As shown in the above photo (yes, I'm the nerd who takes photos of grocery receipts; don't judge me), I saved more than 50% ($75!) off my total. I think it's also worth noting that I purchased 41 items and paid less than $70. BOOM.
Best deals from this shopping trip:
10 bags of frozen veggies for .88/each (retail price 2.99/each)
6 single-serve tuna pouches for .83/each (retail price 2.69/each)
3 containers of dish detergent for 3.49/each (retail price 6.29/each)
4 boxes of cereal for 1.74/each (retail price 4.49/each)
Simple Moisturizing Face Wash for FREE (retail price 1.99)
Challenge cream cheese for FREE (retail price 2.49)
The point of this post, however, isn't to do a little internetty happy dance and brag about my small victories in saving money. I wanted to also point out how few coupons were needed to achieve this level of savings! You can see the breakdown above, paper coupons and added-to-card coupons made up only a small portion of my savings. I know that before I started actively couponing, I had the impression that I needed to show up at the register with a handful of paper coupons and a body covered in stress hives while watching my total bill drop ever-so-slowly. That, my friends, is not the case. Which is a good thing for everyone involved in this situation.
Here are a few things to note—in case you're interested in dropping your grocery bill a bit every month:
Compile a Never-Pay-More-Than List
This is less about having a physical list and more about paying attention to prices as you begin saving money and therefore become familiar with the price points of frequently-purchased items. Learning how overpriced certain things are has been such a benefit. At this point in the game, I'm sure to stock up as much as I can, whenever I can—and that way I'm not stuck spending more than $4 on one box of cereal. (It blows my mind how overpriced cereal is. Please don't pay $4 for a box. It hurts my soul just thinking about it.)
A few things on my Never-Pay-More-Than list:
Pasta sauce: $1
Breakfast Cereal: $1.75
Boxed macaroni & cheese (even the fancy Annie's brand): $1.00
Frozen veggies: $1.25
At least a few times a month, there are freebies you can add to your card at Vons. (I should note that I keep going on and on about Vons because that's just where I always do my weekly grocery shopping. I'm sure there are other stores with deals like these, too!) This week I was able to get a travel-size face wash for free, as well as a block of cream cheese. Even better, I used a $1 coupon towards the cream cheese, so they basically paid me a dollar to buy it. (This isn't cheating or illegal or anything—just be sure to check a store's coupon policy before you use coupons toward free items. It varies from store-to-store!)
Wait for Lowest Prices—Then Stock Up!
After you've been keeping tabs on the prices of your favorite items, you'll be able to spot a great deal immediately. This week, I knew I had to get a bunch of the tuna packets, because they are way overpriced at my store. On Friday only, they were priced at 5-for-$5, so I picked up 6 and used one paper coupon for $1 off 2, which brought the price down to $5 total, instead of $16.14. (See? Overpriced. What the heck.)
Ideally, I would have had 3 of the $1 coupons—then I would have paid only .50 each. But, hey. I still got them for a fantastic price, so I can't complain! The main thing to note here is the importance of awareness. The prices of certain items are ridiculously inflated, so it's worth it to wait until you are sure you're getting an amazing deal.
BoGo + Coupons = Happy Dance
Be sure to check the coupon policy of your store, but many of them allow you to use coupons towards items that are free in a buy-one-get-one situation. For instance, Barilla pasta sauce ($2.59) was BoGo this week at Vons. I could have used two $1/off coupons, which would have dropped the price to only .30 each.
See? Happy dance.
As I mentioned before, I know that these policies vary from store-to-store. But I do this frequently at Vons, Target and CVS and have never had any trouble.
Okay, hopefully that wasn't too long-winded or too confusing. And hopefully it at least helps some of you when it comes to grocery shopping and all that jazz! It's been exciting to see how much I've been able to save this past year. I've also been more intentional when it comes to meal-planning and organizing my weekly shopping lists…but more on that later.
As always, any questions are welcome. I'm happy to help!