Friday, August 01, 2008

Learning to use coupons

It's almost like learning a new language!! I feel like I'm back in the 1st grade trying to figure out how to find my way around the school without knowing how to read very well. So far I haven't made any terrible couponing blunders but I know that I can learn to use them more efficiently to maximize my grocery dollars and it's frustrating.

So far one of my favorite helps is the coupon generators at A Full Cup. The Food Lion coupons have been a real blessing to us and the kids have so enjoyed the new "Home Economics" lessons that they each got their own MVP cards so they can catch deals when we go shopping too. Yesterday we got the store brand peanut butter for 79cents a jar!!!! We also got 3 cans of store brand tomato sauce for a nickel!!!!!!!!!! Then we picked up Hunt's spaghetti sauce for 50cents each, and store brand swiss slices for $1.50 a package and I declared Food Lion to be one of my favorite stores EVER.

Well, when my sweet Hunk O' Honey came home last night I just had to tell him all about the ways that I had been able to stretch our almost non existent grocery budget and he wanted to see for himself so today we went to Food Lion and he was able to get hamburger for $1.48 a pound, Hunt's spaghetti sauce for 50 cents a can, peanut butter for 79 cents a jar, and three cans of tomato sauce for a nickel! There are other great deals but right now this is all we can swing and we're thankful to be able to do that much!!

For the last three weeks we had NO, and I mean ZERO grocery money and that even meant going without prescription medications so being able to get peanut butter and spaghetti sauce is a big help. Remember that pay cut I told you about?? Well, on top of that pay cut we also now have insurance payments coming out of the paycheck and are making payments on some medical expenses that we ended up with before the insurance kicked in so we are functioning on almost half of what we had coming in before the job change. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying all of that to make the point that learning to stretch those dollars is important.

You never know when something might happen that makes every little penny suddenly seem like a dime so it pays (literally) to treat them carefully ALL the time and not just when the pressure is on. Maybe you will spend the little bit saved on something else, but at least then you're not kicking yourself for not having done all you could to save here and there along the way and make every dollar do all it could on it's way through your hands. Now my sweet Honey is working all the overtime he can but we won't see the pay for it until next month.... that's just the way the company does things, so until then (and even for quite awhile after) we are pinching every penny and calling it a serious learning experience. Which, by the way I am much more able to enjoy now that I have my medication!!!

So for all of you who are interested in saving your money or making it stretch as far as possible.... learn to use the coupons to your best advantage!!! The Food Lion deals can be awesome, but that isn't the only place to learn. If you live anywhere near a Kroger it's definitely in your best interest to get to know that store!! They will double coupons up to 50 cents (except internet coupons) which will sometimes equal Free products... but that can be true with all coupons if you learn to watch for sales. Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to 99 cents (again, except for internet coupons) and sometimes they have specials where they will triple them! Sometimes you can use coupons at any store on a smaller size product and get that item free too, like the malt-o-meal cereal at Wal-Mart.

So read, read, read, those blogs that teach folks to use coupons and rebates to their best advantage!!! Ask questions, print coupons, buy the newspaper for the inserts or ask your friends to keep theirs for you if they don't want them and shop. Some great places to start learning are at Crystal's money saving blog A Full Cup and Coupon World. Have fun!


Texas Mom said...

Wow, sounds you stumbled over some great bargains! (Especially the peanutbutter) The way the economy is looking, EVERYTHING HELPS. I've been MEANING to do the CVS pharmacy thing (like my sister) but I keep putting it off. I really need to apply myself in the "coupon" department.

We don't have a Food Lion here -- wish we did!

Jeannie said...

I did find some great bargains, and the more I learn the more I find that Food Lion is one of the last places on earth that they exist... but those deals were enough to encourage me to keep on learning. I prefer stores that are more customer oriented and not so overpriced on everything, honestly without coupons I can only think of one or two things that I would EVER shop there for.

Groceries used to be something that didn't feel like such a challenge to me and I really have always pinched pennies in the grocery budget as much as possible anyway.... but it seems like our grocery bill has tripled within the past 9 months or so. Prices have gone up so quickly!! That combined with the growth rate of my three teens definitely presented me with a challenge in the food budget!

I keep meaning to get cracking on that CVS thing too but it is so overwhelming to my already partially de-railed train of thought!! I hear that Walgreen's and Rite Aid have some really good deals too though...

Thanks for stopping in again!