How I Save Money Grocery Shopping.

22 Feb

I was checking out at the grocery store the other day and the woman behind me watched as I handed over a pretty sizable stack of coupons. She started asking me questions: Where do you get your coupons? How much do you save? She was very happy to have a few simple tips, and told her husband they needed to start using coupons themselves. 

This little exchange got me thinking, maybe I should share with all of you how I use coupons. I’ve come across other Mommy Blogs that describe very large and elaborate systems of storing, sorting, and using coupons. I’ve heard of people buying multiple Sunday newspapers just for the coupon inserts. I’m not that kind of Mommy. In my humble opinion, my time spent to money saved ratio is pretty damn good.

First, Where do I get my coupons?

Just about every Sunday I head across town to my Mom’s house and pilfer her newspaper for all the coupons. I ONLY cut the ones for products I use. I don’t use Newman’s Own dressing, and that’s not going to change with a coupon. I also get coupons from my favorite magazine, ALL YOU. Each month, ALL YOU is stuffed with great coupons, most of them higher values ($.75 or more). I also head over to for even more coupons. The website links you to a special site with special “All You Exclusive” coupons. All you have to do is check the ones you want and print them out. After all that, I visit once or twice a week since they sometimes have a few different coupons from ALL YOU.

I store my coupons in a small, plastic accordion file, sorted by category. I keep the coupons organized in their categories by expiration date; first to expire to last. I frequently go through the file to get rid of anything that might have expired.

Now, how do I use my coupons?

I try to use a coupon when the item is on sale. Example: If I have a coupon for $1 off 2 bottles of Wishbone Dressing, I’ll wait until dressing is on sale, say 10 for $10, that’ll get me 2 bottles for $1.

I am not as strict as some other couponing mamas out there. If I need an item and it’s not on sale, I’ll use a coupon to help out a little. I buy as much as I can on sale, but sometimes there’s a want or need that just isn’t on sale.

How do I shop?

I tried trolling the sale circulars and hitting more than one store to get all the items I wanted on sale. That works for some, it didn’t work for me. I found that I was spending more money when I was doing that instead of just shopping at one store. I go to the same store all the time, and I love it. They double my coupons up to $1.00, and occasionally have $1.00 coupon doublers in their circular.

Each week, when my circulars come in (usually on Thursday), I sit down with my iPhone (using GroceryIQ), and start making my list with sale items. While I’m flipping through the circular I start thinking of recipes using what is on sale. Once I’m done with the sale items, I hit the pantry to see if there’s anything we’re out of, then I head to the fridge to do the same. I finalize my list by going through my coupon file to see if there are coupons for anything on my list or any other things I might need that I have a coupon for.

While I’m at the store, I do my best to stick to my list and not buy anything that is NOT on it.

Just because I can buy 20 boxes of brownies for $2 doesn’t mean I’m going to buy them. I don’t stock up on massive amounts of things that will only take up space in my pantry and get thrown out later. I try to save the most money on the products I like to buy.

In 2009, I saved about $2200 just at the one store. I’m sure there are people out there saving more, but $2200 is nothing to sneeze at either. I’ve made a commitment to save even more money this year and so far, I’m averaging a savings of $34 a week between using coupons and shopping sale items. The past two weeks alone I saved $55 and $48 respectively.

How do you save money grocery shopping? Do you have any other questions for me? Comment here or email me at

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