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chinaco 05-28-2007 04:12 AM

Grocery purchases and coupon
A few questions about coupons for groceries... Or any other way you keep your grocery costs down.
  • How much do you think (or know) you save in grocery costs by the use of coupons?
  • How do you keep coupons orgainized?

newguy88 05-28-2007 06:55 AM

It really depends. sometimes store brands are cheaper and just as good. There was a time our stores were triple coupon the face value up to a dollar. Heck there was a period that we saved over 400 dollars over a 4 month period on groceries. Now we use coupons only buy things we use make sure the store brand is not cheaper and then go for it. Usually say 5 to 10 dollars a week with coupons. 40 to 50 dollars a month. an extra tank of gasoline.

TromboneAl 05-28-2007 09:13 AM

We cut grocery costs by about 40% starting in 2005 by shopping smarter, but we rarely use coupons. We found that the coupons are often for the higher priced brands, and we can do better with the generic brands, which are usually just as good (as 888 noted).

Main strategy: use price list to know for sure when something is cheap (just cause it's advertised doesn't mean it's cheap), and stock up. Also: don't buy prepared foods (e.g. Hotpockets, Hamburger Helper).

Goonie 05-28-2007 09:32 AM

We only use coupons for stuff that we normally buy. Like PianoAl, we buy a lot of generic and store brand stuff, and it is just as good (if not better) than 'brand name'.

I had a friend that worked in a factory where they packaged/canned food, and he said the line he worked on put out 'brand name' as well as generic and store brand.....the only difference was what was printed on the paper label! It was the exact same commodity being put in the package or can, the only thing that was changed was the label.

HFWR 05-28-2007 09:39 AM


Originally Posted by PianoAl (Post 519773)
Also: don't buy prepared foods (e.g. Hotpockets, Hamburger Helper).

And what's wrong with Snot Hotpockets? :p

crazy connie 05-28-2007 10:44 AM

I am a whole bunch annoyed by the coupon game. I basically use whole fresh ingredients. When did you last see a coupon for brocolli, eggs, apples or even a gallon of milk? It seems the coupons are only for the processed stuff in the grocery store. I will use coupons for my deodorant or laundry detergent. I wish the mfgs would stop the advertising games and give me the best price or that the growers and meat packers would play as well!

I know, I should just plant a garden and avoid the store even more!!!

mickeyd 05-28-2007 11:01 AM

I have heard tales of folks who save 50% of their food purchases by using coupons but I don't know if I believe it.

We clip a coupon or two and try to remember to use them, but do not have a systematic way to make it part of our regular shopping process. Once and a while we get a total of $5 or so, and that feels good, but I think you could use coupons and buy items that you really do not use or plan to use, as was mentioned earlier. Yea, you would save something, but the item may sit on the shelf a year or so until you picked it up in the summer of 2008 and said "Hmmm, I wonder why we have this?"

FIRE'd@51 05-28-2007 11:15 AM

The real savings occurs when the coupon is used in conjunction with a sale, e.g. cereals.

mickeyd 05-28-2007 11:38 AM


The real savings occurs when the coupon is used in conjunction with a sale, e.g. cereals.
Wow, don't get me started of breakfast cereal. Yes they have plethora of coupons, but since the basic product is so overpriced, the coupons only lower to price to $1 above the store brand rather than the usual $2 above the store brand. BTW, the store brand seems to be identical to the Kellogg's or Post product, according to the label (calories, carbs etc).

TromboneAl 05-28-2007 11:45 AM


I wish the mfgs would stop the advertising games and give me the best price or that the growers and meat packers would play as well!
If it makes you feel better, realize that the people who are fooled by the advertising games are subsidizing your groceries. That is, the stores are making money off the uneducated masses, so that keeps your prices down.

Our best scheme: every two months or so, whole chicken goes on sale for 59 or 69 cents per pound. We buy 5-6 and squeeze them into the freezer. Each chicken gives a great meal (like vertical roasted or Onioned Chicken (see ER Cookbook)), several churkey sandwiches (like post-holiday turkey sandwiches, but with chicken), one open-faced churkey sandwich dinner, and broth for a soup.

bright eyed 05-28-2007 12:02 PM

overall, we don't use coupons either - for most of the reasons folks stated here - unhealthy products/high price game...I rarely go to the "super" market ...buy mostly at trader joes or like stores, a few bulk items at costco, a few things at Target grocery (which has really good prices for the products they carry).

once in a while i scan the coupons in my parent's sunday paper, if there is something we use/need i will make a run to the super store that gives double coupons - but then and only then.

i also think the markup is silly - you're paying for that inundation of junk mail, radio ads and tv ads...it's a bad model and a lot of the supermarkets from the old school are going out of business around here - either because of walmart/target or tj's ...lemons should not be 2 for a dollar.

cola is a funny one to watch, one week 3 12 packs for $5, next week 4 for $11, it's always going up and down like a yo yo...we don't buy that either (get enough from eating out)...but it's always a new #!

there was that lady on oprah who used the coupon game to open a food pantry - collected coupons up the wazoo, went to the mart that (foolishly) had triple coupons and came out w/ a car full of food for less that a few bucks, probably not that healthy, but food nonetheless...see how long that lasts after the oprah affect takes hold..

W2R 05-28-2007 12:02 PM

As frugal as I am, you may be surprised to find out that I don't mind spending considerable money on healthy food, if that is what it takes. Like Connie, I buy a lot of fresh produce, meat, chicken, fish, and shellfish, and like Goonie, I only use coupons on something I would buy even without a coupon. But I seldom if ever tell myself that I cannot afford some type of healthy food. I probably spend more on groceries just for myself, than do most entire families here.

Anyway, I usually only have a few coupons (if any) and I keep them in my wallet. Just before checking out, I get out my wallet and check the coupons to see if I happened to have any of those things in my basket. Usually I don't. Most of my coupons end up going in the trash after they expire, but I still look for coupons and pick out the ones I might use.

When I retire in a couple of years, I will probably need to work on reducing my food costs. I do plan to start a vegetable garden, for health more than for the savings, actually. I really do enjoy fresh vegetables, and vegetables right out of the garden are so healthy.

FIRE'd@51 05-28-2007 12:42 PM


Originally Posted by mickeyd (Post 519813)
Wow, don't get me started of breakfast cereal. Yes they have plethora of coupons, but since the basic product is so overpriced, the coupons only lower to price to $1 above the store brand rather than the usual $2 above the store brand. BTW, the store brand seems to be identical to the Kellogg's or Post product, according to the label (calories, carbs etc).

Don't know where you live, but the big supermarkets where I live often put the brand-name cereals on sale for half price. With the coupon I end up paying considerably less than the store brand.

bbbamI 05-28-2007 12:43 PM

I save an average of $50 a month by using coupons.

I get most of them from the Sunday paper. I clip those and put them in a drawer in the kitchen. During the week, when I get additional coupons, I throw them in the drawer. When I receive the ad from my grocery store, I get all my coupons and put them in catagories of food, personal, cleaning, and pet care then store them in an envelope. I make sure that I pull out the ones that are in the ads, so I get a douple dip of savings.

It's extremely rare that I buy fresh meat. I either have a coupon, or I stock up from the "rotten meat" area. My dad was a butcher for 25 years. I save a lot of money this way. ;D

linkerbink 05-28-2007 01:41 PM

I use some coupons, but usually save them for when they also have specials at the store on that item. I have several of those "shopper club" cards which actually can show a greater savings than coupons. And yes, I know "they" track my purchases, but I really don't care if they know about my weakness for anything containing cheese!

kbst 05-28-2007 03:43 PM

We save a lot of money using coupons in conjunction with the store savings card. VIC card at Harris Teeter or MVP card from Food Lion. We mainly shop at Harris Teeter because they double coupons up to 99 cents. We stock up on items and rarely buy without using both. We save an average $45 a week with this method.
We also only buy meat and seafood on sale and stock up the freezer. Buy a Food Saver and seperate meat into serving sizes. Meat will last a lot longer like this in the freezer. We buy the whole filet minon and have it cut into steaks when it's on sale.
We buy old bananas on sale. They make better smoothees.
We only buy the beer and wine that is on sale and buy the wine by the case to save the 10%
We like to buy vegetables from the farmers market. They taste a lot better, have a lot more varieties and are usually cheaper.


HFWR 05-28-2007 03:47 PM

I have "membership" cards at Kroger, Albertson's, and Tom Thumb, which saves a significant amount over not having one. I buy many store-brand or generic items, and shop for most groceries at Walmart, with occasional larger quantity ourchase at Costco. Most coupons are for stuff I wouldn't buy, no matter the price. But I'll use ones that fit with my needs.

SaveSome 05-28-2007 04:19 PM

We just returned from the grocery store. We saved $12.90 in coupons and spent $28.61. I always think of how much we'd have to earn to get that value in goods - over $23.35 in wages subject to SS tax in California. It definitely adds up.

Today, for example, we got a 24 oz. bottle of Vlasic pickles for $.50, 2 boxes of Barilla pasta for $.50 each, six Yoplait light yogurts at $.37 each, Marie's salad dressing for $.50, and Morningstar veggie burgers for $1.00.

A person at work told me just recently that she doesn't even look at prices of the stuff she buys. :o

It's not for everyone but it works for us and we enjoy the challenge.

MikeD 05-28-2007 05:05 PM

My wife doesn't look at the prices or the total amount of the food items she buys. Fortunately, I do the shopping. I know the price of everything we buy in all of the stores we shop in so I can spot a good price right away.

We buy the exact item that we want, usually name brand, for the cheapest price. I like to save money but I also like eating what I like.

One year, 2002, I think, I tracked all my coupon savings. We saved $189.00 over the whole year.

Cash register operators rarely look at coupon expiration dates. Walmart is a rare exception. I've used coupons that were years past their expiry date.

Harris Teeter has high prices in my opinion. Even some of their half price deals are still higher than the discount food store's prices. Oh, but their occaisional triple coupon weeks are glorious! Most places do double coupons up to .50 but HT will triple up to .99. I get some deodorant almost free.

Mike D.

TromboneAl 05-28-2007 07:34 PM


I stock up from the "rotten meat" area.
That's good. We call it "expired meat" ("see if they have any expired meat for dinner") but I like "rotten" better.

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