This post is written by Emilie from, where she blogs about her transition from college into the real world. She is a current senior in college who lives life on a very specific budget. She looks forward to graduating and getting a steady paycheck, until then she spends her time learning how to get the most out of every dollar.
This post is also part of the #thisishowwedoit Link Up from Lori at the Boutelle Family Blog and Ashley at Grace Mountain Diaries. Click on either of those blogs to see how other bloggers are doing their grocery planning!

I’ve recently started couponing. No, don’t let that stop you from reading. I’m not one of those “crazy coupon ladies.” In fact, I’m probably the opposite. First, I’m only a college senior. I live in a dorm, with no kitchen and certainly no stockpiling space. I have no need for dishsoap or toilet paper. I only feed myself- but I want to do it in the best (cheapest) way possible.

The stars aligned to help me on that front. At least I certainly think so. I’m a huge fan of facebook groups. When executed correctly, I think they’re magnificent forms of mass communication. A “Recommended” group came up on my write side of the screen, called Learning to Save $$ with Cheri and Elissa. Saving money? Sure! I’m in! I requested to join, because it was a closed group. Not too soon after, I received a message from the two administrators, Cheri and Elissa (duh), explaining that it was a closed group with a specific purpose and that you had to pay to join. Not going to lie, it took them some time to convince me, but now I’m so glad I have. It cost me $20 to join, but that $20 more than paid for itself in my first three weeks.

That being said, I’m not here to sell you on the group. If you don’t live in Central-South Jersey, it probably wouldn’t be helpful for you. I’m just trying to give you the honest portrayal of my experience. I wanted to give you the one biggest tip I’ve learned so far. I am purposefully using examples from a month ago with respect to group administrators, Cheri and Elissa, who make money off what they do. I am not aiming to dethrone them, but rather show your why taking a little bit more time to plan will help make a big difference.

This group is catered toward individuals who go to ShopRite. Depending on where you are in the country, you may never have heard of ShopRite. (I’m sorry about that.) Many of the ShopRites in the area have begun participating in ShopRite’s ShopRite from Home (SHRFH), where for an extra 10% fee on the total, your groceries can be ready for you just to pick up at a specified time and date.

As ShopRite has been launching this in the area, every week, they’ve offered a special kind of promotion. This is an example of one recent promotion, and I want to specifically bring your attention to the one on the left.

Just to be clear, essentially, what you’d do for this promotion: Spend $20 on products from a set list, and get $10 off. Now, they conveniently forget to remind you about the 10% fee. Nonetheless, it’s still a good deal. Let’s paint out what that would look like:
Spend $20
Pay 10% fee, New total = $22
Get $10 off, New total = $12

In reality, you’re saving $8, but this actually saved me time from grocery shopping, because my groceries were ready for me when I got to the store! It saved time and money and took almost no real work on my behalf.

Don’t believe me? Here’s another example: A couple of weeks ago, Weight Watcher’s Smart Ones were the SRFH special. It was same as a above (Spend $20, Get $10 back). I did just that. On a savings app I use, it just so happened that the Weight Watchers Smart Ones were spend $40 (over multiple purchases) get $10 back. Can you tell where this is going? I placed two SRFH orders to be picked up over two days. I had a $2 off 7 boxes coupon. I spent $20 total ($2 off each order) at ShopRite then I got another $10 from Saving Star (through PayPal), making my overall total $10 over $40.

So what does this mean? What is my point? There is free money all around you. Find out how to find. Joining a couponing group, like I have, has been one way for me to save money without spending a lot of time on it. After all, time is the one thing I have less of than money.

Leave me a comment telling me what you do to stretch your dollar!

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