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On my last three trips to Kroger, I reached that dreamed-of promise land, where I saved 50% or more on my orders. The coupon high was as great as I had hoped—I called family members to brag, and forced my husband to examine the receipt and admire my mad couponing skills item by item.
I came to some important realizations about what it takes to score 50% off. Though I’d sworn off the rookie couponing mistake of buying something merely because it’s a good deal, I still hadn’t really taken to heart the advice of buying only what’s on sale.
Buying only what’s on sale—along with a few essentials—means you have to be stocked up on what you regularly use. Building your stockpile takes time, but eventually, you just don’t need that much each week. You also have to be willing and ready to plan your week’s meals around sale items. So, if broccoli is on sale, I might make baked potatoes, and so on. Also, if I have a coupon for a sale item, I stock up on it—if I have the money to do so.
I probably won’t reach 50% or better during the winters since I’ll be buying more of my produce at the grocery store than I am right now. I have cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, yellow squash & zucchini from my garden. (I’m not visiting farmer’s market’s much either.)
So, what did I buy?
Well, first off, I had to wait until Friday to shop because I was broke. That’s nothing new, but it did help me put more emphasis on saving.
I know if I shop in the mornings, I will find more manager’s specials: I bought a Kroger bakery whole wheat bread loaf for $1.79. Since it’s preservative free, it goes in the fridge, and we’ll eat it quickly. I also purchased a cheese loaf, which I froze for later (perhaps garlic bread?), and I grabbed a bagged salad mix for $1.99. Again, it should be eaten quickly, but that’s fine as I just finished it off for lunch today.
I also purchased some Over the Moon milk with a coupon for the husband, Kroger oatmeal that was on sale, bananas, a bag of potatoes...
Besides manager’s specials and basics, I also stocked up on some items with store sales and coupons.
I paid $ .50 each for organic lemonade by using a $.75 coupon on the sale price of $1.25 (thanks for the heads up on that sale, Candace!). I paid $1.06 for the large can of Bush vegetarian baked beans and a mere $.85 for Betty Crocker supreme brownie mixes (paper coupons, e-coupons, buy 10 get 3).
I spent a total of $38.50 + tax, but I brought home $81.93 worth of groceries.
So, we’ll be having brownies, beans and lemonade this week?
Not necessarily. The brownies don’t expire for a year, lemonade: same thing. I usually only plan two or so meals, and the rest just comes about. I always have rice, potatoes, pasta, tons of frozen, boxed & canned goods, and now that it’s summer, plenty of fresh stuff too. For instance, last night we ate purple cabbage from my mom’s garden.
Saving a ton can work for many. If you eat boxed, prepared meals, those go on mega sales that you can combine with coupons. If you eat mostly made from scratch meals with fresh veggies like we do, that can work also.
Who it won’t work for—those who have no room for storage, do not want to find, store and use coupons, or don’t want to worry with what’s on sale and/or plan ahead. Some just don’t want to be bothered and consider it a hassle. Of course, some on special diets may have trouble too.
But, I think many people can step up their game a notch or two and really see results that they will find worthwhile.
My mother always taught me to look at the price per unit and stock up when something is on sale, so what I’m doing now is throwing coupons in the mix… and it’s taken me to a much happier, restful place where I can afford what I need… and also afford some things I don’t need, like brownies! Yum!