I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this question. I use coupons every week at the grocery store, but often times I feel like a complete failure when I walk out with a $70 or $80 bill for what I purchased and only saving about $4 - $8 in coupons. I do all the things I've read that I'm supposed to do, like checking the fliers, making a list, etc.
So my question is, how much in coupons should one have when they shop in order to be successful using coupons at the store?
Lisa from Concord, NH
Now since we finally have Aldi's and Save-a-Lot grocery stores, I've been shopping at these stores. They sell many off brand and store brand products. So there are no coupons to deal with. The manufacturers always want you to use their coupons so you will continue to buy their products. I wish the manufacturers would just lower the prices and do away with all coupons.
There's really no savings when the coupon states that you have to buy two of the same product in order to save $0.50 - $1.00
My husband and I buy the Aldi's Millville raisin bran cereal and it tastes just like the major brands.
Check and see if you have Aldi's or Save-a-Lot in your area. It is well worth the trip.
Marge from NY (09/26/2007)
Where I am, grocery stores offer "double coupons", i.e. they double the value of your coupon up to $1. So if you have a $1 off coupon for a box of oatmeal, they'll take an additional dollar off. I've found that by using coupons on items on sale, I pay less for brand name products than I would for a store brand. Look at the per oz., or for example per diaper cost, and calculate what is a better buy. And if it isn't inconvenient, buy most non-perishable goods only when they're on sale, with a coupon. (09/26/2007)
If you saved money, the coupons did what they were supposed to do and you are not a failure. Just remember, coupons are for name brands and you can often buy store brands cheaper. Never buy something that you do not need simply because you have a coupon. People who save the most money with coupons do it at a store where they double or triple coupons values. And they use them on sale items and loss leaders to save the most.
Companies also put differing amounts on coupons depending on where you live. I may only get 25 cents off something while your coupon will be for 50 cents and someone else will get 75 cents off the same item. I have no stores around that double or triple coupon values. I have found that I save the most by shopping at Aldi's or Save-a-Lot, using a price book, stock piling when I run into good bargains, growing a garden, and canning and freezing as much as I can. I chiefly use coupons for paper products, batteries, shampoos and hair stuff, meats, pet stuff, vitamins, and things like that. (09/26/2007)
Have 1 or 2 Sunday papers delivered. Check the coupons as soon as you get them. Mark the coupons you want to cut out. Decide if you want to buy more papers, if the coupons are good enough. I've bought 5-7 papers extra!
Check eBay for coupons that you use a lot of.
Give away fliers with coupons you don't use. (09/26/2007)
By no name
I use the grocery game and only use the coupons at Publix who doubles the coupons everyday up to 50 cents. I usually spend between 20 and 30 dollars and I usually save about 30 or 40 dollars every week! I do shop at Walmart and Aldi's too, but just for things I can't get cheaply at Publix. (09/26/2007)
I don't have any stores in my area that does double coupons, but at my Kroger chain store the receipt at the bottom gives me the"percent saved" including all sale items, coupons, etc. I feel like I've had a successful shopping trip if I save a total of 25-33% of the total price. It also always gives me the $$ saved.
Just try to keep it in perspective, saving a dollar is saving a dollar, no matter what you do! But, only use your coupons on things you were going to buy, and a lot of times the coupons that come out in the newspaper "happen" to be on sale also, go figure!
If there is a sale on a higher-priced item that I would
not ordinarily buy, I "split" my order. I use as many as store will allow on first order (usually
3 or 4). Pay the bill. Repeat for second order.
In my area (L I, New York) only one store doubles the $1 coupon. Chock Full of Nuts coffee was $1.29/can. Limit 2 cans. I paid .29/can on first 2 split orders. Dumped load in car.
Went back in for 2 more cans. It was worth all the effort for net price of .29/can. (09/27/2007)
I am very proud of you. I think you are doing very well. If you've saved $8 off an order of $80, you've saved 10%. that's good. This is like one hour of take-home pay when you work. Please remember to give yourself a pat on the back for the good work you've done. (smile)
Don't be afraid to try new products. Don't stick to the same brands. This may be what is holding you back from more savings. Perhaps you need to join a coupon swap so you can have more coupons for the products you enjoy using. Don't buy anything you don't have a coupon for. And be sure to combine store sales with coupons for a double play whammy.
You're doing fine. Maybe you just don't need to buy $200 worth of groceries. Buy according to your needs.
By Carol in PA
The best advice I can give when shopping with coupons is to not be loyal to specific brands. When I go shopping with my coupons I still check prices of other brands. Often times I find that I can still buy a store brand cheaper then the name brand product that has a coupon. Also check the internet for more coupons. Before I go shopping I try to search out coupons online (smartsource.com, I think) or by going to the manufacturer's website for a specific brand. It is also important to know your prices. When you keep track of what things normally cost it helps you to recognize a good deal as well as when you should really stock up on a product. I hope this helps! (09/27/2007)
My sister taught me a long time ago how to get more from my coupons. I used to get the largest size available when I had a coupon. I always ended up paying something, but thought I was getting a bargain. She told me to get the smallest size available and I often got the products for free. For sure, I saved something off the larger packages, but found that free was even better. (09/27/2007)
Well, the question I'd ask is how much were you saving otherwise? If between the coupons and the sales I can hit 50% or more, I've done really well, no matter how much I'm buying.
If I need a few things and get 10% of savings from coupons, that's still good. Every $ saved I can use to pay down my student loans.
I recommend checking out forums like Gottadeal and Slickdeals, they have super coupon people who give advice to the rest of us about when and where to use a coupon! (09/28/2007)
I find that coupons are really only a small percentage of savings. Half or more of the coupons are for non food items anymore and those for food are the over-priced premium brand name products or overly processed foods.
I save more by keeping a price book to find the best prices and stores, buying the store brands especially when they go on sale. Save what coupons you have that your family would normally buy anyway and use them for when those items go on sale, build up a stockpile in your pantry, buy what goes on sale in season, etc.
I have been reading a lot of money/financial blogs and frugality blogs. You might check some of these out:
...also be sure to read the COMMENTS on each post
...check out other blogs in the frugal blogroll list on right side
...FRUGAL SEARCH ENGINE...you can change the search terms at the top
Good luck to you! A savings no matter how small is still a savings and you will continue to improve the more you work on it. (09/29/2007)
I think it really helps to use the coupons on items that are on "Special Sale" that particular week. Sometimes you can get items free or nearly free. That is very rewarding!
It really helps if you have a manufacturers coupon and use it on a store item that is either sale priced or with a store coupon. (10/09/2007)
I walked out of the grocery store last night with $45 worth of groceries. I only paid $15. (10/11/2007)
Another way to save is cut your UPC codes from your items and keep them for they never expire. Label some envelopes by categorizing the items. You can even use clear jars to keep them in so they are easy to find. Before you throw away any thing's UPC code just tear or cut it off and add it to your collection.
This only works with name brand items. Always read your item to see if they are offering a special like send in 3 UPC codes and get a free TV dinner, etc. You can locate the manufacturer's website on most of there items. The web site often gives free coupons or items if you send in the UPC codes. I have done this for years.
You end up with free food because you saved those codes. Not many people do this so they always get to you first and you get lots of things. By doing this I have gotten free movie tickets by using the codes from pot pie boxes, free coupon for a large bag of Ore Ida frozen fries, a free Hershey's T-shirt, a free Snuggle bear from fabric softener, free toothpaste, and I could go on all day about more.
Just get in the habit of before you toss anything into the trash to cut that code off. All it will cost you is 42 cents on a self addressed envelope in order to receive your item you want back. Some manufacturers items require you send # number of codes plus $1 or $2 shipping. Only choose those if its something your really want.
Some of those items are great to save up for as gifts to give out to others. And some times with the UPC codes sent in you get rebate checks. By the time you do this in a 4-6 week period you could save lots of money from the items you receive back. Most are mailed back to you in 2-6 weeks. It's like surprises in your mailbox. On the free gifts they send like teddy bears etc., I always give someone else's address who may enjoy them like my grandson. He is surprised when he gets them. He got the cutest picture frame once.
So check out the websites of how makes items and you'll be surprised what you find to save. They even put you on there newsletter if you want via email and send you coupons to print. This also works with restaurants. They offer coupons you will not find else where. Like free bread sticks with regular purchase.
Some grocery stores have big bins where people toss the coupons in they don't use for others that do. And if you have any type coupons you no longer want use or need sell them on eBay they get what they want and you do, too. This is money in your pocket to use on your next trip to the grocery store. If you have a variety of grocery stores near by you try planing trips to other places by driving by them, and get things cheaper there. Those discount grocery stores now sell name brand items in their store for a lot less, sometimes 20%. So you save there as well. (10/21/2007)
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