Coupon Chipper

Most of you may only know me as a cook on this blog, but in addition to being an advocate for cooking fresh and gourmet foods for your family, I am also a big advocate for smart shopping. So, there’s no recipe on this post, just a little information about shopping and the C-word. (That would be coupons, people….get your mind outta the gutter.)

I started clipping coupons 2 years ago when my son was born and needed to be hospitalized at the NICU. After we brought him home and settled in,we found ourselves with a tremendous amount of hospital bills that my husband was trying to pay by working as the sole bread winner in the relationship. The first thing we did, as most of us have been doing lately, was look at our spending and decide what we could cut back on. Our grocery bill appeared to be something that we thought we could reduce. We put ourselves on a necessary budget of no more than $100/week for all food, toiletries, gas, diapers and wipes, and anything else we normally purchased at the grocery store, including beer and wine which we so desperately needed at that time in our lives.

So I started clipping coupons and paying attention to my grocery store’s sales. I quickly figured out that the coupons I found in the newspaper were, more often than not, directly linked to what my store was putting on special that week. So I made a vow to only buy those items and see what would happen to our bill. I was not only able to keep our family well under budget, but I was also able to experiment with food in a way I never thought of before. When you’re desperate, broke, hungry and stubborn as hell you will find a way to make anything taste delicious and fancy. So that’s how this blog was born, not only as a recipe source for people out there who may not feel they can do it, but also as a way to get people to pay attention to their spending.

This past week at my local grocery store there was a promotion where they were doubling every coupon you had up to $1.98. I thought it would be fun to show you what I was able to get for free or next to free when I did my weekly shopping. I assure you, although I am extremely excited and proud of my accomplishments each week at the store (especially weeks like this one), this is not a bragging post, but more a teaching post. If I have the time to clip coupons and research my store’s sales every week, so do you you.

(note to all my gourmet foodie friends….A lot of times you will be able to get pre-made items such as canned soups and baking mixes for free or almost free, and although I make my own soups and baked goods from scratch on a regular basis, it is always nice, as a stay-at-home working mama, to have a can or boxed mix on hand for those really hectic days. Then, to make myself feel better about using them, I ‘doctor them up’ so it ends up tasting a lot better than it normally would.

I bought all my normal meat and produce, etc. but here is a list of all the things that I happily walked away with this week thanks to smart shopping, coupon clipping and meticulous planning…

*1 container of fresh fettuccini for $.59 (normal retail $2.79)
*2 boxed of dried pasta for FREE (normal retail for 2 is $3)
*2 large cans of soup for FREE (normal retail for 2 is $4.50)
*1 box of instant Chinese noodles for FREE (normal retail is $1)
*1 large jar of olives for FREE (normal retail $2.89)
*1 jar of gourmet fruit preserves for $.09 (normal retail $4.19)
*3 cans of tuna for FREE (normal retail for 3 is $5.37)
*1 box of organic granola bars for $.99 (normal retail is $3.99)
*1 container of rolled oats for $.65 (normal retail is $2.65)
*1 box of cookie mix for $.49 (normal retail $2.49)
*1 box of stevia natural sweetener for $.99 (normal retail is $4.29)
*2 3-pack strips of instant, dry yeast for FREE (normal retail for 2 is $3.98)
*4 boxes of plastic, food storage bags for $4 (1 box retails at $3.49, or 4 for $13.96)
*6 boxes of plastic food containers with lids (4 containers in each box) for $1.47 (1 box retails at $3.49, or $20.94 for 6)
*1 bag of cat food for $.89 (normal retail $2.89)
*1 box of feminine product for $.99 (normal retail is $3.89)
*2 tubes of toothpaste for FREE (normal retail for 2 $5.78)
*1 more tube of toothpaste for $.89 (normal retail $2.89)
*1 stick of deodorant for FREE (normal retail $2.99)
*1 container of dishwasher detergent gelpacs for FREE (normal retail is $5.49)
*1 more container of dishwasher detergent gelpacs for $.74 (normal retail $5.49)
*1 container of disinfecting wipes for FREE (normal retail $3.49)
*2 cartons of Greek yogurt for $.30 (normal retail for 2 is $2.50)
*3 bags of frozen dinner rolls for $.75 (normal retail for 3 would be $6.75)
TOTAL RETAIL AMOUNT OF ABOVE ITEMS: $114.71 (excluding sales tax)
That’s almost 90% savings!!!

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