Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Figuring Out Coupons

I'm determined to save money on groceries. I keep hearing stories about people who get $105.00 worth of groceries for twelve bucks - how do they do that?

I tried to have a coupon power moment the other day. Food Lion had Pepsi cubes for $5.99 and I had a coupon for $2 off of 2 cubes. So I take myself on over to Food Lion after work. That was mistake #1. NEVER go to the grocery store after work. It took me 3x as long as it should have. So after I park the car I go in and get a buggy and run into the gold fish crackers. Yummmm. (I pretty much eat like a five-year-old.) And they're buy one get one free. Into the buggy they go. Ok, where are the Pepsi cubes?

I never go to Food Lion so I'm having issues finding what I want - which is just one thing. So after I go through every aisle - including the SODA aisle, which is where you would expect it (right?) I found it in the frozen foods. Sure, that's logical. Only, after I get to looking, there are no Pepsi cubes. It's everything but Pepsi. Pepsi Max, Diet Dr. Pepper...I just want Pepsi. So no Pepsi. So to stick it to the man I put the goldfish away and went to customer service where I got a rain check. So after wasting 30 minutes I leave with nothing. There's one way to save money.

Anyway, the jury's still out on the coupon thing. I'm still researching it, but here's what I've found so far. There are a bunch of websites dedicated to helping you figure this out. I just haven't found one that works for me yet.

1. Couponmom.com. This is a great concept. Every week this website matches up coupons with sales at all of the grocery stores. It's ok, except you have to keep all of the coupons from every newspaper for weeks and weeks - it's kind of overwhelming. I got tired of keeping up with it. And it seemed the really really great deals were on stuff I never bought anyway. I did OK a couple of times - got Pop Tarts for $1.50-something one week. But it's free, so you may give it a try and find it works for you. Couldn't hurt.

2. E-Mealz.com. These ladies will send you a weekly menu with recipes all based on what's on sale for the week. They even make a list of what you need to buy and what aisle it's in. Very cool. I can see how it would save you time and money in the long run. It's $1.25/week and I think you would probably more than make up for that in savings, but bless their hearts, they don't have a lactose free menu. I took a look at their sample menues online and at least 2 meals a week have cheese or sour cream or milk in them. Not a good idea for me. But it might work for you. They also have gluten-free, family of 4, families of 2 and special holiday meal plans. When they come out with lactose free, I might give it a try.

3. Retailmenot.com. Here's a website that I actually got to work for me. Before you buy anything online, go to this site and search for the website you're about to make a purchase from. I saved about 10% for my boss when I had to order something from printplace.com. Hey, money saved for the boss is money in my pocket. Or not.

Greg: What are you doing?
Dharma: Wait a second, can you see me?
Greg: Yes
Dharma: Oh. I totally misunderstood the groom-can't-see-the-the-bride-in-her-wedding-dress-thing.