Friday, July 11, 2008

The Economic Squeeze

In the last week or so the main topic of discussion around work has been about the impact of the current economic squeeze we all seem to be under lately. Whether it is the rising gas prices or the increases on the price of foods at the grocery store, it seems all areas of our lives are impacted and the situation is threatening to get worse before better in the coming months.

I have always been drawn by the challenge of trying to work the coupon deals at the grocery store. This has been something I have done off and on for years as our family needs shift. I get excited when I'm standing in line with all my groceries in the cart and my coupons in hand, knowing before I pay my bill that I have just whacked my food bill by 65% to 70%. I can't help but be amused at the initial groans from the annoyed individual standing behind me when they see me holding a bunch of coupons but when my total comes up and the clerk comments on my total savings after coupons, is all of a sudden interested and full of questions.

Currently, I work with a diverse group of men in various stages in life and it would seem odd that the discussion of coupons would hold their attention, but like me, they are sweating the current situation and looking for ways to squeeze the most value out of their spending dollars.

As a result, I'm going to be stepping the guys through the grocery store sales cycles and how to maximize the benefit of using coupons and rebating. I will put links on my blog to some of my favorite coupon sites and will periodically post progress reports from the guys. I've also decided to start along with them and take this step by step as if I were just starting out too, so then I can measure our progress as a group. We will experience the slow start of acquiring the coupons, some of the typical pitfalls of a workable file system and re-evaluate along the way to achieve our goal of facing the money squeeze without cutting out some of our favorite foods and perhaps ending with a surplus of household items which can then be donated or shared with neighbors.

So it begins......
Week One: Acquire all the coupon inserts from FIVE Sunday newspapers this next weekend. Sign up for the club cards at two of your favorite grocery stores. Mine are Ralphs and Albertsons. Also, pick up the sales fliers for those grocery stores as well as a drug store you frequent. The two drug stores I will be using are RiteAid and CVS. CVS also has a store card that you use to get coupons and Extra Care Rewards. Here is a great article that explains where we are going with all of this.

Using coupons immediately will reap you some savings, but I believe it will take approx 8 to 12 weeks to really get a good understanding of a workable system and make couponing/rebating a habit rather than a short term experiment.

Follow along with us if you like and if you have any additional tips or comments please share.

1 comment:

ChrisLives said...

Totally jealous!
If I wasn't so lazy, I'd follow along...
:)