I promised to answer some of your couponing questions as well as let you know how much my recent shopping trip cost and I will get to all that. But first I have a confession to make. I am human. I am fallible. I am real. I don’t get ALL my groceries for FREE. I do buy “normal” items at the grocery store. I don’t buy just junk food because there is a coupon. I get tired of couponing. Yes, I said it. Sometimes I get tired of couponing.
We moved into a new house back in April. I knew we would be moving soon and I didn’t want to have to drag a HUGE stockpile with me so I stopped couponing and started digging into my stockpile. I was so busy packing, moving, unpacking, etc. I stopped clipping coupons. I stopped getting extra newspapers altogether. Yes, I know I am a coupon blogger. But I am also a wife, mother, and fibromyalgia sufferer. If there was a good coupon in the newspaper that we have delivered, I would clip it and use it, but I wasn’t really “doing my couponing thing” for the last few months. Then my children were home with me for a lot of the summer and I was spending time with them. Yes, I could have gotten back into couponing and had them help me but I just didn’t. Plus I had a few flare-ups of my fibromyalgia and was just not feeling very good for parts of the summer.
Then a few things happened. #1- We went through a lot of my stockpile and my weekly grocery trips started getting more expensive. #2- I missed the rush of a great haul. #3- I missed couponing!
It’s the beginning of the school year for my daughters and so there are lots of expenses involved from new clothes (with the move came a school change so I had to buy them all new uniforms), new shoes, school supplies (thankfully I had most of those in my stockpile), and food for school lunches. Money is a little tight this week as we are still catching up from my trip to NYC for BlogHer at the beginning of the month. We do not have any credit cards so we have to pay for everything with cash/our checking account. I have to say that not using credit cards for the past 2 years has been very liberating. There is something about knowing that you can only buy what you have money for and owing money to credit card companies. But I digress. Yesterday I knew I needed to stock up on food for the week, lunches for school, etc. My husband said to keep it to $100 or less and I was up for the challenge.
I checked out the sales online at Publix’s website and then I checked out one of the Publix deal match-up sites. Keep in mind that I haven’t been couponing in months so I didn’t have any coupons saved up besides what came in the newspaper this weekend, some coupons for free items that I received at BlogHer, $5 off a $30 purchase coupons from the Enjoy the City coupon books, coupons from a Publix mailer booklet, and whatever coupons I could print. I know I could have done A LOT better had I been collecting coupons all this time. Or I could have gone to WizClips earlier in the week and ordered any coupons I needed for this shopping trip. But since I didn’t plan my trip until last minute I could only print any printable coupons that were available. I was able to print quite a few coupons from both coupons.com, manufacturer’s websites, and Target (my grocery store takes Target coupons, too).
Did I kick myself for not having every coupons I could have used? NO! Any savings is good! I do not make myself crazy to try to get 80-90% off my groceries every time I shop. I am realistic. Yes, there are LOTS of times that I have shopped and scored 70-90% off of my groceries. I’ve gotten overage on my shopping trips before. But that isn’t all the time. Don’t let “reality” tv fool you. It isn’t really “reality”. Even the people on those shows don’t shop like that all the time. I live in Florida where there are no double coupons and I still manage to save plenty of money and get lots of things for FREE.
I’ve been asked, do I buy things I don’t need because I have a coupon? YES and NO. If I can get an item for free ,or even better, with overage but I won’t use the product, yes, I still buy it. And then I give it away or donate it. I don’t need 200 bottles of mustard or 50 bottles of salad dressing. I know what my family uses and I have a pretty good idea of just how much we go through in a period of 12-14 weeks. Knowing this is essential for knowing how much of an item to “stock up” on when you see a great price. Of course you also have to take the shelf life into consideration, too. I am brand loyal on some items but mostly I will buy whatever brand is the best deal whether I have a coupon or not.
So back to my shopping trip. I went to Publix last night with coupons, calculator, pen, grocery list, and notepad in hand. I wrote down each item as I went and how much it was going to cost. When you can only spend what you have or pretty close to it, you have to keep track of every penny. I stuck to my list and my coupon pile for the most part. There were a few products that I had coupons for a item but Publix didn’t carry those brands/items. And I did go off my list to get a box of popcorn that pops blue because it’s my daughter’s favorite color and their new school’s colors include blue. So I splurged for $3. My younger daughter has been asking me to buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch muffin mix since she was it at Target a few weeks ago. It wasn’t on sale but it did have a coupon on the package so I bought that for her for $3.49 (I think the coupon was for $.55 off but I don’t really remember. Another splurge. Again, I’m not perfect. I don’t memorize every price. With my fibromyalgia my mind can be foggy sometimes. That’s ok. I do what I can. AND SO CAN YOU! I’m here to help. We can be not perfect together! 🙂
So the total for my shopping trip was a little over the $100 I had taken to the store with me but I was ok with that because I knew I had money in my checking account for the difference otherwise I might have put some “splurges” back. My total was $115.31 and I saved $147.20. So I paid $115.31 for $262.51 worth of groceries including lots of things that there were no coupons for such as deli, ground beef, fresh fruit and veggies, rolls and bread from the bakery, and milk. I know many of you were guessing the total cost as much lower when I asked you to guess on Facebook. I wonder if that is because you had really high hopes in me or because reality tv has made you think that every shopping trip can cost next to nothing for hundreds of dollars worth of groceries.
One of the reasons I started my blog last year was because I wanted to share with my readers that anyone can coupon. Yes, ANYONE, even YOU! Couponing is whatever you want it to be. For me, it’s part sport, part necessity. For some it is about getting as much as they can for FREE. I have days like that. But as I said before, I have other important parts of my life, too. I am real. I do what I can. I don’t make myself crazy. When I first started couponing I did make myself a little nuts. I would go from store to store to score as much of each great deal as I could. I had the couponing bug and I had it bad. But now I do everything in moderation. That’s what works for me. You have to decide what works for you and whatever it is, that’s ok. As long as you are saving money, however much that is, do what feels right for YOU.
So now that my daughters are back in school and things have settled down in my new house, I am back to couponing. My husband saw everything I got last night and when I told him how much I paid he didn’t even believe me. I showed him my receipt to prove it and he asked me, “Are you back?”. Yes, Couponing Cori is back! If you fall off the couponing wagon, just get right back on!
My new game plan- #1 I am going to order the Big Daddy Coupon Insert Package from Insert Insanity for $49.99. It will help get me caught up on all the coupons I missed in the last few weeks and some from the upcoming weekend. It has a whopping 90 inserts PLUS you get a $10 credit to use on WizClips to buy individual coupons. Note- these inserts will ship 8/26/12. (If you think this package is too big for you, you can always split it with a friend. You can also buy other packages of coupon inserts from Insert Insanity to meet YOUR needs.)
You can find the Big Daddy Coupon Insert Package under Bonus Buys onInsert Insanity.
With your $10 credit to WizClips you will be able to get (6) $1.50 packs of 10 coupons and (1) $1.00 pack of 10 coupons. That’s a total of 70 coupons for FREE!!!
So who is going to join me? In the Disney movie Ratatouille, the motto of one of the characters is “Anyone Can Cook”. Well I say, ANYONE CAN COUPON!
I will be doing some follow up posts on how I organize my coupons, etc. soon so stay tuned!
Don’t want to miss it?
Sign up for my daily e-mail newsletter.
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts so please comment!