- Establish your current weekly or monthly spending on toiletries, personal care, & groceries. To accomplish this you can save your receipts or add up receipts you may already have been saving. If you have been using a debit card or credit card check to see if they offer a chart on spending allocations.
Helpful hint: Some consumers make use of Quicken software, an Excel Spreadsheet, or use an old fashioned notebook and pencil.
- Set short term goals for savings on these items over the next few weeks or months. Are you a beginning, intermediate or advanced couponer? If you are starting out slowly you might expect to shave $20.00 to $40.00 off a weekly shopping trip for a family of 4. If you are an intermediate couponer you might expect to shave $40.00 to $60.00 off of your budget for a weekly shopping trip for a family of 4. If you are an advanced couponer or have decided to jump right in than you can expect to save 50% or more off your weekly shipping trip for a family of 4. As you accumulate additional coupons and a stock pile of products and food your weekly savings will be around the 60% range and some weeks even better.
- Set long term goals for savings on these items over the next several months(6 to 12 to 18 months) Give yourself a little time to learn the ropes of couponing – especially if you have made the decision to jump right in as an advanced couponer. Set goals to increase your stockpile and savings percentage with each month.
- Track your savings and spending. This will help you with establishing how much you are saving each week so that you may allocate that money that you used to spend on something else.
Helpful hint: Set savings goals on a monthly basis and have an advance plan for what to do with that extra money you were previously spending. This will help you to stay focused and not squander the money away. Do you need a new car? Are you saving for a family vacation to Disney? Are you behind on your mortgage? Have you been in need of starting that college fund for your child but just never seemed to get around to it? Are you striving to get out of debt so you don’t owe money to anyone?
- Reflect on your progress and make adjustments if necessary. If you are in a financial pinch and were forced to cut back than make sure you are meeting your goals. Have you solicited the help of others in the family? Is your spouse stopping by a drug store to score a weekly deal to or from work? Do you need a bigger stockpile because you have a large family? Are you incorporating all savings strategies possible? (example: Prescription refills and transferring prescriptions to score gift cards to stores like Safeway or K-Mart or Target) Are you taking advantage of Rebates?