Saving Moolah on Groceries

                                          Ghosts of Coupons Past

I used to do A LOT of couponing and rebating.  From 2006-2009 there were some really good deals to be had and I scored freebies left and right.  Man, do I miss those days!  I had a coupon binder, newspaper subscriptions, the whole works.  It doesn't seem as though the deals are quite as good now and frankly I no longer have the time or the patience to spend hours on couponing.  I've found a system that works for me and takes very little time to save big money.  Here are my strategies:

1) I don't use coupons very often for food.  Most of the food coupons are not for products that I  buy.  I buy ~70% of my food at Aldi which saves me 40-50% over grocery store prices every time I shop.  Seriously.  Amazing deals with no coupons needed AND their products are better than many store brands IMO (Wheat Thins, I'm lookin' at you).  The other 30% of my food is generally purchased at Dillons (Kroger).  That's where I get organics- meat, milk, produce.  I will use the odd coupon there but it's not an every-trip occurrence.

2) I recently have started utilizing wine and beer rebates for groceries...yet I don't buy wine or beer.  Wine and beer companies make HUGE profits, so they frequently offer nice little rebates where you buy X amount of their product + X amount of groceries and get a rebate back.  However, if you live in certain states you don't have to buy the alcohol to get the grocery deals and I just happen to live in one of those states! Today I completed a rebate sponsored by Heineken where I purchased $80 of groceries and will get a $20 rebate back from them just for filling out a form.  In December, I got $30 of groceries  for free this way.  You can find the forms in stores or get them on Ebay.  Thanks for the free food, alcohol companies!!!

3) I coupon the HECK out of toiletries.  I no longer purchase Sunday papers but do end up with the Procter and Gamble insert each month.  Other than that, I use printable internet coupons and store coupons and still end up with fantastic deals on items that I would buy anyway.  Let's look at a couple of examples.

Earlier this week, Ivory soap was on sale at Walgreens buy one get one half off and I had two coupons- one for .75 off a multipack and one for .40 off a multipack.  I've been using Ivory soap to make my homemade laundry detergent, so I was interested in this deal.  The final cost before tax was $1.65 for six bars, making them 27.5 cents per bar.  This was a good deal.

CVS sent me an email earlier this week saying that I had earned a $5 ECB (store coupon) by purchasing beauty products over the last quarter.  Great!  I was nearly out of contact solution so I intended to use the ECB for that.  I have special snowflake eyeballs that only tolerate Renu Sensitive nowadays, so no more cheapie contact solution for me.  Renu was on sale for $7.99 this week plus I was able to print two $2 coupons from their website.

Since I was making a CVS run anyway, I checked to see if there were any more deals that I might be interested in and found a deal on Garnier Fructis.  I really like both Garnier and John Frieda hair products, and if I can get them for Suave prices for a tiny bit of effort, why not?  Garnier products were on sale for $3 each and you would get a $5 ECB coupon back on a $15 purchase.  I printed four Garnier $1 coupons off of and also had a $2 off of an $8 haircare purchase coupon that printed from the CVS coupon machine in-store.  I spent $15.98 before tax (AND got a $5 ECB coupon) for buying five Garnier products and two special snowflake contact solutions.  Again, great deals on products I would've purchased anyway!!

4) I don't use a ton of different cleaning supplies.  I'm still working through a few bottles of household cleaner that were couponed a few years ago, but I mostly just use some combination  of Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar to clean things.  I do buy toilet cleaner, drain opener, Swiffer wet cloths, and generic magic erasers. As I said above, I make my own laundry detergent (1 grated bar of soap, 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda) which I much prefer over store brands.

If this seems overwhelming or time consuming, I assure you that it's not.  It does takes time to develop your own system initially but after that it's relatively painless.  The main idea is to only buy products that you already purchase AND to brainwash yourself into never paying full price for anything.  Good luck!!


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