Let me preface this by saying that back in the day I used to be an extreme couponer. You know that crazy show where Moms go into a store, fill three carts, then by the end of the trip somehow, miraculously, the store owes them money?
Yep. That was me.
Before a full-time job. Before kids. We’re talking college years, here. I had a $100 a month allowance so I had to get pretty creative to say the least. I loved it, but the amount of time it takes to track down the coupons, organizing everything, and even the amount of time spent in the store to make sure all the deals work out like they should is absolutely atrocious. Any more, that’s just not practical. Life started and my couponing kind of fell by the wayside as my focus shifted to work and later on, family.
4 years later, I’m standing in the Walmart line with my husband swiping my card to a $140 grocery bill. I had just started a new job and was at that weird in-between time where my paychecks stopped from the old job, but I was still waiting on a check from the new one and it was tight. That’s when it clicked; something had to be done.
One word ya’ll:
Now hear me out on this. They have several brands that are exclusive to their store that are way more affordable than what you’re going to find at Walmart (which was where I was shopping) and their free card that they offer saves you a pretty good amount of money on it’s own just by swiping it at every trip. But when you download their app, that’s when the magic happens.
They have manufacturers coupons that you can load straight to your card so you don’t have to waste your time printing them all off. I’ve found that if they list the coupon on coupons.com, 9 out of 10 times they have it on their app. Make your grocery list, then hit the coupon tab on their app and start typing in the items that you’re buying. When the coupon pops up, hit the “load to card” button. Boom! you’re done. and you didn’t spend forever and a day browsing a sight and waiting for coupons to print only to discover halfway through that you’re out of ink (I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me- and it’s beyond irritating).
You should also know that every Friday they upload a new coupon for a free item. The item varies every week, but I’m all about anything free. You can only download the coupon Friday, but you can use the coupon at any time during the week.
Kroger also has super awesome clearance sections. Each store is a little different, but mine has a clearance freezer/fresh bread section, clearance meat section, and a clearance dry goods section. I’ll meander down those sections and quickly search the app to see if any coupons match up to what’s been marked down. I find at least one great clearance deal every week by being able to double-up like that and it really only adds about an extra five minutes to my grocery trip. In all honesty this is how I get the stuff I would never normally think of buying just because its so expensive. For example, this week I got TGI Fridays frozen appetizers for $1.94 a box.
Another thing I’ve found is that Thursdays are the best days to go. That’s when their new ads start, so they’ve just marked everything down. Their clearance sections are full and they normally have everything you’re looking for. There’s nothing worse than finding a great deal and being super pumped about it only to get there and realize that everyone else found the same great deal you did, but got there first. Not to mention weekend shopping brings out the worst in me. The long lines, the road rage (is that even the correct term? cart rage might be more accurate), and then I feel rushed because I don’t want to be the one in the way, it’s just an all-around bad time. If Thursdays are out of the question for you, really any week night is better than a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. They generally restock everything completely right after the craziness is over. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, go to the service desk and ask for a rain check. I know, annoying, but it’s saving you money that you can put towards bigger and better things, and it adds up quicker than you think.
My last tip I’ve got for you is start stocking up. If you find an exceptional price and a great coupon on a higher dollar item like toilet paper or laundry detergent, buy it. You’ll use it later and then you aren’t forced to buy it the week the grocery store marks Charmin up to $10 a package. *Insert eye roll here.* You should also know that if something is marked 10 for $10, they do not make you buy all 10 items to get that price (bless them!) because let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t have the extra $10 in the grocery budget to stock up on 10 boxes of shells and cheese that the kids love, but $3 is feasible and will be able to get you through until the next time they go on sale.
That’s pretty much it. It’s not a crazy amount of work and I went from spending $120 to $140 a week to around $60 to $70 a week. It’s totally do-able and has helped our family immensely, especially now that we’re trying to meet all the needs of little ones. Happy hunting!