Tame grocery budgets with extreme couponing and other tricks

Three women mock-dumpster diving for grocery store coupons.

Get serious about extreme couponing and save cash. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Dana/Cooking at Cafe D)

Saving money can be rigorous, but the rewards are ample. This is particularly true with your grocery budget. Tricks of the trade like “extreme couponing,” stockpiling and waiting for sales and clearance may seem like a bother at first, but the money saved and the pounds lost are worth the effort.

Kathy Spencer knows how to stock up and save

Boxford, Mass., mother of four Kathy Spencer spends a few hours each week clipping coupons and browsing the aisles of her local supermarket. According to MyFox Phoenix, the self-proclaimed “Coupon Queen” spends as many as four hours per week at the grocery store, hunting for deals. This dedication has enabled her to feed her family of six (plus one dog, two cats and a rabbit) for less than $10 per week.

Spencer’s nose for extreme couponing and stockpile-friendly deals even reduced the bill on a recent grocery shopping trip from $279 to 39 cents.

“I had always used coupons for items I would buy regularly, but as I started pairing what coupons I had with what was on sale versus using a coupon for what I normally was brand loyal to, I soon discovered if I had more $1 off coupons for items that went on sale for $1, I could get a stockpile of that item and not pay a penny,” Spencer told WorkItMom.com.

Double your coupons and freeze for savings

Buying multiple copies of the Sunday newspaper in order to secure multiple copies of valuable grocery coupons and frequenting online coupon sites work, but the real trick is to shop at stores that will double coupons. Spencer does it, and so can you. Doubling a 50 cents off coupon to get $1 off makes a big difference and makes stockpiling food possible.

Storing non-perishable or long-lasting bulk foods that are free or almost free can save you from emergency or impulse buys later, which almost always come at a premium. Plus, freezing meats for the long haul can give families numerous healthy food options.

Dietitians say it can be done

USA Today reports that in a recent study, a group of dietitians found that it is possible to feed a family of four for less than $10 without resorting to extreme measures like gonzo coupon-clipping. A popular suggestion was to make big sandwiches with fresh-baked, whole-wheat bread. Use sliced turkey, some cheese and green- or red-leaf lettuce. Leave out the lettuce and turn it into a panini if you want it hot.

By doing this and serving seasonal fruit as a side dish, families can not only save money by avoiding packaged, processed foods but can eat healthily. Substitute hearty soups, simple chicken dishes, Sloppy Joes, large salads, omelets or other egg dishes for similar effects.

For the meatless crowd, Keith Ayoob of New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggests cubing a 12-ounce block of tofu, cooking it in tomato sauce and pouring it over whole-wheat pasta. Add a salad and you’ve got a healthy, inexpensive meal.


MyFox Phoenix
USA Today

Work It. Mom!

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