I’m back! Nevertheless, I spent most of my week on the couch and will completely admit to watching Extreme Couponing back to back to Say Yes to the Dress.
Ever take a moment and sit down to watch that show? (I mean quite frankly who has time for tv when you have children anyway?) But the Extreme Couponing show really gets to me. When you sit and think about it, how in the world can someone pay only 18 dollars and get an insane amount of food, tolietries, and supplies for months on end using coupons?
When I started shopping at my local Ralph’s store, I felt as if I was being filmed on that show (literally). You could catch me smiling ear to ear as I walked out with a full cart saving so much money and yes, sometimes using coupons is “embarrassing” and yet time consuming but when shopping for my family I have it down to a T and I am ready to show you my tips and tricks for shopping bi weekly! (Yes! You read that correctly, bi weekly!) No more rushing to the store every 2-3 days, and no need to ask your significant other to stop at the store on their way home for that one ingredient you swore not to forget.
Be ready because it’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to say the least!
First thing is first! Make your list. When starting to shop bi weekly, this could take a couple tries first. You will need to be organized and precise because its a talent go to to the store 2-3 times a month!
Before going to the store (days beforehand) I will find myself making a list of recipes I would like to make or try for those two to three weeks and utilize the products I am buying. For example, if the chicken breast is on sale that week perhaps I will make chicken parmesan and chicken curry, that way no product is gone to waste because I have used the chicken to split it into two recipes. One thing that makes me cringe is throwing away a whole bunch of food from my fridge that has gone bad. It’s a complete waste so I find tricks to make sure that if I buy it, I use it.
I currently find most of my recipes through cookbooks at home, Pinterest, Keto cookbooks, and Keto connect but you can find them just about anywhere!
So that’s that. Make a list! I usually write down the whole recipe too (sometimes adding measurements to the list to be more exact on which bulk to buy) and go from there. For example :
Then I would go ahead and mark the number of products I need for the recipes for the week. Such as spinach, I will need two bags (One for one recipe and one for another.) That way when I go to the store, I don’t buy too much or too little.
I will repeat this for all my recipes. Referring to my personal shopping list above.
Next I will find the weekly ad. Ralph’s starts their ad on Wednesday so I will usually take a look the day it comes out and try my best to go before the weekend so I can prep my food and make some recipes before my busy weekends.
*Side Note* Along with food prep, I freeze some meals to save time and money later. If I overcook something or know my family won’t finish it I will save the meal, put it in a plastic freezer safe container, label it, freeze it and defrost weeks later.
With this said I then defrost my meal in the fridge overnight and in the morning transfer the meal in the glass container and warm up in instant pot for an hour. It’s tastes fresh, hot, and get this..no mess! Its super simple but something to get use to!
So now I have my recipe list, my store list, and my weekly ad, I will then accumulate all my coupons and get everything in order. Perhaps even place a star near a product on my list reminding myself I have a coupon for that item. Most of my coupons, believe it or not, I actually get from Ralph’s itself. (You will need Ralph’s Rewards for this – it’s free to sign up!) It’s fantastic. After months of shopping there, they took note of what I was buying with my Ralph’s card and sent me coupons for the products I already buy on a monthly basis! How wonderful is that! I get a small book in the mail that looks like the image below and use it to rack up more coupons, rewards and more! That alone will save me between 19-25 dollars a month just buying what I normally would’ve. Sometimes they even put in a [10-15 dollar off coupon with a purchase of 100 dollars or more, which is easy when you shop monthly!
I also will check the mail daily and look for the coupons between the stores weekly ads and cut away from there. Keeping everything organized and placing coupons in an envelope and sticking them all on the fridge door. Next, I will go through the Ralph’s app and save even more! Searching the coupons on their database will load them onto my Ralph’s card so when I scan my bar code it will automatically save! Think of a smart tool – comparing it to cartwheel at Target but not having the cashier having to scan it because its done automatically!
Lastly, I will look up any printable coupons online that are free. If you have a printer this is a score as well! Save at home by printing 4-5 coupons on a page and cutting them all for later. Check out this site to explore yourself!
Next, go shopping! Make sure you have your list, bags, coupons and anything else you might need and attack! I recommend you go alone to focus on your purchase but I know that’s impossible sometimes with the kiddos! But try your best to stay organized and stick to your list as best possible! You will be amazed at how much you saved!
*Another side note perk is that Ralphs gives you a discount at the Shell gas station! When shopping at that store using your alternate ID barcode you can rack up points to earn up to 10-20 cents off per gallon! Just scan your barcode at the Shell before pumping gas and save away! Sometimes on weekends they will even double your earnings for rewards! Always refer to the store ad!* (I mean who doesn’t want to save gas money!
When you put food away, try to organize them into products that need to be consumed earlier in the weeks or months. For example, certain produce items like bananas and spinach are more perishable and need to be eaten earlier in the month while items like apples, oranges, and celery can wait. Try to keep these perishable items in the front of the fridge as a reminder to use them quickly.
More experienced shoppers plan their meals so that perishable items are used in recipes earlier in the month, saving sturdier goods for meals later in the month.
Just by doing these steps you can save on average 200-300 dollars a month! It’s something worth trying! We may not be extreme couponers but we have to start somewhere!