Welcome to part 3 of The Busy Mom’s Coupon Series! The first post in this series is my Quick Start Guide, which wraps the whole couponing process up into a neat little package. My second post, No-Clip Coupon Options, explores some great virtual couponing apps (which I just love!) Today I am writing my couponing confession. I intended for this series to break down the various parts of couponing, just like the professional blogs that I admire so much. BUT…things never seem to work out the way I plan. Maybe that’s a good thing, because really, how many blog posts can you read about how to organize your coupons, how to match coupons with sales, and how to save a bazillion dollars on your groceries? Not many, I’d guess. So, instead, I am writing my confession. Here it is:
I rarely use coupons anymore
Gasp!! A frugal living blogger who created a couponing series doesn’t even use them herself? Shameful. Here’s the reason. One of my good friends recently introduced me to our local Mennonite/scratch and dent grocery store. I came out with a huge load of groceries that was half the cost of what I would have paid at Giant. I fell in love and never looked back.
This is the type of store where you have to check expiration dates, some packages are dented, and the selection can change from week to week. They don’t take coupons, which is fine with me because I hate the tedium of clipping and organizing them. And most importantly, even without coupons, my weekly bill is drastically lower than it was when I was shopping at Giant.
Honestly, until my friend took me to this store herself and showed me what to look for, I never even considered shopping there. Getting healthy food for my family was way more important than buying dented, canned junk, even at discounted prices. At least that’s what I thought.
What I learned by opening my mind and taking a chance was that this store is AWESOME! Yes, some of the packages are damaged and you have to sort through some things to make sure they’re ok, but I can get things like Frankie’s beloved grapes, snacks for the kids (which I wouldn’t normally buy because they’re so expensive), and perfectly good lunch meat at extremely low prices. The exact same things at the other stores would be so much more expensive, and there is only a minimal difference in most of the expiration dates.
So now, instead of trying to lower my grocery bill the traditional couponing way, I head 20 minutes down the road and buy as much as possible from my shopping list at the discount store. If I don’t find something I need, I either try to substitute something else for it (taking along a picture of my weekly meal plan is helpful for this) or head to Giant or Aldi for those few extra items. It’s not the most convenient way to shop for groceries, but the savings are worth it.
* One more tip before I go: Some people use coupon apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, SavingStar, and Receipt Hog. Ibotta and SavingStar give you savings for shopping at certain stores and buying certain products. I have definitely had some success with those apps. However, my go-to coupon apps are now Checkout 51 and Receipt Hog. They work for any grocery store, and Receipt Hog also works at liquor stores and conveniences stores. I love these apps because they give me a quick and easy way to increase my savings.
Now that you’ve heard my confession, tell me about your experiences with discount grocery stores. What tips do you have to share? Would you be interested in seeing a post about how to shop there without sacrificing quality?
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