1. Stop looking to the show “Extreme Couponing” as your reference! It is so unrealistic.
2. Figure out your need & goal for saving money & then decide how much time you can commit. I consider saving money to be my "job", since I stay at home. I take a few moments during nap time or when the kids 1st get into bed. **Sacrificing time with your family is NOT worth saving a few dollars!**
3. Track your restaurant habit for 2 weeks, so you can see your habits/reason - most likely from not being prepared... Nothing to make, not enough time to cook, etc.
4. After you track your spending, try to cut that spending in ½ for one month.
5. If you do go out to eat, plan ahead – with coupons or discounts & be health conscious
6. Make family dinner a priority! And make sure there is lots of communication. Kids who who eat dinner with their families fewer than 3 times each week are 61% MORE likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. Read Gathering Around the Table post.
7. Make a list of all the meals you can cook. This will be an easy reference to use for meal planning.
8. Write down what you have in your pantry and make a one-week meal plan based on what you already have, what’s on sale and your schedule. Include all 3 meals & any snacks needed. Read So Simple post.
9. Look for the 5 things that you could start stockpiling to be on sale and/or for matching coupons. Read Pack it up, Pack it in post.
10.The next time you shop, find at least 1 sale item that you can stock up on.
11.Shop Successfully! Commit to only shop with a list & ONLY buy the things on your list.
12.Keep track of how fast you are using things so that you do not buy too much. Food that goes to waste is money wasted!
13.Make sure that your grocery list includes everything you will need for all meals, snacks & any other activities. This will eliminate extra trips through out the week to the grocery store.
14.Get some coupons – Sunday newspaper/print
15.Choose 1 grocery store & 1 drug store to start with and make sure you understand their program & coupon policy.
16.Match at least 2 sales items with a coupon to buy. Read How to Increase the Value of your Coupon post.
**These steps are for you to have a starting point.**