To coupon or not to coupon?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post on this week’s meal plan, meal planning is the #1 way I’ve found I can really help our family save money and stay within our budget.  I remember about a year ago I was chatting with a then co-worker and I mentioned how I try to keep our grocery spending to under $85 per week.  She couldn’t believe I spent that little and said she was spending more than $200 per week.  I about fell out of my chair.  I couldn’t even imagine spending that much.  Do you know how many pairs of shoes I could buy with that extra $115 each week? 

Granted she had two ‘tweens in her household, but I still thought over $200 per week was crazy.  Since that conversation a year ago I have increased our budget to $100 per week to accommodate incorporating more organic and natural foods that tend to cost just a little bit more. But more about that another time.  But still nowhere near $200.

Now there are many ways to save money at the grocery store, one of which is of course using coupons.  You’ve heard of those people who can get like $300 of groceries for $.25.  I think there is even a new show coming out on TLC called Extreme Couponing that showcases people who do just that.  Yeah, well that’s not me.  At all.  I really tried the whole clipping the coupons, filing them, watching the ads to see what was on sale, using coupon websites to find matchups, etc.  It worked, I did save money, but I found that the majority of the products I was getting good deals on were products I didn’t really want to feed my family anyway.  It’s not like you find many coupons out there for fresh fruit and vegetables. And it was taking up a lot of my time and I really didn’t like doing it, so I decided to stop.

Now hang on, hang on, don’t start callin’ me a hater.  I’m totally not digging on people who do.  It’s great for some people. They love doing it and they save their families a ton of money.  In fact one of my favorite blogs I follow is Penny Pinchin’ Mom.  She’s another local KC mom who posts coupon match ups for all the major KC grocery stores, provides links to blogs who do the matchups for stores outside the KC area, as well as many other steals and deals and ways to save your family money.  And I’ve often taken advantage of some of the deals she communicates.  But regular couponing is just not for me right now, especially with having three kids under age 4.  I’d much rather be spending time perusing Facebook and Twitter with my dear, adorable children. 

And I shouldn’t say I don’t use coupons at all.  Because I do.  I usually check Penny Pinchin’ Mom before I hit the stores to see if anything on my list has an internet printable coupon, and if so, I’ll print it out.  Why wouldn’t I?  It’s free money and it only takes me a minute or two to print it.  We just quit buying the Sunday paper because we figured we weren’t saving more than the cost of the paper.

Why the picture of fruit salad?  Because I couldn’t find any pictures of coupons and I didn’t feel like have time to take any pictures of my own.  So you get fruit salad.  Looks yummy, doesn’t it?  Sorry, I’d share but we ate it all up the other day.  But I bet you want fruit salad now, don’t you?  Hey, fruit salad is better for you than cookies or chips.  So maybe I helped you stay healthier today.  You’re welcome.

Ahem.

So those are my thoughts on couponing.  I’ll go more into my actual method of meal planning next time.  It’s way too much information to add onto this post.  And I have to go change out my laundry now.  Ugh.  That’s a whole other post too.

Do you “coupon”?  Why or why not?

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8 responses

  1. Another great post LeeAnn. Glad to know that I’m not the only coupon slacker! ;o) I also follow Penny Pinchin’ Mom as well as Kansas City Mamas on FB….both are great resources for saving locally and the matchups. However, as far as being devoted to using coupons….not so much. Every now and then, when I think of it. I’m sure I could save a ton, but it does take some time. Although I do have a small binder for just that. If I come across something I might use, I’ll put it in the page protectors so I can easily flip through and see what I have. Easier than truly filing them. Anyway, that’s my two cents for the $.25 I did not save by couponing! ;o)

  2. I clip coupons from the paper on things I would usually buy. I used to do better about using them, but since I’ve gone back to work my time is more valuable to me than it used to be. The whole “extreme couponing” thing never appealed to me personally. It seemed like too much work.

  3. i have found a system that works for me since I do 97% of our grocery shopping at Target and even with FOUR men in the house (three of those being little men), I spend right around $100 per week which is amazing considering I can still buy organic milk and yogurt AND our grocery shopping includes buying things like juice boxes and snack items for school lunches. I’ve found that with my a) manufacturer coupons and b) my Target store coupons and c) my Target card instant 5% savings, I save at least $12 each trip to the grocery store (Target). The most I have ever saved on one trip is about $22 and the cashier even was surprised! I plan on DVRing the extreme coupon show…i have anticipated its premier for quite a while!

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