Once you’ve started getting your toes a little wet in this whole lowering your grocery budget thing, you’ll find that one of your biggest helps will be finding and following a few blogs.
When I first started MoneySavingMom.com back in 2007, there weren’t any other blogs posting deals. (Yes, seriously, can you believe that?!) There were deal forums, but they were hard to follow — and very overwhelming for a newbie.
I searched for a blog which had the deals at Walgreens and CVS mapped out for me and came up empty. Since I was already compiling the best deals for myself and a few other friends, I figured I might as well do what I wished someone else were doing and start a blog with the best deals all outlined each week in a neat and tidy manner.
Well, the idea caught on a little bit. And a few years later, there are now thousands of deal blogs of every size, shape, kind and color available. There are bloggers covering just about every store out there from every angle imaginable.
The good news is that there are so many deal blogs out there, there’s something for everyone.
The bad news is that there are so many deal blogs out there you can get a little overwhelmed or spend too much time reading them.
Just like you want to be a wise steward of your money, you also want to be a wise steward of your time. When it comes to deal blogs, I suggest choosing no more than five to follow.
Pick blogs which inspire you, give you new and creative ideas, which routinely cover stores you shop at and which you find easy to follow. If a blog isn’t inspiring or helping you, stop following it. (That goes for this blog, as well. There’s no point in you wasting time reading here if you’re not getting anything out of it!)
If you find five quality blogs which regularly post the best deals and which cover the stores in your area, you’ll likely be notified of just about every truly great deal out there. Oh, I’m sure if you followed 35 deal blogs, you’d probably find a few more deals than you’d find just following five deal blogs, but I honestly doubt you’d really miss much. I follow 5-10 deal blogs at any given time myself and I find that it’s rare I miss some really amazing deal — and if I were only following them for myself (instead of also looking for deals to share with a nationwide audience), five would totally suffice.
Now, please don’t feel like I’m saying you’re wrong to follow more than five blogs. You can do whatever works for you! I’m just trying to alleviate you of the feeling that you’re missing out on all sorts of great stuff if you don’t follow at least 76 different blogs! 🙂
You’re better off following a few blogs and spending the rest of your time implementing what you’re learning, than spending hours reading about all these great ways to save money but never actually doing anything.
Use Feed Subscriptions
I’ve found that it’s much more efficient to read blogs through a feed reader, rather than visiting each of them individually. I personally use Bloglines, though I’ve been told repeatedly that Google Reader is better. Most blogs also now offer the option of email subscriptions, so you can get an email in your inbox once per day with all the posts from the previous 24 hours in one concise little email — saving you from even having to visit a blog if you’d like!
Pick the Best Deals, Leave the Rest
I’ve said it repeatedly, but it bears repeating again: you don’t have to hit every deal. Once you’ve subscribed to the five or so blogs you want to follow, just skim through the posts on a regular basis and pick and choose what deals you have the time and energy to do and have no guilt in leaving all the others behind.
Sometimes I get emails from readers who are all flustered trying to figure out how I do all the deals I post about. Um, want to know something? I probably actually do around 5-15% of the deals I post here. And I don’t feel one bit of guilt over the others I choose not to do. If I did all the deals I posted here, we’d be way over-budget, our house would be bursting with stuff we didn’t need and I’d have my priorities way out of whack.
Instead I just pick and choose what deals work for our family based upon our budget, our needs and the time I have. By doing this, we get plenty of great deals and save a boatload of money — and I have time for many other more important things in my life.
Blogs are so helpful when it comes to saving money on your grocery bill as they share the best deals with you in a concise, step-by-step manner. But remember that they are there to serve as a tool, not a burden.
Do you find that following blogs helps you to save on your grocery bill? What tips do you have for streamlining your blog reading?
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Blogs REALLY help me find my deals! I follow 8 different ones–but know how to scan through them quickly now to find what I need for me and my family. Thank you for what you do to help all of us out! I have been couponing for a little less than a year, and it has changed so much for us! Not only has it helped us save money (in a BIG way!), it has also helped us to value our dollar even more. My husband and I are in a journey to get out of the debts we created for ourselves years ago, and I know with couponing, we will get there that much faster!
I have also pared my frugal blog subscriptions down A LOT. It was getting to be too time consuming to follow them all. I chose what I think are the best ones with honest bloggers who find the deals themselves or credit the people who did all the work. Now I have more time to read a few blogs on other subjects like cooking, crafting and that sort of thing. Reading blogs has become fun again – and not a chore like before =)
I’m a deal blogger and a few months ago I had to do some REAL soul searching about the deals I was posting. I found it was overwhelming to me to post TONS of stuff per day, and it occurred to me, my readers might be overwhelmed too. I recently had a reader tell me they’ve begun dropping bloggers from their Google Reader that post too frequently per day – they just couldn’t keep up!
I’ve decided to LIMIT the amount of deals I post. If I see a deal on multiple blogs? It doesn’t need to go on mine, too. I also try posting the deals I feel will bring the greatest value to the greatest number of readers.
I believe the true definition of frugality is being wise with our time and resources as well as money. I’m slowly working at pairing down my shopping as well. I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said about picking the best deals. Is it worth it to spend 30 minutes driving to the store to get a freebie you won’t use? NOT frugal in my opinion.
Betty H says
You are so right. I love reading your blog. I only subscribe to two. I can especially agree with your statement “If I did all the deals I posted here, we’d be way over-budget, our house would be bursting with stuff we didn’t need and I’d have my priorities way out of whack.”. I just started following 1 month ago and … right now I have my priorities out of whack because all your deals are so good, I’m trying most of them. I’m starting to pick and choose now. Thanks for the advice. Keep blogging. I love receiving emails from you.
It can be so easy to get caught up in all these deal blogs! Even following just a handful results in a lot of repetition.
Another piece of advice is to be open to switching.
Sometimes a blogger changes focus — even a little bit — and no longer meets my needs.
Also, when I have a few extra minutes I follow the “thanks to so and so” link at the end of a particular deal. Sometimes I decide that this new to me blog is worth following for a week or so, so I add it to my reader. If, after that audition, I find it provides information I’m not getting somewhere else, I’ll keep it and maybe unsubscribe from a different one.
I completely agree. I use my iGoogle homepage to follow blogs. To figure out which were best for me, I added about 8 of them, then as checked them out each day, I removed ones that weren’t as useful. I’m down to you, My Frugal Adventures (a local one for me), and Baby Cheapskate. Those cover all my bases!
Martha Artyomenko says
I don’t use blogs to help me save money, generally i find their concepts interesting, but my budget is so low or I have different stores here, lack of coupons or something that makes it so I learn from them and go and do my own thing. But I am flexible…..I can live on $5 a week – $50 a week or more sometimes and find it a fun challenge most of the time. I like to read blogs that share recipes and get ideas from that, to see what they actually do with the food they buy….it is great. I also do not have alot of extra money for things like feta cheese, dried fruit, or the extra stuff unless I get it marked down, so recipes that taste good with plain simple ingredients….I love! I generally post my menus and try to post at least one recipe a week from what I am making, but it is more for me.
If there are any bloggers reading this, I do have a tip to add –
I LOVE reading blogs – I love garnering information from others and putting these tips to use in my life. HOWEVER, the art of a well-designed blog goes a LONG way.
I love MSM’s blog setup. It’s clean, easy to use, and all the information is accessible with a couple clicks. I recently found a blog with new information that I’m really interested in, but I can only spend about 5 minutes there before I’m ready to pull my hair out with the lack of organization…
random rant, but I needed to get it off my chest!!! 🙂
Kristen P says
This is exactly what I needed to hear. I am still new to this and I think I was starting to get burned out chasing deals all over town. Thank you so much for your blog! It is certainly my favorite.
i recently posted my best tips for following blogs on my own blog. my number 1 tip is use folders so you can drill down to just what you want to read in each sitting.
I follow MSM and one other blog. That’s enough to for me. I also only play the drugstore game at CVS. It was too confusing for be to to Walgreens too.
I used to feel guilty about missing deals, but I had to get over it, because my time is valuable. I typically focus on saving through CVS and whichever grocery store has the best prices and coupon matchups for the week.
Thank you for being honest and open.I thought it was interesting to know how many deals you actually do compared to what you post. I have felt in the past so overwhelmed and guilty for not doing everything, but came to the conclusion to do only the ones that work for our family. I always had the idea that if people are posting these on their blogs, they must be doing every single one. It’s nice to know I was wrong about that and I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.
I agree that Google reader is the way to go…
I choose sites based on what I need–
I like store specific sites like I Heart Publix and Totally Target because I can go there for everything I need for my grocery/personal needs without having to filter through other things not related to those stores! When I want to see a good mix of deals I go to MSM or Hip2Save to find a variety of deals!
Thanks Crystal I needed to be reminded of all this since I was starting to get burned out again. I started the coupon deals and blogs Dec 07 and I did try to do every deal imaginable to the point my spouse thought I was going crazy. I was having a blast and our home was overflowing but I couldn’t relax and sleep at night without doing all the math in my head for my next potential deal. Lol. I feel blessed to be able to save thousands of dollars and share my stockpile with local shelters but at times I do catch myself trying to go after too many deals as if all of the deals will come to an end tomorrow. I encourage people to definitely have a nice stockpile for their family and share with friends but 100 bottles of body wash can consist of hoarding. I was so exhausted this week that I took a little time off from hitting up the stores but I can never miss reading your blog. I have all of my storage bins and shelves stocked so unless something is a super cheap or FREE deal I’m starting to pass. I too started Dave Ramsey and I’m learning to have restraint from buying what I do not need.
I only have 4 blogs that I visit regularly. This has worked well for me. I feel like I get a good variety of deals and do not worry about the rest. I am mostly into natural and organic deals. Here is who I read.
The Thrifty Mama
Common Sense With Money
Hope this helps
There is an awesome site called MyCityMommy.com and it has links to blogs all over the US…just find your city and click on it. That way you can see all of the local deals and events too!
Charissa Thonus says
I follow 3 different blogs. Yours is my favorite! Thanks for all you do!
You are SO right! I subscribed to all sorts of blogs when I first started, but I was getting VERY overwhelmed! I’ve narrowed it down to 4 deal blogs (plus some personal friends’ blogs). They do overlap and even now I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of posts, but I’m having a hard time narrowing it down further! 🙂
I use Google Reader and recommend it. It’s easy to scroll through and see duplicate posts from different blogs (like 3 people posting the same freebie). If I received email subscriptions, it would be hard to do that. It’s like a separate “email box” for the blogs I read.
Very good advice, Crystal:) Your blog has been such a blessing in our household~thanks for all the effort you put into it!
Ana Maria S. says
I just whittled down my bookmarked blogs down to 15 max(I had like 35!)….the sites I visit every day are yours of course, hip2save, & southern savers. I have other store specific ones that I follow like totally target, wild for wags, simply cvs, & i heart earthfare. I do have a few that I subscribe to by email such as Live Fabuless, frugal girls, & free snatcher. I started seriously couponing in February and have saved so much money on groceries, household needs, birthday & Christmas presents, even flights and rental cars. I will probably reduce my blogs by another 5 soon because I have noticed that most cover the same topics and granted every once in a while there is something new but I don’t need to be on top of every deal that comes up. 🙂
I follow 3 blogs and usually check them once a day. I usually only go to one grocery store but will occasionally go to a second one if they are having really great deals that week and then go to 1 or 2 drugstores. I usually pick between Rite Aid and CVS. I’ve given up on Walgreens because the deals just aren’t worth the headaches they cause me. I use to go to 6 stores every week and it got completely overwhelming and felt like I spent all my time trying to get deals. Now I just go to 2 stores a week, unless there are some incredible deals then maybe 3, and life is much more balanced.
Amanda Fletcher says
I’ve fallen in love with RSS feeds in the last several months. I never used to keep up with blogs because I’d have them bookmarked but never remembered to go look. I’m on a Mac, and Mail has a feed reader built in. Below my inbox, trash, save files are folders for each feed so it’s very organized and all in one place that I have open all day anyway. I follow several dozen feeds but only a handful are this type of deal blog. I’ve cut a few because I’ve found repetitive information from blogs I like better, and I can skim out the posts I know won’t help me, like deals for stores I don’t have around here.
There are three I do visit outside the reader on a regular basis for specific stores, and I don’t know why it never occurred to me to just subscribe to their feeds. D’oh!
I follow a few “deal” blogs (I think five) that I have bookmarked on my computer & each week I try one or two new ones that are linked up on my main blogs. When I try a new one, I watch it for a few days and then decide if I want to bookmark it or not. I’m getting ready to drop one of my old blogs because the content has gotten stale & I don’t find anything there that interest me anymore; if I start to feel that way about a blog, I stop checking it for a week and then I go through the archives and see if I missed anything-if I didn’t, it’s gone!
I love this blog! I agree, following only a few blogs saves so much time and energy. I check in here very day as well as a few other blogs for various reasons. I like passion for savings for the Walmart matchups and notice of printables for upcoming CVS or Wags sales. I probably only go to Walmart once a month though. I read bargains to bounty for great Meijers matchups. Since I am from central Ohio I read stretching a buck for krogers deals. Finally I use a full cup forums to find deals at CVS and Walgreens. I too skip stores and try to manage my time by not chasing every deal. I never go to Rite Aid although I hear they have good deals. I go to CVS only for great sales and I only go to Krogers and Meijers for essentials and free or cheap products. I have skipped krogers for two weeks and Meijers for one week so far. Now if I could break my Wag’s habit…Oh if you have an Aldi’s check it out, that’s where I bought the basics the past two weeks.
Google Reader for sure!
Jessica @ This Blessed Life says
I think a good tip is to find a few blogs that cover the different stores that you frequent, and that way you cover all your “bases.” For instance, I follow your blog for freebies and CVS, For the Mommas for PA grocery stores, Rite Aid, and Target, and I use the Frugal Find as somewhat of a filler to the two of you. Of course, most of the sites overlap, but by using this technique I feel that I’m well-informed of the deals I need without being overwhelmed.
So glad you started the trend! 🙂
I use Google Reader. I can quickly scroll through the new posts and if I see a deal I’m interested in. If there are deals that interest me, I just print any necessary coupons and then e-mail the post to myself so when I make my grocery list and organize my coupons I can quickly access the information and I don’t have to remember where I saw the deal. Once I’m done I just delete from my inbox:) Thanks for all your helpful information!!
Honey Smith says
Moneysavingmom is my homepage! That way I never miss anything! And I regularly look at southernsavers (excellent printable lists!), commonsensewithmoney, couponkatie (she’s a friend and covers local Knoxville deals), and dealseekingmom. I find it helpful to follow those few that cover a lot, and then a few that are specific to my region (because not all deals apply to all locations). Thanks for a great and very helpful blog!
Hi fellow Knoxvillian!
Honey Smith says
@AMmommy, Hello! Always fun to meet other Knoxville moms!
I follow 6 blogs daily (at the moment (MSM, a thrifty mom, hip2save, totallytarget, mycouponteacher and couponingtodisney)). If I miss a couple days, I will try and go back to where I left off and skim through the archives that way.
I don’t feel bad about missing a deal if I don’t need it. I shop at CVS, Target and the Commisary are my main shops. I do shop at Walmart occasionally, but my local one has a bad habit of being to crowded, dirty, and they have stopped carrying some items. To top it off they are rearranging the store, so it makes it more confusing.
I mainly follow two blogs, this one & Southern Savers. I find both to be extensive enough that I don’t really need to follow any others and if one misses a deal, the other usually has it. I may stop by a few other blogs from time to time, but these are the two I go to daily. I used to spend a lot of time doing deals when I first “really” started couponing in January 2009, but I have found that I don’t need to do many deals now, besides grocery items, since my stockpile of toiletries is so large. I also was a big WAGS person, when they had the ESR, but after they ended the program I decided to mainly do CVS. I agree, RRs expire too quickly and using coupons can be a pain. I have never had a problem at the CVSs in my area. They will even take expired ECBs (I lose track of the dates from time to time) that are a few days or weeks overdue. I always ask if it is alright and they said as long as it is not over six months expired, they will take them. Haha. Luckily, I have not had that happen, but I do find CVS very coupon friendly. WAGS does have a store card that you can scan when you make a purchase or buy a prescription now. Points can be redeemed for WAGS coupons, gift cards and some other things. I just received mine in the mail today. I am not sure if this is everywhere because I have not seen it posted yet, but the Richmond, VA area is participating.
I follow 3 blogs and that itself it too much for me…but i love reading their posts. Each blog has a different feel. MSM, hip2save, couponingtodisney and savingmoneyirl….all are great. I jump on only 10% of the deals posted but that itself saves me a ton!
Apart from deals, MSM has a lot of inspiring posts, freezer cooking days and eat from the pantry challenge that i love. Everytime i feel i have lost focus, i read one of her articles. And that boosts me up 🙂
Hip has great videos
Couponingtodisney does some good disney planning
Savingmoneyirl- love her investing ways. Nice read and i have learnt so much from her blog.
What is the webiste address for the savingmoneyirl that you mentioned?
@Lissa, google “savingmoneyirl” — irl stands for in real life, fyi.
@Heather, 🙂 Thanks Heather
I used to follow about 25 several times a day. It got out of control! I now follow 5 daily (this, the frugal find, deal seeking mom, hip2save and totally target). I also follow a few others now and then. Especially ones that are dedicated solely to baby item deals.
My best time saving tip is getting text messages from facebook. Most bloggers also post deals on facebook. When they do I get a text. This way I know about them quickly, and if I don’t care about them then I just do nothing. I have unlimited texts, so this works for me.
barefoot and married says
And I agree, make the switch to Google Reader, you’ll never look back!
Jenni@Life from the Roof says
I follow only one coupon blog (this one :)) regularly, and read a few other blogs regularly. The other few that I read mostly are also dedicated to simple living, but don’t have deals that they post. I find that these types of blogs help me to save money too because they offer moral support for living a less consumer-oriented life.
I use Google Reader, though I’m hoping to even categorize some of the blogs I follow, for easier skimming. Just today I got rid of a few I followed because I was finding repeat information.
I have found a few key post that help me, especially one related to CVS and another for Target. I did find, however, just today, that not all locations offer the deals listed. I went into Jamba Juice to find the $1 deal today, only to find they weren’t offering it. I could have called first, but…you know.
I am new to this….how do I find blogs that cover NJ and the grocery stores by me…Shoprite, A&P, Pathmark, Foodtown. We have a Target, but it does not carry many groceries.
@karin, I also have a grocery store (JayC) that is local and not covered by a lot of blogs. I googled “JayC deals” and found a blogger who covers those sales every week. So try googling your particular store, and hopefully you can find someone who does.
@karin, Here on MSM, she has stores from all over the country linked together, which may send you to another blog, but they cover many stores. It is listed on her right sidebar.
@karin, Another blogger put together a map of blogs, The Frugal Map. You can see it here: http://thefrugalmap.bargainbriana.com/the-frugal-map/
@karin, Check livingrichwithcoupons.com. Cindy is located in NJ and covers sales and coupon matchups at ShopRite and some other stores (including Stop and Shop and Pathmark). That might help you.
I use Google Reader. When I realize that I’m continuously skipping updated posts from a blog then I will periodically go through my list of blogs and delete some. This keeps me from feeling overwhelmed because I have 1000+ unread posts. Thanks for the suggestions.
I so agree with you. I for one gave up Walgreens in the last year (with the exception of REALLY good sales on stuff that I a) need AND b) don’t find sales on often) because of their ridiculous coupon policy. I used to love them when they had the ESR program but with all the restrictions with the RR and coupon to item limits, not excepting coupons more than the value of the item, etc, I decided to be done with them. People call me crazy and tell me I’m missing great deals, but you know what? I don’t feel guilty at all. I still have CVS which I get much better service, I still get my deals, and I don’t get an enormous headache every time I shop.
About the blogs, I casually follow about 6. Out of those, I check this and swaggrabber several times per day, couponing101 everyday, and a few others every day or two. I get too tired trying to keep up with more than that
I, too, am only going to shop at Walgreens for the good sales. When I first started shopping there with coupons, the staff were very friendly. Now they review every product and every coupon and many times say they can’t accept the coupons.
Just this week I picked up three Reach toothbrushes. Each one had a $1.00 coupon attached to it. The manager looked at the coupons and said she could only accept one, not all three, because the coupon stated “one per purchase.” I could not convince the manager that it was one coupon per item. She wouldn’t let me do three separate “purchases” with the toothbrushes. It is to the point that my stomach starts to do flip flops when I think about going shopping at Walgreens with coupons.
This is a great article. I will stick with five blogs and eliminate the coupon burnout.
I follow three different blogs. I have bookmarked others in the past, but end up going back to the same old three (including MSM!) I’ve kind of had to do the same thing with my shopping. When I first started couponing, I was trying to go to about five different stores a week to get all of the deals…way too overwhelming! (What was I thinking?!) I very quickly realized that I needed to stick with just a couple of stores a week. So my three blogs are really quite sufficient to give me the info that I need, and even there I skip over the posts for stores that I don’t go to. I can’t neglect my family so that I can coupon 12 hours a day! 🙂