We have family that could really use the benefits of couponing, but I can't get them to think BEYOND the thought of saving $.30 on an item they don't need anyway. She always says that most coupons are for things she wouldn't normally buy and then she spends more than she would have trying to use them.
And there have most certainly been times in my past I did the same thing.
But now I am a couponer, as opposed to someone who uses coupons.
I watch sales, I know the sale cycles, I shop multiple stores and buy only the items on sale, and I combine store incentives with my coupons to get double bang for my buck. And I don't buy one of that item when I find a great deal at or below my price point- I buy 4-6 of them. That is what a couponer does.
I pay $.50-$.80 for a jar of spaghetti sauce. I pay nothing for shampoo, toothpaste, make up and deodorant. I never pay for than $1 for a box of cereal (name brand cereal). I most generally don't pay more than $2 for laundry detergent and even milk can be bought with a store credit earned or a coupon used. There are very few times that I grocery shop and pay for than 50% of whatever the shelf tags say.
Sure- there are things you can't get around. Fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. But when they are on sale, I try and stock up. And if they are not on sale, I look for an alternative that is. Grapes at $3 a pound? We go for the bananas on sale for $.29 lb that week. Chicken at full price? How about tacos instead with the $2 ground beef. Nothing else, we fall back on spaghetti- cause you know I have multiple jars of sauce in my cabinet.
I shop smart, or at least I try to. I buy light bulbs when they are free, even though I have a package in the cabinet, because eventually I'll use them and that is a savings. I stock up on Advil when it is $.40 a bottle so that I don't ever have to pay $5 for it when I actually have a headache. I have more canned tomatoes in my cabinet than I would ever dreamed possible- but at less than $.10 a can how could I go wrong? I've had to make room in a few extra cabinets in my kitchen to store the food- but I never worry about not having plenty for my family now.
And I MAKE money sometimes with store deals. Which I apply to the stuff that is hard to save on.
I read blogs daily (hip2save and the krazy coupon lady are my favorites) and I read the store circulars like it is my job. It takes time, but I love it and therefore I never think of it as a chore. And if one week it starts to feel like a chore? Then I don't do it. And I don't worry about missing a week or two of deals because I know I have most everything we need in my cabinets already. And if there is a product for free that we will never use, I most generally pass on it. Unless it is something that would be useful to the food bank or someone I love- then I pass it along.
For our family, it works. It is who I am and who I have always been- I've just refined it a bit. And I LOVE doing it. I feel like I'm hunting and there is such a victory in stretching an already tight grocery budget even farther!