Clipping Coupons, Saving Money

POSTED: Friday, March 6, 2009 - 7:28pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:57pm

Food prices may be up more than 5% in the last year, but, a lot of shoppers still don’t think coupons are worth the time and effort. Well, just wait until you see how much NBC’s Jenna Wolfe cut down on her grocery bill by putting her scissors to work.

Cutting coupons may not have been chic before, but it’s time to get frugal and pinch a few pennies. “If you want to save a $100 a week on your groceries, you do need to plan and be organized.” Stephanie Nelson is known as the “Coupon Mom.” At the ShopRite of Lodi, New Jersey, she shared her supermarket strategy. “Here’s a promotion. If you buy nine of this manufacturer’s items, I’ll get a coupon for $5 off my next shopping order plus a free $1 reusable shopping bag. And guess what? I also have coupons and this store doubles coupons. That’s the perfect storm.”

Double coupons have a big payoff, but you have to set aside brand loyalty. For example, we asked Stephanie if she needed deodorant, is this your brand and it happens to be on sale or are you being flexible? Nelson says, “I’m completely brand flexible. So, in this case, if this item is usually $2.49, I’ll actually pay $.49 for this item.”

Stocking up on non-perishable items when they’re on sale is one way to have more to spend on fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood according to Nelson’s plan. “When people say there is no coupons for what I use I say that there’s always a coupon for toothpaste. I’ll end up paying $.39 for a tube of toothpaste that usually costs $3.19.”

And bigger doesn’t always mean it’s a better buy. “A lot of people think that you save money if you buy the bigger container. But the reality is, if you’re a coupon user, you pay less if you buy smaller sizes and then use the double coupons, so I’ll actually get this free.”

The moment of truth, time to check out the savings. “Now comes the fun part. Alright, this is the exciting part. Okay. How low can it go?” For a grand total of $.25. Nelson got $100 worth of groceries for a quarter and that includes tax.