The One Month Coupon Strategy: A Really Clever Way to Make Coupons Worthwhile

Many people don’t bother to clip coupons for various reasons, mostly revolving around the belief that a fifty cent coupon doesn’t make it worth the effort. On the surface, I agree – without a very clever coupon strategy, it’s probably not worth the effort.

About two months ago, I was talking about this very fact with a friend of mine who works for Hy-Vee, the large grocery store chain here in Iowa. He gave me a tip: he said to take the coupon section out of the Sunday paper and put it aside for four weeks – don’t even bother to look at it. Four weeks later, open it up and clip everything that’s even remotely of interest, whether you’d buy it normally or not.

At that point, take the wad of coupons to the store and just look at the shelves. Magically, most of those coupons you have will sync up very well with stuff that’s already on sale on the shelves. When you combine the sale price and the coupon, you’ll usually be able to get items for next to nothing.

I tried this myself, actually. I saved the flyers from mid-December and then just cut them up earlier this week to take them to the store. What did I find? About 40% of the coupons I cut out matched up with items on sale. I wound up getting T. Marzetti salad dressing for less than a dollar, a package of diapers at the cheapest rate I believe I’ve ever bought them for, and a container of quite good vanilla ice cream for $0.19 – and those are just the ones I remember.

Why does this work? Coupons in the newspaper are usually the first wave of a product push from large companies. They’ll put out coupons to start bumping up the sales, then they’ll move onto sale prices later on in the promotion. The reason for doing these in waves is so that the overall product sales trend looks solidly positive and not just a big spike with a fall-off. Plus, coupon users who use the product, like it, return to the store, and notice the item on sale are often willing to buy the item again. I’ll admit to noticing this working for me in the past with products like V-8 Fusion.

After discovering this nifty attribute, I’ve quickly moved to a big adjustment in my usual grocery shopping strategy. It no longer matters whether I “sync up” with the arrival of the Sunday paper – I just need to clip the coupons roughly a month after I receive the flyer and use them the next time I go to the grocery store.

So, as before, I make a shopping list each week. I just keep writing down staples that are getting low along with ingredients needed for any meals that I’m thinking about making. I usually use a notepad on the refrigerator for this, along with Remember the Milk.

Sometime shortly before I go, I get out a month-old coupon flyer and clip everything that might match something on my list. I’ll also clip anything that I know we can always use – like diapers – along with anything that’s a potentially reasonable purchase, like salad dressings because we often eat salad.

After that, I head out to the store when it’s convenient (often early on Saturday mornings) and use the coupons effectively. Whenever you see a sale item that you also have a coupon for, you’re usually doing quite well and can often get a pretty good item for just pennies – or at least far cheaper than the normal price and usually notably cheaper than the generic version.

This technique saved me about $20 during my last grocery store visit – compared to normal retail prices – for about thirty minutes of extra effort at the breakfast table, cutting coupons and putting together the grocery list. That $20 doesn’t include the fact that the grocery list kept me on task at the store, helping me find items I actually needed and ignore items I don’t. That’s a worthwhile frugal activity, in my opinion.

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  1. teelag says:

    I have been doing a version of this sort of thing for a couple years. There are places on the web (not sure if I can name websites here) that tell you when the stores are having their lowest price on an item, and then they also tell you what date the corresponding coupon can be found. You combine that store sale with a manuf. coupon, and it makes for some rockin deals.

    Then when you see stuff on sale like this that you use often, you stockpile it, so you never have to pay full price or even just regular sale price for anything.

    I can easily get 50-80% off my groceries every week, and many times items end up being free. I can’t remember the last time I have paid for toothpaste, toothbrushes, deoderant…they are all usually free.

    This is my first time commenting, so I also wanted to say that I really love your blog Trent. It is one of my daily “checks” on the web.

  2. Tylerr says:

    Awesome idea from your friend! I’m going to start doing this! Booyah!

  3. Fireal says:

    The only time I would not recommend setting aside the coupons for a month is with the P&G Saver. Most of those coupons expire within the month that they are sent out!

  4. Now there is something I did not know. Not a clue. Good tip!

  5. rstlne says:

    I use coupons that are anywhere from a few weeks to two months old all the time. I don’t always have the time to do this but if I have an hour or two to spare in the evening, I bring my collection of coupons to the supermarket and go aisle by aisle, matching coupons to sale items. When the supermarket has a triple-coupon week, I can get as much as 90% off my grocery bill.

  6. Jennifer says:

    That is an interesting technique. I might try it.

  7. Wendy says:

    Most of the coupons I find are for overly processed food that I wouldn’t buy anyway. Where are the coupons for fresh food (veggies, meat) and all natural products?

  8. Kacie says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of couponing!

    Sometimes, products will be on sale before that one-month period. It’s worthwhile to glance at the ads and your coupons when you get them to make sure.

    I use couponmom.com to help me match available and online coupons to store ads. It saves a ton of time.

  9. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    “Most of the coupons I find are for overly processed food that I wouldn’t buy anyway. Where are the coupons for fresh food (veggies, meat) and all natural products?”

    You need to look in your local supermarket flyer for that stuff, not the national flyers.

  10. This DOES work, I’ll vouch for that. My wife participates in “The Grocery Game” with several friends and they hold coupons for months. This program has you stock up on nonperishable staples when you have a coupon AND they are on sale.

    We’ve only been doing it a couple of months but several of our friends have been doing it for years. They claim to only spend $40 to $50 per week on groceries for a family of 4, 5 or more.

    My wife has seen some significant savings on many items as well, but we’re still spending more than I want to on groceries.

    Hopefully, this thing will pay off very soon!

    Thanks for posting this, Trent. I’ll show it to my wife.

  11. RedMolly says:

    I almost never use coupons for food (we’re “outside aisle” shoppers, and I usually buy store-brand pantry products such as canned tomatoes), but use them extensively for things such as toothpaste, body wash, whatever. Had no idea about this pricing strategy–thanks so much for the great tip!

  12. H-Bomb says:

    The grocery game really starts working after a few months of coupon collecting. It can then start finding the best deals per coupon.
    I really like when I get all kinds of stuff for free at Walgreens. It kind of makes my week.

  13. Jillian says:

    Don’t they expire?

  14. vh says:

    “’Most of the coupons I find are for overly processed food that I wouldn’t buy anyway. Where are the coupons for fresh food (veggies, meat) and all natural products?’

    “‘You need to look in your local supermarket flyer for that stuff, not the national flyers.’

    Does the local supermarket flyer show up in the paper, or is that the junk they fill your mailbox with?

    I’m also a coupon avoider, because I buy almost exclusively unprocessed foods. But I’d look for coupons for real food, if there are enough to make it worth my while. Also per RedMolly, I’ll keep an eye out for coupons on household items. Tho’ most of those can be had in lifetime supplies at Costco — which I don’t suppose means they’re any cheaper, but it is convenient not to have to buy the stuff every time you turn around.

    Thanks for the tip, Trent!

  15. Diane says:

    I am another person vouching for the success of The Grocery Game and it’s lesser free clone couponmom.com. Please just go to the Grocery Games website and access the message boards. It’s no joke, the savings are amazing!

  16. 1stopmom says:

    Another good tip. I always put the coupons aside but sometimes forget to use them.When I do use them I save a good amount of money. But I have not used them in a while even though I still take them out of the paper. I totally forgot!! Thanks for reminding me.

  17. Kyle says:

    Aren’t the coupons from the month old flyer expired? I thought they last until the end of the month only.

  18. Jess says:

    I’m yet another GroceryGamer. I regularly save 40% of the total bill. (Example: Spent $60, saved $40.) From mid-September to end of the year I saved $650. I set a budget of $300/mo for groceries for my fiancee and I – after the stock-up phase, we are regularly coming in under that.

  19. Jess says:

    Sorry for the double note, but also, for coupons you don’t use you can donate them – even expired!

    http://www.ocpnet.org/

  20. Johanna says:

    There are coupons for natural foods at http://www.mambosprouts.com. You can pick up booklets of paper coupons in some stores in some areas, and they usually have printable e-coupons, although that part of the site isn’t working right now.

  21. Lisa says:

    I love coupons and have been a die-hard clipper since I was knee high to my mother. But I have to say that your method confuses me. Why wait 4 weeks to clip the coupons when the items could be on sale during week 1, 2, or 3? Why not just clip them when they come in and as sales match up, use your coupons. I know I am much more likely to use a coupon when (1) i know i have it (meaning I’ve cut it out) and (2) when its organized in my coupon folder.

    I also find that some of the really high dollar coupons (for $1 or $2) expire in the not too distant future. I would rather get $2 off a product I need to buy anyway than let a coupon expire while I am waiting for a sale.

  22. Connie says:

    This is brilliant, I can’t wait to try it!

  23. teelag says:

    First commenter here…yes the Grocery Game was what I use too. You might spend a little more at first because you are stockpiling, but then that is followed by weeks with just perishables to buy because you don’t need anything.

    As for perishables, the GG also tells you what stores are having sales on meat, or different fruits/veggies…so you can pick those up on sale too. At the very least, you can get tons of cleaning products or toiletries for dirt cheap.

    To minimize time spent doing this, I don’t even clip the coupons until the list tells you to use them. I just throw them in a plastic bag and label them with the date. It takes maybe 30 minutes to prep before going to the store.

    It has been great since I am a SAHM with two little ones to add the money saved from this to their college accounts or extra principal to the car.

  24. Frugal Dad says:

    I’ve been able to consistently save 30-35% off my grocery bill matching coupons to sale items. I tell my wife, not taking the time to clip and organize the coupons is like throwing away $20 a week.

  25. Interesting idea. We generally don’t do coupons because the store brand at discount stores usually cost less than the coupon product at the standard stores. In many cases (for instance with bread) you get the same product from the same manufacturer but in different packaging. However, at those prices, it might just be worth it. Have you factored in the price of the Sunday paper, though?

  26. sp says:

    I have the same problem as Wendy. Coupons are a waste for me because they are not foods I buy (I am vegan and avoid processed foods). Ditto for grocery fliers. Normally there are only a few items each week that are on sale that are items I normally buy, and so I stock up on them while they are on sale.

  27. Brigid says:

    We don’t eat a lot of processed foods, but I do clip coupons for things like plain pasta that I use for other dishes. I have started noticing more coupons for basic items like meat and branded produce, and I can usually find coupons for cage-free eggs.

    I also clip coupons for canned soups, chili, tuna, peanut butter, and cereal, and when I can get them really cheap, I buy a couple of items to donate to our local food pantry.

  28. Brent says:

    Yep, just wanted to echo the others about the Grocery Game. It really helped me stretch my money while I was in college.

    It costs $10 every two months, and my area got a local newspaper as well as a major metro paper from nearby, so I bought one of each each Sunday, for a total of $3/week. So it cost less than $20/month even if you don’t discount the newspapers’ educational value (I was buying Sunday papers long before I started with the program).

    And for that $20/month, I would save more than $20/WEEK on my grocery bill. No joke, I have walked out of the grocery store with a yard-long receipt (each of the coupons is printed individually) where over half of the total ended up being discounted after the coupons.

    To be fair, you need to be flexible, and willing to cook. You won’t find frozen pizza on the list every week, or even every month, for example, so you need to either stock up when it is, learn to cook it yourself from ingredients that ARE on the list, or do without. But I’d say over the course of a month, you can probably cover some pretty good ground as far as variety goes.

    And where it shines are non-perishables: If you’re willing to buy what’s on the list, you will never want for toothbrushes (often free), toothpaste (ridiculously cheap) and soap (sometimes free, sometimes cheap). And I don’t mean off-brands, I just mean willing to get Oral-B instead of Reach, or Crest instead of Aquafresh.

    Also, if you’re on the list, you should never have an excuse to pay for microwave popcorn. Seriously.

    And as others said, it doesn’t take a lot of time. I separated the coupons from the Sunday paper, tossed them in a file folder labeled with the week, and then clipped just before shopping. It took no more than 20 minutes, maybe 40 if I had a lot to buy.

    Anyhow, sorry for the gushing recommendation, but it really is a very simple way to significantly shrink an inevitable part of any budget. Most people can’t stop buying groceries all together, but spending as little as possible while eating and living well is a worthwhile goal.

  29. Heather says:

    Thanks for the tip on when sales generally line up with coupon release. I’m a major coupon-clipper. My favorite place to shop is Kroger b/c they double coupons up to 60c everyday. If I can catch something on sale AND get my coupon doubled, I pay a little bit of nothing for the product. I shop for a household of two, and I generally save $10-$20 a week with my coupons.

  30. MamawW says:

    Some of the stores such as Krogers which I get in my Sunday paper will have an item is on sale there is a coupon in today’s paper.
    Walgreens is another place I find food bargins.
    They do take coupon and usually. There is a rebate book at the front of the store with more coupons.

  31. Chris says:

    There are a lot of great coupons online as well- whether freely posted or ones that you can buy on eBay. I’ve tried to collect as many as I can with the time that I have and been posting them at http://BlogDividends.com

  32. Melissa says:

    If you live in West Michigan another great website to check out is savingsangel.com. It is very similar to the grocery game just concentrated on the West Michigan stores so all of the message board posts apply to stores close by. If you stop by put in my ID ~1975. I rarely buy anything that is not 50% off or more. The last 2 weeks I have gotten at least 20 free items and they are all things we will use! Plus many items for 75% off retail! Couponing does work!!

  33. Cindy says:

    I regulary clip coupons, I have for years. I kept track of my coupon savings one year, marking my calendar each week with the amount I saved. At the end of the year I had saved over $800! That really makes it worth the time! I buy a lot of groceries at Meijer (on sale). The coupons in the paper match up to what Meijer has on sale “that week” so don’t wait to clip if you have a Meijer close by! It is true, store brands are cheaper but if I have a coupon for name brand and it makes it equal to or less then store brand, I buy name brand! On some things, name brand is better quality.

  34. Our family stopped using coupons when our kids hit 3rd to 4th grade and all the “outside” activities started to kick in. Somethings had to fall by the wayside and coupon clipping was one of them.

    Best Wishes,
    D4L

  35. Lori says:

    Trent,

    I found your website in mid-December and absolutely love it!

    Thank you, Lori

  36. @Trent – When you say this saved you $20, is that versus not using coupons at all or is it versus using coupons as soon as you get them?

  37. Barbara says:

    As for adding the cost of the Sunday paper into your savings for the week, our papers here are only $1.50. Easily covered with 1 or 2 coupons. We have my parents save their coupons for us, since they don’t use them. It’s lovely to have twice as many to work with, although my coupon organizer runneth over at times.

    Great article!

  38. KarenFLA says:

    I have found that for Walgreens and CVS they usually have specials on the coupons for that week or the week before.

  39. CJ says:

    I understand the point of the tip, but I would contend that coupons are not a good money-saving device. They tend to be only for the premium brands. You’d be much better off to buy the generic brands (same product behind a different label in many cases anyway) or just buy a cheaper brand than the premium one featured in coupon ads.

  40. Susan says:

    I’ve simplified my coupon cutting to only coupons worth $1.00 or more, unless it is on obvious item that I regularly buy. And I don’t clip the $1.00 or more coupons that I know I will never use. So it ends up that I’m only clipping 10 or so coupons per week. I’d guess this strategy gives me 95% of the savings I was getting from before when I used to clip every single coupon, but only takes me 10 minutes instead of 30.

  41. Lisa B says:

    I started the $1 trial to the grocery game to see if it was worth it. I live alone (struggling grad student) so I don’t buy huge amounts of groceries. Like Early Retirement Extreme I wonder what impact the additional cost of the Sunday paper will have on the savings. I will try the free site and see how it compares (The grocery game is $10/8 weeks for 1 store only)

    Any single person households out there with a positive experience with coupon clipping?

  42. Ryan says:

    I really don’t see much benefit in the grocery game since you could simply look at the grocery store’s weekly flyer to see the sales, and then match them up with coupons that you have already clipped. As for the benefits of going to multiple stores for a few dollars savings, the wear and tear on your starter motor, engine, transmission, not to mention gas costs, is not worth it.

  43. Kim says:

    We agree that buying store brands vs. national brands is a better use of time than coupon clipping.

    We compose our weekly menu around our local grocer’s sale paper. Buy-one-get-one-free rump roast means we are having pot roast this week. We never buy meat/seafood that is not 2-for-1. Same goes for produce. Household supplies i.e. cleaners, toiletries etc … are purhased at the dollar store.

  44. c says:

    Had a question- on average, does anyone know if it is cheaper to shop at the Warehouse stores (Costco, SAM’s club etc) versus using coupons to shop at other stores such as Safeway, walmart etc..thanks

  45. Sharon says:

    Generally it is cheaper to shop for meat, milk, produce and cheese at grocery stores on sale than the Sam’s. Frozen ready-to-nuke is usually cheaper at Sam’s. TP comes from Walgreens on coupon savings, and mushrooms for $0.39 a can. Cleaning supplies I prefer to buy in bulk, so get in Sam’s rather than running out often.

  46. Sharon says:

    And make a bee-line for the clearance section at the grocery store. They often clear out stuff that doesn’t sell well, and if you have a coupon, too, you are in great shape and can stock up. Watch out for dented cans, though. Lots of clerks have never heard of botulism and will sell bulging cans.

  47. Dana says:

    This is puzzling to me because when I’ve used coupons, the expiration date is usually 4 to 6 weeks after publication. I’ve given up on them because I felt pressured to use them before they expired.

  48. Sarah says:

    I’m assuming a lot of you are like me, and typically avoid more expensive “luxury” foods – cakes, cookies, party mixes, etc. But I like to keep a few coupons for these items on hand for that mid-week office potluck or friend’s surprise party.

  49. Anne says:

    What is The Grocery Game?

  50. Cyndi says:

    Adding coupons to sale deals is the way to go. I work for http://www.MyGroceryDeals.com in which we combine the 2 “strategies” for maximum savings. We list flyer deals at your local stores based on ZIP Code, then, you can easily do a search to find which stores have the cheapest prices on the products you need this week. We also have a coupon offering that you can print and present to the stores to double dip on savings.

    Hope this helps and we’d love for you to visit!

  51. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I think using coupons can be a great savings for families trying to find the extra $20-$40 a week (or more in some cases) to save.
    I have a short list of items that when a coupon is combined with a sale, the cost beats out any generic brand. This includes canned soups, toothpaste, jarred sauce, certain brands of laundry soap, toilet paper, etc. When I come home with 6 tubes of toothpaste, my wife knows they were free. In some instances (with CVS) I walk out with a coupon good for the next purchase and I’m being paid to carry the stuff out. Non-perishables like these are ideal targets for hoarding and couponing. I am a Costco fan, but there are times the supermarket sale with coupon will still be less. Knowing the prices for the things you buy is a great help, and having a system so you’re never running out of an item without a few weeks chance to catch a sale and restock. (And stocking up means never wasting an hour and the gas to run out for one item like toothpaste or TP)
    JOE

  52. KMunoz says:

    Also, another thing worth thinking about is that many supermarkets will double or triple your coupons on certain days. Even if your coupon item isn’t on sale, if your coupon is being doubled, you’ll get a good savings too.

    I’m a big fan of this blog. As a recent college grad, I like learning all these new ways to save money and cut costs. Thanks, Trent!

  53. tammy says:

    I have always clipped all the coupons that come in the papers and have acoupon holder in my purse everytime I go to a store I will have my coupons and if I find something that I have a coupon for but do not use I leave it next to the item for someone else

  54. TheSue says:

    It works! Just last week my local grocer had frozen Kashi meals at 50% off, lowering the price to $1.79. Two weeks prior, the store’s own coupon circular contained $1 off coupons of which I snagged 6. Final cost $.79 each!

  55. raz says:

    here in so. cal. we have a store with double coupons, plus their store card. i have been able to save at times up to 60% of my checkout! sometimes they send me $8 coupons to use for anything for being a regular shopper…. and they will give you coupons for fresh foods too, not just packaged stuff….

  56. Michael says:

    “’Most of the coupons I find are for overly processed food that I wouldn’t buy anyway. Where are the coupons for fresh food (veggies, meat) and all natural products?’

    “‘You need to look in your local supermarket flyer for that stuff, not the national flyers.’

    I live in Toronto where there afre a lot of Chinese grocery stores and “Chinatowns.”

    The klarger stores try to operate on volume rather than high margins and are much cheaper, especially for meat, than Toronto mainstream full price supermarkets like Loblaw’s and Dominion.

    You have to know prices well enough to know when something’s a good deal (which is a time consuming hassle) but shopping a mix of cut rate chain supermarkets (No Frills, Food Basics) for items genuinely on sale and Chinatown seems to cut grocery bills significantly on unprocessed foods if you have a big family and not too much driving distance is involved so gas costs don’t cut into the savings.

    I didn’t know this about coupons and will try.

    complaining about new procesed foods — if only that they taste processed –what they want is detailed feedback of customer reaction, particularly new foods. If the product does not suit you describe a modification that would help.– will often get you a manufacturer’s coupon in lieu of refund, but it is liable to be for “more of the same.” I also don’t like processed foods, so its no use to me; it also is bothersomely time consuming and one doesn’t feel quite right about it afterward.

  57. vanessa says:

    Thank you for the tip! I receive the Mambo Sprouts coupons (for natural foods) in the mail. I usually don’t use them, but a bunch of them were expiring this week, so I thought I’d give this a try. I took them to Whole Foods and, indeed, almost all of the coupons I wanted to use matched up to items that were also on sale. I scored things like coconut milk, soy sauce, organic cheese, organic shampoo, etc. Things that even anti-processed-food people like me would buy.

    That inspired me to start the GroceryGame trial period. This is my first week and even though I was very picky with the list, buying only vegetarian and minimally-processed foods like pasta, I only paid $20 for $50 worth of food. 60% savings! I do see the appeal of having someone else do the legwork and research to match the coupons to get the best deals. It makes couponing a lot less overwhelming for me and it is actually turning out to be quite fun!

  58. Chris says:

    I found another site at http://CrazyBargain.com that is rather interesting, although I’m not sure how useful to everyone. It contains a random selection of links to other coupon type sites. Every once in a while, I check it out to see the new coupon links.

  59. sam says:

    I no longer eat carbs. I also can not have toothpaste or breath mints with sorbital in them. Because of my medical condition, I have to eat certain things everyday. And this causes my grocery bill to be more than I’d like it to be. I have never seen a coupon for Tom’s of Maine toothpaste (Retail $3.98). I seem to never clip coupons anymore. If you can help me save on my grocery bill I’d truly appreciate it. I can no longer go into a store and buy whatever’s on sale. I’m forced to buy what I must have, no matter what the price. If I knew of coupons for these items I’d save them. Thank you for sharing this information.

  60. Dee says:

    A couple of comments:
    DO buy your Sunday paper at the local ‘Dollar’ store.
    DO ask people for their coupon inserts if you know they don’t use them (friends, family, co-workers, etc).
    DON’T wait 4 weeks to use coupons – many times coupons are released the same week there is a big promotion at major chain grocery stores or drug stores (CVS, Walgreens, etc)
    DO take the time to read the grocery ads and match them up to the coupons you have. The grocery game costs money, and coupon mom doesn’t cover every part of the country. I would recommend a site like http://www.hotcouponworld.com. They have forums tailored to specific chains and specific parts of the country, and it is free.
    It may take even a couple of hours a week to get your stockpile set up, but I figure I save our family way more than I’d make in a part-time job. There are many items we never pay for, and we even manage to donate several bags of (free to us) food and health/beauty items to our food bank every month. Generics are fine if there are no coupons for an item you need, but I can’t remember the last time I actually needed to buy a generic item. We also don’t belong to a warehouse club – just shop where the sales (and rebates, and savings cards) are.

  61. Jen says:

    If I didn’t even go through my coupon inserts when I got them, I’d miss out on many sales and clearance deals! What happens when a sale for a product comes out at a store, and I have the coupon but just don’t know it? Then I’m twice as disappointed if I clipped the coupons weeks later, just to find that A) I missed a deal, or B) the coupon’s now expired.

    I don’t clip every coupon insert I get, as I usually get free multiples every week by going to gas stations at midnight Sunday night, and asking for their unsold papers. I store my inserts in a plastic container with drawers, but I definitely go through each insert and clip the ones I can use immediately. I also clip the coupons I know I will use. But I’ve learned not to throw away the ones I think I’ll never use. I either find a great sale or clearance on those items, and try them, or trade those coupons to someone else who needs them.

  62. Mary says:

    Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!!!! Wait a whole month to use coupons?! That is FUNNY. Why would I wait 4 weeks to save 30-40% when this week I could get it for free? It’s called watching the ads people (and it doesn’t take much time to do). I use some coupons right away and others I use weeks down the road. It all depends on the sales at the 3 major grocery stores in my area. I always save 75-90% on my grocery bill and that wouldn’t happen doing it this way. That guy at Hy-vee is yanking your chain.

  63. couponlady says:

    Wow, there are so many comments here I could spend all day in response! I realize everyone has differnt needs and lifestyles so I won’t touch on that one.

    I will talk a little about any family that is looking to put good food on the table and still save for college and retirement. CLIP THOSE COUPONS!!! This is what I got this past weekend for under $10.00 out of pocket.

    Venus Razor (2) Colgate Toothpaset (2) Crest Pro Health Mouth Wash (4) Oral B Toothbrush (4) Garnier Shampoo/conditioner/styling products (total of 4 assorted) Treats for my cat (6) Cat food (8 cans), Dole Salad Mix (2) Tyson Chicken Breast 5 lbs and today I am going back to CVS to get my FREE jelly beans-plastic easter eggs and Hershey Pot of Gold Chocolates. Oh, and I got a raincheck on Saturday for Campbells cream of mushroom soup (40cents each after sale and coupon) and Swansons Chicken broth (also 40 cents each after sale and coupon).

    My average now is 78% savings on all HABA that I purchase and 67% on all food that comes into our house. I don’t know exactly what my % is on cleaning supplies but if I had to guess I think it would be about 80%.

    I have helped many of the women in my church to save using very simple tools. I would be happy to help you as well, just email me @ coupn_gal@yahoo.com

    Tonia/Va

  64. DeLaina says:

    Saturday I went shopping @ Krogers. Poured over their weekly ad for about 2 hours and got my coupons together. I had at least 1 coupon for almost everything item I bought. Krogers was also having a deal where you bought 10 for 10, you also saved another $5 on each 10 items, up to $15 per transaction. On top of this, I had a $20 prescription transfer coupon and $3 off my order from a previous trip. By the end of the trip, I had saved over $200 in store/mfg/bonus coupons. I spent a total of $150 dollars for a well mounded cart and the bottom full as well. I saved 57% on my bill that day plus got $.10 off 4 fill ups in May. I did have a problem checking out though. Since I had over $200 in coupons & my bill was $150 (originally over $350), the computer thought the store owed ME $50. Had to have someone from the cash office come and override the transaction so I could leave the store!

  65. Jacinta says:

    I don’t think the coupon thing is done in Australia, and I don’t really understand how it works. Do coupons come with barcodes, or do you put the coupons with each applicable product and let the sales clerk work it out? I would expect this would make the people waiting in line behind you very grumpy.

    The best piece of advice I can give though, is to get to know your grocery store’s habits. In Melbourne, Australia, most grocery stores do their restock on Thursday night/Friday morning. Which means all the items which have a 1 week expiry date are marked as discounted for quick sale on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Thus it’s easy to buy things like pre-sliced mushrooms, and other “prepared” vegetables and fruits, yoghurt, fresh juice, etc for up to 50% off. Sure you need to use it very soon, but I find that I can buy a fridge worth of these things, cook up a feast on the weekend, and have several days worth of food for much less than regular costs.

  66. Alexia says:

    Hi, love your site! We usually just plan the menu around the sales and price match at the Walmart… I was telling DH about this technique and he asked a great question! =)

    Don’t they say right on the coupon that you can’t use it in conjunction with any other sale????

    Help! =)I really, really, would love to save another $30 or so a week. It’s better than a part time job IMHO cuz no babysitter! =)

  67. Melissa says:

    I started off with the Grocery Game then began doing it myself once I got the hang of it. At the big Couponing weekends I’d buy several hundred dollars in foods, HBA, etc. to stockpile and rarely spend over $10.

    I regularly save 50% off the grocery bill with out couponing and generally save/stockpile 75% off the bill with coupons. The kind of money I save for a family of 4 big adults is amazing! We could easily make payments on a new Honda with the money saved. Debt is a four letter word to us and we will never again not pay cash. We plowed the money saved into a lifestyle of less stress.

    I don’t clip anymore, but I used to. Now I make use of coupon brokers who clip for me and mail the coupons, I just slip them in my purse size leaflet and review the adds online to all the stores in my area. Then make my meal plan and grocery list. I only order the coupons I KNOW I’ll use. No cookies, or snack items.

    For less than a quarter and mostly for free I get:
    toothpaste, toothbrushes, ketchup, bbq sauce, mustard, instant potatoes, soap, air freshners, pasta. After that I save no less than .75 on every coupon I use because my stores will triple up to .39 and double up to .50. When albertsons was having their big triples up to .75 I was getting savings in the high 90%.

    For those who prefer a greener way to live or have allergies, like the lady who can only use a certain toothpaste, then I suggest using baking soda a couple times a day for toothpaste….vinegar is also good for cleaning kitchen counters and alcohol is good for mirrors and glass.

    You can make your own laundry soap too.

    I also have a method of cooking that eliminates tired after-work drops by the fast food joints. Yes, it takes a little more time but knowing HOW to do these things, practicing for a month at a time so you can learn how to do them effectively can prepare you for when you don’t have a choice or you are paying off debt. For us it got my husband out of a Corporate Rat Race job with an hour commute into a job that pays half, has VERY little stress and I don’t have to work past about 1 hour a week on saving money.

    He did have to get another degree, took 18 months. but now he commutes 12 minutes, I don’t ‘work’ and we have no debt, ‘cept mortgage. He works overtime once a month to pad our emergency fund and pay off the house.

    We paid ZERO in taxes, got one stimulus check, and live in the suburbs in a nice neighborhood well above the median price of homes in our zip code.

    There is a better way! And couponing is part of it.

  68. Melissa says:

    I forgot to add, like that post wasn’t long enough, that we have a yard service, order in and still eat out. I CAN cut deep if I have to but we have found a level of frugality and simplicity that works for us.

    We are container gardening this summer to learn how to grow our own veggies, that will save even more money!

    We all have to find that point and relax into it…as long as we know HOW to deeply cut the fat when we have too.

  69. UrbanFrugal says:

    Clipping coupons can be a pain if you don’t have a strategy. Lately, though I have noticed that many coupons have been synching up with the sales for the same week. So, by combining the sale price with a coupon or a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon I save big.

    For me signing up for email lists is worth it when companies send me coupons for $1 or $2 off of one item that I actually use.

    http://www.urbanfrugal.com

  70. JennysMom says:

    Come join us grocery hounds over on MSN’s message boards,on WIR (Women In Red). The thread is called, The Grocery Challenge. But we lovingly call it, the Pound! I first posted with Message # 26 and have been addicted every since. There’s now more than 25,500 messsage posts. It’s the longest-running thread (now up to 2,139 pages)and will go on hopefully forever, cuz all of us have saved so much money by knowing the 12-week sales cycle, stockpiling and using coupons when possible. It’s the NEW gravy train for the 21st Century!We are fans of many sites, including couponmom.com and hotcoupon world (HCW).
    We call ourselves hounds (sniffin’ for deals in Grocery Land, we are!), call coupons, woofies, and talk about a lot of great deals, we find with exact info and prices. We’re from all over the country, from big families to small, from the East Coast to the West Coasties and anywhere in between. We can be different in our choices of what food we buy, but we have one thing in common: We want to save a bunch of money when we walk into any grocery store. And we do!
    And puh-leeze don’t be afraid of the over 2,000 pages! We love “new pups” and us pack of hounds promise NOT to bite. If you’re a little apprehensive ‘cuz of the # of pages, check out my posts on Page 1605 that I posted in early May. Pictures really are worth a 1,000 words! 5,000 “dog biscuits” in an online savings account getting 3.50% is something to bark about! And I’ve added more biscuits twice since May!So just introduce yourself and you become a lovable Pound Puppy!
    And I’m a natural/organic grocery hound, and don’t even use that many coupons. Although I did find Go-Organic coupon booklets (Google it!) which don’t expire ’till 8-31-08 to be my newest best friend. Com’on give us a woof over on the MSN message boards! We also send coupons to each other and have a grocery hound coupon club and ask for coupons from each other that we may need week by week. That way, we can help each other “find good homes” for “woofies”… um, coupons!
    We’ve leave the light on… Can’t wait to WOOF in greeting when YOU introduce yourself! You will be amazed how being a grocery hound changes your entire life–and not just financial. Thanks for reading my ridiculously long post! But I wanted to bark out to those who hadn’t heard of The Grocery Challenge on MSN.

  71. Jennifer says:

    How do I find out if and when my grocery store has double coupon days?

  72. fran fire says:

    You can definitely save a lot of money at your local grocery store by clipping coupons from the Sunday paper. The thing is, what if you want to save money on an internet purchase?

    The solution:
    I found an amazing coupon site called http://www.couponpromotions.com that lets you save money on internet purchases!

  73. Vickey says:

    @ fran fire: couponpromotions.com looks like an advertising-only site. What is your relationship with that site, please? You wouldn’t be astro-turfing (or whatever the current term is), would you?

  74. This concept works pretty well as a general rule… however, Rite Aid and CVS are both known for booking certain sales the same week a coupon is released.

    Watch the drugstore fliers for those details. Both stores will actually give you that information from time to time.

  75. Linda says:

    Great article. I’ve been also using coupons for years and it is worth the time to clip them and look through the store ads to match items. I have saved lots of money doing this.

  76. Hot Coupons says:

    very good articles. I have used coupons for many years. Every time, when i do shopping online , I will search coupon on google. I visited many coupon websites to compare which coupon is best. There are a lot of coupon sites so you can get many coupons.

  77. And as others said, it doesn’t take a lot of time. I separated the coupons from the Sunday paper, tossed them in a file folder labeled with the week, and then clipped just before shopping. It took no more than 20 minutes, maybe 40 if I had a lot to buy.

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