picture from blog.dealsgoround.comWord.
I have never seen an episode of Extreme Coupon Whatever it's Called. I have also never even half-way tried to use a coupon in all my 15 years of grocery shopping. After reviewing our budget this year I decided it was time to at least give it a half-way shot.
Right off the bat I learned something valuable. Coupons don't come in the Sunday paper on a holiday. I learned that twice in one day b/c surely someone stole them out of the first one? No. Yeah, we don't read the paper. So, it was Connie-minus 8 bucks, coupons-1 and recycling bin-2 big fat newspapers.
Well I wasn't going to fall for that on New Year's, no ma'am. I did not buy a paper on that Sunday b/c I was in the know. But when I joined the Grocery Game (more on that later) I realized that yes, coupons did go out that weekend and now (until they all expire) I have to get excited about saving $ only to realize it was from the Jan 1 paper that I didn't buy. So, I really have no idea when they do and don't give out coupons.
I finally got some dang coupons to get the ball rolling and I immediately clipped them all and stuffed them in a zip-lock bag and marked the bag. The next Sunday I did the same b/c you need a couple or three Sunday's worth of coupons to get started, so I was told. Then came that fateful day when I was ready to save BIG bucks. I signed up for my free trial of the Grocery Game and got my zip-lock bags in my hand and immediately realized that I had made a big mistake by clipping all of those coupons.
You see, you are supposed to leave them in their little booklets b/c the GG tells you where to clip the coupon/s you need.
My couponing adventure got a rough start.
OK, I got this. Third times a charm, right? I absolutely did not clip the coupons from the third paper and it certainly wasn't a holiday weekend. I put the booklets in a zip-lock, labeled it and watched Desperate Housewives. This was going to be a piece of cake.
I realized that the GG was great for matching store add items to the coupons but what about random things I need that I would have to purchase regardless of the add? Well, I decided to log all of the coupons like a nut job in Excel. Levi buys the paper for me and it takes me about 45 minutes to do it while we watch a movie on Sunday Afternoon. It is an awesome resource for me. I can do "control F" and look up an item by key word and know if I have a coupon for it or not. Here is a portion of what it looks like:
OK, now was time to try the real deal. I have my not clipped coupons, my spread sheet, my GG account so I was ready. I think I spent 3 days planning a menu, working through the items in the GG, clipping my coupons, checking adds, organizing my list and my coupons according to store, and occasionally stopping to cry and moan b/c it was a total beating. I saved $25 at Target and $30 at Tom Thumb. However, I spent the same amount of money I always do, possibly more.
Clearly the learning curve on couponing is long and large. Either that or I am just way to ADD for it.
The second time around for the
That's the main reason to join the GG b/c they do that for you. It's free for the first 4 weeks and you can use your free trial on as many stores as you want. After that it's $10 for one store and $5 for each additional one. I paid a total of $15 for 8 weeks to use it for two stores. You can also look up most of your local store's adds on-line.
Another mistake I made is doing my list for two weeks. I have always done it that way but I don't advise that when first starting out with the coupon thing. It's much too much.
Tomorrow I am excited to use the adds properly according to the correct add dates, use my not clipped coupons, and shoot for just one week. If, after this last ditch effort, I still want to punch something when I'm done and if it takes me more than one morning to organize it all and includes me crying, I am bidding my farewell to couponing.
I am not entirely sure which way I want this to turn out.
In conclusion, I have officially lost my mind for the sake of our savings account.