You know that I have said for years that couponing didn’t do me any good because I never could find coupons for the things that I normally bought. And, that was true – at the time.
Well, I don’t know if you have noticed but there is a huge economic event going on and it isn’t a good one. Unemployment, higher taxes, pay cuts, client loss – you name it. Prices are going up and incomes are going down and that scares me just a little bit. After all, Marc is looking for a job and has been for three years. THREE! Thank God he was able to take early retirement. I have gained and lost clients over the past several years. I am comfortable but I have to work much harder to earn the same amount I did two years ago.
Personally, I think that sucks. The more time I spend on client accounts the less time I have to cook and play around here on Restless Chipotle. Sadness.
Anyway, between the decrease in income and the increase in cost I have to really work to keep the fridge full. I used to have a vegetable garden but in the past couple of years I haven’t had time. Catch-22, you know. I need to plant a garden to keep the budget healthy but I need to work to make the money to have a budget in the first place. That keeps me from having time. It’s frustrating but probably most of you can identify, can’t you?
So, I have been kicking around the whole couponing thing again. First of all, I have to admit to you that I am not as good about always getting organic. I would like to be but right now, like many of you, I can only afford to do what I can afford to do. I try to stay away from prepared foods but my grocery cart has things in it that wouldn’t have been there 4 years ago. I have also been looking at the couponing sites where you can see lists of all the coupons available.
But it really pulled me in when I was taking a bath and watching Extreme Couponing on Netflix.
I realize and explanation is needed. Taking a very long bath is one of my favorite ways to relax. I add some LUSH, grab a glass of wine, and set up my laptop and watch a movie or something similar on Netflix.
Anyway, I was watching these people buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for fifty bucks or less. I decided to give it a try but to stick with reasonably healthy items and forgo the condensed soup, commercially made gravy, and that type of thing. I don’t expect to be able to do the extreme thing but I figured that if I was careful and saved $100.00 I’d be happy.
I made my list according to what was on special at two stores that I shop at. I decided that I would buy larger amounts of the items that were good prices and I didn’t give myself a budget, just planned to get what seemed to be a good deal. Marc added all of the online specials at the stores to our Reward card thing for extra savings. Then I went to coupon sites and printed out multiple coupons for as many of the things I was getting as possible. As you can see from the photo above I got quite a lot. The shoes (size 7.5) and my foot should give you a good idea of the length of those receipts.
Some of the highlights of this trip were:
- 10 pounds of 90% lean ground beef for 1.99 lb
- 10 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast for 1.49 lb
- 14 assorted packages of pasta for $7.00 (.50 each)
- 8 jars of pasta sauce for $1.34 each
- French’s Mustard (big one) for .89
- 25 lbs of cat litter for 6.49
- Name brand cereal for less than $2 a box
- Three packages of petite sirloin for 14.76 ( I can’t remember the weight but they were normal sized packs and they were buy one package and get two packages free.)
- A pound of Tillamook cheese for 3.99
The total at store #1
Total – 228.86
Coupons – 86.98
Total I paid – 141.88
The total at store #2
Total – 299.34
coupons – 101.42
Total I paid – 197.92
Total for trip – $339.90
Now, keep in mind that I have been spending 500 -550 every two weeks or so. It averages out to between 900 – 1,000 per month for groceries. If I can do as well next trip as I did this time it will be much less – only about 679.00 per month a savings of about 321.00 per month.
Because this is a first I don’t know exactly how it will work. I do know that I got enough meat for the month plus some, and probably a couple of months worth of pasta. This should free me up to buy other things in bulk next time. I would guess that you’ll save more exponentially as you do it more and more because of the back stock that you will have. I normally make my menu and then create a grocery list based on that. Now I make my list and create a menu from it.
I know there are many of you that do much better than this but I thought I would share my little success. Do you coupon? How much do you usually save?