I had the chance to share with my small group last night about what I'm doing with coupons and money-saving. I really enjoy telling people about it and (hopefully) helping them save a little money, too! I promised the group that I'd post my notes on here, so here they are:

Why use coupons?
Any amount of savings from your normal grocery budget is an improvement!
With some time and effort, you can save 50-75% on your grocery bill!

How did I get started with couponing?
I was reading the blogs of some friends of mine, and they were talking about how they'd
started getting into saving money on their groceries. From there I started doing research on
my own and found a whole bunch of folks on the Web sharing about the ways they are saving
ridiculous amounts of money on their grocery bills -- and seemingly in ways that I could
pretty easily do myself! If a mom in Tennessee can feed herself, her husband and their three
kids on a grocery budget of $50/week, then I should be able to do that for just me and my

How do I do my grocery shopping?
I choose to shop at Publix (of the stores we have in Tuscaloosa -- Publix, Wal-Mart, Winn
Dixie, Bruno's, K-Mart, Super Target) because of great buy-one-get-one deals, good sales on
produce and meats, stackable coupons, double coupons up to $.50 and the penny item offered
every Sunday and Monday. I also prefer the overall quality of Publix's products.

The Publix sales paper comes out on Wednesdays, so I usually start my shopping list on

I usually visit Publix 4 Pennies, along with looking at the sales paper, to make my list. P4P
lists all the ongoing sales at Publix, PLUS the coupons that match up with them.

I make my list primarily based on what's on sale with other items added in as necessary.

Finding coupons
Publix accepts three types of coupons:
Manufacturer coupons - found in newspapers, online and in-store
Store coupons - Good only at Publix; found in-store or sometimes by mail
Competitor coupons - Target, CVS, Bruno's, etc.

You can stack one of each of these types of coupons on one item. Also, when you buy BOGO
items at Publix, you can use one of each of these types of coupons on each item.

You can also find coupons by buying/trading online.

Maximizing savings
As much as possible, base your list on what's on sale.

Try to find a coupon for everything you buy. You'd be surprised what you might find one for.
I've found coupons for things like fresh pineapple and strawberries, hamburger meat and
packs of chicken.

Be willing to put a little time and effort into it; it's going to take a little longer than simply
writing out a list. I usually take between two and three hours per week preparing my grocery

When you find a great deal on something you use a lot, stock up on it. Don't feel silly buying a
bunch of one thing. At one point I had seven boxes of cereal, six boxes of 100-calorie packs
and six boxes of pasta in my pantry -- and I just started doing this about 4-6 weeks ago!

Be willing to shop around. I do most of our grocery shopping at Publix, but I also look for deals
at Target and CVS.

Some good Web sites for finding coupons and deals:
Publix 4 Pennies
Fiddle Dee Dee Mom
A Full Cup - Featuring Target Coupon Generator
Teri's Message Board
Attention Target Shoppers
I Heart CVS

There are dozens more sites out there, but these are some of my faves. This is most of what I talked about with small group. We did a Q&A session afterward, but I didn't write any of those down!
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