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Nuther good cheapo hint

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Shelly and I are always looking for stuff that saves us money but doesn't significantly alter our lifestyle. Last year we took the steps of switching our phone-service to Vonage, switching our cable-service to the cheapest plan, switching Shelly's cellphone to a cheaper plan, and changing all of our credit-cards to ones that have 0% introductory rates.

Taken individually, those wouldn't make a huge difference, but together they did save us quite a bit of money every month. All that saved us quite a bit, but one other thing I did was to start following The Grocery Game. It's a subscription-based website that gives you a weekly report of the best coupon-deals out there.

You know in your newspaper they have one or two glossy coupon inserts every Sunday? Well, a lot of those coupons can give you an 80-100% discount if your grocery store doubles or triples coupons. The best times to buy, though, aren't always the same week the coupon runs. The Grocery Game website keeps an eye on those coupons and the prices from week-to-week and tells you when it's time to use 'em.

It does require a little work on my part, mostly involving sifting through month-old coupon flyers and shopping at multiple grocery stores on Sunday, but for that extra-hour-a-week effort, I've gotten some pretty good deals.

Best deal last week was at Kroger. I got two packages of Hostess Ding Dongs (after-school snack for the kiddo), two bags of cat-food (we don't have a cat, so it'll go to a neighbor who does), two packages of Pillsbury crescent rolls, two cans of tomato paste, two bottles of "Special K Fitness water", two nutri-bars, and two packages of spaghetti. Total price was $2.03, a savings of 88% off the retail price.

For staple-items that I can't find on Sundays for a huge discount, I buy in "more than you need" quantities during a biweekly Costco-run.

I haven't taken a pencil to it, but my guess is that we're paying half of what we used to pay for groceries.

And again, it hasn't significantly altered our lifestyle. It's the whole "live rich without being rich" mentality into which I'm always trying to settle myself.

Anyway, just another tip.
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