Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coupons...Are They Worth It?

Lately, my sister-in-law has been sharing with me her killer deals. For instance, last week she got a bunch of toys at Target on clearance. Many of her deals involve coupons, but you know how I feel about coupons. On the other hand, she puts forth a convincing case with all the freebies (and almost freebies) she gets. She shared with me one of her secrets: A lot of the deals on this website involve coupons, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I scoured the Tom Thumb weekly ad for deals and store coupons ("sc" in coupon lingo). Then I went online to find matching coupons from manufacturers (aka "mc"). When I finished my list (this whole process took about an hour--I'm a newbie), it contained about 12 items....

Here we go...

While in Tom Thumb, I gathered my groceries within 10 minutes. However, my sojourn at the self-checkout lasted almost twice that. Thank heavens for Natalie! She should get employee of the month.

This is what I ended up with for $40.

A majority of the food I bought fits into our family's nutritional scheme. A few items, however, are ones I never would have bought without the coupons--gushers, refrigerated cookie dough, etc.

The breakdown:

Fiber One granola bars: $0.49
Nature Valley granola bars: $0.49
Gushers: $0.75 per box
Golden Grahams: $0.99
Trix: $0.49 (I never buy these, which is why they got devoured in less than 24 hours.)
Multigrain Cheerios: $1.74
Honey Nut Cheerios: $1.99
Refrigerated crescent rolls: $0.59
Pillsbury Sweet Moments: $0.59
Refrigerated cookie dough: $0.59
Freschetta Pizza: $3.50

My receipt noted $27 in coupon savings...not bad.

Several of the cereal boxes you see in the picture above I happened to find on a 50% off stand, so I snatched up a bunch--no coupons involved.

Yet to be determined:
  • Is it better to avoid the self-checkout when using a stack of coupons?
  • Will my overall grocery budget shrink? Or will I spend more on items I don't need?
  • Is my time worth the savings? (I'm not sure it is, but I'm not quitting yet. Hopefully I will become more efficient.)


  • has a tutorial for newbies like me. Check it out.
  • Check to make sure the coupons actually save you money. You can usually get store brand items quite a bit cheaper. This time, though, using store coupons with matching manufacturers' coupons, I got a better deal on name brand items.
  • You can borrow my rules of thumb: If snack items are under $0.10/oz, it's a good deal (especially if it has some nutritional value). When cereal is under $0.15/oz, that's a good price (under $0.10/oz means it's time to stock up!).


  1. I will happily take that refrigerated cookie dough off your hands if you need me to. :)

    Are there websites for everywhere? Or do you just need to know how to do the couponing thing and then apply it to your local store?

  2. I coupon but only for certain items - diapers, cereal, dairy products, baby products, and food we usually eat. I learned the hard way after buying way too many brownie mixes and fruit snacks that just because i can get a deal doesn't mean I should buy it. I figure that I save about 10-20% off our overall family grocercy budget with the way I coupon. The extra money has gone toward buidling food storage.