Grocery Store Coupon Tips For Saving Money (I Saved $53!)

And now for a post about saving money. Because the loot we save on food = more money to spend on paint & projects. I figured since I recently divulged my 2011 goal to figure out coupons and save more money this year, I should share a little coupon-related update for anyone else who’s as desperate to turn paper clippings into dolla dolla bills as I am. So here it is:

I saved $53 at the grocery store!!! Coupons really do work!!!!

Pardon all the shouting. I’m just really excited. I am definitely far from an “expert” on the subject (I just started trying to navigate the crazy coupon world a few weeks back) but here’s what I learned in the simplest of terms. Because I was a coupon dummy. Still kind of am. So I need things to be explained to me slowly. Preferably with lots of pictures and in a soothing and nurturing tone. Yup, I’m high maintenance like that.

Tip Numero Uno: You save the most money when your store (we shop at Kroger) matches coupons (ours does up to 50 cents) and when you can use a manufacturer’s coupon (like the ones you find in the paper or online) combined with store coupons or sales. For example, if Kroger has organic milk marked down by $1 and I have a manufacturers coupon for 50 cents off and Kroger matches that, a gallon of organic milk that’s normally $3 will only be $1 (because I’d score $2.00 off thanks to the store’s $1 off sale and the matched fifty cent coupon).

Not bad right? That stuff really adds up when you’re shopping for a fair amount of things (which has always been the way John & I do it, we usually do one major shopping trip every 2-3 weeks). It keeps us from spending a lot of money on impulse buys (which would occur more frequently and cost us more money if we hit the store more often for smaller trips). But I’m rambling. Back to more of my novice coupon tips.

Tip Numero Dos: If you use coupons for things you don’t eat (or just get stuff because it’s on sale) you’re still losing money, wasting time, and giving up valuable space in your house that could better be used to store other things. So even if that bag of chips is 40 cents, if you don’t normally buy chips but get all crazy at the idea of big savings you’re on a slippery coupon slope. My big rule is that I only clip (or print) coupons for things that our family already eats or would like to try. We prefer organic produce and organic dairy along with basics like pasta, bread, cereal, granola, etc. It’s not always as easy to find coupons for those things, but they do exist! And thanks to Kroger (where we have a Kroger savings card, which also offers occasional discounts on those items when you scan the card at the register) we’ve been able to save a substantial amount of money. Our last trip was our best savings ever (did I mentioned we saved $53?!!!!! oh I did. sorry, I’m just excited).

Along with picking up the Sunday paper for the bevy of coupons hiding inside (along with a Kroger weekly sale flier), here are some of the online stops that I make to find coupons that I can print or even load directly onto my Kroger card (how Minority Report is that?!).

  • This is my favorite coupon site. I click the Kroger tab and the Target tab to see what’s going on (they have other stores in case you’re not a Kroger person)
  • This is where I go within that site to load things onto my Kroger card
  • I also check out this site for printable coupons
  • And this one
  • And this one
  • This site is nice because it has links to a few of my favorites (some of them already listed above) in one spot
  • I also drop by this site just to see what’s going on there
  • And this one
  • And this one
  • And this one

Resist the urge to get overwhelmed though! I probably get 90% of my coupons from the top four bullets above, so there’s no need to go crazy and bookmark a million sites like I did. I just had to experiment with a bunch of them to find my favorites (aka: those top four).

Other than those two tips above, there really isn’t one big trick that helped me save tons of money. I just clipped coupons on and off for two weeks (just for things we actually need/use/eat), wrote our shopping list carefully (being sure to note how many of each item we needed for the maximum savings) and even loaded some coupons onto my Kroger card online before going into the store (thanks to this site). We spent around $160 for 2-3 weeks worth of groceries for John, Clara, and I (we walked out with over nine giant reusable bags full of stuff, and according to the receipt we purchased 77 items). And we saved $53! And that was on things like two four-packs of organic baby yogurt for Clara, two half-gallons of organic milk, organic eggs, organic produce like bananas & avocados & and peppers, and basics like whole wheat bread, wheat pasta, granola bars, cereal (and goodies like dark chocolate and ice cream). It felt so good! Here are a few more specific examples of exactly how our coupons combined with an in-store sale to save us the most money:

  1. We got two YoBaby Organic Yogurt 4-Packs, which were originally selling for $2.69 (which calculates to a total of $5.38). But Kroger had them marked down for 60 cents off each one (bringing each one down to $2.09) and then we had a “buy one 4-pack, get the second one free” coupon from the manufacturer, which made our total for both 4-packs just $2.09 (for a savings of $3.29).
  2. We got an 8 oz bag of Gorton’s grilled shrimp that was originally $5.99. But Kroger was having a special $3 off promotion so it was only $2.99. And we had a manufacturers coupon for $1 off which means that our bag of shrimp cost just $1.99 (for a savings of $4).
  3. We got a box of FiberOne Granola Bars that were originally $2.49. But Kroger had them on sale for $1.50 off (which made the box just 99 cents) and we had loaded a FiberOne e-coupon onto our Kroger card (thanks to this site) for 50 cents off, so we paid just 49 cents for the box of FiberOne granola bars.

Of course these are our best buys that we’re highlighting, so not everything that we purchased was that discounted. Not even close. So don’t get down on yourself if you save 20 cents here and 50 cents there. It all adds up! Just be sure you’re buying things that you actually like and eat, not just things that are on sale.

Oh and a few more couponing 101 tips that I picked up are:

  • Just because something is 10/$10 doesn’t mean you have to buy ten items (it’s usually just labeled that way to get you to buy more).
  • Resist the urge to buy the largest size of things that are on sale- often you save the highest percentage when you use a $1.00 off coupon on the $2.00 cereal box, not the supersized $4 one (this was the hardest principle for me to grasp at first since my instinct was that buying something huge saved me more money). Of course if the larger one is substantially less money per ounce and you have a use for a large amount of something, it could be worth the upgrade- but I was surprised how often I noticed them listed as the same price per ounce.
  • Coupons are allegedly cyclical, meaning that most coupon pros claim that every six weeks the same items go on sale again. This theoretically means that if you have space to stock up on your favorite cereal when it’s on sale, you only have to buy enough to last you six weeks, and then the sale should pop up again (of course this isn’t to suggest that you should have a six week stockpile of every item, but it does reinforce the idea that you never have to buy 100 of something that’s “an amazing deal” because it’ll most likely be a great deal again in a little over a month).

Oh and here’s how I keep things organized. I have a clear plastic sleeve where I toss all of my coupons as I clip them throughout the 2-3 week span between major shopping trips, then before we go to Kroger I take out all the ones I won’t be using so it’s only full of coupons I’ll be “spending” and I slip my detailed shopping list in there with them (that way I know how many of something or what sized box I need to get to use my coupon without thumbing through all of them). When I get to the register I hand over my Kroger card for them to scan (for all uploaded discounts) and then I hand over my paper coupons as well. So far it seems to work.

So that’s my coupon update for ya. Happy snipping to one and all. And all you varsity coupon peeps better share your tips! I know I still have lots to learn!

Psst- All kids toys are not created equal. Check out what Clara got that looks so good we never want to tuck it out of sight (unlike 99% of her other toys).


  1. Mandy says

    Love this post!! I am seriously lagging on the couponing, but need to get back into it. I did get a groupon for $10 for a year of weekend subscriptions to our newspaper, which comes with all the ads and coupons, so once they start coming this weekend, I am going to jump on the bandwagon again. This post couldn’t have come at a better time

  2. Kara says

    Thank you so much for addressing this topic! I, too, have been trying to get into couponing but I kept getting stuck because it seemed so overwhelming. Ready to try again! Especially since I swear our grocery bill grows with each passing week…..

  3. says

    I think I might be more impressed that you can shop every two or three weeks WHILE working from home every day. That’s some serious self control. I feel like we plow through food and never have anything left at the end of the week. Do you guys plan out your meals in advance, or just work with what you buy?

    • says

      Of course we have to drop in for some produce in the middle of a particularly long span (ex: produce shopping 1.5 weeks after big shopping trip to tide us over 1.5 more weeks until another major shopping trip) but we do meal plan (picking up the right amount to tide us over at least 2-3 weeks). We also love working with what we have in the cabinets/fridge before going shopping again, so if we have leftover meat/sides/etc we make some strange meals at the end there, but we’re sure to try to use it before restocking!


    • says

      As for what we eat, we’re definitely not chefs and this isn’t really a food blog by any means, but we enjoy: veggie chili, spaghetti dinners, veggie dumplings with brown rice, homemade pizza, chicken parm, hearty soups, shrimp & pasta, and even whole wheat nachos with cheese and veggies over them. We don’t have a regimented schedule at all, so I just write down what we feel like eating for the next few weeks (3 pizzas, 3 packages of veggie dumplings, 3 boxes of pasta, etc) and we make entrees until we run out. Good luck!


  4. Letty says

    Thanks for the helpful tips! I had started couponing a few months back but got frustrated and stopped. But now I want to give it another try!

  5. says

    I never ever used to use coupons at the grocery store. I hate grocery shopping as it is and didn’t want to make it worse by adding coupons to the whole deal. But the last year I’ve been using the coupons you get from the grocery store when you use your frequent shopper card and have seen a huge difference even just using those! I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting the Sunday paper and doing the clipping thing but I haven’t actually done it yet. Hopefully your post will inspire me to do it this weekend!

    • Carrie C says

      find a blog to follow that covers the store you shop at. It is super easy to let them do the work and all you have to do is print/write down that deals you want! I like She does lots of grocery stores in my area!

  6. Courtney says

    I’m a Kroger shopper, as well. And, I use coupons. My store will double coupons up to .50 and triple coupons up to .35. I used to throw away the .35 coupons till I realized they are actually worth even more than the .50 ones.

  7. Laura says

    I take it that you guys already get the paper? We don’t, but I do always check online for the new weekly ad for our grocery store. It’s step one in my meal planning for the next week, usually. I could probably cupon hunt a little more but I don’t do the grocery shopping and I don’t know that my husband cares enough to bother with them.

    • says

      Just the Sunday paper. But I only recently started getting it for couponing purposes (used to read news online). John loves sitting at the table and reading the paper while I clip coupons though. Of course we have to wait for Clara to take a nap for activities like that. Haha.


    • Alissa says

      I often hear that the Sunday paper is the best place to get coupons, but I’m hesitant to take out a subscription (and fill a landfill) just for the coupons. Are there really so many in the paper that you make back your subscription price? Any suggestions (YHL or other couponers) for where to grab the paper coupons without a subscription?

    • says

      We have found the best coupons in the Sunday paper, which makes it totally worth the few dollars a week we spend on it. John reads it cover to cover too, so we don’t feel wasteful (I read some of it) and we’re always sure to recycle it. There might be creative ways to get the coupon inserts without buying a paper, for example if your neighbors get it and don’t want it or if a coffee shop has a few display papers every sunday and don’t mind you grabbing those fliers from them. Good luck!


    • Sara says

      There are websites where you can just buy coupon inserts rather than subscribing. But I’d say the savings definitely make up for the cost of a Sunday subscription. Call your local paper I think you’ll be surprised at what they’re offering it at.

  8. says

    I will check out your coupon links for Trader Joe’s… although I’m not sure TJ’s does coupons… Like you, I’m a total coupon-virgin.

    Do you guys have a special system for keeping track of expenses? Like, do you generally know what you monthly spend on groceries, gas, food out,…etc.?

    We started a system at the beginning of the year but it’s Basic 101 sort of stuff. I was just wondering how you do it.

    • says

      We actually don’t. We know how much we spend each month and we generally put all of our purchases on the credit card (where we earn points). Since we pay it off fully each month it’s a great way to track spending and earn points while we’re at it!


    • says

      Karen–my husband and I use to track expenses and we’ve loved it so far. You hook it up with your credit cards and banks so it automatically loads all your purchases in and categorizes them.

    • says

      I was also going to suggest Due to budgeting through Mint my husband and I have saved and unbelievable amount of money in just a year and paid off a ton of student loan debt. We’ve also cut our grocery budget in half because of my coupon hunting.

      Sherry – it’s funny because this past weekend I also saved $53 on the grocery bill which was my best yet too. But, what I save the most on are household items and health and beauty items. Especially at CVS (where I don’t typically shop b/c the prices are higher than Target or Wal Mart). BUT, if you use the sale flyer and coupons and figure out the items you need that earn you CVS Extra Bucks and then in another transaction use the extra bucks you can get a lot of items at no cost to you. This is complicated to write, hopefully you can follow though haha. It’s pretty amazing!

  9. April L. says

    Great tips! Learning to match coupons and sales was life-changing for me. Wanted to mention that you can get organic coupons at They have a physical coupon booklet that I get at my health food store, but they have some good printables too.

  10. says

    LOVE your links to those couponing sites, Sherry — and $53.00!?! AMAZING! My resolution this year was to put some money away for a kitchen remodel — which means saving wherever we can (we really want that kitchen!!). And I have to say THANK YOU for mentioning that if you buy something you don’t use you don’t really save — still working on that one. :)

  11. Lindsey says

    We saved $40 this week with our Kroger card and coupons!! Yeah!! I haven’t checked out your links yet…so this might be redundant…but is where I started couponing :0) I am definately checking out your sites too! I am going to call our store and see about the matching coupons deal!

  12. says

    Yeah for you! Our Kroger only matches up to $0.50 so any coupon that is above that is not matched. So if I have a manufacturer’s coupon for $1, Kroger doesn’t match anything but if it is for $0.45, Kroger will throw in another $0.45 for a total of $0.90 in savings. You are lucky if yours matches up to a dollar! I need to move back to Richmond (I used to like in Bon Air!).

    • says

      Hey Whitney,

      Oops, my bad. Our Kroger only matches up to 50 cents just like yours. Scroll back to the comment from Amy for an explanation. Either they were running a special or I was reading the receipt wrong. Still a newbie at this for sure! Thank goodness they highlight the total saved amount at the bottom of the receipt!


    • Jenny says

      If your store matches coupons,do you have to ask these stores to match the coupon or do they just automatically match them?

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