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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Back in January of 2008, I joined a local grocery savings program called Savings Angel. Founded in West Michigan, the program took the sales flyers of local grocery stores and matched them with coupons from the Sunday paper. Online coupons were also linked. At $19.95 a month, this program was a great way for those of us who live nearby to find the best sales and coupon deals each week. I easily saved that amount of money each week I shopped and more, making the program very worthwhile.

At the time, Savings Angel monitored just a few stores: Rite Aid, WalGreens, Meijer, and Family Fare. It was difficult to recommend here on the blog simply because of the limited scope. Many of you don’t have any of those stores nearby.

Over time, I abandoned the Savings Angel plan because it took me so long each week to get ready to shop. Going through the database and then hunting for my coupons (even in the files I’d sorted per program suggestion) took a long time. Shopping took quite a while as well because the printed list wasn’t in the order of the store and I struggled with flipping through papers and coupons and walking back to get items I’d missed. Eventually the time issues were too much. I settled for clipping coupons where I could and buying in bulk when sales were hot.

As prices of groceries continue to rise, and as my children are consuming more and more food, I’ve been feeling the need to get back to a more structured savings program. Out of curiosity, I logged in to SavingsAngel.com to see if they’ve made any changes.

Boy have they! According to my count, nearly 50 stores are now part of the program. From Von’s to Publix to Whole Foods (in some states, not all yet) and Winn Dixie, Savings Angel covers a whole LOT of shopping lists!

New to me is the feature allowing all coupons to be pulled together in a single list. Printable coupons are grouped together, so it’s just a matter of clicking through the links to get them. Also! I can tell the program I want to buy multiples of an item and it’ll calculate my cost and savings for me automatically. What a way to budget my shopping! On top of that, I can move the items in my shopping list around simply by dragging and dropping. When I go to the store today, my list will be in the order of my store which speeds up shopping considerably.

I’m so excited to be back in Savings Angel, especially with all the improvements. It’s allowing me to be an extreme couponer, but without all the insanity. (Have you watched that show?? Some of those featured spend a lot of hours per week on coupons. I can’t do that.)

If you want to join Savings Angel, go for it! You really can save a lot of money with the program, and it’s actually the easiest one I’ve seen. There are freebie programs out there like CouponMom, but you’ll need to invest more time to make it work. Right now, you can sign up for Savings Angel and get 4 weeks for ten dollars (it’s a Christmas deal). There are day passes and week passes available, but this is really the best offer on right now.

Full disclosure: that is an affiliate link, so if you click on it and join I earn some money. Anyone who joins Savings Angel is then given their own affiliate link, and can earn their own credit from other sign-ups. I heartily endorse the program, especially with all the improvements they’ve made in the last 2 years.

Earnest Parenting: helping parents manage their budgets in tough times.

Image courtesy of scd2027 via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.