The Sunday paper…eight sections including the Sports page, funnies, and obituaries.  The newsprint used to turn your fingers black.  It also has those glossy pages located with the Parade section, the part your dad would hand to your mom for her to look at.  What’s that you say?  Don’t throw that section out because it has MONEY in it?   I looked through it and…there was not any money.  Those glossy pages called Smart Source, Proctor & Gamble and Red Plum can be used as paper money?  Tell me more.

Have you noticed the prices on items fluctuating every few weeks?  Granted, we all know that prices are going up and packaging sizes are going down, but the actual prices are not set in stone.  They fluctuate.  Everything in the supermarket goes on sale at some point in a 12 week period.  The coupon manufacturers know this.  The coupon manufacturers are in the game to make money.  The supermarket gurus are in the game to make money.  Well I am in the game to make money, too, and I’ve figured out how to play the game.  Follow me.

You get the Sunday paper and find a coupon for $0.25 off of Hellmann’s mayo.  You are out of mayo so you clip the coupon.  Mayo is currently priced at $4.85 per 32 ounces.  Now you think “hey that’s great!  It will only be $4.60”.  You go ahead and purchase your mayo and make one heck of a leftover turkey sandwich.  You saved money, the supermarket made money and Hellmann’s made money.

Wednesday rolls around.  The mid-week flyer comes in with the rest of the junk mail.  You peruse it before throwing it away and…WHAT?  Hellmann’s mayo is buy one get one free (BOGO)?  Blast!  If you had simply held on to that coupon you could have saved $5.10 on two containers. To make the story even better, if your are a couponer and receive multiple Sunday newspapers, and used TWO Hellmann’s coupons, you could have saved $5.35 on two containers.  So with this scenario you saved money, the supermarket still gets $4.85 for the “buy one” and they still get the $0.50 in coupons when they turn them into the manufacturer, so they made money and Hellmann’s made money.

Let’s say you’ve started paying attention to the 12 week cycle and matching up your MANUFACTURER coupons, knowing when certain items are on sale.  Well, low and behold, the supermarkets have STORE coupons too!  So using the Hellmann’s buy one get one free scenario…You buy two containers, use two $0.25 manufacturer coupons and then match that with the $1.00 off two STORE coupon.  Wow, let’s see how it plays out.  $4.85 (for two containers) minus $0.50 (two $0.25 manufacturer coupons) minus $1.00 (off two containers, store coupon) equals $3.35 for two containers, which is less than the price of one container.  You saved money, the supermarket still makes money although a little less, the manufacturer still makes money but a little less as well.

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you save at your favorite stores at I’m In!

These sales and matching coupons is a science.  If you pay attention you can save more than half of what you normally spend on your usual grocery trip.  Now, I have four 32 ounce containers of mayo in my pantry right now.  Do I need all of them?  Not right away but with the holidays coming up I WILL need them so why not shop smarter and get them while they are inexpensive?

A note from us at I’m In:  We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries at I’m In!

Yes, coupons do influence my purchasing decisions. We rea a family of 9, including my new granddaughter, and all live in the same house.  Most are in college, as am I at 42 years old.  While the kids work, my wife and I are a one income family and need to budget every decision we make.  This paper is how we grocery shop.  I have a system.  Every week I have four Sunday papers delivered.  I remove the coupon sections and put them in a file folder with the date on it.  It takes about three months/12 weeks to get prepared to become a couponer.  Every other week, payday week, I go to an online coupon site (there are many out there) that matches up my 12 week supply of coupons to what is on sale in the store that week.  I simply plan out my meals as to what is on sale (I only buy what is BOGO) and organize my store and manufacturer coupons, I am saving more than half of the original bill.  Now some of our meals those initial 12 weeks were a little weird because I was only buying BOGO.  Now the supermarket that I go to EXPECTS me to have coupons.  It has become another kind of game.  I win!