Shelly is a full-time fourth grade teacher and blogs at the Coupon Teacher. She wants you to share and celebrate your successes with her, and she may give you a few tips along the way! This guest post was originally published on her own blog as her entry in our Blissfully Frugal contest. Be sure to read all the entries and vote for your favorite.
I have been blogging for 9 months now. Like a mother with a newborn, my blog has finally been born. I have cared for it along the way, nurtured it, and even experienced some complications along the way, but now it requires attention beyond my experience. Like a new mother, I need expert advice from those that have lived through these growing pains. It is for that reason, I am writing to tell you how I live Blissfully Frugal. If my post is chosen, I will have an opportunity to take a trip to meet some of the brightest women around the country and learn how to serve you (my readers) better each day.
There are two ways that I shop. Stockpiling (frugal) and shopping for needs (not). Need shopping is buying what I need on a weekly basis like produce or milk or buying an item that I need for a meal plan during the week. Because it’s an immediate need, I often pay more than the lowest price for a certain item. When shopping for needs, I always check the area sales flyers for the week.
By stockpiling items I’ll eventually need, I save hundreds of dollars each month. Supermarkets have about a 12 week sale cycle. (Most things go on sale about every twelve weeks.) There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, soup is mostly on sale during the winter and condiments during the summer. Only a few items will be featured on sale each week. So if I shop only for what I need, I’ll save on a small percentage of these items and overspend on my other needs.
What is the solution to this problem? I match coupons with sales and rebates to stock up on items that I use on a regular basis. When an item is at its lowest price, I buy several, so that I never have to pay full price for that item. I call this stockpiling.
Most people find that it takes 3 to 6 months to grow a well-rounded stockpile. When this finally happened for me, my needs shopping went way down. When I started my stockpile, I spent about the same amount as always I did before coupon shopping, but I was bringing home a tremendous amount food/groceries. At the 6 month mark, I had reduced my grocery budget in half. Now, 18 months later, I only spend $100 per week on everything, including eating out and household supplies.
Living Inexpensively has been a pretty amazing journey for me, and now I have the chance to share it with you!