A quick note from us at I’m In:  Kelly talks about savings at great stores at Meijer and you can, too.  We regularly feature their coupons at I’m In!

Couponing has become a very relevant way of saving money in our society today.  If you are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to find the best coupons and match them to the greatest deals in your local stores, you can enhance your saving power and increase your dollars in your pocket.

I have 5  grocery stores that are located close enough for me to shop at; Meijer, Jewel, Aldi, Walmart, or Angelos.  I general do not shop at Jewel or Angelos because either they do not have many of the items that I often purchase, or their prices do not compare with the other local brands.  Aldi does not accept coupons, however sometimes their prices are more comparable without the aid of coupons.

Yes, couponing does influence my purchasing decisions because I have a family of 4, including 2 young children at home.  Once in awhile I will buy the Sunday paper just to get the manufacturer coupons, however often times those coupons include things that I never purchase.  Walmart is generally higher in price on most things on my list, but they have a few items that other stores do not carry; that sometimes I  add to my grocery list (depending on my meals for the week).

The first thing I like to do is sit down and make a menu for the week. I find that this helps reduce the total bill at the grocery store, because I try hard to stick to the list.  I sit down with my computer and go onto the Meijer.com website to review the local ad.  Next, I look at the Mperks coupons that Meijer offers and bounce them up against the sales in the ad. Mperks are in -store manufacturer coupons that Meijer offers on their website.  From there, I start to make my menu.   For example, if Meijer has pasta and pasta sauce on sale, and they offer a Mperk coupon for it, guess what?  We are either having spaghetti or lasagna for dinner one day that week!   If I have a coupon for Tide, and All is on sale, I will figure out which one has the better price, with or without the coupon.  My family is not picky when it comes to name brands, so whatever has the better deal, I will buy.  They key to savings and using coupons, is in planning.  If you take the time to research the local ads, and go through your coupons, you will find yourself saving money.

I did learn a valuable lesson this past week while grocery shopping.  You cannot cut physical coupons and use them with the same like Mperks coupons.  Apparently since they are both considered manufacturer coupons, it’s like double dipping.  I did not know that.  It’s very good to know because I did plan out my grocery list according to the coupons I  had..  Therefore, because of my little lesson, I didn’t save what I thought I would save.  However, I still saved by using one source of the coupons.  I know that some stores do offer double and triple coupon days, but to my knowledge it wouldn’t be any stores around where I live.   Another lesson to learn; do not take your spouse or children  grocery shopping with you!!!  I may be saving money using my coupons, but in the long run, if I bring them with me to shop, I spend more money!  The hubby  likes a good sale as well as anyone, but he also puts things in the cart that he thinks he will use, but months later, they are still in the pantry.  I do have to be tough on him when he goes with though, to ensure that I am sticking to my list.  The kids, I can say no to them, as they don’t think about the cost savings on items.

I haven’t been able to master the ultimate couponing, like some of my friends that I know.  I still don’t understand how they are able to go grocery shopping and get full carts of groceries, and come out only paying a few dollars.  One day, perhaps I will be that efficient and diligent in my shopping, but for now, I will continue the method I use. Couponing is a huge influence for me and my family, and I rather enjoy doing the research to find out which store is going to get my money this week.