It has been about a year since I got back into the coupon saddle. In my previous coupon life, I bought just one newspaper a week, clipped coupons for items that we used and when I was at the store buying my list of items- I tried to match the coupons I had to what I was buying. The more kids we had, the less this was possible for me. And eventually I surrendered to just shopping the sales and using coupons on diapers.
Now my strategy is similar- only on a grander scale. I've thrown in a few coupon blogs that I follow to find items we use for free or that I make money on to put toward other necessities. I have a small stockpile of personal care items that makes me happy. I shop multiple different stores each week to get the best deals at each. And I buy 4-10 newspapers per week, depending on what coupons are in them. (and instead of a small accordian 'normal' coupon holder- I carry Wheezer around like my baby.)
I still really only trim coupons for items we use though. Or items I have seen go on super sale and be money makers in the past. Or things we would try if the price was right.
Because we are building up a nice little stockpile of particular items- I allow our pantry to kind of determine our meals. However, this week- unless I could come up with something that would use spaghetti sauce, deodorant and toothpaste- I had to go regular grocery shopping.
I have yet to perfect being able to grab a few super sale items with my regular shopping. I frequently return home from a shopping trip with bags and bags of stuff that I spent just a few dollars on only to find out that we are out of milk, cheese, eggs and bread. And I wonder why when I was in the store (after store after store) that day it didn't occur to me to get the necessities too?
Anyway- yesterday I had to go regular grocery shopping. There were not any huge sales- just regular ones. Although I kept seeing 'cartload sales' and 'participating item' tags- but I still don't know what that meant.
So I shopped. Got produce, meat, cheese, yogurts, juices, veggies, pastas, frozen fish (this is the time to buy some frozen fish by the way! Lent brings big sales on Gordon's and Seapak). I still used my coupons for the items we were buying. And I obviously stuck to sale items. I let Sam pick out a box of fruit snacks- and agreed to buy the full price kelloggs brand (even though it hurt. really bad).
My total before my Kroger card- $220.98
My total after my Kroger card- $156.19
My total after coupons- $121.25
Like $45 in coupons. Paper money I call them. $45 for stuff I was buying anyway. Nothing that deserves photographs or item price breakdowns- but not too shabby.
And now we have actual food for a few weeks- and I can get back to buying free deodorant and razors.