The Grocery Guru

Helping you save big so you can live large

Never Pay Full Price Again (A How-To)

How it works:

Buying Things On Sale + Using A Coupon = Sweet Deals! I use a free online list (links provided below) that matches up local grocery store sales with coupons that come in the Sunday paper. I buy in multiples to hold us over until that item goes on sale again.

Step 1: Getting Your Coupons

I receive 5 copies of the Sunday paper in order to get multiple copies of the coupon inserts. That way, when I find a good deal, I can get 5 of them. The 'rule of thumb' is to get 1 Sunday paper for every person that lives in your house. You don't have to receive multiple copies of the paper to start couponing. You can make do with one if you already get it, or you can do only online printable coupons. However, to maximize savings, I really recommend getting multiple copies. I pay $18.99 a month for a paper every week day and 5 on Sunday. I save way more than what the paper costs me. And for all you 'greenies' out there, I compost the leftover newspaper and use it as mulch in my garden.

If you live in Utah and want a deal on the Sunday paper, contact my home girl, Shauntell at The Obsessive Shopper. She'll hook you up.

Step 2: Organizing Your Coupons

When I get my Sunday paper, I pull the inserts out, sort them by type, and write the date in the upper right hand corner with a marker, and then I file them in a filing cabinet. You can use a hanging file folder or whatever system works for you.

Step 3: Making a List

You still with me? OK, good! When I am ready to make my shopping list (you DO shop with a list, right?), I go to Grocery Smarts. On this site, you can choose the store that you shop at, and they have already matched up the coupons in your inserts to the sales at the local grocery stores. This site matches coupons and ads in Utah, Idaho, Southern California, Las Vegas , and Eastern Washington,. You simply select your grocery store from the pull-down menu and it will bring you to a list of sale and coupon matchups. I also recently found a list for Minnesota.

Sadly, I have not been able to locate a matchup site for all my peeps in Wyoming. I am not giving up on you! And, you can still use this system, it will just require a little more effort. A little hard work never hurt anyone, right ;) You can also use the Wal-Mart list on any of the sites above. Keep in mind that Wal-Mart prices vary by region. They may not be exactly the same, but they will likely be close. The Wal-Mart list on the sites above only include online printable coupons, but you can use coupons from the inserts there as well. More on that later.

OK, moving on... after look over the list and check out all the sweet deals, I make my list. I write what I am buying, how many I am going to buy, and where to find the coupon. I write a separate list for every store that I am going to. No, you do not have to go to multiple stores. That is the beauty of this system. You take what works for you, and you leave the rest.

Step 4: Gather Your Coupons

Then, I clip all the coupons I need. It is easy to locate them, thanks to the lists (links provided above). They tell you what the coupon is, what insert it is in, when it expires.

It looks something like this:

Pace Picante Sauce, any $1/2 (8-31-09) RP 5/10

That means you get $1 off any 2 Pace Picante Sauce products. The date in parentheses is the date the coupon expires. RP stands for Red Plum (an insert in the Sunday paper), and 5/10 is the date the insert was in the paper (May 10). There are also Smart Source (SS) and Proctor & Gamble (P&G).

I put the clipped coupons into envelopes that have the store names written on them along with the list for that store. I put them all in my purse, and I am good to go! When I get home, I track my savings in an excel workbook, but more on that later.

What do I need to know before I get started?

You need to know if your local newspaper has coupon inserts in them. If they don't, then you don't want to get multiple copies. If they do have inserts and you are going to be getting multiple Sunday copies, ask them for a deal. More than likely they will give you a discount, and it never hurts to ask.

You will also want to know the couponing policies of your local grocery stores. All you need to do is call and ask them what their coupon policy is. Ask them if the accept online printable coupons. A lot of them do as long as they say "Manufacturer Coupon", they have a scannable bar code, and they are not expired. Ask them if they have certain days that they double coupons.

Wal-Mart has a corporate coupon policy. I printed one and keep in it my coupon envelope for Wal-Mart. I have never had any problems using coupons at my Wal-Mart, but your results may vary. To be on the safe side, it is a good idea to print it and take it with you. You can read and print it HERE.

A word about online printable coupons:

Printing online coupons does require installing a coupon add-on. I have it installed and I use online coupons regularly. Don't be scared. It sounds like a pain, but it is worth it.
Only print coupons from trusted sources. Believe it or not, there are people engaged in coupon fraud. I know, right? I will never post a site here that I don't trust and use regularly.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment, or feel free to email me. I am happy to help. I will also be posting a lot more information and sweet deals on this blog.