Can low-income families enjoy healthy food choices and still save money? I was recently interviewed by the Associated Press on the topic of whether it is possible for low-income families to maintain a healthy diet. If you’ve been following Faithful Provisions, you know that you can save money on your grocery bill, no matter what your level of income. It’s all about the time you choose to put into it.
What I want my readers to understand is that there is not merely one way to save money—there are many different ways. You choose which way works for you according to how much time you have and the resources that are available to you. For example, I often hear from people who work outside the home full-time, and they tell me how difficult it is for them to use coupons. Or perhaps you don’t live near one of the country’s major grocers, and your local market doesn’t accept coupons. If couponing isn’t working for you, then you can learn how to set a grocery budget, how to read a sale ad, and how to stock up on sale items, and you will save lots of money in those ways.
Then again, there are lots of wanna-be couponers out there who may not have unlimited access to a computer and printer. While you might miss out on the printable coupons we feature daily on Faithful Provisions, you can still get gather coupons in these ways:
- Buy a couple of Sunday papers. These can be found for a $1 on Sundays, and many grocers will sell the old Sunday paper for $1 Monday – Saturday (or until they run out).
- Gather “blinkies” as you shop. These are the little coupon machines with red lights “blinking” on them, attached to your grocer’s shelves.
- Store coupon booklets. These are available at the front of your grocery store. If you don’t see them, ask the people at the customer service desk where you can find them.
- Using the computers at your local public library, you can sign up at many manufacturer’s sites to receive coupons in the mail.
I have found that whether or not I save money relies heavily—make that entirely—on the choices I make. Do I make choices based on convenience? Convenience costs money. Or do I make my choices motivated by a personal discipline and determination to save money, to get the best prices for the things my family needs?
Here’s what I know for sure: No one is going to save hundreds of dollars and do no work. Nothing is free. If it doesn’t cost you money, then it will cost you time. It all depends on what you consider to be the greater payoff. Personally, I feel that the average consumer is better off spending time in these areas:
- Meal planning. If you do nothing more than this, you have saved a ton of time and money. When you know what you’re going to serve, you do not overbuy.
- Stocking ahead. A paradigm shift occurs in your mind when you realize that if you only buy what’s on sale, and you buy enough to last you until the next sale, you will save money.
- Cooking from scratch. Yes, it takes time. But it doesn’t take a gourmet guru to feed your family healthy meals.
- Strategic couponing. Only use a coupon when something is already on sale and you know you’ll use it, or you know someone else will use it.
You can read the full AP article, written by journalist AJ Connelly, here. I’d love to know your thoughts, so please share them, along with your own money-saving ideas.