How to Combat Money Saving Roadblocks Due to Location

One thing is for sure, when it comes to using coupons, where you live can make or break your savings.

Regional differences in pricing and in availability of coupons can vary greatly.

Store availability factored in with the proximity of local competition leaves many who live outside of major cities scrambling to find new and innovative ways to save money.

The United States has an advantage over many countries when it comes to coupons in general. I can’t tell you how often I’m told by Canadian readers that they simply don’t have access to the kinds of deals that those of us in the US take for granted (that said, there ARE ways to save using coupons in Canada. Be sure to check out these Coupon Codes for Canada for online deals and google Canada Coupon Bloggers to find info on how to grocery store coupon in Canada).

Sometimes it takes traveling to a different area or city to know just how good those of us in the larger metropolitan cities have it! (Speaking of traveling, check out all these awesome Travel Coupons!)

What can you do if you live in the land of nod (land of no doubles), or the nearest Walmart is 50 miles away (um, where do you live by the way?)?

If you don’t have the same opportunities to save in stores, you might consider shopping for certain non perishables online. Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program can save you big time!

You might also consider growing some of your own produce or finding a local farmer’s market.

Don’t give up though. Don’t think just because you don’t have the same offerings as city folks that you are destined to pay high prices.

Think outside the box and utilize the world around you. It gets smaller every single day!

Save Money Grocery Shopping: Save on Proteins

The bulk of our average grocery bill is made up of proteins. Good, quality protein can be very expensive. If you need to buy enough meat to feed a family of growing children, expect your average grocery bill to skyrocket as your kid’s age. You can save money on proteins though! In fact, these tips alone could reduce your grocery bill by 25-30% every week!

Where to start?

The very first place to look is in store ads. The front page is usually filled with the store’s loss leaders. A loss leader is a product that is on sale for such an awesome price that the store will most certainly take a loss off of it. Stores do this to get you into the store. If steak is really cheap, you might plan your entire shopping trip (filled with regularly priced items) at that store. It’s worth it to the store to get you in the door, because likely they’ll make up their loss elsewhere. Make this work for you. Grab all the ad circulars in your area and take note of the best prices on meats. Make sure you compare and contrast so you can be sure you are getting the best possible deal.

How much do I buy?

The key to saving money buying proteins is to buy in bulk when the price is low. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that buying in big packages is your best option. Sometimes it’s cheaper to just buy more of the smaller packaged meats. Be sure to read the details of the ad. If chicken is at a really great price, grab enough to last you until it goes on sale again (sales cycles generally run around 6-8 weeks, although a bit less for meats). If one package is more than a serving size for your family, pick up some freezer bags and separate out the meats into portion controlled baggies. This might mean you spend a bit more on your grocery bill and eat a lot of the same meats for a few weeks while you get a good stockpile going. Trust me, this is worth it!

What is a good price?

The hardest part of the stockpiling game is knowing what prices are good in your area. To start, you might be going in blind. Try to either keep a list or at the very least mentally note every time you see a price lower than previously. In my area, $.77 a lb is the best possible price I can get chicken thighs for. In some parts of the country, they will never see that price and $1 a lb is the least they can expect to pay. At first this can be a guessing game, you will get better at this in time as you become more experienced.

It is possible to save money buying proteins. It involves scouting the stores for the best possible prices. Stocking up when the low buying opportunity presents itself. As well as learning the lowest prices in your area. I hope this can help you learn how to save money on the proteins your family needs and loves!

My name is Heather and I am a frugal mommy saving money! Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our frugal blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to reduce the family grocery budget, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest frugality finds!

Money Saving Monday: How to Save Money Each Month in 10 Easy Steps

Who among us does not need to cut corners nowadays? We all are searching for ways to save money in our already tightened budgets. Forget saving money, some Americans can’t even pay their bills nowadays! So where do you find this mysterious cash? Why is it that most ways to save money generally end up asking us to spend more money! Are you scratching your head wondering how to save money each month? How to go from barely making ends meet to having a padded bank account, without getting a 2nd or 3rd job?

Let me help you save money each month in 10 easy steps:

1. Cancel anything that you pay $9.99-$12.99 a month for. These are generally subscriptions to various services that we may or may not use on a regular basis. We all have them. Cancel them. Today.

2. Cook at home. Pick a day of the week to go get something cheap to eat (kids eat free night is a great night to eat out at your favorite local restaurant with the family!), but every other night of the week commit to eat at home. This might mean you need to make a meal plan. Chicken Monday’s, Hamburger Tuesday’s, etc.

3. Utilize coupons. Check out this article on how to save money grocery shopping to learn how to chop 50-75% off your grocery bill.

4. Shop consignment stores and resale shops. Expect great prices on brand name clothing, sometimes still with the tags on!

5. Negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate. Call your electric company, call your cable company, call your phone company and let them know you have fallen on hard times. They want to continue to receive money from you, so it is in their best interest to work with you! If they won’t, find someone else who will.

6. Sell items you already have. Craigslist, EBay, garage sales are popular for a reason. People love to sell stuff, and other people love to buy stuff! This works in your favor. Something cluttering up your garage at this very moment might be of value to someone, somewhere out there. What have you got to lose? Since we’re trying to save money in 10 easy steps without spending money…Craigslist is the way to go (EBay has small listing fees and you could incur some costs holding a garage sale).

7. Sell yourself. Now before you get the wrong idea, I mean specifically to sell your talents. Everyone has a marketable talent! Maybe you are awesome at cleaning houses; maybe you are a fantastic seamstress. Are you tech savvy? Become a consultant. Are you great at writing? Try freelancing!

8. Simplify your life and learn to say no. Take a look at all your financial obligations to the people and organizations around you. Do you regularly buy lunch for the office out of your own pocket? Buy from every student fundraiser that comes your way? Attend every party and shindig even though you have to spend money on clothing and gifts? Learn to say no thank you. Experience the freedom of spending your money on the things you want, and spending your time where you want to.

9. Think outside of the box. Visit family friendly blogs (like this one!) for ideas on how to entertain kids for free (it is possible, I promise!). Do you only know how to cook one thing and it involves a pricey steak? Check out frugal recipe sites! You are in good company if you are trying to save money in today’s unfortunate economy. A quick Google search will help you find out how to save money on pretty much everything.

10. Lower your expectations. During this season of your life, the kind of savings and spending you have experienced in the past simply might not be possible. No matter how much fat you trim from your budget, when times are tough…they are tough. Accept that you need to change your lifestyle and your expectations. Sometimes just changing to a more positive outlook on your situation is enough to help you realize, it’s not that bad.

I hope I’ve helped you figure out where you can save money in these 10 easy steps. Pretty much anyone has a bit of fat in their budget somewhere, it might just be a hunt to find out where. Or it might just simply be about changing your attitude and expectations. Above all else, know that you are not alone, and you are not powerless. These might all seem pretty obvious, but when put together they can make a world of difference!

Welcome to the Money Saving Monday blog hop! You don’t have to link up a money saving tip, but it would be great if you did!

This is a blog hop! Here are the rules:
1. You must follow me…the host. It’s only fair!
2. Link up the main page of your blog, facebook, twitter and of course no adult content

Link up your blog:

Link up your facebook:

Link up your Twitter:

So link up! You don’t have to post about the hop…but I’d love love LOVE if you did and left me a comment showing me where to find it! Please tell your friends about this hop too!

My name is Heather and I am a frugal mommy saving money! Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our frugal blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to reduce the family grocery budget, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest frugality finds!

Kroger & E-Mealz Week 3: Getting Easier

Check out the E-Mealz Blog

The Challenge

For the next month I will be challenging myself to stick to a meal plan. I have been in such an incredible rut lately when it comes to dinners! Honestly, it’s ridiculous. I come home with tons of food for next to nothing and yet still, I stare into my pantry as if there is nothing there.

I finally came to the realization that I just needed someone to tell me what to do! I had read about E-Mealz on another blog once before and it was given pretty good reviews. So I contacted the company and asked if I could review a meal plan and (because I’m always thinking of my lovely readers!) give away a meal plan to one of my wonderful readers.

Not only did they say yes, they are letting me try out an entire month worth of meal plans. In addition, at the end of this month, when I give my final review of the plan…I will be giving away a THREE MONTH SUBSCRIPTION to E-Mealz for one very lucky winner!

Read about Week 1 here and Week 2 here

Week 3


So this was week 3 of my E-Mealz challenge and this frugal mommy is getting much better at shopping with her list! It took me less time to shop today than the previous two times. I think part of it was that it wasn’t a mega sale week, so I didn’t have to count items as I put them in my cart. I’m kind of a week behind them because they post the new menus on Sundays and I don’t shop until the following Friday. So there are a few meals for this coming week that I bought the food for, but most likely won’t make for a couple of weeks (because of Thanksgiving).

How much did I save?

This week I threw a few extras into the cart that normally wouldn’t be there because we are entertaining a bit more than usual this weekend/coming week. I am very pleased with my total though, normally when we entertain, I totally blow our $150 grocery budget. Today though, per usual lately, I stayed well below.

Spent $106.10
Saved $28.91

How did you do at the grocery store this past week?

Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our family blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to save money grocery shopping, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest deals!

Kroger & E-Mealz Week 2: Stock Up Time

Check out the E-Mealz Blog

The Challenge

For the next month I will be challenging myself to stick to a meal plan. I have been in such an incredible rut lately when it comes to dinners! Honestly, it’s ridiculous. I come home with tons of food for next to nothing and yet still, I stare into my pantry as if there is nothing there.

I finally came to the realization that I just needed someone to tell me what to do! I had read about E-Mealz on another blog once before and it was given pretty good reviews. So I contacted the company and asked if I could review a meal plan and (because I’m always thinking of my lovely readers!) give away a meal plan to one of my wonderful readers.

Not only did they say yes, they are letting me try out an entire month worth of meal plans. In addition, at the end of this month, when I give my final review of the plan…I will be giving away a THREE MONTH SUBSCRIPTION to E-Mealz for one very lucky winner!

Read about Week 1 here.

Week 2:

Grocery Shopping at Kroger

Let me preface this weeks grocery shopping trip with this sad sad fact: we were running low on just about EVERYTHING before I grocery shopped tonight. This is a big rarity in this household since I started shopping with coupons. I’ve been busy, the sales have been underwhelming, and I just hadn’t done a good stock up trip!

Today I went in with my E-Mealz list and a list of staples we badly needed. I had much more luck with my E-Mealz list this week, I found everything I needed. Sale prices were different, but there was only one thing that was remarkably more expensive. I knew going into this challenge that the Kroger list I chose was not based off of Kroger sales in my region, so it’s not something I am faulting E-Mealz about at all. For the most part, things are pretty similar though.

How much did you save?

This was a pretty high grocery bill this week, but I was low on a lot of things so I feel good about it!

Total Spent: $118.99
Total Saved $33.97


I’m going to try to keep my opinions on the meal plan to myself until I do my final review at the end of the month. Based on week 1’s menu though…things are headed in a positive direction!

Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our family blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to save money grocery shopping, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest deals!

Save Money Grocery Shopping: Mommy & Son Date Night

My baby boy and I had a date night tonight. We went to CVS and to Kroger. I don’t concentrate as well when I shop with the kids. It was well worth it though. We had fun!

I sometimes forget just how little and silly he can be. He is big brother and I think he is convinced he has a “rep” to uphold. When you get him alone, so many other sides of his personality shines through!

This wasn’t a big coupon trip tonight. Mainly needs and some wants. Oh and water. Lots of water.

Spent: $77.55
Saved: $34.68

So a fun Friday night date with my little guy getting groceries! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my Friday night.

I’ll post my CVS trip tomorrow. I need to go to another CVS to finish up!

Want to learn more about saving money grocery shopping? Read my article here
Would you like to see some of my previous shopping trips? Head on over here!

Be sure to sign up for my once daily email so you never miss a single post! 

Grocery Shopping-Spent $83.70 At Randall’s Saved $42.25

I did NOT want to go grocery shopping tonight. I needed to, and I did, but I did it kicking and screaming. My caffeine today consisted of the worst cup of coffee in the world that I had to chase down with an entire can of Sprite. It got me through work, but I crashed the moment I got home.

I went, and I did okay. Not as well as I could have done if I was really into it. $11 of my total cost was apples. Yes that’s right. Honeycrisp apples. My husband came home kind of grumpy because he had a stressful week, so I got him a ton of his favorite apples to cheer him up.

The lunchmeat, water and go-gurt I was able to use a manufacturer coupon along with a store coupon. The chips  were kind of an impulse buy. They were $1.99 a bag and they just kind of walked into my cart all on their own.

Spent: $83.70
Saved: $42.25 or 34%

This is just Randall’s this week. Kroger and HEB were not even worth a trip this week. I hope next week is a bit more exciting!

I linked this post up at Frugality Is Free

Load Coupons Onto Your Store Loyalty Card

Before you go grocery shopping this week be sure you have your coupons! In addition to the coupons you can find in the Sunday Paper, and on coupon printing websites…you can also load coupons directly to your store loyalty card using Cellfire!

These coupons come off your card as discounts when your card is swiped. You can actually STACK them with manufacturer coupons. Which means if you have a $.50/1 Twinkie on your card and a $.50/1 Twinkie paper coupon…You get $1 off your Twinkie! If your store doubles coupons, they won’t double the Cellfire coupon. So keep that in mind when you are shopping.

(Twinkie? When is the last time I had a Twinkie?)

Load your card up today! (they will ask for your cell #. I promise it’s perfectly legit. I would not recommend it if it wasn’t!)

For more help setting up your grocery list, check out these awesome (if I do say so myself) links:
How to make a grocery list
How to Shop Smart

  This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click/purchase/sign up for this offer, I may receive a small amount of compensation for it. A win for you and a win for me! Have a GREAT day!

How to Use Store Ads to Save Money Grocery Shopping

I shop at multiple grocery stores. Most weeks I try to keep it to two, but some weeks the sales are so good (or so bad!) that I go to all 3 in my area (this does not include drugstore game trips).

So how in the world do I decide WHERE to buy WHAT?


I will walk you through the anatomy of my grocery list here step by step.

1. It starts with store ads. My ads come on Wednesday. Which makes Wednesday a very exciting day for me (no that’s not sarcasm…I love this stuff!). My ads come later in the afternoon unfortunately, but if I have the heads up that a great promotion is coming I might stop off and grab the ads right at the store while I’m out running morning errands with the kids (I REALLY try not to do this. I have to get them both out of their car seats, they INSIST on the car cart, etc…).

2. I lay the ads out in front of me and I grab a black marker. The very first thing I do is look at the front pages of all 3 of my grocery stores (I tend to shop at HEB, Kroger and Randall’s). On the front page is where any big store promotions will be announced and also where their “loss leaders” are advertised (these are items that are marked down so much that the store is actually taking a loss when they sell it to you for that price. The hope is that THAT gets you in the door and you pay full price for everything else on your list. WE are not going to do that 😉 )

3. I circle in big black marker anything we need that is on the front page, and if the stores have the same item on sale I compare who is marked cheaper.

4. Next I move into the inside of the ads. Be cautious here. Just because it is advertised doesn’t mean it is a great deal. Go back and forth between all of your ads and compare prices, quantities and if the item is part of a promotion…what you need to do to fulfill the obligations and obtain the sale price (for instance, if it is a buy 10 participating items get $5 back promotion, make sure there are 10 items that you actually need and you won’t just be spending money to “save” money)

5. Now it’s judgment call time. I look at which ads have the most things circled and I try to evaluate whether the ad or ads that don’t have as much circled are really worth the gas and time to make a trip. If it’s just one or two items and the sale isn’t THAT great. I’ll save myself the stress and toss that ad for the week. Some weeks all 3 have an abundance of greatness that I just cannot pass up. Some weeks the sales are so dismal that I have to decide to suck it up and just go to one store and not save much, or just go grab the few deals available at each store. This step is pretty personal and depends on your time constraints for the week, your fund availability, etc. If I have several “need” items that I know I typically have to pay full price for I make sure HEB is included in my weekly trips for the week since that is my “everyday” low price store (for more on why the everyday low price store isn’t always the store you should be shopping at, read my article on How To Save Money Grocery Shopping)

6. Once I have everything that looks good circled, I pull out my coupon binder and my computer. I flip through and see if I have any coupons for any of the products on my ads. Even the ones that aren’t circled by me sometimes have a coupon that make it a circle-able deal. Afterwards I head on over to my computer to see if there are any printable coupons available in my Coupon Database.

7. So now that I have my sale items, and I have my coupons…I make sure I have my “needs” lists (milk, eggs, fruit, etc. The perishables I always have to buy weekly) and I’m ready to go!

For more info on how to save money grocery shopping, how to use coupons and how I organize my coupons, check out these links:

How To Save Money Grocery Shopping

How to Play the Drugstore Game

Coupon Organization

A quick example on why it pays to compare ads:

Wish I had more freezer space!











 

How do you make your grocery lists?