WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Beth's couponing story!

Posted April 5, 2013



Beth's story is the fourth couponing journey we are sharing in our weekly series about how couponing works at your house. On Tuesday, Nakabi shared how she and her husband use coupons to support their family of five, including 3 little ones. Today, Beth tells us how her family of 4 (including a teen and college student) uses coupons. Here is her story and how she makes couponing work in her home!

My great thanks to Beth for sharing her story! I love that her husband helps out by finding Groupons and Living Social deals (especially the mani/pedis)!  I also like the app she mentions below in the weekly routine section.

I also want to thank everyone who has sent me their stories so far! I look forward to sharing them twice a week!

If you would like to share your couponing story, it's not too late! Just send me an answer to the questions below at saving@smartspendingresources.com.  To see the previous stories, click the links in the box above.

Here is Beth's couponing journey:

How many people are in your household?

2 adults, 1 teenager, 1 college student who lives there during the summers and college breaks

Why did you start couponing?

We were looking for ways to save money and get the most out of our dollar.

How long have you been couponing?

About 2 years

How much do you spend on groceries and non-food essentials per week?

We probably spend $100-120/week for everything, depending on the week. This includes a few specialty diet/health supplements that my husband and I need.

How much do you save each week?

My average is about a 50-60% savings, sometimes more.

How much time do you spend couponing and shopping each week?

Average maybe 1-2 hours, depending on how well I've kept up with it.

How do you organize your coupons?

I use the binder method with the baseball card pages (that I bought from the coupon workshop!). When I get ready to shop, I review the sales and coupon matchup's provided on the WRAL blog as well as check the stores online for specific items to compare prices and then I pull out the coupons I intend to use and put those into a separate envelope. I take my binder to the store in case I see something else that is a good deal and I have a coupon for it, but this way I keep all of the coupons I plan to use for that shopping trip together.

Where do you shop for groceries and non-food essentials?

Kroger, Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods, Food Lion, and Walmart. I have the advantage of having all of these fairly close by or at least on my way home from work.

Walmart and CVS is where I get most of my health/beauty products, occassionally Walgreens.

Do you have a weekly/monthly grocery planning/shopping routine?

Mine is weekly and I just keep an ongoing list of what I know we need on my phone - I use the AnyList app and have it set up to where I have categories for all of the stores I shop at so that I can list specific items I want to get at each store based on the current sales.

I do keep a stockpile, so if there is a week with an especially good sale on the things I know we're close to the end, I will add that to my list for that week.

Does anyone else in your household help with couponing and saving? If so, how do they help?

My husband does, he is pretty good about looking out for Groupon and Living Social deals for manis/pedis for me, massage coupons, car washes, oil changes, things like that.

What’s the worst part about couponing?

Sorting through all of the ads each week and printing the online ones and having to cut them up and sort them. But this really isn't that bad!

What’s the best part about couponing?

Getting FREE stuff and saving money!

Do you have a stockpile? Feel free to send a photo if you would like.

I do, but I don't have a pantry so the stockpile is wherever I can find room for it!

Do you do any meal planning? If so, do you plan weekly, monthly or at the beginning of each day?

Yes, though it isn't always set in stone. We always keep chicken and ground beef in the fridge and some basic ingredients so we usually have something on hand to whip up if we haven't planned that week.

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone just getting started in couponing?

It is always a work in progress! I've been at it 2 years and I am still learning!

Definitely learn to stockpile...there came a time when I was not able to go grocery shopping like I had been doing in my routine and that stockpile was a life saver! It was nice to know we had things on hand that would last a little while in times like those!

Is there anything else you want to share about your couponing journey?

I have enjoyed sharing the information and tips with others!


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  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Apr 5, 2013

    Thanks again for sharing your story mrschizzy! I feel like I should go paint my toe nails now! LOL

  • mrschizzy Apr 5, 2013

    Hello everyone, thanks for the positive feedback on my story! Ya'll are so sweet! :) My screen name on here is mrs_chizzy :)

    My husband and I both have the Groupon app on our phone. I can't say it is necessarily any significant savings using Groupon and LivingSocial, but for specialty things that you wouldn't want to pay full price for, it is nice to have. I have bought 2 Groupons for oil change packages. Something we all need anyway! We have also given them as gifts.

    I actually love the mani/pedi's because I like getting my nails done. My husband says there should be a law against women walking around with "naked toes" lol! I am terrible at doing them myself!

    The AnyList app is great, and when I had an Android phone, there were a couple of others I tried. It works great for me as long as I can create my own categories for each store.

    Thanks again, everyone! I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

  • losltp Apr 5, 2013

    thanks Faye
    I think I will include the dining out portion of our entertainment in our food budget

    Thanks Also for the gift suggestion of the groupon or living social deals - will definitely add that to my gift idea list !

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Apr 5, 2013

    jdouglas - the Groupon deals for the JOCO area have been terrible for over a year. For a while there they were really marketing this area and signing up retailers and restaurants but it's been a long time since they have posted a good JOCO deal.

    I have found that some of the better Groupon deals are for kid's activities like the Go Cart places, Adventure landing, jumpy places. I have bought the Adventure Landing Groupons in the past and they were worth it.

    There are also a bunch of pizza Groupons, but making my own is so much more frugal.

    If you are someone who gets mani/pedis, then the 50% savings are good buys. Again, I am too cheap to pay someone to paint my nails so I pass on those as well. LOL

    But, as Juanita pointed out, they make good gifts. I have given Groupons to many people, especially in other states.

    losltp - Groupon type deals go into my entertainment budget, not food/non-food essentials.

    Thanks again Beth!

  • jdouglas13 Apr 5, 2013

    I enjoyed reading your story, Beth. Thanks for sharing! :) I was not familiar with the Any List app, and will check it out as well.

    On a separate note, does everyone use a lot of the Groupon/Living Social deals? I see one that may be of interest every once is a great while, but I can't really say it has saved us any significant amount of money.

  • needserenitytowin Apr 5, 2013

    Good Suggestion LOS
    It would be nice to see how those deals have affected family budgets
    GAS usage is the biggest factor for my family when deciding whether to go to store especially for only 1 or 2 items ( daily deals/weekend specials).

  • raesmom1612 Apr 5, 2013

    Great story Beth. I love groupon, i look forward to birthdays and anniversarys since i know thats when im getting one from the hubby :)

  • losltp Apr 5, 2013

    Thanks Beth for your story !

    QUESTION for ALL : Is it possible to somehow include the groupon/living social deals you use as an addendum to your family main "survival" budget ( food,paper goods, laundry needs, & personal products - medicines,shampoo, body wash, etc)?

  • Packy Apr 5, 2013

    Good story!!! So, what is Beth's ID on here? I'm not familiar with who she is. :)

  • nakabi Apr 5, 2013

    Thanks for sharing Beth!!!