Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm a Convert!

As a cashier I always got so annoyed with THOSE women! You know the ones with two carts full of merchandise and a coupon for everything. These were the women that haggled with me over prices and left stuff with me if I would not take the coupon. It drove me crazy!

Well, things have changed since then. I am now one of THOSE women! I have been looking at ways to organize and streamline life these days and one thing that I have always been horrible at is grocery shopping. I go in with a list (if I remembered to bring it) and when I get to the checkouts I realize that not only did I not get all of the things on my list but I am now spending at least 50 dollars more than I planned to on things that I picked up along the way. I always ended up starring dumbfounded at the monitor as the cashier was scanning my order and wondering exactly where I had lost control of this trip.

My Mom in Law, Mary is an amazing shopper! She is one of THOSE women. She gets everything on sale and not only does she clip coupons, she actually uses them. I can't tell you how many times she has said "Oh hold on, I have a coupon for that!" or " I got this for you because it was on sale and I had a coupon so it only cost me (insert some ridiculously low price here)!"

I am in awe of her ability to stretch a dollar!

Which brings me to this week. We only had a little money to spend on groceries and a long list of items we needed to get, so I was busily trying to decide what items on our list could be skipped so that we could spend as little as possible. As I am sitting there glaring at the grocery list, I happened to glance at the newest Kraft Food & Family Magazine that was sitting in front of me. It was open to a page with a recipe for Taco Soup! It looked so good and I really wanted to make it for Whit but I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to get the ingredients on our tight budget. So I flipped the pages for a minute while I tried to collect my thoughts. I finished the magazine and moved on to the ads portion of the mail. I usually throw this stuff out without even looking at it but for some reason I didn't today.

And boy am I thankful that I kept them because the first thing I saw was the Kroger circular. Now normally I don't shop at Kroger because their prices are astronomical, however they have some pretty amazing sales to make up for it. Looking through that ad I noticed a lot of the things on my list were on sale this week. Making a Kroger shopping list reminded me of Mary, who shops Kroger sales religiously! Thinking of Mary brought me to coupons. I knew I was too late for the Sunday circular but I also knew that you could often get coupons online that you can print for free! So I started searching for Free Printable Coupons. I had to weed through some unuseful web sites but eventually I came across the Coupon Mom! I can't even describe how amazing this website is! It teaches you how to combine coupons with sales to get the most products at the least cost. She even shows how to get some things for free!

Last night was our first attempt at using the Coupon Mom system and at first I wasn't so sure it would work, Whit was on the skeptical side too, but we printed and clipped coupons, made a shopping list for both Kroger and Meijer (based on sales ads) then headed to the stores to test out the system ourselves.

Here are the results:
Total bill= $144.80

Total coupon and sales savings= $80.14
Total money spent= $64.66
(We actually saved more than we spent)

Total bill= $50.33

Total coupon and sales savings= $21.85

Total money spent= $28.48
(That's almost a 50% reduction in our bill)

I was so proud of myself for doing the work and saving so much money! I actually called Mary to tell her how great I did! I am looking forward to using the Coupon Mom site more extensively and saving even more money! By the end of the night it was actually feeling a bit like a game. I am calling the game "Groceries For Free" and the object is to spend as little money as possible on everything I purchase. Anyone else want to play?

Happy Training,
Love Jenn

P.S. Thanks for being my inspiration Mary! We love you!


Charlotte said...

Go coupon queen!!! I love coupons and have only recently really got involved in using them. Thanks for all the great links - gotta go check 'em out now.

new*me said...

i love the coupon mom website. With 4 kids and one income, we have to make every dollar count!

L.A. Daze said...

Good to see you're blogging again!

Oh my god I really need to try this. My grocery bills are off the charts! I also always end up buying things that are not on my list...

nmburleson said...

Ooh, I want to play!!! Thanks for the tip.

Laura said...

My problem is I buy VERY few processed foods - I'd say 75% of what I buy is fresh fruits and vegetables, which aren't branded and don't have coupons. However, skimming through that 10 page intro guide, I think I'm going to start a price book for produce so I know what is a good price and when I should stock up. Thanks for the tip!

Xenia said...

That's fantastic! You sound like my aunt who is a hardcore coupon person. I'm not sure she knows about that website though. Off to email it to her...