Crazy For Coupons

Comments   6   Date Arrow  June 18, 2009 at 12:42am   User  by Granolageekmom

I have used coupons pretty much always, but I started “couponing” about three years ago.  Yes, there is a difference.  Before getting serious about coupons, I would go through the coupon inserts that came in the newspaper, cut out about half of them because those were the ones I thought I might use, and put them in an envelope.  Of those, I might use one or two at the store before they all expired, but for the most part, I would find the envelope four months later when I cleaned off the desk and throw them all away.

Then I discovered the art of couponing.  It is a completely different way of shopping.  Basically, it’s watching the sales and matching with the coupons to get a great deal, and buying enough to last until it’s a great deal again.  If I buy everything I need for the household that way, the savings are huge.

When I started three years ago, my average savings was about 50% off of the shelf prices at the store, which translated to about $300-400 savings over what I’d been spending each month for food, paper products, health & beauty, household needs- grocery store/discount store shopping.  That was huge, as you can imagine.  I read all I could about how others did their own couponing, and also over time was better able to tell when something was a Stock-Up Deal.  Now, my savings run 65-70%, or even higher some weeks.  As an example, I just figured our grocery/household spending for last week (my shopping week for tracking purposes runs Wednesday to Tuesday to match the grocery store sales cycles).  Total shelf price for everything we bought last week- $287.80.  We paid- $83.37.  Savings of $204.43, or just over 71%. (Could have been higher if we’d had more time to go back to Albertson’s to use their Twice Value Coupons, since they only allow 3 per trip.)

So, someone may ask, why doesn’t everyone shop this way?  There is a bit of a learning curve – I read what I could and studied sales trends, and it took a few months to figure out just what I was doing.  Thankfully, I was saving quite a bit even before I had it down.  Also, in order to take advantage of the great deals and stock up, I often need several of the same coupon.  That means I either have to buy several copies of the Sunday paper, cut out, organize and deal with a few hundred coupons every week, or use a coupon clipping service to just get the ones I need when a deal comes up.  I have used a few different clipping services available online, and it works ok, except for the fact that it takes 3 to 5 days to get the coupons since all the clipping services I found are back east somewhere. The sale may be over by the time I get the coupons if I don’t know about the deal soon enough.

Those difficulties inspired the entrepreneur in me, and so I’m pleased to announce my new venture.  I have started my own coupon clipping service at Savingsonthemenu.com, and I’m also teaching coupon classes to help others get started saving money too!  If you are in the Portland, Oregon area and are interested in hosting a coupon class, or attending a class someone else is hosting, please let me know! 🙂

Tagged   Family · Food

6 Comments