WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Jean's been couponing since she was 18!

Posted June 11, 2013


Jean's story is the 14th couponing journey we are sharing in our weekly series about how couponing works at your house. Jean learned to coupon from her mom who used Green Stamps. Do you remember those? I do! My mom used them as well. Here is how Jean saves money shopping for 25! Well, most of those are pets.

My great thanks to Jean (jcook on the blog) for sharing her story!

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  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 Jean's couponing journey:

How many people are in your household? 2 (4 if you include our dog and cat; 25 if you include myself, my husband, dog, cat and fish – inside fish and pond koi fish). We include the dog and cat as part of our household (our fur children) even though we can’t deduct them on our taxes! (TOO BAD)

Why did you start couponing? I started couponing because I saw my Mom use green stamps and coupons when I was growing up. I am very frugal and work too hard to have my money thrown away. I like saving money.

How long have you been couponing? I have been couponing since I was 18 years old but watched my Mom do it when I grew up.

How much do you spend on groceries and non-food essentials per week? I usually shop once a month since I only get paid once a month. I’ve been getting paid once a month for almost 15 years now. You learn to pay your bills first and then what’s left you have to budget it to last the month until the next paycheck. I spend on average roughly $200 a month on groceries.

How much do you save each week? I roughly save on average $30 per month using coupons and B1G1 free options.

How much time do you spend couponing and shopping each week? I spend about an hour a week cutting out coupons and organizing them. I only shop once a month and I spend about an hour then when I do my major grocery shopping.

How do you organize your coupons? I have a small coupon organizer. I want to start using the binder but I’m not sure where to buy the binder or what size to buy.  (Jean - I use a 3" binder but you would be just fine with a 2" binder I am sure. You can find them at Walmart and all the office stores. You can get a zipper or non zipper binder. I like a zipper binder because it holds lots of stuff and you don't have to worry about it falling out. You can buy baseball card pages and tabbed dividers at Walmart or sports stores or through my website at )

Where do you shop for groceries and non-food essentials? I mostly shop at Walmart and Food Lion. I live in Roxboro and we only have a Walmart, Food Lion and a local store called IGA. I work in Morrisville and will go to a Harris Teeter when there are some good sales. I recently did my first double coupon adventure at Harris Teeter. I saved roughly $15 using coupons.

Do you have a weekly/monthly grocery planning/shopping routine? I don’t really have a routine. I usually go to Walmart and Food Lion since there are in my home town. I will occasionally shop at Harris Teeter and Lowe’s (not too far from my work). I put together a list and then go from there.

Does anyone else in your household help with couponing and saving? If so, how do they help? I am the only person in my household that uses coupons (it’s just myself, my husband, our dog & cat and our fish). I do save coupons for my daughter but she lives on her own.

What’s the worst part about couponing? The time it takes to cut out the coupons and get them organized.

What’s the best part about couponing? Saving money of course. Sometimes I can’t believe how much I save.

Do you have a stockpile? Feel free to send a photo if you would like. I stockpile paper towels and toilet paper as well as canned food items. I buy meat in bulk and freeze it so I don’t have to go to the store every time I want to cook a meal.

Do you do any meal planning? If so, do you plan weekly, monthly or at the beginning of each day? I do not do any meal planning due to the fact that my husband is usually in bed or going to bed when I get home from work. He leaves for work very early in the morning (roughly 3:30am). I do plan our Friday and Saturday night meals when we can sit down together and share a meal. During the week, we mostly eat a lot of salads, sandwiches and frozen dinners.

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone just getting started in couponing? First get yourself a good binder or coupon organizer. I subscribe to the News & Observer Sunday edition just for the coupons. I also print a lot of coupons online using Faye’s coupon shopper link as well as Pillsbury,, and other various websites. Make sure you watch the expiration dates. I would join a coupon swap and I would love too but I live too far away and don’t want to hang around for a few hours for the one in Durham once I get off of work. When I get off work, I want to go home.

Is there anything else you want to share about your couponing journey? I learned a lot from watching my Mom growing up and I’ve also learned a lot from Faye’s blog by reading what other people have to say. I enjoy it and the way the economy is these days, it helps a lot and saves us money.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 11, 2013

    Definitely remember the green stamps. I think my mom got them at Publix when we lived in Florida.

    Thanks again for sharing your story Jean!!

    Juanita, they were a grocery store reward program and you earned these green stamps that you could cash in for prizes. You had to affix the stamps to the prize booklet and them turn it in for the prize. At least that's my recollection. It was a loooong time ago! :-)

  • FlyingUnderTheRadar Jun 11, 2013 stamps! I got a lot of my dorm accessories for college with green stamps. Mom said if I'd stick 'em, I could pick out whatever I wanted from the stamp redemption center :)

  • NAVY MOM Jun 11, 2013

    We use to pick up the green back stamps(that's what we called them) at the registers and outside on the ground at the supermarket when others would throw them down! For a couple years, that was how we got some of our Christmas/birthday gifts!

  • readingtou Jun 11, 2013

    I remember my dad bought a new car once and got a Bunch of green stamps. We thought we were rich putting all those stamps in books.

  • nakabi Jun 11, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your story Jean! I didn't know what green stampe were so I had to look them up :)

  • wildfrenchrose Jun 11, 2013

    check AND their first monthly check, but they better buy peanut butter and bread, cause that next month is gonna HURT.

  • wildfrenchrose Jun 11, 2013

    The only time I got paid once a month, it was middle of the month and my child support came at the end, so I still had money every 2 weeks. I'm payroll where I work and we have both a monthly payroll and a bi-weekly. When someone goes from bi-weekly to monthly, I tell them that the first month, they're gonna think they're rich cause they'll get their last two week

  • watchhillgirl Jun 11, 2013

    I used to love to put the green stamps in a book. And then my Mom would take me to the S&H green stamp store and cash them in. That was so much fun! I hadn't thought about them in years, and it has just brought back some wonderful memories. Thank you!!

  • raesmom1612 Jun 11, 2013

    Thanks Jean for sharing your story!! I guess I'm too young to know what green stamps are....I've never heard of them :0

  • Dragons_lady Jun 11, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your story Jean! I vaguely remember the green stamps..Unfortuanely, I was never allowed to help with the green stamps :(