Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Couponing 101, Part 1

I’ve had tons of friends and family members ask me about coupons. It’s very weird for me to think that only a few months ago I paid roughly 40% more for groceries. I could have saved so much money!

I was definitely intimidated at first, so I know how it feels to start out using coupons. I felt like every cashier was looking at me like I was trading in food stamps. I had such a negative outlook on coupons.

My coupon journey started when I saw my friend Claire rack it up with coupons. If it weren’t for Claire’s blog and her suggestion for me to start using, I definitely wouldn’t have even thought about it.

My first bit of advice, start out small. My first few (undocumented) trips with coupons, I probably saved in the 20% range. I’m now closer to the 50% range and 70-80% range at CVS. Couponing takes time, not only out of your life to actually gather coupons, but to incorporate yourself into the coupon cycle.

Why is this? Sales and coupons run on cycles. You wonder why one week you can get cream cheese for $.25 after coupons and next it’s back up to $2? Sales run on cycles, anywhere from 3-4 weeks to 6-8 weeks, depending on your region. To truly get into the sales, I personally had to “ride” at least one full cycle so I could understand how food and their prices work. Sometimes the store brand may be the cheapest option, but most likely, not for long. Since beginning my couponing journey, my brand name to store brand ratio is probably around 80/20.

However, this does not mean that everything that I buy or eat is processed or necessarily bad for you. This was one of the biggest misconceptions I had when I started out. I was so worried that though I was going to be saving money, I’d only be adding to my midsection. Not true! There are so many coupons for healthy, organic foods and there are even coupons for produce. I regularly use coupons for salad greens, oranges, avocados, salad dressing, almond milk, almonds, and more. They are out there!

In the upcoming days I hope to have a few more posts about coupons, pointers on how to use them and how you can save even more on your groceries so easily. You can do it!

(Photo source)


  1. I haven't had the chance to use any yet but I'm working on a plan! I have a few that are definitely things we use a lot and will get those with coupons next time I shop!
    My hardest part is planning a week's worth of groceries rather than just running by the store every other night after work with no plan.

  2. My friend Lialah swears by coupons, and she, like you, saves loads of money with them. I'm definitely interested to read your tips because I've never known where to start!

  3. You are so good at explaining it all, Sophie! Glad you are passing the knowledge to others. I can't stand the thought of paying full price anymore! :)



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