Friday, January 4, 2013

Long Term Couponing

When I first started couponing, my thoughts were that I could clip coupons and save myself $20 this week.  That’s exactly what I did.  Or, that’s what I thought I did.  I ended up buying items that I would not normally purchase.  I was still happy with my $20.  What I found over the next 4 years was true savings.

Once I got past my initial 30 day supply of shelf stable foods, saving money became easier.  It’s those first few weeks that really try a person.  For example, if you only use coupons you have acquired in the past 4 weeks, chances are you do not have one to save you money on eggs, or coffee, or cooking oil.  You may have lots of personal hygiene coupons, but do you need 10 tubes of toothpaste this week?  Those first 30 days are the toughest to balance. 

After that 30 days, you can start your stockpile slowly.  That means if you plan to fix tuna noodle casserole one night a week for the next 12 weeks, you can go ahead and pick up 24 cans of tuna when it’s on sale and you have a coupon to match.  If that puts too much of a dent in your budget, shoot for 12 cans of tuna and you’ll still have half of what you need for a 90 day meal plan. 

Budgets are difficult to maintain in today’s inflation.  Whatever your budget happens to be for a week of shopping you should split it up. 

· 1/3 of your budget should be for this week’s meal planning.  Milk, eggs, bread.
· 1/3 should be for items that are on sale but you are not stockpiling, cheese dip looks good but you only need one.
· 1/3 is for deep stockpiling.

Deep stockpiling is for shelf stable goods you plan to use over and over in meal planning.  The tuna is a good example.  It’s a canned good, so when you see a sale and a coupon is valid for the same time, you have two forms of savings.  Stockpiling will save you more money long term than any coupons used for short term consumption.  

The one question I get the most is, “How much should I be spending per week?”  That depends on many things. How many are in your family?  Do you have any special dietary needs?  Are there any brands you can not do without? 
A typical family will spend $15 per week per member.  A special diet will add 20% to your budget. 
Then there are things that can save you more money, if you just expand your budget.  What?  Spend more to save more?  Yes.  If you buy groceries and add $20 per week to your budget, and pack a lunch to work instead of dining out, you can save $30 per week.  Spend $20, to save yourself an additional net $30.  I pack my kids lunch.  I can pick up fresh produce, an entrĂ©e, beverage and snack for less than the price of school lunch.  The bonus is, they like it and actually eat their lunch!  Other ideas include:  Sports and practice snacks instead of fast food on the way to and from events, cooler beverages instead of vending, and having carry in foods and recipes that are shelf stable. 
As the new year begins, we’ll explore more ways to save you money long term.  We’re happy you are with us as a reader, and we look forward to serving you with County Market Coupon News.

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All internet coupon print limits are subjective. At the time of this email coupons were available for print. If the daily or weekly print limit has been reached, the coupon will be automatically pulled from the websites. You can try to print again tomorrow. All coupons listed are not available in our stores. We list them so you can order or find them to save you money. Check with clipping services, trade boards, or ebay to find coupons not in your store. It is our intent to help you find as many savings opportunities as possible. Enjoy!