This month I ventured into something new. I started couponing. I know, I’m late to the game, but due to time restrictions, I found myself being a convenience shopper. I liked to be able to do my shopping at two places, BJ’s and our local grocery store. If I was feeling really busy I’d just order from Amazon Fresh. My oldest sister is a die-hard couponer and has been trying to get me to start couponing for months, she has a whole closet full of stuff she’s gotten from couponing and every time I look at it I would be awe, but I felt the whole thing to be too time-consuming and too intimidating.
Now that our situation has changed a bit I decided that I would hear her out as she explained to me her whole couponing strategy over the holiday break when she saw I had $6 in ExtraBucks to use at CVS (sad to say I let that one expire on accident). Still unsure, I decided I would at least give it a try for the month of January. I figured if I could shave $50-$100 off our grocery/household stuff bill for the month than it would be worth it. As I know, there are some amazing deals to be had with couponing I only wanted to focus on our household needs and not get carried away. Now that the month almost halfway over I think it’s safe for me to share my thoughts and feelings on this whole couponing thing.
First off, I’ve found this whole process to be somewhat time-consuming initially. I’m sure it will get easier as I become more intuned to how the deals work, but between looking at the different couponing websites, clipping coupons, and the comparing deals in the weekly ads of various stores I’ve found myself spending more time than I would like hunting for deals. Last Sunday, it took me almost 2 hours to make my grocery list, map out what stores I wanted to visit, and make sure I all my coupons ready to go so I wouldn’t have to do a search and find while in the store.
Second, I understand now when people say couponing is addictive. My mouth almost hit the floor when I how saw much I saved at CVS. The savings and the $26 in Extra Bucks that I could use on another couponing adventure made me feel like I was rich and a thief at the same time. I couldn’t believe that I’d legally swindled them out of so much stuff. I was walking out of there with free toothpaste, 3 packs of toilet tissue, dryer sheets, vitamins and so much more and I barely spent anything! I was throwing down those coupons like I was playing dominoes. In my head I’m all “BAM, I have two coupons for that.” as my eyes lit up watching the total go down. This feeling completely nullified how terrified I’d been early about going into the store and completely screwing up the deals. When I got home and showed Marcus my spoils of the CVS trip, he couldn’t help but laugh and be impressed at the same time at my delight and for all the money we saved.
Third, planning pays off. The second week of my couponing adventure was to our local grocery stores. It took me a good while to plan out my trips, but it was worth it as I was able to get in and out of the store quick and stay within my budget. My goal was only to spend $250 on groceries. As I mentioned previously, we usually do all our shopping at BJ’s, especially for meat as we like to buy in bulk. While looking through the weekly ads, I noticed that one of our local stores had a special on Porkchop at $1.88 a pound. Here’s where I a dilemma arose. I didn’t know if this was good. Since we’d done all our shopping at one place, I never looked to see how much we were paying per pound for different cuts of meat. To remedy this, I did a reconnaissance mission at BJ’s and jotted down the prices of everything we purchased. With this in hand, I could adequately determine if buying porkchop for $1.88 was actually a deal or not compared to BJ’s prices. Typically we’d pay $2.39/lb for porkchop so getting it for $1.88/lb at our local grocery store would save us $0.51. This may not seem like much but when you’re buying in large quantities as we do it adds up.
After visiting two stores (because the chicken was $0.88/lb at the other store), I spent a total of $205.00. This included 14 packs of meat and a plethora of other food items that have our pantry and refrigerator on swole. Had we purchased at BJ’s we’d of spent possibly upwards of $300, but by shopping at the grocery store we were able to get the same items in similar quantities while paying less. Our almost empty deep freezer is now filled to the brim with enough meat last us nearly two and half months.
To split all the meat up, we used our FoodSaver, which pulls all the air out of the bag and protects your food from freezer burn. Many people asked questions about the FoodSaver after I shared on my IG stories(@BrokeonPurpose). The FoodSaver is probably one of the best purchases we’ve ever made when it comes to food storage, next to our deep freezer. We love it because you can cut the bags exactly the size you need resulting in spending less. The particular model we own and have had for over a year is the FoodSaver V2244; this one comes complete with the bags in a starter kit.
I do have plans to continue couponing as I still have $26 in Extracare bucks to use at CVS. Now that we’re fully stocked for a while I plan only to go out when the deals are just too good to pass up on items that we use on a normal basis in our home. If you’re a couponer, share your tips and advice in the comments below. I’d love to learn more strategies for making this less time-consuming.