Although it’s almost 4 years old at this point, seems TLC runs my episode of Extreme Couponing every other month (Season 1, Episode 13…available on Netflix J) and every time it airs, I get lots of e-mail asking me how I did it.
Saving over 95% every time you go to the supermarket is not realistic, and is quite frankly, nearly impossible. As a rule, I like to try to save about as much as I spend…so around 50% is a nice, and achievable number. Here are the basics to get you started when trying to save a few bucks at the supermarket:
· - Get yourself a store loyalty card. Most stores have them, they are free, and are the key to get the sale prices
· - Check the store’s sale circular. These generally come in the newspaper, in the mail, or are available in store or on-line
· - Get the Sunday newspaper…this is where most of the money saving coupon inserts are (subscribe to it…cheaper that way!). Weekly specials at the supermarket and the Sunday coupons generally match up. If you see a good deal, ask friends and family for their coupons that they may not be using
· - While not widespread, find a supermarket that doubles coupons. They all have different rules and limits, so check with the store before you go
· - See if your favorite supermarket’s web site has e-coupons that can be loaded directly to your store loyalty card. In most cases, these can be used in conjunction with paper coupons for the same product for double the savings
· - Sign up for free websites like SavingStar.com (cash back) and Upromise.com (college savings) that will give you money back for certain items at the grocery store that you are buying anyway. I generally save a additional $1000 a year this way. Again, use this along with paper coupons for even more savings
· - You know the coupons that print out at the register? They are called “Catalina Coupons”. Your buying habits trigger these coupons to print. Also, look for red & white tags on supermarket shelves that will print coupons for money off your next order if you buy certain products
· - If you live in a bottle deposit state, recycle! Returning your deposit bottles at the supermarket is just like a money off coupon…after all, you paid for it, get your money back!
· -Make a list based on sale items and the coupons you have, and stick to it. This is why I don’t take my kids (or wife) to the supermarket. Just a few full priced items can throw off your whole order! Most of the stuff they want will go on sale eventually
· - Good deal? Stock up. Maybe you don’t have room for 400 rolls of toilet paper, but buy enough of whatever the item is to last you until it is on sale again. Sales run in cycles. Once you play the game for a while, you’ll see that the same items are on sale every few weeks.
Sure…there are times I’ll need something that is not on sale, and I’ll have no choice but to buy it. One big question people always ask me is what about meat and produce? Well, you will rarely find a coupon for that, so I’ll buy those items when they are on sale, and use my money off Catalina Coupons from previous trips to save money on those items. Seems like a lot to take in, but it’s actually pretty simple. There’s no doubt, it is time consuming, but give yourself an hour or 2 a week, and it can be done. I have 2 jobs and 2 kids…and I make it happen! If you have any other questions, please e-mail me at: ScottyB@ElvisDuran.com and follow me on Twitter: @ZscottyB