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Where do I start?

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM
  • 9 Replies

My husband and I are full time students with no jobs. We are living through financial aid, which is only given out every 3 months. We have a DD who will be one in about 2 weeks. So i am in need of finding ways to make the money stretch. 

So what should I do first?  I want to start couponing, but i don't know where to start. 

Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks.



-Amber 

by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM
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Replies (1-9):
chrissysnow22
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Hi there, welcome to the group!

The best way to stretch your money is don't eat out EVER!

Cook from scratch. There are tons of recipes here and more if you ask.

Get a local newspaper for coupons. And start clipping.
Only clip coupons for things you need. It's only a deal if you'll use it.

Redplum.com smartsource.com coupons.com restaurants.com are all good online coupon databases.

Couponmom.com and krazycouponlady.com are great resources to start you off.

Our area doesn't have stores that double coupons. It is best to check your stores coupon policy. Even if your store doesn't double you can "stack" them. That is using a store coupon along with a manufacturers coupon.

It is also best to get an organizing system for your coupons. I use the coupon binder but there are lots of different options.
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kitkat316
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Thank you. I'll look into those sites. 

Quoting chrissysnow22:

Hi there, welcome to the group!

The best way to stretch your money is don't eat out EVER!

Cook from scratch. There are tons of recipes here and more if you ask.

Get a local newspaper for coupons. And start clipping.
Only clip coupons for things you need. It's only a deal if you'll use it.

Redplum.com smartsource.com coupons.com restaurants.com are all good online coupon databases.

Couponmom.com and krazycouponlady.com are great resources to start you off.

Our area doesn't have stores that double coupons. It is best to check your stores coupon policy. Even if your store doesn't double you can "stack" them. That is using a store coupon along with a manufacturers coupon.

It is also best to get an organizing system for your coupons. I use the coupon binder but there are lots of different options.


KenzieQsMommy
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Welcome to the group!!

I would start by saying cook from scratch and in LARGE batches. You say you only get aid every 3 months so I would use that time to make as many meals as possible and freeze them individually. So if you ever find yourself in a pinch (say you all have colds and nobody feels like cooking so you find yourself searching for the local delivery places number....don't, just open the freezer), you've got it covered.

Make a list of all the foods you can make on your budget and all the ingredients. If there's a reoccurring item (for me, its canned tomatoe sauce and cream of mushroom) try to pick up one or two extra every time you go shopping so you eventually have a little 'stock pile' of food items and you'll never have to run out for a key ingredient in a main dish. I have found that even if I just go to the store for ONE thing cause I forgot it before, I will likely get more items.

Couponing helps, but sometimes you gotta spend to save and it might not benefit you at this stage, IDK you're situation exactly but Chrissy has some great ideas for starting!

I'd also look into making your own cleaning and household products. There is a post in here about it and it really does help!

kitkat316
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Thank you. I agree that couponing at this point might just overwhelm me. If i start off slow and the gradually increase my ways of saving, I think it'd work out better for me. 

Quoting KenzieQsMommy:

Welcome to the group!!

I would start by saying cook from scratch and in LARGE batches. You say you only get aid every 3 months so I would use that time to make as many meals as possible and freeze them individually. So if you ever find yourself in a pinch (say you all have colds and nobody feels like cooking so you find yourself searching for the local delivery places number....don't, just open the freezer), you've got it covered.

Make a list of all the foods you can make on your budget and all the ingredients. If there's a reoccurring item (for me, its canned tomatoe sauce and cream of mushroom) try to pick up one or two extra every time you go shopping so you eventually have a little 'stock pile' of food items and you'll never have to run out for a key ingredient in a main dish. I have found that even if I just go to the store for ONE thing cause I forgot it before, I will likely get more items.

Couponing helps, but sometimes you gotta spend to save and it might not benefit you at this stage, IDK you're situation exactly but Chrissy has some great ideas for starting!

I'd also look into making your own cleaning and household products. There is a post in here about it and it really does help!


KenzieQsMommy
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 3:05 PM
That's exactly what I did. I made the same list I suggested to you and did exactly that, picked up extras as we could afford them. Seeing my closet full of food we would most definitely use was an awesome feeling and it only took a couple months. It gave me the gusto to try my hand at couponing and now I do that. But only for toiletries and only if I know we'll use it.

Quoting kitkat316:

Thank you. I agree that couponing at this point might just overwhelm me. If i start off slow and the gradually increase my ways of saving, I think it'd work out better for me. 

Quoting KenzieQsMommy:

Welcome to the group!!


I would start by saying cook from scratch and in LARGE batches. You say you only get aid every 3 months so I would use that time to make as many meals as possible and freeze them individually. So if you ever find yourself in a pinch (say you all have colds and nobody feels like cooking so you find yourself searching for the local delivery places number....don't, just open the freezer), you've got it covered.


Make a list of all the foods you can make on your budget and all the ingredients. If there's a reoccurring item (for me, its canned tomatoe sauce and cream of mushroom) try to pick up one or two extra every time you go shopping so you eventually have a little 'stock pile' of food items and you'll never have to run out for a key ingredient in a main dish. I have found that even if I just go to the store for ONE thing cause I forgot it before, I will likely get more items.


Couponing helps, but sometimes you gotta spend to save and it might not benefit you at this stage, IDK you're situation exactly but Chrissy has some great ideas for starting!


I'd also look into making your own cleaning and household products. There is a post in here about it and it really does help!




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babynurse454
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 4:05 PM
If you can afford it invest in a Food Savor, I know QVC has a awesome one, you can buy in bulk freeze and store anything you can imagine from months to years, no food will be wasted or freezer burned. Make your own homemade t v dinners...The food savor is awesome!
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AiW
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Cut back on any entertainment that costs $.  Being college students, you probably have access to free events on campus.  Take advantage of your local library (story time for little one, some have local museum passes, DVD rentals, etc.).  While I like to have a land-line, if you both have cell phones, you probably don't need a land-line.  Also, price shop or negotiate down utility and phone expenses.  Calling your local carrier and asking if there's a better deal may get your costs down on cell phone, and if not, nothing lost by trying. 

As for grocery shopping, check local sale ads (if you don't get a newspaper, most publish them on-line).  Shop sales, and also store brands are usually just as good, and sometime even better than the major brands.  When shopping, try to go in with a list of what you actually need, which will help prevent any impulse buys.  If you have friends you like to get together with, try potluck dinners and game nights rather than more expensive outings out.

kitkat316
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 4:11 PM

My parents had one. They used it all the time. I think that would be a good thing to invest in. The only down side is that our current fridge has a pretty small freezer, so there's not a whole lot of room. 

Quoting babynurse454:

If you can afford it invest in a Food Savor, I know QVC has a awesome one, you can buy in bulk freeze and store anything you can imagine from months to years, no food will be wasted or freezer burned. Make your own homemade t v dinners...The food savor is awesome!


kitkat316
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 4:13 PM

We don't go out anymore, only on special occasions. 


I like the idea of potluck game nights.  

Thank you. 

Quoting AiW:

Cut back on any entertainment that costs $.  Being college students, you probably have access to free events on campus.  Take advantage of your local library (story time for little one, some have local museum passes, DVD rentals, etc.).  While I like to have a land-line, if you both have cell phones, you probably don't need a land-line.  Also, price shop or negotiate down utility and phone expenses.  Calling your local carrier and asking if there's a better deal may get your costs down on cell phone, and if not, nothing lost by trying. 

As for grocery shopping, check local sale ads (if you don't get a newspaper, most publish them on-line).  Shop sales, and also store brands are usually just as good, and sometime even better than the major brands.  When shopping, try to go in with a list of what you actually need, which will help prevent any impulse buys.  If you have friends you like to get together with, try potluck dinners and game nights rather than more expensive outings out.


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