The art and science of couponing

I need to find a better system for grocery shopping and couponing. This week I’ve gone to the store damn near every day to pick up one thing or another. As for coupons, I clip a few for things I know I need, but it doesn’t amount to more than a couple bucks in savings. Last week I used one coupon and saved $1 on salsa. That ain’t gonna help pay the mortgage.

This week I thought I had improved my skills when instead of using a coupon for Tully’s coffee at $5/lb, I used one to buy a huge tin of Yuban coffee for $9. Good job, Amy! Surely that not only saved several dollars, but the sheer volume of that tin ensures we won’t need to buy coffee again for months, maybe years!

But I just realized upon closer inspection that the tin is 2 lbs, so I once again only saved $1. AND now we have to drink shitty coffee for weeks.

I’m hoping the solution will come with more cooking and shopping experience. I get totally overwhelmed by recipes. Making a shopping list for one is hard enough, let alone a week’s worth. Of course my husband prefers to go without a list, and just come up with a meal plan on the fly once he sees what’s on special. So cocky.

For next week my mission is to map out all the meals by Sunday and get all the groceries purchased by Monday. Out of necessity, I will also watch a few episodes of Extreme Couponing this weekend to inspire me, in hopes that I too can one day have a pantry filled with twelve dozen boxes of Twinkies, 200 cans of soda and a lifetime supply of Doritos.

This list of tips on the show’s website was actually kind of helpful. I know I will never have the dedication to clip coupons with amazing results, but these two are good reminders for me.

– Extreme couponers don’t buy an item when they need it — they buy it when they can get it at the lowest price. These savvy shoppers then stock up when the going’s good (and cheap), so they save money in the long run.

– To save big at the grocery store, you need to forget brand loyalty.

Of course I attempted to overlook brand loyalty with my coffee couponing and that didn’t do me much good.

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