Resolve to save money on grocery bill in 2018

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It’s 2018, and all I can see posted on social media is “New Year, New Me!”

OK, that sounds great, but do you really plan to be a “new you”?

Most of us have our typical resolutions such as lose weight, get healthy, maybe even save money. But, how are you going to achieve those goals? Obviously, you can go to the gym and start eating salads, but what about the whole save money part? Some of you may read this column every month but not actually know what couponing is or how to even start. The new year seems like a great time to start.

First things first: Where are the best coupons? Coupons can be found in your local Wilson Times newspaper, online and on various apps. The newspaper is the easiest way to get coupons. For many of us, the newspaper is delivered to the house every day, so we don’t even have to leave our home to get coupons. They are usually the exact ones we are looking for based on the season and tend to have a longer expiration date than online coupons.

Once you have gotten all your coupons, you need to organize them. I use the binder method and have all my coupons organized in baseball card inserts. Finding and organizing coupons is the biggest part of being a successful “couponer.”

Another big part of couponing is meal planning. Grocery ad inserts come out in The Wilson Times on Wednesdays, and most sales go from Wednesday to Tuesday. Plan your meals around what meats are on sale and coupon your sides.

Make your list around what you have planned for supper that week. Go into the grocery store armed with your list and coupons, and you are sure to cut your grocery bill in half. Another advantage to making your list and meal planning is hopefully only going to the store once a week. Before I started couponing, I was going every day to the store to pick up one or two items, which always turned into 15 different things. That adds up quickly. One list and one trip to the grocery store can really increase your savings and decrease last-minute splurges.

Finding coupons in your local paper, organizing them and making a list is the easy part. Going to the store is pretty easy, too. The hardest part of couponing for me at first was changing my family’s mindset. If your family eats a lot of salad dressing and you are paying $3.45 for a 16-ounce bottle of ranch, it can add up quickly. What if I told you with coupons matched with sales you could get a 16-ounce bottle of a different name brand ranch for $1 or less? Of course most of us would try it.

However, I know that a lot of our family members, mainly the ones who are not paying the grocery bill, will complain about switching brands. That’s where changing their mindset comes into play. Explain to them the money you save can be used on other things for them.

I also understand that sometimes minds cannot be changed. If your kids love Jif peanut butter and absolutely do not like any other brand, maybe that is something that you won’t be able to change. In our house, I do let some lines be drawn with being brand specific. My husband only wants a certain brand of ketchup. He just does not like any other brand, and if that is where he wants to draw the line, I will let him, as long as I can buy the $1 ranch dressing instead of the $3.45 ranch dressing.

Couponing can be a great tool to help you keep your New Year’s resolution to save money. Saving money is something I think we can all agree we would like to do in 2018. It’s a simple and easy task that helps you and your family all year long.

Maybe you didn’t get to take a vacation last year because of finances. What if, with all the money you saved couponing, you and your family are able to take a weeklong vacation toward the end of the year? Wouldn’t that be worth 30 extra minutes a week sitting down to coupon?

Whatever your resolutions are this year, I hope that you find by December 2018 you have kept and/or met your goals.

Happy New Year and happy savings!