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We all want to save money on groceries, right? How would you like to save upwards of 60% ? Who wouldn’t?!? But you probably immediately have images of the show “Extreme Couponing” in your head: binders of coupons, hours of clipping, a basement turned into a mini grocery store.
I just finished the course and I am already finding tons of ways to save money on groceries. I am kicking myself for not doing something like this sooner. What I love about Cameron’s course is that it’s practical. She knows you don’t have hours to spend clipping coupons and that you don’t want to feel like you’re living in a grocery store. She also provides tips on so much more than just couponing to save on your grocery bill.
Since she can explain her process so much better than I ever could, I conducted an interview with her all about Savvy Savers Academy, how to save money on groceries, and her new course. It’s definitely worth a read!
Q. What is Savvy Savers Academy?
Savvy Savers Academy is a website I created to help busy families find realistic and practical solutions to challenging money questions. The goal is to teach systems that will streamline money management so your focus can be more on your family and less on money.
We live in a day and age where everything moves fast and we need to find answers before time gets away from us. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I have created systems in my home that work for us. I believe there are a lot of families who’d like an almost set-it-and-forget-it system for their money so they can enjoy the more important things in life.
Q. How did you get started blogging?
I honestly never saw myself starting a blog. As I’ll talk about in a moment, I was teaching a live grocery saving course that sort of ballooned on me to where I needed a way to expand my reach.
I also wanted a way to share more insights and systems I use in my home to save money on more than just groceries. My husband and I automate our money as much as we possibly can. We’ve found you can experience a tremendous amount of financial peace when you know nothing is interfering with your money doing its job.
I’d love to help others find that same sense of peace.
Q. Your new course, Load Your Cart for Less, is packed with easy, practical tips to save money on groceries, and it’s a lot more than just couponing. How did you learn all of this?
It took a lot of research, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of weeding out the unnecessary advice you can find around every corner.
I read through books and researched several websites. I tried a lot of things and found a lot things I didn’t like that can cause burn out. I still needed to save money so I took a step back from the things I found excessive and too time consuming. I came up with a simplified approach that worked for me without being overwhelming.
I’m glad you mention that it’s a lot more than just couponing. While couponing can help magnify your savings, it’s part of a bigger picture that saves you the most money by combining strategies.
Q. Who would benefit from this course?
This course is a great resource for busy families who need (or want) to cut back grocery sprending. I have taught this strategy to stay-at-home moms, working moms and dads. I’ve also taught retired folks who have a limited income and want to keep their bill down. I wanted to help by putting everything you need to know all in one spot to avoid hunting everything down. I also know many people would rather have someone show them how to create a grocery plan so they don’t have to figure it out on their own. And while I don’t use coupons in an “extreme” manner, I do use them. So, if someone is adamantly against using coupons then this course is probably not right for them.
Q. And what motivated you to write your own course?
After becoming proficient in saving on my own grocery bill, I had a lot of family and friends asking how I did it. Then it expanded to my neighbors and friendly strangers at the grocery store. People all over were asking how I could save so much.
I was surprised to find out how big of a need there was to save money on groceries, so I started teaching private mini classes in people’s homes with groups of 8-15 people.
That expanded to large public classes. I started teaching to large groups where I would sell out a room to 150-200 people at a time.
Even then, I ran into problems with large classes. I was limited on time so I had to graze over some things that are key components to saving. There were also people who wanted to attend but had scheduling conflicts.
That’s when I decided I could reach the most people by putting a comprehensive class online. Students could study as they had time and go back and review if they had questions. I could also provide them with easy access to online resources so they wouldn’t have to dig through notes and dozens of websites that might lead them down a couponing black hole.
Q. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have when it comes to couponing?
I think a lot of people envision the “extreme” version of couponing; taking hours to do, carrying around a giant binder, leap frogging from store to store to store only to create a miniature store in your basement.
If I thought that’s what I had to do, I wouldn’t do it either. I don’t have time for that and personally I’d be embarrassed to carry a binder of coupons to the store.
I think there are also unrealistic expectations of being able to get a cart full of regular groceries for $3. Just because someone did it on TV doesn’t mean that’s the norm (Usually when they do it they are buying a ridiculous quantity of a single item).
A successful trip to the grocery store can save you 40-60%, which is still a substantial savings. Saving money on groceries isn’t a contest, it’s about helping your family. I save enough for my family and that’s all I worry about.
Q. One complaint I’ve often heard, and I’ve made myself, is that it’s hard to save on fresh, healthy foods. It seems like many of the grocery apps and coupons are for processed foods. What are some of your tips for buying and saving on meats and produce?
That is definitely a legitimate concern.
To save on fresh produce it’s best to wait to buy in season and wait for the best price. The key is knowing what is in season and what a good price is. Make sure you use what you buy. You’re not saving yourself anything if it goes bad and you throw it away. There can be some rebates available on fresh produce from time to time. You can frequently find coupons for frozen or canned fruits and vegetables.
For meat, you can save by purchasing extra when it goes to a deep discount and freezing extra. There can be a few coupons available for meat if it’s a name brand (like Tyson or Jennie-O for example). As with produce, the key is knowing what a good price is and making sure you use what you buy.
That said, there are so many things throughout our homes that we can save on using coupons that it ultimately frees up your budget to allow you to spend on healthy foods. At least half (if not more) of the coupons I use are for household items. When I don’t have to buy laundry soap, shampoo or toilet paper for a couple months at a time my budget isn’t so strapped and I can buy things I want to buy.
Q. Watching a show like “Extreme Couponing” is overwhelming for many of us: all that time clipping and organizing, hours at the grocery store, multiple shopping carts, etc. Yet your course really seems to run counter to that craziness. How do you keep grocery shopping manageable?
I have two children that are very young right now. Taking them to the store can be a chore in and of itself! That alone gives me motivation to be quick at the store.
The secret is having a well laid plan before you ever enter the store. I know what’s on sale for a good price and what my family will use. Everything I put in my cart is on purpose. I don’t go to stores I’m unfamiliar with so I know where to find everything. With kids in tow, I literally have a time limit before they’ve had it and it’s time to go. This was a big factor for getting my strategy down to a science.
Q. On average, how much would you say you are able to save on your grocery trips using the tips you discuss in your course?
I regularly save from 40-60%. It’s more often around the 60% mark.
Here are some receipts spanning a 6-week period that show some of my savings that were over 60% for the entire purchase.
I rarely save less than 40%. If so, it’s a trip where I’m just picking up a few things because there isn’t a good sale going on. This might be a trip where I only buy fresh meat and produce for my meal plan.
Even if I’m not saving very much, I still keep my grocery bill low. I might spend $40-$50 a week for fresh foods and be set for all my meals because I have everything else I need at home (Keep in mind I have a family of 4 with two small children. If your family is bigger or your kids are older you will probably spend more than I do.).
I’ve done this for so many years that I’ve lost track of the dollar amount that I save. Based on my budget, if I save an average of 50% then I’m saving upwards of $5,000/year or more.
Q. What advice would you give someone who is just getting started out on trying to save money on groceries?
I cover a full game plan from start to finish in my course Load Your Cart for Less but there are a few things you must do to save.
- Your first step is creating a grocery budget. You won’t save anything if you don’t keep track of your money.
- I’d also recommend switching to paying cash at the grocery store to prevent overspending. You guarantee yourself you won’t go one penny over your budget if you know exactly how much cash is in your wallet. Otherwise you have to put something back!
- You must also plan your trip before you go to the grocery store. No more impulse buys and planning what’s for dinner while you stop off at the store after work.
Like anything worth doing, there will be a time commitment when trying to save money on groceries. You may be doing research online, planning out your meals, or searching the store for sales. My course was designed to simplify grocery shopping as much as I could, but there is always a time investment. Whatever route you take, you’ll save the most money when you stay committed.
Q. Any other courses planned for the future?
In the coming months I plan to release more money saving courses that are designed specifically to help busy families. Eventually I hope to have a full library of resources that simplify money management so you can think about money less and enjoy life more.
There you have it! With the tricks I learned from Cameron, I saved more than double the price of her course in a single grocery trip! How is that for a return on investment?! I highly recommend you check it out. I left the course inspired and ready to lower my grocery bill, confident that I wouldn’t need to spend HOURS of my life to do so! Check out Load Your Cart for Less, and be sure to follow Cameron on Pinterest too to keep up with all the other great money saving tips she has. Happy grocery shopping!