Is Brand Loyalty Costing You Money?

If there is one thing that is holding you back when it comes to saving money at the grocery stores and the drug stores, it is brand loyalty! So many people say to me “there are never coupons for the things that I use!” Well – yes – there are!  I am sure that those people use toothpaste, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc.  By being tied to a specific brand-name product (saying “I have to save money on Crest”, instead of “I want to save money on toothpaste”), you could be missing a ton of savings opportunities!

Maybe you were raised on Tide laundry detergent or EVERYONE in your family has always used Huggies.  You need to get rid of this mindset if you want to save money! Wisk purchased at $2.99 (after coupon) will clean your clothes just as well and Pampers or (gasp!) store-brand diapers will still hold in the poop!

Take Advantage of Coupons for New Products

Whenever a brand comes out with a new product, they always come out with high-value coupons for those products. Last year, there was no reason to EVER pay for Green Giant Valley Steamers. Recently, Philly Cream Cheese Creations were free (or close to free). Last summer, it was Kraft Suddenly Salad that was free (or close-to-free) after coupon everywhere.

Be flexible in what you will try and don’t allow yourself to think of a product that you HAVE to have. Don’t be afraid to try new products and switch your brand loyalties to save money (especially when you have a coupon for the “other brand”)! I’m sorry, but $0.99 Hellmann’s Mayo just just as good as (if not better) than $3.99 Kraft mayo!  Seriously – we aren’t talking about Dom Perignon vs. Korbel…we’re talking MAYONNAISE!

Explore Store Brands

I know this sounds nuts for a site that is dedicated to coupons, but sometimes the store brand just IS a better deal. There will be those weeks when there are just no good deals, your stockpile is depleted and you just NEED to buy cereal, frozen pizza, etc. I am a particular fan of the Essential Everyday line by Acme/Supervalu, but your store brand may be just as good (and did you know that oftentimes the store brand and “name brand” are made on the exact same line?  You are often paying for packaging!)

Some Brand Loyalties ARE worth the cost

If you have sensitive skin or allergies, then you may be tied to a specific facial care line or laundry detergent. That is fine – but be on the lookout for new products and don’t be afraid to try new products as they are released to see if they might satisfy your needs for a fraction of the cost.

What Brand Loyalties have you chucked out the window?

Looking for more Extreme Couponing tips? Make sure that you check out all the posts in my Coupon 101 and Coupon Ethics sections!

What Is On Sale The Month of September

What is On Sale The Month of September

September is the transition from summer to back to school. You’ll find great deals on summer clearance and discounted school supplies. Labor day sales are great for finding last-minute deals on grills, gardening supplies, and other items just before the warm weather ends. There are also lots of great apparel deals throughout September. Look out for harvest season sales too, so you can get lots of great fruits and veggies for those last few cookouts of the season.

Here is what is on sale the month of September:

:: Grocery & Drugstore Deals in September

In-season produce: apples, artichokes, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, cucumber, kale, figs, garlic, horseradish, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, nectarines, potatoes, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins, red onions, spinach, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes.

Harvest season sales: sweet corn, apples, pumpkins, berries, squash, peppers.

Labor Day Sales: steak, hamburger, hotdogs, buns, chips, sodas, cold salads, ice cream, beer, solo cups, paper plates, garbage bags.

Family health: Band-Aids, antiseptic, antibacterial hand gel, sunscreen, sunglasses, deodorant, travel size toiletries, bandages. Restock your bathroom and make sure that the kids are prepared for sports boo-boos, the locker room, and being outside in the sun even though it’s cooler outside.

:: Other September Sales

Back to School: pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, folders, glue sticks, construction paper, colored pencils, watercolors, markers, white-out, cosmetics, clothes, shoes, backpacks.

Summer clearance: sunscreen, outdoor games, summer clothing, beach toys, lawn and garden supplies, bathing suits, summer apparel.

Harvest deals: food preparation tools- dehydrators, freezer bags, vacuum sealers, canning jars.

New cars: Dealerships are anxious to get rid of the current year’s models to make room for the next year’s vehicles. You can get a great deal on a car below sticker price in September. Make sure to do your research before hitting the lot to get the best deal possible.

Camping supplies: propane stoves, tents, tent stakes, lanterns, fishing tackle, fishing rods, hunting supplies, sleeping bags, camouflage clothing, insect repellent, backpacks.

What is On Sale The Month of August

What Is On Sale In August

August is the end of summer, so you will be able to find end-of-season clearance as well as fall sales throughout the month. While there aren’t any notable holidays in August, it is back-to-school season, so you can save big on school supplies, backpacks, dorm room essentials, and a host of other school needs.

Keep an eye out for clearance sales on bathing suits and summer apparel, and don’t forget about harvest produce sales.

Here is what is on sale the month of August:

:: Grocery & Drugstore Deals in August

In-season produce: beets, corn, cucumber, eggplant, figs, grapes, grapefruit, green beans, lettuce, melons, nectarines, okra passion fruit, peaches, peppers, plums, raspberries, summer squash, strawberries, tomatillos, tomatoes, zucchini.

Fall canning and food storage deals: food storage items, freezer bags, canning supplies, seasonings.

Labor Day Sales: steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, potato salad, macaroni salad, baking potatoes, drink mixes, soda, watermelon, beer, frozen French fries, condiments.

Back to school lunch sales: deli meat, boxed juices, individually packaged snacks, pudding cups, cookies, potato chips, peanut butter, jelly, bread.

:: Other August Sales

Back to school supply sales: pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, glue sticks, crayons, backpacks, folders, lunch boxes, book covers, locker organizers.

Apparel sales: school uniforms, jeans, jackets, socks, t-shirts, underwear, sweaters, long-sleeved shirts.

Electronics: PCs and laptops, cell phones and tablets are on sale for back-to-school. Cell phone providers often introduce new family savings plans just before school goes back. All electronics aimed at or use for educational purposes is on sale at this time.

Summer clearance: Just before Labor Day you’ll find all kinds of end of summer blowout sales. Clothing, outdoor items, sports equipment and several things for in and around the home will be on sale.

Gardening supply sales: August is harvest time so any leftover gardening supplies will be on clearance while stores make canning and food storage and preparation items more affordable. Dehydrators, vacuum sealers, freezing containers, jars and lids and pressure cookers are great deals in August.

How To Save Money on Produce

How to Save on Produce:

One of the most common misconceptions is that you can only save money on processed foods because those are the only products for which they see coupons. When you look through your Sunday paper you will mostly find coupons for processed foods and cleaning products or toiletries and rarely for fresh produce. However, there are still several ways you can save on your produce!

Buy in Season Produce:

Buying produce that is in season will drastically the cost. Buying produce that is not in season means, you pay more money.  Take some time to plan your menu around the produce that is currently in season.

Stock up:

When you find a good produce sale, make sure to stock up. You can freeze, can or dehydrate almost all produce. Stocking up at rock bottom will save you money for months to come.

Start a Garden:

This may not be an option for everyone, but if you can start your own garden you can end up saving a lot of money. Having fresh produce is a great way to have fresh produce at a fraction of the cost.

Farmer’s Markets:

If you have a local Farmer’s Market in your area, this provides the perfect opportunity to save on produce. The produce is normally coming from the farm to the market, which in turn allows the farmer to price the produce lower than store prices. You save money by not paying the overhead costs and you get to support your local farmers!

Health Food Stores:

Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s often have great prices on produce. You can also sign up for their newsletter, sometimes they send out coupons.

Buy Frozen

Often the produce has been frozen within hours of being picked/harvested, allowing the fruits and vegetables to retain most of their nutrients. Bonus: there are often coupons for frozen foods!

Save with Social Media:

If you have a favorite brand of produce make sure to follow them on social media and sign up for their newsletter. Produce companies like Dole, Foxy and several others send out coupons from time to time.

Looking for more Extreme Couponing tips? Make sure that you check out all the posts in my Coupon 101 and Coupon Ethics sections!

How to Save Money on Meat


Meat is something a lot of people incorporate into their daily diet. Meat is also a big expense in our grocery budget. It is very rare that you find a coupon for meat. In fact the only meat coupons that are normally circulated are for hot dogs and processed lunch meats. Seeing that meat is one of our biggest expenses it is important to know how to save on meat products.

5 Ways to Save on Meat

Buy Meat on Clearance 

Normally grocery stores will significantly mark down the price of meat on the sale by date. Some grocery stores have a specific date each week that they mark down their meat.  Some stores will also mark down meats at a certain time of the day. At my stores, they tend to mark down meats as the ru Ask your butcher if the store has a specific date they mark meat down on.

It is perfectly fine to buy meat on the sale when it is close to or at the expiration date! In fact, this is a great way to stock up on meat for a fraction of the cost. Just make sure to get in the freezer right away.

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk can result in a significant savings! You will have to come home and separate the meat into freezer bags, but it is well worth the time. I have been known to buy 20 – 30 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken or lean ground beef when it is on sale at the rock-bottom price, then separate it in to bags containing exactly the right amount for a family meal.  Not only have I saved money, but when I am looking at my freezer, I just count the bags and know exactly how many meals I have enough meat to prepare, and if it is time to go shopping again!

Go Meatless

I’m not suggesting that you completely cut meat out of your diet, unless you are a vegetarian. However, pick one or two nights a week that you will not incorporate meat as part of your dinner. Skipping meat a couple of nights every week can significantly lower your grocery bill.

Buy Less Expensive Cuts

When you’re looking for meat look for less expensive cuts. If your family wants steak one night a week, choice a London Broil over a New York steak. Choosing a less expensive cut can sometimes save you up to 60%! Less expensive cuts of meat can often require more creativity in order to make them to make them tasty, so make sure that you check out your favorite recipe sites or Pinterest for some great ideas.  Simply search by the cut of meat to get some great ideas

Grind Your Own Meat

You can purchase a Chuck Roast  on sale and ask the butcher to grind it into ground beef. You can also grind your meat at home if you have the right equipment. If you own a KitchenAid Mixer you can buy a mind grinder attachment and quickly have fresh ground beef.

Looking for more Extreme Couponing tips? Make sure that you check out all the posts in my Coupon 101 and Coupon Ethics sections!

15 Tips For Shopping At The Grocery Store!

mindi cherry grocery

We talk about how to shop at the grocery stores all the time.  We talk about how to get the best deals, how to use coupons and so much more.  What we don’t talk about that often is how NOT to make other shoppers want to kill you!

I recently launched to site Etiquette Help (seriously – make sure you read through all the archives and Like Etiquette Help on Facebook), but this is one post that I particularly love.

From my 15 Grocery Store Manners | 15 Tips! post

  1. Slow Down – Breaking the land speed record with a grocery cart is not necessary nor is it acceptable in the grocery store. Slow down and be careful around those blind corners.
  2. 20 Items or Less – Why is it that every time an express lane opens, someone with an entire cart full of items jumps over? Seriously folks, the sign is pretty straight forward.
  3. Have Your Money Ready – Nobody wants to wait while you write out your check or dig for your debit card. Consider those around you and have those things ready when you get up there. You wait in line anyway, so use it to prepare for your turn when you get there.
  4. Let common sense prevail – If you are standing there with an entire cart full of items and the guy behind you has a diet Coke, let him pass. If I need to tell you why, you should never enter a retail establishment again…ever.
  5. When a new line opens, be fair – We all have seen it. Five people are in line and the line next to you that had been closed opens. Then the cart at the back of the line runs over to take the first spot in the new line. Again, did we not cover this in kindergarten? A new line is not an invitation to race those in front of you. Be fair and let the people that have waited the longest get the next register.

See the rest of the tips on Etiquette Help!

How To Save Money On Dairy


I think most of us are always looking for ways to save on dairy products. We use milk, butter, eggs almost every day, not to mention cheese, yogurt, sour cream and other products. When it comes to how to save money on dairy, you have to get creative since coupons are not always readily available.

How to Save on Dairy

Use Powdered Milk

Using powdered milk for your cooking, smoothies and baking can really trim down your grocery bill! Of course, you should still use fresh milk for drinking and cereal. You should end up seeing a good savings just by implementing this simple tip. Note: powdered milk is also the “magic ingredient” in my homemade hot chocolate mix recipe!)

Check the Date

When buying dairy products always check the date. If the date seems like it quickly approaching check products towards the back. Normally those are going to have a sale by date that is further out. This will prevent you from throwing aways dairy products that have gone bad.

Go to the Source

When buying milk or eggs try going directly to the source. Check with local farmers to see if they have the option of buying milk or eggs directly from them. Not only can this end up being more cost-effective, but you get a fresher product.

Use Your Freezer

If you have room in your freezer you can buy dairy products when they are on sale and freeze them. You will need to let your dairy products thaw out completely in the fridge prior to using them. Another tip is to only freeze shredded cheese. If you find a stock up price on cheese shred it before freezing it. Cheese tends to crumble easy after it has been frozen, shredding it will help you out.

Buy Store Brand

When it comes to dairy products you can easily get away with the store brand! In fact the store brand is often 25 to 30% cheaper than name brand products. You will usually find more in store sales on store brand products.

What are your best tips for saving on dairy products?

Looking for more tips to save money? Make sure that you check out all the posts in my Coupon 101 and Coupon Ethics sections!

Coupon 101: Top Couponing Mistakes

If you are a newbie to couponing, it is easy to go overboard once the excitement of all that free and nearly-free stuff sets in.

Here are some of the top mistakes many people make (and I made some of them myself!) when they start using coupons:

Sacrificing your family’s health for the sake of the deal: The truth is, sometimes the best deals are for foods that can best be called “junk food”. Your family eating habits should never be compromised just because you can get a good deal. Yes, grapes are more expensive than fruit snacks. That doesn’t mean that you should stop buying grapes and start handing out only fruit snacks all the time. The savings on the fruit snacks is not worth forgoing the benefits of grapes.  Balance is the key!

Building too big of a stockpile: I know people who literally have 50 tubes of toothpaste. Do you know what the problem is? Toothpaste has an expiration date! Unless they are running a small dental office (or are the Duggars), there is no way that they can use that much toothpaste before it expires, especially when they continue to add to the stockpile each week/month. Extreme couponing is just that – extreme and there is no reason to go nuts each week. Certain things can always be found for free or nearly free almost every week, especially if you have a CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens near you.

Buying things that your family normally doesn’t need or like just because it is a “good deal”: If your family doesn’t normally eat/like Hamburger Helper (for example), it doesn’t matter how good of a deal you can get on it. Unless you are planning on donating that Hamburger Helper and/or they are part of a moneymaker Catalina deal, spending even one penny on it is wasting money.

Letting good coupons expire: the two main reasons this happens? Not being organized or waiting too long for a better deal. I am a strong advocate of the coupon binder because it allows you to clearly see the expiration dates of all of your coupons. As for the waiting too long? Sure – it’s great when you can combine, for example, a coupon for a free item with a BOGO sale to get both for free. But you can’t count on that BOGO sale and do you know what they call an expired coupon for a free item? Recycling!

Letting couponing take over your life: As far as I am concerned, there is no amount of savings that is worthy of neglecting your family. As you get better, you get quicker, but in the meantime, don’t try to figure out the deals yourself. That’s where this site comes in. Make sure you keep checking the drug store deals and grocery store deals that I have posted to make sure you haven’t missed anything!

Couponing and saving money should be a way of life…it should not BECOME your life.

What are some mistakes that you have made, or lessons you have learned?

What Is On Sale The Month of July

What Is On Sale in July

July is a hot month in more ways than one. This month is all about enjoying the warm summer weather. Vacations, cookouts, fireworks, and outdoor fun are on the menu. You may not want to spend a lot of time shopping, but the deals you can catch this month make it worth getting out of the bathing suit and into the store!

Here is what is on sale in July:

:: Grocery and Drugstore Deals in July

In- season produce: apricots, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, corn, Crenshaw melons, cucumbers, green beans, figs, nectarines, peaches, plums, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelons yellow squash, zucchini. Farmer’s markets are overstocked during July and you will find wonderful deals.

July 4th Sales: Charcoal, hot dogs, hamburgers, burger and dog buns, corn on the cob, chips, sodas, patriotic décor, citronella candles, paper plates and red Solo cups as well as anything else that will be used for cookouts, Fourth of July and being outside.

Summer Fun: swim rings and water wings, sunscreen, bug spray, lawn darts, Frisbees, swimming diapers, sun hats.

:: Other July Sales

Mid-Summer: look for low prices as stores try to get rid of summer products before marking them down for clearance after Labor Day. Since July is considered the peak of summer, all kinds of things will be considered seasonal and holiday-related. Take advantage of these great opportunities to shop on seasonal items. Food products, sunglasses, and bathing suits are often on sale during the month of July.

In the Home: kitchen gadgets (ice cream maker, ice pop molds), food storage, and cleaning products. Retailers know that you aren’t spending much time in the house, so they aren’t offering a lot of in the home sales during July. You’ll find the biggest savings on anything related to the holiday and being outside.

Gym Memberships: Since so many folks are out and about during the summer, gym attendance drops. You can get great deals on memberships when gyms are actively recruiting!

Fireworks: If fireworks are legal in your state, you can get great deals for next year during the week after the 4th of July.

Garden Clearance: Springtime is when most people buy seeds to plant in the garden, so you can find great clearance prices on seeds, seed starting kits, and other garden supplies in July.

Camping Equipment: This is the season when vacations and camping are most popular. Retailers know that unless they want to mark down these items for clearance after Labor Day, this is the month to offer good deals and sell as much as possible.

What Is On Sale The Month of June

What Is On Sale The Month of June

June is traditionally the month of weddings, BBQ’s, time on the beach, camping, and other outdoor activities. Make time for Dad this month and look for deals for Father’s Day!

Here is what is on sale the month of June:

:: Grocery & Drugstore Deals in June

In-season produce: blueberries, sweet corn, red peppers, green peppers, bell peppers, summer squash, zucchini, grapes, raspberries, cherries, basil, arugula, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears

Fourth of July Sales and Cookout Sales: hot dogs, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, condiments, plastic utensils, paper plates, paper napkins, fireworks, and sparklers

National Safety Month: locks, smoke detectors, batteries, pepper spray, educational materials, and gunlocks

Father’s Day: watches, men’s jewelry, golfing supplies, magazines, razors, clippers, cologne, shirts, shorts, sandals, and men’s hygiene products

Gardening and Outdoor Fun: jars for canning, lids for canning, canning rings, pressure cookers, grilling supplies, and outdoor toys

:: Other June Sales

Spring clearance: plants, gardening supplies, light jackets, hoodies, rain boot, raincoats

Tools: Father’s Day means that now is the best time to buy tools. From hand tools like hammers and screwdrivers to hand held power tools and larger items, look for great deals. Watch for sales on drills, saws, table saws, sanders, grinders, buffers, work lights, toolboxes and more!

Gym Memberships: Since most people are busy enjoying the outdoor life, gyms are not as busy as they would like to be. As a result, some of them offer deep discounts for the year and may even offer free months or discounted days.

Kitchen Supplies: Dishware in particular is on sale this month. Since June is a busy bridal month, it is also a busy month for bridal gifts. Dishware happens to be one of the most popular gifts for weddings and retailers know it. You can also find great deals on linens, kitchen utensils, kitchen appliances, glasses, canisters, and other kitchen supplies that you might give a bride. Parents are also getting ready to send kids to college, so there is even more reason for sales on kitchen supplies.

What Is On Sale The Month Of May

What's On Sale The Month of May

May is the month of merry-making! Mother’s Day, May Day, and Memorial Day all provide plenty of reasons to celebrate outside. Expect deals on grilling supplies and foods as well as warmer clothing and spring closeouts as summer is just around the corner.

Here is what is on sale in May

:: Grocery & Drugstore Deals in May

In-season produce: artichoke, arugula, Asian vegetables, asparagus, beets, blueberries, Bok Choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cardons, carrots, celeriac, chicory, chives, chicory, collards, cress, cucumbers, endive, Fava beans, Fava greens, fennel, garlic, horseradish, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, nettles, onions, parsnips, purslane, radishes, scallions, shallots, spinach, sprouts, snap peas, and turnips

Father’s Day Sales: steak, cologne, jewelry, watches, shaving supplies, golf deco, golf balls, baseballs, footballs, speakers, DVD’s and CD’s

National Fitness and Sports Month: fitness aids, dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals, athletic clothes, nutrition bars, and socks

Mother’s Day and Memorial Day: Jewelry, flowers, chocolate, perfume, makeup, beauty supplies and craft supplies for Mother’s Day. For Memorial Day look for cookout supplies, grills, grilling utensils, charcoal, grill cleaners, spices, seasonings, condiments, and flags

Gardening: canning jars, canning lids, canning rings, hoes, rakes, shovels, seeds, bulbs, plants, and other gardening supplies

:: Other May Sales

Spring clearance: hoodies, umbrellas, capris, sweaters, and long sleeve shirts

Electronics: If there are any of last year’s models of electronics from the end of the fiscal year in Japan, they will be marked down to their lowest right now. This includes computers, tablets, phones, DVD players, calculators and other electronics.

Office furniture: Now is the time to buy office furniture. In part this is because many parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school and off to college. This is also because new furniture styles are coming out and the retailers are trying to clear the floor to make room for them.

Refrigerators: All appliances will be discounted right now, but prices on refrigerators are especially low. If you have plans to revive your kitchen with some new appliances, now is the time to take action.

Ask Me Your Coupon Questions!

Are you new to using coupons? Have questions about stacking coupons, the Lingo or anything else? If you have a question, chances are that someone else has the same one.

Simply head to my Coupon Questions page, submit your question and it will be answered in a future post on Moms Need To Know!

Looking for more Extreme Couponing tips? Make sure that you check out all the posts in my Coupon 101 and Coupon Ethics sections!