Is Couponing Worth It?

by cindy on September 20, 2010

I get asked all the time “Is couponing really worth it?”  At just about every class I teach someone always says “I do not want to give up eating healthy to save money. All the coupons I ever see are for processed food.” Yes, there are a lot of coupons for processed food but I find just as many for what I consider to be healthy foods. Like the $5/5 Kraft Dairy coupon, Green Giant vegetables coupons , Yogurt coupons, and so on.

I wanted to share my Meijer stock up shopping list from last weeks deals. I have about $10 a week I use for great stock up deals. The rest of my budget goes towards meat, dairy, produce, and other items I need.  Last week I decided to stock up on Kraft cheese and Green Giant vegetables. I try to stock up on 2 to 3 items a week that are at rock bottom prices. Doing this kind of shopping and planning for future meals has helped me to lower my grocery budget way more than I have ever thought possible. This trip I spent $30.75 OOP, I saved $73.42, and earned $19.50 in OYNO coupons that I will use to buy the things I need. So, is couponing is really worth it? For me and my family my answer is: “You better believe it is.”


I wanna know. Is couponing worth it to you?

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine September 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm

YES YES YES! My family eats very little processed food and we still save a small fortune with coupons. I am amazed at the deals I am able to get and how we have stretched our grocery budget. I even buy all my meat at Whole Foods, the money I save on everything else allows us to do that. I am so grateful for all the tips and tricks I have learned from you and the blogging community.

One of my best examples is Kashi cereal. We have been eating it for years (about 2 boxes a week) and I routinely paid the shelf price of $3.49 a box. For the last year I have never paid more than $1 a box for the same cereal. That alone is a savings of $250 a year!!!

Christy September 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Yes, couponing is worth it to our family. We went from a monthly bill of $950 to somewhere near $350 (five kids, two cats, one husband….). I look at it as my part time job. I get such a kick out of saving so much and my family has never eaten better!

Thank you so much for all the Meijer tips! The sales here don’t start until Thurs so it’s great to get a heads-up :)

Lisa September 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm

My hubby and I were spending about $150 every 2 weeks on groceries, we even tried shopping at Aldi and only got our grocery bill down to $125 every 2 weeks. Then I started learning how to coupon and at first I was still spending $80 to $100 every 2 weeks, and now that I have learned much more I am starting to get a great stockpile. I am down to about $40 every 2 weeks for my hubby and myself! It’s absolutely amazing! Thank you Cindy for the extra tips you gave me at your class last week!

Amie September 21, 2010 at 2:22 am

Cindy, did you receive the $5 OYNO catalina when you bought the Kraft dairy products & used the $5/5 kraft dairy products?? I bought $15 worth of Kraft dairy products but didn’t receive the catalina. I thought may be it was because I used the Kraft $5/5 coupons.

Lisa Milyard - ohio September 21, 2010 at 6:46 am

Amie: The same thing happened to me to! I went to customer service and the lady said if you used any kraft coupon it was denying the cat. (she didnt ask me, and i didnt tell her i used those coupons, so she re-rang the reciept and gave me the cat) She mentioned that their manager was really cracking down on those who are getting more back in coupons than they spent by using coupons! =(

Erika September 21, 2010 at 8:29 am

Couponing is so very worth it to our family! I can’t believe I didn’t know it existed before and realize that not everyone will understand the value of it. I try to share my knowledge of couponing with others but there are some people who still just don’t think it’s worth it! All I know that the proof of my savings is in my huge stockpile and ability to live within my budget. Since I’ve been couponing I got a second freezer and now I want a second fridge. Where to put it all? And this is on a $40/week budget too! :)

Thanks, Cindy, for all your hard work to make couponing that much easier for the rest of us.

Amie September 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

Lisa M, was it the Meijer 103 you went to?

andrea September 21, 2010 at 9:38 am

I did not have any problems with the cat printing even though I used coupons. Couponing is definitely worth it. I never pay more than $1 box for brand-name cereal and usually much less.

candace September 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

It’s completely worth it. Sometimes I dont feel like putting the time in to it, with a full time job and 3 kids, and a hubby. Then I think about all the money I can save. I refuse to go to the store without my coupons.
Cindy I love when you show pictures of your deals, it really helps to get an idea of what you are buying. I also hadnt thought of setting a budget for my stockpiling, I think thats a great idea. Thanks for all the work!!!!

cindy September 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

Amie, I got all the deals I wanted that had catalinas, used coupons, and they all printed. Did you do this deal more than once and try to use the first catalina to pay for the second? if so it would not print another one.

cindy September 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

I glad I was able to give you some more tips. You are a pro already. It was really nice meeting you.

cindy September 21, 2010 at 11:58 am

My sister also does that for Kroger. Her ad starts on Thursday. I am glad I can help you guys get all your deals ready a little early. The about you spend on your family is just amazing. Way to go!

Nicole W. September 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Couponing is absolutely worth it to my family! In the last 3 years, I have suffered two job layoffs, and with that, I decided to go back to school and stay at home with my children. I got started using coupons by a friend who introduced me to her CVS tips, and I have been hooked ever since.

As Cindy pointed out, people say a lot of the coupons are for unhealthy, processed items. My family of 5 eat very little processed foods, and I limit the packaged items to quick snacks or lunch. Other than that, we drink organic milk and buy organic produce and meats. I buy plenty of greek yogurt, and with coupons get it for around $0.30 per container. My grocery budget is $50.00 week where it used to be $125/week. I am also accumulating a stockpile of items that we eat on a regular basis, and I allocate $10/week to that.

Bottom line…worth it! My sister’s family and my family decided to plan an end-of-the-summer trip to Gatlinburg, TN only 2 months before we wanted to go, and I managed to save (through couponing) enough money to pay for gas and eating out (almost $400)!

Anne September 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I had an issue with the 5/$5 COUPON….Meijer told me they could’nt accept due to receiving to many fradulent coupons…Anyone else have this issue?

Rebecca September 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Anne- In the middle of the week I used 2 with no problem. On Saturday I used 1 with some of the 2-day sale things and the (very nice) cashier had to get a manager to put her finger on the scanner on the register so that it would take my coupon! They were very nice about it and didn’t hassle me at all. I told the manager that it must drive her crazy if she has to do that for all the $5 Kraft coupons and she just smiled and didn’t say anything! I have to say 99% of the time the Kettering Meijer is aweesome about using coupons and never give me trouble. BTW, I didn;t try to roll any of the other $5 OYNO, I just saved them for this week.

Abbey September 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm

HECK YEAH IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY!!!

Jill September 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Definitely worth it! I have saved enough this year to buy a dishwasher when ours broke and a new 32″ HDTV for our family room which was much needed and the year isn’t over yet. I also have committed to be a sponsor for a great organization called Show Hope (a movement to care for orphans) founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth. If you’re interested in finding out more visit showhope.org

Jennifer September 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Unfortunately, the foods you mentioned are processed. :-) Honestly, I’ve been meaning to mention it to you for a while now. I am truly worried about your family’s health. A head of raw broccoli is cheaper and so much healthier than the Green Giant version. Yoplait yogurt is pure HFCS. And the Hamburger Helper and Totino’s Pizza Rolls in your picture? You are smarter than this!!

I am a couponer and I love your site. You regularly help me match up coupons with the sales at Meijer, my store of choice, to get items dirt cheap, which has lowered my grocery bill considerably. Yes couponing is worth it!

But I use coupons strictly for non-perishables because in all honesty, the food products for which coupons are issued are JUNK FOOD. America’s addiction to Pillsbury (et al) is killing us! The ingredients required to make biscuits from scratch costs far less the little heart attacks in a can being passed off as food. I really do hope you will take some time to consider this, because I care.

cindy September 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Jennifer, Thanks for your comment. I thought people who see the pics would think just as you do. I do not disclose every thing about my self on this site but I will share a little. Once it a while I have some processed food. When I do get it I want it cheap. I have no chips or soda in my house because I know my limits. I am also huge fun of bulk cooking and freeze a lot of produce. Look at my recipe section and you will see that. I also bake my own bread sometimes. The photo is just of my deals not of what I went back to buy with the cats I earned. I eat all things in moderation just like my Dr said. I am not at all over weight, I work out every day and am a huge fan of yoga. Thanks for your concern I am very healthy and so are my kids. :)

Carli September 21, 2010 at 7:39 pm

My Meijer in Lansing MI wouldn’t accept the $5/5 Kraft Products despite the numerous signs by the products advertising for the coupon. I’ve emailed Kraft and Meijer about it. Extremely frustrating :( I also heard it was a company wide thing too? Used the coupon there 2 weeks ago and it was fine…

Liz November 9, 2010 at 1:08 am

Life is about balancing. I personally use coupons a lot. I don’t quite agree that the Green Giant Veggies are processed if it just the vegetable itself without any type of “sauce”. I only buy frozen vegetables without buttery sauces etc. The vegetables are flash frozen at their height of freshness, maintaining their nutritional integrity.
I use coupons to by cereal (healthy choices- not fruit loops etc except on a rare occasion), yogurt, laundry soap, toothbrushes, toothpastes, some household cleaning products, pasta, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, and some processed foods.
My mom recently shook her head at the Hamburger helper in my pantry. What she does not realize is I throw away the white rice and replace with brown rice. I use these when I am in a time pinch. Throw in a salad and we have dinner quickly when were are on the go, I do not see a problem with that. As long as it is not a nightly occurrence. My kids are kids and like certain things. I tell them it ok to have these things ONCE in awhile (like shells and cheese) why I shouldn’t I stock up at low prices??
I do focus on fresh fruits, salads, and fresh meats. I promised my spouse that I would not buy biscuits, baking mixes, cookies, Sunny D, and others stuff like that because we do not need them. Whole grain crackers and PB are a great afterschool snack, or PB and celery, cheese sticks, PB and apples, mini whole wheat bagaels, all of which I purchased with help of coupons.
I did recently brake my “no baking mixes”, I got some muffin mixes for free. My hubby immediately call me out on it, and I asked him when the kids ask for Krispy Kremes, don’t you think making muffins with them would be a better choice??? He thought that one out and said yes.
It is all about moderation and keeping that in perspective and for me saving money at the same time….

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