I have a confession. I have not been using coupons for the last two months.
All of a sudden, while making up the family menu for the week, I got a little puke tickle in my throat. I could not look at another coupon. I couldn't handle all the work that comes with using them. I just FREAKING WANTED TO GO TO THE FREAKING GROCERY STORE. Is that too much to ask????!!!!
So I put 'em away. We needed a break from each other, coupons and I. I started cooking a lot "fresher" and there's simply no coupons for lettuce... usually. We don't need diapers as we once did, and when we do, you just can't beat a box of Target brand diapers. ...no coupons for those either. So I've handmade everything for the fam: yogurt, breads, soups, cookies, jams, ravioli, hamburger buns (crazy, right? they're actually tastier.) I'm here to say I'm ready for a few more (a very few more) preservatives in my world... for a little less money. I'm back on the coupon train. It takes a ridiculous amount of time to put it all together, but in the end, it does pay off.
The Hubs has had other hubs ask him to have me teach their wives (?) and I've had a few peeps ask me "how I do it". Ima tell you. If uninterested in coupons, vacate........
1. Plan your menu with every thing you can dream you'd love to eat: lobster bisque, bon bons, chicken cordon bleu, COCA COLA (see my vice here.), pizza, crab cakes... a long list really.
2. Now ball this list up and play basketball with your trashcan. You won't be needing it.
3. From here I usually let this chick: Southern Savers make my list for me. It really is a thing of beauty. I usually shop Publix because of their buy-one-get-ones (BOGOS) and just frankly, the cleanliness of the store. Mind you, I can use Southern Savers because I'm in the South. (duh) But these types of sites are gaining in popularity all over the US.
4. The Southern Savers chickie lists coupons by the publisher and date. This means I don't cut coupons until I need um. I keep all the books in my little purple plastic Rubbermaid box. Now some people are smarter (and bored-er) than I... they file them. Makes complete sense, but... whatever. From this site you can also print out internet coupons... you have to know your stores rules on those though. Publix is not very strict, just your typical 1 internet coupon per item.
5. Here's a huge money saver: if you have a STORE coupon for an item (the coupon will say, uh, store coupon) you can pair that up with a MANUFACTURER coupon (the coupon will say manufacturer coupon somewhere near the expiration date) for the same item.
6. Once I have my Southern Savers list together I make a menu around the ingredients and foods I'll be buying on the cheap. If chicken is on sale one week... guess what we eating in a Bubba Gump sorta way?? Chicken! If mac n cheese is on sale with coupons... the kids are excited. (I've also found this is a good way to keep kids humble. I pulled out a box of saltine crackers at lunch and my kids flipped their shit. They hadn't had saltines in weeks. It's the little things...)
7. You'll come to recognize prices once you get familiar with ads. For instance... I would never buy Goldfish crackers for more than $1.00. If you're buying them at the typical $2.00, you're being raped. I also don't mind weird looks when I fill my cart up with 20 bags of Goldfish crackers because they are finally at said $1.00 price.
It's simple, really. Just time consuming. Truth is, I would love to eat organic everything. Freshly made with fuzzies of love in a warm sunlit kitchen that smells freshly of organic, non-toxic lemon soap. If the children would quietly sing to me Von Trap style while it all comes together, that would be just swell.
But in Awesome's house that ain't happenin. Ima need to coupon.