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Shop Listing

Posted By Jessica Fisher On June 3, 2009 @ 10:52 am In Budget Living,Grocery Geek | 13 Comments

Coupons [5]? Check.

Storage system that works for you [6]? Check.

Now what?

Years ago I would clip a coupon here or there and use them only for items that I would buy anyway. It was great justification to spend extra money I didn’t have on fancy or organic items. I didn’t see how clipping coupons really saved me any money since the generic was usually cheaper anyway.

Well, the trick is to use the coupon when the item is on sale. And only buy things on sale unless you truly can’t live without them.

Here’s what I do each week when the grocery ads show up in my mailbox.

1. Dance eagerly down the street [7] because the grocery ads came! (You remember what a grocery geek I am, right?) It’s an added plus that they come 2 days before the sales start, so I can decide if last week’s sale is better.

2. Sit down with the ads and a blank sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. A cup of Peets is always nice, too.

3. Methodically, go through each ad, jotting down what I think are good prices on things that I think I might have a coupon for or know that we need/will use. For example, when I started this process this week, I noted these items on my paper:

pringles $1.50
Knorr side dishes $1
Yoplait 10/$5
nectarines $0.99/#
pork strips $1.69
Ken’s salad dressings $1.49

4. After I’ve done that for each stores’s ad, I go through my coupon box and match any item that I have a coupon for with the sale price and jot that down on my worksheet. While I’m thinking about numbers, I do the math to figure out my per item cost for each thing. So, my paper looks like this:

pringles $1.50 – $1/2 = $1 each
Knorr side dishes $1 – $1/3 = .66 each
Yoplait 10/$5 – $.40x/6 (The “x” means the coupon will be doubled. If I buy 6, I can get them for $.37 each after the coupon.)
nectarines $0.99/#
pork strips $1.69
Ken’s salad dressings $1.49 – $1 = .49 each for spritzers

5. Then I make decisions, comparing what the different stores have to offer and deciding where I’m going to buy what. In this instance, I decided that $1 was not a good enough price to buy Pringles, especially since they’re junk. But, the other items are fair game, provided that the selection fits our tastes. So, my list looks like this:

pringles $1.50 – $1/2 = $1 each
Knorr side dishes $1 – $1/3 = .66 each
Yoplait 10/$5 – $.40x/6 (The “x” means the coupon will be doubled. If I buy 6, I can get them for $.37 each after the coupon.)
nectarines $0.99/#
pork strips $1.69
Ken’s salad dressings $1.49 – $1 = .49 each for spritzers

Now, I have a worksheet to work from for all my stores:


It’s not pretty and it’s full of hieroglyphics, but I know what it means. And it is an invaluable tool when I’m shopping. I still keep the ads with me, but this is an easy reference.

I’ll plan my menus based on this sheet as well as on what’s in the cupboard or freezer already. At a glance, you can tell that peaches and nectarines will probably be one of our fresh fruit selections, and that I’ll probably stock up on london broil, pork strips, or chicken.

Tune in next week for how I build menus from the sales.

8 Great Ways to Find Coupons [9]
Coupons: You Gotta Know How to Hold ‘Em [10]
Sources for Printable Coupons: Coupons.com [11] and Red Plum [12]

Next week: Meal Planning from the Sales [13]

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[5] Coupons: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/05/adventures-in-couponing-8-great-ways-to.html

[6] Storage system that works for you: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/05/coupons-you-gotta-know-how-to-hold-em.html

[7] Dance eagerly down the street: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/05/you-know-youre-grocery-geek-when.html

[8] Image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_89L9ZoBsR08/SiWWcocpQQI/AAAAAAAAFE8/tqBSp710C8c/s1600-h/Blog+477.jpg

[9] 8 Great Ways to Find Coupons: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/05/adventures-in-couponing-8-great-ways-to.html

[10] Coupons: You Gotta Know How to Hold ‘Em: http://www.lifeasmom.com/2009/05/coupons-you-gotta-know-how-to-hold-em.html

[11] Coupons.com: http://print.coupons.com/couponweb/index.aspx?pid=13903&nid=10&zid=xh20&cid=0&bid=1018040001

[12] Red Plum: http://lm.logicalmedia.com/z/15040/CD5956/

[13] Meal Planning from the Sales: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/06/meal-planning-from-sales.html

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