Grocery Store, Meet Couponing Queen

I truly believe that when I walk into a store carrying my bag of couponing tricks that entry music should be keyed and a fan should softly blow my hair.  Kind of reminiscent of the scene on Bridesmaids as they are boarding the airplane to go to Vegas. 

I have had several people ask me questions about how time consuming couponing is.  The truth is, just like anything else in life, you have to be willing to dedicate time to be successful.  I look at it like a part time job from home.  And when I get my receipt after cashing out, whatever the savings is for that trip is my paycheck.  How many people get a paycheck with no work involved?  I can clip coupons while watching TV, I can scan sales flyers while in my pajamas, I can make grocery lists while sipping on coffee.  Right now as I type this I am en route to a bridal show with my sister.  I would much rather give a few hours at home to lower my grocery bill then have to work a second job. 

I start out with checking out my food inventory.  I work with what I have already in my freezer and cupboards as well as what the upcoming sales are to make a meal plan.  I generate a meal plan (see picture below which you can buy one of these here).  Once I have the meal plan set, I write down all the ingredients I will need for those meals.  I cross off any that I already have on hand.  The remaining list goes on my grocery list as well as any breakfast or lunch items we need. 

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For household items and toiletries, I keep a running list as I am cleaning or getting ready for the day of what I need or am low on.  Those items also go on my grocery list.  The rest of my list consists of hot sales.  Each week when I shop, I try to grab a few ultra-low sale priced items to go towards the following week’s meal plan. 

Once I have looked at the new sales & coupons, made my meal plan and composed a grocery list I begin putting together coupons to use.  If an item is on sale but you don’t have a coupon, check the company’s website.  Google the name of the item with the word coupon after it. 

I usually have a target amount in mind that I want to spend.  If you get to know prices well, you can estimate the cost of each item and get an idea of what the total will be.  If you are over your target, you either need to rework your meal plan or find more coupons. 

There are certain items that I will pay more for the better alternative.  For example, I will not buy margarine although it is much cheaper than butter.  I tend to buy the milk that says no hormones on the carton even if it costs fifty cents more.  However, for a majority of the time I have no problems going with the store or generic brand.  Say I need Hershey’s Syrup.  It’s on sale for $ 2.79, I have a coupon for 50 cents off but the store brand is $ 1.50.  I will go with the store brand.  Now, grab your binder & bag and get ready to save money!!

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If you are a Price Chopper Shopper, make sure you hit up the iSave coupon machine at the entrance of the store.  Scan your AdvantEdge card and a sheet of coupons will print out.  I usually find one or two of these sheets of coupons laying around the store when people abandon them.  I snatch them up too because the coupons are different for each person! 

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Today I thought it was funny when a woman came up to me and commented on how organized I was.  This is what was in the front section of my cart..

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Stick to your list unless you come across a hot clearance item.  Keep a running total of how much the groceries will come to that are in the cart.  Double check your coupons before checking out to be sure you have every coupon you need.  If you are buying items that have coupons stuck to them, pull them off yourself as I have had too many experiences when I get home and find out the cashier never even took the coupon off the item to use. 

Today’s total before my AdvantEdge card and coupons was $ 208.45.  After card and coupons my total was $ 137.54!  Full week of breakfast, lunch & dinner for four as well as a few items for next week!  Total savings almost $ 70.00 which would have been net pay for working 10 hours at minimum wage! 

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