So I have been asked many times how I learned to save money while grocery shopping. Well I use coupons. It is a very hot trend this last couple years, and even more so since the show “Extreme Couponers” started earlier this year. I will tell you first off that you will save money, but until you get your stock pile, about 6 to 12 weeks, you won't see that big change. I do not have brand favorites which I think makes it so much easier to save that extra cash. I also do not buy (use cash) to get items I wont use,(if it is free that is another thing) for example we dont use diapers anymore so I wont buy them even if it is a good deal. I am a healthy eater and try my best not to buy junk food, so just cause I have a coupon for it doesn't mean I will use it. In fact most times when I seperate my coupons I put those to the side and give them away.
So first off I guess I will let you know that should start off by getting your local Sunday paper, and if you can get more then one that is even better. Also find out if you get a discount by subscribing and getting more then one. I only pay 15$ a month for three Sunday papers a week. That is 1.25$ a paper, I dont think that is too bad. You can also get the magazine 'All You', it carries an average of 70-100$ worth of coupons for each month, and if you get a subscription to that mag it will be cheaper. Here is a small list of websites you can find more coupons from.
Other good ways to get coupons are to grab from the 'blinkies' (the little blinking dispensers), Tearpads (pads of paper found around the store with coupons on them) and store coupons books. Good thing about all of these is you dont have to use them at the store you got them at. If you print of coupons from your printer at home it will only let you print 2 from each computer, and also note that you can not copy your printed coupons it is theft. The coupons have you IP address on it.
OK! So this is were it gets a little tough. Most of us go out and buy what we want or are getting low on and need to get for that weeks dinner. But a real couponer only uses coupons on the items that are on sale. So when you get you Sunday paper also get out the ads for the grocery stores too. If you dont see a store ad for a local store you shop at call and find out if they do mid week sales (starting Wednesday to Wednesday) Waitng for the sales is when you get your biggest reward! So last week at our local Publix they had V8 jucies on sale 2/5$. I had .50c off 1. Publix also takes store coupons as well as the manufactures coupons, plus they double any coupons .50c or less. So my coupons turned into a 1.$ for each item, then I used their store coupon 1.$ off any V8. Used two of those, which made it 4$ off the sale price of 2/5$. I paid 1$ for 2 58 Oz bottels of V8, .50c each. Amazing!!! That is why I love couponing.
You have to use a coupon for each item you have. So if you have 5 cans of tomatos and only 3 coupons you will only get the sale price for those three item. If your store is selling Chips BOGO (buy one get one) you can use 2 coupons even though one is free.
If you have watched the show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing” you may know what I mean when I say there is a difference between stockpiling and hording. It is good to keep a stockpile of items that your family uses and might use up between this sale and the next, about 12 weeks. So when that cereal goes on sale and you can get it at it's lowest price that is when you buy big. Please be kind and dont hord the items by grabing the whole shelf.
This took me awhile, so dont go out and spend all you have for you groceries trying to get your stockpile up. It is August and I started I think in April, and am just now feeling that I save regularly and have a good stockpile of foods. It can take a good amount of time each week to find what you want and clip all the coupons, but stick with it, it is well worth it.
Tomorrow I will post part 2 about great sites to use that tell you what stores have what great deals and what coupons to use. They are so helpful. Hope this helps you start your coupon journey.