With my lack of employment, I am on a mission to save as much money as possible. Now, I’m not going to turn into a crazy coupon-er but there is something to say about saving some money. Not wanting to put a whole lot of effort towards it, I started out on my journey one late night while Liam was up partying. I stumbled up on Southern Savers and it snowballed from there. She lists every store imaginable with all the sales for the week and links to necessary coupons.
I also found this website (which I can’t find now, of course) where it detailed her non-use of coupons, instead she takes advantage of Walmart’s little known program “Ad Match“. (You DO NOT NEED to have the ad in hand when you go to the store. You just tell them how much the item is! This is their policy which is posted at every register so don’t let the cashier tell you otherwise. I write the prices and size down on a post-it and hand it to the cashier to make things easier.) I decided to implement both couponing and Ad Match to maximize our savings.
I also visit Young House Love’s coupon page because she has all the top printable sites in one place. And I started a spreadsheet to keep a handle on my coupons so I can see at a glance what is about to expire and what I have on hand. Nerdy, I know, but it’s super helpful.
Ryan and I have a grocery budget of $100 a week which I thought was reasonable. I also see much room for improvement. My goal, once we get to California and have access to less expensive produce (hopefully even free if I can volunteer at a farmer’s market) will be $50/week for the 3 of us. I think it’s totally manageable if I focus on saving. For now, I’m cutting it down to $80 and see what happens.
So let’s talk couponing! Most people shy away from it for two reasons (all of which are mine as well): no coupons for fresh produce or meat (which is mainly what we eat) and it takes too much time. The first is definitely true for us, but once I started looking around our house, I realized I could use coupons for food and non-food items. For example, the coupons I used on last week’s trip: Purex laundry detergent, frozen snacks for Ryan, turkey sausages, Lysol wipes, Huggies wipes (for our Florida vacation), Marzetti dressing (for Ryan’s wings he LOVES to make), red wine vinegar, popcorn, coffee creamer and string cheese. This week’s trip I used coupons for everything I bought! I realize some of those foods are processed, but some are non-food items and there is lots of room for savings in that area. I also like to stock up on medicine and sundries because who likes to run out of toothpaste or DayQuil??
The second argument of it being too time consuming is definitely valid, however, if you can limit yourself to 1-2 hours total for one shopping trip and have a select few websites you keep tabs on (SS & YHL for me), I think it’s worth it. I figure I would be spending the time on Facebook or wasting in some other way, so why not put it to good use? For now, it’s what works for us. On last week’s trip I saved $14.55 in coupons and $2.70 in price matching at Wal-mart. This week I saved $25.50 on coupons and $4.50 in Ad Match. It DID take trips to two different stores, but again, I am a SAHM so I made it an “outing” for us and it was nice to have a change of scenery for a few hours. I think the main thing to keep in mind is this- don’t buy things you don’t already have on your list just because you have a coupon. It’s the biggest trap of the whole couponing industry!
Here’s my highlights from last week- (^ notates sale; * notates coupon)
Food Lion $18 2 bags of mozzarella cheese^ & Red Bull (Ryan is back to overnights so this is a necessary expense for now– HATE that it’s so much $!)
Commissary $21.42 1 lb coffee, 3 packages of turkey brats (marked down to $1.45 with .75 peelie coupon –> $.70 each!)^*, pork scallopini^, spaghetti squash, 5 lb bag of carrots, cauliflower^, package of 3 bell peppers^, cilantro and a bag of marked down apples.
Walmart $20.55 flour, sugar, vinegar*, marshmallows, frozen snacks for Ryan (priced at $2.17 with a $3/2 coupon –> $.67 each!)*, blue cheese dressing (for Ryan’s wings)*, string cheese*, chocolate chips and popcorn*.
I also found some great deals on the house hold side- $3.49 price match on Purex Ultrapacks (for our super stinky workout clothes) with a $1 off coupon made it $2.49! Also, Lysol wipes now that Liam is eating solids… oye. We need these around! Walmart price matched $1.87 for a 35 count container and I had a $.50/2 making them $1.62 each vs. $2.48 regular price at Walmart.
Also, if anyone is as into Menage Tros red wine as I am, Walmart has THE BEST pricing on this- $8.47! If I’m not mistaken, that is better than Costco but I’ll have to check on that.
This week we had enough in the fridge to get by so I focused on stocking up on sundries. Everything I bought was on sale AND I had a coupon for it. At Walmart, my best deal was for Degree deodorant which was priced at $3.49 with a $.50 off coupon paired with a “buy it, get it free” and picked up a free anti-dandruff shampoo. On the shampoo was a peelie coupon for $3.00 off so they paid me $3.00 to take it out of the store! Love that. Also got some Colegate Total toothpaste for $1.96, All Free & Clear detergent for $2.47, Robitussin cold medicine for $1.99 and blue Dawn for Liam’s diapers $.96! Without going into line by line details, for $66 in groceries, I only spent $37!
Let me know if you have any questions about my couponing methods and I’m always open to more ideas! I don’t like to spend a lot of time doing it, but if I can’t bring money IN, I need to make sure there’s less money going OUT of our bank account.