I'm still a novice when it comes to grocery shopping using coupons, but (with the help of my girl Brenda) I'm learning quickly. It goes against everything I've ever read about the "How To's" of shopping with coupons, but it seems to be working better, and it definitely employs a more thrilling result.
My first upgrade was my coupon box. Gone is the index card file of old - those are for novices. I went out and bought one of those dollar plastic shoe boxes. And some of those giant index cards, and little Post-It tabs for the dividers. I spent last night setting this up with the different categories, and moved all my coupons into their hip new pad.
Next, it's important to have people. We're so lucky to have a pizza driver at our store who also delivers the newspaper. And who still enjoys pizza. So we hook him up with food, he hooks us up with multiple inserts. Can you say free coupons? Yes! Also, I highly recommend subscribing to the All You magazine, published by Walmart. just glance through one next time you're on a shopping trip and you'll see why - they have loads of great coupons tucked into their pages, easily bypassing the cost of the subscription. It's a great investment!
Brenda's far more hard-core into this than I am, so I'm trying to understand the finer details of how many coupons you can use, watching the bar codes on the coupons, etc. She's teaching me, but I seem to be a slower learner on this front.
So last Sunday, armed with my Meijer insert and my coupon box, I made a game plan. Whatever I bought had to be both on special and have a coupon. Yes, I got some goodies I wouldn't have normally bought, but I also have some friends who eat different types of diets and love to trade with each other. So even if those pizza rolls are likely never going to hit my kid's stomach, I'm sure one of my friends will be happy to trade for something they've got.
I made sure Yasar would be caring for Andrew. It's a big no-no to take kids along. They're like little funnel clouds digging into your wallet, and they totally destroy the mojo.
Take your mp3 player and a bottle of water. Yes, turn it into a pleasure trip. Listen to some great tunes. Stay hydrated. You'll begin to look forward to yor shopping trips.
Use the self checkout. ALL grocery stores screw up prices, and the only way you're going to notice is by taking the time and doing it yourself. Those darn cashiers are just too fast for you to pay attention. Sure, it'll probably be a hassle with your fistful of coupons, but you'll likely encounter less ambivalence from your fellow shoppers, too. Win-win!
In the end, being the novice who's only been cutting coupons for about a month, I still saved close to 50% on my final bill. I bought only one thing without a coupon/discount. I stocked up on a few more boxes of cereal than we can use, so what I can't trade with friends will be heading to the food pantry. Ditto with the toothpaste and extra shampoo. My pantry and freezers are full, and that makes me feel so rich.
What are your tips and hints for saving dough at the store?