I used to be a big coupon clipper but fell away from the practice for a year or two, for several reasons. 1. It is time intensive and I got lazy. 2. We are always trying to get away from eating too much processed food, which is what most coupons are for.
In the very front pocket I put the coupons I will use THAT trip. I usually go once a week, on Wednesday or Thursday…I get a few necessities (milk, fruits/vegs, meat) and all the rest I buy is coupon stockpiling. The way I decide which coupons to use is by going through the Wed newspaper ads and matching my coupons to the sale prices. Couponing is only a good deal if it is used WITH a sale. Regular price, plus a 50 cent coupon? That’s not worth it! But 1/2 off, plus a .50 coupon, plus a doubler? That’s worth stocking up on!
2. Pick a coupon friendly store. Some places (Walmart grrr!) forget your coupons every time. Other stores (my experience at Safeway) have clerks who act like your money savings is coming directly out of their paycheck! I go to Albertsons because they match up to 10 competitor coupons. This means I clip Rays, Safeway and Fred Meyer coupons, match those to my reg coupons and the sale ad from Albertsons. I get ALL my shopping done in one stop and as a bonus-I don’t have to go to Winco or Walmart (which I despise because of the crowds and poor produce! Still, I went for the bargains) Now that I do most of my shopping at one place, I actually save time…even with the time invested in coupon clipping/organizing. If I have a big trip to do I wait until Sunday afternoon or later at night so the boys can stay home-they will start moaning if they see me get out the coupon binder, haha! But it’s interesting how they always ask excitedly “How much did “we” save this time?!” I love the checkout where you get this enormous bill and then they start scanning coupons-minus $1-minus $2-minus .75-etc etc Afterwards you get a receipt the size of a tall 9 year old:
3. Make it fun! Everything in life can be a fun challenge or a weary burden-WE get to DECIDE. This has become a friendly competition with myself, to see how much of my husband’s hard-earned paycheck I can save. Last week was my best yet! This slip that Caleb is holding is our new record:I spent $74.14 and SAVED $127.60.
I normally range in the 50% area, with a full cart of groceries for around $65-80. A lot of women on this message board:
do a LOT better than that! But I am still buying a lot of gluten-free foods, produce and meat that rarely go on sale, so I am happy with that. Another nice thing about Albertsons is that they add up your purchases for gas rewards. Yesterday I got a slip for .45 cents off PER GALLON and it can add up to $1.50 off per gallon, eventually. That is just a great bonus.
4. Get extra coupons. We get the paper but if you don’t, just buy Sundays and Wednesdays. Claudia shares her extra coupons with me, and John will bring home the circular from work if I need extras. Also, when there is a big sale I will go on ebay and buy 10-20 of a duplicate coupons. Did you know people sell coupons?! For around $1-$2 you can buy 20 $1.50 off coupons-even if I use half of them , I still save, especially on items like cat food, canned goods and other things that keep a long time. A bonus is that most of the ebay sellers who clip and sell these are stay-at-home moms or charities, and you are supporting them a little.
So that’s my latest “thing”-couponing. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email!