If you think you just can’t get your grocery dollars to stretch far enough, you’re not alone. The cost of groceries, from food to health and beauty aides, to cleansers, is enough to strain the best of budgets. But eating well and staying healthy doesn’t need to break your budget. The articles on Grocery Coupon Guide are designed to provide a variety of alternatives to decrease your expenses. From the basics of finding and using coupons, understanding how they work, and applying them for the best value, as well as getting the most from rebates, stockpiling super deals, and understanding how the industry works, we hope to inform you, guide you, and inspire you.

Every cost cutting measure may not be right for you. Not everyone has time, energy, even space, to maximize their savings. But you can reduce your costs, using the methods that are right for you. You won’t become a super saver overnight, but you can start saving immediately, and add new techniques that are appropriate for you.

Need some inspiration? Come on my Shopping Spree where I show you how I received $338 in retail price groceries for $27. Before you shake your head and believe that it is impossible, read through – it took organization and time, but anyone could have done it.

The first step is to start with the Wednesday newspaper, and sales flyer. Time to make a list…sales only. What is worth looking at? Make no commitment to purchasing anything, just note any “good” prices, or anything you know for a fact you need to buy (perishables, produce). Note any special “additional” offers, the “buy 10 get $10 back”, or “free with purchase”. Again, try not to assume you are going to buy any item just because it’s a “good” price.

The next step is to walk over and open the refridgerator. What do you need, what do you have room for, what needs to be tossed (do it now), and how can you rearrange what you have to fit the most in. We usually need fresh soy milk, creamer, produce. I’d really like fresh salads this week. Broccoli and carrots are generally our least expensive default purchase, although even frozen vegetables pass for a week if the prices on fresh produce are high. Check the pantry, cleanser area, laundry, and personal care items, too. I need laundry detergent and it has to be Cheerfree since we’re allergic to anything else. Well stocked on other items, but I will check on some of the sales.

Next, match up the coupons you currently have with the offers and your immediate needs. Hamburger Helper is $1 on sale, a good emergency staple, but not critical. Add on a $1 coupon, which makes it free, and mark your list to be sure to pick it up. Is something you “need” not on sale? Keep it on the list, and check prices in the store. If prices are too high and it’s not critical for the next 7 days, try to pass it up and hope for a better price next week.

If it’s something with a high price, has no sale, no coupon, and is not critical, cross it off the list.

Personally, I don’t make a meal plan before I shop. The sales and savings drive the meal planning later, with a bit of creativity.

Now, to the store. I have a short list, a few notes, and my ever present coupon box. Even though I sort out coupons I know I want to use with sales or critical items, there may be additional clearances or unadvertised sales that I want to take advantage of…with the best deal using the coupon.

Now, to shop.

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