Poverty Stricken Student left some very good questions in response to my weekly grocery shopping post last week where I saved $132 and spent $57. I'm sure a lot of people wonder the same things, so I felt they deserved their own post. Here's the question and my answer:
Poverty Stricken Student said... How long does it take you to gather all these coupons? Are you able to buy the products that you like using coupons, or do you have to constantly buy different brands? How do you store all that food?
Sorry if that seems nosy...but it would be great to be able to save $132 on groceries!Poverty Stricken Student-
It's not nosy at all-those are all really good questions! The short answer is it's about changing the way you shop--buying extra of things when they are on sale and using coupons to their maximum (which for me means shopping on double coupon days--get to know your store's policies).
It takes about an hour to gather coupons and check the sale ads, and about 1 1/2 hrs to do my multiple transactions at the store. It takes me a little longer at home because I scour the ad and put together the double coupon deal post every Tuesday so that others can just come to my blog and print off the coupons that they are interested in--saving them time and money!
One thing I do like about using coupons is I get to try new brands that I wouldn't usually buy because the product is free. I am brand-loyal for some things (diapers, toilet paper, and deodorant, for example), but otherwise my family is pretty flexible. There are some favorite items that I don't always get coupons for, but then I just watch for when those items go on sale and buy as many as I think I will need to get to the next sale (about 2 months). That's called stockpiling--so you never have to pay full-price again! Even if you don't use coupons, but shop this way, you will save a LOT of money!
The storage question is a VERY good one. My husband and I were just talking about this last night! We've decided this is NOT just another phase, it's a new way of shopping and it IS saving us a lot of money, so we need to figure out something for storage. We don't have a large pantry, so we bought one of those free-standing pantries (like a bookcase with doors) and put it in the adjoining office. We decided we now need another one to help store cereal, crackers, juice, etc. I don't want to put food in the basement, but I do keep the Mtn Dew down there, and paper towels and kleenex in those extra large Ziploc storage bags. Toilet paper and toiletries (shampoo, lotion, razors, etc) I keep in various cupboards and drawers upstairs. Extra laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, and dish soap are kept in the laundry room. Just find a nook or cranny and fill it with something--just remember to rotate your stockpile so stuff doesn't expire.
We also bought a medium-sized chest freezer (not huge) that has been a BIG help. This way I can freeze all sorts of things when they are on sale (besides ice cream, pizza or vegetables, you can also freeze bread, cheese, even milk--though our family goes through it fast enough I don't need to freeze it!). Another thing I can do is buy meat when it's on sale and then either cook and freeze it or freeze it uncooked to use later. I can make extra of meals and freeze for a later meal. This saves money AND time! I have some freezer-friendly recipes posted here.
I have a lot of information and answer a lot of questions in my Coupon 101 posts here. If you have a few minutes, take a look around and feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have more questions. I WILL try my best to answer them!