When you have three kids and you work all day, you have GOT to shop efficiently. Weekly grocery shopping is something I truly dread. I do, however, enjoy saving money and finding great deals. (Ahem, it is also a necessity for my grocery budget!) I am a big fan of “extreme couponing”… except I am not really all that extreme. J Here is how I plan out my weekly shopping trip(s).
Phase One – Planning
First I will open up the Sunday paper and glance through the grocery ads. I will make a mental note of any good deals. Next I will get on the computer and find the weekly coupon match-ups for my grocery stores. I will add the items that I think have a good deal to an Excel spreadsheet, including the category, quantity and price of the item. Excel calculates the totals for me.
Phase Two – Clipping Coupons
Next I will go down my Excel sheet and locate the coupons outlined in the match-up. I will clip them out of my coupon inserts or I will follow the link on the matchup site to print coupons. Sometimes I can’t find the coupon in my inserts or there are no more online prints left. If that is the case, those items simply go off the list. I don’t have a lot of time to track down coupons, so if they are not easy to find I just delete the items from my spreadsheet. I will also go through my personal coupon stash to see what I have on hand to match up. This would include coupons I received in the mail or got at the store.
Phase Three – Digital Coupons
After I have my Excel sheet in some semblance of order I will look for digital store coupons, and I will check my ibotta app. There are several other rebate apps out there like Saving Star or Mobisave, but because I have such a simple mind, I just picked one app and stick to it. Maybe I could manage to do all of them when I get more organized.
Phase Four – Everything Else
Once I have my grocery “deals” down in my Excel sheet, I will add in my normal items that I need to buy even if they are not on sale. This would include eggs, milk, bread, etc. Normally I shop at Aldi for staples like these.
Sidebar: My husband insists on buying all our red meat directly from the butcher shop. He’s a meat snob and generally won’t eat anything except chicken from the grocery store or out of the freezer. It’s one of his quirks, but we don’t eat much red meat anyhow so I just go with it. Although for the record, my mother bought all her meat at the grocery store, and then she put it in the freezer and nothing bad ever happened to me after eating it for 18 years. I’m just sayin’.
Phase Five – Sorting It All Out
At long last, I have everything on my Excel sheet and have all my coupons in hand. I will sort out the list by store, and then I will sort the items by category so that I am not bouncing around the store like a ping-pong ball (which I am so good at). I also note if I have a coupon for the items, and I have a total for each store. This is especially important to do when you pay with cash!
All that is left to do at this point is to actually go to the stores and execute your shopping list! I almost always have two trips (Aldi and somewhere else) and sometimes more. Sometimes I go to one store on my lunch hour, and the other on my way home just to save time. Also, this lets me shop without my kids along! Other times I do them all on a Saturday grocery run. It really depends on what I can work into my schedule without too much pain. You know what I mean.
And that is how I do my weekly grocery shopping…until next week when I do it all over again! Also, check out my HubPage article about controlling coupon shopping!
My favorite coupon matchup sites:
These are the sites I find most helpful for my region of the country, Northwest Ohio.