Couponing: To Save or Not to Save?

If you’ve been a follower of Confessions of a Slacker Mom for awhile, you probably know that I like to coupon.

Whether or not you’ve been a faithful follower (and if you aren’t, you should be!), you probably don’t know that I fell off the couponing bandwagon–or did I get back on? I never am sure how that works–for the past couple of months. I’m not alone in this. Even the most veteran of couponers occasionally find themselves in need of a break.

So what was my reasoning for not couponing?
Well…
…you know…
it’s a lot of work.

I can’t tell you how backed up I am in clipping coupons! Sigh. My coupon binder, having purged it of all expired coupons, is almost entirely empty. And you know what?
I’m wasting money.

Folks, I don’t have a lot of money to spare. This month especially, since I really screwed up the grocery budget.  I was doing so great with following my monthly meal plan, that I had this notion of having a lot of extra money.

I didn’t. The money was just better spent than it normally was. But then I went and spent more money, thinking I had extra. Seriously, I don’t know why my husband lets me use a debit card at all. Everyone email him and tell him I’m completely dumb with money, okay?

No, please don’t! And if you’re wondering, yes, I did eventually fess up to the budget snafu. He still loves me (somehow), but hopes I learned my lesson.
{Me too.} 

Where was I? Oh yeah, couponing. My point is, I have an extremely limited amount of money for the rest of the month. I have to spend every last dollar with careful thought and consideration to how it will best impact our food for the month.
In other words, not a good month for stocking up on hairspray.

My plan is to look over the meal plan and see what food we still need for the month. Fortunately, the majority of the nonperishable items have already been purchased. I just need to fill in the gaps. I’m going to pull up the meal plan now, so I can see what I need, and where I can apply coupons.

Confession: I haven’t been *perfect* in using this meal plan, but I’ve been pretty well. Anything requiring a slow cooker hasn’t happened because I’ve been too lazy. For the most part, I’ve rearranged the menu as I go. Nothing ADD about that, right??

Okay, so I’m looking over the menu. Here’s what I need: cheese (printable coupon), applesauce (check for newspaper coupon), Gogurt (printable coupon), bread (Walmart now carried my new favorite milk-free bread, and it’s only $1.67 a loaf!), peanut butter, two boxes of Mac & Cheese (check coupons?), Pepperoni (newspaper coupon), 2 cans non-dairy pizza sauce, yogurt cups (6-printable coupon), eggs, 2 lbs. chicken breasts, bananas, sour cream (newspaper coupon), milk (printable coupon) and maybe some other fruit, too.

See how simple this coupon list is? Before I go, I’ll grab my soon-to-be restocked coupon binder and check for those newspaper coupons. I’ve already printed off my online coupons. I use Coupons.com almost exclusively, unless I’m feeling really proactive and search a company site for any coupon offers.

This here is an affliate link, so feel free to print away using this link! Not sure why the image isn't showing up. Hmm. Oh well. Click it anyway!

 I explained why I don’t have a lot of money this money. :[ So here are a few more things I’m doing to cut costs:

1) Always, always, always price comparing. If the brand name is cheapest with a coupon, I buy that. If the store brand is cheaper still? That’s what lands in my cart.

2) Price matching. I’m going to be perusing my grocery store ads that came in the mail today. If I see a great sale at Smith’s for Gogurt, you can bet I’m going to have Walmart ring me up at that price! (Fyi–they’ll want to see the ad, so be sure to bring it and put a sticky note on the price so you’re not fumbling through it while in line, muttering, “I know it’s in here somewhere!” Not that I’d know about that.)

3. Utah County Walmart’s double coupons on Tuesdays to price match with Ridleys. (I’m ever so grateful with Ridley’s, even though I’ll probably never shop there!) I don’t ordinarily drive down to do this, but when I’m in a pinch, it can be a big money saver. Today, it’s worth the drive! You can read more about this double coupon shindig here. Just remember you can’t price match and double coupon on the same item. Also, it’s gonna take a long time to check out! Freebies2deals.com has a great weekly post on the best double coupon deals at Walmart!

Your turn. Do you coupon? Love it or hate it? And please, tell me (and my husband): am I the only one who screws up on the grocery budget??

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5 Responses to Couponing: To Save or Not to Save?

  1. I love me some coupons! I usually stick to the budget pretty closely since it’s so tight to begin with. It takes me probably 3-4 hours to print Q’s, match anything to stack and finalize my list. I shop for 2 weeks at a time and it takes about an hour if I did a good job of ordering my list.

    Target is as cheap as it gets for groceries here, so that is where the bulk of our grocery budget goes. There is another grocery store across the street that has good produce and meat deals that I’ll hit up depending on the ad.

    Anything extra goes into the blog budget (or the Starbucks budget) so I try to come in a little under if I can.

    • Nice to see another slacker mom around these parts!! :) Our budget is tight as well, but my math skills and my “gotta have that” mental list aren’t so closely aligned. Do you feel like all the time spent is worth the money saved? Are you able to shop and not shop again for two weeks? I always find I forgot something, or I’m craving something, or I’m just bored, so I end up at the store. And as we all know, running in to “grab some milk” is no less than a $20 shopping trip. I ALWAYS grab more because of forgetting/craving/etc. Thanks for stopping by! I love your blog. :)

      • We reserve a bit for milk, produce and bread and I send my husband so I don’t get tempted to pick up things I don’t actually need. I do get a little irritated if I planned to bake and then *don’t* actually bake and then have nothing sweet in the house. Like today. I would have killed for an Oreo today.

  2. Madolyn says:

    When my first daughter was born I turned into a couponing genius. I followed coupon blogs, got the 4 newspapers on Sunday, clipped EVERY SINGLE ONE of them just on the off chance I’d find something for free with one of them, and that even if I didn’t need the item, maybe I could get money back from buying it. My husband and daughter were good about me “doing coupons” all the time because we did save quite a bit of money and were getting a huge stockpile of stuff. But then the stockpile took over our small apartment and they both decided they wanted more mom time. We moved into our first house 1/2 hour away from town and Albertson’s closed down, well not closed down but changed hands. We’ve just lived off our stockpile for a good year after that only buying necessities and it was nice to not worry about coupons anymore, or shopping. Then my husband said “I used the last tube of toothpaste.” Sigh. I knew I needed to go back to couponing but was worried it would take up all of my time again. I tried for a little while to coupon again but it just wasn’t the same without Albertson’s super awesome deals. I didn’t get the same shopping/coupon high because there were not as many great deals to get things for free, it ended up not being fun like it had been, it was just work. So I still try here and there to shop with a coupon but I am nowhere near as good and as diligent as I used to be. Oh and as for the budget thing – ALL THE TIME. However, I know I’m not the only one who goes over budget so it makes me feel better :) I don’t leave the house as much as my husband and the gas stations seem to call out his name with their cold drinks and sweet delicious snacks… ha ha! Anyway, now that this is a novel…

    • First, I love a good novel-like comment! I get you about loving the shopping high, and when it’s not there, it’s not as fun. I can find my some killer deals at a few of my local grocery stores but it generally takes multiple stops at multiple stores, and with multiple kids it’s NO FUN. So I concentrate (or try to!) on keeping my budget as low as possible, as well as stocking up when it IS a killer deal. That’s what gets me excited now. If I can get a ton of spaghetti sauce that we will use ALL THE TIME at rock bottom price (and throw in coupons to boot!), that’s my shoppers high. I love that you had a big enough stockpile to reduce your shopping for a *year!* Oh, and I don’t (and won’t) clip all the coupons. I find myself buying things that I would only buy “since I had a coupon,” and even if they are free (or nearly free) is it really worth my time? I just clip out what I know I can use, and I use it if it’s a good deal. Keeps me sane. :)

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