By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget

I had stepped back from the weekly “sales and deals” chatter that many frugal bloggers are known for because the content was extremely time-sensitive and time-consuming, while not resulting in a lot of page views here on Monroe on a Budget. My readers were more interested in overall discussions such as how to coupon.

Just some of the coupons and ads that were in The Monroe News Jan. 25That being said, if you are a couponer or savvy shopper, or looking for a high-impact occasion in which to apply those techniques, this is a week when you really want to sit down with the Sunday paper ads and coupon books and take the time to plan your purchases.

Here’s why:

Even just a little bit of planning can save you a BUNCH of money on routine supermarket and drugstore purchases.

First, this is the week before the Super Bowl, which traditionally means promotions like crazy aimed at party hosts. You’ll also do well to think ahead to the Daytona 500 parties or any other late winter / early spring social events that are on your calendar.

Second, there are deals that coincide with this week’s issue of the Proctor and Gamble BrandSaver coupon book even while the previous P&G coupons are still in date. That gives you even more choices for sale matchups.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • If you don’t have home delivery, go buy a Sunday newspaper. Here are the Monroe News’ newsstand locations. Consider getting two or three different papers depending on what cities where you are likely to shop. Those coupon books in addition to the sales fliers will be the key to saving money this week. Just remember to inspect a single copy sales paper for the coupon books; or ask the clerk to make sure the newspaper has the coupons.
  • Before you go shopping, inspect the offers in MORE THAN ONE sales flier! I thought I knew what stores I was likely to shop at this week, and then I saw what else was going on. I have all the sales fliers that got my attention set aside for another look through, which I will do after my coupon box is updated.
  • Use the Price Book method to compare prices. (I explained pricebooking a few months back and have started to use this concept.) Most of the sales fliers this week have actual pricing and sizes listed; and for additional reference points you can look at the receipts of your most recent purchases.
  • This week’s offers include a Kmart double up to $2 coupon promotion this week. While the rules on the Kmart double coupon specials are quite strict, the best way to make good use of it is have as many high value coupons as possible clipped and sorted into your coupon box or coupon binder.
  • Do not shop at any supermarket or drugstore this week until you have the coupons filed, clipped, sorted, downloaded or whatever you do to have them ready to give to the checkout clerk. There are four coupon books in my home delivery edition of The Monroe News and that’s very good when most weeks we would see two or at most three books.
  • Have a shopping list with the deals you want to follow up on, but be prepared to make alternative decisions on the spot.
  • Be strategic about stockup purchases. One multi-package of paper towels might last me six months, which is certainly well into the summer promotion cycle. As a result, I don’t take up the space on my shelf with five packages! Even during the promotions, I buy only what is a reasonable amount for my family for the coming weeks.
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This is the Monroe on a Budget column for the Jan. 20, 2015, edition of The Monroe News: By Paula Wethington I discovered some fascinating facts about wedding trends and costs after my daughter started planning her wedding. None of them inspire an entire discussion on their own, but it is certainly a timely topic […]

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The following script is for the couponing workshop I’m giving to the Monroe County (MI) Head Start parent committees in January and February 2015. I post the script, some of the photos and a lot of reference links when I’m giving speaking presentations; so that people who weren’t able to attend can get the main […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget I’ve concluded by watching the headlines and social media chatter that when one Monroe County food pantry is running low, others in the area likely are as well. Reason: those in need tend to contact one agency after another, in hopes of getting help as soon as […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget The Coupon Information Corporation, which is an industry association that has been fighting “coupon misredemption and fraud” cases since 1986, has posted the following request on its web site: The CIC is researching illicit coupon activities on Facebook. If you would like to assist, please provide the […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget A couple of days ago, one of my co-workers gave me some Meijer checkout coupons to look over. She wasn’t going to use them before they expired; but she thought I might, and I happily took two of them. So when I reviewed my shopping list this […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget I shop at CVS only about once every four to six weeks. The sales there can be pretty good, but I don’t like the hassle of dealing with the short expiration dates on Extra Care Bucks deals on the quantity of items I would reasonably buy from […]

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The Free File Alliance and the Internal Revenue Service launched their annual free federal tax preparation and e-filing software for this season today Jan. 16. This year’s service is available to all taxpayers with a 2015 adjusted gross income (AGI) of $60,000 or less. This service is provided by The Free File Alliance, a coalition […]

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Would you like a pinnable image with the reload dates for food stamp (SNAP) benefits on Michigan Bridge Card? Here you go! Where can you use food stamp benefits to purchase groceries in Monroe County, Mich.? You can look up that information at the Monroe on a Budget grocery database. There are a lot more […]

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Lutheran High School South, 8210 N. Telegraph Rd., Newport, Mich., will host a Community Night starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 28. The free, one-hour program includes snacks and prizes. The sessions will include: 1.  How Social Media can affect job interviews. 2. The Modern Mortgage with Mike Pietilla. There will also be a tour […]

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This post is for my readers in Monroe County, Mich.: Those who are used to filing their own taxes with the help of paper forms and booklets may notice some changes this year. The Monroe County Library System has reported that as a result of changes in the Tax Forms Outlet Program, the Internal Revenue […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget Would you like to become so savvy with grocery shopping that you can afford both to feed your family and set aside donations for food pantry drives for less money than you’re probably spending now? That’s not just an idea that emerged with the launch of TLC’s […]

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Monroe County MI readers, what’s your perspective on the unemployment statistics that were listed in the Monroe News? County jobless rate hits 12-year low. A snippet: “November is usually a swing month, but what we’re seeing is overall strength in this period of the year,” said Jim Rhein, Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget Pricebooking is the little-known tactic that frugal shoppers have used to great success. It can be used with or without coupons; and it is also the foundation for the recommended shopping lists that coupon blogs post. You record the prices for specific items on a week to […]

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This post is for my readers in and near Monroe County, Mich.: Lifelong Learning is the community education program at Monroe County Community College’s main branch in Monroe and Whitman Center in Temperance. The winter 2015 class list was in today’s edition of The Monroe News. The following classes are among those that are of […]

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Some of the wedding veils worn among brides in my family were handcrafted, others were purchased. Certainly it’s easier to do-it-yourself a wedding veil than DIY a wedding gown, and everyone’s veil was lovely. But if you’d like a pros and cons report, check out the Your Veil: Do It Yourself discussion at My Online […]

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Monroe County Probate Court Judge Frank Arnold will give a presentation at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday Jan. 13 on the topic of “Senior Scams: What to Look For and How to Protect Yourself.” The program will be at Frenchtown Senior Center, 2786 Vivian Rd., Monroe, Mich. Judge Arnold also will hold a question and answer session […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe News Are you tired of personal finance books that assume a reader has enough income to live comfortably and just needs to implement barely noticeable tweaks to improve the financial situation? Don’t read them. Read this book instead: “Hard Core Poor” by Kelly Sangree of Harrisburg, Penn. It’s available on […]

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Michigan State University Extension Service has announced its winter Financial, Parenting and Housing workshops in Monroe County MI: Parenting On Your Own / Nurturing Parenting meets from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Arthur Lesow Community Center, 120 Eastchester St. Topics include Ages and Stages of Infants and Toddlers, Communicating with Respect, and […]

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This post is for my readers in and near Monroe, Mich.: Monroe Public Schools’ Community Education program has issued its winter / spring 2015 schedule. You can find the schedule on the district’s web site or look in your mailbox. My copy arrived today. Community Education workshops are low-cost, schedule-friendly enrichment seminars. Classes this semester […]

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