Couponing: An Investment in Our Family

Brandy at Team Chandler emailed in the following testimonial which I thought many of you would enjoy reading:

About four years ago, I made the transition to become a work from home mom. While we technically still had a two-income family, my steady monthly teaching salary was replaced with an ever-changing monthly wage. At the same time, I realized that I wanted more to life than hours upon hours of work while my child (children now) was growing up before my eyes.

The changes we made were steady, but I began to see that time spent couponing was an investment not only in our budget but in our children’s lives. As I have seen us reduce our grocery budget yet still able to purchase many of the foods we want, it is exciting to know that I am working smarter, not longer, to make this happen.

I am often surprised now when I hear things like “I don’t have time for coupons” or “The only coupons I find are for junk food.” If I am able to go to my local grocery chain and save $100-200 off my grocery bill (that I would have purchased anyway), this is the equivalent to 13-27 hours working at minimum wage.

Since I would consider $15/hour a good wage in my area, a savings of $100-200 would be the equivalent to 6-12 hours of work. In some instances, this saves as much money as a part-time job would yield. And, it is time I can spend with my family instead!

In the last year, I estimate that I have saved anywhere from $200-1,000 a month by couponing and shopping sales or 13 to 66 hours of work time (at $15/hour), depending on how actively I was able to coupon for that particular month.

I have also found that there is more to couponing than just “junk food”. While we do buy junk food (and many other food items not considered junk using coupons), I find significant savings on everyday items like baby items, toilet paper, paper towels, personal hygiene products, dish liquid, detergent, and more well beyond just food items.

In addition to using these items as a family, it also helps us share with others whether it is a local drive in our community, a gift basket for a new mom or a missionary family, or it may be just to brighten up a neighbor’s day. It has become our family’s way to help and show love to others.

It really is a great feeling to know that I am able to save money while still providing for my family and sharing how I have been blessed with others.

Brandy is a work from home, mother of two, who loves spending time with her family, blogging about her family’s adventures at Team Chandler, couponing, and running.

photo credit

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Comments

  1. MittMom says

    My problem is that due to allergies and other issues, I have a hard time finding coupons for the products that my kids and I can use. Then the other problems is finding the items I want at a location near me. I live in a small midwestern town; between all the kids activities, it isn’t always easy to drive to another city to pick up something on sale.

    • April L. says

      I’ve run into this as well. One site I would suggest, if you’re not already aware of it, is http://www.mambosprouts.com. They don’t put out a *ton* of coupons, but I have found coupons for allergy-friendly items on there several times.

      Another trick I found is to go to the websites of companies who carry products you can safely eat. Many of them have coupons regularly on their website, you can contact them and request them. With food allergies, we may not be able to save as much as some others, but I know every little bit can make a difference!

  2. says

    I love these testimonials. Extreme-couponing has given a lot of us a bad name, but many of us are givers. I hear a lot of people complain that coupons are just for junk food, but I have found a ton of savings, over $1000 this year for just me and my husband, and it’s healthy stuff that we enjoy eating.

  3. Patti says

    Thanks for the comparison to wages. I think we forget this! And also that working outside the home requires work related expenses such as for transportation, work clothes,etc. One thing about staying home and couponing is that you can stop on a dime if you need to. Right now I am helping out with my parents who are in a crisis mode due to illness… and while I am not able to do my shopping, I am able to cut coupons for when I am able to get going again. I wouldn’t be able to work outside the home and do this. So even though my value isn’t in the $15/hr. range, it is going to help some.

  4. Meredith says

    I have to admit I don’t coupon as much. Here is why…this blog along with all of the others on the internet and the tv shows have cleared out our grocery shelves. I live in a small town and we rarely get a freebie anymore. If I don’t make it the first day, it won’t be there the rest of the week. I don’t want to take time away from my family to snag deals. It’s not worth it. Of course I make a list, budget, match up coupons but the days of saving 100-200 a week are over here in the east. Nowadays, 13 dollars a grocery trip is normal. I can still get some good deals on beauty/health products though. We eat a ton of produce so I buy a lot of
    local and grow some things. For those of you who can still get great/free deals, keep donating to those in need. I just have a feeling that all good things are starting to come to an end.

    • Brandy says

      I have found this as well. I have never been one to clear the shelves, and I have found that people do go to extremes to get a deal. Since the show, you would probably have to skip church on Sunday mornings just to get a paper around here, and it is not worth that. However, I have tried to stay positive an realistic and have been blessed still with lots of great deals along the way. I get the paper when I can and have started relying more on Internet deals and coupons.

      • Autumn says

        Last few months we have noticed similar things here as well. Not only shelves cleared out and people lined up at the doors but all the newspaper boxes are empty at wee hours of the morning!! I spot loads of people in the dumpsters and recycle bins and I see things only continuing. I do what I can but times are definitely rough right now. Price comparrision shopping and most of the things we normally do like cook at home and drive less have been a huge blessing.

    • CW says

      I totally have to agree – there are inconsiderate couponers who clean out the shelves the hour the store opens. Even if the way they justifiy their greed is, “well, I donate it” – come on – give others a chance to get the deals. You never know, the very next person to come along with their coupons ready just to find an empty shelf might have really been in need.

      Also, I have a question for all of you…how do you manage to get so many grocery items free? I look at the matchups for all the chains in my area and see barely any total freebies. Most things are only a dollar off the sale price, which in the case of most items, you’re still paying $2 or $3. Are there grocery stores that combine store coupons and manufacturer coupons in other areas of the country or something? I’m kind of mystified.

      • Meredith says

        We have a local store that has super double (up to 1.98 doubled) and triple coupons about every two months. We just had one and I didn’t even go to it. The last time, the only thing I got was some frozen bread rolls. Sometimes walmart or target have a freebie but they are typically sold out too, or they don’t match up to what msm posts.

      • Emily says

        Just the other day at Kroger, I saw a woman buy 200 bottles of body wash and spent like $1.88. She had rain checks for the body wash and used 50 cent off coupons that doubled to a dollar. Not sure how she got so many rain checks for item (apparently our Kroger only accepts the rain check price fo X number of items) BUT the managers were very upset over it. Anyways, she cleared the shelf and their entire stock of this brand of body wash. She was a total witch to the cashier and I could tell she was just going to hoard the product. I was embarassed to be in line behind her, seeing as I had coupons to use, because people like her make cashiers HATE taking coupons.

        I am in the same boat as far as deals go. Where I live, I don’t really find free items. I get good deals sometimes when I pair a coupon with a sale, but it seems like anymore the stores don’t run sales when a big coupon is out. Plus, none of the stores around here combine store and manufacturer coupons. Kroger was doing that with the digital coupons and the paper manufacturer coupons but they have stopped that now. The computer rejects coupons if a digital one has already been applied to your order. And in the store, they won’t accept store coupons with manufactuer coupons either. On top of that they only double coupons 50 cents or less and you have to watch out because sometimes the cashier won’t double it.

    • says

      I’m not all about extreme couponing, either. I live out east, too, but admittedly not in a small town. I do still coupon, though. I don’t usually get stuff for free, but I only spend a couple hours a week and save 40-50% on each trip. I’m all about the fresh produce, too. This time of year I use farmer’s markets to cut down on that expense. It’s a great way to support your community, too. If you do find something you need is on sale and wiped out…you can always try asking for a rain check!

    • Guest says

      I don’t actually coupon so I don’t have a dog in this fight but it seems unfair to blame it on this blog and other sites. It only takes one “hoarder” to rip through a store’s sales so I’m highly doubtful that the mass of MSM readers are ruining couponing for everyone else.

      • Meghan says

        I think it’s more a reflection of our horrible economy and the extreme situation of so many families in our country that people have turned to extreme couponing. I bet that when (if?) the economy is better, far fewer people will be couponing with such “enthusiasm”. I also get frustrated that sometimes the shelves are empty on the first day of sales, but I try to remind myself that while I coupon to help save money, we are fortunate to be able to put plenty of good food on our family’s table at whatever price we have to pay. Not everyone is so fortunate.

    • jenny says

      It is frustrating when you can’t find the items you need, but CVS is very good in my town about giving rain checks for the item at the sale price including Extra Bucks if applicable. They never expire and you can specify the quantity you need (unless there is a limit stated in the ad). I have also gotten Rain Checks at Rite Aid and Kroger for out of stock items so I still got them at a sale price and used my coupons as soon as they became available again. That is something you might want to consider trying.

    • Ann says

      Wow, I’ve not seen much shelf clearing around here. I live in the midwest, so maybe it’s a regional thing. I only get one copy of the Sunday paper, so I am far from an extreme couponer. If you can save $13 per grocery trip, I think that’s great. Or at least it’s great for me. I think the most important thing to remember is to continue to plan and budget.

    • K* says

      Comments like this irk me because it sounds like the person leaving it thinks that they are entitled to all of the deals because they were couponing in this manner first. You started somewhere, too, you know?

      I didn’t have enough time to learn how to coupon in an effective way until my summer break from school. I’m not a stay at home parent and I likely never will be, but I’m a law student and cutting corners in any way possible.

      • Meredith says

        If you read my comment, you could see that I still coupon. I just don’t get as many deals as I used to because of the small town I live in. I never said I was entitled to the deals. I said I just couldn’t get there in time and I usually miss them. I also encouraged those who still get them to donate.

        Good luck in law school.

  5. says

    Great post! I don’t save anywhere near what Brandy saves, but it is so worthwile for me to save the aprox $10 each week that I do save. That’s $40 a month — $520 a year! It all adds up. I can think of a lot of things I would rather use $520 for .

  6. Nelia says

    Love this post. I broke my foot and can’t go out of my home as much as I would like to for shopping. I still do a trip to walmart and save tons. It’s more than just cutting the coupons, it’s about the way you spend your money and give your money in all the areas in your life. I needed this today.

    Thank you

  7. says

    I wish I could save $100-200 a week. This blows my mind. I can save, on average, $10-50 a week depending on what I buy and if I have to go into the big town.

    • Caitlin says

      To save that much, you have to spend that much. It amazes me that someone could even think of spending $200 per week on groceries, even with a family of four. Even without coupons, I’d spend nowhere near that for our family, and we eat a LOT of whole foods and most things aren’t coupon items.

      • Brandy says

        I honestly use to go to Walmart and spend $200 in a single shopping trip and on junk….prepackaged meals, convenience foods, etc. This whole process has really helped me to not only be a better shopper but more mindful of the types of foods we eat. I would spend a ton at Walmart and wonder where my check went.

      • Heather says

        The whole foods is exactly why you are not spending as much. Buying prepackaged foods, mixes, frozen entrees, etc. without coupons is very expensive.

    • peever says

      I agree that she had to be spending a lot of money before if she can save $100-200 a week. I have a family of 4 and my budget is $100/week for all grocery and household items (it does not include beef, however, since we get 1/2 cow, but it does include things like school supplies, batteries, printer ink, etc.) and I usually have no problem staying under that, often with a decent surplus. I buy very few prepackaged items.

      BUT, I know MANY families of 4-6 that regularly spend $1000 or more a month on food/household items that could easily cut their budget by 1/3-1/2 if they tried.

  8. Courtny says

    I have to fight to get Sunday papers because people in my area have started stealing them…and then the selves are empty of products …its hard to save for my family of 5 when I can’t get any coupons besides the ones I print and ink is very expensive.

    • Meredith says

      I can’t get a paper here either because of theft or being sold out. Although I learned a secret the other day. I stopped by a bagel shop to splurge and there were an entire stack of Sunday papers! I have talked with friends and they are having luck a Starbucks, panera, and local coffee shops. I don’t think theft in those stores are high making it an easy place to pick up a paper.

      • Brandy says

        We have a store locally that quit carrying the Sunday paper b/c of all the theft. It is sad.

    • kj says

      Can you have the Sunday paper sent to your house? I only get the Sunday paper and it costs me $.10 a week extra to have it sent to me. I have done the math and the with just the P&G coupons I make a profit on the paper.

    • jenny says

      the coupon clippers is a great site – they will send you the coupons from the papers and they have limits to how many you can get so they don’t run out very fast. They charge a small handling fee for each coupon ( usually 8 to 12 cents) and charge a 50 cents postage fee. You have a minimum order to buy (usually between 3 and 4 dollars). I have used it several times and it is great. It saves you money from buying Sunday papers- you get only the coupons you want and extra quantities of them AND you don’t have all the extra coupons you don’t want. I may not be exactly right on the amounts charged, but it is all explained on their site.

  9. Jessica says

    I have “saved” 2700.54 in coupons so far this year on my groceries and 5444.28 total savings (when store sales, etc are added in).

    I have spent $1621.01 so far this year, for a family of four, living in Columbus Ohio. This includes everything from food to toiletries to cleaning stuff to detergent to cat food and litter for two adult cats.

    I use coupons but not to any extreme. For example, this week Meijer has Barilla piccolini pasta on sale for $.99. I had a bunch of coupons a friend gave me, and I made two trips to the store this week and did two transaction in each trip, because Meijer limits to two identical coupons that will double per order. So I got 8 free boxes of pasta.

    We eat lots of produce, dairy (except not me as I am lactose intolerant), whole grains and a small amount of meat.

    Our kids are 4 years old and 1 year old but the 1 year old eats almost as much as me. No joke. He also breastfeeds.

    For example, this week’s meals have included pancakes with sausage and eggs, chili made with venison, tuna casserole, hot dogs with mac n cheese and peas, and today we’re having grilled cheese with tomato sandwiches and tomorrow we’re having spaghetti with homemade sauce and homemade meatballs.

    I currently work part time but am soon leaving my job. We pack our lunches. Our childcare provides lunch and two snacks for the children. But even last week when I was off work, we didn’t consume that much more food all of us at home. We eat out about six-eight times yearly, often at a Chinese restaurant that is inexpensive.

    So what coupons did I use this week? Pasta, tuna, earthbound farms, cheese, deodorant, body wash, oatmeal, graham crackers, and bleach.

  10. Michele says

    Congratulations! If you factor in taxes and also expenses associated with working, you are probably earning more than $15 per hour. For those having trouble getting the product, do you get rainchecks? Also, I have found it is better to shop later in the week for the specials advertised in the flyers. I usually do my CVS shopping on Saturday night and almost always get everything on my list. Also, there are alternative sources for newspapers — gas station, bookstores, etc. I get a weekly Sunday paper.

  11. Caitlin says

    I agree that couponing where I live can be a little hard, especially at Walgreens, but at my grocery stores I have been able to get a few good deals… I do not get coupons in my local paper unfortunately, so we rely on coupons I can print, price matching, and just eating differently. I babysit two children to help bring in extra income, and the little boy I watch eats a TON! (but he isn’t huge lol) my son eats a lot as well, but phew.. We can easily spend around 100-150 every two weeks.. It’s just me, my husband and our son (and the two kids I babysit), but we get three meals a day for all of us and snacks as well. Sorry for the rambling post! :P

  12. Amy says

    I agree….I love to get a bargin, but the extreme couponing has been a hit in our area, I was picking up 3 papers for the coupons, and when I put the 2nd paper in the cart, she grabbed every single paper, and went off running through the store. Since then I have had a hard time getting back into it because people think it is perfectly okay to clear out every singele store, by sunday about 5 minutes after they open, the shelves are bare:(

  13. says

    I think I only save about $200 a month with coupons over what I used to spend (before coupons.) However, what we get now compared to what we used to get would be worth the effort even without any savings. (I am sure that I save a lot more than $200 off of the retail price, but I would still have to stick to my budget and therefore not buy it without sales/coupons.)
    Now if I need to I can skip shopping for a week or two, and still eat well out of the pantry/freezer (and we have enough toiletries to last 6 months.) Before we would have gone to ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches after I ran out of the few extra canned goods.
    Now I get enough free/cheap toiletries for my family, and enough to share with my parents and married sisters. And nobody has to pay for toothpaste / toothbrushes :-)

  14. Lauralli says

    Well, I live in the South–Arkansas to be exact. I live in a small town about 45 mins. away from the “big city”. I receive the “bc” paper each Sunday. Fortunately no one has resorted to stealing it! But, we don’t have near the coupons that other areas of the country get. We don’t even get the Red Plum insert! I can tell you that I don’t get nearly as many coupons as I used to get. My coupon box which was once bulging could easily fit into an envelope these days. They also expire much sooner than ever before! Anyone else notice this?
    I just went to WM for my large shopping trip (will last 2-3 weeks)—toiletries and groceries. I spent $260 and only had $8 in coupons. Not exactly a great deal of savings, but every little bit helps. I also stop by other stores while out running errands during the week (after checking the sale circular) for any good deals that we might be in need of. BTW, I don’t buy any meat or milk at WM–Kroger for that. We are a family of 5–four of whom are adults as two of the “kids” are teen boys.
    I am amazed at the fact that you all seem to save money going to the farmer’s market! Our market is much more expensive than the grocery store. I “splurge” to get fresh, local produce! Interesting, yes?

    • Meredith says

      I live in sc, and I can’t get local produce for cheap….and it’s grown down the road. There is a gigantic peach orchard down the road from us and the owners are selling three pounds for 6.50. I splurged on some asparagus this past spring….5 dollars a bunch. Sometimes there is a good deal but it is hard to get. I don’t buy meat at wm either because I am pretty animal ethical and buy local. We eat it one time a week. However, I find Walmarts milk the cheapest. I buy organic for 5 a gallon.

      • Lana says

        I agree! The family owned produce stand where I have gone for years because they grow alot of their own has gone sky high! They still have peaches for $12 for a half bushel though and that has not changed for several years.

    • Amy P. says

      Why is it that AR does not get the Red Plum inserts? My children and I will be moving to southern AR in the next few months (hubby is already there) and on the few trips we’ve been there, I’ve noticed that they don’t get these in their papers. I’m from SE MO and we have to purchase the St. Louis paper just to get all 3 inserts when they come out! I’m just wondering why each state (or region) would be so different with which inserts are in what paper.

    • Amanda says

      I also keep “hearing” how other families are saving money by shopping at the local farmers’ market, but I find that ours costs MORE as well… For example, Wal-Mart has had strawberries for $0.99 to $2.00 for the larger size lately (depending on the week), but when I do the cost breakdown for the flats that I purchase at farmers’ market, it comes out to $3.00 to $4.00 per pint… and that is WITH purchasing the larger flat to get the reduced price.

    • beth b says

      I find some items less expensive at the Farmers Market but most are the same or higher. Most of our grocery store vegetables come from the natural foods coop so I’m spending a bit more than at the big box store or Aldi’s.

    • beth b says

      Oops, hit post too soon.

      I find it disturbing how local stuff and sustainably grown produce is more expensive. It’s part of our very broken food system, IMO. I go out of my way to support local farmers but understand this is a luxury to have that financial wiggle room. I find it very frustrating to hear people do price comparisons between the Farmers Market and stores like Wall Mart but I’m not in a situation where I’m counting every penny.

      • Brandy@TeamChandler says

        The times I have been to our farmer’s market it was more expensive that Walmart. I try to support our local farmers by buying items you can’t get as fresh, but in the end, I buy lots at Walmart (or Aldi if I can make the trip).

        • BethB says

          Please don’t think I’m saying there’s anything wrong with what you’re doing. I don’t know your situation nor do I wish to apply my person food ethics to others. I do think there is something seriously wrong with our food system and I do what I can with my purchases to try and change that. What I do wish is that there was more discussion about factors other than cost when it comes to what food we choose to buy. Not necessarily here, because I see so many Moms who are concerned with feeding their families healthy food rather than whatever is cheapest, but in society as a whole. While I buy as much local food as I can I also purchase a fair amount of produce that has been trucked in from across the country. I just try to be aware of what I’m doing so I’m more judicious and intentional with my food dollar.

    • jessica says

      I find that if I go to the small (5-8 stall) farmer’s market in the town where I live I can get good deals (raspberries for $2.50, cucumbers ofr $.75/lb, green beans for $1.00/lb, etc.) but if I go to the bigger one in the town where I live (15+ stalls) I pay more than grocery store prices. I think the difference is the smaller one has local gardners and farmers selling excess and the larger one is larger producers selling.

  15. Em says

    Thought I’d chime in with our experience here in Westminster, CO (a suburb of Denver). I have never bothered with CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid and I’ve never seen the Couponing TV show, but I do use coupons regularly at our two local grocery stores (Safeway and King Soopers).

    We subscribe to the city paper ($40/year for 7 day delivery) and get RP and SS coupons each Sunday. We also receive a free weekly local paper delivered to our house which usually contains coupon inserts. I have never, ever had our newspaper stolen from our driveway. The grocery stores usually have a “Saturday edition” of the Sunday paper for sale on Saturday. I can’t fathom the newspaper stealing/hoarding described by other posters above!

    Since we live in a busy suburb, the grocery stores seem to restock their shelves nightly. Usually there’s plenty of the items on the shelf when I shop (midmorning), but if a shelf is empty of the item I want, I just ask for a raincheck (usually at the customer service counter, so I don’t hold up the line while checking out). I have a separate slot in my coupon holder to keep rainchecks (and store specific coupons) so I use them before they expire.

  16. says

    I appreciate the points that this post makes. In many cases it is a better use of your time to try to save money than earn it, depending on how much you could normally make. I think it’s great that Brandy is saving the money that she is. Many people spend a lot of money on groceries because that’s the only way they’ve seen, or they feel like they’re at a place where they don’t want to worry about how much something costs. I know that my sister spent $300/month on just her and her husband when they were first married, my sister-in-law eats 80% of her meals as take out for she, her husband, and their eighteen-month-old (they both work and are battling illnesses), and my mother-in-law routinely spent $1000/month on her family of six back in the 70′s, so who knows how much that would be today. I’m not mentioning these examples as a judgment, but rather just as an example that different people spend different amounts of money on groceries.

    I’ve had a harder time clipping coupons lately because I have very little time to print out or clip coupons, go to the different stores and work the deals w/ three little boys, but I still try to menu plan and make things from scratch like yogurt, granola, etc. These things take very little active time and are doable during naps or at different slow parts of the day (if there are such times :)), and it gives me a little more control over planning my menu because I don’t have to hope that a particular ingredient goes on sale the week I’d like to use it.

  17. suz says

    Its great if couponing has worked for you :) I’m sorry I’m going against the grain here.
    I couponed for six months but seeing the kind of foods coming home, I got worried and stopped. Now, I have no shopping deal to brag about and I don’t save much money when it comes to food. In my opinion, why compromise on food? Its health giving. What is the use of all that saved money, if there are health problems at home. Coupons are a marketing tool and companies use it to their advantage. We think we got the game, but actually its not so.
    I get the best quality foods, cook like crazy and feed my family whole foods. Learning to cook is a great investment. What I can brag about is that we have no allergies, no prescriptions, not had a doc visit in the last nine years, etc… thats how I save my family’s health and money.

    • beth b says

      I try to feed my family mostly whole foods bit I’m still able to save some using coupons. Toiletries, for example as we do use some mainstream brands. Cheerios for my kids and my husband’s Grape Nuts. Lots of coupons for cheese, condiments, and Dannon yogurt (if I get behind making my own). A few times this past year I found Riceland coupons I used for brown rice. I go through phases with couponing but I’m still saving enough to make it worth the small amount of time I put in. I think everyone just has to determine what works in their lives.

    • Meredith says

      That’s about how long I couponed too. I ended up donating a ton of food to our local pantry because I knew someone truly needed it. I still get the Sunday paper because it has local events and happenings in my town. So I do see if there are any coupons I can use. Sometimes there are some. However, by learning to cook and being healthy, that’s way better than saving money. I remember donating six pouches of instant mashed potatoes I got for free. How on earth is that better than real potatoes? I will say that if you have to eat these foods to survive and feed your family, then by all means, one should do so. My husband though works and I am a sahm. So what if I spend 40 extra dollars. I will say too, knock on wood, that no one in my family has been to the doctor in the past year. My three year old didn’t miss a day of play school last year. Oh, and we don’t get flu shots either. Glad to know I’m not alone?

    • Brandy@TeamChandler says

      Because of medical reasons, I have to watch everything my son eats. I have to cook many meals from scratch, and he can’t have alot of the prepackaged stuff on the market. Thankfully, we are able to find good deals with matchups on things we need even on organic products. I also use coupons to help with baby food, diapers, other baby items, household, etc. that helps me to move that money in our budget to the natural foods that we use.

    • Stacy says

      This is ultimately why I all but gave up couponing as well. Its true that most of what we buy there are rarely coupons for- mostly fresh produce, some meat and dry goods in bulk. We do a produce co-op most weeks and buy a few things from Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program. When I see Barilla pasta or canned/frozen vegetables or something like that on sale I will sometimes check ebay for a coupon, but that’s about it. We make from scratch or use natural versions of most bath/cleaning products so I don’t do the drugstore game anymore either (I still have enough sitting in the linen closet to last a while). I check the CVS list periodically to see if there are any good deals- mostly I watch for sales on contact lens solution.

      I was donating a lot of what we couldn’t use to families that I know were having trouble making ends meet. DH and I were actually just talking about how when we switched over from couponing to a mostly whole foods diet our grocery budget didn’t increase much at all (its just DH and I, no kids). We could cut our grocery budget down a bit more without sacrificing quality by doing more meal-planning and eating less meat but DH likes the freedom to be creative and we have cut budgets in other areas. Granted I also have the advantage of having an out of work trained chef at home to cook. We might eat differently if we were both working full time.

  18. Diane says

    I don’t save a ton in coupons on groceries but most of them do end up being printables. Today I saved 2.20 on 4 gallons of milk (.55 coupons x 4) and those were the only coupons I used at the grocery store. I do a lot of price matching so I can get the best deals of the whole week at one store. We also eat a lot of produce, just get it in season and aim for 1.00/lb or less. I check for marked down meat every week but don’t always get it.

    I do save on coupons mostly at CVS and get the bulk of our toiletries/personal care items for about 10% of their retail value.

  19. diane says

    I am loving this topic :) I need to start saving more money on my food budget as my husband is currently out of work and we are expecting a baby girl in 4 months!

    • Brandy@TeamChandler says

      Following this blog and others has really helped me in saving money with common baby needs. I would definitely recommend this and other money saving blogs for those common purchases.

  20. Nora says

    When people make comments to me about the grocery items purchased with coupons not being healthy; I ask them would they like to see my garden? The grocery store is not my only source of food.

    • Heather says

      So true!! I try to feed my family healthful foods, but we enjoy a little “junk” now and then. Is it the end of the world to buy a bag of Twizzlers occasionally?? I think not. Especially if you have a coupon!! :)

  21. says

    I try to find coupons online, in ads, etc. But I rarely see one for anything that we normally eat or use. So, I probably saved about $6 on food in the past few weeks, including a coupon at a restaurant. I think I will start getting the paper and see if I can get any good coupons that way…
    I do often get good gift card/coupons for places like Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle in the mail, but those aren’t exactly basic needs. ;-)

    • grace says

      i use couponsthingsbydede.com because the amount of the coupon does vary by geographical location, and in the Northeast, our coupons are terrible. We pay 1.00/wk for the paper so I still get it, but the bulk of the coupons i get from the website since they have way more and better than the papers.

      • says

        Thanks, Grace. :-) I went ahead and ordered some coupons from the website you recommended. I was a little annoyed at the $5 minimum, because it took me a long time to find that many coupons that I felt I would be able to use before the expiration dates! Other than that, it seems like a cool site. :-)

  22. Laura Beth says

    Here’s a thought… just because the shelf is empty doesn’t mean “those darn hoarders got it!” If something is a great deal, everyone has equal rights to purchase said deal. If it isn’t there when you get there, what good does it do to speculate and be upset? You wanted the deal too, right? Who is to say that some people are more entitled to a good deal than others? Don’t get me wrong, I get a little bummed when I miss deals due to insufficient stock, but it really isn’t someone else’s job to make sure that there is still something left for me!

  23. grace says

    agreed. i make minimum wage as i made the choice to leave high school to be with my son. last week at the grocery store we saved 95.00. I think its also an amazing testimony to be good stewards of money. Im forever giving stuff to our neighbors that i get for free/ cheap and in course of conversation they make over 3x the amount of money per year that we do but yet we rarely ever feel a “pinch” due to stocking up, coupons, and of course money saving mom :)