Commandment 5: Thou Shalt Plan For the Future
Another key to successful couponing and saving money is to plan for the future. A true Diva never goes to the grocery store to buy something because she needs it right then. She has previously purchased anything that she might need in the future- and she bought it at a very discounted rate. For example, I never go and buy cereal because I am running low, I have already purchased all that I could possible use when I was able to get it for under $1 a box. As you can imagine, this saves me a tremendous amount of money every month. I also stock up on pretty much anything that can be stored for the day when I might need it. During Christmas time I buy my spices and seasonings for the year because they are heavily discounted. At back to school time I stock up on notebooks and crayons and in the off seasons I buy larger sized clearance clothing for my children so they will have what they need when next year rolls around.
Another element of planning for the future is building up a food storage. I believe it is extremely important to have about a three month (and up to a year) supply of food, hygiene and cleaning products available for my family. This not only allows you to have a good stash of items to choose from that were all purchased for good deals, but you then have these things in case of natural disasters, job loss or a sudden tightness of income. My goal is to be well enough stocked that I would be able to live off of what I have and only have to purchase milk and occasional produce if I suddenly had no money to spend.
Commandment 6: Thou Shalt Set Your Price Points
This means that you decide ahead of time what you are willing to pay for an item (at what point it is a “good” price) and then you stick to that decision and only buy it at that price or lower. My personal example is that when I first moved to Alaska, I decided that any cereal under $3 a box was a good enough deal to buy. Over time as I built up my coupon collection and and was able to shop around at different sales and promotions, that price point lowered from $2.50/ box all of the way to where I will no longer pay more than a buck a box. Don’t let this overwhelm or frustrate you when you can’t go out tomorrow and buy cereal for that cheap. This takes time and patience. Start higher and as you get your collection and stockpile growing, become more picky. With the 50+ boxes of cereal I now have, I have no need to go out and buy any unless it is a screaming deal. And this is the point we all want to get to. It will also take a while to figure out what your price points are but we can give you some clues as to what we think are good prices and points where we would stock up. Here are a few examples for me:
BBQ sauce- Free. I never have to pay for this.
Toothpaste- Free again. Buy it before you need it!
Deodorant- Free to $.50
Cereal- Start at $1.75/ box and move down over time
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese- $.50 or less
Hamburger Helper- $.90
Also remember that sales, coupons and promotions go in 3-4 month cycles. Be sure to stock up on items that you will need so it can last you at least this long. Any questions? What are some of your price points? We love comments, lets make this one big conversation!