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Thursday, April 9, 2009

SHTF: Coupons and the Garden Rush

Coupons and grocery shopping are to survivalists what taxes are to politicians; one has a hard time existing without the other.

As people who are preparing, we take advantage of any money saving means to buy extra and lots of staples for the pantry. When we shop, we always have a list, always use a cart (that's a buggy for you people in foreign lands like England, Belgium and Michigan)and follow the mantra "one is none and two is one".

So, using coupons at the grocery store saves us lots of dough. With many of us downsized or furloughed from the job, men and women who formerly spent more time in the to go line at the local restaurant are now finding themselves looking for deals in the grocery store.

Here are some hints for you first time bargain shoppers.

- Sign up for the grocery cost saver card whatever it may be. When shopping, there are two prices displayed on an item, regular purchase price and a lower "members only" purchase price. You don't get the lower price unless you have a shoppers card.
For the paranoid: Yes, the store will track your purchases. I know this because they send me plain, but good, store coupons, on things I buy regularly. Further, when my receipt prints at my grocers, I receive another receipt based upon what I bought.
If this bothers you, fill out your shoppers card with bogus information. The store does not care and won't check your ID.

- Sale flyers arrive at home on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

These flyers from the grocers are to be viewed before you go to the grocery store not while in them.
Set down at the table. For each store, note what is on sale at the grocers and what you actually eat. Note how much you have in the house and if the product is worth purchasing or storing for later.
This is the start of your grocery list.

- Coupons come in the Sunday paper.

Don't get a subscription to the paper if you can get a copy of the coupons from a friend or neighbor for free.
Clip the coupons of products you actually use or would like to store. Compare this list to the sale list you compiled earlier. Better, clip the Sunday coupons and use the sale pages the following Tuesday or Wednesday.
Note: Many stores are not accepting internet coupons any longer due to fraud. Remember that when someone wants you to sign up for "freebies" on line.

- Go to stores with double and triple coupons.
Double and triple is what you think it is - double or triple the printed savings value on the coupon. .35 off? Make it .70 o even 1.05!
Note: Most stores have limits on double and triple coupons such as .50. Others do not, so they are worth looking for.

- BOGO - Buy One Get One free
Coupon + BOGO sale generally means free + free. Keep an eye peeled for these deals.

- 10 for 10 is sometimes not a great deal

So you see a store flyer with 10 cans of Chef Boy-R-Dee for $10. What a deal right? It depends because a careful examination of other stores may show that same can goes for .88. Suddenly that deal is not so good as it would save you 1.20 to buy those same cans elsewhere.
Stores use the "many for one price" marketing technique not because it saves you money but because it moves merchandise fast.

Finally, use a grocery list and stick to it.
Too many shoppers think they can keep it in their head and save money. It won't happen. Make a list and use it religiously.

If you use a coupons, sales and a list, you can fill your pantry with lots of good food and can plan menus based upon what you have.

The Great Garden Rush.

Gardening for food is a bug everyone gets in the spring, but this year, it is more than a passing fancy.

Gardening for food may mean survival for you and your family.

First, forget all that "sustainable, community, earth, preachiness" online. Gardening for food is necessary for you and your family to save money now and guarantee a food supply later. The "community" can find their own plot of land and till it; I have mine and will trade for tools, seeds and labor under equal terms. Not so I can build a sustainable imaginary future. Bah.

I digress..

The home stores and garden centers are full of potting soil, fertilizer, seeds, seedlings, dwarf fruit trees, berry bushes and tools.

They won't be for long. In a month or so, only some measly looking tomato plants and a few oddball herbs will be left. Everyone is on board with gardening, not flowers or ornamentals, but fruit and vegetables this year.

First, plot out your yard for garden space.

Next, get to the store and start buying seedlings if the ground is ready or seeds if planting time is still a month or so away.

Then, get busy in the garden. It will take work but eating is worth it.

Remember, a garden will not magically feed a family. You will need to supplement with grains, rice, fats and oils. Buy those in bulk now.

Also, don't forget storage for fruit and vegtable after harvesting. That means drying (get a dehydrator) and canning (get those supplies now). Freezing helps too if the power is on.

Get busy in that garden before the Rush is fully underway and there is no more time!


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