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The world’s best coupon clipper

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I got this amazing comment from a guy named Mike on a recent post:

I have to disagree with all those who rail against coupons. My wife has the last 4 months of inserts filed in our filing cabinet with a spreadsheet that she downloads that inventories the contents of each weeks insert. She then compares our grocery list to the coupon inventory, pulls the correct coupons and goes shopping. the best savings are on the staples we use (cereal, shampoo, etc..). Our monthly grocery bill for a family of 4 is ~$320.

I swear to god, as much as I make jokes about cutting coupons, I would like to first meet this person, then marry her.

Ok, let’s play a game. Who is this person? Where does she live? What is her job? Her husband’s job)? What life experiences brought her to such a level of mastery?

Let’s all just stipulate that she is Asian (who else would be so diligent?). The rest is fair game. Have at it in the comments.

We can all learn something from my future wife.

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171 Comments on "The world’s best coupon clipper"

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Celine
Celine
6 years 1 month ago
I won’t risk guessing, but it is not that uncommon. In case of many normally time-consuming thrifty practises, if you set up a good system (automation) it can be pretty efficient. A lot of people turn it into a hobby, a game – there is some strategic thinking involved and then you have the satisfaction of “beating the system”. I’ve been actually making some pocket money on the side by re-selling coupons – our company is often getting them to distribute among employees, with a blank space to fill in the name, but usually most people are not interested in… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
6 years 1 month ago

I would love to see how the spreadsheet is organized. I don’t know about keeping 4 months worth of inserts, that’s hardcore! But I would like some ideas on how to create a system like this in Excel.

Mike, please share the spreadsheet! ^_^

Kate
Kate
6 years 1 month ago
I do something sort of similar, but I use Evernote’s text recognition functionality to automatically do the ‘compilation’, i.e. I scan the coupons into Evernote and file the coupons into physical folders labelled with the store name. Then when making a grocery list, I do a search of the Evernote-indexed scans. So say I want to see if I have a coupon for ‘shampoo’ and where it’s cheapest, I search ‘shampoo’ in Evernote and it displays all the scanned coupons that mention shampoo (based on its text recognition), and I just eyeball the prices from there to compare, note the… Read more »
andrew
andrew
6 years 1 month ago

I would be very interested to hear more about this method, how do you manage this system?

Amber
Amber
6 years 1 month ago
David
David
6 years 1 month ago

My stay-at-home mom fed our family of 6 in Indiana consistently for $80 a week cutting coupons.

Anne
Anne
6 years 1 month ago
It must be an Indiana thing. My stay at home mom fed our family of four the same way. She has a business degree from Indiana University (one of the best in the country) and after leaving the corporate world to raise little ol’ me she wanted a way to contribute financially to our family. Clipping coupons, finding the cheapest places to eat out (kids eat free, ect.) were a way of life in our family. Not only with groceries, but with restaurants, clothes, or anything else we spent money on. I’ve taken her frugality to a new level. Not… Read more »
Sarah Fowler
Sarah Fowler
6 years 1 month ago

A good friend of mine does major couponing. I’m not sure how she keeps them organized, but she belongs to a couponing site and reads couponing blogs. She regularly goes to the grocery store and gets $60-$100 of groceries for something like $1.21! She’s amazing. One day I remember b/c of some gift card deals she not only saved money; she wound up PROFITING $40! She’s started teaching classes on couponing and I want to learn the ways of the Jedi master 🙂

Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago
My dad regularly does this as well. Somehow, because of all his coupons, the store ends up paying him. And he frequently buys $100 worth of groceries for under $5. I do know most of his tricks, because I see him spend time at night organizing his coupons, and I know I’d never want to live my life that way. I just hope I will always be able to afford anything I want at the grocery store. I’m trying to be more like my mom than my dad–she spends on things she loves (travel, food) and saves on things she… Read more »
Tracy
Tracy
6 years 1 month ago
Jenn Mc
Jenn Mc
6 years 1 month ago
I am also a hard core couponer. My family of 3 has a ~$70 per month grocery bill. I get all of my shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, deodorant, etc from drug stores that PAY me to take their merchandise. As I said on a previous post, I also sell my excess “stock” to coworkers/friends. It is a hobby for me but I save time by filing whole inserts, viewing grocery/drug store ads weeks in advance & using coupon databases so I know where to locate a coupon I need. I used this method to get us out of credit card… Read more »
Craig/FFB
6 years 1 month ago

Kate’s system above, using Evernote, seems interesting.

I would like to see what the spreadsheet is set up like. Perhaps once everything is in place it doesn’t take too long to maintain?

If it does take a lot of time then it’s not for me. With three kids you would think doing some major couponing would be good but we just don’t have that kind of time. We’d really have to see some real return on time. I’d rather take the time and work on my site to earn more income.

Micah
Micah
6 years 1 month ago

$320 for a family of 4? How about $15 for a family of 6?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQNvdKNTZUg

Denisse
Denisse
6 years 1 month ago

I think this sounds like a lot of work. I shop at Aldi, you don’t need to spend time clipping/automating/scanning etc, their prices are always the lowest, even w/coupons or buying in bulk, and time.

senshimo
senshimo
6 years 1 month ago
I am also a hardcore couponer. I also work F/T and am going to night school for my MBA. So… free time? Not so much. For (3) adults (husband and parent), we spend about $60/wk on groceries and sundries, saving about 30%-45% each trip. The FDA average for 3 adults is about $71/wk, so I always aim to buy lower than that. A lot of the reason for the high price is that we buy meat when it is at its lowest price, separate it into portions, and store it in our basement freezer. We also store bulk meals, also… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
6 years 1 month ago

Ditto Amber’s comment about CouponMom. The website not only has a searchable database of coupons, it matches them to store sales. I consistantly save 30% with about 1/2 hour of work a week.

Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago

She could be my Russian father who does this as well.

I still make fun of him for it because he’s a financial advisor and his time really IS money, and if he wanted to, instead of his coupon system he could do work for his clients which would get him a lot more than 25 cents off his 2 dollar purchase.

He does it for the “joy of saving”. I didn’t inherit this gene. I work so I never have to think that 25 cents is important enough to even a second thinking about.

Emma
Emma
6 years 1 month ago
I am also a hardcore couponer. I’m 26, white, engaged with no children, with a Masters degree. I’m also mind-blowingly attractive. hehe. So I don’t fit the stereotype of the middle-aged mom of 6. I teach gifted kids in an extremely wealthy school district, the suburb is VERY populated and there are 3 of every single store you could imagine within 5 miles, and live alone–so because of my profession and living situation, I have a fair amount of time on my hands. I started couponing when I was DESPERATELY poor in graduate school–as in, never sure if I would… Read more »
neshura
neshura
6 years 1 month ago
I saw a clip on the news about a mom who supposedly fed her kids for practically free for a month by clipping coupons. She was pretty proud that she only spent a couple of hours a week managing her coupons and shopping. I was impressed until the camera panned across her pantry — 20 jugs of cooking oil, a dozen boxes of hamburger helper, chex mix, and a ton of other processed things. Now, it’s great and all that you can stock up on this stuff for practically free, but it is NOT easy to find coupons for —… Read more »
ccb
ccb
6 years 1 month ago

same here… as much as i loved the boxed foods i’m trying to eat healthier, a trip to the grocery store and i only really hit the produce and meat sections. we already shop at the ghettomart down the street, and they put the meat on sale fairly often.
i just can’t see myself devoting enough time and energy coupon hoarding for it to make a difference. i tried once- i did try! but by the time i went to the grocery store all the coupons were expired. bah! this whole process is riddled with landmines.

Christina
6 years 1 month ago
Yeah, same thing with me. I could see couponing helping for products like tortillas, canned tomatoes, canned beans, dried pasta, tomato paste, soy sauce, vinegar, etc. I don’t think couponing for just that type of thing will lead to dramatic savings. But for those of us who don’t like to eat processed foods, the most important thing is to find a store that has high-quality produce at good prices (in my area, that’d be Fred Meyers, or Asian groceries) and also a store that has a good bulk aisle (like Whole Foods). Also, perhaps consider investing in a chest freezer.… Read more »
Patricia
Patricia
6 years 1 month ago

Isn’t one of the basic principles of investing to diversify? That same philosophy should be applied to saving. Why wouldn’t someone who likes to save by clipping coupons not like to save on big ticket items too? Your advice is just helping us clippers diversify how we save (and invest, think about finances, etc.). That is why we read your blog (and book). Man does not live on bread alone, so why should he save on bread alone?

Craig/FFB
6 years 1 month ago

To build on what neshura was saying, I see coupons for lots of food that may not be the healthiest for you. You don’t see as many coupons for products you find in Whole Foods, for example. Is it worth all of the coupons if the food isn’t too good for you?

ccb
ccb
6 years 1 month ago

cont’d from other post… agreed- when i DID cut out coupons i found myself saying “well, i never TRIED beef macaroni with jalepeno and shredded cheese in a box, how do i know i won’t like it?”… but then i could never bring myself to buy food i wouldn’t eat. boxed dinners, preprocessed snacks, soda soda soda. coupons for pet food i can see- i have a litter coupon on my fridge now- but i couldn’t take the onslaught of rainbow hamburger helpers.

AD
AD
6 years 1 month ago
Totally NOT into coupons, unless it’s for a retail store (24% off at XYZ this weekend). I literally have never seen one for anything I buy these days in the Sunday paper or on coupon sites. I buy everything from soap to detergent to lotion all at the local farmers’ market, and shopping at the market, I never buy processed food, either. I actually don’t trust meat “on sale,” or meat purchased from anyone but a local rancher, for that matter. I’m also extremely picky about personal care products (who makes them, what they’re made of), so toothpaste, floss, even… Read more »
AD
AD
6 years 1 month ago

Ha. Meant 25%. Whatever. 🙂

neshura
neshura
6 years 1 month ago
I guess I should rephrase my question. I spend $700-$800 a month on groceries for a family of three. The majority of that goes to, as I mentioned, vegetables, basic dairy, flour for bread, and yes — we do eat pretty simple food. Not quite bread alone like what Patricia says, but soups, egg dishes, and our daily bread (literally). We eat meat occasionally but I know the farmer and I’m not abandoning him to get meat cheaper elsewhere. My question for any experienced couponers who might be monitoring the comments is — can I (or people like me) save… Read more »
Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago
I’ve experienced the same problem–I just never see coupons for things I actually buy. A few times, I have actually seen coupons for salads–like, those premade bags of salads. But I buy primarily veggies (for salads or fast cooking), chicken breasts, and um…some processed food which I can find coupons for (those 100 calorie snacks–I’m bad with portion control, so they do actually help me not eat 800 calories of chocolate cake). Coupons are usually for new products or things that aren’t being bought as often as the manufacturer would like. By definition, that seems to mean food that is… Read more »
Patricia
Patricia
6 years 1 month ago
I completely understand and in some ways agree with you. I’m not an uber-couponer, but I save my fair share. Personally I find that my biggest savings with coupons are for things like toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, cleaning products, pasta, cereal and yogurt. My biggest “splurges” with coupons are ice cream and tortilla chips. Otherwise I don’t buy the junky hamburger-helper type foods either. But I do like to save on essentials when possible in order to have money to spend what I please on other ingredients (whatever they may be). I’m all for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) by the… Read more »
Josh S.
Josh S.
6 years 1 month ago
She appears to be using a variation on the ‘Grocery Game’ This is referenced here in the following post on ‘Get Rich Slowly’: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/05/17/busting-the-myths-why-coupons-are-a-valuable-part-of-your-financial-arsenal/ We should be focusing on the ‘Big Wins’ … right? So … what equates to a ‘big win’? $80/hr? According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal (and subsequently referenced in MSN here ( http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney/earn-100-dollars-an-hour-clipping-coupons.aspx ) at approximately 1 minute a coupon (if you know what circular the coupons are in) and an average coupon amount of 1.44 that equates to ~$80/hr. Combined with a service like http://www.groceryguide.com/ (free), http://www.couponmom.com/ (free), http://www.hotcouponworld.com/ (free) or… Read more »
Moneymonk
6 years 1 month ago

For a minute I thought I was on the wrong site. Ramit! please bring back the capitalist posts. Thx in advance

I could care less who save .15 on shampoo, etc

Juliet
Juliet
6 years 1 month ago

People who save .15 on shampoo aren’t couponers they just occasionally use coupons. Shampoo and most toiletries, in my world, is free and sometimes puts money in my pocket and takes less time to figure out than an easy game of Sudoku.

Kelly A
Kelly A
6 years 1 month ago
Personally, I done a little of everything. I’ve tried “hardcore coupon” tactics, focused on the big wins and focused on earning more (highly recommend Ramit’s Earn 1K program btw). If you cannot earn more (or presume you cannot earn more because of mental barriers) then saving more is a viable alternative. Couponers love to say how their time is worth more saving because they don’t have to pay taxes on a salary or it’s better because they do this while watching the Price is Right in their pjs. When I’m working, I LIKE what I’m doing, just like coupon moms… Read more »
Jenn Mc
Jenn Mc
6 years 1 month ago
For those that are curious about coupons for healthy food – they are out there but maybe a little harder to find. One example is a winetag. The little tags that are the neck of the bottle often have coupons for $$ off of meat/dairy. I picked up one two weeks ago for Laura’s Lean beef but most just are not that specific. Also, several months ago there was a printable coupon for buy 1 dozen eggs, get 1 free. I know that Lowes Food had coupon booklet out recently that had “health brands”. Another way of saving is to… Read more »
Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago

Jenn,

You’re right! I forgot about this, but it is something my father does do. This one can be relatively simply too–just walk by the beer/wine section of the grocery store that day and see if they have any coupons.

I think I’ve also seen (through him) coupons for seafood on those tags.

Michael
Michael
6 years 1 month ago

I bet she stays at home with the kids now but used to have a job that required looking at a task and systematizing it like computer programming, project management, etc. Then she started to have kids and decided she would rather raise them right. So now at home with a little “free time” she put her job experience to work and made a useful tool for their family by systematizing their coupon clipping. Good for her!!

Amanda
6 years 1 month ago
I don’t think $320 for a family of four is that amazing, in all honesty. I used to be a super couponer, but found that shopping at WinCo was just as cheap and saved me time. We spend at the most $180 per month for my family of four, and that’s eating a lot of fresh produce. We don’t do boxed anything except cereal. Now, my sister has a family of seven. She uses pinchingyourpennies.com to check the sales and know which coupons to clip, no planning involved, and she spends $300 per month. That includes diapers, toiletries, etc. With… Read more »
Jeremy Pope
Jeremy Pope
6 years 1 month ago

I’ve got friends that save on average $400 – $500 per month on groceries, toiletries, and other necessities by using http://www.grocerygame.com – granted, they have families >4 and they do stockpile some items. They don’t have whole storage rooms full though. Seems like on meat, you need to have an extra freezer to be able to make couponing work best for you.

beatgrl
beatgrl
6 years 1 month ago
When I used to check groceries 25 years ago, I was constantly amazed at how much people could save with coupons. Like $100-300 in a trip! Because of the kind of food and other products I buy I am in the same boat as some others above who never see coupons for the (usually healthier) things they buy. A solution I use is to do a special order for staples I use regularly, like organic cereal, gluten free pasta, rice milk, curry sauces, etc. My food co-op gives a 15% case discount for members. Doing this while the product is… Read more »
Jody
Jody
6 years 1 month ago

Clearly your recent blog post of how people are judgmental about how others spend their money was ignored by many of the folks who are commenting on this topic.

senshimo
senshimo
6 years 1 month ago

True, true. Hope I didn’t sound like that in my posts!

Holly
Holly
6 years 1 month ago

I save about $5-$10 per trip on my grocery by spending 10 minutes going through coupons.com and printing out ones that look useful. And I’m a huge health snob too, as in what most people call “healthy” I think is complete junk, so I don’t know if I could ever do extreme couponing, but I can usually find coupons for 3-4 things I actually want.

Erica Douglass
6 years 1 month ago
My mom is the world’s best coupon clipper. She once saved over $600 on a single grocery bill. She kicks the butt of most of these websites that teach you how to save using coupons. She is a master. However, here are the downsides. She has an anxiety disorder, so for her coupons are a way of retaining control. She used to spend $40,000/year remodeling the house (she’s now stopped since my parents are close to retirement.) She has over 200 pairs of shoes–and continually buys more because they are “such a good price!” She recently financed a Lexus…I believe… Read more »
Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago
Erica, I feel for you. I know for my dad, it’s a disorder as well–he goes shopping at least one a day, usually several times a day. Because of his career, he doesn’t sit in an office 9 to 5, so his day revolves around meeting with clients and going food shopping. When I visit him (he’s in another state), I always ask him to go food shopping just once a day, so I can spend more time with him outside of a grocery store, but he will usually sneak out of the house to do it. I think it’s… Read more »
Angela
Angela
6 years 1 month ago

I used to be pretty skeptic about coupons as well but some people really make them work. Check these out for more info:
myfrugaladventures.com – this mom keeps to a $50 per week grocery budget for a family of 4 and posts her weekly shopping trips: http://myfrugaladventures.com/category/shopping-trips/
hip2save.com – posts helpful videos on saving tips: http://hip2save.com/2010/02/follow-you-monday-publix-and-target-shopping.html

Justin
Justin
6 years 1 month ago
Great posts guys! Both my wife and I have both run the gauntlet of coupons and there is totally a benefit to coupons, IF YOU DO IT RIGHT : ) Most extreme couponers will say that it does take a lot of time, and it does, but the wins can come in both tremendous savings AND profits! Streamlining our lives have brought us to the point where we collect our weekly SmartSource and Red Plumb coupon inserts and store them by date. Then once we receive our weekly circulars from our grocery store (yes, just one) We, then jump onto… Read more »
Amarpal
Amarpal
6 years 1 month ago
Cathie
Cathie
6 years 1 month ago
I recently had a friend post about how “hot dogs are on sale, plus the coupon in Sunday’s ad means they’re only $.29 per pack!” Yes, but you’re still eating hot dogs. That’s the origin of my coupon philosophy. As people have mentioned, the problem I’ve noticed with my couponing friends is that they’re buying food that I really don’t want to have tons of. Yeah,you got a great deal on Sunny D and five(!) tubs of Cool Whip, but I’d rather drink regular OJ and whip my own cream. Most of them are stay-at-home moms, living off just one… Read more »
Tasha T
Tasha T
6 years 1 month ago

I joined the yahoo group how to shop for free. I consistenly with the groups help get groceries for 10-20 % of the cost and all my toiletries I get for free or the pay me to take them home. I find it to be a game. When I have saved my million dollars cash I will still be a couponer.

Mainline Mom
6 years 1 month ago
As usual, stereotyping people is just dumb. I don’t consider myself a hardcore couponer, but I do use them a lot. And I look for lots of other ways to save on groceries…like buying the store brand if it’s decent, keeping inventory and checking weekly circulars. It doesn’t take that long and the feeling of saving is rewarding. I also use that savings to mentally justify my overspending on clothes. But I’m also frugal when it comes to clothes…I use coupons and only shop clearance stuff….but I buy a LOT more than we need. That said, I’m 100% white, work… Read more »
Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago
I thought you bring up a good point: Many people have this outlook, that it makes them happy to save. For me, the need to save has always been tied to being poor. I’ve actually never been poor, and my mom always bought whatever I wanted, if it was on sale or not. I grew up wanting to be exactly like her–to never have to count money. I always wanted to just live a comfortable life, with money being an afterthought. I like going to a store and not even looking at how much anything costs, just knowing I can… Read more »
Tim Rosanelli
6 years 1 month ago

I am a health nut and love to cook. I find clipping coupons is useless if you make food from scratch with basic ingredients. I shop almost purely by price per unit which almost always is cheaper then a coupon item. Prepackaged foods are the most expensive thing in your cart. Without prepackaged foods, you can feed a family for way less than without the coupons.

No Debt Plan
6 years 1 month ago

I’m curious and kind of shocked this wasn’t asked: how much would the grocery bill have been without the coupons?

It’s typical cost/benefit analysis. If she’s spending 4 hours to save $10, that’s $2.50/hour for that time period.

If she’s spending 30 minutes and saving $100, then I’m interested.

Avi
Avi
6 years 1 month ago

For those commenters who say that there aren’t coupons for produce, etc., they are out there. Just this morning, my wife (she’s the coupon clipper, i’m just the shopper) sent me to the supermarket with a buy 1 get 1 free coupon on 5lb bags of potatoes. In the past, we’ve gotten free tropicana half gallons, free dozen eggs, free milk w/ cereal purchase (cereal is often on sale and coupons are abundant). So you can find these coupons sometimes.

Mindi
Mindi
6 years 1 month ago
I used to be appalled when my mother would use coupons when I was young- I just thought that the savings was just not worth it. A combination of being very bored at my job and my boyfriend losing his, I started to research ways to save money and get our financial life in order- that is how I found this blog! I stumbled upon many blogs about coupons and the drugstore game and so I started getting the Sunday paper and slowing started learning the process. Soon enough I had more or less mastered the ‘game’ and could walk… Read more »
jgonzales
jgonzales
6 years 1 month ago
I do coupon clipping. I realize you don’t see them as “big wins” but they do follow your philosophy, which is spend what you love & cut back mercilessly on what you don’t. Right now my goal is to be able to continue to stay home with my kids and buy a house. I do care that my family not eat Hamburger Helper, but I don’t see any reason why I should spend full price on spaghetti noodles when I can take about a half an hour to an hour a week and pay pennies on the dollar. I use… Read more »
Vinita Pappas
6 years 1 month ago
I’ll play the game. In fact I’ll do even better…I was this person for awhile last year. Where does she live? What is her job? Her husband’s job? I’m a stay-at-home mom/artist living on a farm in a rural area. My husband is a project manager for a construction company and earns enough for us to live comfortably on one income. What life experiences brought her to such a level of mastery? I started clipping coupons because I wanted to cut back on the spending and pay down some of our debt; a car loan and mortgage. If you haven’t… Read more »
Aimee
Aimee
6 years 1 month ago

Thanks for posting this! I’ve been wondering recently what an ex-couponer’s perspective would be, since I haven’t really seen many. People seem to either give up quickly or become obsessively frugal for life.

Anne
Anne
6 years 1 month ago

Just like everything else in life, it’s important to find a balance.

You CAN obsess over anything. Find a way to do it, get a system, and move on with your life.

Eddie
Eddie
6 years 1 month ago

I briefly looked into the grocery/drug store game. You have to check on it every week to see the deals/coupons posted (30mins or so looking through it, print out coupons, getting the inserts/newspaper for the coupons) You may also have to go to multiple stores to take advantage of sales+coupon for the biggest savings. I guess after time it becomes routine. For big families that can use most of the products, you can save a good amount… but a couple or single people its kinda pointless.

Mike
Mike
6 years 1 month ago
@Tim, @neshura Post # 25 I agree that coupons are nearly useless for fresh produce/meat and coupons will get you the most substantial discounts on the processed/prepackaged foods such as the hamburger helper mix, soda, and such. For the people that use coupons, yeah it’s great that you spent $4 on $100 worth of groceries, but what you buying and feeding yourself. Are the foods you buy with coupons healthy? Are you basically eating those types of foods because its free or cheap. I like to save money, but not at the cost of my health and well being. With… Read more »
Anne
Anne
6 years 1 month ago
I am not a ‘professional couponer,’ but I do save a substantial amount on my overall grocery bill on a bi-weekly basis. I am a very healthy eater. I would agree that those who are ‘super healthy’ (only completely non-toxic products, ect) would have a hard time couponing. However, if you like to wash your clothes with things like Tide, and brush your teeth with products like Crest, you could probably save some money with coupons. I almost never pay for toothpaste or toothbrushes. I generally buy dish and laundry detergent for $1-2. I use coupons to buy products like… Read more »
senshimo
senshimo
6 years 1 month ago

You would need to rely on Store Coupons for produce, meat and dairy deals.

Safeway/Genuardi’s (PA) publishes coupons on these items in their circular (especially eggs and berries).

I always get rain checks for items that are sold out because they were below the normal price (and the usual price of a competitor).

Marty
Marty
6 years 1 month ago
My coworker is another coupon clipper who also saves BIG on everyday staples. She’s 60+ and lives alone. Yesterday she told me that over the weekend she had gone to the grocery store and her bill was $28 or so. (she gave me the exact amount but I forgot). She then handed her club card and her coupons and ended up paying only $4 and change. $28 worth of stuff for less than $5!!! Some yrs ago, when stores still did the double-coupon thing, she was telling my husband (who dropped by to have lunch with me) about her savings.… Read more »
serdar
serdar
6 years 1 month ago
If the household income is over 100K, couponing is just a waste of time. These are the pros and cons with couponing: CONS: 1. The amount on the coupons are usually $1 or less. 2. It is time consuming to cut them, arrange them and find the perfect time and place to use them. You can make about $10 hour using coupons. That’s all about it. 3. They are usually for processed goods. I usually cook from scratch so they are no use for me. 4. No grocery coupons for store products. Store products are usually cheaper than brand names… Read more »
Aerianna
Aerianna
6 years 1 month ago
Wow. I know I shouldn’t be laughing at this, but it really is amusing how surprised you seem about it. But please don’t mistake me; my amusement stems merely from the fact that you can scoff so easily at your parents’ coupon for Del Taco, and then demand to know where you can meet such a girl and marry her. But this is how my family raised me! We have all of our coupons saved, and while we don’t use a spreadsheet–too much time–we do keep all of the coupons highly organized. As for going over the shopping list and… Read more »
Raina
Raina
6 years 1 month ago
My problem with cutting coupons for groceries is that you really have to work hard in order to find coupons that help you to eat fresh and unprocessed food. A previous commenter noted that he was able to get a 5 lb. bag of potatoes for free and that there are several coupons for staples such as milk and cereal. I don’t know about you, but I am not a huge potato eater and I don’t consider milk and cereal to be staples of a healthy breakfast. As someone who is trying to eventually become vegan and aspires to eat… Read more »
senshimo
senshimo
6 years 1 month ago

I come across Almond and Soy milk coupons very frequently!

MikeP
MikeP
6 years 1 month ago
All these judgmental people on here. I love this site, but people… get over yourself. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Don’t criticize someone because they are trying something to better their situation and you don’t understand the process. My fiancé’ and I have recently started couponing (she was laid off and we needed a way to find money to continue paying off debt). Couponing is a process and you need to find a process that works for you. My fiancé’ spends an hour a week on couponing. Our goal is to save a minimum of 60%… Read more »
Kelly A
Kelly A
6 years 1 month ago
Using coupons, recreationally or religiously, is a personal choice. Ramit has never said they’re stupid or evil, his parents use coupons for tacos and Ramit’s Taco Bell love is well documented. FWIW, I don’t think he was impressed by the original comment because of the amount this woman saves, but to the extent she is organized with a file cabinet and excel document. Ramit says all the time if you want to learn about coupons this blog won’t help you do that. And there are alternative ways to save money. Which brings me back to my original point. These things… Read more »
Anne
Anne
6 years 1 month ago
Ramit- I have to respectfully disagree. I am a small business owner. The $97 I saved at the grocery store this week paid for my virtual assistant in the Philippines to work for a day and a half. She’ll be working this weekend, I’ll have my toes in the sand at the beach. ‘It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.’ ~William of Occam Couponing is so engrained in my routine, I would have to make a conscious effort not to. I sort through the coupons when I sort through other mail and file them… Read more »
Joe
Joe
6 years 1 month ago

I don’t get coupons. They are usually for brand name goods that are more expensive than generic goods, even with a coupon. Also, once you add up the opportunity cost for clipping and organizing coupons, just does not make sense.

Joleta
Joleta
6 years 1 month ago
Don’t even think about wasting time cutting out coupons, sorting or arranging them in any way. Just write the date on the insert in Magic Marker and either file it in a storage box or pile them up in a corner. When you’re read to go shopping, go to http://www.coupontom.com, search for the items on your list, and you’ll be told what dated inserts have those coupons. That’s Step 1, Basic Couponing. Step Two is to use a site like Coupon Mom or The Grocery Game to match coupons with what’s on sale at your local store in order to… Read more »
Julianna
6 years 1 month ago

I never used to cut coupons until I tried it once and literally got hooked. I saw an ad for something I was planning to buy and I cut out the coupon thinking, “Hey, extra $2 to buy a magazine or something.” Then I cut out a few more coupons for other things I needed like toothpaste etc., went to the store and paid only $9 for a purchase that would have cost me $30. Those kind of savings add up and I love to spend it on extra things that I would not have splurged on otherwise.

Karen
Karen
6 years 1 month ago
I went through a phase and became addicted to the coupon game a few years ago after seeing a show on Oprah about this lady who saved so much couponing. I became totally addicted for a while, playing the CVSing game, subscribing to a several frugality blogs. Looking back at that “phase”, it’s not for me. It was very, very time-consuming. I spent hours a day looking at subscribed emails of what I could get cheap, cutting and filing coupons, etc. Most of the groceries I bought with coupons were for unhealthy processed box-type foods, etc., I still have the… Read more »
Kelly A
Kelly A
6 years 1 month ago

Thanks Ramit, I try to give credit where it’s due. Earning more and Optimizing spending is definitely a different way of thinking from Cutting costs.

Jenn
6 years 1 month ago
I am not anti coupon, but I am more interested in big savings. Time is money, and cash is king. If I can make even $10 an hour, it is probably more worthwhile to work instead of clip coupons for small items. That extra work might also have more impact- more networking, job opportunities, etc). I also find it more worthwhile to research a smaller amount of items (when replacing my laptop I looked ONLY at ones that met a set of super specific criteria instead of looking at a wider variety of laptops). I think often people also end… Read more »
Kelly A
Kelly A
6 years 1 month ago

I agree Jenn! the cost of ink is another reason I don’t print internet coupons – there’s a hidden cost involved 🙂 And it’s true that narrowing your choices can really save time and, in some cases, sanity.

Therese
Therese
6 years 1 month ago

Anne,

Just curious, how do you get into the “mystery shopper” thing? Sounds enticing…

Anne
Anne
6 years 1 month ago

Check out the MSPA website for companies that need people in your area. You can get certified, but you don’t have to. At first, they will give you small assignments, fast food, retail, ect. You have to prove yourself before they give you the good stuff. It does take some practice to get good at it, but it’s fun!

Good luck!

Mike's Wife
Mike's Wife
6 years 1 month ago
Mike’s wife here. I’m not Asian. He’s an engineer. I’m a J-school grad turned stay-at-home mom. I got into couponing with the Great Huggies Diaper Deal of January 2007. (Kmart, as low as $1.50 a pack!) From there I found the BHB coupon board, and it went downhill! I don’t actually use a “spreadsheet” … I utilize Hot Coupon World’s coupon database, taylortownpreview’s upcoming insert list and some other sites. I do however take all my inserts and stick them in a hanging file folder with the date on it. This saves my time (I only cut them out when… Read more »
David
David
6 years 1 month ago

I’d be curious to see some screenshots/scans of people’s savings with coupons. This could give a better idea of what type of items are actually purchased.

Also, you may be able to make more $ in 1 hour vs. couponing, but I bet the vast majority won’t do that work. Also, if your job doesn’t pay OT, it sucks even more 😛

senshimo
senshimo
6 years 1 month ago

Yes, some more than others. I refuse to pay full price and I do love the thrill of the hunt.

Jigish
Jigish
6 years 1 month ago

Unrelated but I am sure you would like to know about this:-
Your book was mentioned on an Indian news website (www.rediff.com)
http://getahead.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/may/27/slide-show-1-money-ramit-sethi-bestselling-author-tells-you-how-to-get-rich.htm

Raina
Raina
6 years 1 month ago
Mike P’s wife, just an FYI: You are not getting paid to take the processed foods out of the store. Even if they made $.01 profit off of you, it cost them less then nothing to make that stuff. It’s called an economy of scale. I love that people feel like they are getting such a ‘deal’ on processed foods when basically the food industry is set up to stir everyone into a coupon frenzy, thinking that people are getting such big ‘deals’. Coupons are marketing. For as much couponing as people end up doing, they’re still being marketed to… Read more »
Tiffany
Tiffany
6 years 1 month ago

You’re making the assumption that coupons are only used for processed foods, which I think it false. You can just as easily use coupons for “made from scratch” items, fresh vegetables, meat, etc.

Furthermore, there is more at the grocery store than just food. Do you use shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, medicine, storage containers, aluminum foil, toilet paper….the list goes on. The same people who are cutting coupons are probably using coupons on other retail goods as well.

Aerianna
Aerianna
6 years 1 month ago
While I’m not sure if this is what Mike’s wife meant when she said “paid to take [it] out of the store,” you have a good point. However, it is entirely possible. One of the best examples I can come up with is a recent experience with Ralph’s; I had a $1.00 off coupon for a bottle of Suave Shampoo, whose price had been lowered to $.98 (it was on sale). When I got to the register, the cashier scanned the shampoo, I handed her the coupon, and she GAVE me $.02. I call that being paid. I have had… Read more »
Beth
Beth
6 years 1 month ago
Coupon clipping can work for most people. The key is balance. Collect coupons only for items you use and match them with sales at your local grocery store or drug store. If there aren’t many coupons for the products you buy, that’s just fewer coupons you have to manage. If you use coupons like me, you won’t save as much as the dedicated coupon users, but you’ll still save probably about 50% of what they do in only 10% or less of the time. Each week my grocery store puts out its circular online. I can click on items in… Read more »
Mike's wife
Mike's wife
6 years 1 month ago
Raina – Yeah, sometimes I really am getting paid. if I spend $1.50 and get three bottles of dressing, but I get a $2 OYNO order coupon…then I’m getting paid. Kind of like how i took my razor coupons to target. Paid with a $10 gift card, got 6 razors AND $15 in gift cards back. Yup, I’d totally call that paying to shop. Does that always happen? Even usually? No, of course not. But it does. And you can be elitist about food all you want, no problems here. But when I buy my Ronzoni Smart Pasta for $.17… Read more »
Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago
Mike’s wife–I don’t see anything wrong with saving money on small items like this–if it makes you happy, go for it. My grandmother is the same way. She remembers how much each item she bought costs and likes to compare between stores. I went to stop and shop with her to buy myself a carton of eggs, and she informed me that I was overpaying by $1.50 a carton. Then I informed her that I buy a carton of eggs once every 6 months or so, so I don’t mind–I’m paying for the continence of not having to go to… Read more »
Aerianna
Aerianna
6 years 1 month ago

Just a friendly suggestion, if you ever do worry about the price of your eggs, raise your own chickens! 🙂 At first it may seem like a bit of a hassle, considering the feed, but if you have a good number of hens, they’ll all eat one scoop of the same feed (total) a day, and will give you lots of eggs. What you don’t need, you can sell, and you’ll end up making a profit. 🙂 However, the farming approach isn’t for everyone, and you might live in a city where it’s illegal. But usually it’s worth it.

Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago

err….I meant the “convenience of not having to go to multiple stores”

Jenn Mc
Jenn Mc
6 years 1 month ago

Very happy with today’s trip:
3.56 pounds of Perdue (no hormones!) chicken breast tenderloins
2.3 pounds of apples
1.26 pounds of bananas
= $10.23

Found beer rebate for $10 off $10 poultry purchase, including stamp to mail rebate this transaction cost 67¢.

Michelle Brown
6 years 1 month ago

In Australia, we just don’t have that coupon thing (not that I know of) so I’m having trouble seeing what all the fuss is about!

Celine
Celine
6 years 1 month ago
I’m wondering… so judging what other people spend their money on is bad, and judging what they spend their time on is good? Because this is the attitude I see in some of the comments. Makes no sense, since time is money. Deciding to spend hours on coupon clipping is not much different from deciding to spend large amount of money on eating out. I’m talking about people for whom it is a choice (that is they could afford to shop without coupons) and there’s a lot of them. I haven’t been couponing myself, but I know that playing it… Read more »
Lissie
Lissie
6 years 1 month ago
You seem to assume that all of these people would choose to do a side business that generated about $700 – $1000 a month in less time than it takes to clip & use coupons; that might not be the case. Instead of clipping coupons they may read novels, organize their closets, play Rock Band, bounce a baby on their knees, go on a walk, etc. While these activities have variable values they aren’t easily quantified into a monetary standard. Your argument about time = money can only apply if instead of doing the “money-saving task” (in this instance clipping… Read more »
Zain
Zain
6 years 1 month ago

My middle school teacher once made her classes compete to see who could save the most money in one month by using coupons.

I surprised myself by saving $50 off a $100 grocery bill

Zain
Zain
6 years 1 month ago

I should add, that was only cost me 1 hour of going through the Sunday paper

Amy Larrimore
6 years 1 month ago
Oh, and your future wife, she’s probably a bit older than you – I’m going to put her as married, 34-40, works a well paying middle job where she manages processes instead of people (internal audit, corporate accountant, etc). I think she lives in the surburbs of a major metro area (like Atlanta). Her husband does something a bit more hands on but is a decent paying management type role – general manager for a retail store, regional sales director kind of thing. They hit the 100K or better household income mark. Their house is worth better than half and… Read more »
mamacita
6 years 1 month ago
I was pretty sure Ramit was being sarcastic about this one. I don’t want to knock the lady’s efforts, but she’s clearly bright, resourceful and dedicated. If she spent that much time on a work-from-home job (or any kind of job that worked with her family’s schedule), she might score one of those bigger “wins.” And then she could buy whatever kind of cereal she wanted. If I come across a worthwhile coupon, I’ll definitely hold on to it and try to use it. But anything I put a lot of time into had better be paying me in CASH.
Orchid
Orchid
6 years 1 month ago
Part of the stereotyping that is associating with couponing is due to a lack of information. Couponing is no longer sitting around with the Sunday paper and scissors. A modern couponer will 1) log onto a site that details all the local deals with the coupons that are associated. 2) log onto another site that sells coupons spend $5 for someone else to do the work 3) check the mail & go shopping. How much money should a couponing family of 4 spend on groceries each month? $100. How much time should it take to do this? After the initial… Read more »
Dan
Dan
6 years 1 month ago
I’ve never been a couponer myself, but i do use them once in awhile. But honestly, my free time is too important to me…I couldn’t imagine spending a Sunday morning going through the papers to save 50 cents on milk. However, much to the thoughts of this website, i DO believe in big wins and coupons can fill into this category. The other day i was shopping online for a dell computer, and before i bought it, i googled dell canada coupons, and bam, there’s a forum with a post for a $100 off! So 10 minutes of googling saved… Read more »
freecia
freecia
6 years 1 month ago
I don’t want to marry her, but I wouldn’t mind if she’d be willing to drop some coupons my way based on my single lifestyle and consumption. Yes, I’d be happy to outsource this stuff to someone who enjoys it for a few dollars. An e-mailed shopping list or “need new laptop by next month, want a xyz speed” and coupons showing up in my mailbox or e-mail would be a good time saver. It’d keep me off slickdeals, fatwallet, and from wasting time looking at other big win deals as well! Time savings to work on other things I… Read more »
Tiffany
Tiffany
6 years 1 month ago
My fiance and I (25 and 24) are both self employed. We have a few passive income streams and are working on adding a few others. I’m Jewish, and I do not like to buy anything without a discount. There are NUMEROUS websites (including http://www.SouthernSavers.com) that list what’s on sale at the grocery store, match up the coupons that correspond with the sales and post the information for free online. I buy a few newspapers each week, and when something is on sale that I need and want, I cut the coupon and purchase it. I spend less than $160… Read more »
Kelly A
Kelly A
6 years 1 month ago
Tiffany, do you think people use “I can’t save on groceries” when they mean “I don’t know how” or “I don’t want to spend the time”? I absolutely COULD save more on groceries but I choose to spend my time elsewhere. And I’ve spent the time understanding and using coupons in the past so I know exactly how much time it takes me (most people are probably quicker than I am, I’m liable to cut myself with scissors still). So all of us non-coupon people, we’re either “whiny complainers” or have a different viewpoint. Whiny complainers will probably never change… Read more »
Tiffany
Tiffany
6 years 1 month ago
Kelly, You’re 100% right and I hope my earlier post didn’t seem like I’m criticizing people who have decided that couponing isn’t for them but save in other areas. Deciding to focus your savings efforts/time in a different area is different than people who complain that they live on a fixed budget and can’t find money to save. Admittedly, this is recently a hot button issue for me as I know several whiney complainers who don’t want to adjust their spending down to put money in savings or plan for the future, but don’t want to take the hour a… Read more »
Mneiae
Mneiae
6 years 1 month ago
I really like the idea of using Evernote. I remember watching a Youtube video about an MIT lab coming up with a system where you take pictures of barcodes and you can search online for the market price of each item that you look at when you’re at the market. Using Evernote to look up coupons is not the same, but it’s moderately similar. In Indiana, it is definitely pretty simple to have a smaller food bill than some of the commenters here. I have no idea where they are shopping, but what they are paying sounds ridiculous. Kelley is… Read more »
Brenda Kuenzi
Brenda Kuenzi
6 years 1 month ago

Try this shopping site also:
http://www.onewayshopping.com/coupons/

Jacqueline
Jacqueline
6 years 1 month ago
You know soemthing, Im geting sick of asians. I praise their family oriented clture and hard work ethic which really sets them apart from others. But latinos/hispanics are just as smart and hard working. They come from disadvantaged countires and poor families so they obviously have a hard time getting rich here in America like asians. You cant just assume this woman is either white or asian. I am a Boston Public School teacher and the difference how asian and latino childen are raised is what sets them apart but they ae no diferent. Asians are the new jews and… Read more »
Mommy Reporter
6 years 1 month ago

Are you just now getting hip to this…?? “Coupon Divas” have been around for a long, long time and there are entire communities dedicated to this type of thing on countless websites… While I am impressed at her savings, I’ve seen several other moms use coupons and do much better…

Kelly Webster
6 years 1 month ago

and yes, it’s about the thrill of the chase……

Angela
Angela
6 years 1 month ago

@Ramit- You were surprised by how many of your readers use coupons. I bet many of your followers are also over 40 and not just starting off in life/ career, etc. You don’t have to convince them to save for a wedding or max out their retirement; they want to know what to do if they did NOT do those things. BTW, coupons give me a headache.

Melissa
Melissa
6 years 1 month ago

I would like to point out that even “positive” stereotypes (Asian people are diligent) are harmful.

Alaine
Alaine
6 years 1 month ago
I coupon like crazy. I’m married, with no kids, and work full time outside of the home. It does take some time to coupon, but there are so many money-saving blogs out there that will literally tell you what to buy and which coupons to use (and usually include online links to those coupons) that I can’t even imagine not using coupons now. We spend, tops $150/mo on groceries. And, no, we don’t just eat crap. Couponing isn’t just about the Sunday inserts, its about combining sales and catalinas and rebates, all of which will net you a lot more… Read more »
Eugene Yee
Eugene Yee
6 years 1 month ago
Last week, I just watched that link regarding the woman who pays $4/week for groceries. Afterward, I signed up for her “How to shop for free” email newsletter regarding coupons. Each day since I signed up, I’ve been getting 6 emails from that forum advertising specials and coupons. If I actually followed through, spending 2-3 hours researching coupons, I’d probably save ~$20. $10/hour is not my idea of a big deal worth wasting time over. This morning, I got six more emails this morning from that forum. I wanted to shoot myself in the face; I unsubscribed. It might have… Read more »
Mavin
Mavin
6 years 1 month ago
I used to majorly coupon–and I agree with all the above comments about how it is very time consuming, even with the best system, yet you really do save a ton of $$. Like the book says, learn to be frugal, not cheap. If you don’t have the time to coupon, or you don’t want to do it, don’t beat yourself up about it. Either find the time but don’t whine if you choose not to. After enrolling in a full-time master’s program with a family and four kids, I took a stab at online grocery shopping in order to… Read more »
Maris
6 years 1 month ago

Whoever she is, I’m totally hands down on her diligence! But I would really have appreciated it more if Mike had shared how the spreadsheet looked like, so others like me who are fumbling would get an idea how to proceed correctly.

Sam
Sam
6 years 1 month ago

Anyone else think this Julie character has too much time on her hand? It would be better spend helping your dad cut coupons!

Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago

My dad lives in California and needs no help, since this is a hobby for him and not something he does for the financial benefit.

Mandie R
Mandie R
6 years 1 month ago
let me start of by telling you who i am. im 26 years old mom of three kids (9y step daughter,4y daughter,1y son) i live in barrington,nh(average median household income around 50,000) my husband and i own a local business and our income is beyond 150,00 a year and have my 401k,IRA,money market account and my savings and bought my house at 22 years old. about two months ago a friend was raving about a workshop she went to and it didnt make sense so i researched it and found myself intrigued by it. my regular grocery bill ranged around… Read more »
mandie r
mandie r
6 years 1 month ago
oh and btw to all you girls, ive even got FREE makeup! covergirl makeup and physicians formula are some that ive got so far. oh and something i thought was crazy when a store is offering a product say covergirl buy one, get one free, you can also you a buy one get one manufactor coupon and you will get BOTH for FREE! the store is giving you one free and the manufactor is giving you one for free! last week at rite aid i used 6 buy one get one ziploc bag coupons with the rite aids buy one… Read more »
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Money Funk
6 years 1 month ago
I can see the benefit of CVS and their Easy Care Card system for toiletry/cleaning items like toothpaste, hair gel, furniture polish, etc… I know plenty of people that get $80 worth of stuff for nil. But most coupons are for unhealthy food. I think if you bought produce and staple items like rice, beans, quinoa, etc… And ate vegetarian {which is also healthier for you if you actually eat your vegetables as a vegetarian – alot of people are known to eat high amounts of unhealthy deemed ‘vegetarian’ food}… then you would save a bundle, too. This of course… Read more »
Johnny Mean
Johnny Mean
6 years 1 month ago

Wait a second!
Has anyone thought of assigning couponing tasks to their remote admin assistants? : ).

Z Blair
Z Blair
6 years 1 month ago

There are a lot of websites out there for downloading coupons, and also coupon related sites like couponmom.com and thegrocerygame.com ; my preference is to just get them out of my Wednesday and Sunday newspapers. They are printed on a cycle so that when you are about to run out of something, you usually will get a new coupon for it. I’ve done this as long as I can remember and reap the rewards. You can also bargain shop for big ticket items too. It really does pay to be an informed consumer 😀

Felipe
Felipe
6 years 1 month ago

I am never going to cut coupons. It saves you some $ but it destroys your self-worth. Only miserables or people in really bad moments should do it, not people able to use computers, internet access and able to write/read. You’ll miss many opportunities by placing time and energy in the wrong place.

Amber
6 years 1 month ago
There is a long list of items I never pay for anymore, from toothpaste to cereal to canned tomatoes. I don’t have a system like the woman described – I do even *less* work. Yes, I save months and months of inserts but that’s because I’m too lazy to throw out the old ones. I just keep them in a big pile in a plastic bin. It would be more efficient to have them sorted by date, but it would also require an investment of time up-front. The key is that there are a bunch of websites that will do… Read more »
Shelly
Shelly
6 years 1 month ago

I think using coupons is good for people who are organized and can plan ahead. For those who are organized challenged it’s just a headache and way too much work. You can still save a lot of money on groceries by meal planning, not buying alot of junk food, etc. I use coupons because I love the thrill of getting things super cheap and having a grocery bill of $200-$250 per month for 3 people. This includes all food, personal hygiene and paper products.

Vicki
Vicki
6 years 1 month ago
Coupon clipping is extremely common practice (almost de rigeur) for stay at home moms. Through careful budgeting, and never paying retail, a family of 4 can survive on one middle-class income. I am one of 4 kids, and growing up in central Kentucky, my mom clipped coupons and sold Avon to help make ends meet. She still couponseven now as an empty nester, and with the senior citizen discounts on “geezer day” as she calls it, she’s still hauling home bags full of great bargains (and loads of free stuff). Someone else posted couponmom.com, but there are coupon blogs and… Read more »
Jeff Barnes
6 years 1 month ago
My wife and I took up couponing after we heard we were about to have twins and already had a 2 year old. We learned how to do it from a coworker and his wife who literally stockpiled tons of stuff for pennies on the dollar. We bought our coupon inserts for 40-60 dollars a month, but in turn saved us a bundle. We had ketchup for 3 years (all of which we got free with coupons). We organized, cut and stapled them together. It brought us together. Funny we would go out on date nights and end up at… Read more »
Christine
Christine
6 years 1 month ago
It sounds great to save money with coupons, but how does this work with fresh veggies and non-processed foods? We try to avoid hfcs, trans-fats, white flour, etc. Also what about products that are paraben-free and phosphate-free and bleach-free cleaning products? I usually shop at 4 different grocery stores each week to take advantage of the special deals from each one – one market for organic fruit and veggies, one for bulk, one for snacks and health/beauty stuff, one for organic dairy. But I still seem to spend over $400 each month for a family of 4. We try to… Read more »
Missy
6 years 1 month ago
I hesitantly went to a free couponing class put on by an independent representative of http://grocerysmarts.com/. I am a stay at home mom with a family of 4 and usually have a min of 2 extra kids each day. We make most all of our food from scratch and therefor use very little processed food. I didn’t think that there was any thing in this couponing thing for me. I soon learned I was wrong. Personal hygiene products, paper products, razors, cleaning supplies, flour, sugar and more all have coupons available. I found that using the charts on grocerysmarts.com and… Read more »
moom
6 years 1 month ago
We don’t really have coupons in Australia. When I lived in the US, I had the same experience as many of the readers here, I rarely saw coupons for things I actually wanted to buy. Here we: 1. Shop in the fresh food markets (I didn’t really see these where I lived in the US). Here it is somewhere between a traditional outdoor market and a collection of stores that sell mainly fresh produce. 2. Shop in Aldi 3. When we do shop at the major supermarkets – Coles and Woolworths – we try to buy as much as possible… Read more »
Corrine
Corrine
6 years 1 month ago

I live in Canada and I don’t understand a lot of the comments on this site as we just don’t seem to have as much of the ‘something for nothing’ mentality here. There aren’t many coupons to be had here and they’re just not worth a lot.

Maybe that’s one reason why we aren’t experiencing the financial meltdown that has taken hold in the good old USA. When you keep trying to get something for nothing, eventually you end up with nothing and it costs a very big something. I’m just saying….

E
E
6 years 1 month ago
In college, I would have been closer to a couponing-dream girl. With less than a half hour a week, I kept my food bill low to start with an additional 15% with coupons. 11 years later, the only coupon I check for are the ones sent by clothing retails to my email inbox. I am impressed by families that can keep their monthly food bill under $400, which is what I spend (this does not include eating out) for just myself (50/50 mix white and hispanic for those of you keeping track). Why so much? I live in NYC where… Read more »
sandi stewart
sandi stewart
6 years 1 month ago

I admire the organization of the coupons and I truly love spreadsheets, but this chick needs a real job. She’s got entirely too much time on her hands

mandy r
mandy r
6 years 1 month ago
What I think a lot of you guys miss is this does save a lot of time with probably just as much time as you guys waste reading all these comments and write comments about how much its not for you.unless you really reseearch it and give it a try you shouldn’t judge, not to mention thatThere is so much more you can do once you get good. There are a lot of people who make thousands teaching others how to save money using coupons.next time your at your bookstore look and see what you find and I think you’ll… Read more »
Catherine
Catherine
6 years 1 month ago

My grocery bill for a family of 3 plus a home daycare (so I feed multiple children during the day) is $350. No coupons. I buy whole foods- grains, produce, meats, dairy- and make things from scratch. When I tried couponing, it ended up costing my family our health because I was getting a bunch of processed food for nearly free! We’re much happier and healthier eating fresh foods and we are only spending $30 more a month to do it…

Catherine
Catherine
6 years 1 month ago

I figured I should add the additional info to my above comment that I live in a high cost of living area, so you can’t argue that food prices in my area are low.

Kana
6 years 1 month ago

i’d love to see the spreadsheet! I would try it, but I’m a little OCD when it comes to having all of them with me in case I go shopping [unplanned] or come across something and wish I had them. That’s rare, though, but yeah. I’d give this a shot though! I’ve been doing this since March… my statistics so far (I track them on my blog):

Total OOP since 3/01/10: $412.66 – w/ $50 BP card
Savings since 3/01/10: $1,115.84 [73%]

Christine
Christine
6 years 1 month ago
I thought I’d post this link to the Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org Among the work that they do, they research the ingredients in body care products and they claim that some are indeed toxic! It seems a little extreme to me to avoid all of these products all the time, but I definitely have sensitivities to some of these ingredients. So that’s why I wouldn’t clip coupons for a free bottle of Suave. Sadly. I’m totally white, and I feel a little silly about it. They also have a list of veggies and fruits and rate the level of pesticides.… Read more »
The Debt Darling
6 years 1 month ago

I am a couponer and I read your site. Your focus is on the “big wins.” For many people, that is their food budget. Saving $300 a month is a big win for an extra hours work each week matching coupons to deals. I like your site because you offer bigger ideas and ways to look at saving.. Couponing is great, but your site offers a different perspective. The couponer wants to know how to save any way they can..including Ramit’s ways. 🙂

Bettaboy
Bettaboy
6 years 1 month ago
As some have mentioned MoneyFunk-Catherine, the coupons are designed to get one to buy (the usual crap) that the store wants to move. (not allways however)… Having been in a major fire where renovation fumes left me near dead, I recovered functionality (not all) from years of holistic methods (degrees in pre vet/ocean, arts and chemistry, bio chemistry and was obtaining my Masters before fire). So the items I need to buy ie whole foods, nothing packaged or canned are rarely to be bought with coupons. And if you think that eating foods and using products that are toxic to… Read more »
Tiffany
Tiffany
6 years 1 month ago

I think it is fascinating that this discussion started off with an invitation from Ramit to speculate on who uses coupons and why to what almost feels like a debate regarding whether using coupons means you’re poisoning yourself and the environment or not.

Liz
Liz
6 years 1 month ago

What I have always wondered is are these people only buying name brand big manufacturer items? or are there coupons out there for things like fresh fruit and veges, milk, chicken breasts, eggs, dried beans, etc? That is the bulk of what I buy. I go through the papers each week, clip one or two coupons for something that maybe sounds interesting and then end up never buying the product.

James Liu
James Liu
6 years 1 month ago

“Our monthly grocery bill for a family of 4 is ~$320.”
How much money this family has saved each month by using coupons? How much time they spent on collecting/managing those coupons? How many supermarkets they have to chase after for the savings? The cost of gasoline and time?

Christine
Christine
6 years 1 month ago

I think the responses here really show how personal our purchases are.whether saving hundreds each month or spending more for non-processed,or simply eating beans and veggies, we all seem deeply engaged with what and how we consume. We all seek the balance between saving and living well by our own definitions. Thanks for the ideas ppls, I mighthave learned how to save a little extra grocery cash and still eat the food that’s right for me!

Shel
Shel
6 years 1 month ago

Hello, suburban moms everywhere do this. At my job, several of the women bring their coupon inserts to work after they’ve cut out what they use and we trade them around. Then I go to http://www.southernsavers.com or http://www.couponmom.com and make a grocery list for the store I’m going to visit and it matches my coupons for me. Perfecto! I save a ton that way! This is how I get my shopping fix these days.

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Rob
6 years 1 month ago

My mom was always cutting coupons when I was a kid. As far as I know she still does because she refuses to pay full price on anything. My wife and I don’t bother with coupons mostly due to the fact that we’re just too busy. Our monthly grocery bill is usually around $300 and that is for just two of us! So if we can keep it the same when there is a third mouth to feed (and only one of us working), we just may have to join the coupon clipping club.

mycouopn
3 months 4 days ago

nic blog post…
thx for sharig ur ideas with us ….
visit our website — http://mycitymycoupon.com

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