Shopping for sales and getting great deals is fun. I love it, and it motivates me to do what I do. But the whole process can really be time consuming. When we adopted our girls a year and a half ago, I found out how much time kids take (and how trying to do CVS Extra Care Bucks can be a nightmare experience with 2 toddlers).
So something had to give, and I decided it had to be some of the bargain shopping. I know some people are better at the balance and can involve children and make it great fun for them, but I am not one of those people, yet. I am getting better at it now, but I think it was a year before I even went to the grocery store with both in tow without another adult.
I needed to find other ways to save that did not involve a lot of planning. One of the first things I did was to start using the 99¢ Only stores for more toiletries. At our store, I have found quite a few brand names for makeup, sunscreen, etc. So when I see them, I pick up several. Another thing I started doing was shopping at Amazon.com with my Swagbucks earnings. I try to make sure the prices on food or toiletries are comparable to what I could buy in store and then just order when we need them.
The best tip that I wanted to pass on to you is local to my area, but I want to encourage you to do some research to see if there are similar programs where you live.
I was able to find several “Food Programs” in our community. These are not food stamps or food banks with free food. They are different organizations that either sell “day old” goods or are “food co-ops” that buy food in bulk and are able to sell it at a discount because they purchase large quantities. The best thing about they ones in our area is that they are for anyone: there are no income restrictions! I know what it is like to have what looks like a decent income and to still be struggling to pay your mortgage or get rid of debt.
Buying food through these organizations saves you 50-75% off your grocery budget. I don’t believe you can do much better than that by using coupons and shopping for sales, especially when you factor in your time. Using these programs has enabled us to keep our grocery budget for the 4 of us to under $150 a month. (Even with the girls and I eating a gluten-free diet, which can get expensive!) They also offer pre-made meals at 10 meals for only $30 – now that is a bargain!! Many of these we can’t eat because they contain wheat or gluten, but my friends that use these programs enjoy these deals as well! One of them even offers a box of organic produce for only $20.
If you want to check out the organizations in my area the links are hopefoodinc.org, goldensharefoods.com and thetreasurebox.org . I encourage you to do some research in you area. If you find any great places, let me know. I would love to put together a resource list for others.
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