Wednesday, September 14, 2011

To Coupon or Not To Coupon?

I have never been a fan of grocery coupons.  And yet with a new budget and a new location, I wonder if I'm missing out on some big secret or club.  We all know I love to save a buck.  But my grocery bill is pretty stable from month to month, and I'm racking my brain to figure out a way to bring it down.  I already plan meals, avoid impulse trips to the store, eat leftovers, bake my own bread, and divide & freeze larger portions of meat, breads, tortillas, soups & stews.

I have yet to see Extreme Couponing, but I've read some of the stories (and criticism).  Would I love to save 90% off my grocery bill?  Heck yeah.  Do I want to store 10 year's worth of baking powder in order to do so? Not so sure.

My big problem is that most of the coupons I run into are for items that I wouldn't normally buy.  While I am all for trying new things, with a picky husband, and 2 fairly picky kids to worry about, I am not super excited at the prospect of saving 15 cents on 4 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup with New, Improved Smoky Flavor!  I also don't have the extra space to store 98 rolls of toilet paper or 112 packs of spaghetti.  And really, can anyone even eat that much food before it spoils?

Do you have any tips & tricks for saving on groceries?  Using coupons?  Stretching your dollars?

PS - I once tried to access an online coupon for some item I wanted & would use.  I ended up getting more junk messages than I ever received in the history of my email account.  Totally not worth saving $2.50 on soap.  


Marisa said...

I'd totally never coupon. I mean, I use coupons sometimes, but like you, coupons I find are usually for things I don't eat. First, I don't have enough room, and don't want to try to make room, for 42 bottles of laundry soap. I'd also rather do other things with my time than scour the websites for coupons. I buy generic as much as possible. Kroger brand usually tastes exactly the same as name brand, and usually for half the cost. The second thing I do is try to keep my options open at the grocery store. Like, I'll put "fruit" on my list and buy the kinds of fruit that are on sale. If I see something on sale that I know won't spoil before we use it and that we use a lot of, I'll buy a lot of what's on sale, especially if I know it doesn't go on sale a lot. Like noodles. Third, I try to plan my meals for the week with a lot of the same ingredients. Like a pasta dish, salad, sandwich, etc. that all use tomatoes so I don't have to buy zucchini and all kinds of other things for different dishes throughout the week. These tips all keep my grocery bill pretty low, don't leave me with an excessive number of groceries to store, my food doesn't spoil, and Andy and I get to eat things we actually like.

Anonymous said...

I think you hit it right on the head - the purpose of coupons is to get us to buy things we don't already buy...this is why I rarely use coupons. Maybe you could compromise and only use them if you already buy the product? Not sure what else to recommend to cut down on the grocery bills, you already seem to be doing everything I would recommend. :)