Overcoming Money Mistakes

When I write all of these posts, I can’t help but sit back and think at times, “I can’t even follow some of these things myself”! Today I just wanted to give you some encouragement if you feel like you keep “falling off the wagon” … or spending without planning on it.

I realize the principles of budgeting and saving can be very hard to follow at first … and in time … they do actually get easier. But the fact of the matter is, it’s never that easy to say “no” to yourself when you really want something.

You see that adorable pair of shoes in the store (that are even on sale!) and all you want to do is bring them home with you! Or you are walking through the grocery store, really craving your favorite snack, and you can’t help but sneak it in your cart.

Trust me, I know the feeling. And before you know it, you are just drowning in shame with the fact that you just couldn’t hold yourself back.

I would say most people regret purchases very often. They may not say it out loud, but when you are staring at that new vase you got a few years ago that is accumulating dust and doesn’t match anything in your house, the guilt can start to set in.

So I guess the question is…how do you get back on the wagon?

How do you get back on track, when everything inside you is screaming “You’re a failure! You can’t save money!” Well, there are a few things you must keep in mind through the process of saving and budgeting…

# 1 It’s Never Too Late to Start Reaching for Your Goals

So what if you messed up for a few days now, or years! It’s not the end of the world, and even though you may be facing some serious debt, only good can come out of this from here. Keep your eyes focused on the future goal, and know that there is never a financial situation too hopeless. You can always start today on saving for your future.

#2 If You Truly Regret It, Return It

The other day I went shopping and was determined to find a striped pull-over hoodie (I know, don’t ask why!)…and the only one I could find was in the men’s section! So of course, as stubborn as I am, I bought it! Only to come home and totally regret my purchase. The most simple solution here is to return it. I know it can be a little embarrassing, out of the way, and just plain annoying, but I think in those kind of situations, you will feel a lot better if you do return it! So do it! You will find that even “large” purchases have a return window. Ever heard of buyer’s remorse? It’s a very real thing!

#3 See the Good in Yourself

There will always be categories in our budget that we struggle with. For me, it’s always the food and grocery section of the budget. Sometimes no matter how hard I try, I always seem to fail in this way. Either I go WAY over what I wanted to spend, or just a little bit over every week. But every time I look at our budget, I feel dejected and sad. What I suggest to other women out there who are feeling these same feelings is that you just need to see the good in yourself and not focus on the bad. Sure, I struggle with the grocery side of things, but when it comes to miscellaneous spending like a t-shirt I saw at my favorite store, I can usually hold back. Look at your budget on a holistic level, and make the most of every opportunity to learn what you need to work on, and what you already excel in!

Got any stories on how you’ve fallen off the wagon? I’m sure we can all relate! Leave us a comment below, we would love to help you get through your specific struggle. We can all improve in different ways, and I think that is the beauty of God’s work in us, we are constantly growing!

By: Erika from Faithful with Finances

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Meet the founders of Faithful with Finances:
Tony Amaradio and his wife Carin. 

Black Friday Dos And Don’ts

shopping

With Black Friday right around the corner, it’s great to equip yourself with some good tips and tricks! Here are some awesome ways to save …

The Debt Blog

With Black friday nine nights away, customers are critically evaluating budgets and their holiday shopping lists while perusing programs and the advertisements because of their favorite shops.

1. Cash doesn’t Equal Love. In case you are striving to decrease expenses, or can not locate the loss leader, the finest presents are seldom the ones you purchase at the shopping center, but presents of love, expertise, ability and time. This might incorporate a playlist or a special scrap-book, or a thing you prepare paint or craft. Presents of love plus time that are significant and private will be far more memorable, thus do not shun guarantee coupons for a home cooked meal nights baby sitting oil-change,, garage-cleanup, or doing taxes.

2. Buddy Your chosen Retailers. Many retailers are providing special deals on FB and Twitter. It is advisable to incorporate your preferred shops for your friend listing (at least for for…

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Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

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The average American household spends an insane amount of their paycheck on groceries. How can this be? Among the many problems that contribute to this, here are a few:

1. Prices are on the rise –

We are all well-aware of the constant inflation rate, and our groceries are no exception. Prices continue to rise, and families are caught trying to cook meals at home while overspending in their grocery budgets every month.

2. “Healthy” is expensive –

Gone are the days where living on the land was the most affordable thing to do. We now find ourselves walking into health food stores shocked by the prices we see on a simple box of oatmeal.

3. Time is of the essence –

In many households, both parents carry their own jobs. This leaves less and less time for couponing, saving, and taking the time to plan out the trip to the grocery store.

In order to truly “cut your grocery bill in half” you will need to take a few important steps. Don’t worry … they are easy! Before you know it, you will see the savings start to grow.

If you can begin to change this one area of your spending, you will see major improvements in your overall budget.

Given that this is one of the biggest spending categories in American budgets, it’s important that we take control of this area.

Here Are 5 Things to Do Today to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half: 

1. Pick One Day of the Week to Plan

On that day, you will only need to carve out an hour or less. Make sure you stick to that day every week, or else you will run out of time and start buying meals on a whim – which means more spending.

On this day, you will need 2 things – 1.) The sale flyer for the store you shop at and … 2.) Your grocery store’s mobile app with downloadable coupons

From here, write down a list of every day’s meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you want to start slow, simply write down dinners for the week.

Look at what’s on sale, compare it to coupons in your app (if there’s a sale AND a coupon you’ve hit the jackpot!) and plan your meals around those sales.

I typically plan Mon-Thurs meals because I know we will be with family or friends on Friday night. Do what works with your schedule.

Store your “list” in your phone along with your downloaded coupons and you can do this shopping trip whenever your schedule allows.

2. Shop 1 Day of the Week

Get all of your shopping done on that one day, according to your list. This should be very easy for you to do and should take less than an hour, but make sure you carve out the time for it. Think of the time you will save avoiding the store 3-4 times a week like most families! (especially during the after-work rush hour!)

The only time I deviate from the list is if I can find the store brand product that beats the price of my sale ad & coupon price. This happens on occasion, so I will just go with the store brand. That will save you BIG in the long run.

3. Pay Cash

Maybe you haven’t jumped on the “envelope system” bandwagon, but you CAN make a big difference in your budget by simply paying cash for groceries.

There’s is something innately frugal about paying cash: you know exactly what you have, you can’t spend any more than that, and you are sure you will stay within your budget.

The magic starts to happen when you realize that with this fixed amount, you can get creative in many different ways. Eventually you will see yourself buying A LOT for a little.

4. Plan for Days You Don’t Want to Cook

Throughout the week, unexpected things will happen. You will find yourself getting lazy, and that favorite chinese takeout restaurant sounds AMAZING.

So how do you combat this? Simply plan for those days.

Whether this means store-bought pizza (less expensive than takeout pizza), or freezer-friendly microwave meals that take seconds to prepare … plan for those days.

Here’s a simple comparison:

Cost of chinese takeout for 2 ppl = $20 – $25

Cost of “Pf Changs” refrigerated takeout meal for two at the grocery store = $5

**thats 4x-5x the savings!**

Thursday happens to be “that day” for me. I never want to cook on Thursdays! Maybe it’s because Friday is so close, or maybe it’s just because I can’t handle the monotony of cooking one more night, but Thursday is definitely my week spot. Because of this, I have built into the list either a pre-made meal, refrigerated pizza dough, or something very convenient to make like quesadillas.

5. Make Your Grocery Budget Reasonable

One of the biggest mistakes budgeters make is creating a spending category that is too strict. This can make you feel like a failure, as you will often miss the mark.

Decide on a reasonable amount to spend that you won’t feel “deprived” by at the end of the week. If you feel too deprived, you will end up “binge spending” at the end of the week – similar to what happens to people on a diet. They are deprived from their favorite foods only to binge on pizza Friday night!

Make sure this doesn’t happen to you, and create a solid spending category that you can consistently meet each week.

Put these 5 tips into practice today and you will see MAJOR improvements in that grocery bill!

– Faithful with Finances

Conquer Emotional Shopping!

I happen to have a little problem, and I’m sure many of you might share this with me…but from time to time…I give into emotional shopping!

It doesn’t matter what happened to me that day, or what is going on around me, but if I simply go inside my favorite store (cough cough Marshall’s, Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx) I become a very happy girl.

Now I’ve heard of many women out there who don’t enjoy shopping all that much, but basically, that concept is very foreign to me! I LOVE to shop, and it makes me forget about everything else and just enjoy the beauty and fun I see all around me.

The question is, am I doing the right thing here by giving in to my desires? Probably not. Are there other ways to feel better in the world? Probably yes.

So in case any of you out there suffer from this same syndrome of emotional shopping, I thought I would help you by giving a few hints at what you can do to conquer it, and how you can stop finding emotional release in something, shall I say, hollow?

Here are 5 ways I conquer emotional shopping, I hope they will help you too!

  1. Re-Do Your Own Closet (de-clutter, organize, and display)
  2. Take up a productive and fun hobby
  3. Look through a style/fashion magazine
  4. Spend time with a girlfriend (be happy, don’t vent on her!)
  5. If you must, window shop (aka DON’T buy anything!)

There are days when you will just want to fix yourself, feel better, and move on with your life, but shopping is not always the best answer for this. Beyond working through the problems of the day, just smile and have fun with those around you. Joy and blessings can be found in every day if you just look for them!

By: Erika Pizzo

 

Consignment Sale – Great Finds!

The other day, one of my friends was telling me about a consignment sale she went to, finding all kinds of clothes she loved for a fraction of the price. Although I had been to a couple consignment sales, this one sounded very promising, and I couldn’t wait to take a look for myself!

I wanted to share this with all of you because this is a great way to shop for high end items without paying the full price.

There were tons of designer brands there, and what I always keep my eye out for are items that look brand new. It isn’t hard to find these kind of things at consignment sales, because many of the things they carry are brand new (because of partnerships).

Check out the pictures below to see what I found…

Adorable Heart Necklace!
Only $3.00!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Beige Work Skirt…
$5.00! (from the Limited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfy Grey Hoodie..
$15.00 (BRAND NEW)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sparkly Bracelet…
$2.00!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The website for this company “Dress on a Dime” is http://www.dressonadime.net/

It’s also fun to entertain the idea of becoming a seller yourself, if you have some clothes that are gently used and you know women would love. I haven’t looked into this yet, but I will and hopefully post about it later on!

We would love to hear if you have found any local consignment sales. Leave a comment for those that might be in your area.

I wish I knew about this years ago, I would go every single time they were here!

 

By: Erika Pizzo

Overcoming Money Mistakes

When I write all of these posts, I can’t help but sit back and think at times, “I can’t even follow some of these things myself”! Today I just wanted to give you some encouragement if you feel like you keep “falling off the wagon”, or spending without planning on it.

I realize the principles of budgeting and saving can be very hard to follow, and in time, you will see them become a lot easier. But the fact of the matter is, it’s never that easy to say “No” to yourself when you really want something.

You see that adorable pair of shoes in the store (that are even on sale!) and all you want to do is bring them home with you! Or you are walking through the grocery store, really craving your favorite snack, and you can’t help but sneak it in your cart.

Trust me, I know the feeling. And before you know it, you are just drowning in shame with the fact that you just couldn’t hold yourself back.

I would say most people regret purchases very often. They may not say it out loud, but when you are staring at that new vase you got a few years ago that is accumulating dust and doesn’t match anything in your house, the guilt can start to set in.

So I guess the question is…how do you get back on the wagon?

How do you get back on track, when everything inside you is screaming “You’re a failure! You can’t save money!” Well, there are a few things you must keep in mind through the process of saving and budgeting…

# 1 It’s Never Too Late to Start Reaching for Your Goals

So what if you messed up for a few days now, or years! It’s not the end of the world, and even though you may be facing some serious debt, only good can come out of this from here. Keep your eyes focused on the future goal, and know that there is never a financial situation too hopeless. You can always start today on saving for your future.

#2 If You Truly Regret It, Return It

The other day I went shopping and was determined to find a stripped pull-over hoodie (I know, don’t ask why!)…and the only one I could find was in the men’s section! So of course, as stubborn as I am, I bought it! Only to come home and totally regret my purchase. The most simple solution here is to return it. I know it can be a little embarrassing, out of the way, and just plain annoying, but I think in those kind of situations, you will feel a lot better if you do return it! So do it!

#3 See the Good in Yourself

There will always be categories in our budget that we struggle with. For me, it’s always the food and grocery section of the budget. Sometimes no matter how hard I try, I always seem to fail in this way. Either I go WAY over what I wanted to spend, or just a little bit over every week. But every time I look at our budget, I feel dejected and sad. What I suggest to other women out there who are feeling these same feelings is that you just need to see the good in yourself and not focus on the bad. Sure, I struggle with the grocery side of things, but when it comes to miscellaneous spending like a t-shirt I saw at my favorite store, I can usually hold back. Look at your budget on a holistic level, and make the most of every opportunity to learn what you need to work on, and what you already excel in!

 

Got any stories on how you’ve fallen off the wagon? I’m sure we can all relate! Leave us a comment below, we would love to help you get through your specific struggle. We can all improve in different ways, and I think that is the beauty of God’s work in us, we are constantly growing!

 

By: Erika Pizzo

 

10 Things I Never Buy New

As you know by now, on this blog, we are all about saving you money. One mistake that is often made by many consumers is the mindset, “If I can’t buy it new, I don’t want it at all.” Certain things that are bought new can carry a huge price tag, and if you are trying to be a better steward and more financially responsible, well…this doesn’t fit into the picture.

Today I want to give you a list of 10 things you should never buy new. In the past, I have found incredible savings on these items just by looking on Craigslist, Ebay, Amazon, or really, all over the internet. There are all kind of websites out there with people who are trying to sell their old items, and even some stores will sell used items. The point is this: don’t settle for paying full price. If you can find the same exact item that has been “loved on” a little bit, why not buy it in that condition and save yourself hundreds in credit card bills?

# 1 : Books

As we all know, book stores have been suffering in recent years, because online book sales have skyrocketed. Many people are now losing the desire to go into a book store because they would rather buy one from the comfort of their own home. (I wonder if this will happen with shopping? Hope not…) But the point here is that you should stay ahead of the curve, and always buy your books used. Some people have a problem with this, but what I would ask that person is: how willing are you to truly save?

#2:  DVD’s and CD’s

Plenty of stores have used DVD’s for sale as well as online sources. DVD’s should never be purchased brand-new, because most people that use them only watch them one time. I know many of us don’t buy CD’s as much any longer, but if you do, still be on the lookout for good prices and savings.

#3 Fabric

If you love crafts, and are always searching for a good fabric to use, avoid going straight to the fabric store for whatever you might be working on. Whenever I am in the mood for making something, I usually go over to GoodWill first, and most of the time I find this beautiful long dress that I know can be cut up to about 3 yards! The dress will typically cost $5 or under, talk about a steal! Fabric can sometimes be $8 per yard…(do the math).

#4 Home Decor

Now, on this one, I shouldn’t say that you will NEVER buy this new, but there is a lot of room to be creative here. At many home decor stores, I see a lot of pretty clear vases that hold popery, flowers, stones, or all kinds of decorative trinkets. The fact of the matter is that you can find those clear vases in a lot of places, including most consignment stores. Just by adding something to fill the center, you now have a beautiful piece that can change with every season.

#5 Furniture

We all know that if you go at the right time, you can score big at a furniture store, but there are also great opportunities at garage sales in the neighborhoods surrounding your home. Check CraigsList, or the PennySaver to find what is going on which weekend, or keep your eye out for signs. Usually you can find some great furniture pieces, and maybe with a little painting or refurbishing, you can make it a whole new creation!

 #6: Laptop

When I was looking for a laptop, I was amazed to see the reduction in price from a refurbished Mac computer, to a brand new one. I know this idea is not for everyone, because some people often times need a customized computer for their work, but if you are just a casual user like me, you should definitely look into this. Laptops can be so expensive, and within a few years, your brand new baby can start to have some serious problems. Why not either take your old one in to be refurbished, or buy one that works like it’s brand new?

 #7: Car

You know what happens when you drive a brand new car off the lot don’t you? Yep, it looses a big chunk of value. Yet we all continue to buy new cars without thinking twice about it. I have to admit, I’m pretty guilty of this one, but I know that you save a great amount of money simply by buying your favorite model a few years older. If you do the right research on this, you will walk away with a great price, and low mileage.

#8: Exercise Equipment

What I love about this purchase, (often times in garage sales) is that you will find exercise equipment that has NEVER been used before in most cases. Let’s face it, many people have a problem working out at home, let alone going to a gym, so it is fairly easy to find exercise equipment that hasn’t been used too much.

#9: Sporting Goods

Whether it’s a basketball, tennis racquet, camping gear, or softball, you can often find used items like this that will stand the test of time. I know that if I sold some of my tennis rackets today, it would be a great deal for the buyer, because I really only used one growing up. This can be the same for a lot of sporting goods, just make sure you check it out and know what a good ball or racket would feel like.

#10: Artwork

If you think about it, artwork is one of those items that is never used, always on display, and always in perfect condition. What more could you ask for in a used item? There are many places that will re-sell artwork, and I have found some great pieces at my local consignment store. Artwork is also special because it is often timeless, and you can keep or resell that piece in the future.

If you have anything else to add, feel free to comment. It’s always helpful to have new ideas from other women who are doing it themselves!

By: Erika Pizzo

Revamp Your Wardrobe

Are you always on the hunt for that one piece that will completely re-make your style, turn you into a fashionista over-night, or simply add some pizzaz to the boring every-day get-up you normally wear to the grocery store? No need to look any further at those high-priced stores.

It’s time to go back to the basics, to look within your own closet, and to create all new outfits that will feel like brand-new. Follow these 5 steps to a better wardrobe, and you will be excited to  wear things that were once completely forgotten.

Why are we deciding to look in our own closets and not go out to get the next latest thing? Because this is one very practical way that we can practice contentment.

One passage keeps coming to my mind (almost daily now), and I want to challenge you to read this, and work to live by what Paul is saying here.

Philippians 4:11-14

11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

At times, we will need to practice contentment on a larger scale. With the loss of a family member, with the high stress of a down and troubled economy, with the wandering faith of a child. In all of these situations, contentment should be at the forefront of our minds.

Yet even on a daily basis, we should be practicing contentment. Instead of working to fill a gap in our lives by buying more and more, let’s work to be content in what we have, and to rejoice in what God has already given us!

And it never hurts to have a little fun along the way…

So here are my 5 Steps to a Better Wardrobe, enjoy!

1. Declutter, Reorganize, and PURGE!

Isn’t it a great feeling to have a closet that’s readily accessible? You know what I mean don’t you… all of the sweaters are together, your t-shirts are nicely folded, your jeans are displayed as if they were all Sevens lying out on a Nordstrom display table…

Yet what is so unrealistic about this situation? Many of us are given to the disease of trying on multiple outfits every day. (Could I be any more guilty of this?) And many of our “choices” end up on the floor or in a corner of the closet.

One of the best ways to truly appreciate what you have is to go the extra mile and keep everything organized. Or in other words, take care of what you already have.

Make your closet easily accessible, group things together so that when you need that favorite long-sleeve, you know exactly where it is, and you won’t have to throw out mountains of other things to find it!

That was the “declutter” and “reorganize” part, yet we aren’t even at the funnest activity yet: PURGE!

Now, I want you to be very realistic with yourself. Look at each piece in your closet, and if you haven’t worn it in over a year, you will probably never wear it again. Purge your closet by taking these kinds of items out, and without hesitation, donate to a goodwill or rescue mission.

Don’t have time to drop it off? Many will come right to your door! Just find a place, and give them a call.

2. Mix and Match

Once you have your closet pretty well-organized, you can begin to see some of your favorite things again. Remember that old t-shirt you used to wear every day? Begin to see that t-shirt in a new light. It’s not just your comfy “I’m sick and need this” t-shirt, but could also be a stylish pairing with a good pair of slacks and a long beaded necklace.

Start pairing things in your closet you would never think to pair in the first place, and pretty soon, ideas will come to you. Try layering two shirts together, one solid, and one print. Put a beige belt around a navy dress to make it more casual, and pick out leggings that would make that outfit pop even more.

3. Accessorize Your Heart Out

When it comes to fashion, I believe nothing can remake an outfit more than a great necklace or stunning pair of shoes. The key to revamping your wardrobe is the make sure you accessorize.

The first step I laid out for your closet should have the same effect on your jewelry. Don’t let it get jumbled and tossed in a drawer. You will never wear anything that way, and will end up wasting hundreds of dollars on jewelry each year. Instead, get some type of jewelry organizer, I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, or make your own out of a cardboard box.

Before I leave for work every-day, or even if I’m just running some errands, I will force myself to put on at least 2 pieces of jewelry. I know this sounds silly, but it really does make you feel more put-together and confident throughout the day. Even if you are just wearing a t-shirt and jeans, a funky bangle on your wrist can definitely give you a little more bounce in your step!

4. Find Sources of Inspiration

Your closet can also be an inspiration to you through magazines and fashion posts you see. If you see an outfit you really like, go back to your closet and see if you can re-make something like that with what you already have. It will probably be a different color than the magazine, but all the same, the colors in your closet are your ultimate favorites anyways.

Whenever Mercedes Benz Fashion Week happens, I am ALL OVER those looks, and it turns out, some of them I can really re-make at home. It’s exciting to see how fashions always come back around, and the cycle never ends! Something I bought two years ago can be a really fun piece for right now, and it’s surprising to see how no one really knows how long ago you got that great cardigan. That is, until they ask you where you got it!

I know that most girls probably won’t admit this, but I’m also a total stalker when it comes to the fashion of other girls. I’m always looking at what other people are wearing, and I definitely get inspiration from them too! It’s even better if they are one of your best girlfriends, because in that case, let the clothing exchange begin!

5. Know Your True Staples

In the process of reorganizing and decluttering, you will see the true staples that have stayed with you throughout the years. I have one black dress hanging in my closet that I think I have had since I was 15 or 16. I know what you’re thinking, it probably won’t fit you for very much longer, but I still love that dress and I know I can pretty much wear it to ANYTHING. (Just so you know, it is a stretchy one!)

That is a staple I will definitely never let go of. And you need to use the staples in your closet to underly the foundation of great outfits. Start by hanging that staple up, and begin to hold up different sweaters, underneath layers, leggings, jackets, necklaces, shoes, and all kinds of things to bring out the best in that piece.

Before you know it, the good old staple has done its magic again!

Follow these steps to truly perfecting your closet and your style, and to start realizing that you had more than you thought along the way!

 

By: Erika Pizzo

How Do I Start Couponing?

When you have a million things to do, it can be hard to even entertain the idea of couponing, yet we all know it can save us HUGE amounts of money off our grocery bill every month. On average, a woman who uses coupons saves about $50 every shopping trip, totaling to about $2,400 per year!

The hardest part for most women is just getting started on the idea of couponing. Where do you begin? I mean afterall, it looks like most women who do this spend hours upon hours clipping from newspapers! You’re probably thinking to yourself, I don’t have that kind of time.

Let me encourage you, you do have the time to start saving today, and with a few gradual baby steps, you will be carving out a good chunk of your grocery bill each week.

Here are the simple and easy steps to get yourself on track to coupon:

1. Start by Getting Your Very First Sunday Paper

Eventually you will want to step up your game and get a full subscription, maybe even to multiple newspapers, but for now: Pick up a copy of the LA Times at any coffee house, and start to look through the ads and coupons inside.

2. Do this Every Sunday for a Few Weeks in a Row

If you are out of town for a week, make sure to ask your girlfriend to grab you a copy, and start to take out the middle inserts with all the coupons. File those coupons away by date inside of a box or file folder. Make sure you don’t mix them up, because these dates with become useful in the future.

3. Make a Coupon Binder

This is definitely the fun part! Organize coupons either by name, category, or date, and make sure you have them in a good binder so you can easily find what you are looking for. Now you’re asking: Do I do this with ALL of my coupons?! And my answer would be to that, Well how intense do you want to be? At times, I would file away most of the coupons. This can be time consuming, so most women will only clip what they know their family might enjoy. As a young married couple, I knew because of our tight budget, we needed to experiment and try new things, so I would clip a good portion of them and stick them in my binder.

Tip: Baseball-card holder inserts work REALLY well for coupons!

4. Scope Out the Stores

Now you’re ready for the planning phase! Gather all the ads for your local stores, and search through each of the ads to find products that match up with your coupons. Rather than do all of this yourself, there are very helpful blogs out there that will tip off the hot deals for the week and show you exactly what you should be looking for. Here is a list of Best Coupon Mommy Blogs that will get you started on real saving. A lot of these sites also have electronic coupons, if newspapers aren’t really your thing.

5. Make Your List with Purpose

And now it’s time to make your very first coupon grocery list. This is not like any other grocery list you’ve made in the past, this is a purposeful, planned-out list that will guide you through every step in that store. The way I like to make my list is simply by listing the item, its original price, the coupon I will use with it, and the new discounted price. At the end of my list I total up all of the discounted prices so that when I get to the register, I am completely aware of what I will be paying.

6. Getting Serious

There are some great tools to utilize out there that will help you in this process and give you more time to get through your busy schedule instead of looking through ads for hours. This is only for those who plan to stick with this, and will utilize the service with the intent of couponing for almost every shopping trip. One of the greatest tools out there is the Grocery Game. On this website, you can specifically customize the stores you shop at, and they will tell you what coupons to clip at what time. A HUGE time-saver! Of course, they do charge a service fee for this, but I have found the savings I get from them kind of pays for the membership 5 times over!

If you want more tools that will help you start couponing, Common Sense with Money has a free e-book to download called “Extreme Couponing 101”. Check this out, and don’t be hesitant to start doing this TODAY!

By: Erika Pizzo