$aving on Groceries – Part 1

7 Jan

I’m not a crazy coupon lady. Mostly because I don’t have time. But oh, I have so much respect for the women and men that are so incredible at it – the ones who save 95% on these big $500-1200 grocery trips. But if you’re wondering how a wife like me, who works full-time and volunteers in youth ministry, is able to save us over 50% average last year on groceries and drug store items – well I can help you out.

I’m often asked by my friends how I save money and why I put so much time and effort into the process. The answer is usually, “Well I just like to coupon and save money…” But the long answer is so much more involved. It’s a rocky road to becoming a true money-saving, coupon-sorting, stockpiling diva. And let’s be honest, I’m no where close to those women on TV. I’m a reasonable couponer. I coupon because I know I can save money. I can’t stand paying retail if I know I can get it on sale somewhere. And I’m only couponing for two people, so that someday when there might be more of us, I can coupon at least part-time and still be satisfied.

But don’t fear, couponing isn’t a scary thing to learn. It just involves time and baby steps. So I decided to write this guide for people who are short on time and overwhelmed by collecting inserts, clipping loads of coupons, and taking on a part-time job to save their family money. This guide is written for the busy mom/wife who would like to know simple way to do it…in small, manageable, easy to handle, baby steps.

1. You have to commit to doing couponing for at least two months before you give up. If you commit for a week, or just one trip; and it doesn’t go as planned, don’t give up.

2. Don’t stress yourself out if you don’t save 75% or even 50% – if you were saving 0% before and now you’re saving 20% – that is a great job! Figure it this way – if you used to spend $500/month on groceries and now you spend $400, that’s an extra $1200 in your pocket each year.

3. Only buy items that you and your family eat or use. Or if you happen to know someone personally that would eat or use the item. Now, I love donating my extra food and supplies to organizations and food drives, etc. But when you are just getting started, focus small. If you happen to come across 10 boxes of diapers on a crazy discount, but have no babies, I’m sure someone would love to have them!  In other words, I don’t see the point in buying 25 boxes of the flavor of crackers your family detests in hope that you’ll host enough parties to “get rid” of them. While I only bought a couple, I have been guilty of buying things we never eat.

4. Focus on a couple of stores. If you try an learn the ins and outs of coupon polices and the way sales work at every single one of your local grocery and drugstores, and then add in a Target or a Wal-Mart too – well you’ll drive yourself bonkers! So pick the store you frequent the most, make sure you have a store club card. And grab a copy of their coupon policy. Stick to this store and their sales while you learn. This will help you out so much.

5. Do what works for you. Choose the couponing method that works best for you and your family. Would you rather carry around a big binder in your cart, a bunch of clipped coupons, or maybe the whole coupon inserts? Do you want to clip out every coupon, or just keep each insert? How much time will you spend on couponing and how will you make time for it? I can’t tell you what will and will not work for you. But I will share my discoveries, shortfalls, failures, and successes as I’ve been couponing for over a year now.

I look forward to sharing my stories with you all. I hope you can learn something, and apply it to your current couponing lifestyle, or your brand new beginning coupon experiences too!

New Coupon Terminology

CouponingVerb. The act of collecting, organizing and clipping coupons and then matching them with weekly sales to get the best discount on food and drugstore items you need for your family.

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One Response to “$aving on Groceries – Part 1”

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  1. {Coupon} Crazy | Marisa Quijano-Scrapbooking | Design | Art | Pretty things | Life - January 12, 2012

    […] $aving on Groceries – Part 1 (dishdashdime.wordpress.com) […]

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