Frugal Fridays | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

February 13, 2009

Frugal Fridays

Imagine yourself in your local supermarket.  You've spent an hour navigating the aisles, wrestling for the last box of your favorite cereal, walking behind the slow cart driver who insists on walking down the center of the lane, and waiting patiently for your number to be called at the deli counter.  You've made it, and now your last obstacle is this: The check out line. In your head, you know the budget you have for this trip. You've done your best to look for sales, deals and steals.  Your body twitches with every "beep" of the scanner and your stomach drops as you watch bag after bag being filled with your food.  Did you really buy that much?  It seemed like the cart was barely full.  You teenage cashier eyes you warily as he clumsily finds the key to total your purchase. You squint your eyes shut and say a prayer to the Patron Saint of Groceries.  

"Your total is..."

(Dear God, I only have $150 in my checking account)


Hallelujah and Amen!  You dodged the bullet, and you can go home to enjoy your food without guilt.

This time.

I have spent way too many grocery trips like this, gathering food and getting to the check out line, only to have a panic attack until I hear the total.  Sometimes I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Other times (more often than not), I went home in a daze, wondering how much blood I would have to donate to make up the difference.

I soon started using my "club card" to each store I went to.  I didn't understand it's full power until recently (you'll see why), but I noticed that I got some better deals by using it.  Some deals at supermarkets are for clubmembers only. Fascinating!  How do you become part of this elite club? Why, it's FREE!  Now, that's cool. I also liked racking up points for a turkey at Thanksgiving or a ham at Easter.

Then, one day I discovered:

Not long ago, I saw an interview on Oprah with "The Coupon Mom."  Stephanie Nelson (The Coupon Mom) has come up with an amazing (but slightly time-consuming) method of saving money, which you can read about here.  On her website, you can read the free eBook about her method.  In a nutshell, Stephanie Nelson combined clipping coupons (YES, the old fashioned clipping of coupons!), printing internet coupons, utilizing her supermarket club card and researching the circulars for deals into a method that saves her upwards of $150 per shopping trip! 

Now, I will say, to be die-hard with this method involves keeping a log of sales on your favorite products, scouting ads in your weekly circular and buying in bulk. Up front, it requires several hours a week, but once you have the pattern/method down, it should (as it says) take only 30 minutes of your time.

I have no time for this.

So, at this point in my life, I have altered it to my liking.  

I have begun clipping coupons in the Sunday paper. I never knew this, but if you buy several Sunday papers (as Stephanie Nelson directs), you get several packets of coupons.   It takes about 10 minutes on Sunday morning to do this.  I print off internet coupons, and use the ones that you now receive when you get your receipt at the store.  I have also begun utilizing my club card. 

I DID NOT KNOW THIS, but club cards DOUBLE YOUR COUPONS (as long as the coupon does not say "not to be doubled).  WHOA!

So, say you have an item that costs $1.99.  That week, it is on sale for $1.49.  This SAME week, you have a coupon for $.50 off this item.  At the checkout, you use your card to double that coupon.  Do the math.  You get that item for $0.49!  And some items end up being FREE if the combination is right.  

As you can see, this can be a profitable if you can do this for even several items on your grocery list.  I try to coordinate coupons with the sales in the circular if possible, but often I just show up with my envelope of coupons.  

Since I started doing this (and again, I use the method minimally), I have saved $30-$50 per shopping trip.  I greedily give my card and coupons last, just so I can watch the total go down. It's almost addicting.

I'm so proud of myself.

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to get the Sunday paper!

What are your money-saving tips??


  1. This is a great tip! I don't utilize coupons like I should because I have often thought they don't make much of a difference. I want to try this!

    Club cards make me so happy...I love watching the total go down as I check out because of things that are on sale.

    The link you put to the coupon website is not working for me..can you give me the website? Thanks so much!

  2. I'm not a coupon person because I clip them and then forget them or I buy stuff I don't need or I find that the store brand is cheaper than the one with the coupon, etc. I always say I'm going to try again though. It's a great idea.

    Dave and I are on a budget. We don't use credit cards any more unless it's really necessary. We have two accounts, one that I use to pay bills and buy grocery's etc. then another account just for Dave to use as cash. It's really been helping us save when we don't rely on pulling the credit cards out all the time. A habit we got into for frequent flier miles.

    I really feel I save the most by shopping at costco and rarely eating out. I don't go crazy at costco; just meat and basic needs and paper goods. It's an event when I go because I have to load all that in the car and then the house. Then I wash fruit and veggies with a veggie spray, (thoroughly) and put them in individual bags or containers. Then I bag up meat in two or three pieces for the freezer.

    I think one of the best investments is a second refrigerator for the garage if you have room.

  3. I know the "here" link for the coupon mom website didn't work at first, but I fixed it. Either way, the website is! Have a good week!

  4. Here's a sad lesson I learned - on holiday weekends (presidents day for example) there are usually no coupons in the Sunday paper. Take a peek inside before you buy a whole stack & have wasted money on multiple papers.

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Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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