How to Get Free Food from the Grocery Store

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Getting free food from the grocery store only takes about an hour of planning each week.  It’s a great way for us moms to contribute a bit to the family finances.  So, instead of just feeling like I’m always the one spending money, I can know that I’m doing my best to save the most on food.

 

5 Simple Steps to Getting Free Groceries

  1. Shop at a grocery store that has double coupon days and then plan to go shopping on those days
  2. Save the grocery store insert and in-store coupons that you get in the mail each week
  3. Look at all of the sales and specials and find manufacturers coupons to match the items that are on sale
  4. Take the sale price and subtract in-store coupons and doubled manufacturers coupons to get your final price
  5. Decide whether or not the end price is worth the purchase and add it to your shopping list

If you don’t have much time, but you’re curious about what some of the free items could be at your local grocery store, you can get a list at Money Saving Mom.  You can even sign up for their e-mail list that will keep you updated on the latest coupon match-ups for the week.  The lists aren’t always complete, but it’s a good place to start.  I usually find more products than what they have listed.

To find manufacturers coupons, you can look through your Sunday paper and/or find printable coupons online through Coupons.com, Save.com, ShopatHome.com, CouponNetwork.com, and through various social media and product sites.  You can always do a search for the specific coupon you’re looking for.

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Save on Diapers, Entertainment, and More + Free Shipping

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I spent almost the entire day searching for the best deal on diapers.  Right now, my two youngest are in diapers.  So, we could really benefit from getting the best deal on diapers possible.  I didn’t want to find just any one-time deal.  I wanted to find the lowest price per diaper, and I wanted to get free shipping.  And, by ordering online, we will also be saving time and money on gas.

As I started my search, I found the obvious choice.  I didn’t even have to finish the chart I started!

 

Incomplete Diaper Price Chart

In the end, I signed up for Amazon Prime with Amazon Mom.  Amazon Prime includes free instant video and music , a 5% discount on products including diapers, free shipping, and a free Kindle book each month.  So, instead of keeping our Netflix account open for about $8.50/month, we can get the same thing through Amazon Prime for $6.50.  This gives us a discount on entertainment, select products including diapers, AND we get free shipping!  Plus, signing up for Amazon Mom/Family is totally free and gives you an additional 20% off diapers!

Once the final calculations were done on size 3 diapers, it came to 0.17/Huggies Diaper, 0.17/Pampers Diaper, and an amazing 0.13/LUVS Diaper!  Deals on Chemical Free diapers included 0.23/Seventh Generation Diaper, 0.23/Huggies Pure & Natural Diaper, and 0.24/Earth’s Best Diaper. *Prices are subject to change.

So, you just pick your preferred diaper brand and sign up to get a box shipped to you every month or every 2 months depending on the quantity in each box of diapers.  I was surprised how easy it was.

 

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Overwhelmed By Food

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I’ve been a little overwhelmed by food lately.  It’s just that there is so much that goes into meal planning.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell the average homemaker that.

overwhelmed by food

Every week, I go through the same routine.

  1. Find recipes for the week based on our health needs and budget
    (What should my budget be?)
  2. Go through pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what needs to be restocked
  3. Make a shopping list based on the recipes and restocking needs
  4. Find any coupons I may be able to use
  5. Find time to go to the grocery store without the kids having to tag along
  6. Go to the grocery store and resist impulse buying (avoid bakery at all costs!)
  7. Try to be as frugal as possible without sacrificing the health of our family
  8. Don’t forget main ingredients!  Get EVERYTHING on your list!
  9. Get home and unload groceries (freezer items first) without getting distracted by the kids
  10. Make the next meal of the day and prepare meals ahead of time if possible

This gets to be pretty overwhelming every week.  I suppose some people have meal planning and grocery shopping down to a science.  I’m not one of those people!  I would say there are three categories of grocery shoppers that people fall into.

Category #1:  The Budget Busters

  • These grocery shoppers are the type that don’t do any planning.  They look around the kitchen a while before going to the grocery store.  Once they are there, they proceed to put whatever looks good into their grocery cart. ” Hmmmm, I think this $10 jar of almost butter looks good.  I think I’ll get that!  Oooo, and that!  And, I could do something with that!”  Before they know it, they’ve got a grocery cart full of condiments and they’ve gone way over their budget.  And, they almost always run out of meals before the week is over.

Category #2:  The Mindful Mommies

  • These grocery shopping mommies will do their best to find food that’s healthy AND on sale!  If they can get something that’s healthy AND low-cost, then they’ve “done what they came to do.”  Mission accomplished!  Planning healthy meals and staying within the monthly budget are a mindful mommy’s constant companions.  She eats, sleeps,and… well, eats her mission to have healthy, low-cost food in her home every week.

Category #3:  The Crazy Coupon Crew

  • These Coupon Crazies are Crazy about Coupons!  All they care about is spending the least amount of money possible.  No time to worry about whether or not that bag of potato chips is healthy or not. ” If there is a coupon for it and it’s a double coupon day, then I’m buying it!  After all… food is food, right?  Gotta make sure we stay UNDER budget!”  So, they spend all of their time clipping coupons instead of planning meals.  And, when the shopping is all done, they’ve got a pantry full of processed food and a rather empty fridge.

Want to know how I came up with those categories?  They’re ALL Me!  I’ve been to both extremes.  I’ve been that Budget Buster who goes down every isle and searches for anything that catches my eye.  I’ve been part of the Crazy Coupon Crew and only cared about dollars and cents.  And, now, I’m starting to settle into the middle category where I should be at this point in my life.  I’m a Mindful Mommy with 4 beautiful children and a great husband to think about.  It’s a little overwhelming at times, but I know it’s worth it.  As long as my family is eating healthy and our finances aren’t suffering, I will feel confident in saying, “Mission Complete!”

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Coupons and Groupons: Are They Really Saving You Money?

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Ever since we’ve started our efforts to stop spending money, pay off debt, and save money, I’ve been looking through coupon websites and signing up to get the latest Groupons and all of the latest deals and steals.  So, for the past couple months, my inbox has been full of newsletters and information letting me know where the deal is at.  Sometimes, it’s hard to resist those “deals.”  I mean, who can resist anything when it’s 50-75% off?  And, what if it’s 100% off?  I’m serious!  Sometimes, there are deals that are 100% off and all you have to pay is shipping.  The deal says, “Absolutely free!” and in small letters at the bottom, it states that shipping is not included in that “free” statement.

Needless to say, I’ve given in to a few of these “deals.”  I’ve clipped coupons and redeemed coupon codes, and taken advantage of the latest sales and clearance prices.  I’ve gotten the latest Groupon and Plum District deals and steals.  I have even fallen for the 100% off on something I really didn’t need.

So, I asked myself, “Why would any business give something away for free or for so little?”  That question lead to another question.  “What is the goal of every business?”  And, the answer to that of course is to make money.  The goal of every business is to GET YOU TO SPEND MONEY on their products or services.  What is MY goal?  My goal is to SAVE MONEY.  But, not in the sense that I’m saving 50-75% on something I don’t need.  I want to really SAVE MONEY in that I can see it in my savings account, or I can see my debt decreasing.

So, I’ve decided that there will be no more coupons or Groupons UNLESS I can use a coupon or Groupon for something I NEED.  I will not get pulled into a good “deal” just because it’s a good “deal.”  I will only look for specific coupons and Groupons that will help me save money on things I have already determined that we need.  So, whenever I go online to order something we NEED, I will order through Ebates.com if I can and go to RetailMeNot.com and find coupon codes for those things that I NEED and ONLY what I NEED.  I will unsubscribe from newsletters and mailing lists that tempt me to get the latest deal or steal.  I will not buy something unless I have already determined, BEFORE finding the coupon or Groupon, that we NEED whatever it is.  I will STOP SPENDING and SAVE!

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Ebates Can Help You Save on Everything

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I just discovered this really great website for saving money online.  I shop online at Target.com a lot, because I always seem to get Target gift cards for all sorts of reasons.  I get them for my birthday, Christmas, having a baby, anniversary, kids birthdays, you name it!  So, it’s great when I can get cash back on something I didn’t even pay for myself.

What is this great website you ask?  It’s Ebates.com and it’s free to sign up.  When you sign up, you even get a free $5 gift card.  But, remember to only spend on things you were already planning to buy or things that you need.  I don’t want to be the reason anyone spends money on stuff they don’t need or have the money for.

Happy Shopping (for stuff you need of course!)

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Retail Me Not!

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I just wanted to share this website that I use quite often.  Whenever I have to order vitamins, I get a coupon code from RetailMeNot.com.  You can get coupon codes for almost any website and save tons of money just by typing in a coupon code at the time of checkout.  You can also get printable coupons and grocery coupons.  It’s a great website that will help you save money.  Highly recommended. 

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