How can I feed a family of 5 on $300 budget

Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List How can I feed a family of 5 on $300 budget

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      This will be a long one but here goes.

      I will start by saying that several stores in my area double coupons. But even

      if they didn’t I would still be able to reduce my savings substantially.

      – The 1st thing I did was take a class from, Faye Prosser, someone who had been

      doing it for several years and has mastered it (imo). if you live in eastern nc

      i would highly recommend it, if not i would recommend getting her book (the only

      thing i get out of recommending her is feeling great that i may have been able

      to help someone cut their grocery bill in half just as she helped me).

      – after i took her class i priced all the components to put together my own

      binder (thought i would save some money) and found that i would save money

      buying hers based on cost for the materials @ wal-mart & staples. not counting

      my time. so i went ahead and bought one with a strap, which is a huge benefit

      when you have little ones.

      – i then started buying 2 papers each Sunday. You may be thinking “why 2”?

      Well, this way if a store is running a bogo (buy one get on free) sale i have a

      coupon to use on each item. in my area this is no big deal since the stores who

      run bogo really ring each item @ 50% off. So for example, if the item is BOGO @

      $4.00 (they will ring @ $2 each) and I have a $1.00 coupon I would end up paying

      only $1 for each. Now I get the Sun. paper delivered (for $1.25/wk.) and then

      if the coupons are great I go to Walgreens or the Dollar store (the sell it for

      $1) and buy 1, 2 or 3 more, depending how many coupons I want of the “great

      ones”.

      – I have also taken on the mindset of “if it’s on sale and I have a coupon I

      buy it even if I don’t NEED it”. This applies mostly to non-perishables and

      some items that can be frozen (i.e. hot dogs, cheeses, sandwich meat, etc.). My

      1st 2 months after the class I spent building a stock pile. I bought a small

      freezer (which I paid full price for, I’ll never do that again. You can often

      find these for sale on craigslist or @ your local appliance repair center. Many

      on our yahoo group, including Faye, have bought used deep freezers and are very

      happy.) One of the biggest reasons many of us pay way to much for things is

      because we find ourselves having to “run” to the store to pick something up that

      we need and don’t have. Well, I don’t know about everyone else, but once I get

      there I would end up picking up other things so I didn’t have to get them later.

      With this approach, chances are the items you’re getting are not on sale. it

      has been a year since i’ve had to do the dreaded “run” to the store. where do i

      store my stock pile you ask? we got a used cabinet (one of those white ones

      that you often see @ wal-mart or k-mart in the furniture section) from a friend

      and keep it in the garage. i store things that are not sensitive to extreme

      hot/cold in that cabinet. i then cleaned out a closet that had way too many

      linens in it (how many blankets and sheet sets did i really need lol) and i use

      that for excess. you can add some shelves to a closet if they aren’t already

      there. since i am the primary person (actually the only person lol) in my

      household that does the grocery shopping i generally know what we have and

      need. i do keep a list on the fridge that we update when we see that we only

      have one left of something so i know it has to be replaced (as of right now my

      list has 3 items on it). I then replace it when it’s on sale and i have a

      coupon. if the item doesn’t meet both criteria’s it doesn’t get bought until

      then (of course there are some exceptions such as milk, eggs, bread and vinegar

      [which is used for laundry]). that’s really all i can think of that would fall

      under the exception rule.

      – also, if it’s free i buy it!!! even if we don’t use it. my feeling is

      someone can. there are many families, food banks, homeless shelters, churches,

      etc. that are always in need. a few things that i have not paid for in the past

      year are: toothpaste (colgate, crest, aquafresh), toothbrushes (reach &

      colgate), body wash (suave), shampoo (suave, l’oreal vive), deodorant (degree,

      secret, ban), flavored rice (uncle ben’s, zatarain’s, success), tabasco sauce,

      relish, ketchup, mustard, kellogg’s cereal, kraft cheese, etc., etc., etc. last

      year we were able to donate hundreds of dollars worth of food/non-food items to

      the needy.

      – another thing, is you can use a “store” coupon with a “manufacturer” coupon

      on the same item @ most grocery & pharmacy stores. for example, if walgreens

      has a “store” coupon in their weekly flyer for $1 off Kellogg’s protein flavored

      water and you have a $1 off “manufacturer” coupon for the same item they WILL

      let you use both @ the same time. The grocery stores in my area allow the same

      thing (check with your local store @ customer service they will be able to give

      you their “rules”). When you are asking, also ask if they will accept

      competitor coupons. We have a store locally (Harris Teeter) that will allow us

      to use Food Lion coupons. This week Harris Teeter had Deli ham on sale for 3.99

      lb and they let us use a $2 fl coupon (you can’t buy pre-packed for that price

      in most places). this saves me not only money but time and travel (@ today’s

      gas prices that’s a big deal).

      – i would suggest finding a “partner” too share your finds/savings with if you

      don’t have a group such as ours in your area. you’re family members won’t quite

      understand your excitement. that is until you are able to finally convince dh

      to come along with you. i did this about 4 months into my adventure and he was

      SHOCKED. Needless to say he never says a thing about me going to the store or

      how much “extra” I buy. Our savings has allowed us to free up a good bit of

      money and turn our 10+ year debt free plan into a 4 year debt free plan (then I

      discovered another group to help me really develop a budget) and now it is a 2

      year debt free plan.

      – The 1st month or so you won’t feel like you’re saving all that much. It’s

      because you are new @ it and building your stock pile. When you got married,

      was it easy or did you learn more about each other with each passing

      day/month/year? If your a mom, did you feel like you knew exactly what to do

      when you had your 1st baby? Just STICK to it.

      – Shop around. Don’t just shop @ one store (they run sales on different things

      for a reason). Especially those that claim they have everyday low prices or will

      price match but have 30 different rules that you don’t know about. Low prices

      based on what? Their own measuring stick? Like I said before, we spend about

      5% of our budget @ Wal-Mart. Not shopping there has saved us a lot because I am

      able to take advantage of store “sales” which are often better prices and don’t

      have to worry about dh wandering to the fishing department and finding a pole he

      can’t live w/out. or my dd begging for the newest toy that she sees on the end

      cap. or myself being tempted to buy the kids that cute new dress or checking to

      see if there are any new shoes for my toddler (when she already had 4 pairs).

      Plus they are not very coupon friendly, they will scrutinize the coupon and

      challenge it when the “picture” doesn’t match the item you are getting. Even

      though the coupon says “save x.xx on ANY xxx brand.

      – The last thing I can think of is to register your store card @ their website.

      I don’t know of many stores now-a-days that don’t have their own “savings” card.

      Some that you can register are:

      http://www.harristeeter.com – they will e-mail the weekly sales flyer to you with your

      top 10 sale items based on your history. They also have “e-vic” specials each

      week that are exclusive to customers registered on line.

      http://www.foodlion.com – they will also e-mail the weekly specials to you. In

      addition, the e-mail will contain 4-6 different “store” coupons.

      http://www.lowesfood.com – they will e-mail you the sales flyer and sometimes special

      coupons.

      http://www.bilo.com – will e-mail the sales flyer and coupon links.

      2 side notes:

      1 – I cut my coupons while watching TV. When I have more than 1 set I separate

      them and put like sheets together so when I’m cutting I cut less. Today I had 3

      sets of each and cut as if I only had 1.

      2 – I sometimes order coupons from a very reliable source,

      http://www.thecouponclippers.com. This is a lady out of Fla. that started this service

      several years ago. She charges a small fee for the coupon, postage and a .50

      handling fee. I just placed a $10 order and got 97 coupons that I WILL use.

      You are able to order the quantity that you want and the indiv. coupon cost is

      normally between .05 & .10. For example, I just bought 14 Duke’s mayo. (.90

      value) coupons for $1.40 but I will now only pay .89 per jar (2.69 if it’s not

      on sale. It often goes on sale BOGO which means they would be 1.35 each before

      coupon and then -.45 after double coupon. YES, they will pay me to take them

      home). I only order when I want a large quantity of specific coupons and don’t

      want to buy 10+ papers every week. You can order coupons that were in a paper 6

      weeks ago, 4 weeks ago, last week, etc. As long as she still has them

      available. The only time she sells out is when there’s a coupon for a “free”

      item such as a recent razor and cat food.

      I hope you find this information helpful and not too overwhelming. Couponing

      can be a lot of fun, just remember it takes time. I get a rush everytime I save

      more than I spend, better money in my pocket than theirs. Your savings could go

      towards eliminating debt, a family vacation, donations, a new car fund, kids

      college, etc. The list can go on and on. Please feel free to ask any

      questions.

      Kristina

      If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away;

      behold, all things have become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17

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Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List How can I feed a family of 5 on $300 budget