COUPONS??? How to Get Grocery Bill Down.

Updated on April 29, 2011
S.B. asks from Racine, WI
14 answers

Ok, So My husband and I eat a lot of fresh food. I really love to cook and I tend to stay out of the middle isles of the grocery stores unless I have to get ingredients to bake with, make salad dressing, or get pasta/oatmeal etc. I have been watching the show extreme coupons and I just saw a lady take a 1800.00 grocery bill down to 170.00. My husband and I were completely floored. I am just wondering if it is possible to do this with the types of food that I buy.

My husband and I really are looking for ways to save money wherever possible as we will be taking pay hits this next year both and our child care for our son is going up (great when this happens). My mother and grandmother tell me that if you are going to make cuts make them but not to your food.

Any help on how to coupon where to look etc would be awesome!


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answers from Milwaukee on

This cracks me up because last week my friend Cate S. posted the same question. We Racine girls like to save some $$$$!

Two problems. We don't have a grocery store that doubles/triples coupons (as far as I know) and MOST of that stuff is processed foods.

Notice hardly ANY of those people are of a "healthy weight?"

I'm a big fan of Aldi's. Their produce is always awesome and priced better than any other store.

We're just waiting for the farmer's markets to start up next month!

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answers from Chicago on

I've been couponing for about 3 months now and I haven't really been able to get the big savings that the Extreme Couponing show talks about. However, I have been able to save some!

Try for the best info around on how to start couponing. Jill has the best method and the one that takes the least amount of time. She's also fairly local (Chicago suburbs).

I don't stockpile as much as the TV show shows. However, I have gotten 4 boxes of cereal and a gallon of milk for free, free deodorants, free body washes, free toothpaste, free dental floss and 6 bags of frozen vegetables for $1. I spend about an hour at most checking the websites (mostly Jill's site) and cutting/printing coupons. The websites will match up the coupons with the best deals and tell you where to shop and which coupons to use and stack up.

If you can make it down to one of Jill's couponing seminars that would be helpful, or buy her DVD. I went to her seminar and learned a lot! There is more to it than just cutting out coupons--and it does NOT involve huge stockpiles!

I still shop at Woodman's the most and that's where I save. I will run to Jewel, Target and Walgreens (sometimes CVS) for the specials because that's where I tend to get my free or very cheap stuff.

Again, check out all of Jill's site for the how-to!

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I saw one of those extreme coupon shows on the internet. And I have tried to do that myself. I gathered newspaper inserts, magazines with lots of coupons, etc. The best I ever did was about 75% off, but that was because I was trying to see how "extreme" I could get. It all comes down to what you want to buy and what you want to use.

Bottom line: its not worth it. I'd spend nights and part of my weekends watching TV, cutting out coupons and then organizing them. I kept track of the hours I spent couponing over what I would spend just watching the sales and going to the store. If you spent 50% to 60% (not 90% to 100%) of the extra time spent couponing at a minimum wage job and used that money to buy groceries you would come out ahead.

I watch the sales very close. I know from experience that some things go on a really good sale certain times a year and buy at that time. Example: toilet paper goes on a really good sale twice per year. I buy 6 months worth at that time. Flour, sugar and baking supplies go on sale at Thanksgiving with the best prices of the year. I buy as much as I can at that time.

The best way to save money on fresh food is grow a garden. I grow the things in my garden that taste much better home grown, than store bought. I grow tomatoes, but I don't grow potatoes. I grow spinach, chard, sugar snap peas and carrots. I grow blackberries (Prime Jim, Prime Jan), boysenberries and strawberries (Albion is the best tasting strawberry I've ever found). And if you practice, you'll find strawberries, blackberries, and boysenberries very easy to grow and much better tasting than you can find in any store. Fresh picked boysenberries in home made ice cream is a little taste of Heaven on earth!

Over the past two years there have been dozens of questions about saving money at the grocery store in mamapedia.

If you (or any one) want suggestions for gardening in a small space write/e-mail me. Or get the book "Square Foot Gardening".

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

It depends on where you shop and for what. My family eats organic food, no processed (no dyes, no colorings, no chemicals, no pesticides, no growth hormones, no artificial flavors--no "factory made" food) food. We also have food allergies and intolerances, which means we have to buy very specific types of food (as in, gluten free, or casein/cow dairy free). Whole Foods offers some product coupons which, if the products are what you use, then they save you money.

I do not shop at a regular grocery store anymore except those certain stores that carry a different natural/organic food that I can't get at the stores I frequent. I prefer to give my family whole foods, not processed/
manufactured foods. Most of the time, there are no coupons for these types of items. We switched over to eating organic/local/natural/
pesticide/chemical-free food almost four years ago and have discovered that we are healthier than we've ever been; we haven't had any major colds, flus, etc., in four years. By eating right, taking preventive measures, and taking a few whole food supplements, we don't have any need to see a doctor and pay medical bills.

For those who are content with getting their food from their local supermarkets, yes, you can save with coupons. But you must be very discerning as to what it is you're getting "free" or "reduced" with that coupon. Is it real food, or is it manufactured food? Real food will give you nutrients that you're body needs to stay healthy; manufactured foods are dead foods with no nutritional value; they usually fill you up on calories and fat without giving your body anything it can use in exchange. And when it says on the side of the box that it's been fortified with all of these vitamins and minerals? Well, it's because first, the food has been so refined, they have to put them back in (if you eat real, whole food, those properties are still in the food). And second, what the food manufacturing companies are putting back into the food are synthethic vitamins and minerals, which the human body is not capable of processing and using, as they are "unnatural" to the body. Also, how many of an item do you need to buy in order to get "the deal?" Is it really a deal then?

So saving lots of money by using coupons to buy your groceries really boils down to what type of food you want to eat. While I would love to save money on groceries (believe me; our food bill is high because of food restrictions/allergies/intolerances), I also am aware of how healthy we've been these past four years from eating healthy, whole food. So my family has decided that, unless it's a coupon that helps us buy healthy (natural, organic) food (and, by extension, healthy (natural, organic) beauty and household products), we don't use them.

That's my two cents, for what it's worth.

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answers from Columbus on

I have been doing a lot of couponing, but it does not cut down your grocery bill so much on the things on the outer rim of the store. I have a loyalty card at Kroger, and they send me coupons, and lately there have been quite a few for produce and meat. You have to look, but if you do, you can reduce your bill by quite a bit. I spend a long time in the grocery store, and I clip and organize all the coupons of any item that I may use. Then, I go through them before I go into the store, and often, I find things that are not advertised that I have a coupon for, and if I will use it, I buy it, if it is cheap enough.

I use coupons for all of our deoderant and paper prducts, I am not brand loyal to toothpaste or shampoo. I usually don't buy many cleaning products, unless I can get it for free or nearly free. The drug stores are good for this too, you can go through their ads, and walgreens has store coupons, and you can use a manufactureres coupon if you have one, on the same item. Sometimes you will have a buy this, get that for free coupon, and the buy this item will be on sale, and you have a coupon for the buy that item too...that is how I shop. I also take advantage of the coupons that print at the register, often, these are good for dollars off your next purchase.

You do have to organize, and I have a book called the couponizer that I got online, it is really handy because it fits in my purse, and I can always have it with me. I keep things like the Bed Bath and Beyond coupons and the Michaels coupons, because you never know when you might just happen to be there, just today, I took a $5.00 off coupon to Bed Bath and beyond to buy my daughter a birthday present, and the clerk reminded me that I could use my 20% off coupon too, and said to get one out of the sunday paper and come back, but I had it in my purse, so we ended up purchasing a 169.00 ebook reader that had a $30 rebate and a case for it for 19.99 had a $5.00 off coupon, and 20% off, and we ended up getting that for $100! So, you can really score some deals if you just have the coupons with you. It would not make any sense though to buy things that you do not use just because you have a coupon, unless you can get it free and donate it. Sometimes I get things that we do not eat, if I can get them free, to put into food donation basket at church. We don't eat much boxed food like hamburger helper, like not any, but when I can get it for a few cents, I buy it becuse that is one of the things that food pantries give out.

I have watched the extreem coupon show, and those poeople are not buying to eat, they are stocking up, and purchasing the other things that they must eat everyday on another trip. You can't always buy milk with a coupon, but you can buy some healthy items regularly with coupons, like yogurt and cheese. Just last week, I found a deal on four if you purchased yeast, and since those are things I buy and use, this was a good deal, even though it was not free. I happend to have a coupon for yeast, but since I had to buy three, it was still 4 bucks, but I got the flour for 70 you do have to weigh out what is worth it to you. It is a little bit of work, but certainly not a full time job.

I get my coupons from the paper, and I print them. I "like" my favorite stuff on facebook, or register with them online, and they send them to me. Also, look at your packages in your pantry, you will find quite a few right on the boxes. On Wednesday, many papers run a food section, and you may find coupons too.

Smart source, red plum,, couponmom, are all good sites, and I think I saw that if you get the organizer I use (couponizer) you will get some coupons too! I would stay away from one called shopathome...I had that one take over my computer and everytime I hit a link, it would take me to groupon (which I used to like, but sort of don't care for after that!) I would also stay away from the sites that promise coupons and free stuff if you take surveys, just say no to that!

Bottom line is, you are already doing a good thing by cooking things yourself. If you cut the produce, instead of buying pre bagged, and if you bake the bread and make your own pudding instead of buying boxed, it is not only better for you, but is usually cheaper in the long run. Just use the coupons you can, and know that you are already spending less than someone who buys a can of cooked beans instead of cooking them themselves!

I wish you well, you can save a lot, but do not expect to save nearly 100% off your weekly bill. While these people do it for the show, they do not just eat that stuff they can buy like that, they still have to buy things that you almost never get a coupon for!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I had the same problem. Coupons just don't apply to the fresh food at store edges!

I started my own veggie garden and learned how to freeze and can. It's a bit more work, but a teachable moment for kids. Also, I go to farmers' markets in the summer, which always seem to be a lot cheaper.

I use coupons for non-food necessities- toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. I don't get the newspaper anymore, so online coupons are best. I also ask family members to send me coupons when they see them.

Food is just plain expensive! I'd get a cow if I could.

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answers from Rochester on

I do not "extreme" coupon, but I do look through the Sunday paper and online (,, etc.) and look at my grocery store's sales flyer before I shop. I only clip coupons for items I normally buy and base our brand-name shopping around that. For example, I buy crackers and granola bars based on what is on sale and I have a coupon for, so we kind of rotate what we buy. I also have an idea of what a good sale price is at our store. I'll price shop online before buying, too. So, if I have a coupon for brand-name frozen pretzels (which my husband loves), I will compare the total cost with the coupon to the price of the store-brand version, which is fine as well. Sometimes the coupon makes it better to buy the name brand.

For a few months I itemized all of our purchases by department, item, quantity, and price. I was able to get a really good idea of what we were spending and how to improve. It was also interesting to see the price of eggs go up twice in one month. Anyway, I could see that some things we purchased frequently were better bought in bulk and such.

I find food a hard place to cut, too. We don't really have a lot of extras to cut, like cable or whatever. Good luck.


I do not subscribe to the Sunday paper but where my husband works they get all the papers delivered and just recycle the Sunday paper and coupons, so he gets to bring it home (sometimes two copies). If you know anyone who gets the paper, you could always ask if you can have the coupons when they're finished or when they've finished going through them. You can also subscribe to emails from any companies whose products you use. I get emails from Purina and have had printable coupons for several dollars off my cat food, or from Neutrogena (I use their moisturizer). Anything you are "loyal" to you should be on a mailing list for or check the website for printable coupons. I get emails and mailed coupons from P&G. I also have been using homemade laundry soap and general cleaners for a good year or more now and spend very little on supplies. You can find great cleaner recipes and laundry soap recipes online (another way to save and it is very easy--I work full-time as well and it is not too bad).



answers from Minneapolis on

I usually don’t buy a lot of processed foods, either, so a lot of coupons are not useful for me. I get the Sunday paper (found a year subscription for only $26) and my mom also saves the coupon inserts from her paper for me. I can usually flip through them quickly and find what I need. I check the ads for the two stores I usually shop at (Cub and a local grocery) and see who has better sales on meat, produce, etc. I find that I can save a lot of money just by knowing what a good sale price is. For example, I know that Cub will put Golden Plump chicken breasts on sale for buy one get one free every few weeks, so I buy a few packages when they are on sale and never pay full price. I also rarely buy fruit if it is more than $1/lb. Pears can be $1.49 one week, but be 99 cents the next. My rule for cereal is that it has to be on sale for $2.50 or less a box and I generally have a coupon on top of that. Some stores will also let you use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same item, so I take advantage of that when I can.

I’m definitely not an extreme couponer, but I don’t spend a LOT of time on it either. I put my coupons in an envelope sorted by the order that I come across things in the store so that I don’t waste a lot of time looking through them.



answers from Milwaukee on

I think that show is pretty cool as well and amazing. However one of the catches is that if you buy somethng for .50 cents and you have a .50 cent coupon they double in the show you get a .50 cent credit. That is how they are knocking down their prices. Here anyways you would just get the .50 cents a free item, pay tax and loose the other credit. I had to watch it a couple of times before I could figure out how they did it. I was so bizzare to me. I have never seen a store that would give you the credit if you had a $5.00 coupon and your item was 3.25 you loose the rest of the credit on the show you get the money towards your next item.



answers from Minneapolis on

You sound a lot like me. We don't eat to much from the "center of the store" yet we're able to keep our weekly grocery bills to around $50-60 (for a family of 5). I didn't think couponing would work for me but it has made a difference. I follow the site and she puts up lists for different grocery stores. I live in the Twin Cities and shop at Rainbow Foods on Weds when they have double coupon days. I think Rainbow Foods has partner stores in WI (Pick and Save/Copps)-I don't know if you have any of those near you but it may be worth shopping at those stores on their double coupon days (the pocket your dollar website explains everything). I found that the biggest help has been their rewards card-you get cents off per gallon of gas plus a lot of coupons that print out at the register. I do subscribe to the Sunday paper (just one) and save and date the coupon inserts and store them in a folder for several months. I only clip the coupons I use and I don't "buy" products I feel are unhealthy (like cereal bars, frozen meals) even when I could get them for free. I shop weekly and usually end up saving anywhere from 30%-40% on my bill-nothing like the Extreme Couponers but helpful nonetheless. Good luck.



answers from Duluth on

first of all you have to know that you cant just turn around tomorrow and be making those kinds of savings. extreme couponing is just that: extreme. its nearly impossible to start that overnight. but you can start small!! is doing a whole series on reducing your grocery budget. its pretty cool, weekly videos.

lots more tips can be found on her site/blog.

other than that i will warn you: what you spend on groceries is going to make a huge difference depending on where you live. i live in far N MN, and it SUCKS because theres nothing that you can grow year round, growing season is VERY short, and you have to pay the shipping costs over whatever the foods cost. its insane. so depending on where you live, your grocery bill will NEVER match up to someone who lives in LA. they can get fresh produce nearly all year, and theres just no way to compare to that.

but start small. get your local paper. clip the coupons. is a free site for coupons. make sure to check your store for their coupon policy; many of them you can find online. otherwise, call. :)

good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

I will second it is a great and easy site to follow. You will need to get a Sunday paper for the coupons, but you don't have to clip them unless it is something you are going to buy. It's really easy to figure out and follow...they do so much of the work for you. It does still take some time on your behalf, but time is money as they say. You will probably not get to the point of "extreme couponing," but most will not. I probably save about 50% most of the time though, so it has drastically cut down on our grocery bills. Good luck!



answers from Louisville on

Big note on "extreme couponing" show - I only caught part of one last nite (after waiting to see what would happen storm-wise), but really noticed the one gal in a Bi-Lo .... first, she had a "loyalty" card that really cut some funds off, esp off her 3rd set of stuff to run down the register! Second, that store will double up to 10 coupons for the same thing - none here will do that, will only double TWO and even then only up to 50 cents!

Third - did you notice what she actually bought?? A bunch of toothpaste, a bunch of brownie and cake mixes, and a bunch of some drink in a plastic bottle are the ones that stick out the most! Ok, so she has those items - but w/what she left w/you cannot even make the brownies/cake cause you don't have any of the other ingredients!

I could not believe it when they showed her "storage room" - TONS of stuff! (and still wondering if she uses all those diapers she bought...??)

Might give the show another shot - but was a bit let down overall! I do use coupons and will use my Meijer card when they have the % off days (IF I NEED STUFF) - and have saved quite a bit sometimes esp if catch things on sale (not just foodstuffs either). Son has been surprised sometimes how much saved!

(just thought - kinda do the same thing w/Kohl's when they have a 30% off linked to my card - then I hit the clearance racks and look - but not always buy!)



answers from Erie on

Do you make your own tooth paste? Use deodorant? I consider healthy and beauty items as part of my groceries, You can get alot of items for free or close to free, if you can be flexible about trying new brands. Not generic, just trying colgate instead of crest, when colgate is on sale and you have a coupon. These are items with very long shelf life that you can stock up on, (no more than three months worth or else you would definately be called a hoarder.) I am able to get these items by following a coupon blog and stopping at 2 major drugstores on my way to and from places i am already going.
Personally, while it is possible to find deals on meats and produce, I think you would have an easier time by starting with your toiletries.

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