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What Coupons and Ad Matching Loss Leaders Do for My Pantry

Posted By Tara Kuczykowski On December 16, 2008 @ 8:30 am In living on less | 7 Comments

Guest Post from Hopefulone of All Things Frugal

pict0498If you or a spouse were laid off would you still be able to eat? After living off of unemployment and juggling bills would there be much $ for food left?

If you got snowed in for awhile, could you feed your family for more then a few days? Will the rising food prices really strain your budget? Are you living paycheck to paycheck already? Do you have debt you want to pay off?

In this day and age there are so many reasons a person would want to stock up on some extra food items aren't there? The economy is uncertain, fluctuating prices that tend to be only rising, job lay offs, natural disasters – just to name a few!

How does one begin to create a supply of food storage in their home then? Simply by one can or box at a time. Some people can't change their budget so they simply "hide" what food they feel they can do without for the week as they put away their groceries. If they need to eat it they do. Otherwise they leave it in food storage and slowly it builds.

Sometimes I have asked myself "do my kids really need another $20 toy they might break, or should I spend that $ on food storage?" Then I figure that by shopping at Aldi I could get about 3-4 cases of canned items for that price and stick the toy back!

I love to stock up on loss leaders since each week there is usually a great deal somewhere. I buy bulk on a deal if it's decent and buy as many as I can afford. Last year tuna was on sale for $0.25 a can. So my hubby got 100 of them. They don't expire till 2010, so we're set for awhile with tuna:) When macaroni & cheese was only $0.16 a box, he also picked up 100 of them – that wasn't enough we found out and wished we'd have gotten more now that they are over 50 cents a box.

I set aside $55 a month just for snagging the stock up deals. By setting aside even $10-20 in one's normal weekly food budget and shopping loss leaders you will be able to have a stockpile of food in no time too.

If you add in couponing you will do even better! When I notice that Skippy Peanut Butter goes on sale for .99 I look to match that with some coupons. The more the better! TheCouponClippers has been a great resource at times for me. If I order right away at the beginning of a sale I usually get them by the weekend to nab the deals. If the store is sold out of something I get rain checks if they offer them. If there is a great deal I will go more then once to shop the sale.

Once when a store brand sugar was only $0.99 for 5lb. bags I called and asked if I could get 40 packages ordered for myself so I wouldn't clear their shelves. They had them on hand and didn't mind to set them aside for me. One other store had a limit of only 2 on sugars on their sale and wouldn't order more. It still never hurts to ask!

Eventually after buying in quantity you will only have to replace the ones you've used when the next sale comes around. By doing this you may never pay full price, ever again, for anything.

One trick is gathering as many Grocery Ads as you can get your hands on. I pay less than $3 a week to have a newspaper mailed to me from 30 miles away – the ads actually make it to me. Then any of those stores' great sales I just Ad-Match at my local Walmart with their Price matching policy. Needless to say I easily recoup my $3+ weekly as I get coupons in the paper as well.

I receive about 1-2 ads a day in the mail and as I go through each ad I circle the deals. I write a big C by the ones I want to match with a coupon if there's one. Then the night before I go shopping I grab all of my fliers for the week. I make a menu from what's on sale, grab my list of things that we're needing as well, pull coupons, and head to town the next day. I take along one very organized by aisle list, with my price matches written out. If something is on Ad Match I put it in one area of the cart so it's already sorted before the check out. If I have a helper along we just take 2 carts and sort as we go – with the Ad Matches separate. I try to always go to the same cashiers that know I'm honest and they usually don't even ask to see my Ads any more.

With this system I now usually have on hand a 6 month supply of canned/boxed food to refill our pantry from. I also store bulk oatmeal, rice, dry milk, and beans etc. in 5 gallons buckets for longer food storage. By doing these few things we are able to keep our food and weekly budget at $70-$150 for our family of 8. Since we are constantly eating out of our food storage and adding back to it-we keep it rotated as well. Some weeks if there aren't any great deals I don't even have to shop if I don't want to.

If you can afford to have an extra week supply of food-start there. Work up to a month supply, then a 3 month and so on. When my younger brother was laid off, it felt like a huge blessing to me that I was able to give him not only food, but razors, deodorants, soaps, Toilet paper, and laundry soaps etc. so that every penny he got from unemployment went right to his rent and truck payments till he could work again. He has been back to work and laid off 4 more times but thankfully he has started his own food storage plan and now weathers the ups and downs much better.

I hope that building a food storage will not seem overwhelming. Being prepared is a wonderful gift for our families. It has not only blessed our immediate family but our extended families and neighbors when they have been in need as well.

As I've heard one lady say "If you don't get strange stares when shopping-you're doing it the wrong way:)" Now go grab some deals and stock up!

Hopefulone is a Stay At Home Mom to six little hooligans ranging in age from 10-2. With 2 sets of twins in the lot:) She has been stretching her husband's paycheck for 17 years now as they continue to live on one income.

Here is another article she wrote recently about Food Storage with a few more resources to share over at her blog All Things Frugal. She can be found there in her spare time waiting for comments;)

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