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Old 04-19-2012, 10:24 AM
 
3,560 posts, read 3,161,288 times
Reputation: 3218

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I was wondering if any of the coupon experts might be able to help me with a few basic questions without laughing at me.

I recently realized we spend about 800 dollars a month on food for a family of four (kids 4 and 6). If we have guests/entertain/BDay party or something...a whole lot more.

Granted I do make a point about buying certain items organic.
Some items I get at Trader Joe's, many, if not most, at Kroger and yes, I do have a Kroger card.

When I read that so many people feed families of 6 with around 450 or so ...I decided it is time to do something about it because something is simply not right with the way we go about grocery shopping.

I have been using the common sense tips for a long time, such as buy fruit in season only, get store brand for the lowest prices, get sale items etc.
Yes, I also cook from scratch, save the occasional treats my husband gets for himself or for the kids (such as nuggets for emergency, when there's no time to cook - as I also work a full-time professional job).

I don't simply throw the money out there to pay full price on everything. Yet all these tips are clearly not enough.

I read more about couponing, I learned some at couponmom.com and southernsavers but I still cannot figure out how people who notice a great deal (between store sale and manufacturer coupon) manage to buy large quantities at that small price.

Say a deal comes down to 50 cents per item after sale and mfr. coupon - and the buyer thinks it is worth stocking up and buying 10 items at that price. Doesn't that mean she will have to have 10 coupons available to get that? Where would she get that many coupons from?
If I buy the Sunday paper, I would have one coupon for that particular item. But 10? How do people do that?

Thank you so much.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Oakland CA
7,553 posts, read 10,483,857 times
Reputation: 8210
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
I was wondering if any of the coupon experts might be able to help me with a few basic questions without laughing at me.

I recently realized we spend about 800 dollars a month on food for a family of four (kids 4 and 6). If we have guests/entertain/BDay party or something...a whole lot more.

Granted I do make a point about buying certain items organic.
Some items I get at Trader Joe's, many, if not most, at Kroger and yes, I do have a Kroger card.

When I read that so many people feed families of 6 with around 450 or so ...I decided it is time to do something about it because something is simply not right with the way we go about grocery shopping.

I have been using the common sense tips for a long time, such as buy fruit in season only, get store brand for the lowest prices, get sale items etc.
Yes, I also cook from scratch, save the occasional treats my husband gets for himself or for the kids (such as nuggets for emergency, when there's no time to cook - as I also work a full-time professional job).

I don't simply throw the money out there to pay full price on everything. Yet all these tips are clearly not enough.

I read more about couponing, I learned some at couponmom.com and southernsavers but I still cannot figure out how people who notice a great deal (between store sale and manufacturer coupon) manage to buy large quantities at that small price.

Say a deal comes down to 50 cents per item after sale and mfr. coupon - and the buyer thinks it is worth stocking up and buying 10 items at that price. Doesn't that mean she will have to have 10 coupons available to get that? Where would she get that many coupons from?
If I buy the Sunday paper, I would have one coupon for that particular item. But 10? How do people do that?

Thank you so much.
You either have to buy 10 papers OR go through your neighbors recycling for coupon inserts OR buy extra coupon inserts. How to Get Multiple Coupon Inserts | Common Sense With Money

The other thing is to keep an eye out for foodstuffs on sale at your local drug store. Yep -- sometimes the best deal on coffee is at our CVS, and jelly is at Walgreens.

Do you have access to a Costco? Check out their prices -- yes -- you get a lot but the prices there can't be beat, and their quality is great. The last time I bought canned tomatoes at Costco, I got Organic S&H diced tomatoes at 60 cents a can.... can touch them on sale for over half more.

And keep a grocery price book. There's no way to keep it all in your head. Make A Price Book: Power Tool For Supermarket Savings! | Organized Home

The coupon thing only works if you work it -- AND are willing to buy junk you don't need. And not junk food. Almost everyone I know that works the coupon thing buys tons of air fresheners, because with all the coupons and sales on those things, that's the thing that usually ends up
giving them money back and lowers their total.

I can't stand air fresheners. (Even more I can't stand they all spell it freshner...) To me they are nose pollution. A clean house shouldn't smell at all.

And we have 12 cats. Our house can get DEE-GUSTING in a couple of days. Gotta stay on top of it with 12 cats.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:37 PM
 
3,560 posts, read 3,161,288 times
Reputation: 3218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
You either have to buy 10 papers OR go through your neighbors recycling for coupon inserts OR buy extra coupon inserts. How to Get Multiple Coupon Inserts | Common Sense With Money

The other thing is to keep an eye out for foodstuffs on sale at your local drug store. Yep -- sometimes the best deal on coffee is at our CVS, and jelly is at Walgreens.

Do you have access to a Costco? Check out their prices -- yes -- you get a lot but the prices there can't be beat, and their quality is great. The last time I bought canned tomatoes at Costco, I got Organic S&H diced tomatoes at 60 cents a can.... can touch them on sale for over half more.

And keep a grocery price book. There's no way to keep it all in your head. Make A Price Book: Power Tool For Supermarket Savings! | Organized Home

The coupon thing only works if you work it -- AND are willing to buy junk you don't need. And not junk food. Almost everyone I know that works the coupon thing buys tons of air fresheners, because with all the coupons and sales on those things, that's the thing that usually ends up
giving them money back and lowers their total.

I can't stand air fresheners. (Even more I can't stand they all spell it freshner...) To me they are nose pollution. A clean house shouldn't smell at all.

And we have 12 cats. Our house can get DEE-GUSTING in a couple of days. Gotta stay on top of it with 12 cats.
OK...then the coupon thing doesn't really seem all that appealing from what you are describing. I work full-time and don't have the time to clip tons of coupons; certainly not to go through recycling bins; neither would I want to buy 10 papers!!

I did notice that most coupons are on products I don't really use. Processed foods, lots of bathroom stuff (like you said "air freshners).

Yet when you check all those coupon sites and they talk about cutting your grocery bill in half...I couldn't help wondering what I am doing wrong. I mean who would not want to pay 400 instead of 800? Sometimes we pay a lot more than 800. Is this really all that much given the standards we have for our diet?

We buys lots of fresh produce, lots of fresh fruit, some organic, and even some specialty/foreign food items I grew up with and don't want to do without. With this type of eating I just don't think we would ever be able to get our food bill close to 400-500 dollars for family of four no matter how many coupons we clip. (I certainly don't need the junk most coupons seem to be issued for).

When I heard some people talking even about 200 dollars a moth for a family of four, I just about fainted. How is this even humanly POSSIBLE?

Yes, we do have access to a Costco but we don't go too often because it is a tad far; about 30 min drive...but we should try to make it at least one a month.

Other than buying sale, cooking from scratch, meal planning and not wasting food, I just don't know what else we could do to get the bill close to those hallucinatory numbers I read about - without eating badly.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Oakland CA
7,553 posts, read 10,483,857 times
Reputation: 8210
The other thing is -- it depends on where you are. Out here, until the Extreme Couponer show came on, our coupon inserts were restuarant coupons, checks in the mail, catalog clothing and crap food. And Air Fresheners. I still went through the coupons, but rarely took any out (except for Loreal mascara -- I like to use fresh tube every three months).

For a while they got better.... but the coupon thing isn't heavy out here.... and the coupons have gone back down in quality.

What I do is load my Safeway loyalty card with deals online, personalized to me. If I can add a coupon here and there I can usually take 35% off my bill. If I forget to load the deals onto my card, I spend more money.

I did forget to mention -- if you have CVS there -- you can use their loyalty card to get Extrabucks on their reciepts for the next purchase. Then if you have to buy drugstore stuff, you can buy it on sale with extrabucks, you get it free.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:49 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA... where the nest is now empty!
12,109 posts, read 13,940,048 times
Reputation: 18430
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post

Yet when you check all those coupon sites and they talk about cutting your grocery bill in half...I couldn't help wondering what I am doing wrong.
YOU cutting your GROCERY bill in half is very, very different that those stockpilers cutting their bill in half.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:53 PM
 
3,560 posts, read 3,161,288 times
Reputation: 3218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitt Chick View Post
YOU cutting your GROCERY bill in half is very, very different that those stockpilers cutting their bill in half.
Would you mind elaborating a bit more?
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Barrio Logan/Shelltown
8,797 posts, read 12,389,414 times
Reputation: 4747
A 30 minute drive to Costco, isn't "a tad" far.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:45 AM
 
Location: southwestern PA... where the nest is now empty!
12,109 posts, read 13,940,048 times
Reputation: 18430
Sure I can elaborate.

YOU said in a previous post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
We buys lots of fresh produce, lots of fresh fruit, some organic, and even some specialty/foreign food items I grew up with and don't want to do without. With this type of eating I just don't think we would ever be able to get our food bill close to 400-500 dollars for family of four no matter how many coupons we clip. (I certainly don't need the junk most coupons seem to be issued for).
The bolded part is true!

OTOH... those people on the show with cart full of things that pay $50 for it all, they are not buying what you are buying. They are getting 100 boxes of HoHos, 50 Hamburger Helpers, and 150 deodorants (for example).

Totally different.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Westminster, CO
517 posts, read 354,474 times
Reputation: 1123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
I can't stand air fresheners. (Even more I can't stand they all spell it freshner...) To me they are nose pollution. A clean house shouldn't smell at all.

And we have 12 cats. Our house can get DEE-GUSTING in a couple of days. Gotta stay on top of it with 12 cats.
They spell freshener "freshner" and you spell disgusting "deegusting."

These things happen sometimes.

12 cats? Was there a special on them at the rescue? Were there coupons for them? I thought having two dogs and three cats was crazy! You must have a seriously big heart for cats or some acreage. Kudos.

To OP - I agree with the previous posters. The people you're trying to emulate buy junk food and things they don't need. If you want to continue eating healthy, "extreme couponing" isn't going to work. That doesn't mean you still can't save money using some though.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,426 posts, read 22,750,220 times
Reputation: 12678
We had ten cats at one point. We do live on 55 acres, but the trick to getting so many cats for "free" was to live on acreage two miles off of I35, so people dumping cats figured it was the perfect place to do so. Once you take them in and get their shots and get them fixed because you don't want 900 sick feral cats wandering around, suddenly they're yours.
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