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Category: Coupons

“But I’m too busy to clip coupons!”

Ever felt like clipping coupons was for people who were sitting around twiddling their thumbs with nothing better to do? Well, here’s some good news: clipping coupons can even be done by very busy folks.

In fact, my friend, JessieLeigh, over at Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles, is doing an excellent series to dispel the myth that you don’t have time to clip coupons. She has some fabulous suggestions, including:

::Ideas for clipping coupons while in the car–no, not while you drive!

::Ideas for clipping coupons while at work–she includes ideas for both stay-at-home moms/women and work-outside-home moms/women. And if you’re a guy who’s a coupon clipper, I’m sure some of these suggestions could work for you, too.

::Ideas for including young children in your coupon-clipping–I need to try out more of these suggestions!

There, now you have no excuse! Go multi-task and get those coupons clipped!

When do you clip coupons? Tell us in the comments.

31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget: Menu Planning on a Budget (Part 1)

Missed the first posts this series? Read them here.

So now that you know some of the benefits of menu-planning, I thought it’d be helpful to share some suggestions for planning a budget-friendly menu. However, please remember that there is no right or wrong way to plan a menu. These are just suggestions–take what works for your family, and leave the rest!

1) “Shop” Your Cupboards

I always start menu-planning by looking in my freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards. This simple exercise often yields a great deal of inspiration.

For instance, last week I discovered that I had cream cheese, canned tomatoes, and noodles on hand. So I made this lasagna as part of Freezer Cooking Day.

Maybe you open up your freezer and find chicken and frozen broccoli and you open up your cupboard and see a bag of rice. Well, you have the beginnings of Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. Just add cheese and cream of chicken soup  to your grocery list (or make your own Homemade Cream Soup) and you have everything you need for one dinner that week.

One great resource for coming up with recipes based upon what you already have on hand is by using the Ingredient Search feature from AllRecipes. Type in the ingredients you have and those you don’t have, and it will pull up a list of recipes you can make.

Two other websites you can consult for recipes based upon ingredients you have on hand are SuperCook and Recipe Matcher.

2) Consult the Sales Fliers

Once you feel like you’re getting the hang of planning your menu based upon what you have on hand, you’re ready to move onto the next level of menu-planning–planning your menu based upon what’s on sale at your local store(s). This is where you really start to see the savings happening!

Most grocery store chains have their weekly sale fliers available online. If not, you will often receive a copy in the mail. Or, you could even pick one up at the store if you’re going to be driving right by it.

When you’re in the middle of planning your menu and grocery list, quickly browse through these sale fliers and see if there are any exceptional deals on things you need or things you will use in the next few months. Most of the time, the hottest deals of the week are listed predominantly in the front page of the flier. Oftentimes, these front-page deals are “loss-leaders”. (“Loss-leaders” are deals which the store is actually breaking even– or losing money on! They are designed to be good enough to “bait” you into shopping at that store.)

Don’t neglect to look through the full flier, though. Sometimes there are great deals which are hidden on the middle pages. However, remember that just because something is listed in the sales flier it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great deal. Over time, you’ll start learning what are the “rock-bottom” prices for items you buy and how often they go on sale in your area.

3) Survey Your Coupons

Once I’ve gotten a good idea of what I have on hand and what’s on sale at my nearby stores, I pull out my coupon box to match up coupons with the sales and see if I have any other coupons I want to be sure and use (such as high-value coupons or coupons for free items). I put these coupons  in a stack and then it’s time to make my menu plan–which we’ll talk about in more detail in the next post in this series.

What are your best tips for menu-planning on a budget? Comment and tell us!

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Coming in March: Freezer Cooking and 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget

I’m excited! So many of you have asked for me to do a step-by-step tutorial on how to cut your grocery budget. Now that the blog transition is done and I have more time for writing, I’m tackling a big project during the month of March: 31 Days To a Better Grocery Budget.

This series will give 31 tips and ideas for how you can significantly cut your grocery bill without sacrificing quality or quantity. Some of the ideas might be ones you’re already doing, but I hope everyone is able to pick up a few new things to further maximize the mileage of your money at the grocery store.

And March 1-2, 2010 (that’s Monday and Tuesday of next week–believe it or not!), I’ll be hosting another Freezer Cooking Day marathon right here, with FishMama’s help. If you’d like to join in, we’ll have a link-up on Friday (February 26, 2010) for you to share your plan and recipes.

I’ll be sharing details tomorrow on how I make up my Freezer Cooking Day plan on a budget and how you can, too. I plan to share a play-by-play of my cooking day on Monday and then finish up with a Freezer Cooking Day Accomplishments link-up on Tuesday.

If you’re planning to join us, be sure to sign up on our Facebook Event Page and follow along with the Twitter hashtag #oamc. If you’re new around here and wondering what Freezer Cooking is all about, you can check out some of my previous Freezer Cooking Day posts here.

The Frugal Map: Finally, a State-By-State Frugal Blogger’s Listing!



I often receive emails from people asking if I know of a blogger in their area who blogs about local deals. I'm usually not able to take the time to answer all these emails and I often can't keep up with exactly who blogs about what and where. But these emails have made me realize how much of a need there is for a state-by-state frugal blogger directory.

A few weeks ago, I discovered–much to my excitement!–that Bargain Briana had taken on the mammoth task of creating a state-by-state listing of frugal bloggers. Her creative directory, The Frugal Map, just rolled out today and you'll definitely want to stop by and check it out.

Briana writes:

The Frugal Map was created to help readers find their perfect blog
match. Whether the perfect blog match is by category, store, location,
there is a blog out there for your particular style.

At launch, there are 35 bloggers on the map. I would
love to get the map filled out as much as possible with bloggers all
over the country! If you aren’t included on the map, please read
submission guidelines along with the form here.

The Frugal Map has some unique features:

  • Frugal Map Function: Allows users to find a blogger near their location in an interactive map format.
  • Search Function: Allows users to search multiple blogs across the Frugal Map Network.
  • Hottest Deal RSS Feed: Gives users the most recent hot deals from the bloggers in the Frugal Map Network.
  • Specific Store Landing Pages: Allows users a one
    stop resource for for store deals including blogger store deal links,
    resources, and FAQ for the particular store.
  • Specific Blogger Landing Pages: Allows users to
    read more about their favorite blogs and connect with them via Twitter,
    Facebook, RSS, and specific store deal links.
  • Embeddable iFrame: Embed The Frugal Map on your blog as a resource for your readers.

Reader Tip: Join a Coupon Exchange Group

Do you have extra coupons you'd love to exchange with someone for coupons you could use? Samantha emailed me a great tip:

I just joined a coupon exchange group on Yahoo! and I thought others would like to know about it. This has been a great solution for giving away the coupons I had but didn't need and exchanging them for coupons I can use. Instead of throwing away coupons I can't use, I now send them to others in my group of women! Whatever coupons I receive from this group of women that I can't use, I send on to others who can use them.

The coupon group that Samantha mentioned joining is here. There are coupon exchange groups on HotCouponWorld.com, AFullCup.com, as well as a variety of other places. If you've found a great place to exchange coupons, let us know in the comments section.

In addition, don't forget that you can send your expired coupons to military families. Read more about the Coupons for Troops Program here.