Look, I like saving money. And I never manage to stick within my grocery budget. Yet, somehow, I really have not been interested in becoming one of those coupon ladies.

Why, then, did I find myself at a Coupon Party on Friday night, learning the ins and outs of saving money on groceries?

Mainly because of the saving money part. But also because a girls night is a girls night is a girls night, right?

Even though I have rolled my eyes at my thrifty friends and their bragging Facebook posts more than once, I can’t help but be intrigued when they talk about spending $32 for $250 worth of groceries.

Intrigued . . . and jealous.

So when my friend Sarah invited me to a coupon party and offered to share the tricks of the coupon trade, I decided to go.

The offer of pizza and the thought of leaving my house by myself, on a Friday night of all things, may also have played into my decision-making. I’m just saying.

Because I read blogs, have a cousin who is big into coupons and learned about flyers and price matching from our babysitter, I already knew a lot of what was shared at the party. (Or, as I told Mark when I got home, “I already know everything.” Um . . . really, Mary?)

However, reading a post about using coupons or hearing how much my cousin has slashed her budget is different than hearing, step-by-step, how my friend buys groceries and saves money. I learned a lot of little tips and heard some great real-life examples that gave those things I’d read or heard more depth.

And hanging out with some new girlfriends was a blast! (When I left, they were talking about the possibility of a cooking club. And since my last attempt at that flopped, I can’t wait to hear if these girls are up for it!)

Mark and I are considering some changes in the next few months that will mean a much tighter budget. So even though the thought of clipping so many coupons I need a binder kind of makes my head hurt, I think I might be sliding toward the dark side. The coupon side.

The exciting thing is that I’ve got great women to learn from. My cousin feeds four young kids and a gluten-free husband on one salary. Our babysitter provided meals for her family while her husband was out of full-time work for several months. And the girls from last week? Well, between their binders and their envelopes and their systems and their “I consider this a job,” they mean business!

The internet is full of sites about coupons and saving money, so I’ll keep this brief. Here are the main ways my friend saves money on groceries:

  • Coupons from the Sunday newspaper (Red Plum and Smart Source inserts, as well as Procter & Gamble insert)
  • Websites such as smartsource.com, redplum.com and coupons.com 
  • Blogs, including some of my favorites, Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom
  • Price matching with sales flyers
  • Drug store rewards cards
  • Stacking coupons (using a manufacturer’s coupon and an in-store coupon)

Some of the things the experienced coupon ladies talked about don’t appeal to me. One mentioned “sneaking by” expired coupons, and I’m not cool with that. Another mentioned buying packages of Depends to get the “bucks” on her rewards card, even though she doesn’t know anyone who actually needs Depends.

But for the most part, spending a couple hours a week clipping, organizing and planning is starting to sound like a good idea.

I know. I never thought I’d be one of them. But I think I’m going to give it a try. Is anyone else thinking about jumping into the coupon game? Maybe we could do it together over the summer, offer each other some encouragement . . . or accountability . . . or a challenge. You know, whatever gets you going.

Who’s in? And who already coupons?

Image by BigBeaks


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