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Money Matters – Good Stuff Cheaper: Groceries

BOSTON (CBS) – The recession is over. But most of us are still not feeling wealthy. The Federal unemployment rate is a bit over 9% and Massachusetts’ rate is 7.6%.  So being frugal is definitely in style.

So how do we get what we want and not break the bank. There are some things we are willing to give up and then there are some things we want to keep. So how can you maintain the same life style you have? Shopping smarter!

I found a good book Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There by Mark Di Vincenzo. I have been using his suggestions this spring to find the best deals. And I found it on Amazon for $11.19 or cheaper yet borrow it from your local library and take notes.

Groceries take a big bite out of our budgets. Let’s start there for everyone needs to eat. There are people who live to eat and people who eat to live. I fall into the latter category.

Coupons and sales are a good way to get good stuff cheaper. Think of coupons as currency. Now I don’t bend over to pick up a penny but I will stoop for a dollar.

I know you are thinking I don’t have time for this, but once you set up a system it will not take much time and if you can save 25% or more on groceries that will add up in a year. With a $5,000 annual food budget that’s $1,250 in savings.

I don’t often use store brands unless I know who produces the product and it’s hard to know who produces the product unless you ask and then often times no one at the store seems to know who packages their no name beans.

I like the real thing and if I can buy them with a coupon or on sale for the same price as the store brand I am happy.

Get yourself a notebook and keep track of what your family eats and uses. Then track the sales for many are cyclical and if you have storage space stockpile 6 months of ketchup when its on sale.

Use a coupon organizer. I leave my coupons in the car so they are always available. You can get coupons on line, on product packaging, from the newspaper or in the store itself.

Between coupons and the weekly sales I saved over $70 last week. I did go to 3 stores to get all of the things I wanted. But I did not drive out of my way to get to those stores so I did not use extra gas. But I needed to spend my time.

There are many websites out there that offer coupons. But most want you to register. The one I like the best is the Coupon Mom’s site.   I printed out $25 worth of coupons on products I was going to buy this week.

One more thing:  When my children were younger I belonged to a food co-op and had to volunteer to pack and deliver. But the savings were tremendous especially for specialty items like cheeses. I also buy my eggs locally which are a bit cheaper and a whole lot fresher.

More online help –

My Coupons, Coupon Clippers, Penny Pinching Gazette, Mommy Savers, Hot Coupon World,

66 Ways to Save

The Coupon Clippers is a site that will clip the coupons and mail them to you. There is a fee for this.

How the shopping experts do it.

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