Yesterday morning, instead of forging my way through rush hour traffic in New York City, I hit up my local grocery store with Jeanette Pavini. Jeanette is the Household Savings Expert for Coupons.com and I met with her because, well, my household is in desperate need of some serious saving.
Jeanette knows a ridiculous amount about coupons and how to redeem and combine them to get the best savings. So because it’s back-to-school season and lots of moms are probably frantically shopping to get their children ready, I’m sharing a few of her no-fail ways to save. Print these tips out and keep them on your fridge or in your wallet or wherever they’ll serve to remind you about all the money you could be saving. As Jeanette so plainly put it to me yesterday, “It’s free money!”
1. Use coupons. You knew this was coming. According to Jeanette, you could save $50/week at the grocery store alone just by using coupons. That’s $200/month, $2400/year back in your bank account. And even if you’re lazy like me and can’t be bothered to collect all those darn circulars, Coupons.com aggregates tons of coupons for everything from food to school supplies that are accepted in stores across the country. Just select the ones you want, print them and you’re done.
2. Buy school supplies now. Stores like Staples and Office Depot are selling notebooks for just $1 and pencils for just 25 cents. They’ll probably never be this cheap again, so stock up for the entire school year, not just enough to last your kid through the first few months.
3. Buy a reusable lunch box. This heavy-duty robot lunch box is $34. Now that may seem like a lot, but if you think about how much you’ll spend each month buying paper bags for your child to bring every day, the savings is obvious. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to save the environment, too.
4. Plan your menus around what’s on sale. Lots of moms (myself, included) plan their weekly dinner and lunch menus first, then head to the grocery store. Wrong! You should check what’s going to be on sale first, then plan your menu. And another great grocery store tip: never pay full-price for cereal. There’s always a coupon for cereal.
5. Buy off-season. It may seem crazy to be buying your kids shorts and tank tops in August, but you’ll pat yourself on the back next May. These denim shorts were $20, but now they’re only $8. Stick to classic cuts and silhouettes and you won’t have to worry about whether your scores will still be in style next year.
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