Paper or Plastic?

I've been reading for many months (make that years) about people who save tons and tons of money on their grocery bill by clipping coupons, catching sales, and working super hard to make sure that every single penny is lined up with the planets in the third sector of the Orion nebula right at the exact moment they scan their frequent shopper card.

Given the circumstances, and the fact that I clearly saw the little dipper on Saturday night, I decided to see what all the hub-ub was about.

I picked up a newspaper yesterday and looked through the circulars with JJ. We found a few good deals, but it wasn't much. I clipped the coupons that I thought might be of use one day, and tucked them away in an old index file I found. It looked like Kroger was having a decent sale, so I looked through the ciruclar and planned my meals for the week off the items that were on sale.

My trip this morning involved both Kroger and Target (I need formula there). Two hours and a very cranky baby later, the results were in:

Total grocery bill (at Target and Kroger): $165.22

Total savings (buying generics, Kroger Card, and coupons): $65.38

Total spent: $99.84

I bought enough groceries that should last about two weeks, and I stocked up on formula (usually a big ticket item) and cereal and bath soap - the things that I had some major coupons for AND were on special sale at the store. I didn't know until now that you can mix coupons with the store promotion - which is the key. I was horribly distracted with the baby and had no idea what I was doing - and still managed to save enough to pay our electric bill. No bad for a first timer, eh?

My thing about all this: I wasn't saving that much money by shopping at Walmart. In fact, I was spending more because more temptation is there! I went to the the store today looking ONLY for the items on my list and ONLY wavering if the deal was really, really good. If I had a coupon for an item on my list, and the generic was still cheaper than the item with the coupon, I went for the generic and saved the coupon for later.

And now the little man has woken from his recovery nap, and we're venturing out one more time (I have two more stores to hit, and was never going to make it!) Yay!

1 comment:

Kate said...

Kristen - great job saving money for your family! Yes, matching the sales to the coupons (known as "Qs" in the coupon forums) is the key to saving the most money. You can also STACK a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon AND combine it with a sale. So, for instance, if you find coupons in your circulars for target that say "target coupon" across the top, you can also use a coupon put out by the manufacturer for that same product. For instance, target often prints coupons for toilet paper, like cottonelle, and there are always manufactuer's coupons for cottonelle in the paper. So, you could go to target when cottonelle is on sale and use both the target coupon and the manufacturer's coupon at the same time with the sale.

There is a target coupon generator here:

It's on a couponing forum website called A Full Cup, which is a great site to get legitimate couponing information. They have a couponing 101 tutorial at:

Finally, there are many sites online that will give you a list of the sales matched to the coupons (so you don't have to go through the ads yourself). For instance, find coupon matched lists for target here each week:

(You can get ad match-ups for just about any store at A Full Cup, also)


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