Friday, April 13, 2012

K is for keys to saving money #atozchallenge

We can't all be extreme couponers, but there are some keys to saving that we can all do. 
First now what a good deal is, you can create a list of items you use in your home or pantry staples and what prices you find, watch the weekly sales for your magic number. A good example for me is Chili, my boys and my husband love Nalley’s regular chili, but I won’t spend more than $.98 a can for it. I can buy a chase at Costco and it costs $.92 a can, sometimes I can find it on sale for $.89 a can and when that happens I stock up (usually if I find it for $.89 a can I will buy 20 cans). Another example is pasta, if you follow the blog you know on our menu each week is Chili Mac. Chili Mac takes 1/2 a box of macaroni and 2-3 cans of chili, so I watch for sales on pasta. Recently I was able to buy boxes macaroni for $.50 a box because it was on sale and I had coupons. I also try and get whole wheat macaroni to mix half and half. I usually spend about $1.00 a box on the whole wheat so it averages out to $.75 a box, but I will spend up to $1.00 a box if I need to.
Next , I’ve said this before and I will keep saying it,  just because you have a coupon and it is on sale doesn’t mean it is a great deal.  Now with that in mind, remember it is ok to buy treats but make sure you know your limits.  For example, yesterday I bought chips (I don’t usually buy chips, but I had a coupon and they were on sale making each bag of Kettle Chips $1.50) these are a treat and I got flavors we all enjoy so only 1 bags gets opened at a time and I try to spread out opening the bags so they last at least a week.
Another tip is to make your own snack bags if you can. I saw a blog post or was it a pin on pinterest, anyway, the author had purchased snack size plastic bags and repackaged her bulk snack purchases into smaller bags. I love this idea… Packaged snacks are so expensive and usually end up not lasting through a weekend around here. By making your own, you know exactly what is in each bag, you can use purchased snacks or make you own (dried fruit, nuts, crackers, etc..)  then when the kids want a treat they can grab a bag and head outside to snack.

DSCN0179Finally, plan ahead for gardening or u-picks… Making frozen fruit snacks, dried  fruit, of even jams and jellies is a great way to save money through out the fall and winter months when the prices go up and the quality isn’t the best.  I love freezing strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.. to each as a frozen candy like treat, or freeze them for making homemade smoothies and save a ton.. We all know  fast food or coffee shop smoothies are crazy expensive. Making smoothies in the morning is a great treat as you head out the door, they also make a great treat after school or practices. 

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