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Couponing, I am doing it.

by Megan

For the past several months, every time I’ve gotten to the register at Walmart, the cashier has asked me for “any coupons or price-matching?” And every time I’ve stupidly said…”no.” Sad face. Then I would berate myself for forgetting to at least check to see if there were any coupons available for the things I was buying.

So I decided to carve out some time to do a little research on couponing, and that day happened to be today. Much of what I read came from The Krazy Coupon Lady. Here is what I’ve come up with as a plan for what I’d like to try over the next few weeks:

1. I signed up for emeals, (as suggested by my sister-in-law many posts ago) where I was able to specify store (Walmart), family size (3-7, which will probably mean leftovers!), and dietary preferences (low-carb). They provide a weekly menu and grocery list, along with the prices for all the items! The plan I chose usually tallies about $75-90 a week, and I plan to stretch each weekly plan to two weeks (or more likely, pick and choose meals from two weeks’ plans, and then stretch those meals over two weeks). Their plan includes 7 meals, and considering that it’s likely that I will be gone once a week and we are likely to have a few nights where we eat leftovers, frozen meals, or chili from a can, it should be easy to serve those 7 meals over a 14 day period. When you add in breakfast, lunch, and snack foods, the total spent on groceries should be pretty close to what I already spend.

2. I subscribed to get the Sunday paper electronically delivered. Apparently that means you get exactly the same thing as the hard copy, but online, so it should include coupons. If not, I will switch my subscription to the physical paper. (Edit- Just switched subscription to the physical paper after seeing the Coupon Mom video/method- I think this will be easier) (Edit- Just kidding, they don’t deliver to my house, back to the electronic version!) Sales are good from Sunday-Saturday, so each Sunday night I plan to clip any coupons for items that we normally buy (or brands that I would be willing to switch to), to use for my grocery shopping trip, or to save for later use.

3. For any coupons that are either an amazing deal or something we use constantly, I will then go to The Coupon Clippers and The Coupon Master to order many more of those coupons. These sites send you multiples of whatever coupons they have (the same that you’ll find in the newspaper), for a very minimal fee for labor and shipping. This will help with building a stockpile of items we regularly use, which will help cut down on my weekly grocery bill, as well as providing us with the things we always need for cheap.

4. After clipping coupons, I will make a grocery list to combine with the emeals grocery list, and then I will go grocery shopping on Thursday or Friday for the following week. Those are our paydays, plus if I wanted to wait for coupons that I order online, they should come by then (maybe?). Also, I read that the best deals come by saving your coupons until the item is on sale, and that’s when you’ll get items for less than a dollar or free! I’m not sure how this works with coupons expiring, but we’ll see!

5. I plan to do a round of freezer meals pretty soon, and then in addition to everything else, we’d have a freezer stocked full of meals for whenever we want or need them. Daniel gets a few bonuses throughout the school year, and I plan to take about $100 from one of those to get the ingredients and put together the freezer meals, so that it’s not coming out of our regular food budget. I can continue to do that a few times a year. This pin claims 46 freezer meals in 4 hours for $96, so I’ll be checking that out further, as well as a couple of crockpot freezer meal pins I’ve found.

So that is the plan that I have come up with after just a few hours of research. There is so much information out there, and I’m very overwhelmed by it all! I figure I should just dive in and see how I do. Any advice?!

EDIT: This video has me very excited about Coupon Mom, so I’m thinking that might be my first stop after getting the Sunday circulars!

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fort mcdowell March 22, 2012 - 2:19pm

Welcome to the coupon world! Couple of bits to add: Store sales usually go Wednesday to Tuesday, so Thursday is a good day to shop. Coupons don’t expire for weeks or months, so saving up until you hit the sweet spot of sale+coupon is a good idea (sales go in cycles, baking stuff this month, cleaning stuff next month etc.) And if you want something and it’s not on the shelf, don’t be afraid to ask for a rain check.

Heather McCurdy March 22, 2012 - 2:45pm

That sounds really really good! It’s so easy to save a couple bucks and I love the website that helps you plan meals and gives you savings to do so. Love the add’l comment from Fort too.

Amanda I March 22, 2012 - 3:15pm

Good for you. It’s a great feeling when you see how much you saved!!

Cynthia March 22, 2012 - 11:16pm

Coupon mom makes lists of local chain stores on charts that let you know what is currently on sale that can be combined with a coupon for more savings. They tell you the date they were in the papers/circulars and which one to find it in. I tried it a few times last year and got some awesome deals. They tell you exactly how much you can save and the %discount you are getting. So, they do the research for you!