(Closed) Better household spending habits? and is using coupons often embarassing for u?

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 17
Member
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

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@StL.Ashley:  Thanks!! That’s super helpful. 

Post # 18
Member
3373 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

PS the best high interest saving account right now is Ally’s money market. It’s getting .95% right now. At least that’s the best I’ve seen and I just checked this morning. Capital one’s is only getting .60%

We store our emergency and future savings funds there, and the regular checking account handles the day to day things.

Post # 19
Member
5295 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

DH uses coupons like they are a badge of honor. Between coupons and sales, he regularly saves $10-$30 on our weekly grocery bill (which is anywhere from $40-$70). He will also go to a couple different grocery stores to get the best prices. He’s really good at it – I don’t have the patience!

We also try to use coupons for restaurants or activities we want to do.

Something that has been helpful to me is to use Mint.com. I can easily keep track of our spending and see when upcoming bills are due. It also lets me save toward goals and will tell me how much I need per month to reach said goals. 

Post # 20
Member
255 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I love couponing.  I’m not crazy like the people on TV, but if I can get things my family uses for super cheap or FREE, I feel like it’s worth the effort.  I look at the grocery ads the day the come out, then figure out the coupons I have that match the sales.  I build a weekly grocery list off that.  I am usually able to feed our family of 6 for about $200 a month (with little to no eating out).

Post # 21
Member
2183 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011 - Florida Aquarium

Honestly… I feel the same way about coupons. DH loves them… and he hands them to the cashier. But, Safeway has started this thing where you can go online and add coupons to your Safeway card, so once you swipe it, the discounts are automatically added– no coupon clipping. Now that I can do! I even forgot to check before grocery shopping yesterday, but there’s an app, so I was able to add the coupons right from my phone in the store to my card.

Anyway, I would think you guys should sit down and make a budget. Start with how much you bring home, and deduct your rent, savings, groceries, car payment, student loans, cable/internet, cell phones, electricity, water, etc, and see how much you have left. Then decide how much of that you want to use for eating out, weekend fun, extraneous spending. We take that amount out in cash and divide between ourselves and a box (it’s really a box). The box usually gets $100 every two weeks. If we spend our cash, we go to the box, otherwise, the box saves it until we need/want something. Sort of an out of sight, out of mind thing… it’s not in our wallets, so we don’t need to spend it.

Also, we have what we call a “Stupid Savings” account… the one where the bank automatically transfers $1 to the account for every debit purchase we make. It’s awesome! We also have $75 transfered to it each month, so we went up with $200-300 pretty quickly, and that’s a weekend getaway for us.

Post # 22
Member
310 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I love using coupons but I’m not a crazy couponer. My problem is that I often lose them and only end up using a few. I just try to keep an eye out for good deals and often buy discontinued items from the frozen section because they get really discounted. 

Post # 23
Member
4322 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

@Mrsgurzakovic:  If couponing scares you, ease into it. Use one per shopping trip to get into the habit. After you’re comfortable handing it to the cashier, incorporate more.

Really, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the cashier’s job to take them from you, and the store / manufacturer wouldn’t print them if you weren’t meant to use them.

Post # 24
Member
284 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I agree w PP – its kind of like dieting in that first you need to know what reality is before you can change it.  Get receipts for as much as you can and write down what you spend. Then you can make an assessment with DH on where $ is going and where you could make reasonable cuts or  other choices. When I told DH he was spending $600 a month eating lunch out, he was shocked – and started packing his lunch four days a week and eating out once.  We looked at the grocery bill and started buying meat at Costco. We started only going to restaurants where we loved the food but going less frequently, instead of going out to so-so places more often. Good luck!

Post # 25
Member
6111 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Coupons don’t really do us much good as I rarely find coupons for produce and meat!

 

I would say the #1 step is to track every single expense you guys make.  Put those into categories (food, house/utils, eat out, misc, clothes, auto, health, etc).  Start to see where your money mostly goes.  Do you come out spending less than the income?  Do you spend more than the income?

I think the first step is to just analyze where all the money is going.  Without that, it’s hard to create a plan/budget/etc.

Post # 26
Member
4369 posts
Honey bee

I would use coupons if it were just really easy and there, and happened to be when I needed to buy something, but generally I don’t. I don’t have a problem using them, but I shop at farmer’s markets and TJ’s a lot and they don’t take coupons.

Plus, I don’t know how those people on the extreme couponing show do it, because I can’t imagine spending that much time trying to sort coupons so I can buy 40 cans of franks and beans for a dollar, especially when I don’t eat franks and beans, or most packaged foods, for that matter.

Post # 27
Member
1747 posts
Bumble bee

@Mrsgurzakovic:  I carry coupons in my $700 wallet. Its nothing to be ashamed of. I love saving money, I think its smart. Make a weekly budget and stick to it.

Post # 28
Member
1732 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

As other bees have said: make a budget and allow for savings. Know what expenses you need to pay that month and know what you have left over to spend on other things.

As far as groceries go: use coupons, but don’t use them stupidly. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money, but don’t buy stuff that you won’t use in a reasonable amount of time. Planning menus is always a good idea — purchase what you’ll need to make specific meals that week, with some flexibility for what you end up hungry for that night. But ALWAYS take a list to the grocery store. Don’t just make impulse purchases.

As far as clothing goes, this is my two cents: buy clothes that are versatile and will last. Don’t buy really cheap clothes — they will start to look worn very quickly, and you’ll want to buy new stuff. Buy good quality clothing secondhand, on clearance, and when good sales are on.

And…allow yourself little splurges that feel good and help you keep a frugal lifestyle going. 🙂

Post # 29
Member
1305 posts
Bumble bee

Repeating some stuff PPs have mentioned…

Write down or keep a spreadsheet of your monthly income vs expenses.  This has helped DH and I immensely.  Before doing this, we would spend, spend, spend and not realize the repercussions.  I keep a Google Doc so that we both can access the info.

As far as coupons, maybe it’s just my area of the country but I do NOT know how all those extreme couponers out there do it!!  All the grocery stores I go to have signs up that limit the # of coupons, etc.  I never find any good coupons for food, anyways.  Most of the coupons I use are for household products or toiletries. 

Start off slow, then work your way up to more coupons the more comfortable you get!!

ps – sorry for any spelling mistakes, I’m not dumb, just in a rush!

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