Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Can I Just Be Real?

I have frustration with coupons. My sisters in law get all of these great deals by 'manipulating' the coupon system at different drug stores. I see posts on blogs about massive amounts (okay, maybe not massive - but a good amount) of money being saved by taking advantage of double coupons, triple coupons. This has not worked for me. I have had the Sunday paper delivered, clipped my coupons, and spent more money as a result of it. So, I confess. I don't use coupons. I don't like coupons. But...it works for some of you. I stood in line behind a man in Farm Fresh tonight who cut his bill in half with coupons. I watched his total go from $38 to $17 and I had great respect for him and I didn't mind standing in line while the clerk punched each coupon in to the register... and now I want in on the secret. What is it - time? scanning the fliers? I'd be curious to hear about your experience with coupons or if you don't use coupons what you do to stretch your dollar at the Grocery store.

9 comments:

Laura D said...

I've only recently started clipping coupons, but I have saved money and gotten several things FREE. My secret...blogs that tell me where the deals are. AND exact prices I should expect so I can make the decision from home whether it is a deal I want to participate in. That saves me a lot of work figuring out what is what. I also try to only buy the items we need, but just buy them with a coupon. (Although occasionally I have stocked up on things we don't really need yet, but they are really cheap.) I've posted the sites I use on my blog. (add http://www.becentsable.net) So far this method is working well, but I'm definitely still in the learning process! (Oh, and Wednesday is always double up to a dollar on coupons at Farm Fresh. I'm sure that had something to do with his savings!)

Tim and Kristen's Blog said...

I was a little frustrated at first, too, since I thought I'd be able to get the deals right away! I know it took me a few weeks to build up my coupon collection before the deals really started coming. I read on one blog that they'll send out coupons a few weeks before the item is on sale in stores, so it's beneficial to hold onto coupons until it's on sale...not that every coupon will be on sale though. I usually look for deals at this website: http://www.frugalinvirginia.com/
She has deals listed for Harris Teeter, which double up to 99cents daily, and Food Lion. When they have triple coupons at Harris Teeter or Bloom, I check prices online to see which coupons are worth getting or not. I've found that cutting coupons and trying to find the good deals do take some time, as I find myself shopping at a few stores to do groceries instead of just 1 trip, but it's been worth it.

jess said...

I hear you girl!!! Couponing is A LOT of work... but I supose the pay off is worth it... i'm just dabbling in this right now as well... if it's a big coupon -like a $5 off diapers - I'll go to a diffrent store to use it, but otherwise I get frustrated with the venturing to varrious stores. But Laura and Kristen have it down by checking before they go online. Anne's blog has a lot of good tips as well... on blog she links to is money saving mom... Julia gets free toliet paper nearly every week from some coupon on there! Good luck if you find anything that works you'll have to let us know!

Jessica Gardner said...

I agree with you!! I said the exact same thing as you. But I kept persisting and building up my coupon stash and then checked a few of those blogs mentioned and check out the fliers every week. So basically I only clip coupons for things that I know we need or get, then I try to wait until it goes on sale or we need it before I use it, and I check the fliers every week to help me know what is on sale. I still spend more money on groceries than I have budgeted and I never get TONS of money off like those blogs talk about. But it does help a little. So I think it really takes practice, building up your coupon stash and learning your local grocery stores, and tons of organization! Good luck, and I understand the frustration completely!

Michael, Nina, Emma & Elliot said...

I hope you don't mind me leaving a comment since I just know of you through the seminary. I don't remember if we've ever met in person, but I follow your blog through Sarah Branine's. Recently we started getting the Sunday paper for the coupons. Before both of our kids came along, Michael was in the AF and I was able to shop at the commissary- stuff there was wicked cheap compared to the grocery stores or even walmart brand. I clipped coupons and used them there, too. Now, he isn't in the AF, so I stopped using coupons for a while because I personally figured out that using coupons at Walmart takes too much time for not much savings. I tried doing the pricematching thing. That was really confusing and time consuming and the cashiers didn't seem to know the guidelines for it. Anyways, after our 2nd baby started eating table, I decided to give the coupon world another shot-since our budget hadn't really changed, but we had an additional eater. I'm sure this doesn't work for everyone, but it has paid off for us. This is what I do. WHen I get the Sunday paper coupons. I do not sit down to clip or catergorize them. I wait until Wednesday- when Farm Fresh has there deal going on of doubling coupons that are up to $1 face value. If you go online to their site, you can "shop online"- by doing this you can search for whatever items you have "good" coupons for and see exactly how much the item is and how much you will end up spending on that item. I've been doing this for a couple of months and each time I've purchased over $50 worth of groceries and never paid more than $20 out of pocket. It is time consuming- thankfully my kids nap at the same time and that is when I tackle this. It honestly takes me probably 1.5-2 hours to search the items I have coupons for and make my list. But it really helps becuase when I go into the store, the actual shopping usually only takes me 20 minutes or so. (I go late at night w/out the kids). And I still have to go to Sam's or Walmart for certain necessities like meats and fresh produce, but now I make my menus from what I actually get in these great deal trips rather than making a menu of what I want to eat! HOpe you have some success :) Nina WHitcomb

Karis said...

Of course you can be real! I got a smile on my face reading it because I could hear your voice intonation saying it!

I used the Money Saving Mom website and took advantage of her research. In my opinion it was enough work to gather the coupons for the stuff she found -- I didn't have the time on deputation to do my own research. I mainly just did CVS and double or triple coupons at the grocery stores. Like you, I found that face value coupons at Walmart and the grocery stores didn't save me much even after spending the time cutting them out and organizing them so I hear ya' there! CVS was the biggest deal maker for me; sorry you don't have one there and that I don't have one here! :-)

My good deal days are over...it's a different world here. To save money, we eat less meat and cheese. And since my household is combined with my grocery, getting Krista out of diapers will be a boost for my budget. Other than that, it's not so exciting of a game anymore.

I miss you.

Robert said...

Oh, Bethany, don't even get Kristen and me started! We are having so much fun with the MoneySavingMom.com website. We are only using the specials at Walgreen's as it does take time to get your coupons organized and to find the right ones each week that go with the special at the store. Anyway, we are both saving money and having fun doing it!

Love,
Mom V.

Tim, Kristen & Megan said...

Bethany, I love your opening comment, can I be real with you!!!! I love that comment from you! I am so sure it is harder for you since you are working a full time job and staying busy with other things as well. The blogs have already been mentioned that I use as well...mostly moneysavingmom.com. N-way, mom and I have a ton of fun doing this at Walgreens thing together. in fact, we just did our weekly run tonight!! Love ya

Mark and Anne Brumbaugh said...

I agree with the multitudes that have already spoken. Money Saving Mom is the easiest way to get started. She even has an e-course you can take that explains in depth just how the whole coupon system works. I only look through and clip coupons for triple coupons deals. The "Return on Investment" is not that great otherwise...so...my advice. Get a box and start saving coupons up to $1.00. When the next triple coupon deal comes...go online and look at the sale paper for the store that has the deal...and work through your coupons. you will find things on sale that you have coupons for...and they will likely be free or near free. But don't waste your time clipping random coupons or buying specific items just to save a few cents. And don't feel obligated to go to every single store to get the awesome deal of the week...remember it is the Return on Investment that counts! If you spend 3 hours clipping and planning and then only save $6.00...you just got paid $2.00/hour...I would NEVER WORK FOR $2.00/hour! so just keep your time low and your deal eyes open!! And feel free to call me anytime for extra tips!