How to grocery shop on a budget using coupons

2 Dec

coupons

It’s Sunday, so for me that means weekly coupon organizing, grocery shopping and weekly meal planning. I was excited about how much I brought home today at Tops for under my budget, so I decided to write a post about it because this is something that I’m sure many people struggle with.

I’ve been using coupons for more than a year now, but it wasn’t until recently that I started really becoming more serious about it and learned to budget my shopping so couponing actually was worth it. A couple of my friends turned me on to the website I am THAT Lady, a coupon blogger from Syracuse who posts weekly deals and coupon match ups. Ever since, I have been following her blog and have learned to do my own coupon match ups with local stores. Her blog is a great place to start if you are wondering the basics of couponing.

Today I was able to get all this stuff at TOPS for $26 bucks!

groceries

(Missing Austin’s whole milk which was in the fridge and cost $3.47)

I’m no extreme couponer, but not too shabby. I was able to get some great deals. The original total was about $50 bucks. I paid $26.

IMG_1631[1]

Before you become too coupon happy, here are some guidelines that I generally like to  follow:

1. Set a budget. When I first started couponing, I literally wanted to go get everything that was on sale with every single coupon I had at every single store. This resulted in unneeded food and items that I wouldn’t really eat/use otherwise. Just because you have a coupon for it doesn’t meant you HAVE to have it. I set a budget of $200 a month for Austin and I. This includes toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, etc. This doesn’t include when we go out to dinner (which we try to limit, obviously). Before buying something, I really ask myself if I NEED it. If I don’t and it’s not in the budget, I don’t get it.

2. Shop the sales. I literally do not buy an item if it is not on sale or if I don’t  have a coupon for it. The ideal situation is that the item is on sale AND I have a coupon for it. This allows you to stock up on things at a very low price. For instance, I didn’t really NEED cans of corn and beans this week, but it was on sale and I had a coupon that allowed me to get it at .25 a can. So I stocked up. This way when I do NEED it, I’m not paying $1-2 a can (gasp). The only reason I would buy something that does not have a coupon or is not on sale is because it is a basic staple we need like milk, bread or meat.

corn

I also got some ground chicken on sale. If you look in the meat dept sometimes they mark down meat that needs to be sold that day. I’ll freeze this asap and use next week. Got two of these. Score!

chicken

Sometimes, if you are able to combine a coupon and a sale item AND your local grocery store doubles coupons (TOPS does), you can even get items for FREE! Case in point: free turkey bacon today! It was on sale for 2 for $3 and I had a .75 coupon which doubled.

bacon

I love free food.

3. Plan your week. This is the most time consuming part. I spend about an hour every Sunday looking at the ads, planning out meals and cutting and printing coupons. I look forward to it…which is kind of sad lol. I’ve learned to plan my meals around what is on sale/what I already have in the cupboard. For instance, I know that I already have chicken in the freezer, and Ken’s blue cheese dressing and wing sauce was on sale at a local grocery store. I also had a coupon for the dressing. So tomorrow we’re having buffalo chicken wraps. Sometimes it stinks if you like printing up fancy and elaborate dinners with lots of ingredients, but over time I have learned to incorporate my love of cooking and reading food blogs with my love of …um..money?

4. Go to many stores to get the best sales. Be aware that you will probably be going to more than one store if you want the best deals. I usually go to 2-3 different stores including Rite Aid each Sunday. I am THAT Lady has a great blog section for how to shop at each store if you are interested. Some people say it’s worth going to Wal-Mart and just getting the cheap generic stuff without coupons, but I definitely prefer this way of shopping. Even though I go to more than one store, I don’t have to deal with all the hooligans, terrible lines, crappy service, broken carts (can you tell I hate it?) in Wal-Mart and I get name brands for the same price or even cheaper. If I’m desperate and don’t have a lot coupons for the stuff I need or there aren’t good sales, I’ll begrudgingly go to Wal-Mart. I’m lucky in that my town is relatively small and it’s really not a big deal to go to different stores since they are all right near each other.

kitties

A day of couponing makes Frank very tired!

If you want to get into couponing don’t be scared! It can be very overwhelming, but just remember to stick to a budget, buy things on sale and make sure you plan. Start by using a coupon blog that does match ups and sooner or later you will be able to do your own match ups.

Question: Have you tried couponing? What are your tips and tricks? Or do you think Wal-Mart is the best bet? Comments people!

Advertisements

9 Responses to “How to grocery shop on a budget using coupons”

  1. SavannaDuerr December 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I’m one of he friends that turned you to couponing (Yay!) 2 things:
    I hate walmart, terrible service, terrible customers and it just plain smells in there.
    I’m working on my price chopper list (harldly with an 20 month old on my lap) but I’m able to get 32 lbs of cat/dog food, 4 packages of cat treats and 2 bags of kitty litter. For just $11 after $5 off your next purchase coupon! (Try doing THAT at Walmart!
    -Savanna 🙂

    • aburgwin December 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      LOL yes it does just plain smell

  2. Austin December 2, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    There’s northing wrong with whole milk.

  3. mommasavesalot December 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I love that you added you menu plan as well! I didn’t start saving as much as I do now until I learned to plan meals around sale cycles! Easier said that done! Sounds like you did good! 🙂

    • aburgwin December 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

      I know it really is difficult especially when I love to cook. But when an ingredient I love is on sale I stock up!

  4. bendiful December 21, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    I love couponing… let’s face it I’m cheap and a family of 4 is expensive! I feel weird now entering a store without coupons. I love that you also read Lauren’s Blog! Iamthatlady.com she is a fantastic woman who I am lucky to know in real life. And she’s expecting baby #4! God Bless her. I’m so happy you found my blog so I found yours 🙂

  5. bendiful March 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    I LOVE Lauren and her site! She is amazing. Great job saving!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Year New Food « Pencils and Pancakes - December 28, 2012

    […] never been one to spend the money on organic food (I tend to be coupon/sale obsessed)   , but I have been paying more attention to which products are worth buying organic (some fruits, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Pencils and Pancakes

learning about life one lesson at a time

The Domestic Man

Gluten-free & Paleo-friendly recipes, inspired by traditional & international cuisines. New recipes every Tuesday.

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Otherwise Simple

Living, Laughing and Staying Healthy...simplified

Laur Runs

...to the finish line, the mall, and the table: Fitness, fashion, food, and fun!

Daily Cup of Kate

Enjoying Life One Sip at a Time

The Cave Woman Cafe

Going forwards by eating backwards

Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind

Culinary Adventures in Paleo Cooking

#PaleoThugLife

Recipes and rants in R-rated language

Strictly Paleo...ish!

It's just real food...

Reading Tea Leaves

Blogging about Tea, Teaching, and Rejuvination

The Cookie ChRUNicles

Running through life while balancing healthy eating and single motherhood

The PhD Experiment

Because at this point, my life is one big dissertation project

Brain, Body, Because

searching for balance.

Read, Run, Repeat

A tale of fitness, books, food, and life in between

The Balance Beam

Thoughts on a Myriad of Topics

Cooking for the Other Half

life, in and out of a new england kitchen

%d bloggers like this: