That is what my boys call me these days, “Crazy Coupon Lady”. I tend to get on a kick and go full throttle with something. For the past few months my “thing” has been couponing. When I sit down and look at our budget most of the areas where we could cut back or adjust, we have. But our food line item is very frustrating to me, because there is only so much you can do to decrease it. I guess I could tell my kids, “No more milk or fruit this week! No more!”however that is hard for me to do.
Since I discovered couponing I feel like I actually have some control in this crazy chore of grocery shopping and meal planning. It also feeds my competitive nature. It feels great to find a super deal each week or to challenge myself to cut back $5 more dollars this week.
I am still very much learning the ropes, but I have seen a decrease in our spending. I am not super disciplined at closely following EXACTLY how much I have started saving but I certainly am saving and learning tons. This is definitely a work in progress.
I started by simply cutting the coupons that I thought I might use and then trying to remember to use them. That didn’t work very well so then I found some websites to give me some guidance. I quickly discovered that there are some amazing sites out there that basically do all the work for you. My two favorite are www.moneysavingmom.com and www.southernsavers.com.
Each week I now cut out basically all the coupons as well as find and print coupons off the internet. I subscribed to http://www.coupons.com to find internet coupons but you can also find them from the other websites I mentioned as well as the websites of each grocery store, including Target. Then Southern Savers and Moneysavingmom break down the good deals from each grocery store, including the drugstores, Target and Wal-Mart. The ladies that run these websites do an incredible job and help people like me save a ton of money! They also include all kinds of freebies and opportunities to win and earn different prizes and items.
When I started I stored my coupons in an index card box. I had the different sections separated out and I would carry my little box with me into each store. However I often forgot my box and almost lost it a few times. A few weeks ago I went to a couponing conference led by Jenny the lady that runs Southern Savers. It was a few hours one evening at Church at Sandhurst and cost $10. It was well worth it.
Jenny suggested some different ways to store coupons and one was a big old binder. It is awfully big but I bought business card holders to put in it to store the coupons and it also has a place for scissors, my calculator, inserts that haven’t been cut up yet and all kinds of pockets to store coupons by store. It also is big enough that I don’t leave it behind when I am grocery shopping:)
I used to do all my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart and then I added Aldi as well. I still shop at Aldi for many of my standard items that we use each week. Even with coupons I often can’t beat Aldi prices. Now though I rarely go to Wal-Mart, which is truly wonderful! Most of my shopping is now small trips to many stores. It is so worth it though, because of the money I see us saving.
I also now love shopping at the drug stores for deals. There is so much to learn about how to find the best deal and catch them at the best times but when you do, you can end up with a lot for free! Like tonight I purchased a 24 pack of bottled water, a gallon of milk, 2 bottles of handsoap, a 4 pack of Duracell batteries, 30 pencils and a 10 pack of Kudos bars for free!
Next I went shopping at Harris Teeter. This grocery store is the bomb! They always double coupons up to .99. That means if your coupon says $1.00 you only save $1.00 but if it says .75 then you will save $1.50. Every few weeks though Harris Teeter will either offer triple coupons or Super Doubles which means they will double coupons up to $2.00. You can really save a bundle during these times. So tonight I also did some shopping and came away with groceries worth $74.72 and spent OOP (out of pocket) $33.53.
Wow, there is a lot more to share but I will end for tonight with the suggestion that if you are at all interested in playing the Grocery Game and couponing then you should definitely check out those websites I mentioned above. I am now enjoying grocery shopping instead of dreading it. And I love feeling like I am doing my best to be a good steward of what I have.