When I started working part time a year and a half ago I learned how to coupon in order to save money on our tight budget. It's amazing the kind of high you can get when you save as much as you spend on groceries! In Winston-Salem I looked forward to double and triple coupon weeks at Harris Teeter, where I could get tons of stuff for free or under a dollar. When we moved to Atlanta it was a little harder to save that much, because Publix only doubles coupons 50 cents or less and never triples. I still only spend an average of $60 per trip to the grocery store and go about every other week, which I feel is pretty darn good! It also helped that I started getting our produce at Costco every other week or so. One part of couponing that I've not enjoyed, but that you can save a lot of money doing, is drug store couponing. It seemed that every time I would get organized to go they would be out of one or more of the things I was planning to buy, which resulted in me not being able to get the deals I planned on (to coupon at drugstores you have to check out with multiple transactions and use their store dollars in each one to save the most money, so if one is gone you're SOL!) and leaving empty-handed or spending more than I intended. Talk about frustrating! So as a result of this I had been a lot less motivated to coupon lately. But...
This past week I got some really awesome deals with coupons and renewed my motivation! Here's what I got:
CVS Trip: 2 bottles of shampoo, 2 large tubes of toothpaste, laundry detergent
Total value: $27.65
I paid: $4.16
Publix groceries: 2 large boxes of diapers, strawberries, 4 lunchables, 1 lb deli meat, 3 pkgs shredded cheese, 5 boxes cereal, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, 3 tomatoes, 1 green pepper, cilantro, 2 loaves of bread, 2 boxes graham crackers, 2 boxes corn bread mix, 3 packages Steamfresh frozen vegetables, 2 Yoplait smoothies, 2 boxes frozen pancakes, box of dishwasher detergent, roll of paper towels, mandarin oranges, canned pineapple, bottle cranberry juice, 2 bottles V8 Splash juice, 2 4packs of YoPlus yogurt, butter, peanut butter, jar of pickles, tortillas, ketchup, and A $50 GAS CARD!
Total value: $223.69 (without gas card $173.69)
I paid: $137.18 (without gas card $97.18)
Savings: 39% (without gas card 44%)
Target: Swiffer Wet Jet starter kit, Swiffer Wet Jet refills, 2 bottles of Pledge furniture cleaner, toddler toothpaste
Total value: $40.02
I paid: $15.87
Overall for the week
Total value: $291.36
I paid: $157.21
This is actually a little more than I normally spend in a week, but I did get $50 in gas, 2 boxes of diapers, several cleaning supplies, and toiletries in addition to all of my groceries. People often ask me if I end up buying things I wouldn't normally buy using coupons, or if the only food I get is processed. The answer to both questions is no! As you can see by my groceries most items are things that everyone buys at some point in time, and I plan my dinners around what I'm going to be able to get cheaply at the store that week. Hardly anything is processed, and couponing has actually made me try a lot of different things that I normally wouldn't! Frosted Mini Wheats are now my favorite cereal, which I never would have tried were it not for coupons. People also assume that store brands are cheaper, but when you line up coupons and sales correctly the national brands are much better deals. I still buy a store brand if I need something that isn't on sale or I don't have a coupon for, but those items are few and far between. As far as toiletries and things go, when we are running low on something I just keep my eye out for good deals and buy a few at a low price. A lot of times I have one or two extras of something on hand because I could get them so cheap, and this also eliminates having to buy something for full price because we ran out of it.
Anyway, just thought I'd share my thoughts on couponing for the week! When you're living on a budget it's a great way to save money. And it's kind of fun to give yourself a spending goal for the month and try to beat it with coupons. Happy couponing!