I’m sure that you’ve heard how expensive it is to eat healthy. Really? Well, I’ve got some great news for you, you can eat healthier than you’re doing right now AND save a boatload of money. How? Couponing!
I know, I felt the same way, until I started watching Extreme Couponing, TLC’s new hit show and I had an epiphany. If these women could save 70%-95% or more on their grocery bill using coupons, I could do it too. So, I tried it, right after I watched the first show. And you know what? It worked. I actually saved over $100 on my grocery bill! Boy did that feel great!
It Takes Time
I’m not going to kid you, it does take time. You have to find the coupons, cut them out, download them, match them to store savings, organize them and then use them. All in all, I would say that I spent about 4 hours the first weekend getting everything together.
I had to create a plan of attack in using the coupons, or I wasn’t going to be saving anything. I signed up for the free store cards, wellness card and shopper cards that were specific to each establishment. This is important because some stores only give you discounts if you have and use their cards. Yes, they are a way to track who spends what where, but nothing is really free, so get the cards.
Then, I had to sit down with the store sales papers and go online to each store’s website and see exactly what was on sale and when the sale expired.
Finally, I matched my coupons with the store sales and specials and I was ready to roll.
Don’t Lose Your Mind
Remember, just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean you have to use it or that you even want to purchase that product. One of the things that I admire most about the women in couponing is that they purchase products that they actually use. That was one of the main reasons that I didn’t coupon before, I mistakenly thought that you had to buy only the stuff that you might not even want or need. What I learned was that there are thousands of coupons out there that are worth millions of dollars and the manufacturers WANT you to use them. If they didn’t, why on earth would they create those coupons in the first place? It’s really a form of creating brand loyalty, but that is a whole other lesson.
Regarding eating healthy on the cheap, you now have the choice to use coupons on products that are actually good for you. The trick is to be able to buy the perishable items that live on the outer perimeter of the store by following these steps:
Contact the dairy, meat and fruit industry and ask them to send you coupons
Create overages from purchasing multiples of other products that you do have coupons for
Rack up store credit to use on non-couponed items
These three steps are available to you if you just work your coupons. For instance, I received a $5 store giftcard for purchasing toilet tissue and detergent together at Target. I had coupons for both items, so I saved even more, then I took the giftcard and applied it to a new transaction. It just takes some time and diligence and you’ll be singing the praises of couponing before you know it.
Plan on spending a good chunk of time getting started. It takes time to sign up for Facebook coupons and individual store programs, special savings websites, and so on. Once you’re in the groove, it shouldn’t take as much time.
All the shoppers we spoke to mentioned that the grocery store sales operate on six or eight-week cycles, so if you want to buy certain products only when they’re on sale, you need to stock six to eight-week supplies. That means collecting multiple coupons for the same products.
Look for coupons everywhere. One of our experts, Carol Smith, mentioned that she’s gotten an Oscar Meyer bacon coupon at a gas station in the past. You just have to be on the lookout. You’ll find coupons on Facebook, as well as on individual store websites, and you can sign up for their mailing lists.
Check to see if your grocery store will match sales prices from other stores. Also, find out if they’ll take other stores’ coupons. Basically, just make sure you know the store’s policies.
Be VERY organized when you get to the checkout or you’ll drive all the other shoppers (and your checkout person) crazy.