Today I went on my big shopping trip... 3 stores and 2 hours later I spent $128.41 and saved $101.70!! Not too bad :-) Altogether I bought 64 items which included:
4 packages of ground turkey- $1 a piece!
2 whole chickens- 47 cents per pound
2 family value size packages of chicken buy one get one free- we will be able to make a minimum of 5 meals from them
2 frozen pizzas- 1 came with wings, 1 came with bread sticks (I don't normally buy frozen pizzas, but I had 2 coupons for each pizza)\
2 frozen lasagnas- also normally I don't buy those, but the store had a deal 2 buy 2 lasagnas, 1 bag of frozen vegetables, 1 pie, 1 french bread, and 1 2 liter for $14
I bought quite a few things of vegetables fresh and frozen.. that was something I worried about initially, but it really wasn't a problem since I made my list based on sales papers
I'm not going to go through a detailed list of my shopping trip, but I am very impressed with all of the stuff I got for the price I paid, plus the ammount I saved. The bulk of my savings really came from store sales and reward cards over coupons- I saved about $18 with coupons. I got enough meat to last us for a month or 2. My freezer is jam packed full and I even had to bring some stuff over to put in John's mom's freezer.
My overall thoughts on this.. I spent too much time printing and clipping coupons. Pretty much all of the sites have the same coupons- I am going to check the Sunday paper for coupons, check coupons.com, and target.com for coupons and that is about it. I read some couponing blogs and heard about a few good deals on there. If you are just trying to save some money on your groceries, just make your weekly menu from the sales paper. I looked for coupons for the things on sale already and saved a lot of money that way- if I didn't have a coupon filed for a sale item I googled coupons for the items and had about 50% luck finding coupons for them. Example- Winn Dixie has a special running right now for Oikos Greek yogurt veggie dip- buy one of those and get a 1 lb bag of Winn Dixie carrots free. I buy carrots every week anyway so this was great. I googled Oikos Veggie dip coupons and found one for $1 off so that was a great savings. I also bought 4 packages of cheese this trip. I will use that over MONTHS- they are in the freezer. I had 2 different cheese coupons and 1 store had their cheese for $2.15 a package plus I had $1 off 2 packages. I think I am definitly getting the hang of it- Please note I will not shop like this weekly. John and I eat out a fair amount and I don't cook every night. These staple groceries I bought will last weeks. The fresh veggies will get eaten soon though and what I don't use I will prepare and freeze. I'm hoping to get a mini deep freezer for my birthday in June because ideally I would like to prepare double meals and freeze them- like spaghetti sauce and casseroles. I just don't have the room for that right now. I do not have time to do this every week. I spent atleast 2 hours shopping, 2-3 hours last night reading the sale paper and coordinating my list with coupons, and atleast 3 hours printing coupons this week. This will probably be like a once every 2-3 weeks event.. if that.
The biggest advice that I have used is using coupons on smaller packages- I have had 3 different coupons for $1 off of cat food and I have bought 3 of the smallest bags for a little over $2 per bag. Also, pay attention to store coupons vs manufacturer's coupons- if you find an item on sale and you have a manufacturer's coupon AND a store coupon.. you are in business! Stores will not allow you to stack 2 store coupons or 2 manufacturer's coupons, but it will let you use one of each. Even if you don't go coupon crazy, compare prices for a few stores in your area and shop at all 3.. sure it takes a little more time, but it is worth it. Those ground turkey packs were $5.97 at the store by my house, but $1 a piece at another store.. their whole chicken was almost triple what I paid per pound today. So just the awareness of price is nice to have.. sure it takes a little more planning and time, but I saved $100 dollars today- if I did that twice a month all year I'd be saving close to $2500/year! My original qualm about not liking to only buy what I have coupons on.. well now since I have so much meat and veggies in my "stockpile" I will have a lot of flexibility next shopping trip to make more meals.
A few notable deals going on this week-
99 cents for Mens Care Deodorant at CVS
47 cents per pound on whole chicken at Albertson's
10 for 10 ground turkey at Albertson's
Winn Dixie has a ton of buy one get one free