I was not as excited to coupon as Todd was, but could see the benefit and see that it would speak love to my husband to save our family money so the adventure began!!!
I read some coupon blogs and continue to follow them to maximize my knowledge and saving capabilities. The most helpful blogs I have read is Southern Savers and in my area Young and Frugal in Virginia has been really helpful.
I have learned that you need to save coupons from week to week because often the coupons in the paper one week will better match up to a deal in the coming weeks. I have also learned that stores go through cycles (about 6 week cycles) where products have the lowest prices and then peak up to higher prices. The goal is to purchase these products when they are the lowest and purchase enough to last you through the six weeks until they are low again. The basic game plan for couponing is to save your coupons and match them up with a great sale to equal AMAZING savings.
For myself and our family we are not after getting a bunch of free stuff, but we are looking to reduce our grocery bill and save on monthly expenses. So I do not buy things that we don't need just because its a great deal. I don't go to the grocery store and leave with a bill under $10, but I have saved our family some good money over the last month and kept our house easily stocked with groceries.
A few examples on my shopping trips:
Week 1 - Original grocery bill : 130.25 - 27.51 in savings = 102.74
Week 2 - Original grocery bill: 121.24 - 30.94 in savings = 90.30
Week 3 - Original grocery bill: 204.90 - 82.82 in savings = 122.09
Week 4 (Thanksgiving groceries) Original: 215.27 - 78.51 = 136.76
Week 5 - Original grocery bill: 136.94 - 51.91 in savings = 85.03
Overall in one month we saved our family $271.69 in groceries.
We have even found deals to get a few things for free or nearly free in that time as well (toothpaste, deodorant, cereal), I also have bought a few things of detergent for $2 or less.
We still eat the same but just make a strategic plan on what we will buy based on the sales and the matching of the coupons. I have also began printing off coupons because our grocery store will let you use more then one coupon on an item as long as they are not the same coupon. For this I use CouponTom.com.
Couponing is not just great for groceries but I now find myself using them in other situations. Michael's always has great coupons and I get lots of crafty stuff there.
Last night I made a strategic trip to Target where I used several coupons and made over $50 in gift cards to use on Christmas presents. I didn't buy anything that I wouldn't use or need, and was still able to save the money for Christmas!
I share all this info not to convince you to coupon (it does take time and planning to do), but to give an example how it is helping our family. A family that is just like everyone else trying to be good stewards of our money and make wise choices! So if you see me in the store with my coupon binder (yes I have a binder.. LOL) Don't judge!!! I'm helping my family and speaking love to my husband :)
Love and Blessings - Dawn