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After falling into $40,000 worth of debt, Lauren Greutman -- a personal finance and frugal living expert -- and her husband decided it was time to make a change.
In addition to redefining the needs and wants in their lives, they sold items they longer needed, cut cable, started using coupons and trimmed the fat on their grocery bill.
"The food bill was a huge thing for me," Lauren says. "We were spending $2,000 a month on food, [and] I cut that down to $200 a month and used that money to pay off debt."
We HAD to find out how she did it:
TIP NO. 1: Skip the Deli Counter
Instead, Lauren looks in the dairy section for packaged deli meats and cheese, and she often saves FIFTY PERCENT by making that move.
"You don’t have to skimp on the things that you love," Lauren explains. "You just have to look in a different place."
TIP NO. 2: Keep an Eye Out for Produce That’s On Sale
Plan your meals around the produce items that are on sale, Lauren advises -- and freeze what you don’t want to use right away!
Watch the video above to see how Lauren freezes her lettuce (to use for soups and stews, not necessarily for a salad!).
TIP NO. 3: Skip Store Brands
If you’re inclined to think that store brands are cheaper, Lauren says that’s not always true!
Instead of assuming that’s the case, keep an eye out for coupons on name brands.
“For the past 8 years, I’ve barely paid for cereal,” Lauren admits, “because I get the name brand when it’s on sale, pay with a coupon [and] stock up for as many weeks as I can.”
TIP NO. 4: Do NOT Buy Bottled Water
It’s hard to put a price on the convenience of bottled water, but this statistic floored us!
"There’s a 4,000% mark-up on bottled water," Lauren reveals, because essentially, you’re paying for the packaging.
Lauren’s family opts for stainless steel water bottles instead. Or, as Rach suggests, get a water filter for your home (either a pitcher or faucet attachment!).
TIP NO. 5: Don't Be Fooled By Store Promotions
10 for $5 sounds really tempting, but if you don't need 10 cans of a particular item, don't be fooled into thinking that you do! Buy however many you need and look out for coupon deals instead!