Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to afford food storage

Of course cost of getting prepared is one of the biggest obstacles, especially for single parents. When I started really thinking about it 2 years ago, I really wanted more food storage, but didn't see how that was possible. I was only spending $45 a week on food anyway; how could I cut that any more? But I prayed, & decided I was going to find SOME way. And I discovered coupons. I'd used some before, but really, saving $.25 didn't seem like it was going to help much. But I was led to some great websites. They do all the work for you. The tell you what store, what the sale is, what coupon to use, & what the final price will be if you do that. I was scared the first time I tried it. Now when I do buy something without coupons, I'm shocked at the cost! Now some of it isn't things that are our favorite; some aren't super healthy. But any food I can get free, I'm going to take & keep in my food storage. It also saves us a ton on our regular food. When my husband left we'd switched to generic cold cereal. I discovered with coupons I could get name brand for much less than generic. And example I got this week:
Smith's had Kelloggs cereal on sale for $1.67 box. Pretty good price already. The newspaper had a coupon for $5 off 5 boxes of Kelloggs. Nice! Now it's $.67 a box! Then turns out there were codes inside the boxes of cereal. Enter 4 codes in online & send for a $5 gas gift card. So for each 4 boxes I bought (at a total of $2.68), I would get a $5 gift card back. How awesome is that?!

Now those shows like extreme couponing have scared some people away. I'm not obsessive, nor does a single mom have 6 hours to spend on 1 shopping trip. And I definitely don't want to go dumpster diving for coupons. I spend typically 1-2 hours a week, depending on how many good sales there are. The kids can clip the newspaper coupons in about 15 min for you. (there are also printable coupons online, which the websites will give you a link to). Some people don't even subscribe to a newspaper, just ask for their neighbors coupon inserts who many throw away. I have a Sunday only subscription for about $4 a month per paper. Last year I kept track of the extra time I spent, & how much I saved over regular retail price. I was amazed after 3 months to find it was $80 an hour! I'd have to get a job at over $100 an hour to get that same buying power after taxes. It's been a lifesaver for us in many ways!

Another example: my father went to Smith's for a pasta sale with coupons. He got 23 bags of pasta & paid under $1. We can all almost find that much in our couch cushions! And worst case, we could live on that!
And in these tough economic times, we don't know if prices may go up. Buying now can make you more interest on your money than you'll get in a bank.
There is a bit to learn about couponing, but it's well worth your time! Many Walmarts will also price match, which cuts down on going to different stores. Give it a try! If I can do it you can!
My favorite sites:
www.pinchingyourpennies.com (go to forums, state forums, & find your state. They'll do your local grocery stores matched with coupons)

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