Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Do You Coupon?

Have you seen that show, Extreme Couponing? This week I made my first attempt at couponing.   In the past 6 months our grocery bill has doubled.  Our children have become human garbage disposals!  Now, I'm not complaining about the garbage disposal thing.  I have a 2 year old who weighs 21 pounds, and a 5 year old on chemo.  Them shoving their faces makes me happy!  However, it does not make my checkbook happy.

Hence the couponing.  I went to the store equipped with my shopping list, sales paper, and coupons...and I failed miserably.  My mistakes?

1. I didn't look closely at my coupons, and many of the items I grabbed weren't what was specifically listed on the coupon.

2. I took my kids with me (BIG MISTAKE IF YOU'RE TRYING TO SAVE MONEY).

3. I didn't look closely at the sale ads in the sale paper.  For instance, I got two 2 liters of Sprite, because they were listed under a heading of "Assorted Coke Products Buy 1 Get 1 Free".  However, the Sprite itself wasn't one of those "assorted" items.

Okay, so I haven't totally given up, and I intend to do better next time.  What about you?  Do you have any tips to save money at the grocery store?  Share them, please!

And on an aside, here is a lovely little commercial that played during the Super Bowl.  It made me both happy and sad, and yes I cried.


  1. My family has started couponing. They all love it. My sister is the queen of coupons and will plan everything out to the last penny. I get bored. Last time I made them drop me off at the bookstore and pick me up when they were done.

  2. I'm a frugal shopper, but the grocery store kills me. I wind up going several times a week. It's awful.

  3. Ellen, I know what you mean. It was NOT fun, at all. I would much rather just go buy what I need. It's just those darn prices!

    And Kelly, I go too often, too. I TRY to remember everything I need, so that I only have to make one trip. It rarely works out that way, though.

  4. Hi Katie,

    Stick with the couponing. You will get the hang of it. It takes lots of time and effort but it can definitely be worth it. There's a website I go to where they match up the sales for the week with coupons. And they list them all by store. It saves a lot of time and they always find deals that I miss when I look through the fliers. I know there are lots of them out there, but the site I use is coupondivas.com

    Another way to go (if couponing isn't for you) is to read "Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half" by Annette and Steve Economides. They give some great tips for saving money and they don't rely on coupons. I read their book about a year ago because I was sick of going to the store nearly every day. Now I only go once a week. It takes a little organization, but it's well worth it.

    Oh, and when I saw that commercial during the Superbowl, I thought of you and your family.

  5. That commercial made me tear up ...

    I don't know much about couponing because the system here in Singapore is probably different. But one tip I've learned on saving is to absolutely stick to your list. (I used to buy more than what I'd intended for. Looking at the bill later made me guilty.) 'If I want to add something to it, I'll need to take something off, too.' That's the self-imposed rule I'm still working on. :)

  6. My wife's daughter really gets into it. She tried to get my wife started, she has very little time, but does some. She uses a couple of web sites, and we shop a lot at Kroger. Kroger has a card you can use and from the money you spend in the store, you get points to take money off the gas you buy from them. It's pretty neat. Also, with Kroger, you can go online and check things you need a coupon for and it will credit each item when you use your card at checkout. You don't have to have the paper coupon with you.

    A couple of things I have seen with her daughter is buying what you don't normally buy, and spending more by buying smaller sizes, but more of them, and end up spending more than for the same quantity without the coupon.

    Didn't watch the game, but loved the video.

  7. Ruth, thank you for that link! I will definitely be checking it out.

    Claudine, yes, sticking to a list is a must. I haven't mastered that either :/

    Rick, I'm glad you liked the video (and I didn't watch the game either!).

  8. Katie,

    Here is my biggest tip for couponing. Remember to bring the coupons with you!! I never EVER remember so it's pointless for me to try. I rarely even make a list. I totally suck at couponing. Goodluck to you though!

  9. I coupon regularly. Couldn't make it if I didn't. If you can find a coupon blog for your main grocery chain, that will give you their weekly specials and also list the coupons (with links to printables) that match up with them. It's hard when you're learning but so worth it.
    Followed your link from ICL.

  10. Hi Katie,

    There's a site called The Crazy Coupon Lady. You can find almost everything you'd ever want to know about coupons. She has videos to show you how to shop at different stores to get the most for your money, and what's allowed at each store. You can also find most stores coupon policy on her site too.

    I love the site! It's helped me a lot and I've gotten a ton of free stuff.

    Anyway, stick with it, you'll figure it out and be addicted in no time.

  11. Oh, one more thing, a lot of companies have giveaways on Facebook. I've gotten free tide stain releasers, six full sized bottles of shampoo, toilet paper, and other household items.

    Okay, two things...:)

    If you send emails to companies telling them how much you love their products, they'll send you coupons for free stuff. I've gotten a lot of free stuff that way too.

  12. I used to coupon but there aren't very many coupon friendly stores in our town. I switched from couponing to sweepstaking which I can do from home and it doesn't cost anything out of pocket which is good for our household! I've been able to win some things that we couldn't afford otherwise. One of my latest wins was a Vitamix blender. Those things are insanely expensive but it is awesome for free, lol! We also were able to upgrade our tv with sweepstaking. You might check it out too!

    1. Thank you everyone for the tips. HI DARLA!!! I love your advice, and fresh baked bread does sound yummy :)

      Funny, Marla, that you should mention sweepstakes. I have been working on a "contest" post, and in it I mention how I never win anything ;)

  13. I've tried the coupon thing, with little success, due mostly to the limited stores we have in our area. I've not given up - I just need more practice...

    I do the main shopping monthly - and go back once for milk, fresh veggies, etc. (Sadly, we can't grow a garden. We tried, but our growing season here is about 15 minutes long!)

    Two things I learned (the hard way)... ALWAYS use a list - and ALWAYS shop alone!(It's not just KIDS that can make you run up your bill... Hubby's do it too.)

    Before I go, I check websites for the grocery stores in my area, find the cheapest deals in each one... and hit the Wal-Mart first, as their pet supplies are always cheapest. (We have two cats, a dog, and a horse to feed : ) If their prices beat those on my list, I buy there - except for meat and produce... I HATE those at WalMart!

    Although I was nervous, at first re: quality - I've started buying store brands on many items.

    I've found that most are as good or better than the name brands! Things like cereal in the plastic bags, canned fruits/veggies, fruit juice, even coffee! - Turns out, Kroger's ketchup is even thicker than Hunt's!

    I save and clean empty coffee (metal) cans and purchased other airtight containers to store my bulk dry goods, bought when they're on sale, so they last and last.

    Another trick, which I employed when we actually HAD friends/neighbors nearby, is to team up and hit Costco or similar stores and buy food and sundry items that you use regularly, in bulk. Those stores also carry meat in jumbo packages and produce by the crate - then you can split them up between the families.

    You can check, but many times your membership is free, through your workplace or credit union. If not, the savings far outweigh the cost of membership.

    After we moved here, our son returned home - with his wife and three kids. I asked the manager and found that our Albertson's would give me a flat discounted rate on cases of assorted canned goods... which helped a lot in feeding seven people - Us, plus TWO additional (initially unemployed) adults, two growing teenagers, and a three yr. old ...(they sure could EAT...lol)!

    Depending on the size of your freezer, many stores run specials on meats - buy one get one free - or the overage of turkeys, brisket, hams etc. after holidays.. as well as sales on frozen veggies and such. (I buy the giant pkgs.and divvy them up). We invested in one of those food vacuum machines, so freezer burn is no longer an issue, and I've kept stuff frozen for up to a year, without a problem.(I checked the internet and learned how to 'corn' my own beef - a bit time consuming, but super easy and turns out VERY tender when cooked... brisket is dirt cheap AND healthy!)

    If you don't have a separate freezer, many times you can find a good one, really cheap, in your local private sales paper.

    If you have the time and inclination, baking your own bread is cost saving, too... mere pennies per loaf, plus you KNOW what went in there! You can prep once a week (or two), freeze the dough after the first rise (in our altitude - second) ... pull it out when you're ready, throw it in the pan to thaw and finish rising... You have yummy fresh bread for sandwiches and a house that smells great! If you have time, you can do some rolls, cookies, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, etc. while you're at it. All freeze well; homemade is cheaper, healthier... and MUCH more yummy.

    With just the two of us now, I do cookie dough and freeze it in the proper sized blobs, for baking throughout the month... Takes up little room in the freezer and they're always fresh, yummy... and cheap!

    As a happy plus... kids JUST LOVE to help with baking projects, while getting some education on 'weights and measures' by osmosis... : )