Saturday, March 6, 2010

coupon tips

Ok, so some of you have asked how I save money at the grocery store. Here is what I have learned so far. I do have to say up front that these are not my ideas, I've learned these from family, friends and several helpful websites.

The easiest way to save money is to shop at a store that will offer Buy one get one free deals, my personal favorite is Publix. If you only buy items that are B1G1, you already save 50%.

Another trick is to make your weekly menu based on the things that are on sale. If you see pork chops are on sale this week, eat pork chops. Buy your snack foods according to what is on sale. Last week, cookies were on sale, so we ate cookies for a treat, this week it's ice cream.

Here are some coupon clipping tips:

Buy a newspaper and keep the ads, get ads from friends and family members. Normally, you will get 3 sections of coupons in your Sunday paper; Redplum, Smart Source and P&G. What I do is put all of the same sections together and write the date on the front and I file them in a (81/2 by 11) expandable file folder. Some people clip all of the coupons and file them in a coupon size expandable file folder with 12 tabs (toiletries, cleaning, cans/box, condiments, cereal/breakfast, baby, snack/dessert, drugs, paper, frozen, refrigerated, and other.) I tried this but found myself sifting through a ton of coupons just to find one, it takes a lot of time. Other people do clip every coupon but use baseball card plastic sleeves to organise coupons.
You may want to pick a way and try it, to see if it works for you.

Another place to find coupons is in the store. Many stores will have store coupons in the store. Also, there are blinkies. You know these, they are the ones you used to stand in front of as a kid just to watch the coupons pop out. There are tear pads, these are pads of coupons and you tear a coupon off, a genius name huh? You can also find coupons on certain items themselves.

The best way to maximise your money it to find good deals at your favorite store and match them with coupons the website will help you do this. They will give you all of the sales of a VAST amount of stores and tell you what coupons match those sales and where to find those coupons. They also have a wealth of information about coupon policies, how to use customer reward cards and so many more tips on how to get the most out of your coupons. The best part is the website is free!

Another good tip is when you find a good deal on something, buy up. I have learned that sales go in 6 week cycles. So buy enough to last you about 6 weeks. I am learning that there is almost always some kind of cereal on sale. So instead of stocking up on one kind of cereal, I buy about 3 boxes of what ever is on sale. In two weeks that cereal is gone so I buy what ever other cereal is on sale. However, oatmeal goes on sale about every 6 weeks so I buy enough to last 6 weeks.

There are some items that rarely or never go on sale: fresh produce, milk, bread and such. These items you will just have to pay full price for. Also, you may run out of an item before it goes on sale, if it a food item that you can live without until it goes on sale then wait for it. If this is an item that you need (toilet paper, paper towels or other personal items) you will have to bite the bullet and buy it at full price.

Also, don't be brand loyal. Everyone has those certain brands of food that they would rather have, but you will save money if you learn to use any brand of mayo or peanut butter. Buy the brand that is on sale.

The hardest part for me to learn is that there are some deals you will have to miss. PLEASE, PLEASE don't go over your budget just because you see a great deal that you just have to have. I budget for food on a two-week cycle so my problem is shopping during the first week and then not having money to take advantage of deals the second week. My two choices are: only spending half of my money during week one or just understanding that I will have to miss out on some deals during week two. I usually just make myself NOT look at any ads during week two.

Ok, I am going to tell you what I understand about Publix coupon policy, this is for Florida (some states differ in policy) and this is only Publix because I haven't looked into other stores very much. I have NOT found any stores in Florida that will double or triple coupons, if you know of some, please let me know.

Publix (in Florida) will NOT double or triple a coupon. In some states they will double a coupon if its under $1 ( I think.)

You can use two coupons when you buy one get one.

If there is a buy 3 for $5, you do NOT have to buy 3 to get the price.

You are allowed to stack coupons. This means you can use ONE manufacturer coupon, ONE Publix coupon and ONE competitor coupon to buy ONE item.

They do accept competitors coupons. Please know this is a courtesy, they will NOT get this money back so use ONE competitor coupon per item.

That's all I have for now, I would love to hear your success stories. Like I said, you can visit They have the coupon policies for other stores and a boat load of tips for maximising your coupons and grocery money.

One last thing, I've only been doing this for about 6 weeks and so far I spend the same as I always have, I just get MORE groceries for my money. I will be happy to answer any questions I can. If I can't I'll help you find the answer. Good luck and happy shopping!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do we EXPECT God to bless us?

It has been quite a while since I have written anything. I really wanted to share something that crossed my mind today.

Do we have a right to expect anything from God? I mean God has promised us ONE thing, eternal life, if we believe in Jesus. We are underserving of even that.

Do we have the right to expect anything else from Him? What I mean is, do we live our lives for God expecting Him to bless us? Or do we live for God purely because we love Him and want to honor Him? It is a tough question. Most of us know what we want the answer to be but we don't know our own motives. I know what I want my answer to be, but somehow fleshly desires creep in and Satan whispers in my ear 'You are doing good and your God isn't rewarding you. Hmmmm. Look and see how other people have blessings (money mostly) and they don't believe in God, would He really bless them and not you?' Satan is so very devious.

Sometimes I do feel like I deserve to be rewarded from God. "Ok God, I am doing what you want me to do, now You should bless me."

Our society doesn"t help much either. The U.S. is a very self-centered, greedy society and we all feel like we deserve something for a job well done and that naturally runs over into our spiritual lives. We do well at work and ask for a raise or get a promotion. We eat right and excercise and we naturally look better. We are taught that we are rewarded for a job well done. Not only do we expect our reward, we expect it now.

I feel like the dinner guest who went to the party expecting to be in the seat of honor and then disgraced by being placed at the end of the table. Meaning I do something expecting the reward or praise and am embarrassed when I am "looked over." I often forget that story because I am focused on the 3 stewards. One given five bags of gold, one two bags and the last one bag. The first two men invested the money given to them and multiplied the money for their master and were given more money and responsibilities. The man who was given one bag was afraid to loose the money so he hid it. The master was angry with him and took the money and his job from him. The point is that I feel like I am doing what God wants me to do; using money, time and talents for Him but even so He takes away the fruit of my efforts.

The more I thought about this on my commute this morning the more God brought to my attention how blessed I am. I think I am looking for tangible blessings, such as; more money, a better job for Christian, to own a house and so on. God let me know that He has blessed me. My family is healthy, my son is strong even tho he very well could not be, Christian and I have a great relationship and I could go on and on.

Father, change my attitude. Let me serve You because I love you and I want to. Help me to not expect anything in return other than what You have promised me, eternal life with You. As David prayed, Father, cleanse my heart of all impurities. Rid me of myself, for the Holy Spirit cannot dwell with flesh. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. God, lead my to the cross.