BOSTON (CBS) – The Feds latest unemployment number is 8.2% and the Massachusetts’ rate is 6.0%.  Things do look better but folks have learned that being frugal is a good thing.

So how do you get what you want without spending a lot? So how can you maintain the same lifestyle you have while spending less? By shopping smarter!

Groceries take a big bite out of our budgets, after the mortgage and car payments. Let’s start there for everyone needs to eat.

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. So a dollar-off coupon is worth using.

I try to save on average 25% on my groceries! I know you are thinking about extreme couponing but I don’t do that. I don’t have a lot of time for this but I have a system and it works for me. 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 over a $1000 in savings ($1,250).

I don’t often buy 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 black 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 ketchup when it’s on sale.

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

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 $18 worth of coupons on products I am going to buy this week.

Between coupons and the weekly sales I saved over $55 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.

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. The book on Amazon is $11.58 or borrow it from your local library and take notes.


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.


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