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Couponing in Ohio

January 7, 2011

A few months or so ago, Jimmy & I began receiving free Sunday papers from the Blade, as part of a promotional deal. These papers have changed our lives!

Okay, not really, but they have certainly changed the way I shopped. Up until the papers, I was only casually aware of the existence of coupons. I had a coupon book thingy where I stored all my coupons neatly by category. I would go online to coupons.com to print out some coupons and we’d use them if we had some extra money leftover in our budget for the week to buy some bonus items.

The abundance of coupons in the Sunday paper spurred us to investigate couponing further. We slowly began collecting coupons, then we started trying to match coupons to sales, then we started forming grocery lists around them, and then we found match-up blogs (which are a wonderful, wonderful thing)…and all this has led to my grocery trips looking like this….Yesterday we spent $39.72 (including tax) and got 45 items. Do the math. That means every item averaged less than $1.

We’ve made it a point to NOT be one of those freakish couponing folk who go in and buy 20 things of pasta. We want to eat variety…we still care about what we eat, and we want to eat yummy, and sometimes nutritious foods. Also, I still want to cook some meals from scratch…We also don’t want to go to more than 1 store.

Yesterday’s order had lots of good stuff in…chex mix, pepperidge farm raisin bread, soup, V8 splash, hunt’s pudding, frozen veggies, sierra mist, cheddar cheese, pizza rolls, mandarin oranges, juices, frozen meals, english muffins, and more…for under $40.

Here is what we do:

– Collect coupons from flyers in the paper. Don’t get the paper? There are still plenty of printable coupons. Also, you can find lists online that say which coupon flyers will be in each Sunday paper. That way you can buy just the papers that have lots of coupons.

– We shop at Meijer. I ❤ Meijer. We used to shop at Kroger- since it is right next to our house. But Meijer has cheaper prices, and usually better produce in my opinion. Plus you can pick up games, books, clothes, and whatever else you’d like. It’s like going to Walmart without having to actually go to the evil boxmart.

– We have a $50 budget each week. For those of you who don’t know us, that is just for two of us. We spend $10 of that budget at Monnette’s Market where we buy produce, deli meat, and occasionally milk (their milk is cheaper if Meijer isn’t on sale).  The remaining about is divided between what we can stock up on with coupons, and things I want to use to cook some fancier meals (like from http://thepioneerwoman.com/; or my MasterChef cookbook).

– Match-up sites are what really bring this whole thing together and make it so easy. Match-up sites match up coupons (from flyers and online) with ongoing sales. Sometimes this can lead to free items. They do all the math for you and tell you what coupons to use. Below are links to the ones we use, but if you don’t live in NWO or Southern Michigan, just google “[your location] [your favorite place to buy groceries] coupon matchups” and you should get some hits.

http://savingmoneyintoledo.com

http://www.bargainstobounty.com/

http://nwosavers.com/

Wonderful resources! They also provide you with links to manufacturer’s sites and other places to print coupons, if there is matchup with a sale. We find lots of extra coupons through these sites.

I’m also in a coupon train yahoo group: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/Royaltycoupontrains/. Coupon trains consist of envelopes full of coupons being passed from person to person- people take out what they will use, and add ones they don’t want into the train.

If you have any more sites of other tips, feel free to post them in the comments section!

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 7, 2011 11:01 pm

    I grew up in a couponing household. We used to joke that the Grocery Store paid my mother to grocery shop. The problem with me is that I don’t cook and neither of us get home from work before 7pm, so dinner is usually a bowl of cereal or a bag of popcorn. We rarely have bread in the house and I’ve kept buying smaller sizes of milk until I actually have bought pints of milk that went sour and never opened. Going grocery shopping once a month or so does not lend itself to couponing.

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