I love that January is starting soon. It’s a time when people recommit to things they should be doing regularly. Getting out of debt and moving ahead financially are always one of the top New Year’s resolutions made by hard-working families. An extra $200 to $400 a month can make a big difference to many families looking to get ahead.
Many ‘get out of debt’ gurus advocate sacrifices that can be very painful. Eliminating every possible expense and working many more hours are generally the first ideas that many people come up with. While it may be necessary; working a 2nd and 3rd job means sacrifice. It means more time away from your family. I also think that cutting $200 to $400 in monthly services can possibly be a painful sacrifice.
Let me present an idea that is minimally painful and requires very little sacrifice comparatively: Saving money at the grocery store by applying the best coupons to the best sales is the easiest way I know how an average family can pocket an extra $200-$400 or more each month.
If you want to clip, organize, and match coupons yourself, it will take you 4-5 hours a week. If you use SavingsAngel.com to discover the best local coupon-sale matches, it will take you an extra 1-2 hours a week initially. Don’t let that scare you. After a month of discovering what America’s savviest shoppers know, you’ll become much more efficient. You will have also gained a gift that will pay you thousands of dollars a year for the rest of your life. Doing it yourself means you can earn an extra $20 an hour or more for your family. Get good at SavingsAngel, and you can earn more than $60 an hour for your family. (Our 70+ angels supply much of the mundane couponing work to a level unreachable by most couponers for a small monthly fee).
If you are like a large number of resolution makers who want to move ahead financially, you’ve picked a great time to get started. Based on my sources, Sunday, January 1st is likely to be the biggest coupon day of the year. We believe there will be four or five coupon inserts in next Sunday’s major papers representing many hundreds of dollars in potential savings. The typical smart shopper will make sure to grab those inserts. An ‘enlightened’ shopper will get as many copies of these coupons as possible. The first place to get extra copies are from friends, co-workers and neighbors. Ask them for their coupons if they aren’t going to use them. There’s no sense in letting them go to waste. Think of those coupon inserts as cold hard cash folded into the advertisements.
Another option is picking up many copies of the January 1st edition of the paper at the newsstand. Take extra care to check the copies you purchase to ensure the coupons are present. I have found that while home delivery is very reliable in getting coupons, newsstand editions can sometimes be missing an insert or two simply due to availability of the inserts to the newspaper itself.
What do you do after you gather all your coupon inserts? Some couponers will tell you to start clipping and filing. I tell you to put the scissors away. I keep the inserts together and only clip coupons when I use them. You can watch a number of videos on our YouTube channel that break this down in more detail. I also have links to my previous columns where I explain our method for maximum savings with minimal time and effort.
The most important thing, like any resolution, is that you stick to it. Sure, you can probably save $200 or more in January if you follow what I teach. However, the biggest savings come after many months of sticking to your plan for savings. I would love nothing more than to hear from you this time next year and learn about the $4000 or more you saved at the grocery store in 2012.