Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dollar Meals: How to Eat Healthy for a Buck!

Who says you can not eat healthy for a dollar? With dollar meals you can do just that.

I have had many people say "I have my cheap ingredients and coupon deals, now what do I do with them?" How true it is that using supermarket coupons is only one part of the equation for feeding your family well for cheap.

I love resources like Big Oven to look for new ideas for cheap and healthy meals. Big Oven is a data base where you can plug in the ingredients you have on hand and up will pop a whole list of recipes for you to try. It makes both inexperience and the occasional lack of creativity no problem for finding something delicious for dinner for a very frugal price.

Here are a few other ideas to get you started.

Breakfast is the cheapest meal of the day to cook. You can easily cook up any meal with eggs, toast and coffee for around a buck per person if you are watching out for specials when you shop. The key is getting your ingredients for cheap at the store.

You may like: homemade muffins, quiche, french toast, homemade waffles, homemade pancakes, oatmeal and cornbread. Cold cereals and milk will easily fall into this price range if purchased with coupons and on sale.

Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and dinner is a little tougher to come up with a bargain, but still very doable.

You may like: homemade pizza, soups, stews, chili, any kind on sale meat marinated and on the grill, quiche, homemade stir fry,tacos, meatloaf and meatballs, main dish salads.

The key with heavier lunch and dinner menus is to keep the cost of the proteins down to a reasonable level and then fill in with lots of homegrown or sale priced produce and/or grains or pastas. Your choices get broader the better your shopping and bargain hunting skills become.

Additional Resources For Dollar Meals:
Dollar Store Food and Gourmet Meals

Cheap Meal Ideas for Breakfast

Cheap Meal Ideas: The Best Meatballs and Meatloaf

What Makes a Recipe Cheap?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Advantages of Grocery Shopping Online

It really should not surprise you that online grocery shopping has gained in popularity over the last few years.

Why? Here are 8 good reasons that people love to grocery shop online:

1. No wasted time. No travel time to the grocery store, driving around waiting for a parking place, waiting in line at the checkout, loading your groceries in your car and driving back home.

2. No more going out to shop in bad weather. Yep, bad weather complicates the process still further. Heat, and rain and can make a not fun task still more unpleasant and add time to your shopping trip.

3. Your groceries come to your door, you don’t go to them. This is one huge advantage that explains why people prefer to shop online and is the most often sited reason for doing so. Gone are the days of high delivery charges, most online grocers offer free delivery service. You save time, frustration and gas when your groceries come to you.

4. You are less likely to buy things that are not on your shopping list. A lot of consumers have difficulty with impulse buying. If you are one of them, you will not be subjected to endless displays tempting you to buy more than you had planned.

5. Shop whenever you have time. No need to worry about busy schedules anymore. Online grocery shopping allows you to shop 24/7 and 365 days a year when you have the time. Shop whenever and wherever you feel like it, then schedule delivery at your convenience.

6. Online grocery is easier than fighting the crowds. You can take your time shopping and looking for bargains rather than working your way up and down the grocery aisles. You will not need to navigate crowded aisles, pallets of product being stocked, and have your tired and hungry kids begging you for candy just before dinner. A much less stressful and relaxing experience all the way around.

7. Online grocers are set up so that your favorites are in a handy list. Once you have used the system for a while you can select your staples quickly and easily from one list. I love this feature, it is a definite bonus. Some online grocers even have the ability to let you place a standing order.

8. You can still use your coupons. This will vary from store to store, but some allow you to use your grocery coupons. In addition, online grocers have to offer discounts in order to keep their market share and be competitive with bricks and mortar businesses. Look for additional electronic grocery coupons when placing your order with them. These savings can really add up and are often a good inducement for trying their services.

People really do like to grocery shop online. The savings are good from a financial standpoint. The time savings is still better. But the best reason to shop online? The biggest advantages in grocery shopping online are the time savings, and ease of shopping.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Ways to Save $100 at the Grocery Store this Month!

Are you tired of spending a fortune on groceries? Really you should know that you can easily save $100 on food within the next month with mastering only a few savings tips:

1. Get a store loyalty card. Most of the promotions offered in major grocery chains are only available at the lower price to club members.

2. Buy only what is on sale. It is just that simple to save. Grocery store sales are generally in the 25-50% range. Buy only what is on sale and reduce your bill by up to 50%.

3. Study the sales flier before you go. Take the time to figure out what is really on sale and which items are at regular price or above. Usually you will find the weeks loss-leaders either on the front or back pages of the flier, so look there first for the best deals.

4. Use supermarket coupons. Clip and use grocery coupons on every shopping trip. You guessed it, discount food coupons are absolutely the fastest way to save on the products you buy the most often. Clip and save, then clip some more.

5. Have a coupon for every item in your shopping cart. Coupons save money, the more discounts the better. Do the math to be sure you are getting a good deal when using a coupon by comparing unit prices. Most often you will find that the price is right.

6. Use your coupons at a double or triple coupon store. Prices at double coupon stores are generally only a bit higher than in discount grocery stores. When shopping with a large number of coupons, hit the double coupon store where your savings will be the greatest. Of course this strategy assumes that you have a coupon for nearly every item in your shopping cart to compensate for the slightly increased prices. If not, go on to tip #7.

7. If the cheapest grocery store in town does not double coupons, shop there for everything besides your coupon purchases. No doubt about it, shopping in more than one grocery store for sale items is the best way to widen your choices and still get the discounted sale price. If you are not using double coupons then hit the cheaper store. It's worth the savings to shop in more than on store when sales are good and time permits.

8. Maximize savings by combining double or triple coupons with store sales. This is where the savings are the best. Quite often you will find free items when using this strategy.

9. Max out purchases when items are free or close to it. When you find a free item stock up. Free is good!

10. Look for markdowns when shopping, especially in the bakery and meat departments. I have found London broil for $1.00 a pound, lunch meat at $1.00 and bakery bagels for $1.00 for 8. Markdowns can save you a fortune. Either use short dated items right away or freeze as soon as you get home to avoid spoilage.

If you start using the 10 money saving strategies above I am absolutely certain that you will save much more than $100 in the next month. There are easily several hundred dollars a month savings in just the first two tips alone. That said savings strategies are individual preferences. What works for me will not necessarily work for you, hence the 10 tips for saving $100 on groceries next month. Pick and choose which strategies will work best for you, then get saving!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

10 for 10 Grocery Sales: When NOT to Buy!

Yesterday we talked about what a good deal 10 for $10 grocery sales are. It is true that 10 for 10 grocery promotions are USUALLY a good deal. The more I thought on yesterday's post, the more I realized that I had been a bit remiss in telling the whole story.

In truth, there are a few situations that your may want to pass on the 10 for 10 grocery sales that are becoming the norm lately. Let’s look at those reasons today:

1. When the deal is not a deal. We have all seen sales where the prices are anything but a bargain. 10 for 10 sales are no different, sometimes the prices are a value, sometimes not. Once in a very great while you will find the odd product or two that is priced either at or above regular retail pricing. Unless you have a double coupon, you may want to pass.

2. You already have a full pantry. Yes, it is true. You may have become such a savvy shopper that you already have a pantry full of bargains at home. If you do, then pass, waste will escalate spending far faster than either poor shopping skills or running out of bargains before the next sale.

3. You have never tried the product before.If you are unsure of the quality of the product offered, then pass. Do a taste test to check both flavor and quality before stocking up. Again, sales and bargains are great; however waste will torpedo your best intentions for scaling back expenses.

4. You will not use the product. Yeah, the item is on sale and the price is right, but if you won’t use it, don’t buy it!

As you can see from the above, the concerns are not many. If the price is right and you will use the item without waste then go for it! If you already have enough on hand, the price is too high or you are not sure of the quality of the product then even the 10 for $10 grocery sales and promotions can be a bad buy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

10 for $10 Grocery Sales- How to Get an Even Better Deal

Grocery marketers have been using 10 for $10 grocery sales to push volume for years, but are they a good deal.

Yes, they almost always are. Most of you know that I love the dollar store, well, 10 for $10 sales grocery sales are right in line with my grocery shopping philosophy but are often a better deal than dollar store groceries. Incidentally, 10 for $10 grocery sales will usually get you either free or next to free groceries with a double coupon and there is no need to limit yourself to one coupon per week so stock up when you can.

Stock your pantry for free, that is a price that is absolutely hard to resist for anyone. Free groceries and free food always work for me. How about you?

Here’s how to get free food from the 10 fer $10 sales:

1. Scan the circulars looking for deals as soon as you get the fliers.

2. Go to an online coupon clipping service and buy the coupons you need and order right away. If you order on Monday, you should have the coupons by Friday at the latest so you can go shopping while the sale is still on.

3.Match up your coupons with sale items to get free groceries. Either find your coupons online in printable format or buy them from a clipping service, you need exact coupons to make this strategy work.

4. Buy as many free items on one shopping trip as you can. Some stores limit how many "like" coupons you can use on one trip so ask ahead.

5. Make additional trips to buy more free items if you have the time. Limits generally are per trip, but consult the ad for limitations and restrictions.

That’s it, just a few steps and you will literally fill your pantry with free goodies.
Here is the best part, grocery chains run this type of sale about every week or two with different items, so there is always a lot of free food to be had just for the asking. Free or just a few pennies per item, the price is definitely right! I would rather spend cents than full price any day of the week.

When searching your weekly grocery flier for bargains, there is one thing that a 10 for $10 grocery sale should scram at you…DEAL!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where to Buy Cheap Groceries Online

Would you like to know where to buy groceries cheap online? I thought so, a good deal is just plain hard to beat.

With the economy tight all businesses are offering some stellar bargains in on just about everything you can imagine and then some. The grocery industry is no different, and there are some truly exceptional deals to be found.

In a nutshell, online businesses delivering groceries to your home are no different than any other business. They are fighting for survival in lean economic times too, and are practically begging for your business.

Here is the thing, if you have money to spend, take advantage of some of the really great incentives online supermarkets are offering for you to try out their services. For the sake of keeping this list as accurate as possible, surf on over to the websites listed and the latest offers are posted on their home pages. Deals change all the time, so there is always something new to see.

Amazon Grocery offers fantastic savings on monthly specials, discontinued items and their subscribe and saveservice. Most items come with free Supersaver shipping and fast delivery. If you have not tried Amazon Grocery, you should. I am a hardcore tightwad and some of their specials are truly a good value for your grocery dollars. Best deals: health and beauty, nutrition bars, discontinued item sales, coffee, tea and manager’s specials. Also check out their extensive specialty and gourmet food selections.

Ebay offers good savings on specialty items from gourmet coffee, tea, wine, chocolate truffles, and shelf stable foods. You never know what you are going to find at Ebay, but you can bet the price is ALWAYS a beyond cheap. I recently found free range organic pasteurized chickens and turkeys, buffalo meat, buffalo burgers, turkey jerky and a whole host of food manufacturers using Ebay to sell direct to the public at discounted rates. There are some deeply discounted food products to be had here, so don’t count Ebay out! Best Deals: Just about everything is fairly priced if not downright cheap!

Additionally, did you know that most local grocery chains now offer shopping and grocery delivery services at low prices? In my local area, Vons will deliver any $150 order starting at $6.95 and up. There are many other large grocery chains that offer similar services and the price of delivery services has dropped steadily the last few years. One big drawback is that most grocery chains offering delivery
will not allow you to use grocery coupons, so you are limited to reducing your grocery bill buy what is actually on special for the week. Still, if you are really busy, grocery shopping and home grocery delivery services are a lot less expensive than eating out.

I found another service, that I admit I have not tried, which will allow you to use grocery coupons with your order called wegoshop.com. It is my understanding that they will come pick up your coupons for an additional fee before shopping, if the franchisee in your area offers the service. This may be an option for those of you who are heavy coupon shoppers like me, but find themselves pressed for time once in a while.

I was surprised as I looked into online grocery shopping this last week out of necessity how many bargains there were online. Online grocery shopping services with home delivery have really come a long way in the last few years and are no longer as expensive as they once were. I can see the advantages, especially with all the current discounts floating around to try out a few of the services I had previously not considered. Although I have used both Amazon and Ebay extensively, I'd never had a local grocer deliver to my home, and I am more than willing to give wegoshop.com a try since they will take coupons.

Where should you go to buy cheap groceries online? Surf around and take your pick, there are a lot of discounts that make it worth your time to try a few services out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to Cook Cheap: The Frugal Grocery List

Wow! I am surprised at the number of questions I get asking for more information on how to cook cheap, but more specifically people really are want me to dish on what items should be on a frugal grocery shopping list.

No doubt, based on the emails I keep getting, most people are feeling the pinch of the ever deepening recession. There seems to be one common theme, I need to get more for my grocery dollars because food is one of the few places I can save money in my budget.

Here it goes, the frugal grocery shopping list, and these items are in no particular order.

Items purchased from the bulk bins are labeled (BB).

spaghetti and pastas
beans- (BB)
oatmeal- (BB)
cornmeal- (BB)
canned tuna
canned salmon
canned chicken
peanut butter
whole chickens
sale meats- most are 40-50% off on sale
canned tomatoes
canned soups
dollar store produce
sale produce- generally 10 pounds for $10 or less, but loss-leaders are a better buy.
cheese- when $2 per pound or less.
cold cereals- when on sale and with a double coupon at $1.25 a box or less.
spices- (BB) is the least expensive, the dollar store is second best.

Notice what is on the frugal grocery shopping list. A large number of the items listed are shelf stable and do not spoil. Keep starches like baking staples (flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda) and salt on hand. You can always make pancakes, waffles, and muffins if you run out of things to eat for breakfasts.

Canned goods also will not spoil easily and offer some variety in your diet when money gets tight. Canned soups can be used for the sauce in a casserole, canned meats make for a good sandwich if you run out of lunch meat, and can also be used in a quick soup or stew.

Adding some long lasting vegetables like potatoes, carrots and onions will give you versatility when making soup, casseroles or main dishes. They can also be used as vegetables for side dishes.

Always buy meat and dairy products on sale, and use double coupons where you can. These items can be a good value for the money when the price is right, and expensive when not purchased correctly.

Eggs are especially versatile, so keep them on hand and use them often. If you are worried about fat and cholesterol, you can use 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg to substitute for every 2 eggs in a recipe. Dropping 2 egg yolks gives a mixture very similar to egg beaters for about half the price.

I'll be adding to official how to cook cheap frugal grocery list in the coming weeks, but the items listed here are a good start.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to Cook Cheap

I've had a lot of people ask me at one time or another how to cook cheap. They always want to know if there is a really easy method for doing so.

You are kidding right?

I've even had people tell me that the dollar menu at the local fast food joint is cheaper than shopping for and buying groceries with supermarket coupons, cooking and eating at home. Well, I'll grant you that eating out is a time saver but not usually a good value for the money. Granted, I will concede the point that the dollar menu, IF you are going to eat out, is not the worst choice financially. I'll let you make the call on the health risks of fast food yourself.

Exactly what do you need to do to eat cheap?

1. Plan ahead, be sure you get a low price on your ingredients. Cheap meals start with cheap ingredients. Cheap does not necessarily mean of low quality, just low priced.

2. Use fewer ingredients. Simple dishes, with 3-4 ingredients or less naturally cost less. The fewer items to buy the less money you will spend while grocery shopping.

3. Use lots of produce and grains, but less meat. Meat and proteins are the most expensive of the items on your shopping list. The less you use the lower the cost of the finished dish.

4. Plan meals around the sales. Again, eat what is on sale and cheap if you want you meals to cost less. Grocery marketers generally feature seasonal product in their sales flyers. Buying in season will almost always save you a good percentage off your grocery bill.

5. Cook from your pantry and freezer. It's a fair guess that if you don't go to the store then you will have more money in your wallet at the end of the week. Take advantages of sales to stock the pantry and freezer to the brim when the price is right and then cook from your reserves.

6. Be creative. A little creativity with substitutions can go a long, long way. Try something new, you may like it and learn a new cheap trick in the process.

You don't need to get all that hung up on what is the right way to cook cheap, or how to cook cheap. Learning to stretch your resources is an ongoing process. I have been at this a long, long time and I'm still learnning every day. The trick is to keep learning and trying new strategies as you find them.

Just let the creativity flow and ask yourself how can I cook cheap... or shall I say cheaper today than yesterday?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Printable Grocery Coupons

Did you know that free printable grocery coupons save you big money on your grocery bills and are available to print online? Yes, I said free for the asking. All you need to do to start saving big money every week at the grocery store is to visit online couponing sites, select what you want and print. The whole process takes about 5 minutes at most.

Take a look at the Coupons.com widget in the left sidebar to see what I mean. These coupons are real money savers with high face values, usually around a buck each. You don't need to use many at once to see the savings really start to add up. Of course, the more you use the more you will save.

The free printable grocery coupons are no different than regular coupons you clip from the Sunday paper, they are just a lot more efficient to use. Some of the coupon sites offering free printable grocery coupons have placed print-controls to limit abuse and new protection technologies in place to avoid coupon fraud, but you can usually still print several duplicates at once.

People seem to like the technology and the process is a lot easier on the environment than printing and distributing coupons the old way. Who wants to waste reams of paper and gallons of ink if you don’t need to?

Why have printable grocery coupon getting to be so popular lately? The cost of distribution for food manufacturers is a lot cheaper than the old way of distributing cents-off offers and mail in rebates. The reduced price of distribution allows room in advertising budgets for higher face value coupons. More savings is a definite advantage for consumers. The more money you can save easily the better.

In recent years grocery coupons have been both a helpful in reducing grocery costs for consumers and a problem for retailers due to increasing coupon fraud. Finding a balance has finally been achieved with the advent of free printable grocery couponing. Food companies can limit the number of coupons printed easily to avoid coupon fraud, while increasing the amount of the offers for consumer. Online printable coupons are winning solution for everyone because they are cost efficient all then way around. Food manufactuers save, so we save.

Free printable grocery coupons make saving a lot quicker and easier than ever before.

Monday, March 9, 2009

4 Simple Grocery Shopping Secrets

Are you tired of watching the price of food go up and up? The experts may be saying that grocery prices are relatively steady, but anyone who shops knows otherwise. The economy is still sliding daily and most of us just want to know that our lifestyle is secure. How to accomplish this task is as seemingly monumental as the answer is simple…spend less and save more. With your grocery bill being one of the very few expenses that is not fixed in your budget, trimming what you spend on groceries is likely to free up some cash for you to save.

Here are 4 simple budget trimming grocery shopping strategies you may not have thought of:

1. Shop around. Experts will tell you to write down the prices of local retailers to learn where the cheapest price in town is for the items you use most often. If you don’t have the time to go that far, just keep an eye on the prices as you shop and start to notice which store has the best price.

2. Know that the warehouse stores like Sam’s and Costco generally have fair prices but are not always the lowest price in town. Don’t get me wrong, I love these stores and shop there myself. I caution you to be selective, because not every item is a good value. It is easy to spend more than you planned on when you shop in this type of store. Check your unit prices to make sure you are getting a good price.

3. Fresh Produce is not always best. While I’m not a big fan of canned produce, there have been recent studies to suggest that nutrition does not suffer much over fresh. I keep a few cans on hand to avoid extra trips to the store, and then stock my freezer with organic frozen produce. Frozen organic vegetables are usually a lot less expensive than the non-organic fresh vegetables. Better nutrition at a lower price is a value in my book.

4. Free coupons are easily printed online. Free coupons are everywhere online, so there is never a good reason to pay full price for anything. Most families will find that selective couponing can reduce their grocery expenses by 10-25% with very little effort. Go for high face value coupons and take a few minutes to print online before you head to the grocery store.

Just four simple grocery shopping strategies can save you thousands of dollars a year. Who knew that reducing grocery spending was so simple?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Free Printable Grocery Discount Coupons

Have you ever wondered if free printable grocery discount coupons will save you enough money to bother with at the checkout?

Well, wonder no more…printing grocery discount coupons on your computer does not just make sense, regularly using grocery discount coupons will save you up to 80% off your total grocery bill. What was that again? Yep, save up to 80% off your food bill just for taking the time to clip grocery coupons and use them regularly.

Quick Tip: Before you say you are too busy to take the time, realize that use a few high face value coupons strategically will save you AT LEAST $10 per week, or $520 per year for just a few minutes. Have I got your attention yet?

How does making a habit of taking the time to print grocery coupons make for more cash in your wallet? Well, the answer lies in how many high face value coupons there are floating around online. There are literally hundreds of new discount grocery coupons available for printing every month right from your computer. Month in and month out, food manufactures are looking to push volume by moving product through the stores and you are the lucky recipient of their marketing promotions.

You may be wondering how much you can save, but you can easily do the math yourself. Most manufacturers now offer printable coupons with a face value of a dollar or more each. Use 20 coupons per week at a buck each and you’ll find an extra $1040 in your bank account at the end of the year. Have a bigger family, or feeling industrious? Use 50 coupons a week and you will save l thousands of dollars at years end. Sound good? Using coupons is certainly easier than working enough extra hours to make that much money isn’t it? That is, if you can even find a job of late, and many are still looking.

What kind of coupons will you find available for printing online? My favorite high face value grocery discounts are found on every aisle of the supermarket. With the economic slow down, food manufactures are fighting for business.

Discounts on baby items are common with printable baby coupons. I have seen printable coupons with face values over $1 for baby diapers, baby food, and many other childcare related products. For the last several months almost every major brand of baby diapers has offered printable coupons. There really is never any need to pay full price, just print and save.

Likewise, printable coupons online for health and beauty products also carry high face values. I have noticed that printable discount coupons online for shampoo, hair color, lotion, toothpaste, oral care products and deodorant are frequently higher in value than those found in the Sunday coupon inserts. Since health and beauty products are most often the highest profit margin items on grocery store shelves, it makes sense to cut costs as much as possible.

Where else are the good online coupons hiding? How about cold cereal? Cereal is another high profit product on grocery store shelves. You can tell that there is a high profit margin in cold cereals by how many cereal coupon offers there are both online and in the Sunday coupon inserts.

Seriously there is never a good reason to pay much over a dollar or two a box for cold cereals. There are so many cereal coupons available online that all you need to do to save a small fortune is to look at what cereal products are on sale for the week at your local supermarket and then look for a dollar off cereal coupon online. You will have a lot of grocery discount coupons to choose from since cereals are a mainstay coupon offers both online and in the paper.

Another place to look for savings is on the products you use the most frequently. What does your family use every week? Think about the things that you use the most, and always look for printable grocery coupons before you shop. I make lists of the websites that carry the printable coupons for the products I use the most often. Staying organized will save you time when searching online for coupons.

I also like to look for coupons that I use occasionally and print them once a month. Printable spaghetti sauce coupons will often allow you to get a free can on spaghetti sauce for your pantry. Spaghetti sauce coupons are almost always available for one brand or another, so I rarely feel the need to buy too many cans ahead.

Rice and pasta side dishes are another type of coupon that will generally get you a free box of food. While printable pasta coupons and printable noodle dishes are usually available online at least monthly, tend to buy several boxes at once to save time when the price is right.

Where else is the savings particularly good? Coupons for canned goods online are another favorite that I print quite often. Although I do not use canned goods often myself, the face values are high enough on products like canned tuna, canned meat, canned vegetables and canned fruits to get items very close to free. I tend to pick up grocery items when the price is very low and donate to the local food banks. They are ever in need of donations, but especially when the economy is struggling.

Coupons for dairy product are also helpful reducing your grocery expenses. Coupons for yogurt and printable grocery coupons on cottage cheese make dairy products affordable. Don’t miss the grocery coupons that give you a free gallon of milk with the purchase of another item. Combination type coupons offers are particularly helpful for larger families.

The deli section has its share of values too. Lunchmeat coupons make packing your lunch a lot cheaper than buying lunch out. Cheese coupons are a good deal as well. The secret to getting a rock bottom price on cheese is to always use coupons and buy when cheese is on sale

In fact, waiting to use your coupons until the product is already on sale will save you an additional 30% off regular prices and then you can still take the additional discount for your coupons or double coupons. Using the sale plus coupons strategy is a must to maximize your savings.

Speaking of maximizing savings, my favorite kind of coupon is the buy-one-get-one-free coupons frequently offered online. Think about the savings, you instantly get one item free, so you have already saved 50% and here’s the real kicker…you can still use a coupon for the item that you are purchasing at full price.

What kind of products come with buy-one-get-one-free coupons? Just about every product can be marketed in this fashion. I have recently seen buy-one-get-one-free cereal coupons, buy-one-get-one-free salad coupons, and buy-one-get-one-free bread coupons. There are many other buy-one-get-one-free coupons on many other products, there are simply too many to list. Whenever I come across a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, I print it regardless of if I think I will ever use the coupon or not.

Why? I’ll tell you a secret. Buy-one-get-one-free coupons often will allow you to get two items for less than 30% of the regular price. Even better, sometimes you will end up getting two totally free items. Like I said before, even if I will not use the product myself, free is free. The food banks will thank you for your donation.

Generally speaking, you will save a lot of money using any coupon regularly, but the best deals are on buy-one-get-one-free coupons and combination type coupons like buy this and get that free. My other favorite type of coupon is the high face value coupon. High face value coupons allow for free or nearly free items so the price is always right.

Another hidden value in coupons is a combination offer that is run almost every Superbowl for potato chips and soft drinks. This is a very popular promotion that has run every year like clockwork.

Surprisingly, there are literally hundreds on printable online grocery discount coupons to be found online every month. Recently, online coupon networks have begun offering printable online coupons for fast food chains as well.

If you need a quick meal, don’t forget to check the coupon networks for savings on fast food. I recently found printable coupons for KFC, and as I looked around further found some free printable Subway sandwich coupons.

The moral of this really long post is this, if you want to save big money on your groceries, print online coupons before every shopping trip. Once you get used to using free printable grocery discount coupons you will never go back to shopping without the money saving power of this technique again.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grocery Discount Coupons or Dollar Store Food…What Saves the Most?

I have gotten a few emails lately about the preferred strategy for saving money on food, namely grocery discount coupons or dollar store food shopping strategies. Most of you want to know which strategy is the best.

A difficult question to answer to be sure, but I’m going to sum it up in one word…BOTH! Both strategies are worth their weight in gold quite literally can and do save you upwards of 70-90% off the full shelf price for most food items. Do you know why?

With the economy sinking still further by the day and more folks finding themselves without cash to spend, every tool in your tool box for saving should be practiced, honed and studied. Every option is a good option for savings because not every strategy will work for everyone, everyday. Sometimes grocery sales are a little thin from week to week, with few free or deeply discounted items available. When you hit a week like this, other options like living off what is in your pantry, dollar store shopping and hitting the discount store grocery aisles make a lot of sense.

I am quite an experienced grocery shopper and money saver, and use 4 main strategies to save on my food bill every week because not all of them work well every single week. In short, if the options are thin with one strategy, I move on to another. I use the following strategies the most:

1. I always hit the dollar store first, and only buy what is of good quality and a good value for the money. Some items are not, and I pass just as in any other grocery store.

2. I always use coupons, either doubled or tripled and with a sale to maximize my savings.

3. I always use multiple “like coupons” from free printable resources online BEFORE buying the Sunday paper or using a coupon clipping service. Why spend money if you do not have to? Coupons.com is the Grand Daddy of online printable coupon resources and is always free with high face value coupons. Free is always the best price in my book, so start there first. Their coupons really are tops of all the online printable grocery coupon services.

4. I always stockpile non-perishables when items can be purchased for free or pennies on the dollar. For that price, I will find a way to use the product without waste. When using the stockpiling strategy, coupon clipping services that you can find on Ebay are the way to go. The selection of coupons is tops, and the price is lower than most other clipping services online.

Each strategy will save you a ton of money on its own, but the real strength of these 4 together is that they give you more than one option for saving. Forewarned is forearmed they always say, and the ability to eat well for less is good financial self defense in uncertain times.

Which strategy is the best for keeping your food costs low? I use both dollar store food and grocery discount coupons every week and so should you if you want to save over 50% off your food expenses.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dollar Store Food- How to Get the Most for Your Money

LOL, this short video makes a couple of astute observations about dollar food shopping that I would like to discuss in greater detail.

First, deep discount and dollar food shopping both have two main strategies in common to maximize savings. At the basis of the dollar store shopping strategy is having a good working knowledge of the prices of the products you buy the most often.

While the values of the products carried at both discount and dollar stores are usually in the range of good to spectacular when compared to the price, some products are stil not bargains. You will need to have an idea of the price of the items you are shopping for to know the difference between a deal and a so-so offer.

For example, how much is produce per pound in your local supermarket or farmers market? What is the full shelf price, and the usual sale price on canned goods, frozen foods and dairy products that you buy the most often? Finally, how much would you generally spend for the comparable name brand product when purchased both on sale and with a double coupon? Many times, but not always, you will be in the same ball park for cost when doing heavy couponing.

All of the above factors play into the relative value of the dollar store item you are considering purchasing. For example, if the price you would normally pay for the nationally known product of known high quality is either at or near the dollar store price of a generic, go with the national brand. A known product of good value is always a better choice than taking a chance on a product that may be of lesser quality.

While I will readily admit that generics most often are of equal quality to their name brand counterparts, there can be exceptions to the rule. When in doubt and the price is nearly the same, trust the quality of the product you have used in the past.

If in doubt of the quality of a product you have never used before, buy one to try before stocking up. If you can easily do a taste test in the car to make your buying decision, go for it. Remember that dollar store and discount store items come and go quickly, and you may not see them again. If you plan to stock up, do so within the next day or two or you may loose the chance. If you carry out your taste tests in the car whenever possible it will save you the trouble of returning to make the rest of your purchases. A good strategy for saving both time and gas on a return trip.

Second, creativity while shopping is key. While dollar store grocery items may come and go quickly, your creativity will never fail you. Learn to keep an open mind in how you define a bargain. Is a bargain price only? Or, is a bargain a combination of both quality and low price, meaning a good value for the price. In my mind, value trumps quality, although your defination may not be the same. What consititues a bargain to you?

Knowing what kinds of foods will go well together to make quick and tasty meals is an added bonus to help you keep meals interesting. Keep in mind that even if you need to fill in from the grocery store to complete the remaining ingredients for your menus you can do so inexpensively. If you buy the bulk of your groceries off the dollar store shelves, the porprotion of fill in itmes at the higher priced supermarket should be minimal.

Because shopping in dollar stores is hit or miss proposition, I have started to carry the grocery sales fliers for the week with me as I shop. If I need to know what is on sale that could potentially help me to add variety to the ingredients I have to work with from the dollar store, I simply refer to the ad.

Carrying the weekly sales circulars is also particularly helpful when evaluating produce for purchase in the dollar store. Sometimes the supermarket loss leaders are just as cheap as dollar store produce and there are additional items to choose from when shopping several stores a week. It helps to have a visual of what is available for the week at super low prices regardless of the store you are shopping in. shopping several stores a week will give you the widest variety of cheap ingredients and help to avoid boredom in your menus. The more options the better.

Dollar store food shopping really is not as difficult as you would think. You just need to know a few tricks to get the most for your money. The main thing to know is that the "it's only a dollar" mentality will keep you from getting your best bargains on your shopping trips. It may only be a dollar, but a dollar is still worth a lot especially when money is extra tight. Don't waste money even at the price point of a buck. Be sure you will use your purchases without waste, and keep an eye on both quality and value when shopping for dollar store food.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dollar Store Food and Gourmet Meals

Here's some more great ideas on how to use dollar store food to create gourmet meals. I have to admit that lately, I've been in the mood to go back to my roots as I share this information with you all. I know that you can eat well by using dollar store and discount store foods. While my food budget remains low today, I'm enjoying the burst of crativity in doing the research for my latest posts!

I'm dating myself just a bit by telling you that when I was in college dollar stores were not yet the rage. My choices were limited in this regard, so I also frequeted farmer's markets, discount stores like Target, Walmart and Grocery Warehouse. I bought what was a good value and then purchased just as much as I needed from the bulk bins to supplement my coupon and sale purchases.

Case in point, no matter where you live there are some low priced options. I did not have the luxury of dollar stores, Dollar General, and Family Dollar near me, but there were other right down cheap alternatives to help me keep my budget low while still continuing to eating well.

With so many dollar stores around now, the choices are wider than ever before. Use them as part of your shopping strategy to save lot time and money. With a little prersistience and practice, you to can be a gourmet with dollar store food.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How to Cook With Dollar Store Food

I know that budgets are getting tighter still as the economy continues to sprial downward, so now is a good time to begin our lessons on how to cook with dollar store food. This short video is just the beginning, but should help you all to open your minds to the possibilites found in your dollar store.

They say that "necessity is the mother of all invention," and I couldn't agree more. I learned to be a really good and thrifty cook while I was in college. The surprising thing was that creativity and desire were the only two skills I needed to eat really well on a super tight budget. Learning how to cook with dollar store food is really not that difficult, you just need to be willing to think outside the box.

Related articles: 14 Budget Stretching dollar Store Buys, Dollar Store Deals, Dollar Store Duds

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Buy Grocery Discount Coupons on Ebay

If you buy grocery discount coupons on Ebay, you can save thousands of dollars a year off your food bills. Why use Ebay as your coupon clipping service? Simply put, they are the fastest and best service around. There are others who do a good job, but Ebay for coupons has the largest selection at the lowest prices, by a mile.

Super savers don't just use coupons available in their city, offers do vary widely. They are savvy shoppers who know the value of a bargain and put great effort into finding a true value. When all free printable coupon sources and the coupons in the local Sunday coupon inserts don't do the job, they cut to the chase and spend a little to save a lot more. Spending a little is worth the savings and they know it. There, I've just given you the crux of a $67 dollar e-book for free.

Why? Simply put, coupon clipping services accomplish two very important things:

1. Coupon clipping services save you TONS of time. If you are short on time, simply buy the high face value coupons you need and get on with saving both time and money. I can hear the skeptics, but the folks who pay pennies on the dollar for groceries make extensive use of cents-off grocery discount coupons week in and week out. They NEVER buy anything unless the item is both on sale at a baragain price (not a fake sale where they charge the same or more and stick a sale sign in front of the product) AND have a coupon, double coupon or triple coupon making the product either free or almost free.

2. When you use a coupon clipping service, you purchase mutiple coupons for a low service fee. You will have multiple coupons at your disposal for the same item. When you find a product for either pennies or totally free, stock up. You can always find a way to use the product without waste if you are managing your pantry correctly. Using the stockpiling method is simply the most effective way to save a ton of cash. You save time while purchasing mutiple items at once, with the added bonus that everything in you pantry was purchased at deeply discounted prices.

To shop like a super saver, do what they do...always, always use a coupon for every item in your shopping cart or pass until the price is right.

If you need to save cash consistiently and in a big hurry, do yourself big favor and buy grocery discount coupons on Ebay.