Monday, March 1, 2010

Coupons are for the birds.

Rich birds, that is.

A few weeks ago I was standing in line behind a lady at Publix when the cashier gave her the total: $192. (Note: that price is not at all shocking to this fam-o-6!). Then she gave this smug little smile and handed over her coupons. After about 20 minutes of scanning (it seemed), the cashier smiled and told her the new total: $76.


My jaw hit the floor and I wasted no time in squeezing past my cart to get right up on her. "How IN TARNATION did you just do that?"

Oh, she was proud. Very very proud.

"It's an art, really. I'm a couponer. I clip clip clip and print print print and consider it my full-time job to save money for my family," she says with a smile from here to Texas.

I gulped.

I have prided myself on the fact that Carter's job is to make the money and my job is to make the money work for us.

Except with groceries.

I, of course, look for good deals, and of course, use store brand when applicable. But I like to eat well so I just figured I'd put the stock of our money into groceries so we could all eat well.

I just didn't realize we could still eat well but for LESS MONEY!

So I have ventured, oh so slowly, into couponing. And good grief it ruined my Sunday afternoon. We raced around picking up newspapers and weekly fliers so I could sit down with my laptop and papers and get my list figured out.

FOUR HOURS LATER, I had it figured out. And if you've seen my family, you'll understand that FOUR HOURS IS WAY TOO MUCH PRECIOUS TIME TO DEVOTE TO COUPONS!

Then I went shopping. FOR TWO HOURS. It takes serious concentration to get the most bang for your buck. Stacking coupons. Doubling coupons. BOGOs. It's like I'm in a foreign country trying to speak their language and it's taking forever to figure out the best deal on cereal when I have 47 coupons to choose from.

But I made it out alive.

And the SIX HOURS I devoted to saving us some cash did pay off. I saved $56. FIFTY SIX DOLLARS!!!! And the more I get the hang of this new language, the less time it should take (dear goodness, it better!) and the better equipped I'll be to breeze through the aisles.

Here's just an example of the glee I felt at the conveyor belt. Hunt's tomato sauce: 3 for $1. I handed a coupon over for $1 off of 3. They handed me back the 3 tomato sauces that I just got FOR FREE!! And that's just one of the many deals I figured out like that. FREE.

Me likey free.

If you've got any great tips, send them my way. I'm a sponge for this right now.

Resources: (major source)
weekly fliers in newspapers and store racks
specific websites for products that I cannot budge on or use store brand (i.e. for us: Similac formula, A&H detergent, Blue Plate mayo)

Stay tuned!


Kristin said...

I love Southern Savers! She was actually here last week and I went to her workshop!!! She says it takes about 6 weeks to go through a full cycle of everything being on sale and it really starting to pay off! So don't give up! :)

Anonymous said...

I have been doing the coupon thing for over 20 years. When I first started I spent hours a week in the process. Now, I have it down to about 1 hour a week. My #1 rule is that I don't pay full price for anything unless we absolutely have to have it. I start first with going through the grocery adds writing down the deals of the week (only stuff I use). Then I go through the coupons in the Sunday paper and coupons I already have. If there are really good deals on stuff that you have coupons for, buy more than you need and stock up on it. If you can get 2 bottles of laundry detergent on sale 2/5 with a b1g1 coupon I buy 4 bottles. That's less than $2/bottle. Can't beat that. If you are serious about it, you will have a system down in no time. My order generally comes to about $175/week after coupons and sales, I spend about $90. That's a savings of $320/month. Think what you can do with that. Some people think I am crazy, but I love the challenge of it. Good luck to you.

Kara said...

I need a serious tutorial. So figure it out and then teach me. Mmmkay?? For realz - I have gone over our food budget for the past two months. Ouch.

And, PS - lovin' the new sidebar descriptions.

mandy said...

Just found your blog (Thanks to Amy Fritch or Whitney or Kara or somebody).

Anyway, I'm here. And I'm amazed.

Do coupons cover organic stuff? And recycled/environmentally friendly stuff?

I may need some tutorin'......

mandy said...

(And thank you for bringin' the funny to your blogopolis!)

Lacey said...

Hey, do you have Aldi down there? Its a SIMPLE little grocery store chain from Europe, so no name brands but BIG savings! I love it. Good luck!