Hello my beautiful savers!!!!
Lately I’ve gotten tons and tons of questions about couponing and saving money. I’m getting the feeling that you guys are finally ready to begin saving big at the grocery store!
Because if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, “YOU ARE A CRAZY PERSON IF YOU’RE PAYING FULL PRICE FOR GROCERIES.” Crazy, I tell you.
So, I’m going to show you my process and maybe it will boost your confidence so you can begin saving too! Also, please go through my previous saving posts (Save parts 1-11) that will really help too! (On the toolbar you’ll see “Little Savings” click on it and go to town!). Just like you, I’m going through a process of learning how to coupon and I get better and better at this stuff the more I do it. So, as you’ll find I’ve learned a lot and grown a ton in my couponing efforts!
So let me walk you through my process!!!
1. First things first: I clip all the coupons that I think I will use. Long ago, I would clip every single coupon from the paper and online and put them in a binder. I don’t do that anymore. Not because it’s not a good way, it’s because I’m not a naturally organized person so I found the binder very stressful. Now, my Mama sends me her coupons from the paper and I print out the ones that want via coupons.com, smartsource.com, and redplum.com. Now, take in mind that you only get 2 prints per computer on printable coupons.
For normal $1 off or less coupons I’ll print 2 from my laptop and that’s it, but for high value coupons ($5 off 2, etc), then I’ll use Zach’s work computer and his home computer for 4 more prints. The bad news is that high value coupons usually don’t last long because they have a certain number of prints. Once that number is reached (usually it’s 10,000), then that coupon is unprintable. Make sense? So to recap, I clip the coupons from the paper and then the printed ones that I have from my computer.
2. Once all the coupons are cut, I put them aside and go to www.aldi.com and get my produce matches. 95% of the time they have the best produce prices (Good news for my NC Mountains peeps, there is an Aldi in Lenior so you can match there!). Occasionally they won’t have some produce that need and I will look at www.mejier.com, www.savealot.com or www.kroger.com. So first and foremost my list is comprised of fruits, veggies and meat. These are must haves. Then, if crackers, oatmeals, detergents, etc are on sale I’ll add those to the list. Or if I’m totally out of something I’ll add, like this week I needed laundry detergent as my stash is finally up (It’s taken 2 years for me to use it all up from my last stock up!).
Something important to remember here is that in the land before couponing you may have gone to the store and grabbed a few things here and there without much thought. Before you knew it you spent $100 on a few items. It was instant gratification. You want Oreos, you get Oreos. Now you have to change your mindset! You have to work hard on making a list, coupling with coupons and finding the cheapest prices available. You may not get your Oreos now and you may have to wait, but you’ll get them for much less and be more satisfied with waiting! Over time, you’ll build a stock pile. For example, I’ve got over a years worth of shampoos, conditioners, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, salad dressing, dish washer tablets, dish soap, hand washing soap, lightbulbs, tampons, and more. But it has taken time to build up. You don’t have to be extreme and have 40 coupons of the same thing and get them all for free. You can get 2 things for free each week and over a year you’ll have a nice stock pile. Patience and time will pay off.
3. After I have made my entire list I go through the coupons and put the multiples into piles, (example: 4 Pampers coupons in a pile, 2 Kraft coupons in a pile, etc). Then, I add these items to my list with the amount that I need (amount is important to match up with number of coupons).
4. At this point, I haven’t done my matches for non-produce items to match up with my coupons. Once I have put every coupon item on my list, I think of any other items I need that I do not have a coupon for. If I do not, I will do a search online for a coupon. Sometimes they are available and sometimes they are not. So I’ll go through the sales papers online to make those matches. For example, I have 3 coupons for Blue Diamond Almond Milk and I need a match. So, I look up “Blue Diamond Almond Milk Sale 3-7-14 Louisville, KY” and viola! Kroger has them on sale for $1.99 this week (regularly $2.99). With my $1 off coupon (from coupons.com) and I’ll get a half gallon for $.99 (66% savings!). I will do this process until I have matches for most or all of my items.
5. Once I have my entire list it looks like chicken scratch and somewhat unreadable…so I make a new master list. I start in the health and beauty section and work my way through the store, via my list. That way I’m not missing anything. It’s extremely time efficient. Once my list is complete, I gather up my coupons into a handy dandy plastic sandwich bag (fancy, I know) and I’m ready to roll.
Here is a quick round up of my shopping trip this week.
I needed diapers bigtime, produce, meat and detergent. Those were the biggies. In addition there were good deals on a few other things and I stocked up.
Here’s a quick run down of a few of my deals…
6 Naval Oranges: Retail: $.88each Price Match: $.49 = $2.94
5.32lbs Fuji Apples: Retail: $2.67lb Price Match: $.98 = $5.21
3.18lb Green Grapes: Retail: $2.98 Price Match: $1.49 = $4.74
2 Bags Clemetine Oranges: Retail $5.98 per bag Price Match $3.99 bag = $7.98
3lbs Strawberries: Retail $2.98lb Price Match $.99lb = $2.98
4.74lb Bananas: Retail $.52lb Price Match $.44lb = $2.09
3 All Laundry Detergent: Retail $4.97 Price Match $2.49 Coupon for $1.00 off (this was a peel off on the item) = $1.49 each
3 Luvs Diapers: Retails for $6.97 each Price Match $4.97 Coupon for $1.00 off = $3.97 each (this is not a great stock up price for diapers, but we were running really, really low. So, ya gotta do what ya gotta do).
4 Almay Eye Make-Up Remover Pads: Retail $1.14 each No Price Match. 2 Almay Cosmetics Coupon $5 off of 2 items. $5.44 MONEYMAKER!
Let’s go over this deal again to show you how easy this is. Almay released a printable coupon for $5 off 2 items. Remember that you can get 2 prints per computer. So, I got 4 Almay Eye Makeup Remover pads (in the make-up section) for Walmarts normal price at $1.14 each. I got 4 of them, totaling $4.56. I used 2 Almay Coupons for $5 each, and they PAID ME $5.44 to take these items out of the store. Easy peasy.
3 Suave Professional Shampoos: Retails for $2.28 each. Price Match at $1.19. Coupon for $1.50 off (via coupons.com) = MONEYMAKER $.93. Again, that means Walmart PAID ME $.93 to take 3 Suave Professional Shampoos out of the store.
So imagine getting freebies like this every single week. Before long you’ll have a nice stash of things that you didn’t pay a dime for. Amazing, right?!
I saved over 50% on this trip simply by price matching and using coupons. I would have paid almost $50 for 6 packages of diapers alone!!!! With meat, another $30. That is INSANE. Almost $100 for a few things. You could really stretch that $100 with couponing!
And friends, that’s the deal. From start to finish it usually takes me around 2-3 hours. Then, the store usually takes a total of 1.5 hours. So at most I’m looking at 4.5 hours a week. My goal with normal weekly grocery shopping is to save 50% (not extreme couponing trips) so if I save an average of $150 per week that means my time is worth around $33 an hour.
I know what you’re thinking…I don’t have time! I’m stressed! It’s too confusing! I hate Walmart! Blah, blah, blah. Guys, I’m saving around $600 month on groceries. SERIOUSLY. Some of it goes into my stockpile, some in the freezer and some on our plates for meals, but it’s good food, for less. In fact, if you and I got exactly the same thing in our carts and I got mine for half of what you spent wouldn’t that make you crazy mad?! Well yes!
So friends, stop the excuses and start saving money. The time is now.