Best Places to Find Grocery Coupons
The latest trend in saving money is to use coupons that can reduce a grocery bill to almost nothing.
Shows like “Extreme Couponing” follow individuals who buy items in quantities, then use coupons to get practically every item for free. There is a reason why the word “extreme” is used in the title, as this is a practice used by only the most hardcore savers. For everyone else, taking a little time to clip coupons results in being able to extend the grocery budget a little further.
Coupons, however, can help you save money on much more than groceries. For instance, you can save while shopping for school. Retailers print coupons for school items throughout the year, but especially during the days leading up to the first day of fall classes. Adding coupons on top of all of the sales goes a long way towards lessening that back to school pain in the pocket.
Here are the seven best places to find grocery coupons:
- Sunday newspaper inserts. This is an oldie but a goody. You are always going to be able to find decent coupons in the glossy flyers. Pick up extra copies of the paper for more coupons. The savings pay for the papers and then some.
- Online coupons. You can find plenty of websites that keep you supplied with the latest coupons. All you need to do is sign up, download their proprietary software for printing, and go to town.
- Digital coupons on loyalty cards. More stores are hopping onto the loadable coupon wagon. You can go to a central site that will send coupons to your card, or you can go directly to the store’s website and select coupons. Remember that central sites only work with companies that are participating in the program.
- Facebook. It may seem strange to go to Facebook for coupons, but many companies are leveraging social media as a way to advertise. They place promotional items and coupons for fans to download and print. You can search around and find some if you’re interested.
- Company web sites. Go directly to the manufacturer or company site to find coupons for printing. Some companies have a mailing list to join, and they then send you more coupons in the mail.
- Drugstore coupons. Frequently the major drugstore chains have coupons for groceries, toiletries, and other personal necessities. Check to make sure that the cost of the item with coupon is cheaper at the drugstore than a discount chain first. If so, buy your items at the drugstore, using the savings for groceries and more.
- Coupon databases. The Internet has many aggregate sites that have coupons for your geographic location. Sometimes they have coupons that are exclusive to that site, so it never hurts to sign up for as many as possible.
Coupons exist to save you money as well as encourage brand loyalty. However, couponing can take up a block of time.
Rely on as many time saving methods, such as using aggregate sites, to simplify the search and save you time.
American are shedding their mortgage debt
USA Today has a story on an interesting trend:
Americans are reducing mortgage payments at a record clip, directing cash that once went for debt into consumer spending and savings.
Low interest rates, defaults and refinancings have shaved more than $100 billion off the nation’s annual mortgage bill — an amount comparable to all unemployment benefits for one year or this year’s Social Security payroll tax cut.
“This is a form of economic stimulus that goes to Main Street rather than Wall Street,” says Nicholas Carroll, a journalist on consumer finance and author of Walk Away From Debt for a Better Future. When freed from a mortgage payment, people’s first purchases tend to be necessities, such as socks and underwear, he says.
Homeowners have trimmed interest payments alone by 11% — or $67 billion a year — from the peak in 2008, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The savings come equally from grabbing lower interest rates and reducing what’s owed by paying down principal or defaulting on loans.
This is another positive byproduct of the real estate bust. Home prices keep coming down, and more and more Americans are underwater on their mortgages. So many of them are walking away. Homeowners with jobs and good credit are taking advantage of low mortgage rates to refinance and lower their payments.
This results in more disposable income, so Americans can spend more on typical consumer products.
Posted in: Banking, Budgeting, Frugality, Real Estate, Saving
Tags: loan refinancing, mortgage debt, mortgage payments, mortgage rates, mortgage refinancing, mortgages, payroll tax cut, reducing mortgage payments, refinancings, shedding mortgage debt, unemployment benefits
Tactics for a frugal lifestyle
If you like nice things, it can be difficult to lead a frugal lifestyle – unless you’re willing to work at it! The key is being smart and creative and doing the leg work.
Here’s a great article on tactics for finding incredible bargains for luxury or designer goods. The author likes watches, so he digs around on the Internet for deals:
I Love Movado Watches
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Movado watches and will rarely, if ever, wear anything else. At a $30,000-a-year salary, I certainly can’t afford to shell out $1,000 or $2,000 on a watch. So I had to find a new source. I began scouring Craigslist, eBay, and pawn shops for good deals on watches. I found three Movado watches that were used and paid less than $500 total for all three of them. I recently sold one of these watches on eBay for $600. I now wear watches valued at more than $800 each, and I basically paid nothing for them.
Give it a try!
Collapsing home prices are good for the young
Robert Samuelson is usually bringing bad news. He’s a respected economist, but nobody will accuse him of being an optimist. In fact, he’s very bearish on our fiscal future and he believes that life will be more difficult for the next generation of Americans given our massive debt and the inevitable need for higher taxes or cuts in benefits like Medicare and Social Security.
But he sees a silver lining with the collapse of housing prices. It’s terrible for anyone who bought a home in the past decade, but it’s good news for young people who home to buy a home some day.
But housing’s troubles may have a silver lining. If you’re a homeowner, the steep fall in prices is calamitous. But if you’re a future buyer, it’s a godsend. What we’re seeing is a massive wealth transfer from today’s older homeowners to tomorrow’s younger homeowners. From year-end 2006 to 2010, housing values fell $6.3 trillion, reports the Federal Reserve. Assuming there’s no sharp rebound in prices — a good bet — that’s $6.3 trillion the young won’t pay.
Up to a point, the lower home prices merely deflate the artificial “bubble.” But there’s evidence that the declines transcend that. The National Association of Realtors routinely publishes a housing “affordability” index, which judges the ability of median families to buy the median-price home at prevailing interest rates. By this measure, existing homes are the most affordable since the index started in 1970.
Young buyers “will be able to enter the housing market at bargain prices,” argues NAR economist Lawrence Yun. When home prices again rise, increases will parallel income gains, meaning that the relative burden of housing costs will remain roughly stable, Yun says. He expects only modest increases in interest rates. (A rise of one percentage point — say, from 5 percent to 6 percent — on a $150,000 mortgage boosts the monthly payment about $95.)
The important thing for young people, however, is learning to avoid credit card debt. If they don’t learn this lesson, lower housing prices won’t matter much as they wont be able to afford a mortgage payment if they’re loaded up with credit card payments.
Posted in: Frugality, Personal Finance, Real Estate, Retirement, Saving
Tags: buy a home, collapsing home prices, credit card debt, home ownership, home prices, housing prices, interest rates, Medicare, mortgage payments, mortgage rates, mortgages, National Association of Realtors, Robert Samuelson, Social Security