Coupon Tools and Resources

You Want Me To Eat What?! The Next Part of Our Debt-Free Story

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by Cassie on May 20, 2014

you-want-me-to-eat-what-next-part-deep-in-debt-to-debt-free-story

Last we left you in our personal story of deep-in-debt to debt-free, we attempted to use the “magic money” called coupons.  Well, our first attempt ended in disaster and did not save us anything, but sucked our time like crazy.  It was a very frustrating experience.  We wanted to save money on our groceries as we couldn’t stop eating, but since the generic was still cheaper than the coupons on name-brand, we felt hopeless in this area.

So we went back to advice from Dave Ramsey. He knows that you can’t stop spending in the area of food…so what was his advice? Eat rice and beans. EAT RICE AND BEANS for the next “who knows how long….?!”

This was going to be very painful, but we had to do something.  So if our lavish dinners out for a few years means a few years of rice and beans….. well, we couldn’t argue with it as we didn’t have any other option!

Trying to eat like a bird on rice and beans did not last long.  It was very difficult, very impractical and certainly not a long term option.  We knew that sacrifice was needed to accomplish our goal, but this was causing us more temptation, irritability, frustration and ultimately setting ourselves up for failure.

So this option was not turning out well.  I was so frustrated, I would spend so much time praying and crying for relief from our selfishness.  I knew it was 1,000% our fault that we were in the mess we were in, but I was pleading with God for relief many times per day.  I tried with all of my might to make rice and beans work, and it did fill us up.  But I needed another answer.

A short while later, Alex was listening to a Saturday morning radio program while in the shower (from our shower radio from our spending days). This particular program was done by a man in our area that was a grocery coupon shopping expert and had been for years.  Again, we had heard of him, but did not really listen to him… until now.  He seemed to be telling us something that we hadn’t ever heard.  We could actually combine coupons with sales and get food items for nearly nothing?

He worked for the news station and the news station website had a section where he showed the sales that week with coupons matched up to those sales.  He then took those sales items that week and made a menu out of it so that you would buy what you would eat that week.

Should we give this coupon thing a second chance? Even cooler was that he had printable lists that showed you everything on sale – which store of many to shop at that week and then a menu based off of what you bought on sale with coupons that week! WHAT!! This was way too exciting to not jump on board…. I mean who wouldn’t want to do this?

I jumped right onto this website, printed the list from the one store that he recommended we shop at that week and planned our shopping trip. Honestly, it sounded a lot easier than it really was.  I had fun with it.  I was seeing good results in the sense of our budget was dropping, but it only lasted about 2-weeks.  Why?  Well, this man had a plan and an idea – but the follow through was very impractical.  You had to shop every week and then you had the craziest menu because it would totally depend on the sales that week.

The first week wasn’t too bad; it wasn’t a great healthy menu, but workable for a time. However, by the second week, I was starting to have serious doubts about this approach. I was a little surprised by the suggestions on the menu that week. Fruit Loops for breakfast one day, fruit snacks and bananas for another day’s breakfast, boxed mac and cheese and bologna sandwiches for some of the lunches, and many boxed dinners like Hamburger Helpers – well, all because these items were on sale that week.  

So I lost my faith in using coupons for the second time.  This concept could not be a long term option!  We had a while to go to rid ourselves of $100K of consumer debt – this was going to take a while and we couldn’t live off of boxed foods reasonably for health’s sake.  We had to find money within our current budget and make extra money to even get started on paying off our debts.

The burden that this brought to our lives was so overwhelming……here I was, pregnant with our first and filling so completely hopeless.  I did not see a way out and I was so angry with myself and with Alex for letting us get into this mess.  I did not want to bring a baby into our lives with this stress and burden that had us aching, crying, fighting and totally incapacitated.

We had successfully scaled back our lavish lifestyle due to necessity – we ran out of money and credit.  Our attempts at getting more credit those final months before starting our pay off journey were very stressful and usually ended in a “no”.

Well, since we had to scale back our lifestyle out of necessity, how do I scale back our grocery budget.

Well, for a while after these few experiences of trying to cut our grocery budget, I was just shopping at Walmart with their everyday low prices and every once in a while using a coupon on items we really needed.  I just tried to be as careful and intentional about what I bought and this was the first step in saving my grocery budget; our grocery budget did decrease some.

But the ideas that this man on the radio introduced to us still intrigued me – was there a way to actually make it work to use coupons and shop the sales to be a bit more normal with the diet?

Well….. this next idea actually worked, and it was a huge blessing…….

Stay tuned for our next part coming soon!

If you haven’t read the story or need a refresher up to this point, check out the previous parts of our story:

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Alex & Cassie
 

Find the Best Grocery Deals with These Free and Easy-To-Use Resources

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie on April 30, 2014

find-the-best-grocery-deals-with-these-resources

Grocery shopping is essential to living.

There are dozens of ways to do it, but the most common is going to the grocery store.   And when going to the grocery store, you want to get the best deals you can to stretch your budget – whether you use coupons or not, whether you buy name brand or generic, whether you buy conventional or organic, whether you buy prepacked or fresh, you want to make the most of your budget and so do we!

We have free tools that we use when we actually go to the grocery store (which isn’t as often as you would think!) that help us nab the best deals while we are there.

First, you can use free printable shopping lists.  You can customize these lists to only include the items that you want to buy that are on sale that week. These lists are available all over the U.S. and are easy to use.  We have been using them for about 8 years.

These lists are found in our Grocery store section of our site . These will save you lots of money without coupons by listing every item on sale that week.  In addition, if you want to use coupons, the shopping lists also provides a source for coupons with those sales items to get the rock bottom prices.

This is found on our site all of the time and available for you to utilize at any time you need.  We just haven’t reminded you about them for a while and thought it was time to do so!

So how do you find these lists each time before you go shopping?  Well, let us show you!

We have really tried to make this part of our site as user friendly and helpful as possible! Although we post articles, DIY ideas, crafts, recipes and an occasional good deal on our site – Please know that these grocery lists are always available everyday for use when you need them.  And even though we don’t highlight them frequently – we did want to remind you today that they are there ;)

You will find lists to many of the grocery stores nationwide as well as the shopping lists for Walmart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens and they are all found in the drop-down menu that looks like this:

See our previous post HERE on instructions on how to use this list!

Head to the Grocery Store Shopping Lists with Coupon Matchups section of our site HERE!

In the future – you can find this section of our site under the Savings tab at the top and then under Store Sales and Find Your Store Deals. This image shows that example for you so you can easily find this each time you prepare to shop!

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The second tool we sometimes use is called Favado.  This is for those of you that do not want to print a shopping list, but want to access a shopping list with the sales via your smart phone or tablet.  This is an app and it is a cool one as it does so much more than merely share the sales at the stores with you.  We have gone in depth about the Favado app HERE and this will help explain it all!

Here’s a picture that shows what this app looks like in use! It is quite cool! 

favado-samples

Get started for FREE with the Favado App HERE. 

 

 

Not only are these 2 tools very easy to use and very helpful – they are totally FREE which makes saving money at the grocery store that much better. Enjoy. :)  

Happy Grocery Shopping and Saving Everyday!

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Alex & Cassie
 

Get Amazon Prime for the $79 Price Before the Price Increases on 3/20/14

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie on March 17, 2014

amazon-prime-benefits

Amazon Prime has been a part of our family for a few years.

You might think that as The Thrifty Couple, our decision to spend $79 for the Prime Membership would seem like an unwise investment.

But after discussing it, researching it and realizing just how much we use Amazon for purchases from foods (non-perishables of course), household, gifts, diapers, everyday needed items and more, we finally made the dive to purchasing Amazon Prime.

And each year that it has come up, we have renewed it without hesitation because each year we have received that much value out of it – and more!.

Here’s what we have appreciated:

  • It’s easy to shop online for things we need.
  • Amazon’s prices have always been competitive and we only order on Amazon when it is not cheaper anywhere else.  When the time comes to purchase – in the course of our research on specific items – Amazon’s price is almost always cheaper, thus we purchase through Amazon and receive it in 2 days or less.
  • Shipping is free and Prime Eligible arrives in 2 days! That is HUGE! With how much work it takes to run errands, I often can order on Amazon and have it here before I can actually make it to Walmart or other store.  Our schedule, homeschooling and 5 kids does not make it easy to hop in the car and grab something quick.
  • Shipping is free, even if you buy a single $1 item on eligible items! There is no order minimum! This alone saved us the price of the annual membership.  In the past, we would need something that would be cheaper on Amazon, but we would buy a few other items to get to the free shipping threshold (thus causing us to potentially buy items we didn’t really need).  With Amazon Prime, we can buy a cheap item when it drops to a low price and not have to put other things in our cart.
  • Pay only $3.99 for overnight delivery. On rare occasions we have actually paid the $3.99 for next day delivery (always an option on Prime eligible items).  This has been crucial on specific items that we needed fast (next day) but was able to save a lot compared to other stores even considering the additional shipping charge.
  • We have appreciated the free entertainment: movies and television shows.  Seriously, they have over 40,000 Prime movies and television shows.  We haven’t rented a movie in forever! The selection will also change here and there to have new options too! What this means, we don’t need to invest in cable television, rarely rent movies, and no need to purchase a DVR and DVR service so that we can watch many of our favorite shows on our time!  For example, we finally started watching Downton Abbey this year.  We started from Season 1 and all seasons were totally free to watch on our time, until the last season (which will probably be Prime once the next seasons starts). Considering that an annual Netflix subscription is $96, this is sorta a no-brainer as to going with Amazon instead!
  • If you have a Kindle, there are 500,000 titles that you can borrow for free to read on your Kindle each month.
  • The prices of foods and household in bulk are the same as a Costco or Sam’s Club and this means that you can get the warehouse prices with your Prime Membership too, but shop from home and have it at your door in 2-days or less.  Many times, we receive the product the next day!

So there’s a handful of reasons why we have appreciated our Amazon Prime membership that we have paid $79 a year for.  Well, we also received this email from Amazon about the price increase from $79 – $99.  We read it and of course we were disappointed (who cheers for a price increase?!), but realize it is not a show-stopper for us and we will continue after ours expires and renew at $99 because the benefits are still unmatched.

amazon-prime-increase-email

We honestly are amazed they haven’t increased their costs in nine years – wow!  And that’s even considering the cost of adding all the free content and streaming included as part of this membership.

The price officially increases from $79 to $99 on Friday, March 20, 2014.  But you can get it for the $79 price if you purchase or start a free 30-day trial (as of the publishing of this article, Amazon still shows that your Prime membership will charge you the $79 at the end of the trial – so that may stay the same if your trial was started before the increase).  Either way, if you’ve been on the edge on whether you want to give Amazon Prime a try, it might be a good time to consider it!
amazon-prime-trial

Head to the Amazon Prime page HERE for more information and to start a free trial!

Do you have Amazon Prime?  Why or why not and do you think the benefits are worth it?  

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Alex & Cassie
 

Free Printable and Digital Grocery Shopping Lists with Coupon Matchups For Your Everyday Use to Get The Best Deals

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie on February 5, 2014

Do you grocery shop?  Well, then we have great news for you!

Visit our Grocery store section of our site to find your grocery stores’ shopping lists with coupon matchups!

This is a part of our site that is available to you all of the time whenever you are getting ready to go to the grocery, drugstores or even the national super stores to get the most bang for your buck as we provide and easy to use star rating system for many, many stores and links to other stores as well!

We feel that groceries are the best and first place to save as it is something that you cannot avoid buying and these lists help you so that you can save around 50% quickly and easily! You have to eat! So we have really tried to make this part of our site as user friendly and helpful as possible!

Although we post many articles, DIY and other fun thrifty ideas on our site – Please know that these grocery lists are always available everyday for use when you need them and they are current whenever the next store sale starts.  And even though we don’t highlight them frequently – we did want to remind you today that they are there ;)

Many of the grocery stores nationwide as well as the shopping lists for Walmart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens are found in the drop-down menu that looks like this:

See our previous post HERE on instructions on how to use this list!

In addition, below this drop down menu you will find links to additional shopping helper options like our free favorite grocery store app to help you save 30-70% with or without coupons!

Head to the Grocery Store Shopping Lists with Coupon Matchups section of our site HERE!

In the future – you can find this section of our site on the right hand side by clicking on the image that looks like this:

One final thought – you can also always utilize our Coupon Database found HERE (and on the right hand side of our site) to locate any coupons that you are looking for to help you save everyday as well!

Happy Grocery Shopping and Saving Everyday!

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Alex & Cassie
 

Reminder: Get Your Free Printable Grocery Shopping List With Coupon Matchups To Help You Save $$ At The Grocery Stores

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie on August 14, 2013

Have you visited and used the grocery shopping lists with coupon matchups here on our site.  This is a reminder that it is there for you to use when you get ready to go grocery shopping!

We don’t put it in posts much, but we wanted to remind you to visit our Grocery store section of our site to find your grocery stores’ shopping lists with coupon matchups! This is a part of our site that is available to you all of the time whenever you are getting ready to go to the grocery, drugstores or even the national super stores to get the most bang for your buck as we provide and easy to use star rating system for many, many stores and links to other stores as well!

We feel that groceries are the best and first place to save as it is something that you cannot avoid buying! You have to eat! So we have really tried to make this part of our site as user friendly and helpful as possible!

Although we are posting articles, some deals and financial information - Please know that these grocery lists are always available everyday for use when you need them.  And even though we don’t highlight them frequently – we did want to remind you today that they are there ;)

Many of the grocery stores nationwide as well as the shopping lists for Walmart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens are found in the drop-down menu that looks like this:

See our previous post HERE on instructions on how to use this list!

In addition, below this drop down menu you will find links to additional stores shopping lists with coupon matchups for those stores that are not yet in our drop-down!

Head to the Grocery Store Shopping Lists with Coupon Matchups section of our site HERE!

In the future – you can find this section of our site on the right hand side by clicking on the image that looks like this:

One final thought – you can also always utilize our Coupon Database found HERE (and on the right hand side of our site) to locate any coupons that you are looking for to help you save everyday as well!

Happy Grocery Shopping and Saving Everyday!

{ 0 comments }

Alex & Cassie