There are some great links to some great "couponing" sites that I use daily; and I'll show you how I organize and save as well, I like to keep it EASY. Check out the WELCOME spot to your right to get started

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Deal Example

So this was last nights' Shopping adventure.
2 stores.
6 Transactions.
15 doubler's for Albertson's.

I. Am. Obsessed.
All of this should have been $247.92
I spent $74.76 OOP
so it was 70% off total! Here's the breakdown.

I went to Rite-Aid for the first time, (too tired to take pictures, sorry)

But I got:
2 camp chairs for $4.49 each down from $9.99
6 Free packages of Mentos gum with coupons
4 Spiral Notebooks from Mead for .99 total
2 free packages of Bumblebee Tuna
Then some cinnamon bears for $2 a package
2 Spices at .99 each
2 2 liters of A&W for .50 each
2 GIANT bags of candy, Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish down to 3.99 from 5.99
A $5/$25 store coupon from

Regular price would be $60.85
Total spent $23.32 that's 62% off!
Pretty good for my first time at Rite-Aid.

They have all their summer stuff at 25% off right now, hence the camp chairs.

Now on to Albertson's

Transaction #1

3 Bags Butterfinger Mini's
Regularly 3.99 each or $11.97
Store Sale 2.99
3 $1/1 mfgr coupons
3 $1/1 Doubler's
Total OOP $2.97
75% off

Transaction #2
3 Werthers 2.19 each or $6.57
$1/3 coupons
1 Doubler
$4.57 for 3
2 Tropicana OJ's Regularly 3.99 Each
Store sale 3.49
2 $1/1 coupons
2 Doubler's
$1.49 each

$7.55 OOP $52 % savings

Transaction #3
2 Classico Pasta Regularly 3.49 each
Store sale $2.50 each
$1/2 Coupon
$1.50 each
Ronzoni Pasta $2.39
$1/1 coupon
Chex Mix Cereal Bars Regularly 3.99
Store sale $2.49
Coupon .75/1
.99 each

Total OOP $4.38

Regular $14.45 or 69% savings

Transaction 4

All the dog biscuits below were in a discount cart for .99 to 1.49 each.

EVERY one I had a coupon for which brought each to Free or to .99 each! Cool!

7-up products originally $4.99 each were B2G2

then with my 2 $1/1 coupons they were $1.49 each with doubler's!

I got two cans of Chef Boyardee pasta for .25 each after 2 $/1 coupons

I had a couple of other store sale items with no coupons,

I doubled one dog biscuit coupon for $1

The transaction total for this was $24.48 OOP

Regular Price would've been $105.76 - that's 77% off

Ever heard of food storage for dogs? Here it is baby!

I did three transactions above in a row because it wasn't busy then and my cute checkout girl was happy to do it for me, we're on a first name basis.... I took the 4th transaction around again and the bagger kept my purchased items close for me because it got busy. Then put all the stuff in the car and had 3 doubler's left. Well with tons of $1/1 item coupons in my stash I couldn't very well let $6 go down the drain now could I?
So here's the final transaction of the evening. And I must say, my favorite!

1/2 Gallons of Breyers, Regularly $6.39 each or $38.34 for 6
Used 2 $2/3 Breyers Catilina's
Used 3 $1/2 Breyers Mfgr. Coupons
Used 3 $1/1 Doubler's
Total OOP $8.00
Or $1.33 each, or 74% off

I was one sore, tired couponing momma after this trip. I'm about grocery shopped out. Well okay, not really, maybe I'll give myself just a couple days off.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Deal Example

Walgreen's Deal!

All of this for $10.78! I saved 83% today!!

$61.77 total value for $10.76

Candy normally .89 each or $5.34 for 6
.50 Store Ad (limit 6)
$1/2 coupons = Free

Duracell normally 5.79 each or $17.37 for 3
$2.99 Store Ad (limit 3)
$1.50/1= $1.49 Each

Scotch Mailers Normally $1.80 each or $10.80 for 6
.39 ALL sizes Store Ad
used 6 .50/1 Coupons=Free!

Starbucks Frappichino (Dont judge, they're for someone else)
Normally $2.50 ea or $7.50 for 3
Store Ad 3/$5
used 3 $1/1 coupons = .66 each

Alieve Store Normally 5.19 each or $20.76 for 4
Store Ad 4.49 Each
used 2 $1/1 coupons = $1.74 Each

I still have $5 total off Coupon still to spend. I would have used them but my coupon per item ratio was too high (at Walgreen's you can only have as many coupons as you have items, darn.) I'll just use these on my next trip tomorrow! I still have more battery and chocolate coupons to use!

The total saving on this receipt doesn't include "regular" prices, just the sale price the store currently has. I personally like to go off of the regular price to my savings ratio like the grocery store receipts do.

But we can go from what's on this receipt too: Before tax I still saved 76% off sale prices.
But if using Regular prices the savings are really 83%. Because I purposefully shop for SALE items to add my coupons to, it makes sence to me!

Math Lesson:
You calculate your savings percentage by adding your store savings (29.59) to your total spent before tax (10.76) that equals 40.35.
Then divide 10.76 (total spent) by the above total - 40.35 that equals .26666
Which is the percent you spent for the value of the total items 26%.
Then you minus .26 from 100 and you get 74 so you got all items at 74% off!
You can do this for the total spent or for any indivual item too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Deal Example

I was bored tonight so I figured I'd head out to Albie's for some cheap stuff... I forgot to take a pic of my receipt but here's the breakdown.....
I went because of a $3 off any $10 purchase of specialty items. I got $6 off my order from this promo.

Cherries and Plums were on sale at .98 a pound. 3 day special sale. Got 3.5 lbs total
Ranch packets were .99 - we're addicted to Ranch dip
Grill Mates were .50 with $1/1 coupon
Zataran's were .50 each with $1/2 coupon
2pkgs of Bagel bites 1.50 each with $1/2 coupon - don't judge I have a teenager.
Rhodes warm and serve rolls $1.69each with $1/1 coupons
10 lbs of C&H sugar for 4.25 with .65/2 coupon
Got 3 4pkgs of Angel soft bath tissue 1.75 each and
3 Sparkle paper towels .70 each
But! I had 3 coupons for $2 off one off when you buy 1 of each of these, so take of $6 total, and all six items were $1.35 or .22 each.
The rest of the items were store prices
So all of this for $21.19!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Deal Example

Albertson's Deals!

Here's what I stocked up on:
Hamburger!! From the butcher block 1.88/lb

I got 20 lbs. Now we're good for awhile.
I got a coupon for a pint of Starbucks Ice cream
for free from a free sample mailer coupon
- $4.19 Value
1 package Mento's gum for Free, on sale for $1, had $1/1 coupon.
My Layton Albertson's only had the spearmint flavor - ICK.
Or I would have stocked up more, I have 8 of those coupons.
Got 5 Crayola 24 Ct Crayons for $1
2 Bags of Cinnamon Bears - $2.oo each
- no coupon, just a wicked craving on my part
for the record those have been on sale for $1 each before;
That's when I stock up

I had a $10 and $2 off your next order Catilina from a previous transaction,
So all that ground beef turned out to be 1.28 a pound by just using those two coupons.
All of the above including 20lbs of ground beef for 35.47.
I saved 61.62 this time.
That's 64% off my order with sales and coupons.
Or as I like to think of it; I spent 36% of what most people do!

Deal Example

Walgreens Deals!
School Supplies - I am a sucker for school supplies. I like to buy them for myself and I'm not in school.....when I was in elementary though, I loved getting my own pencil box with everything to go inside on the first day of school. I organized and re-organized those items and loved the bright colors, may be because I love art, but I think I may have an unhealthy relationship with school supplies. They make me happy. Is that weird? But they Really make me happy; especially at these prices!

Bic 2 pack gel roller pens were on clearance for .89, I had $1/2 coupon so each package was .39. Or .19 per pen

Papermate 6 pack of mechanical pencil's .19 per package! .3 each

Paper clips .16

Packages of 10 Prism pens .19

3 Subject notebooks 120 tear away sheet books .99 down from 3.99

College ruled 325 sheets filler paper 1.50

Pack of 12 pencils .29

Bic 10 packs 1.33 per package

Eraser packs .19

Crayola 12 count colored pencils .99

Crayola 24 pack crayons .25 at Walmart (not shown)

Book covers .99 down from 4.99

100 pack Note cards .66

I also bought a Pilot G2 Gel Pen for $1
which has a $1 Register reward attached to it too.
So those were "free!"

All together it was $33.98
Regular price should have been $168.86
That's an 80% savings!!!
And we have enough school supplies to last
Cameron, through 5th grade: (He's 4)
Nathan through 9th grade which he starts in the fall :)
Nathan's great at losing stuff

Tylenol is on sale for 4.99, there is a Register Reward for $3 for each one you buy - Register rewards are good towards your next purchase at Walgreens, so $3 off my next transaction....

So with each consecutive transaction I had $4 in Register Rewards from the pens and the Tylenol; which made Tylenol 99 cents! I usually break my transactions up in a few days time so I don't look like a dork.


Trident on sale for $1.39 per package
-$1/1 coupon = .39 each
M&M's were on sale for $2 per package
I used register rewards and $1/2 coupons to bring these to - FREE!

Hefty Zip Bags any size were all B1G1, so $3.29 each or $1.64 for two
with a $1/1 coupon they were .64 each

Reynolds Wrap was $1.59 on sale with $1/1 coupon they were .59 each

I usually only buy as many items as I have coupons....within reason. But needless to say I had a great time at Walgreens this week for the 6 transactions and 2 stores I visited I saved over 75% on everything I bought.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Deal Example

Well Well Well, I had a great trip this time! Tons of stuff was $1 or less this trip!

These items are on sale at Albertson's through Tuesday 7/21 -
Here's some $1 Items I got (before coupons!):
Albertson's 8oz shredded cheeses
Albertson's Cream Cheese

Lays on sale for $1.88, I had two $1/1 coupons, so .88 each
Kraft dressing same deal, was on sale for $2 I had a $1/1 coupon
Albertson's powdered and brown sugar for $1 each

There were many carts full of "Reduced for quick sale" items for .99 -
Caramel Crunch Chex Mix - got 2 - $4 savings
Quaker Oatmeal -$2 savings
Curves Apple Cinnamon Bars - got 2 - $6 savings
Pringles Single Packs .99-I also had 3- .50/1 coupons so.....

Pringles are normally $4.99 but I got them for .55 each

They paid me .33 to take these babies home!

I had 3 /$2.00 off any size sugar coupons....

I found these on sale for $1.89 each.

Some great meat deals too! -
Pork ribs - were on sale for .99 a pound, I got 5 pounds for $5.
That's $16.99 off!
Boneless chicken breasts - were 1.88 a pound, I got 5.4 pounds for $10.21
That normally costs $21.65
Hamburger -I got 3.23 lbs for $5.04 total. $1.53 per pound.
I had a $4 off "manager's special" peelie on the package.
It would have been $9.04.

I had $16 in coupons for all sorts of ice cream novelties, so with the store sales I brought home boxes of ice cream treats like Klondike, M&M's, Snickers, Hagen-Daaz, for less than $1.00 each box/item.

I got a lot of other stuff, the above were my best deal examples, I used my 3 Albertson's "doublers" of course.....
So all in all, here's my receipt for this transaction.....

I spend $116.09 and saved $172.57, with 115 items that's $1 per item average cost before tax! The savings was 59%.
$293.01 total value.
I ran out of room in my cart and went back for some other items I had coupons for: these were the items I'd planned to buy before I left home, knowing they'd all be deeply discounted, and knowing I had a lot of coupons for each item.....adding coupons to deep store discounts is SO amazing sometimes!.....
All Items:
6 boxes of Mini Wheats - Store sale 1.88 each. Had $4.50 off in coupons -1.13 each
2 boxes of Special K - 1.88 each - had $2 in coupons -.88 each
5 packages of Pilsbury cookie dough - $2.50 each, had $8.75 in coupons - $.75 each
4 cans of pineapple - $1 store sale - had $1.85 in coupons - $.53 each
9 Warm Delights - .99 store clearance sale, had 9 -.50 off coupons - .49 each
3 Candy Bars - Free with 3 coupons

I spent a total of $25.81 for 30 items. .86 each item average cost!
$88.57 total value
71% savings
Summary -
$381.58 total value for today's purchases
$146.25 OOP - (out of pocket)
Saved 62% today
I like to think of it as :
I paid 38% of regular prices today
or paid for only 38% of my items. :)
Ain't couponing grand?

Friday, July 17, 2009

5 Mistakes a newbie can make

Guest post from Angela at The Coupon Project

When I first realized I could be saving a lot of money by matching coupons up with store sales and promotions, I got excited. I mean REALLY excited. I sent countless emails to friends with my finds. I “scouted out” the local Kmart a couple weeks before the rumored double coupon event to strategize. I’d fall asleep piecing together Walgreens scenarios in my head. I began seeing barcodes everywhere I looked.
In all the excitement of finding the good deals, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. If you’re new to couponing (or even if you aren’t), please learn from my mistakes…and don’t repeat them! After doing some soul-searching, I’ve come up with a list of five mistakes I could have avoided. So here goes:

1. Trying to do EVERY deal. When my eyes were open to the world of couponing, I couldn’t believe ALL the deals I was finding…diapers, oatmeal, ground beef, canned vegetables, razors, soap, shampoo…and for some reason I felt the need to get every last one. It could be that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, or my mom would likely argue that it’s because I’m a firstborn, but whatever the reason, this shopping approach is completely unnecessary. Don’t kill yourself trying to make 18 shopping trips in a week. Deals come, deals go, other deals come. If you miss a deal, there will be others. Focus on a few that make sense for your family that week. Let the others go.

2. Feeling the need to use high value coupons – even if there is no sale. Remember, the key is to manage your out-of-pocket expenses on items your family needs and uses. When I first started clipping coupons, my heart would skip a beat when I’d find a $4 off coupon for some new-fangled room air freshener product. I MUST have that! Then I’d begin the desperate search of trying to find a sale to match it with. Sometimes I’d be successful. Other times, not so much. Bottom line: a $4 off coupon is still not a good deal if the item is $17.99 and you have no intention of using it. I’ve since learned to relax and let coupons expire if I can’t find a sale. Even good $4 off coupons.

3. Not paying attention to deadlines. So in April – the final month of the Walgreens’ Easy Saver Rebate Program, I decided to wait until the last minute to enter a rebate receipt. Guess what? I missed the deadline! And I had $10 worth of rebates. What’s more, because I didn’t submit it, the system automatically processed my rebates and sent me a check – instead of letting me select the Gift Card option which would have yielded me an additional 10%. Watch out for deadlines, keep your receipts and coupons organized. You don’t want to lose out. I still shudder to think how far $10 at Walgreens could’ve gotten me this month….!

4. Not paying attention to expiration dates. Guess what? Non-perishables are actually perishable! So when you purchase enough cans of tomato soup to last you two years, you better make sure those cans of soup will actually be good two years from now. I now check the expiration dates on everything from milk to cough drops to cans of soda. Especially pay attention if there is a REALLY good sale going on a certain item. I can think of a recent instance where a store (which shall remain nameless) was offering extremely high value coupons for a certain type of candy. When I visited the store, almost every last package had expired by more than a month! Yikes.

5. Buying stuff your family won’t use. Sure, it’s great to pick up some stuff for donations to the church pantry or homeless shelter, but remember the main purpose of couponing (at least for most of us) is to save money on your family’s grocery bill each month. So make an effort at coming home with items your family will actually eat, use, and enjoy. I can recall some of my first shopping trips where I’d come home with say, 5 boxes of allergy medicine, 2 bottles of children’s cough syrup, and 3 packages of Tucks Medicated Pads. This is great except for the fact our family uses none of these items. Again, picking these things up is nice if they are free after coupons and you have a place in mind to donate them to, but it’s even better to focus your energy on things your family needs right now.

Learning how to shop and save wisely will take some trial and error. What I’ve noticed is that I tend to make more mistakes when I fail to see the bigger picture. Don’t get hung up over a coupon or a deal – focus instead on your monthly saving and spending goals or rounding out your pantry. And if you do make a mistake, don’t let it go to waste. Learn from it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stocking up

The Buy Ahead Principle:
From Money Saving Mom

One of my biggest grocery saving secrets
Allison left the following comment on my picture of this week's $30 shopping trip:

"I've enjoyed reading this blog the past month or so since I've discovered it, and you've really helped me snag some good deals. And I think it's neat when you come home from the store with a pile of groceries for only a few dollars.
But every time I see the picture of your groceries, I wonder something like, "What is she going to cook for dinner with easy mac, salad dressing, and jello?"
Is this all the grocery shopping you do? Do you have a garden? Or raise your own beef? How do you round out your bargain purchases to get a meal on the table?"

One of my biggest secrets for grocery saving success is that I practice the Buy Ahead Principle. What's that, you ask?
Well, basically, other than dairy products and produce, I aim to never pay full price for anything. Instead, I stock up when an item is on sale to tide me over until the next sale.
For instance, in this shopping trip picture, you'll see that I mainly stocked up on cereal. In fact, I bought 16 boxes of cereal--enough to last us for at least 6 weeks, likely longer. Did we only eat cereal that week? No way! We ate a few boxes of cereal that week and the rest of what we ate mostly came from items I'd stocked up on during previous sales.
You see, because I stock up on items when they are on sale at my target price (providing I can afford it in our budget), my grocery shopping trips will usually look quite strange and will certainly not be the basis for a balanced menu. But you can check out some of our menus here to see that we do eat a fairly balanced diet. Well, at least we're certainly not subsisting on Easy Mac and Jell-O every meal!
How is it that we can eat a fairly balanced diet when I buy such an odd assortment of groceries each week? It's because the bulk of our meals are based upon what we already have in our refrigerator, pantry, and freezer.

To give you an idea of how this works, here's a rundown of our menu this week:

Breakfasts: Cereal or Kashi waffles and fruit (The cereal was from our big stock-up mentioned above, the waffles were purchased two weeks ago at Target for $0.29/box, and the fruit is from what we purchased this week and leftovers from last week.)
Lunches: Sandwiches or leftovers and carrots or fruit (I had lots of bread in the freezer I'd gotten for $0.50/loaf from Aldi last month and the peanut butter was from our pantry. My mom also gave us some extra lunch meat she had leftover from a lunch they served so we've used that, too. The carrots and fruit were purchased this week or leftover from last week's purchases.)
Dinners: We're eating meals from our After-The-Baby Freezer Stash paired with homemade bread from the freezer and frozen veggies from the freezer. All of the items in our After-The-Baby Freezer Stash were purchased within our usual grocery budget over the course of a few weeks' time as I had a little extra wiggle room in the budget or items were on sale.
Snacks: Fruit, cheese, crackers, granola bars, yogurt (The fruit, cheese, crackers, and yogurt were all purchased this week. The granola bars were from the pantry.)

When I plan the menu for the week, I first check out what we already have on hand. This gives me the inspiration for the majority of the menu. I then consult the sales fliers and my coupon box to decide what items are on sale and in-budget that I want (or need) to stock up on. I also add in any specific ingredients I need to round out a recipe or meal I've planned from the freezer and pantry ingredients.

For many people who are used to buying only what groceries you'll use in the next week, the concept of buying ahead can be mind-boggling. However, I highly recommend you at least give it a try as it can save you a great deal of money. In fact, I would estimate that we routinely save at least $30-$50 each week by doing so.

If this is a new concept for you, don't go out and spend $500 tomorrow trying to build up a stockpile. Instead, just designate a small percentage of your grocery budget each week to buying extra of those heavily-discounted items which you know you will use sometime in the next few months.

Slowly start to build up a stockpile of items you regularly use as you find them discounted by 50% or more with a sale and coupon. Over time, your stockpile will grow until you come to a point where you can begin to pretty much only buy items which are at rock-bottom prices, in addition to produce and perishable items.

Just by adopting the Buy Ahead Principle, you will see a significant savings in your grocery bill. And you'll likely be shopping less and eating better than ever before!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Deal Example

I have to tell you I'm usually an Albie's girl but this week Smiths had quite a few deals.
Smiths had the GIANT boxes of GM cereal on sale for $2.00.
Original price is $5.99
$4 store savings per box. .....hang in there
I had 22 - $1/1 coupons, and 3 store coupons for $2 off 3 boxes and 3 - $0.75/1 coupons
So I bought 28 boxes that would have normally cost $168 - for $31.77
That's $1.13 average per box, an 80% savings!
And now I have a 6 months supply of cereal for my family

Then they had a promo on Keebler crackers and cookies.
They were on sale for 1.99-2.69 each.
Their promo was "Buy 3 items get a $3 rebate off at the register, limit $6 off per transaction"
So with 3 separate transactions I bought 15 items total.
In addition; I had 15 coupons ranging from $1.25/1, $1/1 and $.55/1 coupons.
So for 15 Keebler items:
$51.75 original price
$39.48 total store sale price
$15 off with the rebates = $24.48
minus my $14.95 in coupons
equals $9.53 total for 15 items
that's $0.63 each!
And now I have a couple of days' supply of treats for me....I mean, a 3 month supply of treats for my family :)

Then I headed to the meat case for this deal....
Tyson prepared meals for 4 - These are yummy!
Normally $7.34 each
on sale for $4.49
The store had a bonus $1 off "peelie" coupon stuck on each package - Ah yeah!
I had 7 $.50/1 coupons
So, the price came to $2.99 each!
That's $51.38 normal price for 7 meals for 4
So $20.93 for 7
That's $2.99 a meal for 4 - $0.74 each serving for some really great pot roast in gravy.
Now I have a quick and easy healthy yummy meal option for one night a week for 7 weeks....

So, total for all of these items 28 boxes of cereal
15 packages of cookies/crackers, and 7 pot roast meals
WOULD have normally cost $279.13, and I got them for a total of $62.23.
That's 77.5% off :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Introduction - Why "Coupon?"

Why use coupons? Well.....TO SAVE MONEY! (Duh!?)
Why else would we bother right? Why DO this crazy time consuming thing?? Why buy into this lovely new verb called "couponing?"

If you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, or you do and you're just learning, hang in there..... trust me, I wouldn't bother if I were just saving a few bucks.
I'm going to show you how I save 50-75% off my grocery bill.
I now buy three times more than I ever did, and I still buy most things brand name, and I spend 50-75% less for 2-3 X more stuff. It took some time to get it right, but I think I've got it!
So, after mentioning my good fortune to some family and friends who were struggling financially, they asked me to do a blog entry on how I do "the couponing thing" on my family blog so they could learn it.....Oh, my naive little chicks, one blog entry is not worthy enough to cover such an amazing subject; It deserves a blog all it's own, so I hope you LOVE this! :)

My Tale of Desperation/Motivation-
I started this journey when I began blogging about recipes and I ran into a whole blog sub-culture! It's CRAZY out there people! Well....while searching some WILD and Amazing recipe blogs and I ran into some fun "tips" blogs that had "how to save money" all over them including a "Couponing" Blogger list and I started looking there too out of curiosity. I had NO idea what "couponing" was; Then as I looked further in to the batty things these people were doing to save money, I thought "No way REAL people do this!" Then a friend mentioned she got 4 Sunday newspapers for that very purpose and I got more curious and did tons of research.... and here I am; Two months of couponing and I've got my receipts and budget to prove it!

The REAL REASON I started this journey?
My hubbie got laid off in April and I panicked!
I knew we could handle most things with my income (House, Insurances, medical bills etc) because we don't have any credit card debt and we weren't crazy spenders anyway. We then made some quick changes, with the economy downturn I knew he wouldn't find a job right away so it helped that I took my 4 year old out of daycare while hubbie is home. That saved me about $500/month. But I still was really worried about food and gas and clothes and other needs, I had like $500 left over a month for ALL of that extra stuff that didn't arrive in "Monthly bill" form. Geez I spent $900+ on food alone most months and that didn't include clothes, gas, entertainment, car repairs/maintenance…..
So I had to do something!
So I learned how to gather and use these:

I learned first that you DO do have to spend a lot of time getting organized at first and staying organized takes time too. Getting organized is the key to making things easier later. I learned that there are some amazing resources out there and I will share with you what I've learned and what works for me.

Along with Saving Money on your grocery bill you'll:
1. SAVE MONEY! - Wait, I already said that....
2. Build your Food Storage for the convenience and/or for emergency preparedness.
3. Deal with this lame economy proactively - Head on!! (I'm a realist, it's only gonna get worse people!)
4. Feel a sense of control, by being prepared you'll be surprised how GOOD that feels!

I'm talking stocking up on food, clothing, shoes, household items, emergency supplies, etc....we're stocking up on all of it, and we're using half the money we used to spend just on food for every day use.
I started this in May, and now I have 3 freezers full of food. 2 pantries FULL, and I had to clean out my basement to make one food storage room for this stuff too. It's now about 1/2 way full....I stock up on anything from food staples to ice cream treats, paper products, personal products, candy & soda too
It's really cool when we have friends or family over and I have a HUGE stash of fun stuff to choose from to feed them, or to feed a neighbor in need, or potlucks at work or whatever. I only have go to the store for fresh ingredients as needed. I even get milk and bread through a deliver service which saves me money too. I also use food co-ops, farmers markets, and produce suppliers to get local fresh items for a lot less than at the grocery store.
The only other times I shop now are the times I'm bargain hunting for fun... (with a plan).
It's more than just using have to strategize before using them. You get lots of each coupon - then you wait for sales, REALLY great sales or markdowns on individual items. When the stores' "shopper card savings" bring a price down on your favorite items and you have coupons for that item, it will bring the item down to 75% it's original cost or better. Then you stock up on that item using multiple coupons for it. (You'll be gathering these first to get a great supply going). You purchase items only when they are CHEAP and with your coupons you bring it down to SUPER CHEAP and sometimes FREE!
The first month I only spent $450 for groceries. I saved $550 my first month!!
The second month I only spent $420 in groceries, AND we had more than we used to have around the house to eat too, and I started stockpiling my food storage. I'm not talking about wheat and flour and dry mixes etc that is boring and unmotivating to me; I'm talking about REAL food. Boxes of cereal, jars of spaghetti sauce, tuna, frozen meat, cheese & bread! So now, after only two months of careful planning and couponing, we have enough non-perishable every day food items like cereal, crackers, snacks, boxed meals, frozen meat, frozen dinners etc - to carry us through a whole month or more if we needed it. I also got my 13 year old's school clothes bought for Fall...watching for sales and adding clothing coupons to the mix. All with my hubby out of work people!
(There's another whole layer of food/cereal boxes behind the one you see in front - this is from one month of stocking up, that's a 6 foot long shelf two cereal boxes deep)
Reality Check -
I like to keep things simple. I HAVE too. Did I mention that I work FULL TIME??
Couponing is an "Art" that can get quite complicated and it takes some major dedication.
I need to keep my eye out for Internet deals and weekly mailers, plan my grocery trips down to the item....Clip coupons, (hoard coupons!) then organize them, by aisle, expiration date, and store, and I do it all over again every day or for a total of at least 6-8 hours a week organizing and 2 hours shopping.
But don't let that scare you :)
Here's the good news:
I only go shopping once a week;most weeks I only go to one store.

CRAZY COUPONER ALERT: There are some out there in the blogosphere that go twice or more a day to keep their costs down even more than I. They hit all the big sales and go to multiple stores with the best price and buy in small transactions and duplicate their transactions over and over again. - (you'll see these "CRAZY" alerts throughout my blog)
AARGH!!! No way, that is NOT for me. The cost of my sanity is too high hence the blog title. So I choose to spend a bit more money than the "crazies" and spend less time obsessing and more time at home with my family.
Bottom line, I "coupon", I save a ton of money, and I still see my family!

My hope is to help you make sense of the crazy mess of couponing. I'd like to help anyone with an overwhelming need/desire to save money actually MAKE IT HAPPEN. I'm talking save 50-75% on every shopping trip from here on out. I'll share with you my tips and tricks, my organization system, and how I stay motivated/excited about this every day. Next up Getting Started.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting Started: How to Collect Grocery Coupons

This is your new mission, you can't move too much further forward unless you have these baby's so start collecting!

(Confession: I consider couponing my hobby on certain days, and my part time work-at-home job on others, - I tell myself; "C'mon you're making like $50 an hour here - keep it up girl!")

How to collect coupons and sales ads:

Grocery store/other store "mailers" -
You know the ones you used to call junk mail? Well they're not junk any more baby! Those are your ticket to the good sales and there are lots of coupons in there as well. They're your best friend now so keep em!

Each store has a website that will have their weekly mailer posted if you'd like to go that route. I do both sometimes, these websites are awesome with tips, recipes, grocery list creaters etc...but I still keep the mailers because I will circle the items I want to purchase and bring the add with me to the store so I don't forget anything .....Target, Albertson's (Albies), Smiths, Walmart, Wallgreen's (Wags), Shopko, Dicks, and Macey's are the ones I look at.

Store coupon hints:

Target - Target has their own coupons available to print (unlimited!) on their website. They let you pair these with manufacturer coupons so you can stack coupons on any item.

Walmart: Will take competetor coupons and will price match so theoretically you could just go to Walmart for everything:) I don't enjoy Walmart much and I think price matching is a pain. So my favorites are Smiths and Albertsons. I like to shop there, and since Im spending a couple of hours I need to be in a place where I feel comfortable.

You have to go where it works best for YOU!

The Sunday Paper -You'll want to have 2 -5 Sunday Papers that contain the coupon inserts. The rule is one paper per family member up to 5 papers.
In the paper:
We are looking for the P&G brandsaver, Red Plum, & SmartSource inserts,.
There are other coupons and store ads and specials can be found throughout the paper so scan each page!
If you can find four or five people to save papers for you if you're lucky. If not, it may sound expensive, but trust me, the money you save from those babies will be worth it. The Trib and Deseret news have a special that's $2 for BOTH papers when you buy on Sunday in a store.
To be honest I started out with just two papers and thought that would be fine because I'm not "stocking up" yet, I was just trying to get by; But there were times I wished SO BADLY I had more of some coupons so I could cash in on a screamin deal....but do what's best for you and your family and add more papers later when you get the hang of it. I'm up to 4 papers now. I take the Salt Lake Trib, the Deseret News, the Standard Examiner and one or two people save theirs for me.
Crazy alert: The Crazies do 5 or more papers every sunday.

Internet Printable Coupons (IP's)-
These are half of my coupon stock pile. There are many sites online that have IP's. I've listed the biggies to the left and have links there for you. The coupon bloggers to the left have links for you directly to the desired coupon. Nice and Easy.
There are many company sites you can get coupons from too. Like Kraft, Boxtops, Leapfrog, Quaker, Coke, Kelloggs, General Mills, Nabisco, Jolly-Time, etc.


  • I go to the sites on the left every week and print whatever's new and sometimes duplicate what I already have.
  • Most Blogs give you links to direct printables so surf the coupon blogs daily
  • Get a good printer and change your printing to "greyscale" so you don't waste your color ink. How To: Go to Printers and Faxes in your pc's start menu, select your printer, go to Preferences then Properties then Color, set it to "greyscale -Black cartridge only."
  • These IP's reset each month on the 1st but they add new coupons throughout the month too so check back often.
  • There is a small IP download you'll need load on your PC to print these. (Takes less than a minute) This is necessary so the site knows how many you've printed. You will only be allowed to print one to two coupons per item per PC.
  • Crazy Alert: So if you have 2-4 PC's in the house (like I do) you can print 2 coupons per item per PC. That's 8 of the same coupon. Hah!
  • The nice thing about these IP's is they all print the same size and they are pretty universal throughout the Internet. But you'll need tons of paper too, most of these print one per page
Blog Lingo Hint - IP's are for Internet Explorer users, FF's are for Fire Fox users. You'll see "IP" links or "FF" link refered to throughout these websites.
Good news, most of these coupons are MAC compatible too.
Other options for coupons -
In-store coupons and peelies, Catilina's and shopper card promotions- go to this blog to learn more about them all-she's done a great job explaining them, why duplicate work? :)
Continue on to "Gaining Information" below....

About Me

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Utah, United States
I love to cook, it's how I de-stress; most people don't understand it but they love to taste test! I turn on some great tunes, and get to baking. Here's my family blog, come see what we're up to at I'm also big into couponing and can help you save a lot of money here: Thanks for visiting my little corner of the Web :)