Dave and I have sunk to a whole new level of nerdiness. I've kept it a secret until now. It started about a year ago when we began subscribing to the Sunday paper and I started clipping coupons. My motivation at the time was simply to make the subscription pay for itself. Then I heard about triple coupons at Harris Teeter and the sickness started. Funny enough, that was the Saturday I found out I was pregnant with North. I kept the pregnancy a secret that last special day of freedom. That perfect summer evening, Dave and I went to a concert and I enjoyed one last beer without my husband giving me a deserved stink eye. Afterwards, we went to Harris Teeter and triple couponed the night away (as someone that holds an English degree, I have the authority to make verbs out of any word I see fit.) Looking back, that's the night we officially became adults ...or losers, depending on your perspective and whether you still spend all your free time out in a bar.
Fast forward to now. North couldn't have been born at a better time, but it means I have gotten behind on my coupon clipping over the last month or so. When I heard about the latest Harris Teeter triple coupon event, I knew I had a wonderful stockpile of coupons waiting for me. First, I quickly poured through my coupon fliers and clipped only the $0.99 and under coupons for the products we will use (Harris Teeter will only triple coupons less than $0.99). Then I visited Taking Stock by Sue Stock through the News & Observer's website and perused her picks of the best deals and figured out which items we wanted. (If you like Sue Stock, my friend Michele hooked me up with a weekly e-newsletter called Here's the Deal that compiles information from several like-minded blogs.) The big trick to increasing your coupon savings is using a coupon on top of a sale the store is already having for that item. What I love about Sue's list is that she does most of the work for you.
Because Harris Teeter only allows you to use 20 coupons per visit, I normally plan multiple trips to the store. So I organize my coupons based on which items are going to disappear the quickest (i.e. the items that are free or close to it) for my first trip, then I sort them based on where they are found in the store. This preparation took me about an hour today and then I was off to the store! Each trip to the store took about a half hour. If you have a husband and son that support your habit the way mine do, it makes for a much faster trip. Plus, saving money should be a family affair!
The first trip was the more impressive of the two. Many of the items shown below were either free or insanely cheap. For $60.21 in groceries, I spent $15.32 which is a 75% savings and got the following items:
The second trip was not quite as disciplined as the first trip I took alone. My husband spotted a case of beer that was on sale, then I grabbed a large bottle of wine that looked too delicious to pass up, and North begged me to get a carton of organic milk, so that skewed our tally by $20 or so. But for $88.25 in groceries, we ended up paying $48.05, which is 46% savings. I hope one day manufacturers of alcohol consider printing coupons for their products to make my triple coupon tallies more brag-worthy.
Today's two trips saved us a total of $85.09 for groceries that should have cost us $148.46. So we ended up spending only $63.37. We saved 57 % overall, not too bad for a few hours of work!