First, I use several couponing sites to help me make my weekly shopping lists. If a particular store doesn't have anything of great interest, I skip it. I frequent CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Rite Aid for coupon deals, and I make my lists based on the following sites:
I grocery shop at what would be considered a higher-end store in my area, but because I coupon and shop their sales, I spend no more and usually less than the discount stores like Winco. According to Jim Bob Howard, grocery stores put 1/12 of their store on loss-leader sale prices each month. I look for those sales, match coupons with them, and stock up. Doesn't everyone need ten boxes of Wheat Thins when they only cost .44 a box? That's a lot of peanut butter and cracker lunches (or crackers and chicken salad, made from the leftover whole chickens we grilled for the Memorial Day feast).
Because I use the sites that these very capable and gracious people have set up, using shopping lists already formulated with coupon match-ups, all I have to do is cut coupons, file them (my 11-year-old is the king of coupon filing), then match them up. Here's what my stash looks like:
I also keep an organizer with sections for individual stores so I can pull the coupons I need for the week, stick them in that little organizer, and take it with me. The box above can fit in the child seat of a grocery cart but it's a little embarassing :)
Does couponing really save me that much money? Well, here's an example from a shopping trip to Target we made on Tuesday. I don't coupon unless I am having to be out and about anyway, so it wasn't an extra trip. Here's the run-down:
3 Dry Idea Deodorant -- Sale Price 2.49, Used three "$2 off one" coupons -- 3 for 1.47
1 Degree Deodorant -- Sale Price 1.97, Used one "$1.50 off one" coupon -- 1 for .47
1 Edge shaving cream -- Sale Price 1.24, Used one ".75 off one" coupon -- 1 for .49
2 Kraft Mayonnaise -- Sale Price 1.99, Used one "$1 off two" coupons and two ".60 off one" coupons -- 2 for 1.78
1 impulse buy bucket for the beach from the Dollar Spot -- 2.50
Used $5 Target gift card earned from a previous transaction
Essentially, we got everything for free and the 2.50 bucket for 1.69
I will write a little more about couponing in my next post, and yes, I'll give you the list of categories in that coupon box. Grab an old plastic shoebox (mine's a leftover from the school room), a bunch of envelopes (acquired for free from Walgreens), index cards (super cheap during back-to-school sales), and a pen!