- Food and Cooking
Save Money Online With Grocery Coupons
Everyone wants to save money in these tough economic times! Income is down, prices are up, and everyone is looking for a deal. I’ve found that the best savings in my homes comes from trimming my grocery budget. I’ve learned to actually purchase more and spend less by using an incredible on-line coupon program called Coupon Sense.
I used to think that saving money at the grocery store by using coupons was a big hassle and a lot of work, especially for a busy working mom! Seriously, how much savings can a 25 Cent coupon bring? I didn’t think it was worth the effort.
Instead, I would shop at Wal-Mart and take advantage of their price matching. Wal-Mart will match any competitor’s advertised sale price. I thought this was pretty savvy grocery shopping. The problem was, however, I would spend about $150-$200 per week on groceries and it still seemed like we never had enough food in the house! I can’t tell you how frustrated I’d be after spending so much money and have one of my teenagers gripe and complain that there was nothing to eat.
A New Way to Shop
One day a friend of mine introduced me to a whole new way to shop! I was skeptical at first. It seemed complicated and time consuming. Her enthusiasm for saving money, however, won me over and I had to check it out for myself. Suddenly I wasn’t feeling as confident in my shopping savvy.
Now I’ve learned that a 25 cent coupon can be worth up to a dollar at some local grocery stores. When you take that 25 cent coupon and combine it with a weekly sale, then it becomes even more valuable. When you have three of those 25 cent coupons, then you’ve got a triple deal! Coupon Sense provides a system that organizes your coupons and the weekly sale ads so that you get the most value.
I’ve been using Coupon Sense now for about six months. Not only have I saved a great deal, but I’ve increased the amount of food in my pantry and freezer. Now I have a stockpile of groceries that I can use anytime I want. I’m even able to donate food items without feeling the pinch.
My involvement with Coupon Sense is really easy. I reap the benefits while they do all the hard work. With helpful articles, on-line tutorials, and informative e-mails they show new users how to set up a filing system. They do all the research to know what’s on sale and where. They match the coupons from the Sunday paper and internet coupon sites to those store ads. All I have to do is look at their list of bargains and choose the ones I want to buy. Once I compile my grocery list based on price and store (I can choose which stores I go to… or I can go to all of them), I print out the list that tells me where to find the coupons based on the filing system. I only clip the coupons that I will use that week.
This took a little more time the first month. I had to learn the system, purchase and set up the filing materials, and order the local newspaper. Once I got the hang of it, however, it takes very little time to compile my list and clip my coupons. Even if I go to three or four grocery stores, I’ve also found that it actually takes less time than one trip to Wal-Mart.
money at the grocery store by using coupons was a big hassle and a lot of work, especially for a busy working mom! Seriously, how much savings can a 25 Cent coupon bring? I didn’t think it was worth the effort.
Instead, I would shop at Wal-Mart and take advantage of their price matching. Wal-Mart will match any competitor’s advertised sale price. I thought this was pretty savvy grocery shopping. The problem was, however,
How Much Does it Cost?
Coupon Sense does come with a price. The first month is $4 and then the following months it costs $14. It is possible to do the work and research yourself. However, it would be very time consuming. Since I save much more than $14 a month, it’s well worth the cost. I actually work that price into my grocery budget.
Another cost involved with this system is ordering the local newspaper. I spend $18.50 a month to purchase the Coupon Sense package with the Arizona Republic. This includes one Wednesday paper, one Saturday paper, and three Sunday papers. Die-hard Coupon Sense fanatics will double this and receive six Sunday papers. (If I was a stay-at-home mom, I would do this as well.) With three Sunday papers, I get triple the amount of coupon inserts. Every Sunday I sift through the papers, pull out the inserts, and file them in the appropriate folder. The extra papers may seem like an extravagant waste, but you can recycle the papers or you can donate them to neighbors or charities.
Off the bat, I’m spending $32 a month just for the system. If I can save $32, however, then it’s worth it, right?
So How Much Money Can You REALLY Save?
Previously, I would spend around $150-$200 per week on groceries for my family of five, causing my monthly budget to be as much as $800. This would include food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and paper products. To spend that much and feel like there’s never enough food in the house is frustrating.
For the month of August I bought $591 worth of food from four grocery stores, but using the coupons in combination with the sales, I only spent $273.
I also purchased my produce from a local food co-op organization. With this, I get all my fruits and vegetables for only $15. Be sure to read my Hub on Fruit and Vegetable Co-Ops too. In August, however, I spent $43 on fruit, vegetables, and tortillas.
Including my Coupon Sense membership, the Arizona Republic subscription, the groceries, and the produce, the grand total for the month of August was $348.
After normally spending up to $800 a month, I’d say that’s a huge savings!
My goal is to save at least 50% off my groceries. If you’re not saving 50%, then you’re spending too much. For August, my saving % was 53.79%. I plan to increase that percentage next month.
- A two pack of Dial soap is on sale at Fry’s this week for $100.
- I have three 35 cent coupons for Dial soap.
- Since Fry’s will increase the value of a coupon up to a dollar, the final price for each two pack is $0.
- Since I have three coupons, I get three two-packs of soap which equals six bars of soap for free.
Now that’s a clean deal!
There are lots of great deals on-line. Coupon Sense knows where to find the best coupons. Not only do they catalogue the Sunday paper coupons, but they also keep track of every grocery coupon website. Within their “Create Chopping List” section, they provide a link to each coupon site so I can click, register, and print.
This week there’s an on-line coupon for $1 off of Blue Bell Ice Cream. Blue Bell Ice Cream (16oz) is on sale at Albertson’s for $1.25. If I click on the provided link, I can print out two Blue Bell coupons. (On-line coupons only let you print two of each.) Therefore I can purchase two 16oz containers of Blue Bell Ice Cream of 25cents each!
How Does It Work?
The whole idea behind the Coupon Sense system is stockpiling. Instead of shopping for what I need for the week, I stock up on sale items that I have coupons for. Doing this gives me the best value. I’m able to buy all the things I’d normally buy as well as novelty items that would have previously been out of my budget. Now when I need an item or an ingredient, instead of going out to the grocery store, I simply go to my pantry where there’s already a stockpile of goods.
Many items on my list end up being free. Any time the product is on sale for a dollar or less, the coupon gets doubled, or quadrupled up to a dollar – making the item free. I always purchase the free items. Even if it’s something that I don’t want or would never use, I can always give it away or donate it.
The purpose of the three Sunday newspapers is triple the savings and increase the stockpile. You can also only use three identical coupons at once. If I have three coupons for products that cost a dollar or less, then I now have three free items. With savings like that, your pantry will multiply in no time!
Another great aspect is that it works really well for budgeting purposes. If I only have $50 to spend on groceries, I can adjust my list ahead of time. I know exactly how much I will spend at each store before I ever walk in the door. No more hoping and praying that I'll have enough money at the checkout! Coupon Sense completely takes the guess work out of the spending!
Tips and Tricks
Keep a cooler in your car so you can quickly go from one store to the next without having to reload.
Choose your store clerk wisely. I always try to go to the register with a male clerk or the manager. Bonus if the manager is male. I don't know why, but for some reason they are always more helpful and are always amazed at my savings.
If the store is out of the sale item, be sure to get a rain check from customer service. There's no reason for you to miss out on a great deal.
Another great advantage in stockpiling is the rebates. Often manufactures will give you rebates on your next in-store purchase as a thank you for purchasing their products. I've gotten as much as a $10 off certificate for my next visit.
My favorite game to play is to hold on to the store's shopper card until the total comes up on the register. Then I'll swipe the card and hand them the coupons. It's so fun to watch the total decrease before my eyes!
How Much Time Does It Take?
I’ll spend between 30 minutes to an hour of working on the actual list and clipping the coupons. I either do this before the kids are up in the mornings or while we are all watching television at night. In the beginning, this will take a little longer, but soon you’ll get the hang of it.
I’ll spend about two hours actually doing the grocery shopping. This may sound like a large amount of time, but it’s really not much more time than I would spend at the Wal-Mart Supercenter. Fortunately, where I live, several grocery stores are clustered together. I simply keep a cooler in the back of the car and quickly go from one store to the next. Keep in mind you do not have to go to every store. You can choose the stores while you’re creating your list. So if you know you’ll be short on time, only choose one or two stops. For me, the savings is worth the time.
The most I would spend would be three hours a week. When you consider that I was able to save around $450, it doesn’t seem like that much of a time commitment. Broken down that would be like making $37.50 an hour! Who wouldn’t work for those wages?
Can't I Do This On My Own?
Anyone could organize their own coupons and scour the weekly grocery ads. Personally, I can’t imagine how much time that would take, but it certainly is possible.
What If Coupon Sense Doesn't Serve in My Area?
Coupon Sense serves locations all across America, but there are several areas that it does not cover. With a little research, however, you may be able to find other coupon sites. There are several resources on-line.
You can also subscribe to the Coupon Sense blog. This is a free service that will give you lots of tips and advice on being a savvy shopper.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is if you want to save money at the grocery store, then you must learn to put coupons to use. With a little extra time, you can save a lot and increase the supply of food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and paper products. Check it out for yourself! You have nothing to lose and lots of savings to gain!
Check out the Hub that compares Coupon Sense to Savings Angel!
Please vote up if you thought this hub was useful! If you decided to sign up for Coupon Sense, be sure to list Lisa Beaman as the referral!