Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grocery Shopping With a Penny Pinching Lunatic

I haven't always used coupons. When I was raising three small children and working and attending school I felt I didn't have time to put into it. In fact I made several attempts at saving and failed miserably. I was disorganized with the coupons and never bothered to look at the sales ads. Shopping was a hurried affair racing through the store and tossing items in the cart, sometimes without even remembering what was in the cabinets at home. It would have been to my advantage to save then but at least I have the skill now.

Once I made a commitment to this way of shopping it has become quite easy. Every Sunday I purchase two papers. I read through the paper and then I clip and organize the coupons. Occasionally there are really good coupons for pantry items that I use large quantities of. If there are then I will buy two more papers.

I organize my coupons into envelopes according to my own categories. I've never liked those pre-made coupon organizers. They are too small and there aren't enough categories. My envelopes are leftovers from old card sets and they are lined up in an old five by seven index card file box. The best thing about having your own system is creating your own categories.

When the new grocery ads come out I see what I may purchase if it is a good enough price and if I am running low. Before I shop I make a list and bring only the coupons I will use. I cook pulling what I want from my freezer or pantry. I never pay full price anymore. My family never feels deprived because we have what we want.

I never run out of toilet paper for instance and have to run to the store to buy a four pack for $2.74 because I have several 24 packs in the hall closet that I purchased for four or five dollars.

When people complain about the price of an item it makes me happy to know that when they were buy one get one free the previous week I bought eight of them and used my coupons to get an even lower price. I don't like being at the mercy of the ever fluctuating prices.

One more step is pulling the coupons that have expired once a month. It may sound like a lot of work to many people. It is only a small amount of extra work for me but it is all worth it for the savings in my grocery budget. The savings are huge sometimes. I usually save more than half off the bill. On one recent trip I brought home $130.00 worth of groceries for $30.00.

It may not be for everyone but it sure helps me trim my budget.

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