snip will keep the candle burning evenly making it last longer.

2. Add a dash of salt – This is a great tip. After you blow out your candle, sprinkle a little salt into the pool of melted wax around the wick. It will dissolve and smooth and even the surface out. Like the snip the wick trick, this will keep the candle burning evenly making it last longer.

3. Get it nice and frosty – 
Many people swear by putting their candles in the freezer before use, they get a longer life out of them. You can try it by placing your candle in the freezer for one hour before burning. This will help the wax melt slowly since it will need to heat up longer, giving you more bang for your buck.

4. Look for soy – Soy burns cleaner (and some think it smells better!) than traditional wax. If you have a choice between wax and soy, give soy candles a try. They will burn smoothly and evenly and in turn last you longer.

5. Watch out for wind – Placing your candle near a fan, a vent, a window, or any other breezy spot makes your candle work harder and burn less evenly. Avoid these drafty spots and your candle will love you for it. It is also safer to keep candles away from spots such as these as you don’t have to worry about your flame getting wild.

Now that you know 5 ways to make your candles last longer, check out some of these excellent candle deals currently being offered at Amazon.com!

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Soy Candle, Lemon Verbena, 7.2 Ounce Jar

Fresh Wave Odor Neutralizing Kitchen Soy Candle, 7-Ounce

Candle-lite Essentials 3-1/2-Ounce Creamy Vanilla Swirl Jar Candle

Yankee Candle Lilac Blossom Small Jar

Paddywax Eco Green Soy Wax Candle with 7-Ounce Recycled Glass Fill, Verbena and Lemongrass

Clean Air – All-natural Smoke & Odor Remover – Soy Wax Candle (6.7 Oz Tin – 50 Burn Hours) – 1 candle

Therepe Scented Soy Jar Candles – 9 oz (Lemon Verbena)

Extreme Couponing: What is a Good Stock Up Price for Toilet Paper?

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When you first start couponing, it can be a little hard to figure out which deals are stock-up worthy v. just okay deals. Today, I’m going to show you a little trick on how to determine whether you are getting a good price on toilet paper…and it’s super easy to figure out..no calculators needed!

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The best way to determine if you are getting a good value for toilet paper is to go by the total square footage of toilet paper, not per per roll. The easiest way to do this is to take the total footage, in the above picture it would be 357.7 SQ FT: then move the decimal point over two places, you should aim to spend about a penny per square foot. Which means $3.57 would be a GREAT deal for this toilet paper!How easy was that? :)

Now if you absolutely want a price per roll figure to go by as well, I would aim to spend about $.25 per single roll or $.40 per double roll. If you can get those any cheaper…you’ll definitely want to stock up!

Check out our printable coupon page for toilet paper coupons

 

Extreme Couponing: What's A Good Stock Up Price for K-Cups?

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Welcome to a new series here on I Love To Gossip! Each day I will let you know my stock up price for common household items and groceries.

K-Cup Stock Up Prices:

  • $.50 per K-Cup = Decent Deal (If you ran out and needed some immediately, this would be a good deal)
  • $.40 per K-Cup = Good Deal (If you have a specific brand that you drink, aim to spend about $.40)
  • $.25 per K-cup Stock-up worthy Deal (If you are open to trying any K-cups, you’ll want to stock up at this price)

Some other ways to save money on K-Cups:

1. Check the Amazon Warehouse for deals

2. Buy in Bulk at Sam’s Club, BJ’s or Costco

3. Use a Reusable K-Cup Coffee Filter and regular bagged coffee

4. Use a printable K-Cup coupon when you can.

5. Clip or order K-Cups coupons from the Sunday paper

Sign Up for the I Love To Gossip Coupon Bootcamp

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UPDATE: Registration is now closed….stay tuned for another session!

You’ve asked for it…and now it’s finally here! I Love to Gossip is hosting a week long Coupon Bootcamp…and spaces are limited so please sign up for this bootcamp email newsletter and when a spot opens up you will be notified. The bootcamp start date will be determined by the interest level, but should be sometime in the next 3 weeks.

This FREE coupon class will consist of daily emails with lessons, videos, a PDF E-book to follow along with and nightly Twitter & Facebook Q&A sessions.

**Important** Because this bootcamp will be primarily through email and social media, you must have access to email, a computer & a printer to participate. Also you will need to confirm your subscription. If you do not receive a confirmation email after signing up, check your spam folder as it might have gone there!

What you will learn:

  • Couponing 101
  • Organization
  • National Store Deals (Target, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid & Walgreens)
  • Stockpiling

This bootcamp is FREE, but spaces are limited, so please reserve your space!