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.

  1. emom says:

    SAVINGS , SAVINGS, SAVINGS…….. A very hot topic amongst frugal folks. I have been doing just that… I never purchase ANYTHING at all at full retail price. Why when sooner or later they will be on sale, or on the discount isle… THAT’S RIGHT discount ISLE… Lets start at the grocery store,,, They will have signs on the shelves of items they are discontinuing, usually it means the manufacture has changed something… or it is being fazed out… You can still use coupons on these items… Next compare sales. Scan all the grocery stores, Wal-Mart and target, pharmacies or other stores you frequent.. See who may have it on sale .. You would be very surprised on such deals to find.. Next plan your trips, if you are not going anywhere near there BUT can get it at another store and that store ADD MATCHES, well then take the flyer with you and instant savings.. And You still can use coupons. I have been doing this for over 5 months now and I must say I have saved an average of over 75% on my grocery orders. EACH TIME I SHOP…. I still manage to include meats and fruits and vegetables, But I buy only what’s on sale, NO steak if its to expensive… Watch for seasonal sales and stock up on those items that are cheap. Also some stores offer their own coupons as long as it is not a manufacture coupon you can use it with a manufacture coupon giving you double savings, it’s a great savings. Pharmacies have them as well as target. I love coupon mom I use their state by state savings alert look and see what there could be that’s a great deal I might have missed and then pick it up. Usually I wont purchase anything if its less than a 65% savings, not worth it most times. Next I will also scan the discount racks at the discount stores, what savings you can find with a little looking around…. 4 months ago I snagged a cooker that holds a 20 pound turkey , a good brand and at a discounted sale…… $10 WOW… it was worth $50 or maybe more… CHA-CHING ….. Clothing on the discount racks can get you great deals ,,,, and now that summer is half way thru ,,, you will see tons of savings with items being discounted .. All to make room for school supplies and fall wear… Savings can be had But its true you have to look and work for it.. Get a binder for coupons and leave in the car that way you have it every day… Bring it in to clean out old coupons and put in new ones. Oh and the buy one get one free coupons, you can put another coupon with it for cents off , as long as the coupon states its cents of on ONE item… otherwise it will not work… extra savings ….. Stock up on shelf stable products that way you have them….. No need to stock up on things that can spoil UNLESS you have a freezer…. I cant wait till the school stuff goes on discount that way this year I can stock up on things for next year….. OH THE SAVINGS……..