WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Dawn's couponing story!

Posted April 23, 2013


Dawn's story is the seventh couponing journey we are sharing in our weekly series about how couponing works at your house. Her story is very timely as she talks about Super Doubles preparation and her frustration when items are out of stock.

My great thanks to Dawn for sharing her story!  Her savings are impressive at 65% a week and the comments about her husband (and how he "helps" out with couponing) are quite funny!  And I love her answer to the very last question.

I also want to thank everyone who has sent me their stories so far! I look forward to sharing them every 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.  We would love to read your story!  To see the previous stories, click the links in the box above. As long as you all keep sending in your personal couponing stories, I will post them on the blog for everyone to enjoy.

Here is Dawn's couponing journey:

How many people are in your household?

In my house there is me, my husband and the cat!

Why did you start couponing?

Like most people we started using coupons to save money! We had cut coupons for years, but only for the stuff we used on a regular basis. If we used 3 or 4 each time we went it we were happy...can you imagine?? After hearing friends talk about how much money they were saving I some how stumbled upon Faye's blog on WRAL - I started reading it everyday and thought - ok I can do this! I (notice it's now "I" LOL) When I first started I wasn't crazy obsessed with it - then I did my first "serious" super doubles at Harris Teeter. I spent hours going over the "good deals" list & getting all my coupons...when I left the store with my $7.52 receipt for almost $90 in groceries you couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I was hooked! I remember calling my husband at work so excited about it...he thought I was nuts!

How long have you been couponing?

I have now been seriously couponing for a little over a year

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

I don't do nearly as well as Faye and some others on the blog - I average around $30 per week

How much do you save each week?

Again not as good as others but I average right about 65%

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

This is why it's now an "I" instead of "we"...lol. Time spent varies - if it's a regular double coupon week I may spend an hour total preparing & a 1/2 hour actually shopping. If it's super doubles or triples I will spend 2+ hours matching Faye's list (thanks Faye!) to my list & cutting/pulling coupons; then maybe another 30 minutes or so finalizing my list on the stores website . I will also spend another 1-2 hours during my lunch hours at work printing coupons (I have a great boss!)

How do you organize your coupons?

I only recently started using a zipped binder/organizer - before that I used a regular $5 three ring binder with the 4 pocket per page plastic sleeves and a pencil bag. I also have a file box organized by month for my inserts.

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

I shop wherever the best deals are for that particular week - most times it's Harris Teeter, but I'll also go to Lowes and Food Lion. Luckily for me all 3 stores are within a mile of each other and my house :).

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

I normally do my coupons on Thursday nights and shop on Friday nights. If it's super doubles or triples I do coupons Tuesday night & shop Wednesday morning before I go to work.

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

Ummm my husband helps by NOT helping! LOL

What’s the worst part about couponing?

The worst part is spending hours getting ready for a super doubles or triples, getting up extra early so I can go before work, get to the store and all the good deals are gone. I feel like I spent all that time and energy for nothing. It can be disheartening sometimes. It's also not so great when people behind me in line get annoyed because it takes longer to check out due to all the coupons & me making sure everything is correct. Or they think I'm one of those "extreme" couponers that empty the shelves. Did you know that it's my fault that food prices go up because I use so many coupons the mfg's lose money! Yep that's been said to me!

What’s the best part about couponing?

The best far outweighs the bad....all the money I've saved!! I especially love it when the store manager high fives you because she has to over ride the register because I saved "too much money"...LOL. Love it!!

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

I don't have a huge stockpile of food items - maybe 3 weeks worth. However - laundry & dish detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, body wash, razors etc; I could probably last a year on what is now in my closets.

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

We meal plan weekly but unfortunately we don't always stick to it. ;)

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

Plan, plan, plan and organize! I think it's super important to be organized; makes the trip much smoother. Read/follow the smartshopper blog - it is very informative and everyone is so helpful. And take one of Faye's classes - well worth the investment!

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

It's been a crazy fun ride so far - who would have thought I would actually look forward to grocery shopping?!


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  • cfrn Apr 24, 2013

    Thanks Faye...so I was able to go to both stores this evening and got about 50% of the things on my list at both places. Overall, I was pleased, but I may just head back to finish up this weekend if time allows. The Lowes Foods in WakeForest had no Tyson brand chicken at all...I was really looking forward to that freebie!

  • smolder13 Apr 24, 2013

    dawn-That sounds so familiar! I once sent my husband to Kroger for 4 half gallons of milk when they were on sale 4/$5 (and I mentioned the price at least 3 times before he went) and ignorantly assumed that he could tell the difference between a half gallon and a full gallon, as well as read the shelf tag with the price. I was wrong. He came home with 4 FULL gallons of milk and had spent almost $16. I was so upset. And I had to seriously rearrange the freezer to make them fit!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Apr 23, 2013

    cfrn - I am sure it is much more frustrating to find empty shelves when you have traveled a ways to get to the store and can't get back to use the raincheck any time soon. I hope you can find some good deals if you make it to HT or LF this week!

  • cfrn Apr 23, 2013

    I enjoy reading all your stories, everyone. Unfortunately I do not live in Wake Forest or Raleigh but I do travel there when I can especially for the doubles/triples, and I make about a trip per month if I have enough savings to justify it. It helps so much to have the blog from you, Faye. I read it daily and try to organize myself before I do go. I bought the binder, inserts,etc...but I do agree that it's frustrating that when I do make the trip I don't always get the best deals because the shelves are empty of the desired items.

  • 3boys3 Apr 23, 2013

    This is the BEST site! I thought my husband and sons were the only ones that just couldn't get it right!! I have written the name of the item, the amount...showed pictures of the add to show wha it looked like..coupons, zvr's and saving star would mean freeies...and the $5 deal about the cereal sounds ooo sooo familiar;) I think Faye nailed it...they get it wrong on purpose..

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Apr 23, 2013

    Dawn - I am laughing out loud about your Cheerios story! Maybe he intentionally bought the wrong thing so you wouldn't ask him to help with couponing again.... LOL

  • dawnl39 Apr 23, 2013

    smolder I once sent my hubby out to get 2 boxes of cheerios they were BOGO - with the sale, coupons & zvr it should have cost 80 cents for both boxes. I told him to make sure he got the cheerios that were bogo at least 5 times. He came home with 2 giant boxes of cheerios and spent $5.00 - never again....LOL

  • dawnl39 Apr 23, 2013

    Thanks everyone! ;)

  • dawnl39 Apr 23, 2013

    suneandsea I don't get to the store at the crack of dawn (hehe) - I'm usually there by 7:45. And the last two times I went for Super doubles I was able to get everything on my list - it just depends what you're looking for I guess. Now I'm sure I've just jinxed myself for tomorrow...LOL

  • smolder13 Apr 23, 2013

    "Ummm my husband helps by NOT helping! LOL" I couldn't have said it better! It's just about the same with housework around here, too. Every now and again I forget myself and ask "why don't you pitch in on x, y or z?" and he gently reminds me that I have asked him to "help by not helping". LOL.

    And like Faye, I can also send my husband with a short list and coupons in a pinch. As long as the list is very, very, VERY explicit. I can't just send him with a coupon for an item and tell him to get the best deal...learned the hard way on that one.