Unemployed? Organized to Save Money

I live in Michigan and we’ve been hit with hard times, just like the rest of the country. With the rise in unemployment it is more important now than ever to organize to save some money as we shop. Below are some helpful tips to get you started.

1. Buy Store Brands.

Many times the store brands are just as good as name brands and the savings is well worth it! To help you do this, Kmart has launched its smart assist savings program that helps the unemployed by offering 20% off over 1,500 regular-priced grocery and drugstore items for up to six months! Also, just for signing up you get $10 in coupons and discounts emailed to you 2-3 times a week. You must show identification and proof you are unemployed and can sign up online. This is a great help to folks really needing to make the unemployment checks stretch, so spread the word! Thank you Kmart and thank you www.accidentalmommies.com for this great find!
KMart Smart Assist Program Logo

2. Use Coupons!

I hate to cut coupons – but I love a deal, so I cut coupons! If you have coupons for Brand Names and the price is right, then use them to save. When you plan to shop for your family, be sure to check the weekend flyers that come in the mail for coupons for brand name items. Then check your grocery flyer to see if they have the same items on sale – then you get a double savings!

3. Start a coupon exchange.

Just because you don’t plan on using a coupon, doesn’t mean it won’t help someone else! Get together with your friends and family and exchange coupons you won’t use for ones you will use! Many stores include store coupons in their flyers too – be sure to use them or exchange with others for ones you need.

4. Look for coupons and deals online.

Before you shop, if you don’t have a coupon, visit the brand name site and download any coupons you may need. Visit the many sites on the internet that offer coupons and tell about deals throughout the country (coupon.com, ConsumerQueen.com, frugal-mama.com, etc.). Many stores have rewards and store “cash” that you get when you shop and can use for the next purchase you make! Make sure you sign up for all the store discount cards available to ensure you get sale prices and specials.

5. Shop the double coupons.

Some stores will double manufacturers coupons up to $1 or more. If you don’t normally shop those stores, just go in to buy your coupon items and save double!

6. Plan your meals.

To many this sounds basic, but as you hustle from one job interview to the next, it’s sometimes difficult to stop and plan a meal let alone a week or a month’s worth of meals – but it is essential if you really want to save money at the grocery store. Refer to the $5 Dinner Mom interview and site to learn how to plan your meals around your shopping and coupons.

7. Cut out the unnecessary and use what you have.

Start cutting back on items that are really luxury and that you can do without. Can you go without the high end, costly coffee shop; five different kinds of coffee creamers? Can you get by with watching older movies instead of buying new releases each week? Better yet, can you pull out a game to play with the whole family? Can you drop the more expensive channels on your cable; can you manage with just one or two televisions with cable hook up? Can you eat breakfast at home instead of the diner? Can you take the family out to eat every other week, or once a month instead of several times a week? This includes fast food too. Can you pack lunches for the kids, eat leftovers for your lunch and be creative in using the leftovers for another evening meal? Can you shop at resale and outlet stores to save on clothing? Can you start a garden for fresh vegetables and trade with others for a larger variety? Can you shop the Farmer’s Market to save on fresh produce?

8. Ask for help.

It’s hard to ask for help, but that is what aid programs are created to do – help people when they need it. There is no need to go hungry or go without the basics of life (heat, water, electricity). Utility companies have programs to help you get through times of hardship. The food bank is there for you too if you need it. Contact them and see if you qualify and how you can volunteer to help others. Now that you are unemployed, your full time job is trying to find a job. But there are down times, and what a perfect time to give back! Contact your local community government to see what programs exist to help you and ones you can help by becoming a volunteer.

For more ideas on getting organized to save money, keep coming back to Buttoned Up!