Thursday, June 2, 2011

Couponing - Part 1

Starting May 1st we became "couponers". You may recall I blogged about this experiment back in April. I was skeptical that we would be able to save enough money to make it worth my while.

I spent about 6 hours total in the month of May, with my coupon related pursuits. The largest amount of time was spent at the beginning of the month when I compiled all of my information. I don't think that this is really necessary, but it helped me organize our purchases and see on a large scale where we could save money. Since I only used one grocery store prior to this I was able to log into my account and pull up my past month's receipts. I came up with a spreadsheet and logged everything.

The next step was to decide how many places I would shop. If you are driving all over the place to save 15 cents on something it's not worth it. Since I drive by Giant, Target and Wegmans almost daily, those became my "go-to" places. Fortunately they all come out with their sale flyers on Sundays, this made my life exponentially easier. I also checked out their coupon doubling policies.

Once the flyers came out I would go through them (all online), and plan menus for the week, based what was on sale that week. The first thing I discovered, Giant has sales on their organic meat, a savings of $1.49 a pound when on sale. I've previously mentioned how much I love Wegman's iphone app and again it helped me save money. I went through the Giant flyer and made a grocery list and put everything on my app. As I went through the list on my phone in Giant, if it was less there I would pick it up.

I know I haven't talked about couponing yet, I promise it's part of the equation, but not the only part.

After coming up with my list I went on the interweb and searched for coupons for the items we needed for the week. I was only able to get 5 coupons and only saved about $10 using them, but that's a pretty big deal. This is such a multi-step process I didn't figure I would see huge immediate savings. But I signed up for couponing websites, searched blogs and suddenly everything started coming together.

The next week I saved $70 and the week after $85!!!! Holy cow it was working. I was so excited leaving the grocery I wanted to skip, but I didn't want to look like a total tool. Bottom line it worked for our family and we still ate organic meat and not processed food.

Tomorrow I'll break down even further what to look for and how to shop smarter.

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