After two months of clipping coupons, lessons learned.

Two months ago I wrote about the advantages of planning meals, clipping coupons and other tips for saving on groceries.

Today, I ‘m sharing my story of how’s it been going and lessons learned.

 First:  I still strongly believe in investing the time to organize, plan a menu and clip the coupons from multiple sources. 

ü  Menu   planning has been invaluable.   I can come home and know what I am going to have for dinner!  On days that I know I will be late, I can start the meal in the slower cooker and then whoever is home first can complete the meal with the vegetable or salad.  There have been a couple of times that I have drifted from the menu and I felt the pinch because we would order take -out, costing me more in the end.

ü  Planning out the menu does not have to mean I’m stuck in bind and have to have exactly what‘s planned.  We all have days that we change our minds and feel like something different.  However, the menu does give the basics, with flexibility to change up and do something a little different.  Check out.     This web site lets you type in the ingredients you have and then gives you a variety of recipes, so you can be creative with your meals.

ü  Finally, menu planning reduces waste.  I can have lunches from previous meals or use extra (leftovers sounds so old) in other meals to create a whole new taste.

Clipping coupons – We could talk for days on the pros and cons, but here are a few tips I have found.

ü  One clever strategy for grocery-store coupons from The Simple Dollar: Sit on your coupons for a month, and then spend them. Coupons are often the leading edge of product promotion, which features some savings. By waiting a month, you can apply your coupons to the same product which has now been discounted for even more savings. 

ü  Manufacturers’ coupons, which come in Sunday newspapers, are usually good for a month or two.  Coupons from specific grocery stores are usually weekly specials.  The two types of coupons are compatible. If you match up a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon, you can get some great deals.

ü  Check out other resources in addition to the weekend papers.  Go on line and sign up for coupon discounts.  I did open a whole new email account just for the coupons: this way you don’t flood your regular email account with all the advertizing.  Here are a few good websites for coupons that other bloggers have sent in:

ü  Don’t forget to check your receipts for savings.  Often the backs of grocery store and drug store receipts have discounts for savings on your next purchase.

As much as people go back and forth on the value of saving coupons, I found that if you stick with it, they do save you money. 

Here’s my greatest tip I’ve learned.   On the times that it all works well and you see the numbers on the bill drop at the grocery or drug store, BANK the savings.   There have been times I was so excited about the savings that I treated myself  to something ‘special’, such as flowers.  I would usually spend more than I saved from the coupons!  The new strategy I am trying is to go back to keeping a log of my savings, trying to contain my excitement, and looking at the total saved at the end of the month.  That way I can make a better decision about what I want to spend my savings on.

Let me know how you have done with strategies for saving at the grocery store.