This was originally published at http://www.metrofamilymagazine.com/more-couponing-secrets-and-explanations on April 23, 2010, so the deals are not good anymore but the explanantions and secrets are still true. I think this will help explain some stuff to people new to couponing!
OK, while I was at MetroFamily’s Summer Adventure EXPO, I got stopped by a couple of people who said they still could not understand how I save so much with coupons. My neighbor is even still confused. I figured I would let the biggest secret out of the bag. Now remember this is a secret, so shhhhh……
Here it is: Many couponers do not have a “normal” shopping list each week. You heard me right—we do not have a normal shopping list. As a matter of fact, if you look at our shopping lists you would think we eat some very weird food combinations. The way we do this is we “cherry pick” the sales. When an item is a loss leader at a store and we can combine that with a coupon (and preferably a rebate too) we stock up. Since we stock up on some items we do not need to buy that item again for a while. For example, this week at Homeland you can get Bar-S Franks, Kool-Aid Fun Fizz, Success Rice, Buitoni, Oscar Mayer Lunchables and Bumble Bee Tuna. (www.consumerqueen.com) Since I have several of each coupon I can stock up on these items and pay next to nothing, basically just tax.
This brings me back to my not-so-normal shopping list. If you see the list of what is FREE, that may be a majority of what I buy this week. I may buy a few items to round it out but my cost will be low since I have stuff already stockpiled. If you have a freezer and extra cabinet space I recommend buying as many of these items as you have coupons for. The hot dogs can be used for cookouts in the summer and the Kool-Aid would be great then also. By stocking up now, the price you pay for groceries later is lower. Since I have a couple bottles of mustard that I previously got for FREE and some chips I got for FREE previously, all I have to do is buy some buns and we can have hotdogs and chips for lunch one day with a glass of Kool-Aid to drink and all I am out is the $1.29 for a package of hotdog buns. $1.29 is not a bad deal for lunch for 5 people.
So when you look at our receipts and see how much we save, look at what we are really buying. However, once you start shopping like I do, it will begin to pay off. By stocking up when something is FREE you start to save money. The key is to take baby steps and start small with the FREE items.
Keep a few things in mind: If you have no room for it don’t buy it; if you cannot use it either donate it or do not buy it; and never buy more than you can use before it goes bad. I hope this makes sense to explain a little better how people can save so much on their groceries and yet still have complete meals. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to stop me when you see me out, e-mail me or leave a comment below. Hopefully I will hear about a bunch of you enjoying the FREE things at Homeland this week. Just make sure you leave some for the next person.
Remember you will not save tons on each and every trip….but if you keep couponing and follow the scenarios set out on www.consumerqueen.com then I guarantee you will start seeing bigger and bigger savings over time. The trick is not to get discouraged and stick with it!