Dear Readers,

I’m saving lots of money and I want to share with you how I’m doing it.You may remember the post about the pantry challenge where I saved over $300 by creating meal plans based upon the food I already had in the house.

Read about the Pantry Challenge here.

Well, it has been six weeks now since I went to the grocery store and I still have another two weeks I can go before I need to go to the store! That means I have saved over $600!

My shopping habits have changed since doing the Pantry Challenge; I now split my grocery list into wholesale, regular grocery store and discount grocery store so I can maximize my savings.

My Frugal Adventures has a great article on The Best (and Worst) Deals at Costco which is the wholesale store I use, it is good to know what really is a deal and what might be better at the grocery store.

I also use a local discounted grocery store called The NPS Store that sometimes has some spectacular deals. I managed to once score organic Dave’s Killer Bread for $0.89 a loaf and organic bacon at $3 a pack and a case of plain yogurt for free because it was outdated! I’m totally fine eating outdated food especially if you can cook with it.

If you live in the Salt Lake City area, you should check it out and take reusable shopping bags, just  in case. It is a bit hit and miss what they have in there and I find that a bit difficult to plan but I take the list and get as many as things I can. Check the cost versus what you typically pay at the normal grocery store however, some items are the same price you would pay at the regular store.

I use farmers markets during the summer to buy meat and other local produce like honey but the rest of the time, the local grocery store (when I use coupons on discounted or short sale items) or Costco wins on buying organic meat. My local store is great for coupon use too, every little bit helps and eating healthy at the store is expensive I have found.

I want to take you through how to save even more with your usual online shopping as well as some other activities you can do if you have some free time in the day. I will also be introducing another finance challenge I’m going to be doing.

I use a couple of rebate or cash back type of sites but Swagbucks is my favorite and I use it quite often, especially since I buy a few supplies online such as pet food and I can get some form of rebate on my usual online shopping habits.

With Swagbucks you get “cash back” on your shopping at a variety of big stores online and even locally with the app. This cash back is in the form of points and once you accrue a certain amount, you can trade them in for gift cards which you can use at your favorite stores.

I like to trade in points for gift cards for stores I use most often, then use the gift card online and earn points again on my shopping.

But that isn’t all you can do to earn points! Swagbucks also has surveys that you can answer to earn points (if you qualify) and you can earn points watching videos.

When you sign up, (it’s free) download the SwagbucksTV app and open it up and let it play until you reach the daily allowance to earn points. I stick my cell on mute point if it isn’t something I’m into watching and let it run whilst I’m getting on with stuff.

Swagbucks also has a daily poll to earn a point by answering a question, no obligation special offers to view for another two points as well.

Last year I was able to use the e-gift cards I had accrued for holiday gifts both giving the code to someone or using the card to buy a gift which eased the financial strain at that time of the year.

You can also get 10 Swagbucks points back from using coupons that you get via the Swagbucks site. You can use printed and online coupons just search “Swagbucks coupons” in the search box on the site.

If I’m honest, I’m just getting to grips with coupons and when to use them to get the most benefit. I have to eat organic food and it doesn’t often come on sale or there are few coupons available.

 I am also trying out some other methods of generating additional income (other than this blog see Disclosure, Terms & Conditions) to utilize the funds to pay off my student loan (which is more of a pain because it is in England). I will let you know how those go when I have trialed them out for a bit.

I wanted to introduce a new challenge I am starting with all of these additional income and savings methods: Pocket Money.

Pocket Money is a savings method to put the money saved into an account to use as you want. For example, let’s say you buy toilet paper each week for $5 and this week it is on sale for $2.50. The $2.50 you saved from that item being on sale, put into the Pocket Money Funds. Same thing if you have a coupon or you use a coupon and the sale on something you already purchase, the money will soon add up.

I find it easier to transfer the saved money into my savings account straight away so it can start building away from my normal account. This is easier for me because i’m using the money to pay my student loan.  If you pay for things with cash, you could use a piggy bank or pay the money into an account.

I’m not a financial advisor but I hope this post helps you to use some great resources that are free to sign up. If you have other ideas and tips, I would love to hear them.

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