There’s no doubt that feeding teenagers is expensive. Just ask Jessica Hacker, an Idaho-based mom of four (including three teenage stepsons). “Mine can eat a small buffet before dinner,” she jokes.
But Hacker feeds her brood on less than $200 a month. Yes, you read that right. She spends under $200 a month on groceries (mostly organic) and supplies, like toiletries and cleaning products.
Hacker’s secret is clipping coupons, a past-time, she says, she embraced a few years ago when the economy took a dive. She got laid off from her job and her husband’s construction business dried up; almost overnight, the family’s $800-to-$1,000 monthly grocery bill had to be cut and fast. “I had such a small budget, I didn’t have a choice,” Hacker recalls.
Wondering how you can cut down your own family’s grocery bill? Here are three ways that Hacker is saving money with coupons. She saved big and so can you (and it takes a lot less time than you think . . . really). Even if you don’t end up being an extreme couponer, these tips will cut costs.
3 Ways to Save Money:
1. Understand the world of store promotions.
“All stores have cycles,” explains Hacker. “A store will run a sale on, say, freezer foods and then in four months, it will run that sale again.” Make it your goal to stock up on enough of the sale items to make it to the next sale.
2. Spend 10-15 minutes a week on coupons.
If the idea of clipping coupons is not especially appealing, consider that just a minimal effort can save you plenty over time. Start by visiting the websites of your favorite manufacturers. “They will send you coupons or tell you where to find them” (i.e. on the website, social media or e-mail newsletters).
3. Make your own cleaning supplies.
“Buy a gallon of vinegar for under $1,” recommends Hacker. “It is such a great cleaner.” Hacker uses vinegar mixed with water for floors and counters. If you’re not a fan of the smell, drop in a few orange or lemon peels and let the mixture sit for a few days. Voila, you’ve got an all-natural, citrus-scented cleaner for pennies.
For more tips on saving money with coupons (including store promotion cycles), visit Hacker’s website LivingOnACoupon.com.