Last night I got to hear Jenny from Southern Savers speak about the magical world of couponing! When I left the workshop, by brain was literally spinning. How in the world did she figure all this out?
(Let me say that most of what Jenny said is on the website. However, if you want the chance to see her in person and ask questions, it only costs $10 to go to a workshop. Also, kudos to Jenny for addressing coupon ethics – no photocopying printed coupons, don’t buy out the store, etc. )
The basic idea is that food prices go up and down, and about every 6 weeks, they will reach a “rock bottom” price. That is when you want to buy an item: when it’s at the lowest price it will ever be in your grocery store. And that’s when you want to use a coupon! So if Cheerios go on sale for $2.00 a box at Kroger, that’s probably the lowest they’re ever going to be at Kroger. If I eat a box of Cheerios a week, I want to buy 6 boxes, because it will be 6 weeks until Cheerios is that cheap again. Plus, I want to find coupons for Cheerios so I can get even more off!
Once you understand that concept, Jenny tells you to focus on three ways to save:
1) Organize your coupons. Not cut, organize. She suggests dating your Sunday newspaper coupon inserts and keeping them in an accordion file. (Scroll down to see photo.)
2) Check your weekly ads and buy based on what’s on sale.
3) Check the Southern Savers website. Seriously, this website is awesome! She tells you exactly where to find the coupons you need for the sales. (For example, referring to the Cheerios scenario, if there was a coupon for Cheerios in the 4/19 coupon inserts, she’ll tell you.)
She suggested giving yourself six weeks to really get the hang of it. The first week you’re supposed to find all the “rock bottom” sales and buy six weeks worth of those items, plus the items you absolutely need for cooking that first week.
So this morning I was going to start. I had my coupons, my ads, and the website. And all of a sudden I was completely overwhelmed. Then I realized that I would have to spend more the first few weeks until I had stocked up plenty of food items, but Steven and I had just done the budget and had not adjusted my grocery budget at all. Then I was completely, utterly overwhelmed!
It was as if I was looking down the rabbit hole, but too scared to jump in – or even fall in.
So I just shopped like I normally do and came home.
Another thing she spoke about was saving money at CVS. I tend to think that places like CVS and Walgreens are overpriced, but CVS has this great system where you buy things and get “Extra Care Bucks” which are basically like gift certificates you can use the next time to buy things. So today I went to CVS, bought a pack of gum, and got a card. There weren’t really any deals this week that I was interested in, but next week if you spend $15 on Loreal cosmetics, you get some ECBs!! I need some make-up, plus I have 3 Loreal coupons, so I’ll have to update you on how I come out.
Still at the edge of the rabbit hole. I think maybe I can see the glass table at the bottom.
let´s see how it works for you!
Do they have such a thing as coupons over there? Here there are some crazy Americans that are really working the system to get more money off!
I just don’t understand why “they” can’t just charge us what it costs plus their profit and be done with it. How many full time jobs do we moms really need. 1) mom, 2) housekeeper, 3) chef, 4) family CFO, 5) couponer and bargainhunter and for those of us who work outside the home 6! C’mon, just charge me the same thing every week so I can budget appropriately and move on to the 100,000 other things I have to do!
I agree! The thing is, they get their money back from the manufacturer when people use coupons. So why not just lower the price in the first place so we don’t to use them? I agree, couponing is going to be another “job”. Sigh. We’ll see if I can handle it.
I coupon a little, but I do not have a good stockpile or grocery list system. I still cut them, look for sales, and use her website to match prices, ads, etc. I use a three ring binder and baseball card holder sleeves. I usually use my coupons for kid snacks for school lunches, soups, and condiments. I rarely find meat and produce coupons (I’m sure they are out there somewhere). I still shop at Costco w/o coupons. Right now I save about $40 or $50 going to Harris Teeter or BiLo with my coupon stack. Good luck! Start slowly, you will save!
I never find coupons for produce or meat, either. I figure I won’t save much off of those, but hopefully things like cereal and snacks (as you mentioned) will get cheaper! I also have a friend that takes advantage of the Harris Teeter deals and spends a lot! Thanks for the encouragement!
feeling the same way about jumping in, but I do know that the prices are cyclical, so maybe it is worth it.