By Guest Blogger Tasha Jones, a local coupon consultant
Saving money is everyone’s goal in life right? Today I share pointers on what I use every day to save money. As a mommy of two, as well as someone who is a homeowner and about to be married, my life screams for saving money!
The first thing we want to do is plan. I plan out my week and also plan out a monthly budget. This helps me stay organized and on point for what needs to be done. When figuring up my budget for the month, I always start with my bills, then I work my way down to food, and then last but not leas,t gas money. You always want to have a miscellaneous amount because – with kids – anything can happen! There could be a field trip or an outing where you may have to grab a snack while you’re out. All of those add up, so you always want to have some miscellaneous change included in your budget.
Here are a few steps I follow:
Step 1: Note your net income. The first step in creating a budget is to identify the amount of money you have coming in.
Step 2: Track your spending. Keep your budget sheet somewhere handy, especially on shopping trips or while running errands.
Step 3: Set your goals for the month. Put a set amount you don’t want to go over and stick to it.
Step 4: Make a plan on how you intend on meeting that goal.
Step 5: (This is the hard one – LOL) Adjust your habits if necessary. That includes eating out, driving through pit stops, etc.
Step 6: (This is another hard one) Keep checking in on your goal sheet throughout the month to see how you are doing.
Budgeting can sound hard at first but put yourself self on a timeline on when you want to have things done. Setting a goal and feeling like you are working towards something may just give you that push you need to meet that goal.
Couponing was something that I adopted when I found out I was expecting another child. Now couponing is my new addiction! It is also my number one resource on how I save money on a day-to-day basis. To be successful in couponing it does take time and patience; however, with time and patience you will be a COUPON QUEEN LIKE ME.
How to Get Started with Couponing
1. Get your self a three ring binder. It doesn’t have to be fancy – just something that will help yourself stay organized while in the store.
2. Purchase a packet of baseball card holders. These can usually be found in the stationary section of Walmart.
3. Finally, go out and clip coupons.
Where To Find Coupons
There are two sources you probably already receive in your mailbox: Smart Source and Red Plum. The Sunday paper is another great resource when collecting your coupon. Online, I like to visit www.Coupons.com, www.MoolaSavingMom.com, and www.TheHarrisTeeterDeals.com
Tricks to Couponing
Keeping up with the sales can be hard. Here is my advice: Grab a sheet of paper and write down three stores where you normally shop, and start gathering the sales paper for that particular week for each store. Next, start looking through coupons that would match for that particular sale. For example, let’s say Oreo cookies are on sale 2/6 there is a $2.00 coupon available for Oreos if you just get one pack of Oreos you’ll pay a dollar for one pack. Most store sales change weekly, so you have to stay on point with making sure that you get a weekly store ad each week. Most stores have a online app or online website where you can view there sales paper. That will actually help you save a trip to the store and this is perfect for mommies like myself.
Coupon Policies and Procedures
Knowing couponing policies at various stores isvery important. Let’s use Harris Teeter for example. When couponing at Harris Teeter you can only use 20 coupons per VIC CARD, and only three like coupons per transaction. All stores are different when it comes to their couponing policies if you’re not aware of their policy, visit the store online or their customer service desk to learn their Do’s and Don’ts with couponing.
Darn My Coupon has Expired
These words make me cry. Keeping up with your coupons and their expiration dates are very important. No store will be able to take an expired coupon. When adding coupons into my binder, I take note of the insert it came from as well as its expiration date, and file it accordingly. Every so often you may run into a coupon that is good for several months; however there are very few of those. Keeping your couponing book up-to-date and organized is the best way to keep a track of which coupons will expire and when. When my coupons expire I normally send them to the troops. Here is a LINK with more information about this program.
*Tasha Jones is a mom in Greensboro who runs a Facebook page called Jewelz Who Coupon where members share deals and ask questions in reference to couponing. She also conducts couponing classes every other month, as well as by request