Synergizing The Shopping List And The Coupon Box To Save Big Money At The Grocery Store

In the past, I’ve discussed the art of clipping coupons as well as the huge advantages of a grocery list. Lately, I’ve found that combining the two together can net a very nice financial edge – and it only takes me about ten minutes a week.

I schedule my primary shopping trip on Saturday mornings. The reason for this is that local grocery stores are usually offering a ton of samples at about ten or eleven in the morning on Saturday, so I can usually get most of Saturday’s lunch for free when I make multiple stops (and I usually do).

I also save coupon sections from the Sunday newspaper. I just pull them out when I’m reading the paper and set them aside for later use. If you don’t get a Sunday paper, check at a local convenience store on Monday morning and they’ll usually let you scavenge one for ads – something I’ve done in the past.

On Friday evening, I finish my grocery list. I make sure that everything I’m going to buy at the store is on it – all of my food items, toiletries, and so forth. I usually check a few of the essentials when doing this.

Then, I sit down with the saved coupons and clip everything that matches. Since I usually buy the brand that Consumer Reports recommends in bulk, I just look for coupons of those specific brands unless I spot an exceptional deal (like a recent $3 off on Luvs diapers, which made a small bag of them less than a nickel a diaper). Everything else, I toss. This usually nets me only a couple coupons.

I also do some online searching for coupons. I’ll check the coupon page at my local grocery store’s site, as well as a few general coupon sites, but I never print a coupon that doesn’t match up with my list.

I paperclip the coupons to my list and then go shopping on Saturday morning. In the store, I stick to my list and I still look for in-store bargains that beat the coupons, though these are rare. Sticking to the list ensures that I buy very few unnecessary things at the store. If I end up with any unused coupons, I save them for future weeks.

This process, both the individual pieces and in combination, has cut about 40% off of my weekly grocery / household / toiletry bill and I barely notice the difference.

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  1. Daniel Sweet says:

    I usually take (at least) one of my daughters shopping on Saturday mornings,too, but for different reasons. If you go early enough, there’s nobody around. And it gets us all out of my wife’s hair for awhile.

    In any case, one of the best tools I have for grocery shopping is a Price Book. I know, I know – a big pain. But not really.

    I just record the best price we’ve found for whatever it is we buy as we go. If we find a price that is better, we stock up. If we find a sale, we know if it’s really worthwhile.

    It has been a *huge* help!


  2. Tim says:

    I usually go grocery shopping on Sunday mornings. This gives me time to go through the Sunday circulars that day…and I find that sometimes store specials coincide with the printing of coupons that week.

  3. Kevin Neely says:

    Try “The Grocery Game”:

    Yes, it is an additional subscription and service, but they do all the coupon legwork for you. They basically create a list that cross-references what is on sale that week with unexpired coupons from the last few months (it takes a couple months to really see the bargains).

    I now regularly go to the grocery store and spend, say, $40, and the receipt says i have saved $40, basically cutting my grocery bill in half.

  4. I actually like to go later in the day on Sundays, around dinnertime. It gives me time to clip the sort the coupons from the Sunday paper, and review all the circulars for the coming week. I like to go shopping earlier in the week because stores sometimes run low on the hot sale products.

  5. Amanda Stark says: is well worth the time before I go shopping for groceries. But when I am buying something online I always check to find a coupon code I can use to save some money.

  6. cs says:

    Also, the following website helps in comparison shopping..

    I found this website very useful for comparing the prices on various items.


  7. A says:

    I’ve run into one issue when trying to get coupons online, and that is compatibility. I use Ubuntu as my OS, Open Office as my software, and Firefox3 as the browser … but most coupon printers don’t recognize that configuration. They claim to support Firefox, but only when run on a Windows platform. Feh.

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