Unity One Credit Union

Credit union informs: Budgeting for #FirstTimers

Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 12:26 PM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in financial education, wwk wealth advisors, #FirstTimers, Unity One Credit Union, save money, financial decisions


Moving into apartmentWhen it comes to money, there's certainly no shortage on ways to spend it - food, rent, retirement savings, entertainment. In fact, there are so many ways to spend money it can become confusing. 

Following a simple budget now can help make sure you don't make a mistake that could drastically limit your financial options for years to come. 

1. Rent - 25-35%. Sean Weaver, certified financial planner at WWK Wealth Advisors, suggests spending "no more than 25-35% of your income on your rent or mortgage." What you spend on housing can easily upset your whole budget, so be careful to not overspend. 

2. Essentials - 15-25%. Depending on how much you spend on housing, this amount can vary. Essentials can include items such as insurance, utilities and loan payments. You should aim to spend no more than 50% of your total take-home pay on rent and essentials.

3. Goals - 20%. Consider putting at least 20% of your take-home pay towards your financial goals - saving for retirement, paying down credit card debt and building an emergency fund. Aim to automate your savings each pay period for an easy way to save consistently.

4. Lifestyle Choices- 30%. It doesn't really matter what you spend your money on in this category - latest fashion trends, newest technology gadgets, dining out with friends - as long as you're aware of what you are spending. The less you spend, the easier it is to achieve financial freedom.

Follow Unity One on Twitter @UnityOneCU for more updates to our #FirstTimers series. 

Follow Unity One on Twitter


Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™ www.unityone.org

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Credit union informs: Three Ways to Control Your Grocery Bill

Fri, May 03, 2013 @ 05:35 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, Unity One Credit Union, save money



If you pay attention, it’s not much of a struggle to save money when buying groceries. Your credit union is a great place to get ideas; so, here you go:

Saving money on groceries means creating a plan for meals, snacks and household goods on a weekly (or however often you prefer to shop) grocery list. Track your store’s specials – the weekly grocery ad should be your go-to resource – and sort the coupons you’ve collected.

Then pay attention – even discounted with a coupon, a high-end brand item frequently costs more than some other brands. In general, the best bargains are store brands. People tend to assume store brands aren’t as high quality as Dole, Del Monte, Folgers, or other names we know. However, in many instances, the store brand is packaged by a company that also packages those name brands and is just as good or at least satisfactory.credit union, save money

One quick and easy way keep track of whether coupons are a bargain is to note how much off the shelf price each covers in a circle next to the item on your grocery list. You can instantly tell if you’re saving money compared to your usual brand or would spend extra money by using the coupon. Coupons on items you already buy are especially lovely.

The last trick is to take the coupons with you. Create a special spot for them to develop a habit. Should you forget to bring them on your trip; most stores will allow you to return with your register receipt and coupons to get them rung up at customer service area for up to a week after the original visit.

Did these tips help. We hope so. Unity One Credit Union has your back.

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Save money with crock pot recipes

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 @ 11:34 AM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, save money


Save money! Use your crockpot! Your credit union has you covered, even in the kitchen. Here are some delicious ways to get started.
Beef Stew - Low Carb Crockpot Recipes
One of the first recipes I will discuss is this amazing beef stew. Not only is this beef stew super tasty it is also low in carbs, calories and fat. For this beef stew all a person will need is the following:


  • 2 pounds of stew meat
  • 3 cups of bottled water
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 10 ounce package of frozen peas or for those of you who would prefer green beans
  • 16 ounce can of tomato sauces


  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (i love heat, so if you do, go ahead and add it!)save money with crock pot

Directions: All that a person will need to do turn the crock pot on high and begin with adding the water, onions, celery, chopped up carrot, peas and the tomato sauce.  Before adding the meat it is always nice to brown the outside of it to add some extra flavor to the meat. Therefore take the stew meat and place them in a skillet with the extra virgin olive oil and set the range to about medium heat.  Make sure that all the sides of the meat brown up nicely and then you will need to drain the excess oil and fat that is left in the pan. Once that has drained, take the meat and toss it in the crock pot and then take the spices and add as much as you would like tasting them as you go along.

Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup - Saltbox House 
*Note: The measurements are estimates.


  • Grilled Chicken Breast 2-3 breasts or shredded chicken that was roasted (If I'm in a hurry I'll grab a roasted chicken at the supermarket)
  • Pinto Beans  (Cooked) 1-2 cans or 2-3 cups of home cooked
  • Black Beans (Cooked) 1-2 cans or 2-3 cups of home cooked
  • Refried Beans (Dry or canned) 1 can or use as much dried refried beans to make a good base.
  • Water 8-12 cups (as more ingredients are added, serving sizes will almost double depending on how thick)
  • Stewed Tomatoes 1-2 cans
  • Cilantro- one large handful
  • Green Chilies 1-2 small cans
  • Corn (cooked) 1-2 cups or 1 can
  • Carrots (shredded) About 2 carrots
  • Celery (shredded) about 2 celery stalks
  • Onion (Shredded or cubed small) about 1 large
  • Garlic 1/2-1 teaspoon of Garlic powder, 1-2 teaspoons of dried garlic, or 1-2 cloves minced
  • Salt/Pepper- As desired
  • Chicken Soup Base 2-3 Tablespoons or make broth from chicken bones that you roasted
  • Taco Seasoning packet or I mix more or less of : 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin.
  • Cooking oil - As needed for cooking
  • Potato Flakes to thicken soup if needed
Favorite Soup Toppings:
  • Corn Tortilla chips or Tortilla Strips (I like "hint of lime" chips) Chedder, Monterey jack, or Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh tomatoes or salsa
  • Fresh Key Limes to squeeze over soup

Directions: Saute Carrots, Celery, onions, and garlic in small amount of oil. When done, blend this mixture in your food processor just until combined. Add cilantro and blend once more. (It should be chunky.)

Combine: Water, Beans, tomatoes, green chilies, corn, chicken soup base/broth, and chicken together and bring to a boil. Add blended mixture and remanding seasonings. Cook and low for up to 1 hour or put in slow cooker for 6-8 hours.

For a fast version, cook on medium to high heat until it reaches a comfortable temperature and good flavor.

There are quite a few ingredients to this recipe, but it is so easy to make. Depending on how many short cuts you take, this recipe can also be a fast fix for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Kelly’s Pork Carnitas - Kitchen Scoop


  • 4 pounds pork loin roast
  • 1 1/2 cups bottled tomatillo salsa,* plus additional sauce for passing at the table
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Small flour tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Pico de gallo or salsa of choice
  • Queso fresca or cheese of choice

Trim excess fat from pork and cut roast in half. Fit the pieces side by side in the bottom of a slow cooker. Pour tomatillo sauce over pork, and cover crock. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F.

With the pork still in the crock, use 2 forks to pull meat into shreds. (The meat should be very tender, so this will be easy to do.)

Just before serving, heat oil on medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Working in batches, transfer shredded pork to skillet, and stir and cook until edges of pork start to “caramelize.”

To serve, prepare the tortillas, salsa, lettuce and cheese and let diners build a plate buffet-style. Pass additional tomatillo salsa at the table, if desired.

Please share.


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Some Spring Break destinations can save money

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 @ 03:01 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, save money, spring break


According to US News - Travel, the 11 hottest spring break destinations are found right in the USA, and with most of them you can save money and avoid breaking the bank.

Miami Beach - Although pricey, Florida vacations offer lots of entertainment--24-7. Clubs, bars, sandy beaches and "colorful" streets make the spending worth it.

South Padre Island - Touted for its affordable accommodations, South Padre Island is a great place to catch a break.

Cancun - Cancun is one of the more popular Spring Break locations in North America, and there is a reason. Affordable housing, lots of sand and a rowdy night life, this laid-back locale is the place to be.

Puerto Vallarta - Are you the outdoorsy type? If so, this is the place for you. Explore powdery sand and hidden coves, and don't forget "abundant" happy hours that cater to those on a tight budget.

Bahamas - Lots of hiking, great sands and awesome waves are three reasons why the Bahamas attract tons of visitors. Cheap accommodations also make it more affordable.

Puerto Rico - Gorgeous--that word usually describes Puerto Rico, probably because of its picturesque beaches--vistas for your soul!

Jamaica - Montego Bay and Negril are popular spots, but no matter where you stay the native music will whisk you away.

Cabo San Lucas - Accommodations tend to run high, according to US News; however, beaches like Playa Medano "appeal to students in need of some R&R."

Playa del Carmen - Often compared to Cancun because of affordable accommodations, Playa del Carmen is described as more laid-back and low-key.

Sanibel Island - Described as calming, Sanibel Island is the opposite of a party locale. Cute boutiques and quiet shoreline with shells are what you will see. The seafood is the BOMB!

Daytona - Named the NASCAR capital, Daytona was once THE place to go for Spring Break. With beaches you can drive on and bargain-friendly hotels, students from all over flock here.

Where will you be vacationing during Spring Break? Get your money right, and it could be an awesome time. Responsible borrowing is always an option. Your credit union can help.

I would like to speak with a loan officer.

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Save money with a grilled cheese sandwich

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 @ 04:55 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in grilled cheese, Unity One Credit Union, north fort worth, save money


A grilled cheese sandwich paired with a cup of tomato basil soup screams comfort -- like slipping a great pair of flannel pajamas on a snowy evening. According to food historians, cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food and is popular worldwide. However, the American version showed up in the 1920s and became popular during the Great Depression because sliced bread and cheese were inexpensive and easily available.

The grilled cheese sandwich was originally made as an open sandwich, but the top slice was added by the 1960s. Did you know that in 1994, a National Cheese Sandwich Week was created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the grilled cheese sandwich? Cheesie was the official mascot, and he was the leader of the Sandwich Gang--four cartoon sandwiches.grilled cheese sandwich

Good ol' American nostalgia has inspired the increase of grilled cheese sandwich shops nationwide and north Fort Worth is no different. Lee's Grilled Cheese, located at 5040 N. Tarrant Pkwy (76244) offers cheese classics and the option to "build your own" sandwich. Ingredient choices include: black forest ham, pulled pork, sliced avocado, grilled pineapples, carmelized onions, granny smith apples, havarti and salami -- just to name a few. A tomato mozzarrella sandwich starts at $5.49.

Unity One Credit Union North Tarrant branch employees, Amanda and Cherise, rave about the tomato basil dipping cup that you can get with your sandwich and the black forest ham.

Want to save money and cook yourself up a sandwich at home first? Here's a great grilled cheese sandwich recipe, courtesy of the Food Network.


8 (1/2-inch thick) slices country-style sourdough bread
12 ounces Monterey jack, farmhouse Cheddar, Gruyere, or imported Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Ad-ins--choose one:

8 slices smoked bacon, cooked and broken into 1-inch pieces,
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced, and drained on paper towels for 5 minutes, or
8 slices baked ham


Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Place 4 slices of bread on a cutting board and generously butter the top sides of each slice. Melt another tablespoon of the butter in the skillet; swirl around to coat the pan.

Lay 2 slices of bread, buttered side down, in the skillet. Put a few slices of the cheese on the bread. Lay the bacon, tomato, or ham on top of the cheese. Cover with a few more slices of cheese. Top with 2 of the remaining slices of bread, placed buttered-side up. Cook, without pressing, until the bread browns and the cheese is slightly melted, about 5 minutes. Turn the sandwiches with a spatula and add a small hazelnut-size piece of butter to the pan. Cook slowly, adjusting the heat as needed to melt the cheese completely before the sandwiches are brown, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Repeat with the other 2 sandwiches. Serve.

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A credit union CEO shares. . .

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 @ 11:25 AM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, car loan, use credit wisely, save money

1 Comment

Gary class pic cropped

By Gary Williams, President & CEO of Unity One Credit Union

Pictured left: Gary at a young age. Ready to tackle the world.

I read an article recently entitled “Millenials are Slackers? No – They’re Just Struggling and Scared”.  As I look back to the year 1977 when I became an adult (at least by the legal definition), I think this article captured my feelings at the time exactly.  I was about to enter my last year in college, I still wasn’t sure of my career path and I was about to be thrown out into the cold, cruel reality of life on my own.  At the time I was still totally dependent upon my parents for everything.  They paid my tuition, housing, insurance and took care of all of my needs. But in just two short years I would be married, looking for my first “real” job and trying to figure out how to pay for all of these things on my own. I was struggling and scared.

So what advice would I give myself if I had a chance to press the Do-Over button?

 #1: Learn Everything About Personal Finance Before You Really Need It

Like most kids, the only thing I knew about handling finances I learned from my parents. And frankly, I didn’t learn much.  When I was faced with finding a place to live, paying for everything on my own and launching a career – I had no idea about all of the many decisions and choices I had to make.  If I had a better understanding of what I would face and what I needed to know, I think I would have made better choices and avoided a lot of the mistakes that set me back as I was getting started.  So, young Gary – read up on budgeting, how to build credit, investing for the future, shopping for insurance, housing and taxes.  Be better prepared as you have to make those decisions and set priorities.

#2: Build and Maintain An Excellent Credit Rating

Let’s face it, unless you are fortunate enough to land a high-paying job right out of school, most of us live from paycheck to paycheck in our early years.  Unfortunately, most paychecks don’t leave us much to cover emergencies or to buy needed big-ticket items such as cars, furniture, appliances or a vacation.  Without credit, most people would never be able to purchase those necessities of life.  So, I would tell my younger self to have Dad co-sign for a car loan or credit card so I could build some credit and learn how to manage credit.  But I would also warn young Gary to use credit wisely, don’t get over-indebted and to always pay my debts on time.  A good credit score is a precious commodity that will always provide avenues for obtaining a loan when you really need it.

#3: Join A Credit Union

Yes, I’m a little biased – but I can truly say that one of the wisest decisions I did make early in life was to open an account at a credit union.  Not only have I saved thousands of dollars over the years on lower fees and better loan rates, but I always felt like I was part of a family rather than just a faceless account number at the big banks.  My first credit union was willing to take a chance on me for my first car loan.  I also received a lot of my early personal finance lessons from the credit union.  Now, I would tell young Gary to open an account at Unity One because of the wonderful Lifeline account that we offer which combines financial education with the basic accounts needed to get started in life – a savings account, checking account and credit card.  Plus, I would know that young Gary would get a better deal throughout his life with a credit union than he would ever get with a big bank.

So take my advice young Gary, and you’ll struggle less and have no reason to be scared about your future.

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Six Tips to Save Money and Keep the Video Games You Love

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 @ 09:29 AM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, credit unions, video games, save money

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Madden 13September 12 is National Video Game Day, and in honor of this holiday, Unity One Credit Union would like to share some tips for the consummate gamers out there.

As technology continues to advance and companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo develop more realistic and fun-family interactive games, so does the price associated with those video games and consoles.  Last week, a popular video game by EA Sports called Madden 13 was released, and in the first week it sold 597,452 copies in the U.S. alone (VgChartz.com).  The game retails for $59.99 at Game Stop, a popular video game retailer.  If you were to add up the sales of the video game for week one, sales would total over $35 million.  That is a lot of money!

When it comes to popular video games like Madden 13, many gamers and parents can relate with the strain that video games can put on a person’s wallet; especially, if you have more than one game console or child (we know kids sometimes don’t like to share).  However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case if you follow these simple tips that will help you save money on video games:

  • Tip One:  Get a Rental Membership – This would have to be the best way to save money for those who love video games.  By getting a membership with a company such as GameFly, you can save lots of money.  They offer rates as low as $15.95/month for one game rental.  Order your game online, they mail it to you and you keep it as long you want.  Once you are done with it, simply return it in the prepaid envelope, and if you decide to keep it then you can purchase it at a discounted price.

  • Tip Two:  Play the Demo – Most video games retail at $59.99, and demos are free to download on to your game console. Also, by playing the demo, you can experience what the video game will be like before it is released.  In the case that you don’t like it no purchase has been made, and you save yourself $60. 

  • Tip Three:  Trade In Old Video Games – Along with buying pre-owned, you can also trade in your old video games.  Usually, you can receive store credit towards your next purchase or, in some cases, you can receive cash.  Again, the amount of money you receive depends on how old the video game is and the condition.CoD Black Ops cover

  • Tip Four:  Shop Around for the Best Deal – Sometimes with popular video games such as Madden 13, many retailers try to give you the best bargain by creating bundles.  For instance, Wal-Mart sometimes bundles a free month of Xbox Live with the purchase of a video game.  This is a great deal because one month of Xbox Live costs around $5 for month-to-month access.

  • Tip Five:  Buy Pre-Owned – Buying pre-owned can save you up to 20% off the original price of the video game or sometimes more depending on the release date of the video game.  GameStop offers pre-owned video games at discounted rate. 

  • Tip Six:  Delay the Purchase – If you have played the demo and liked the video game, delay the purchase.  In most cases, video games begin to drop in price after a couple of weeks and you can save yourself a couple of bucks.

Your credit union not only promotes savings, but it promotes spending wisely. So, next time you decide you want a new game but need to save a couple of bucks, try following the simple steps above.  Trust us; your wallet will thank you!

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Credit unions aren't just for older people; they are for everyone!

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 11:54 AM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, credit unions, low cost loans, save money

1 Comment

Teen Advisory BoardBy Morgan Kelsey, former Unity One Teen Advisory Board member and student at Texas Tech University

Most people associate credit unions with their parents and grandparents. We rode with them to the credit union with excitement as we went through the drive thru and waited with anticipation for the candy that is usually distributed to kids in the car from the person behind the window. The tellers deposited or withdrew money, as instructed, and then sent the tube back with that cherished lollipop or hard candy or so we hoped. The candy was the exciting part as a kid, but as we mature there comes a time when we should realize that credit unions aren’t just for older people. They are for everyone, no matter the age.

Students in high school and college can find the services and opportunities beneficial to them through a credit union. Everyone wants to have a say, and that’s exactly what you get when you have an account at a credit union. There won’t be an older person with more say than you because they have been there longer.

Credit unions can teach you how to save money, get low cost loans and free services. A bank will just entice you with something that will distract you from expensive products and increasing fees.

Shareholders control banks and members control credit unions. In a bank, someone with lots of shares will have more say then you if you just have one share. The bank satisfies the few and not the many. In a credit union there are no shares and each member, no matter how rich they are or how involved within the credit union they are, will get the same vote you do. The vote weighs the same.

Isn’t it nice to know that you have a voice, even if you are young, not wealthy or have debt? I think it is. This is why credit unions are no longer for older people, they are for everyone.

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Dorm rooms: when saving cents makes sense - Part 2

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 @ 04:47 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, saving cents, save money


By Kathy Jones, Unity One CUUnity One CU Branch Manager and daughter Branch Manager

Having a well-organized, nicely-decorated room with functionality and personal flair will make it the perfect place to unwind, study for exams and rest. Simplify, and strive to have a clutter-free dorm room.

I have lots of experience with this. I've sent two daughters to college, and here are a few things we learned along the way that can help you save cents and stay stylish:

  • Choose a reversible comforter from a discount store. There is more than one option with a reversible comforter--to suit whatever mood you are in. But make it great. Your bed is the focal point of the room.
  • Crates are a great way to organize and add color. Better yet, purchase stackable crates. They not only save space, but they can also serve as a bedside table. Also, there are a wide array of colors that will suit any color scheme.
  • Make a bulletin board your memory board. Don't use them just for assignments or to-do lists, tack on pictures, tickets stubs or other mementos from your college experiences.
  • School spirit is never out of style. Just don't go overboard. Posters, game memorabilia and even t-shirts are great wall art. And, if you are really crafty put everything in a shadow box, and hang it from your walls. This nostalgic item will last you your entire time in college and beyond.
  • Use your door space. Plastic, shoe organizers that hang on your door are around $10. They are a very inexpensive way to save space. If you don't use all the holes for shoes, store your jewelry there.
  • Think green. Green plant, that is. It will add character to any room. Yet, choose a low maintenance type like an ivy or bamboo.

I hope that you can use these suggestions to save money and make your dorm room your home away from home.

Kathy Jones is the branch manager of Unity One Credit Union's North Tarrant location. She has two college-aged daughters.

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Coupons 101: A bachelor's tip to save money

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 @ 02:47 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, save money


By Hugo Vigil

Hugo is the newest addition to the Unity One Credit Union marketing team. In getting to know him, no one suspected that coupons ranked highly on his list of ways to save money. But, wow, what a lesson for us all.

Couponing is not just for women.  As a single man, I like to save money whenever I can, so I can have that little extra in my pocket just in case my date wants dessert or if I want to treat myself to a new cologne. 

Many people would agree that grocery shopping can get expensive, and when you are on a budget or on the go, eating out may be a fast and cheap alternative; but what people might not know is that you can actually save money and eat healthier by taking a couple minutes to read your local grocery store ads. 

There is also an old trend that has become new again—couponing.   Watch TLC’s Extreme Couponing, and you’ll see every day people like you and me buying hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and only paying pennies. Then there are those rare instances when someone’s bill comes out to be FREE. Since most of the time fresh produce and meats are what can put a strain your grocery bill, coupons can help ease the burden by taking a few bucks off the other items on your list. 

One of the pioneers in couponing is Stephanie Nelson.  Stephanie is the author of the Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom.  In this book, she states that, “The key to saving money on groceries is to understand the three basic principles of strategic shopping: Know your grocery prices, know your store’s savings programs and know your grocery coupons." She says that once you understand these principles and learn how to combine them, it’s easy to dramatically reduce your spending on groceries.

Now I, myself, did not realize how much money a person could save, until I saw it on television and decided to give it a try.  I’m not saying I am an expert, but here are just a few of the things I did to save money by using coupons. 

  1. Buy the newspaper on Sundays because it contains tons of coupons along with weekly circulars from your local grocery stores.
  2. Do your research.  There are online sites such as www.crazycouponlady.com or coupons.com that will do the research for you and tell you where the best place is to get the best deal with your coupons. 
  3. Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean that you have to buy the item.  A lot of times, people make the mistake of buying things they don’t necessarily need and end up spending extra.  Couponing is not about buying items with coupons, but about buying the items you need.

Now that I’ve given you my personal experiences with couponing, hopefully you can be on your way to saving money.

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