Debbie's story is the 15th couponing journey we are sharing in our weekly series about how couponing works at your house. She is teaching her whole house how to use coupons and regularly saves at least 50%!
My great thanks to Debbie 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Debbie's couponing journey:
How many people are in your household?
When I started couponing, there was only my daughter and me. Now, we have 5 in our household.
Why did you start couponing?
I started couponing because I had to make some changes in the way we ate. My daughter was insulin resistant at the time and having $20 a week for groceries didn’t allow for the healthier items. I went twice to sign up for Food Stamps just to be told I made $300-$400 too much. So, I started working at Harris Teeter as my second job and got curious about coupons that way.
How long have you been couponing?
I have been couponing for 2 years
How much do you spend on groceries and non-food essentials per week?
Per week, it depends on our needs versus sales. Most weeks, it is under $80 for both groceries and non-food essentials.
How much do you save each week?
I don’t keep great track of my savings. I just know that I save so much more than before couponing! I always aim for at least 50%.
How much time do you spend couponing and shopping each week?
Depends on if it is a SD event or just a replenish the fridge week. I can spend about 2-3 hours a week between couponing and shopping, maybe a little longer during SD.
How do you organize your coupons?
I have tried the binder system not once, but twice! And I couldn’t get it to work for me. So I have an accordion file folder. It has 13 sleeves/pockets. I have my coupons organized according to the aisles at my Harris Teeter (Stonehenge Market).
Where do you shop for groceries and non-food essentials?
My main store is Harris Teeter, then Kroger, then Food Lion (because it is closest to me). I do occasionally shop at Lowes Foods and the drug stores.
Do you have a weekly/monthly grocery planning/shopping routine?
As of right now, no I do not have a routine. With ADD, routine is what I crave but don’t always succeed at!
Does anyone else in your household help with couponing and saving? If so, how do they help?
My daughter helps a lot. Occasionally, she earns her allowance by clearing out the expired coupons or clipping the online coupons I have printed out. She likes to save money as much as I do and will tell everyone else how her Mom gets the same groceries a whole lot cheaper!!! I am currently teaching my boyfriend and his daughters about couponing.
What’s the worst part about couponing?
Some days for me, I get overwhelmed with searching the websites, deals and putting it all together.
What’s the best part about couponing?
Seeing the look on the cashier’s face when I get groceries for free or really cheap!! I also love that I am saving so much money that I can afford the healthier foods for my family!
Do you have a stockpile? Feel free to send a photo if you would like.
I do have a stockpile. Mainly it is of non-food essentials. My neighbors will shop from my house sometimes!
Do you do any meal planning? If so, do you plan weekly, monthly or at the beginning of each day?
I currently do not plan my meals. That is my next goal!
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone just getting started in couponing?
Do not give up!!! It takes time to learn the ropes and find what works for you in organizing your coupons. But once you start saving, you will wonder why you didn’t do this before!
Is there anything else you want to share about your couponing journey?
I am so thankful for the Smart Shopper blog. I have come to look at you all as close friends! Between mailing coupons to someone who has requested them to receiving coupons when I needed them, I don’t think I would be as successful as I am today as a couponer!! I follow the blog even when I don’t comment as much to see what deal is being shared. I am enjoying teaching others what I have learned.