Friday, October 11, 2013

FALLing in Love Friday: Couponing

This fall, I've decided to dedicate Friday blog posts to things with which I'm falling in love. You can read more about what I'm falling in love with here.

I get the "don't buy it unless it's on sale" gene from my mother... when it comes to clothing. When it comes to grocery shopping, though, I've never been good at saving; my eyes and taste buds rule my purse. The strings on said purse need to be tightened a bit over the next few months, and so, after setting a monthly budget, I started researching the frightening world of couponing (said in a Kramerian "moviefone" voice).

image source
Thanks to TLC, the word struck fear in Hubby's heart. I promised that I had no desire to "go extreme," that I wouldn't start hoarding shampoo, and that I wouldn't fill the guest bathtub with cans of cat food. I wanted to save money, but I didn't want that savings to come at the expense of my already limited time. The one thing I did understand about couponing was that I had to match coupons with sales to get the most savings, but I didn't really understand how to figure that out efficiently. After a quick Google search for couponing basics, I stumbled upon Southern Savers, a site that gave me a much better understanding of how to get the maximum savings out of coupons and also takes most of the guesswork out of that weekly process.

Armed with some knowledge, I decided to start out with only one store, the one I normally shop at: Publix. I signed up for their digital coupons, which I love because all I have to do once I get to the store is enter my phone number in the credit/debit card payment machine, and the cash register automatically deducts my coupons when the cashier hits the "total" button. It takes no time at all for me to click the little boxes of the coupons I want and then email my list of coupons to my phone, which I can then reference while shopping.

Deciding to start small made the idea of couponing less overwhelming; still, I wanted to make sure these extra few minutes were worth it. I downloaded the Southern Savers savings tracker and was surprised not only by how much money I was saving, but also how much better I was getting at saving money as I gained more practice. After just a few shopping trips, I learned when to use coupons and when to save them for a better deal. Thanks to a very helpful cashier, I also learned this week about the hidden treasure at the front of every Publix: store coupons which can be combined with my digital manufacturer coupons for extra savings!



I've used coupons for three consecutive grocery trips and, with only a little knowledge and even less time, have saved anywhere from 10%-16% off my bill, for a cumulative savings of almost $50 for the month. The benefit of shopping like this, as opposed to dropping hundreds of dollars at the bulk warehouse - especially when there are only two of us to feed, is now visible to me.

I will never be one of those people who drives around to five different grocery stores to get the lowest price; however, I can see adding a drug store to my shopping day in the future. It's become fun - not a chore - to see how much I can save. And I intend to keep it that way.

What are you in love with this week?

3 comments:

laurie danielle said...

I'm jealous of your shopping time! My grocery store trips involve loading most everything Orli owns in my bag, awkwardly putting the cover on the cart (I cannot skip this because she LOVES to chew on naked carts) grabbing food frantically between squeezing Sophie and crinkling Crinkle Elephant to distract the baby who is doing her best to throw herself and everything she owns out of the cart. And then said baby MUST be held so them I'm steering a cart one handed trying to find some sort of cereal without corn syrup in it and basically, in the end, I come home with a bag of spinach, some saltines and a can of beans that I swore was a can of tomatoes when I picked them up. If I'm lucky. So, so jealous!

Cheri said...

I used to love couponing. But TLC ruined it. With all the "extreme" crap, most companies changed their policies. My local Giant will only double the first coupon of any like coupons, so you can't buy multiples of anything that is a good price. And CVS started doing "limit 1" on all of their extra care bucks deals. The best deals are still to be found in the south... it was never as good up here in the north (we don't have Publix) but now, it is barely worth the effort anymore.

Alison said...

I think it's great that you've embarked on this - $50/ week is a lot and awesome!