Welcome to the last post of the Not So Extreme Couponing Series! If you need to catch up, you can find the other posts HERE.
Believe it or not, you are now ready to make your first couponing shopping trip! Here are just a few things to remember before you go.
Make a meal plan
I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before but it’s so true. Having a meal plan does in fact keep you from going over your grocery budget. Not only that, it saves your sanity. Does your husband come home every day and ask what’s for dinner? I’m telling ya, post it somewhere where he can see it and you’ll never hear that question again…unless you forget to meal plan and/or post it somewhere then you’ll witness eye twitching and convulsing.
Make a list and stick to it
Again, this will keep you from blowing your grocery budget. My “couponing” trips are to a local grocery store that is otherwise priced way out of my comfort zone so I have to stick to my list or I will totally blow my budget. Once you have your pantry stocked, sticking to the list gets easier…unless your hormonal and having cravings then it’s best to send your hubby or just wait for another day. ;) Also, never ever under any circumstance, grocery shop on an empty stomach.
Most of the time, I make my list from the coupon match-up blogs that I follow. I like doing this because I know how much I should be paying for an item after my coupons. However, before you make your trip, it’s a good idea to check the math. I occasionally find errors (usually typos).
Take the sales flyer with you or pick one up as you walk into the store
You should always have the sales flyer with you so that you can refer back to it in case there are any items that are not marked with the sale price. It’s also a good reference to verify the sizes and quantities that are on sale. Sometimes, there are coupons in the flyers that you will need or could use on a later trip.
Watch as items are being scanned at checkout
When you are checking out, be sure to watch the screen as the items are being scanned. If an item does not ring up on sale, you’ll want to bring it to the attention of the cashier. For some reason, they may not have the sale price in their system. This would be a good time to pull out your sales flyer and make sure the price gets adjusted. Another reason the item might not ring up properly is because the item you grabbed is not the size on sale. It’s very important to make sure you are picking up the correct item.
A few other things
Taking a shopping buddy the first time or two can help you from getting overwhelmed…and can help keep you on track and on budget.
Don’t be afraid to carry your box or binder into the store. Carry it with pride as you are saving tons more than the people walking into the store without any coupons.
Ask for rain checks! If an item is out of stock and they offer rain checks, be sure to ask for them!
Be kind to your cashier. If something goes wrong at checkout, don’t get all bent out of shape. Being calm and friendly will get you a long way.
The most important thing, HAVE FUN! Watching your total grocery bill go down drastically will give you a huge adrenaline rush. Couponing can be challenging but it can also be fun. Don’t let it stress you out and enjoy the fact that you are saving money that you can use for something else!
P.S. The picture above was taken on my grocery trip right before Thanksgiving. I spent a total of $92 which included (but isn’t everything) 6 4lb bags of sugar, 4 tubs of butter, 6 tubs of cool whip (which I got for FREE), 3 bricks of Velveeta, 6 packages of cookie dough, a box of k-cups, 6 bags of chocolate chips, 5 bags of shredded cheese, 2 bricks of cheese, 12 cans of veggies, 4 cans of chicken broth, 8 cans of cream of soups, and 2 1lb packages of deli meat. I think my total before coupons was well over $200.
If you start couponing and have any questions, feel free to email me. I’d also love to hear of any success stories and may even post them here on my blog!
Also, while this is my last planned post for this series, I will likely do more posts as questions come up or if I think of anything I might have missed or need to clarify.
Good luck and Happy Saving!