1. Write a list, but also give yourself a little wriggle room. I usually spend about $45-50 each week on groceries and give myself $5 to get things not on my list. Use a calculator to keep track of how much you’re spending while you’re shopping!
2. Use multiple coupons for one item. For each item you purchase you can use 2 coupons- 1 manufacturers’ coupon and 1 store coupon. Target is a great example of applying this because they come out with new store coupons each week!
3. Buy stuff your family eats. If it sounds gross to you, don’t get it, even if you have a great coupon for it. If you pay anything and end up throwing the item away, you’ve lost money! Going along with this- the object of grocery shopping is to buy foods to make meals with, so avoid the temptation to buy all junk food and strive to find healthy items! I’ve seen people post pictures of fantastic shopping trips, but when you look closer, it contains very few items to make meals with. It is very difficult to make decent meals with Pringles, breakfast bars and M&M’s! Avoid the temptation to spend your money on purely unhealthy items!
4. Minimize distractions- don’t go grocery shopping while hungry and go by yourself. Give yourself the ability to focus on the task at hand. Be organized. I recommend taking a small tote with you to shop that contains your shopping list (with corresponding coupons in an envelope), a calculator, a pen and a bottle of water. I actually always bring ALL of my coupons with me to shop- I always seem to find a great deal on something that wasn’t on my list that I have a coupon for! Also, Grab the store circular as you walk in just in case you need to double check something.
5. Be patient when first couponing! You will not be able to cut your grocery bill in half the first month! I think making a goal of spending $40-$50 less the first month is great. The first few months I used coupons, I had a $50-60/week budget for 3 weeks, then I went to Walmart and spent $60-$70 filling in the gaps with things we needed the last week. As you continue to find great deals and build up a storage of items your family uses, you’ll find you won’t need to “fill in the gaps” nearly as much!
If you missed Part I, you can go back and read it here.