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Climbing Back On the Coupon Wagon

I never watch Oprah. But yesterday we were expecting a blizzard (well, sort of… it was serious for our area of the country!) and I turned on the TV when my husband texted that he was on an earlier bus home. We were getting snow at 2 inches per hour at the time.

Anyway, I clicked one channel up and caught the 2nd half of an Oprah episode on ways to save money in this economy. The ways I saw were make a budget (ugh — I’m so bad with those!), be more thoughtful about buying what you need versus what you merely want, and work on saving money at the grocery store.

It was the last one that got my attention. They challenged a woman from Atlanta, “Coupon Mom,” to show them how she could save at least 50% on her grocery bill that day. She went to her local grocery store (Kroger, for those who care about such things) and showed us how she shopped, checked out, and actually saved about 70%! Her original total was $127 and her final total after store sales and coupons was $35! And yes, she bought fresh produce and healthy foods, not just junk.

She said the first thing you should do is plan your menus around what’s on sale that week at the store. That’s a money savings without any coupon clipping or anything. She also encouraged everyone to ease into this.

I tried couponing last fall, and was doing alright with it. I began regularly saving between 30 and 35% off my total shopping bill, which was really exciting. But I must confess that I’ve fallen off the wagon.

I’m sure most people would say I have a legitimate excuse — facing the sudden death of my daughter pretty much threw me off every wagon I was on. I’ve been slowly reclaiming those things, and after hearing that this mom had saved, over the past 15 years, $72,000, by shopping this way, I decided that this is something I must do for my family.

So I’m dusting myself off, logging back into my Grocery Game account, and diving back into coupon-clipping. I’d love to know what time-saving tricks people have for the clipping part. I really don’t want to cut every coupon, but I’m not sure how to decide which ones to clip.

Also, is coupon-clipping, menu-planning, and sale-paper-studying part of your Sunday afternoon routine? How do you fit this into your week?

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