Another BoingBoing article:
Atlanta’s Crissy Thompson is the queen of coupon-clipping — she’s so skilled at it that she’s cut her weekly grocery bill to $10 for a family of five:
She buys two copies of the AJC’s daily double Sunday paper, getting four papers, four sets of coupons, for $5. She also goes to her favorite coupon websites (see links).
On the day we’re with Crissy, we tell her we just want a sampling of what she does. She tells us we’re going to CVS and Publix, two of her favorite stores.
I do coupons every week myself so I was very curious to see how she did it.
At the Publix, Crissy got her best deals with the buy 1, get 1 free items.
Most local grocery stores will let you buy only one item and get it 50% off. If you pair a coupon with that (most grocery stores double coupons up to 50 cents) you can sometimes get the item for free or next to nothing.
What I learned from Crissy is that you can use one coupon per item.
All this time I had misunderstood what it says on each coupon, only one coupon per purchase. I took “purchase” to mean “transaction.” It’s not.
For example, Crissy grabbed two boxes of cereal that were buy 1, get 1 free. The cereal was $3.79 a box. Crissy had a three dollar coupon for each box of cereal. She made over $2.00 when she pulled those boxes off the shelves. I thought I could only use one coupon, no matter how many boxes or cans or whatever I’d bought. So that’s good for me to know.
She didn’t buy any produce or meat when we were with her. The best deals that week were elsewhere and she told us she often gets her produce from local farmers at a nearby market where prices are very inexpensive. When we got to checkout her bill was $15.38 and she saved $36.22. Basically she saved two thirds of the bill.
She’s feeding a family of five on $10.00 a week?!
She spends one hour a week getting everything organized and then three to four hours one day a week to shop?!
Ack. I can’t decide if spending that much time is worth the effort. But then again, $10.00 … for a family of five? That is pretty unbelieveable.
Not that I don’t believe it, I do. But wow.
I used to use coupons way back when. Especially when the kids were little. There were always formula/food/diaper coupons that really did save us money. And I usually saved $10.00 on our overall grocery bill, but I soon realized that we were buying products that we wouldn’t normally have bought otherwise and after a while, I found I was actually spending more money on unnecessary things and THEN more money on the stuff we needed for our everyday living or dinners – the coupon stuff just ended up being … extra stuff we didn’t need (or even wanted but dang it, I saved a dollar on it!)
Maybe I wasn’t patient enough to search the ads for sales and whatnot. In fact, I know I wasn’t patient enough, am STILL not patient enough to spend that much time planning where I’m going to shop and what I’m going to buy.
But dang it, this coupon queen is kicking butt on her grocery bill so now I feel guilty for NOT spending that much time on our food bill.
Do you use coupons? Have you been successful at saving your family money?