Have you ever watched or read about “extreme couponers” and wondered if it could be done by a regular person? Well, probably not to the extremes that make it to TV, but the principles will work for almost anyone to help save on grocery and personal items.
I am already a sale shopper and couponer, but was interested to read Christi the Coupon Coach: Couponing Made Simple ($18.00 print, Kindle ed. $4.99), by Christi Bassford, to see if I could pick up some more tips!
In her book, Christi describes the two rules of couponing:
- Buy on sale
- Stack coupons
She then explains where to find coupons; which coupons, rebates, and other savings programs can be combined for the same items; and teaches her system for organizing her coupons and shopping lists. The book has many photos and examples of deals that she was able to make.
Honestly, I didn’t learn a lot from the book because I’ve been doing this for a while. But it did motivate me to step up my game and put a little more effort into what I’m doing in order to save more! I do think that this book is an excellent introduction to someone wanting to start out with couponing. Although much of the same information can be found online, here it is laid out in a clear organized manner that will help a novice couponer jump right in and start saving money.
Here is a picture of my recent (and typical) Publix shopping trips. (I forgot to put some of the produce in the photo, so I actually got a little more than is shown). This trip was admittedly a bit heavy on the sweets, but it evens out—some weeks I get a lot of soups, pasta, and frozen vegetables instead.
- Regular price: $98.58
- I paid: $36.13 (63% savings)
This is a CVS Pharmacy trip from the same day:
- Regular price: $29.52
- I paid $1.94 (plus $7 CVS extrabucks from a previous purchase) and received $3 in CVS bucks toward my next purchase. The deodorant was free and the shampoo came to $1.37 each. I combined manufacturer coupons, CVS coupons (printed at the register and the kiosk) and extra bucks on all the items.
And another Publix trip…
- Regular price: $107.25
- I paid: $30.49 (72% savings!)
Personally, I can’t IMAGINE paying $100 a week for groceries for 3 people. That’s just not in our budget!
Will this work for you?
- The best deals can be made with grocery stores with good sales and that double coupons and/or accept competitor coupons.
- It’s harder to find great deals on produce and meat (I buy on sale, but seldom have coupons), especially organic items. If you don’t or can’t eat any processed foods, your options will be limited and your savings smaller.
- Couponing can be time consuming. My shopping trips are quick because I know exactly what I need—I drove to and shopped at the 2 stores above in just over an hour. But I spent much more than an hour planning my lists and finding and clipping coupons. ( If you consider the money saved, the time spent can equate to a well paying job, though.)
If you’d like to try, I do recommend Christi Bassford’s book, Christi the Coupon Coach, as a good introduction to the topic.