Have you ever tried being a coupon clipper? I mean, a real coupon clipper? You know, like the women who spend hours going though multiple Sunday papers, organizing them in binders, searching endlessly online for more to clip and then comparing grocery fliers to match what's on sale with the coupons they have to basically get stuff for free? Whew! God Bless 'em for having the patience and the time, but that is NOT for me. I am a full-time working mom (a teacher, non-the-less) so if I am not working, I am cooking, bathing kids, packing lunches, grading papers/lesson planning or cuddling with my Monkeys. Time to clip coupons? PLEASE! Part of me loves the idea of getting food for free, but I value my time with my family a lot more than a few saved bucks.
So, what do I do to save money on groceries? Not a lot, but I partially let the coupons come to me. I shop at Giant Eagle, except for my monthly trip to Whole Foods. Giant Eagle has recently replaced their "food perks" program with another one, which I kinda like. Every so often they will send me "Golden Rewards" based on my spending. In the last 2 months, I have received 3- $10 cards along with several other coupons for free drinks, flowers and a deli sandwich (interesting combination, I know). In addition, I also receive coupons from them for things I typically buy. Just last week, I used most of my most recent coupons on one trip and saved $9.00, plus I used a $10 "Golden Reward" card. I saved $19 without doing anything but check my mail. As I mentioned in a past post, I am very finicky about food. I mostly buy organic foods, especially produce, meats and dairy. It is difficult to find coupons for organic foods, so it's nice to get coupons that can be applied to any purchase, not just specific brands. (One of my coupons was for $3 off a fresh veggie purchase, another for $2 off a deli purchase.) Another perk of having a Giant Eagle Advantage card is that I can go on their website and "clip" coupons that are sent right to my account. All I have to do is scan my card and any coupons are automatically applied to my purchase. I love the idea of these e-coupons because I am always forgetting my envelope of paper coupons. Did I also mention my Giant Eagle card ha also saved me over $700 in gas over the course of the year?!
I also recently discovered a website, www.organicdeals.com. I found some good coupons, for both organic and non-organic foods and they even list special sale items for various health food stores (Earth Fare, Whole Food and Traders Joe's included). Some of the links for coupons take you right to the coupon for printing, others make you go through hoops and register before accessing. This site also includes articles and other topics of interest in addition to savings from Target and online marketplaces. It's worth a look!
So I may never be casted for "Extreme Couponing," but I am satisfied with the amount of money I do save from my little effort...and I think my kids are too!