Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Couponing, Week 2: What I've learned

Little by little, I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this whole couponing thing.  In a post earlier this week, I mentioned my trip to Homeland.  I didn't have the camera handy at the time to include with that post, but I did actually snap a picture of my purchases.  I got all of this, including several packages of meat, baby food, tons of produce, plenty of snacks for the boys, lunch items, and laundry detergent...  for $116.  This will completely get us through all of this week and hopefully, at least through the middle of next week.  The only things we might have to stop for between now and then are milk and formula, which is pretty normal for us.  We drink a lot of milk, maybe 4-6 gallons per week!  Remember, though, Hiland milk is on sale at Walgreens through Saturday, May 7th, for $2.69/gallon! :)

So, what I've learned this week:
  • It's important to begin establishing a stock pile.  If you don't cook often, it may take a bit longer to do this than those of us that cook regularly.  But, stick with it and gradually, you'll only have to buy a few extra items for your recipes.  
    • Below are a few quick examples.  I do cook quite a bit, and these are a few items that I typically buy, or have, on hand:
      • Large white onion (chop it up finely and freeze if you don't cook often, and you can pull it out when needed.  This is a great staple that adds some great flavor to many recipes)
      • Medium red onion (great on burgers)
      • A few ripe tomatoes (great for salads, BLT's, burgers, or even sandwiches)
      • Lettuce (again, salad, burgers and BLT's)
      • I always have butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cooking oil and vanilla on hand, for sweet treats!
      • Plenty of salt and pepper
      • I almost always have hamburger meat.  If you find a good price on meat, stock up and buy 3 or 4.  These freeze great, and are easy to pull out and whip up something for your family.  Same goes for chicken!
      • Let's say you're hungry for hamburgers, but you're out of hamburger buns.  Save yourself a trip to the store and just grill the meat as you normally would, but instead, serve the hamburger patties without the bread.  Serve with macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, or some tater tots.  Add lots of mustard, and enjoy :)  Your kids are sure to enjoy it as well!
  • Taking your lunch helps save money!  My kids are pretty picky, or I guess typical 4-year olds, when it comes to eating.  They like the really healthy stuff, like corn dogs, macaroni, chips, and cookies - things like that! :)  In a perfect world, I would make one family meal and everyone would eat it.  Unfortunately, that isn't the case in our house.  So, there is often quite a bit left over from dinner.  As I clean up the kitchen after dinner, I've been packing tomorrow's lunch using the extras from tonight's dinner.  This helps me because, 1) I don't have to rush around in the morning to get lunch ready, 2) it saves money, and 3) food doesn't go to waste.  Try it for a few days, it isn't so bad!
  • When making your grocery list, consider what your meals might be for the week, if not longer.  Often, you'll see plenty of snack-type foods that are on special, but that won't feed your family for dinner.  I think it's okay to load up on snacks when the prices are good, but don't forget the healthy stuff, too!  Here are some links for chicken and beef products:
    • Click HERE for a $1 off coupon for Pilgrim's Pride Chicken products (can be found at Homeland)
    • Click HERE for $1 off Red River Angus beef products (can be found at Homeland)
    • Click HERE for $1 off Smart Chicken coupon
    • Click HERE for Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies
  • If you've started following the various coupon blogs, you'll see that they often will share different success stories of their grocery trips.  But, one thing I'm noticing is that they seem to be smaller trips with only a few items at a time, not bulk trips like I did this week.  It may be that they've been doing this for so long, that they really only need a few items.  If that's the case, that is great!  But, personally, I just don't have enough time to make several small trips - I've got to knock it all out while I'm there, and hopefully, include as many good deals as I can in one trip.  They must have a bigger freezer than I.
  • Slowly, but surely, my coupons are stacking up.  Remember to look each Sunday for the coupon inserts in the paper.  Also, check online for other coupons.  I listed some of my favorites from one of my earlier posts.  Click here for those suggestions.
Good luck to all of you that might also be starting this journey!  Feel free to share any tips and tricks that you've learned along the way :)



  1. Good job Regan! I'm impressed. I need to start doing this. Just need to make the time!

  2. Hey Regan!! A little birdie told me that you started blogging! :) I hope all is well with you and your family! I am your newest follower! If you have a chance please come visit me too!

    Take care! Andrea Mays


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