What's the Secret to Clipping Coupons?

Updated on July 21, 2008
R.B. asks from Frisco, TX
21 answers

I clip coupons and I even use www.TheGroceryGame.com to capitalize on the best sales. I use my shopper card to double/triple coupons, but I only save 30-40% on my bill. I know that's better than nothing, but every time I see a story on the news about a super shopper, they use coupons and get $150 worth of groceries for $7. How do they do it?? What's the big secret I'm missing? Any coupon savvy moms out there, please don't let me down! Thanks!!

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answers from Dallas on

Have you tried thecouponclippers.com? You select only the coupons you want, and pay a small fee per coupon.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have never heard of the grocery game, does it take a lot of time? How much is the actual website charge? I see $1 for 4 weeks. a 30-40% savings is better than no savings at all. Do you get a lot of spam emails with this subscription to grocerygame?

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answers from Dallas on

When I used to just match coupons to the ads, I used to save about 25-30%. But I have used the grocery game for about 6 years now, and on average I save 40-60%. Granted, I used to save 50-70% when they doubled $1.00 coupons up until 2005 or 2006 :(
If you are wondering if couponing is worth it..here are a few of my numbers.. I saved $2,515.18 in 2006, and $2,887.81 in 2007. That is a nice vacation if you ask me. I am a family of 3, 2 are growing teenage boys and I spend on average 300/mo. I have also taken into account entertaining and special occassions.I have a good size pantry that is always stuffed and I have an extra freezer. So my $300 does not just take care of my BASIC needs week to week, it covers most special occassions and has provided a well-stocked food storage, personal hygienge products in case of emergency.

Yes, alot of the coupons are for "convience foods" like cereal, hotpockets, snack bars etc..which we have on hand and are great for when my boys show up with all thier friends. But no we are not eating hamburger helper and frozen dinners nightly. At any moment, I could pull together a dinner for 6 of roast beef, or shrimp scampi, bbq ribs, roast chicken, pasta, you name it. It is not all "packaged". The longer you do it, the more discerning and better you will get at it.

I generally spend about <2 hrs a week (reading the list and selecting the items I want, then cutting, filing and matching coupons to the list). I don't think I have ever saved less than $50/wk. So, that is $25/hr. That is a pretty good wage for doing something in front of the TV :). Also, if you want to be real.. You've actually saved about $80.00 in earned wages. You have to work and make $80, then have uncle sam and benefits taken out if it. So you are really saving $80 for every $50 you save!

I go to Tom Thumb and Kroger, that's it. For everything - food, meat, toiletries, household products. On occassion I go to sprouts for produce, but am careful to stick to my list and not buy anything else there. And on rare occassions I will get something at Walmart or Target if I am in there and am out of something just to save time.

All of that said, you have to find balance.. Should you go to 5 stores and drive around for 1/2 a day - No. I had a friend that had room full of coupons, rebate forms, box tops, on-line coupons, offers etc. Yes, she saved about 60-75% but it was time and space consuming. Should you buy 6 of something you don't need - No. Yes, the coupon crazy hoarders make the "game" hard for the rest of us to play, when a few hours into the game, the shelves are empty :(

If you've got the time, and are financially struggling, and don't have to drive all across town, go for it - hit several stores for the "best price", go online for additional mfr coupons, and store loyalty card coupons, grab rebates and mail-ins.. you can save extra, if you can spare the extra time. If not, you should find that "basic" couponing with the GG should save you at LEAST 40%.

Buy what you need and like, not just to "get a deal".
Use what you buy. Coupons are a great way to "try" something without much risk/expense.

I pretty much cut everything except the obvious (pets, babies etc). I used to never by vitamins or special toilet bowl cleaner or treats like snack bars for example.. thinking they were high priced or an extravagance. Then, along would come a week where I could get vitamins for $1.00, a box of snack bars for $.50 or toilet bowl cleaner for free - and I wouldn't have the coupon. Grrr... So I learned.

Read the message board on GG that address your area where you live, each stores policy, and double check your reciept!
ESPECIALLY when they are offering a "deal" like buy 10 items and get $4 off your reciept!

The game is fun when done with friends also, compare notes, shop together, compete for savings :)

Consider cutting all coupons and swapping with others the ones you need and don't use. I don't use baby or pet coupons for example.. but someone might want them in exchange for others. Now, I personally don't do this because it seems to encourage hoarding.. do I need 6 bottles of red wine vinegar? Uh, probably not, but could someone else need 6 packages of high use items like diapers, you betcha!

Make sure you are taking advantage of double couponing/dipping when able. (using a BOGO with another savings off coupon, or a store coupon with a mfr coupon etc) Example Tom Thumb puts out a a coupon in thier ad that says: 2 general mills cereals for $4.00. Be sure you also use your general mills mfr coupon for $1.00/2 to get them for $1 each vs $2 each.

Lastly, a note about rain checks. If the grabbers have taken all the product off the shelf, ask for a rain check. Stores will only offer rain checks on items that were Advertised at that price. Note that not all the GG specials are in the ad that week, some are phantom/unadvertised sales etc. Be sure you check the store end caps before you think the item is out of stock, often the item is elswhere in the store if it is on special.

You may think I'm a nut - but another way to give me "incentive" or remind me of my savings, since you never really see the savings in hand.. I have a sharpie on hand when I am putting my groceries away and write the price I paid on the bottom of my item. It is rewarding when I pull a bottle of ketchup out of my pantry and see that it was free,
or shampoo that was .25 when I am showering :) It takes 5 more minutes when putting my groceries away, but reminds me months later. For some reason $.60 peanut butter all the sudden tastes better :)

Wow, sorry for the long message! I hope you find some of it helpful...

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I also do the grocery game and get 50-80% savings. Last week's shopping trip I had 82% at Kroger, 60something% at Tom Thumb and 50something at Albertsons. Are you mainly getting the blue and green items? Those are the ones with the biggest savings percentages. The black items you should get only if you need them, and they may be cheaper to get at Walmart. When I first started GG I was still going to Walmart once a week for my needs; after about a month I no longer needed to do that nearly as often.

I'm not one of those people who completely clear the shelves. I've found there are lots of people in the area who see absolutely nothing wrong with taking 47 bottles of ketchup in the name of charity and say it's the store's responsibility to stock "appropriately." I also don't drive around to all the CVSs in the area to make sure I get 97 free deoderants. So make sure that the size you're putting in your cart matches the size you're supposed to be getting, not the next size up or down because some Coupon Crazy had taken all of the sale items and the store has put something similar in its place on the shelf.

I spend an hour a week clipping, sorting and planning what I'm going to buy from the Lists and a couple of hours doing the shopping. So it really can be done and without too much fuss. I get four papers (two double editions), match up the individual pages, staple through the sets of four coupons, then cut them out; I file them in a binder by type (heath & beauty, frozen, dairy, etc). When the Lists come out, I go through and choose the blues and greens I need & decide how many of each I want; I generally skip right over the items in black since they're not ever as cheap as I want them to be. Pull the coupons I need for each list (I have 3 grocery stores & 2 drug stores) and do the math to figure out what I will be spending so there are no surprises. My lists and coupons for each store go into their own pockets.

Also, be prepared to look for cashier error! More often than not, I've had to go to customer service after checking out because an item rang up incorrectly or the cashier didn't scan all of my coupons. I always go over my receipt before I leave the store parking lot.

Oh! One more thing...different stores double/triple different numbers of like items. For instance, if I want to use 3 coupons for 50 cents off of Jiffy peanut butter, Tom Thumb will only double ONE of those coupons, so I'll need to do three separate transactions. However, my Kroger and Albertsons will double 3, so I can get all three in the same transaction at those two stores. If you're not getting your doubles and triples on all of your items, your savings percentage will be much lower that it should. So check your stores' policies on multiplying like coupons!

I hope you don't give up on GG. I was able to cut our monthly grocery bill in half; it took me a few months to get there, but it happened. I was spending a bit more at the beginning of my GGing, since I was building up a stockpile. Every week my savings went up and my spending went down.

Good luck!


**I just wanted add that, while many of the coupons are for convenience food, my family is not on a Hamburger Helper & Fruit Roll Up diet! ;) If you clip & GG consistently over time, you'll see that there are deals on all kinds of things. Not to mention all of the wonderful deals on Health & Beauty and household items. I paid just 34 CENTS today for a bottle of Pantene shampoo. Pretty good, I think.**

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I barely use coupons anymore. I used to always look to see how much I save and would get such a high buing something that was on sale and with a coupon. Then when I started cleaning up my & my family's diet I found all that stuff that was on sale or had coupons for really did not belong in our house. Now I only clip what we can use and buy it if we need it. I make a weekly menu every Thursday for the whole family including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. From that I generate a list of what I need. I use www.sparkpeople.com for my meal planning.

I find that between sparkpeople, my planning I only spend at most $150 a week, but usually $70-80. (I have 2 young children and my very hungry meat & potatoes husband).

I hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have a friend who went to a short seminar by www.sistersofsavings.com and she's saving OVER 50% of her bill. In fact on some things, she even gets them for free. You do have to turn it into a hobby however, be willing to stock up and have extra freezer/pantry room, clip coupons each week and keep them in a file, and go to multiple stores for different deals depending on the week's sales. The website scans those flyers for you and gives you the deals of the week. She's really inspiring me to go! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hey R.,

How long have you been doing GG? I just hit my 12 week mark, and am now really seeing my weekly spending going under $100 for 4 people. I generally get between 45% and 70% savings...depending on the coupons & sales that week. Like someone else mentioned, I try to only buy the sale (blue) items.

I buy 2 double papers on Saturday, clip the coupons that day, (since there's at least 4 inserts to clip, I clip the quickie way...line up the identical pages and clip them all at one time. It's a HUGE timesaver!!) then do my shopping on Sunday. I use a binder to keep my coupons in...it's so much easier to flip pages looking for a coupon that it is to shuffle thru a handful of coupons! I haven't gone to walmart in almost a month....I've discovered that if I do need something that's not on sale, the Kroger generic prices are the same or cheaper than Walmart.

Also, if you haven't discovered it yet, check out the "message board" on the GG website...it's a treasure trove of info!!

Good luck, and keep trying!! Even if you're saving 25%, that's better than not saving at all!! :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Shop for bread at Mrs. Baird's thrift store at Central expressways and Beltline-across from TJMax. You will save 75%.
They even carry chips, tortillas and desserts. They give you a free item for every $6. I bought $24 and got $75 worth of items.
Also, you need to have recipes of foods you generally cook.
Do recipes with similar ingredients.

Learn to be smart with recipes. use this site to your advantage: www.rachaelraymag.com
Do a search on an ingredient you might have too much of for recipe ideas. Marinating your own meats will save you a ton.

The cheapest place to shop is Wal-mart. However, look for produce and meat sales at other stores. At Tom Thumb I was able to purchase ground meat, brisket, quarter chicken legs, boneless chicken breasts for $50. It was a month worth of meat.

Keep all grocery receipts. Next time you think something is a deal, check your receipts; Wal-mart will usually be the lowest on all items.

Definitely, stocking up when on sale. By stocking up I mean 3-6 of frequently used items: diced tomatoes, roasted peppers, picante sauce, black beans and corn to name a few. Invest on seasonings. They will save you a ton of money and give your meals a burst of flavor.
A well stocked kitchen will make everything run smoothly.
I cook 3 meals a day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I also have been doing the grocery game for a few months and as long as I'm consistent I can save probably 30-60% My guess is that you get better and better over time learning what is good to stock and what your family won't eat or use, so don't waste money on it just because it's cheap. I've just heard of a different website called www.couponmom.com. It appears to be free unlike the grocerygame, and it says to buy a couple of papers instead of just one so that when something is a really good deal (i.e. free) you can stock pile that. This is definately a way to save even more each time. I'm looking forward to switching over to the free service. They are also big on encouraging you to bless others with all the cheap/free food that you can get by following the plan.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Personally.....I have my pantry stocked for a 6 month supply of canned goods/sugar/flour/water/etc. Granted, my pantry is huge (size of some baby nursery) and I can do that. I also have my freezer in the garage stocked as well as the smaller freezer in the laundry room and freezer in the kitchen.

I do not find coupon clipping worthwhile because with gas prices......what do you really save?????..if you are going from store to store? I check the stores closest to me and go from there.

I check ads and buy what I need to stock up. My stock up can be water, sodas, cereal specials, etc. I am not looking at a % off my check at payout..........I see a % down the road when some monies might not be around but I have bought what I needed for that delayed gratification moment.

This might not make a lot of sense to some but we believe if we have an extra amount of $ to spend, we will do so on stock up items for a rainy day. It has helped in the past and will in the future.

For the most part, My grocery shopping is only for fresh fruits, veggies, bread and milk.

Maybe there is some insight on my point of view.



answers from Dallas on

I have found that if it isn't on sale, Kroger is ALOT higher than Walmart. Walmart has the best prices overall, hands down. A few examples Gillette Mach 3 razors are regularly $8.49 at Kroger and $6.12 at Walmart(28% difference). Satincare Shave Gel was $2.49 at Kroger and 1.97 at Walmart(21% difference). Fritos at Kroger are 2.79 and 2.69 at Walmart. I could go on and on. BUT if Kroger has something on sale and you can use coupons, you will save a bundle and you need to stock up. The point of the GG is that you build up a stockpile of the things you use. ONLY buy what is on the list or you will blow your savings on the other stuff. I shop at Kroger from the list and at Walmart for all the other stuff I can't do without.

You won't see the huge savings until you have a good stockpile built up.

The percentage saved doesn't really matter! When you take into consideration the mark-ups, keeping track of the % saved means nothing. What really matters is whether or not you are spending less on your groceries.



answers from Dallas on

I just wanted to ask my own question regarding this subject, do any of yall shop at SAMS to stock up or save money buying in bulk? I was wanting to know if SAMS is saving me money now that I have read all of your posts. I have 3 young boys ages 2,3 and 5 and of course me and hubby so we are a family of 5 with 3 great danes one small dog and a cat (we buy the dog food at sams cause we go through 1 44 pound bag a week) any way, we have been shopping at sams buying in bulk but it sound like it might not be the best way to save. Any one have any comments about if I should switch my shopping habbits?

Any suggestions/ comments are appreciated because I am looking for ways to save major money.
A. J



answers from Dallas on

I totally agree with the post on checking for cashier error, and produce frequently rings up for more than what is posted. Don't be afraid to speak up to the cashier.
Organize coupons, and only stockpile on items you will use.



answers from Dallas on

Oh my gosh, you save 30% - 40% off your grocery bill?!!! Please explain the "shoppers card" that gets you "double/triple" coupons and what is a double/triple coupon?? I know nothing about the ins and outs of coupons but am very interested. Thanks for any input!



answers from Dallas on

One quick note about Wal-mart. They honor competitor's ad prices as long as it's not a 'buy-one, get one' deal. I had a list of about 10 items from 4 stores and sale prices of each item I was shopping for. Before the item went in my cart, I noticed Wal-mart's regular price was cheaper than the competitor's sale price on all but 4 items.

I don't think they double or triple coupons, but if you're not a big GGamer, it's worth checking the other ads and only going to one store for the best deal.



answers from Dallas on

I would like to know about this too. I just seem to only get coupons for stuff I don't use anyway.




answers from Dallas on

Hello R.,

yes some people save a lot but when you try and be mindful of the ingredients then the price goes up. most of the stuff on w/ coupons is usually full of preservatives, artificial colors and artificial sugars or bad fats. at least that's what it seemed like to me when I tried to clip coupons. also you end up having to buy 2 or 3 of something that you really want one. so I try to take advantage of specials like chicken/meats, etc (that I can freeze) and evaluate if what you're buying w/ coupons is what you really want.
I hope others have more ideas because I've almost given up on clipping coupons. Good luck! ~C.~



answers from Dallas on

I have been using GG since 2006. I shop at Kroger or TomThumb depending on the sales for all canned items and basics. All produce and meat I buy at Sprouts or Costco. I only cut out the coupons that I know I would buy if I found a good deal. I haven't cut out 1/2 of what I used to. When I first started GG I would buy any and everything on that list. But I didn't like all the products because of sugar, HFCS and just overall being heavily processed. Keep at it.

Also I compare GG list with Couponmom.com list for Kroger or Tom Thumb. They will show any coupons still out there and not just the ones that GG hasn't used yet. Can still find some great deals. Especially if you have to miss out because of the "coupon crazies" taking all the stock...



answers from Dallas on

I've been GGing for almost a year. I have never gotten "$150 worth of groceries for $7". My absolute best was $140 worth of groceries at Kroger for $30!!

Like others who've been GGing for a while, my average saving % is typically 50-60%; although I have some weeks that spikes to 70+ and some that it's more in the 30% range. I have found a big key is to get out of the mindset that we want it this week (because its sounds good/have a craving, etc), but it's not at all on sale. My hubby was initially really bad about this. He'd say "I want X" and my response was "it's not on sale, but I'll keep my eye open for it". Hard at first, but he can see the savings, and that has helped him change his ways.



answers from Dallas on

I haven't managed to do much better than you have...on individual items, yes, but not on my whole bill. Of course, part of that is that I try to buy a somewhat healthful assortment of foods, at least some of which aren't highly processed - whole wheat pasta, for instance - and it's a lot harder to find coupons and deals on those products. I think if I spent a lot more time at it I could find ways to get lots of copies of coupons I would use and also buy a year's supply of things when they went on a great sale and had a coupon. But I don't have that kind of time.

I really suspect that these super coupon clippers are the equivalent of the spokespeople who "lost 150 pounds in 6 months!" In other words, the results aren't typical. And they never say what they bought when they got $100 worth of food for $7. Was it a 2 years' supply of something that they got a super combined deal on (clearance price plus triple coupon or something)? Like I said, I've been able to do super-well on one or two items like that, but never on my whole shopping list.




answers from Dallas on

I use the grocery game and I usually save 55%-65%. I think I once saved 73% but that was one time. When I shop with coupons I don't buy ANYTHING that isn't on my list. I buy everything else at Walmart. I have noticed recently that the coupons don't seem to be as good and neither are the sales.

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