JACKSON, Miss– Groceries take a bite from your paycheck each week. Here’s how you can keep a little money in your wallet.
Coupons. When someone mentions a coupon it’s usually followed by how long it takes to save them up or that show with the coupon-obsessed people dumpster-diving behind apartment complexes for unused clippings.
It doesn’t have to be that intense, says Danielle Ingle, a coupon expert from Jackson, “You can start small. Just two newspapers a week, then follow blogs.”
Ingle has a family of four, plus takes care of other family members. She says coupons are the way she maintains her family.
“Coupons are like money to us,” she says, “I can buy a few items in bulk that will save me money, then use overages.”
Overages are the beauty of coupons. If you do the math right, the store will owe you money.
“Some stores aren’t allowed to give you the money back,” Ingle says, “but you can use those overages for meat, fresh produce, and healthier things.” She adds that coupons are usually for snacks, side items and cleaning supplies.
Ingle says that you don’t have to go extreme to save. Make a list, plan your meals to what’s on sale and stick with that.
“I plan by list by the ads,” Ingle says, “I buy what’s on the list. I’ll only buy what I’ll use in bulk because I don’t want to waste.”
Ingle cashed in coupons for 12 bottles of Lysol. It only cost her $1.88 plus tax.
“What I don’t use, I donate or sell in home bundles,” Ingle says that the home bundles are collections of items specified to a certain family’s needs. Families can buy those from her at lower prices they can afford, “I don’t clear shelves on what I won’t use. Things expire, there’s no sense in wasting it.”
Ingle recommends that same mentality for people who just want to save money, not start stockpiles. She says she’ll buy 12 jars of pasta sauce because she’ll feed her family in different ways with all that sauce.
“I’ll plan for casseroles, pastas, whatever and use it up. Or let my parents come get it.”
Ingle recommends starting slow if you want to get into coupons, “two papers a week at first. Newbies get overwhelmed and quit before they’re started because they do too much at one time.”
She also recommends blogs, like KrogerKrazy.com, “She will post on everything,” says Ingle, “and she’s from another region, so she’ll get the sales info a few days before us and share them.”
If coupons aren’t your deal, that’s fine. Planning meals ahead, making double portions to freeze and sticking to a list will help keep a little extra in your wallet.
“You don’t have to buy 100 of something,” says Ingle, “even saving a few dollars can go a long way.”