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This is an article I wrote 4 or 5 years ago that I believe still applies today. I think we could use all the help we can get in this economy!
For the 4 years my boys were in high school I had to find some way to feed them and all of their friends who came over almost daily. Well, I learned some very valuable lessons that I would like to share with you. Not many people know all the secrets of coupon clipping but those of us that do….well let me just say that my grocery bill was $25.00- $35.00 a week, I gave away 9-10 bags of groceries to needy people and had 1/2 the basement and a 14 ft. cubic freezer completely stocked at all time! This took about 8-10 hours a week and after calculating everything was actually saving anywhere from $400-$600 per month. This is no lie. You can ask my husband and my kids! The other advantage to this is that you can try foods you normally would not buy .OK let me tell you how….
1. Don’t clip all the coupons you get in the paper. This is way to time-consuming.
2. Buy 8-10 Sunday papers. That’s why rule number one is nearly impossible.
3. Keep the sale items store ad that usually comes out mid-week from any store that double or triples coupons on a regular basis with no limit to those coupons. You may keep more than one store ad for your area.
4. When you get your papers on Sunday stack all your coupon ads (there are usually 2 different pieces) like with like.
5. Look through your ad very carefully and take note of any buy one get one free or items that are on a really good sale. Next look through your coupons and collect any that match.
6. Clip all of the matching coupons. Don’t throw away the rest of your coupons for that week. You will keep all coupons until expiration.
7. Always buy the smallest item that the coupon allows and use all your coupons. Get as many as you have coupons for. I know this is opposite of what you are thinking but trust me. You will see why in a minute.
8. If the store is out of an item that is on sale GET A RAIN CHECK!
9. After you do this for a couple of weeks it will become an 8-10 hour job. You will have stacks of coupons to go through. I recommend that you just look through one of each different booklet and cut those out first and then go back and only choose the booklets that you cut things out for the remainder of the coupons.
10. Bring your husband one time. He is not going to trust you at first and he needs to see this with his own eyes! I took my husband one time and we had 2 carts full of stuff and he was absolutely in panic because we were on a very tight budget. When we checked out with a $47.00 bill, he never doubted me again! Another time I brought my sister. She needed to pick up some items so I went with her and brought some coupons I had already clipped. I let her check out first with her bag and it totaled more than $40.00, for 1 bag! My purchase filled 8 full size grocery bags and I walked out of there paying just over $11.00. Even the checker was shocked. You should have seen my sister’s face! It was great!
OK here is how it works. Manufacturer coupons are not the same as store sales, therefore you are allowed to use one coupon per item. That means if it is buy one get one free you can use 2 coupons. So for example…..(this is an actual example that really happened to me)
The sale ad reads Frank’s Red Hot Sauce buy one get one free. The price on the item is $1.34. You get one at that pice and one for free. Say you have 2 coupons. You can use 1 coupon for the buy one and one coupon for the get one free! Now say the coupon is worth .40 cents. You’re at a store where that doubles. So on your first item you pay $1.34 – .80 cents. That leaves you with a balance of .54 cents, but wait, you still have another coupon for the get one free! That applies another .80 cents into the calculation. So .80 cents – .54 cents leaves you with them paying you .26 cents to take these items off of their hands! That’s right folks, you have a .26 cent credit! So if you have 8 papers worth of coupons then you can buy 8 products which leaves you a credit on your grocery bill of $1.04. Now can you imagine what happens when you have 20-30 different types of items per shopping all of which you can buy 8 of and stock up? For about 2-4 shopping trips your bill will be a little higher than normal. This is normal because not everything you need for groceries goes on sale all at once and you still have to buy what you need. But around the second month of doing this you will see a significant reduction in your grocery bill. When you are 4-5 months into it, your bill will drop to about 1/4-1/3 of what it was normally. Now this plan does not work for everybody. Keep in mind that most coupons are for pricey packaged and junk food or snacks. So in order to keep your family healthy, please buy some produce once in a while. But if you have a bunch of small kids and or teenagers you need to feed, by all means go for it!
Another example. I received a coupon (actually 10 coupons) for Swifter mop starter kit. The coupon was for $10.00 off. Normally these ran about $20.00 ea. One of the store ads had a special sale on this item for $9.99 ea. I bought ten of them and had to buy an additional item so that they could pay me my .10 cents. They won’t give you cash for coupons, but they will apply it to the rest of your bill.
Well, I hope this is a blessing to all who read it. With gas prices these days, we all need all the help we can get. Now go shopping!