So, everyone knows that adopting costs a BUNCH! And since we already have 4 kids, we have definitely learned how to live on a budget over the years. But over the last 6 months or so, I have begun in earnest to do my best to save as much as possible on even the everyday necessities.
I've learned that a "penny saved" really is a "penny earned". (Ben Franklin certainly understood that keeping your hard-earned money is a lot like earning it all over again!) In order to truly save money, I have to have a plan and do some good old hard work.
One of the things I have learned to do is to use coupons strategically by following some really great couponing blogs. I didn't even know this whole "couponing world" existed before last fall. I was just clipping a few coupons here and there and hoping for the best. But by using the tips I've learned on blogs, I have started saving nearly 50% on our grocery bills, AND we have more food in the house than we've ever had! More food for less money - that works for me!
If you're interested in learning to use coupons strategically but just don't know where to start, many of the blogs have great "couponing 101" tutorials for beginners. Try a few tips a week and soon you'll be saving like a pro. It's addicting!
Here is a short list of some of the savings blogs I check on a regular basis:
http://www.faithfullyfrugal-and-free.com/ - give-aways, tips, "dollar deals" (things you can buy for less than $1!)
http://www.bargainbuggyblog.com/ - thorough "Couponing 101" tutorial, freebies, etc.
http://www.iheartpublix.com/ - devoted to Publix deal shopping
http://www.iheartsavingmoney.com/ - just what the name implies!
http://www.couponingtodisney.com/ - a mom who is using her coupon savings to take the fam to Disney, great tips for writing to companies to ask for coupons
http://www.bargainbriana.com/ - "Because bargains don't find themselves."
http://www.thefrugalgirls.com/ - recipes, saving tips, etc.
(Some of these are primarily for certain geographical areas, but you can use the tips they share and apply them to any store you want.)
My personal top 4 tips would be:
1) to check with your local store managers to find out their coupon policies. (Sometimes the details change from location to location - even in the same city.)
2) use on-line printable coupons
3) write to companies to get coupons
4) ask friends/neighbors to give you any coupon inserts they do not use
Many people use the argument, "Using coupons takes too much time!" Well, it does take time, but if you learn the tricks, it IS worth it. I just think of it as a part time job, because I may spend 4-8 hours a week on couponing. BUT a great benefit to this part time job is that I don't have to pay taxes on what I earn! (I average about $15-$20 in savings per hour of work, which works out to about $500 per month savings!)
***Some people in our area even make money by teaching couponing workshops. So, if you become a coupon maven, you could not only save money, you could "make" money.