5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid at the Grocery Store

Here is a great FREE resource for some things to look out for on your grocery shopping trips. Click through to learn more about some interesting things to help you save money.

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Grocery & Gourmet Coupons

A huge range of grocery & gourmet coupons are available on Amazon. With everyday snack foods to bulk purchases, Amazon is a great place to go to help you save money on your groceries. See a snapshot below of whats available right now! And don’t forget, click through the CommonKindness link and every purchase will generate funds for non-profits!

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Happy shopping, happy saving, happy Spring!

Grocery & Gourmet Coupons

Coupon-clipping volunteer helps others while she fights cancer

There is a cacophony inside the home Janet Bessette and Peter Ivaska share at the end of a bumpy road near conservation land.

Six conures — exotic birds — call out from the kitchen while two finches sing random melodies. Occasionally a freight train rumbles by, and many days there’s the scratching sound of pen hitting paper from the dining room table.

For about nine months there have been unpleasant sounds of sickness brought on by chemotherapy, and sometimes, for Mr. Ivaska, the sound of silence when Ms. Bessette, 61, was hospitalized a few times after her breast cancer treatments took too big a toll.

Through it all, there has been the snip, snip of scissors.

In 2011, when she saw an article in Parade, Ms. Bessette began clipping coupons for the families of troops serving overseas.

“The article was about CouponsToTroops,” she said. “So I went to the website and I signed up.”

CouponsToTroops.com matches people stateside with military families who can use coupons to cut their expenses while they are out of the country. The base exchanges allow them to use expired coupons for up to six months, and recipients are encouraged to share with other families, as well.

bildeAfter her cancer diagnosis, it was one thing that didn’t require Ms. Bessette to drive or get dressed or put on her wig or exert too much energy. It also made her think about someone else, and though she isn’t one for wallowing — Mr. Ivaska said she really had just one “bad day” during her treatments — it was good to do for others as she’s always done.

“They don’t really get paid much (military families), and I know how much we can save with coupons at Stop & Shop,” she said.

Mr. Ivaska sorts through the coupons and does the shopping for his bride-to-be and then she clips and packages up what they can’t use.

So far, she’s helped three families, and they stay in touch through Facebook or snail mail even though some have returned home. She’s sent coupons — split up into “food” and “non-food” categories — to Germany, Guam and South Korea.

“One family had one child when I started and now they have two,” she said, adding that she tucked in a baby gift when she heard about the new arrival.

She’s also been on the receiving end of gifts, including a Challenge Coin from the 193rd Military Police Co., an honor reserved for those who go above and beyond. It was meant to encourage her after her diagnosis and it is prominently displayed in a scrapbook filled with cards and well-wishes.

“I cried when I got that,” she said. “It’s special to me.”

Volunteerism is something near and dear to Ms. Bessette’s heart. She’s the board secretary of the Civil War Round Table of Central Massachusetts, is a member of APICS (formerly the American Production Inventory Control Society), is first vice president of the Music Guild, secretary of the Worcester Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, chapter chairman of the Central Massachusetts Archaeologists Society, and secretary of Opera Worcester. She met Mr. Ivaska volunteering at the EcoTarium, and they learned they’d been crossing paths volunteering at various places, including the former Foothills Theater, before finally starting to date.

She had also been volunteering at Horizons for Homeless Children after getting laid off from her job of 26 years and then accepting a year-long position at Commonwealth Core in 2009. She stayed on as a volunteer when she couldn’t find work.

Ms. Bessette’s calendar has something listed on every date, though the entries that list radiation treatments have ended and she’s healing and raring to get back to work helping others after a few summer trips checking out battlefields in Virginia and mining in New York.

She thinks her father, Robert Bessette, might have inspired her because he was active in the American Legion in Hardwick, where she grew up.

“He did the Halloween party for the kids,” she said, and he was part of the first rescue squad when he served as a part-time police officer.

When he died in 2009, a line in his obituary read, “He had a long career of volunteerism and community service.

He was a technical sergeant in the Army Air Corps, served as a radio operator-gunner on a B-29 in World War II and participated in the invasion of Normandy — things Ms. Bessette, a history lover, appreciates.

It may also be the reason why she and Mr. Ivaska, her fiancé, spend time writing letters to soldiers who are at boot camp or deployed, and why she can’t seem to pass up the chance to help a military family.

Her dad would be proud of her coupon clipping and would probably laugh if he could see the stacks of shopping fliers her friends and his wife, Jeannette, pass along to her each week.

Sometime she groans when she sees them piled high, but when she sets to work her smile returns, especially when she can convince someone else to start clipping, too.

“I would encourage anyone to do it,” she said. “I would encourage anyone to volunteer.

As seen in the telegram.com

Field Day Coupon on CommonKindness

Field Day LoveWarmth CommoKindness CouponSave $3.00 with this great coupon from Field Day on CommonKindness. A fantastic body wash and body lotion product to help you stay fresh, feel great, save money and generate funds for you favorite non-profit. Sign-in now and print yours.

Saving Money on Groceries

Save Money, Even Without Coupons

Some pointers by Jessie Alonzo:

Many people don’t want to coupon or stockpile — but they still want to see their grocery bills shrink.

While you won’t see dramatic savings, your grocery bills can go down with a little savvy shopping. I have four tips that will reduce your grocery bill without a single coupon or stockpiling: Shop the sales. Without a stockpile of items purchased at their lowest price, you’ll need to buy everything for a week, or longer, during each shopping trip. The best way to reduce the cost at the register is to buy items when they are on sale. Plan your meals around these items. If ground beef and whole chickens are on sale, then use those as the featured items this week. If apples are on sale, choose them instead of pears.

Price matching. This is an amazing way to get all the deals from all the stores in one place. Walmart and Target will price match the advertised sale prices of other stores. Simply take the sales flyers for the grocery stores, which are distributed in the Wednesday Winston-Salem Journal, and the drug stores, distributed in the Sunday edition, to either store. Price match the lower prices for the items on your grocery list. This way you can get a super deal on bananas from Food Lion, an amazing deal on pork chops from Lowes Foods and the sale on rice at Harris Teeter — all at one store. Each store has different rules and requirements. They are available on their websites or in store.

Avoid impulse purchases. These can add up to be the most expensive things in your cart. The worst places for impulse purchases for me are the bakery and the checkout line. The aromatic baked goods are often at the front doors of the store. They can make my mouth water, which can lead to more impulse buys. The checkout line is another problem. Standing there waiting for others to finish their transactions, I am surrounded by drinks, candy and trinkets.

Pay attention to the unit prices. Bigger isn’t always better. Check the unit price listed on the shelf tag. Compare the unit prices between brands. You might find significant savings. At the same time, stores may only put one size of a product on sale. Often, the bigger product will be put on sale at a price that is cheaper than the smaller version that is still at the regular price. Get more for your money and take a few seconds to check the unit prices.
Paying attention in the store and making savvy shopping choices will reduce the cost at checkout even without coupons.

Paying attention in the store and making savvy shopping choices will reduce the cost at checkout even without coupons.

For more information, click here.

Special Father’s Day Feature

Michael’s Story – Rubicon

I came to Rubicon to help me find a job. If I did not go to Rubicon to get the help I would have gone back to the streets. It’s what I know best.” ~ Michael

In time for Father’s Day 2013, we would like to share an uplifting story about an inspiring dad, Michael. After a rough beginning and time in jail, Michael returned to his family. Today, they are together and making a new life with the help of Rubicon Programs Inc.

You can help generate funds for organizations just like Rubicon while saving money with coupons on CommonKindness.

Being a dad is wonderful. I know I’m the head of the household, and I have to set the precedent to show my kids that we are going to have a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, money to go to the store.” ~ Michael