Monday, March 23, 2009

Couponing 101

For those of you interested in couponing, here are some helpful blogs and websites. These are all FREE sites! Please DO NOT sign up for any paying site or subscribe to the newspaper until you have researched this for yourself and want to pay the extra money for someone to tell you what to buy and when to buy it. Remember not to buy anything that you don't use. Even if it's on sale, it's still wasting money if you don't ever use it! One mom paid $85 for multiple subscriptions to the newspaper for 3 months! That would require a LOT of couponing to make up for this cost!

If your grocery bill is high, I would recommend shopping sales (such as the Case Lot sale at Smith's) and price matching at Walmart FIRST. After mastering these, I would try couponing :)
Try just buying a single Sunday paper for a couple of weeks. A lot of the Sunday coupons that come aren't for food items, so keep that in mind. Most of the grocery coupons are found online at Grocery Smarts. These are also FREE to print!

Kira from the Greenway Self-Reliant Sisters says:

"I would like to point out one thing, a lot of the coupons & great deals mentioned on the shop smart in Vegas coupon really aren't always good deals. Sometimes it takes rolling lots of transactions & lots of coupons to get the same kind of deal that I normally go for (ie - 10 cents an ounce on cereal) and sometimes a lot of the things that they are buying aren't things I normally would want to stock up on a ton of in the house (warm delights/brownie mixes, pre-made chex mix, etc.)."

Here is a great article called "How Much Are Your Coupons Costing You". It gives great ideas on how to get coupons, not just from the Sunday paper.

At Coupon Mom she has 3 FREE e-books that you can download to explain that basics of couponing.

Couponing/Frugal Websites

Printable Coupon:

Most coupons can be printed twice. If you have multiple computers, you can print these twice from each computer!! Be smart with your money & good luck!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Menu Planning with Food Storage (SRS Meeting - March 5, 2009)

Dinner? It's in the Bag!
Rachelle planned a months worth of meals using Pantry & Food Storage items. Here are some of her forms to share with you! Decide how many times a year you will serve each recipe. To avoid appetite fatigue, choose at least 2 weeks of different main dish options. Input your options on the options page. Then use your options page to complete your monthly menu page.
Meal Planning and Food Storage Recipe Books:
  • Emergency Food In A Nutshell
    By Leslie D. Probert and Lisa L. Harkness

  • Pantry Cooking by Laura Robins

  • Dinner? It’s in the Bag! ($12.00)
    By Christine J. VanWagenen
    Printed by: Help U Mail
    10291 South 1300 East
    Sandy, Utah 84094
    (801) 571-1441
    *There are a few fresh ingredients in these recipes that must be converted to food storage items.

  • Menus At A Glance (Downloadable book)
    By Shanna L. Christ

    1 - Dividers
    2 - Menus
    3 - Grocery List
    4 - Canning
    5 - Sprouting
    6 - Cooking Helps
    7 - Entrees
    8 - Supplemental Foods

  • Bee Prepared ($10.00)
    By Christine J. VanWagenen
    Printed by: Help U Mail
    10291 South 1300 East
    Sandy, Utah 84094
    (801) 571-1441

Meal Planning and Food Storage Recipe Websites:
  • The Prudent Homemaker - Brandy features recipes for each season of the year.

  • Everyday Food Storage
  • Food Storage Made Easy - Decide how many times a year you will serve each recipe. To avoid appetite fatigue, choose at least 2 weeks of different main dish options. Input your options on the options page. Then use your options page to complete your monthly menu page. You can use the forms included or reference forms found here. This website also features forms you can print out, or an excel spreadsheet that helps you inventory your ingredients and multiplies it and computes your shopping list for one to three months.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Price Matching & Case Lot Sale (SRS Meeting - March 5, 2009)

Price Matching Rules
  • Walmart is the only grocery store (currently) that will Price Match.
  • You must have your ads with you.
  • Walmart will price match grocery ads & Sunday newspaper ads (Best Buy, Walgreens, CVS, Office Max, etc).
  • Item must be identical to the sale item in the ad (meaning same brand, size, type, etc).
  • Walmart WILL price match Store Brands. For example - Walmart will match Kroger/Smiths bread on sale for Walmarts "Great Value" Bread.
  • Walmart will only price match printed (not online) ads.
  • Walmart will take manufacturers coupons, but not other stores coupons.
  • If a printed ad says (limit 2), then you will only be able to price match 2 of that item. Of course you can always buy 2 more the next day...
  • Walmart will not price match "Buy one get one Free" or any other type of BOGO sales.
  • Walmart will not price match items that come with an instant rebate/savings, or other such item.
  • Walmart will not price match meats and chicken if it comes from the Smiths/Albertsons butcher shop. Well, sometimes (very rarely) they will, but I wouldn't count on it!
  • Each Walmart manager sets the limits on which stores they will price match from. Walmarts will NOT price match ads from stores that are MILES away. So don't expect to bring an ad from Utah (to Nevada) and get those prices :)
Price Matching Guidelines

Holly is the queen of price matching. Here she shares her tips on price matching.
  • Go when the lines are not busy and without children if possible.
  • Shop on the same day and try to go to the same cashier.
  • Price match at the end of the order & let the cashier know you will be price matching. Separate them with a bar or a space on the grocery belt.
  • Tell the person behind you that you will be price matching. This way they won't get irritated if you take a little longer than normal. (hopefully)
  • Many Walmarts are MUCH friendlier at price matching than other Walmarts. Know your stores. The neighborhood Walmart at Stephanie/American Pacific & Warm Springs/Eastern are great to price match at. The Super Walmart is much stricter (and not as friendly).
  • Bring your ads & have them ready!! Holly circles the items that she is price matching, so she is able to show the checker quickly if needed.
  • Be Organized! On my grocery list I circle the items that I am price matching in green. That way, when the checker asks me what the price of milk is, I can quickly check my list for the correct price. I'm sure Holly doesn't need to do this, she has all prices memorize :)
  • Be courteous! Don't demand that an item be price matched. If they say no, you can either buy it at regular price or try again at a different Walmart or another day with a different cashier.
  • Know what dates the ads start and end.

Nevada's Grocery Ads run:

  • Albertsons, Food 4 Less, Fresh & Easy, Kmart, Smiths & Vons: Wednesday - Tuesday
  • Kings Ranch: Tuesday - Monday
  • Sunflower Market: Wednesday - Wednesday

Price Matching Prices

Each week I feature our "Grocery Deals of the Week". These are a basic price guideline to follow on things like chicken, ground beef, fruits and vegetables. It is not a complete list of all the good deals that week, although I wish I was grocery savvy enough to do that for you. SO, here are some guidelines for YOU to follow in order to get the best deals with price matching.

  • Know your prices. Sometimes the "Everyday Low Price" at Walmart is cheaper than the sale price at other stores.
  • Know your price point. Holly will not pay more than .50 for fruit, .08 oz for cereal and $1.50 for boneless skinless chicken breasts & ground beef. My price point is higher than that, so set your price point and watch for your items to hit that price.
  • Stock up when the items you regularly use hits it's lowest price. I usually buy 20 lbs of chicken/ground beef when it goes on sale. For dry/canned goods, I will buy as much I think we'll use before it hits the expiration date.
  • Sales usually run in a 12 Week Cycle. So about every 12 weeks chicken/meat/etc. will be on sale again. If you can't afford to buy a ton of a sale item, try to buy enough to last you for 12 weeks.
  • Seasonal Items. There are certain times of the year that items will hit their lowest price. Thanksgiving - turkey & baking items, August - back to school items, etc. For a more detailed list click here.
  • Don't buy something just because it's on sale. At one of the Smiths sales I bought 45 cans of Campbell's Chunky Soup because it was on sale for .66 cents a can. We don't even eat Campbell's soup, so I ended up donating it to the food bank.

The Smith's (grocery store) has a case lot sale twice a year. This usually happens right around General Conference (April and October). The case lot sale has deep discounts on different grocery items when you buy them by the case. When the case lot sale comes out, we will be posting what the great deals are. Sometimes a few of the items on sale are a not a good deal.


  • Buy what your family will eat.
  • Just because an item is featured in the case lot sale, does not mean it is a great price.
  • Set extra money aside each month for the case lot sale.
  • Be aware of your limits. (example: Limit 2 cases)
  • Do not plan on rain checks. Go early and take friends.