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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taking time to save money

I admit that I'm not the smartest shopper when it comes to groceries and other household items. Sure, if I happen to catch a sale, I might stock up slightly. But note the words: "happen to catch." That's right, I very rarely look for sales. It's just not something I do. But it's something I need to start doing.

For the first time in a long time, I clipped coupons last weekend. I made a point to go to the store, pick up a paper (for $1.50 - but I plan to subscribe in the upcoming weeks), clip the coupons, and then, because I'm a bit obsessive, I started a spreadsheet with the coupon data. The theory there is that I can watch for expiring coupons, and I can have all my coupons listed on one page rather than just stuck in my coupon organizer. Having already done the major grocery shop for the week, I decided to look at the CVS circular to see what was on sale and if anything matched up with my coupons.

Lo and behold, I found a number of deals! Items already on sale that I also had coupons for! Items that I use all the time with ECBs offered this week! I'm trying to do my best and only buy things that I would normally buy - because otherwise, am I really saving any money at all? I realize that's not always the way to play the drugstore game, but I think that's how I'm going to play my version for now. Realizing how productive this trip was, I decided that I also needed to start looking at the grocery store circular every week.

I tend to do my shopping early in the morning on Saturdays or Sundays, and my store's circular goes online on Fridays. Perfect! I can browse through the circular, figure out what's on sale that I use and compare that to my coupon list. This should also help my plan to have more of a stock of food around the house, in case of emergencies (and let's be honest, also in case of "too lazy to go to the store").

I'm not sure why I haven't done this before. It didn't take long to go through the paper on Sunday morning, and I did it while catching up on some tv. I know some people spend hours planning their shopping, but for me, that just doesn't make sense. I shop at one particular grocery store (plus Whole Foods on occasion) and I go to CVS. That's what's within walking distance for me - anything else requires getting in my car, and that's when it becomes too much of a hassle in my mind. So I just need to block out a little bit of time every week for couponing. Shouldn't be hard at all.

Yet another money saving plan to implement when I get home from vacation.

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