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Friday, February 27, 2009

Who me? Use coupons?

NED Food Coupons Pictures, Images and Photos

I broke down and went to the grocery store today. I had the day off from work and the only thing left in the freezer were some frozen chicken breasts and two bags of vegetables. The refrigerator was equally bare, yielding a few oranges, two slices of deli turkey, a serving of yogurt and assorted condiments.

Early in January, I was at the grocery and watched a woman in front of me buy a cart full of groceries for only $27 after she'd used all of her coupons. I was amazed and felt guilty when the cashier asked me if I had any coupons. "Not today," I said, vowing that I sure would the next time.

Since then, I discovered Bargain Briana. Actually, I re-discovered her. I first became familiar with Briana in the Ridemakerz giveaway days. But I didn't really check out her site until recently. Intent on cutting my grocery bill, I've spent hours over the past few days on Briana's site trying to understand exactly how to get the best deal.

So today, I sat down with the grocery ad, Briana's site listing the store deals open on my computer, and my sparse collection of coupons in hand to make out my menu based on what's on sale this week. Then I headed out to shop.

First the dairy department. Shredded cheese on my list. It's on sale 2/$6. Plus there's an on-package coupon. Then Pillsbury Grands. 10/$10. I have a coupon for 50 cents off three. Oh wait, Grands Sweet Rolls don't count. Dig for the ones that do count.

Move on to the Italian aisle. $1 off /2 Prego. Oh, but not the size I usually get. The big size. Hmmm. Ok, I can use those still. Brownies. $1 off /4 -- but the ones I have a coupon for aren't the ones on sale. Which is cheaper? Do I really even need brownies?

I can feel myself starting to get slightly anxious. This whole couponing thing is hard work. Make sure I've got the right size, the right variety, the right number of items to get the discount. Boy, it sure was easier to go in with my list and ignorantly toss stuff into the cart without trying to match up to manufacturer requirements.

But still, I trudged on, consulting my list and my envelope of coupons. I was glad to get to the bottom of my list and head to the checkout. Once I got there, I watched the woman in front of my with a little bit of envy. Nothing in her cart was on the 10/$10 list and she had no coupons to redeem.

Then it was my turn. I piled my coupons on the checkout stand and waited for the cashier to scan and bag my items. After everything was rung up, my total was $162 and some change. I handed over the coupons.

I watched as 30 cents here and 50 cents there came off my total. When all was said and done, I saved almost $13! Small potatoes to the mega coupons queens out there, I'm sure. But enough to make me think that coupon ignorance may be bliss, but it sure is expensive.

Next up, I'm going to learn how to play the CVS game.


Joanie said...

I saw a site the other night about shopping with coupons and now, darn it! I can't remember the name of it! Anyway, you had to join and there was a fee, depending on how many different stores you shopped. That seemed couunter-productive to me.

I used to be a really good coupon shopped (not like those mega-shopping women!). Over the years, I just stopped cutting them out.

Lynanne said...

Ooo, I'll have to check out those sites. Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

You don't need to join a site and pay a fee. There are plenty of wonderful women sharing their information for free. My favorite is a couponers forum, which has no ads, etc. If you're interested in joining, email me privately and I'll send you the link with my referring member ID. (I don't get points or anything-- it just keeps out the spammers.)

Amy, it is totally worth it to do the couponing. I love Bargin Briana. Here are some others I enjoy:

Bargain Briana said...

Thanks Amy for posting that and so happy to hear your story! YAY on the savings!!! Now, I need to get my coupons together and actually GO SHOPPING! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I think about using coupons but haven't started yet. I have friends who are always telling me about the powers of coupons. One even pointed out a coupon guru coming to the library where I work. (I didn't even know) so...we are going to her lecture together and I'm going to save hundreds. I'll let you know how it goes.

Old Woman said...

Try coupon Mom.Com there are no fees. I started shopping with coupons about a year ago. It starts out slow, $15-20 savings but after awhile you get good at it - I can regularlly do $40-50 each week - my biggest savings ever was $80. Look for the stores that do the occasional tripple-coupons. I never do the buy three to get something off, unless it is BOGO at the store. I started taking the Sunday only newspaper. Now coupon shopping and freebies are a rush for me. I like to watch the grand total tick down. Its weird, I know.

Amy said...

@Old Woman -- I can see how it's a rush. Once I clean the kitchen today, I'm going to open the Sunday paper and plan my next attack!

@Recipe -- Hope you get lots of tips! I think working in a library would be fun.