Monday, August 10, 2009

I beg to differ.

So there is a personal finance blog that I read that I really like. I like the guy's methods and train of thought. All, that is, except one thing. He argues that we should spend our time saving money on big ticket items like cars and houses and so on, and he looks down on things like coupon clipping. He doesn't think that coupons are worth the savings. However, I beg to differ. Since most households spend more on food than anything in their budget other than housing and maybe cars, I think it's a great place to save money. Now, if you're only going to use a coupon here and there, it's probably not worth it. But if you take the time to match those coupons with the sales, you can save a boatload of money. For example, here's what I bought today:

1 jar of mayonnaise
2 boxes fruit snacks
3 boxes granola bars
1 six-pack of root beer
1 four-pack yogurt
2 cartons Breyers ice cream
2 deodorants
1 loaf bread
1 gallon milk
15 bottles Powerade
2 4-lb. boxes fresh strawberries
8 boxes of cereal
2 jars peanut butter
2 bottles laundry detergent
1 bottle body wash
1 bottle kids' shampoo
2 bags M&M's (kid bribery)

That was a pretty full cart of groceries. And you know what it all cost me? $43.53 Now, that may not sound terribly cheap, but that's 47 items, some of which are pretty expensive on their own (laundry detergent, ice cream, etc.) You know what I would have paid if I'd bought the same things without coupons and my shopper card? $166.46 That's a savings of 73%. Not too shabby. I saved $122.93 in one shopping trip. That's not small change. And since it took me less than an hour to make my list and get all my coupons together, I'd say that's a pretty good pay rate for my time. If you do that every week, that's $6392.36 over the course of a year. You aren't going to save that much on a car purchase.

So to the personal finance blogger who thinks groceries are small change, I definitely beg to differ.


Chapman Family said...

You have ALWAYS been good at this. Too bad Hungary doesn't know what a coupon is. I tried to explain it to someone. They thought I said TAMPON. Big difference...

Kylene said...

Wow, I always feel good when I save like 20% of my purchase. Do you do a lot of online coupon "finding", or do you get your coupons in the news paper? We lose our commissary benefits in about 6 months, so I need to get a lot better at coupon and sale shopping!

Amy said...

I agree completely - I have never taken the time to calculate how much I have saved by ad-matching and coupons, but I would imagine it is half my grocery bill sometimes. Especially when you get $1 off or more coupons!