Awhile back I posted on my newfound love of clipping coupons. Some people warned about the dangers (i.e. actually spending more because you buy stuff you don’t need & / or name brands vs. generics) & hassles of doing so. But many were supportive & submitted the names of favorite coupon sites they use. Recently someone suggested I post an update on my progress with the coupon community.
Well, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, I’d say. At times I’ve gotten some GREAT deals. But I have probably purchased things I wouldn’t normally buy, just because it was such a good deal. And I don’t like to go the route of looking at my coupons or the weekly ads to plan my meal list & thus, my grocery list. Too much work. I’d rather just plan my lists & then look through my coupons to see what fits the list instead.
I have recently been frustrated at the amount of time grocery planning / shopping has taken, as well. It’s taken me up to 3 hours to just do the grocery shopping! (Going to Aldi & Walmart on a weekday afternoon, by the way.) And that doesn’t count the time it took to plan the lists & sort through all the coupons!!
At times I’ve found I spend less when I just shop at one store instead of going to two (i.e. just Walmart vs. Aldi & Walmart together). Even though Aldi has better prices all around than Walmart, they don’t have everything I need. And apparently the psychology of shopping at two places makes it harder for me to stay on track with my budget. I suppose it probably has something to do with the fact that I go to Aldi first, buy the stuff I can there, still keeping track of how much I’m spending, but not realizing that I haven’t left myself enough of my budget for the rest of the stuff I need at Walmart. I know I used to kind of splurge on things outside my list at Aldi as well, simply because everything is so cheap! But it adds up. Anyway, when I shop just at Walmart, I have the option of putting things back at the end that I deem unnecessary if I find myself breaking the bank. But if I’ve already bought unnecessary things at Aldi, I can’t put those things back by the time I’m at Walmart & concluding that I’m over the budget. Hope that makes some kind of sense to at least one of you out there!!
So, all that to say that I’m still working out the kinks. I have gone back to the Aldi plus Walmart routine recently, simply because Walmart jacked up their prices on several things to a point I was fed up with. And Aldi has actually dropped their prices on several things like canned veggies & soup. Though their eggs are now not quite as cheap. (Still cheaper than Walmart, though.) I do feel like I spend a lot of time debating whether it might be cheaper at Walmart than Aldi. Stressful!
Another option we’re looking at: Target now has a debit card program you can sign up for that links directly to your current checking account and gives you 5% off all your purchases. This, along with the coupons on their site, might be a deciding factor for us to finally be able to afford our principals and shop there instead of Walmart. Something we’ve wanted to do for awhile but didn’t feel like we could afford! Their stores are better, their products are better, their checkouts are better. But their prices are higher. Not always significantly, but it does add up. So we’ll see. If we can actually break even with the cash back & coupons, we’ll give it a try.
I love to save money & eat well. We want to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with in all areas of life. At this point, my time is precious, but I’m willing to sacrifice SOME of it to save a portion of our finances. But I’m sick of full days of grocery shopping, planning, coupon organizing, etc. I don’t feel like that’s the best use / stewardship of my time.
If any of you out there have any good suggestions, feel free to pass them along! (PS: I love the idea some of you have of buying certain things in bulk, like meat. But our current budget doesn’t allow for anything of the kind, unfortunately.)