By Jennifer Gray
[dropcap type=”2″]I[/dropcap] got an email about a coupon class that promised to cut my grocery bill up to 75%. I was like yeah right, and put it out of my mind. But then I got to thinking about it, and what if she can cut 5 dollars out of my monthly grocery bill, in 3 months I would have paid for the class and I would have saved 45 dollars in the year. We were trying to figure out how to pay for our daughter to go to private school and that was 45 dollars in the right direction. So I talked to my husband, and he agreed. I went to the coupon class and I left that class even more convinced that coupons don’t work, and Wal-Mart brand will ALWAYS be cheaper than brand name + coupons. Always. Always. Always.
However, I saw a news bit about a lady who feeds her family of 7 for 200 dollars a month. I was feeding a family of 4 on 700 dollars a month. OMG! What is wrong with that. Now, I was hell bent on trying to figure out this coupon thing. There HAS to be a way, but I didn’t have alot of money to make mistakes. One night I sat down with some coupons that the lady said were really good coupons and tried to make the math work. I started browsing blogs. If I didn’t like a blog, i moved to another one that was reference on that blog. Yep, I was blog shopping.
Local Blog Convinced Me to Try Again
I finally came across Passionate Penny Pincher (it was then, Publix Penny Pincher). She had super deals to get for the food pantry and it was all broken down with what coupons would work. Well I got my math and her math to equal up. So I went to the store and bought 4 items. (Remember, I don’t have alot of extra money to spend). What I had on paper is what totalled up at the register! BINGO!I continued to shop at Wal-Mart for my weekly groceries, but I started stocking up with great deals at Publix. I initially got my weekly budget down to 75 dollars a week. Which was great. My husband was happy with my savings! And week after week, that is what I spent. This went on for months. Yes, I said Months! This whole time you are building up a stock pile, while having to still eat. So you have to pay full price for things. Now, I won’t buy pasta unless it is free. I won’t buy butter unless it is free. I won’t buy a razor unless it is under dollar! I have my prices for things.
The Break Thru
So one day, I looked at Dave and said, I want to see if we can live off of 50 dollars a week. You should have seen his eye’s when I said that. I could have served them on a silver platter they popped out so far. I said I would like to give it a try and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. We had shrimp that week! SHRIMP! I worked out how to afford shrimp into our 50 dollar a week budget and fresh shrimp at that! I went to the fish monger and asked for fresh shrimp. I knew at that point, that I could do this. At that point, to help me out, I would see what was on sale and make my weekly grocery list from what was on sale.
I’ll warn you, you are not going to see your grocery bill go down over night. Stockpiles take about 3 months to build up. There are still items that I am short on in my stock pile. Set a realistic goal for yourself and sit down and try to meet that. There are a ton of spreadsheets that are out in the blogosphere that will help you figure out (before tax) what your total should be. (I did mine with pencil and paper, but I am just that kind of girl!)
Most importantly, give it a try and don’t get easily discouraged. Coupons are worth the effort. They have allowed me and my family so much more freedom!