I’d just like to put out there, for all to hear, that I stink at coupons. Now that I stay at home with our two children, I have become determined to save money and consider our grocery bill to be my current adversary. And a few days ago, as I perused one of my favorite frugal mom sites (www.moneysavingmoms.com to be exact), I vowed that our bill was going down. I was going to show that bill who’s boss.
Or not. I spent $50 more than I had planned on my last visit to the yucky Food Lion in my area. That usually only happens when I visit my beloved Harris Teeter.
You see, this couponing business is not as easy as I thought. I think I need someone to write one of those _____ for Dummies books and fill in the blank with Couponing…wait, I’m going to go do a search and see if one already exists…
Ah- didn’t see one, but there were some articles about it on the dummies.com site. So I’m guessing that means I’m not the only coupon dummy out there? Anyone…anyone?
From the surface, it doesn’t seem that complicated. You clip coupons (or in my case, I often print them off) and you go use them at the store. Simple, right? No! You see, I appear to spend more when I bring coupons than if I just leave them at home. But I’m determined to beat this thing.
Here is what I have learned so far:
1) Don’t bother with coupons for things you wouldn’t normally buy. Captain obvious, I know. Yet, do not underestimate the pull of a good deal.
2) Don’t use coupons right away. Instead of using one up quickly (unless it is something I do need and the coupon is about to expire), I am trying to learn and wait until the item is already on sale (ie, a VIC item at Harris Teeter or an MVP item at Food Lion).
3) Read the fine print. I have gotten way too excited about double coupon days (I am becoming a nerd!- no offense to anyone who also gets excited by double coupons) and not taken the time to read the fine print on my pile of coupons stuffed in my Vera Bradley wallet (ha, I find it ironic to use the words “coupon” and “Vera Bradley” in the same sentence– the wallet was a gift, because even though I like Vera, I find her to be a bit on the pricey side). Unfortunately, a lot of the coupons from Harris Teeter say “do not double”, which is a bummer to discover in the middle of the store.
4) Organize. This is one I am nowhere near ready to master yet. Coupons are messy, and I am terrible about printing them or getting them in the mail and then forgetting about them until after they have expired. When I was at the store the other day, I passed by a woman who had a binder FULL of coupons and they each appeared to be in a proper place. I was in awe. I can’t imagine being that serious and that organized with coupons. But because I am a competitive person and I have vowed to lower my grocery bill, I am going to do it.
5) Mistakes are common in the beginning. At least, that is what I am telling myself.
So for the sake of accountability, I am going to share a goal with anyone reading this random post. My goal is to spend no more than $75 a week on groceries for the next month. That may be more than anyone reading this spends already (if so, please share your secret!) but we usually spend an average of a $100 per week and I know I can do better than that! Now, why I am deciding to do this around the holidays when I am in major bake mode, I have no idea. I think I like a challenge.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Once I get it down to $75 a week, I’ll knock it down even more. Take that, grocery bill.