A couple of weeks ago, I tried something new at the grocery store. (Note that for the previous three months I had been couponing the "Coupon Mom" way, and I had finally realized that was not for me. After several days of clipping here and there, I had all my coupons clipped and organized in the coupon box and was ready to make up for the savings I had been missing out on!)
I went to our local new Ingles - which is fabulous, not to mention they offer double coupons up to $.50 - and I took my coupon box with me. I've never done that before as I had a fear of dropping the thing and a million coupons being scattered everywhere, but I decided to take a chance. I also went without a list or a menu plan - something I've done maybe two or three times in the 16 years we've been married.
My plan was to buy only what was on sale, hopefully also accompanied by a coupon. This really worked out well, and I ended up with a LOT of groceries. I then went home - actually I think I did this in the doctor's office while waiting to be seen - and after considering what I purchased, I made out our menu plan for the week. I ended up needing a few more things to complete the menu plan, so I stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home and picked up those few things. I still came up $15 under budget and had much more than usual.
There was only one drawback - it took forever! I must have spent 1 to 1.5 hours in Ingles, whereas normally I spend 30 to 45 minutes. I knew of a few deals ahead of time since I had their weekly flyer at home, so I was able to plan ahead for those. But, they often have unadvertised deals, so I would come up on those and then have to search to see if I had a coupon, and that was a little time consuming. Overall, I think it was a good experiment, and even though I rarely have time to spend an afternoon at the grocery store, I'll probably do it again someday.
On the subject of coupons, someone had asked me the other day what coupons I'm able to use since we try to eat healthy most of the time around here, and most coupons seem to be for things that aren't so healthy. Here's an example of some of the items I used coupons for this past week - for a total savings of $15 off the grocery bill:
Kellogg's Shredded Wheat Cereal
Uncle Ben's Rice
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin Mix
Nestle Chocolate Chips
Fiber One Granola Bars
French's Fried Onions
Yo Plus Yogurt
Coleman All-Natural Hotdogs
I always use coupons for laundry detergent, dish detergent, paper products, soap, baking products, oils, dressings, condiments, cereals, juices, makeup, shampoo, lotion, etc. - pretty much everything. I don't always have a coupon for everything I need, but all in all, it's definitely worth my time and effort to clip those coupons. Although it was a little bit of a slow process determining the best way to make out my grocery list each week regarding best deals, coupons, etc., it's getting easier each time I do it and less time consuming. Like I've said before, eventually I want to be that person that buys $100 worth of groceries without spending virtually anything out of pocket. If only grocery stores had Extra Bucks!