Couponing & Comparison Shopping - Realistic or Absurd?

For us it has become a necessity.  Luckily I my inner dweeb enjoys the challenge of figuring out which store has the best deals every 2 weeks on grocery day and finding coupons around the internet and in store ads that I can use to help lower the cost even more.

Two weeks ago began my official start of couponing and comparison shopping.  I was desperate to save money somewhere and have seen and heard about all these people that save TONS of money with extreme couponing. While I know I don't have the time or the resources to go the extreme route I figured surely I could at least save a little!  The first thing I did was call all the grocery stores in the area asking several questions:  Did they take manufacturer coupons (all did), if they price matched (only Walmart does that), if they double coupons (no one does that anymore I guess), and if they had a store discount card (only Smith's and Alco have it).

Next I compared normal every day prices between all the stores in the area.  Walmart has gone up on everything lately and isn't the cheapest anymore on many things, at least in this area.  But that varies from item to item and week to week.  So now what I've started doing is to gather up the store newspaper ads every other week on pay day and go through them comparing prices.

I make a lit of things we HAVE to have first...toilet paper, milk, etc.  Then I go through all the store ads and find if any of them are on sale and where I can get them cheapest.  Then I look at other things on sale and write down what is cheapest and where so I know where to buy all the other food to stock us up as much as possible for the next two weeks.

After that I start browsing internet coupon sites.  A few of my favorites:

Now some of these direct you to other coupon sites too.  Also many repeat coupons but that is a good thing because some only allow you to print a certain coupon once.  So if you want two of an item you can typically print the similar coupon from two different sites.  Its not "allowed" to copy or make several copies of the exact same coupon but from what I can tell, printing a similar coupon from two different sites is ok.  I could be wrong on that though.

After finding and printing all the coupons I need, typically for items I already have on my shopping list or some other good deals I find that I think we need, I cut all the coupons out and sort them by coupon type.   Like I said:  inner dweeb.

At this point I have my grocery shopping list for the stores in the area, considering I don't want to waste more gas by driving to several than I'll save in coupons, I keep my shopping trips to stores near each other.  I pack up my grocery lists and coupons and I'm ready to go.  How long does all this take me to this point?  Only about 2 hours total.

So, that's what I've been doing so far.  I'm sure I'll learn more tricks and tips as I go along.  I'm not an extreme coupon-er by any means.  As I said above, I don't have time for that, nor do I live in an area where I could really take advantage of it.  However, I have been able to save quite a bit!  I was going to show that in this post but I think I'll write a separate one as this is getting lengthy already.

Maybe this will help some of you with some ideas on how to comparison shop and find good coupons.  Or maybe some of you have some great tips I could benefit from!  If so please leave a comment!  I'm officially addicted!!

4 Responses to "Couponing & Comparison Shopping - Realistic or Absurd?"

Life Coach RN responded on November 6, 2011 at 5:52 AM #

Found that if you make a menu & use it around the sales...it works great too. You can do something like: spagetti for Mon, take the leftover sauce & make a pizza for Wed & the left over noodles you can mix w/ meat/veggies & make a delicious salad! So ya think what ya can use for several meals....then buy that way. I have found that I don't waste as much food & know exactly what we're having too!

Michelle responded on November 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM #

Yesss, that's a great idea too. I do try to buy things I can use more than once. I found 5 lbs of ground beef 80/20...so not the best but not the worse either, for only $11 yesterday. I was excited about that! Took it home and cut it up into 1 lb sections and packaged it up before freezing.

Jennifer responded on November 9, 2011 at 1:12 PM #

Don't know if you have a Target anywhere nearby, but they take 1 Target coupon and 1 manufacturer's coupon per item. Print Target coupons from their website, and go shop! :)

Michelle responded on November 23, 2011 at 5:52 PM #

Oh nice!! I don't have a target anywhere close unfortunately but if I ever make a trip upstate to Target I'll remember that! Thank you!