House Poor Summer Tour: Couponing

In the spirit of “staycationing” in our new home, I’m writing a new series of posts about ways to save money and live frugally without being extreme or insane. I used these methods to save for my down payment, and I continue to use them to survive being a new, yet thrifty, homeowner.

Let’s embark on the House Poor Summer Tour 2013!


It’s not free, and it requires work on your part, but couponing can save you some big bucks at the grocery store or drugstore- especially if you know how to work the deals (combine coupons with sales) and have stores that double or sometimes triple coupons in your area.

proud_coupon_addict

Here in the South- and all over Charleston- we have a grocery store called Harris Teeter. A lot of people think of Harris Teeter as a high-class store (I guess it’s the Wegman’s of the South), but those of us who are house poor know it’s where you get the best bang for your couponing bucks. Every day, Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to 99 cents- so if you have a 75 cent off coupon, you will actually receive $1.50 off that item.

super_double_coupons

However, the best time to coupon at Harris Teeter is during “Super Double Coupons” week, which happens to be this week. Harris Teeter does this about every 8 weeks, and during this week, they double all coupons $2 and under. That’s right, a $2 coupon essentially gets you $4 off that item, and they still double coupons under $1 this week too.

Here’s a picture of my most recent shopping trip at Harris Teeter, during “Super Double Coupons” week. I spent $13.14 and saved $47.46. Obviously I paid full price for the apples and eggs, which we just happened to need that day.

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I’ve been couponing for years now, long before living in Charleston or buying a home even crossed my mind. Even searching this blog, I found posts about couponing from 2010– crazy to think I was even blogging way back then! I was also still wearing glasses, hehe.

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You can’t save with coupons on everything- it’s pretty rare to find coupons on fresh produce and meat (but sometimes you can!). And, you won’t save 99% on your shopping trips like those crazy Extreme Couponers on TLC– unless you live off of yellow mustard, kool aid packets, and pop tarts. Those people give legit couponers a bad name, anyway.

Meanwhile, if you want to save on groceries, feel free to check out these posts I wrote last year.

Plus, here a few of my favorite coupon and deal blogs. Enjoy!

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27 Responses to House Poor Summer Tour: Couponing

  1. KrisLawrence says:

    I would be so happy if I could save $4 off one product. We don’t get the newspaper so I never use coupons. I really should though. Our grocery bill is ridiculous every month but I had it in my mind that coupons were for things like you mentioned about that show, pop tarts and things I don’t buy. I am impressed with what you were able to get.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks girly. Yeah, I only buy the newspaper on Sunday, and only on Sundays where there are coupons (there are schedules online). Also, one morning I was in Earth Fare eating breakfast after a Sunday run and noticed that someone left their paper with the coupons still in it. Score :).

      You can also print a LOT of the ones that are in the newspaper on Sunday. Not all, but I print through Swagbucks and it’s great.

  2. Madison says:

    Southern Savers is the BEST! It takes so much work out of couponing! And I am super excited about super doubles this week!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks girly! Yes, Southern Savers is the main site I use, but the others have good ideas too (Money Saving Mom is more ideas than coupon matchups, and I like that). Plus we have multiple HT stores in town and that makes it even easier if one is out of something.

  3. I love Harris Teeter and as someone who shops at both there and Wegmens in the North, yes they are pretty similar. (including full prices). You know I’m all about coupons so I cannot wait to see more of these posts!

  4. Courtney says:

    I previously couponed, but have lost my desire as it seemed that more and more coupons were for undesirable items (i.e., PopTarts, pizza rolls, etc.) Thanks for listing the posts you’ve done about healthy couponing. 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, ton of coupons are for unhealthy products- but there are way more unhealthy products popping up in our stores and that’s what people are buying.

      People spend money on these products- increasing those brands’ revenue, which in turn increases advertising budgets. Coupons in the newspaper are essentially advertisements- that’s why people in different areas get different ones.

      For healthier foods, the brand’s website or just emailing them really works more than looking for them in the newspaper, I’ve found. Chobani always has really good ones on their website!

  5. Wow-this post is actually a bit inspiring. I tend to be skeptical of coupons because sometimes I feel they make me buy stuff I would not otherwise buy. But if it can save that much, I may have to start doing it and being especially aware of what I need vs what I want. Thanks!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Sometimes buying things you wouldn’t otherwise buy isn’t a bad thing though, you can try new products that way (I’d rather try a new product on the cheap and not like it, than pay full price and not like it, hehe).

      That stupid show has made everyone skeptical of coupons :(.

  6. spectacuLAUR says:

    I can’t believe you saved that much money especially since most of those items are good for you and edible! I hate the couponing show on TLC because you’re right, they buy like massive amounts of just STUPID things. What you’re doing is really what couponing is all about! I wish I was so skilled!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you! It takes awhile to learn, I didn’t just start saving this much overnight. But, there are very informative blogs and videos out there to teach you how to do it, it’s really worth investing some time to learn if you want to save money, once you get the hang of it and stay organized it’s not so big of a time suck. Plus saving gets kind of addictive and I buy a lot, so I end up giving some away to parents, etc.

  7. jeksca says:

    I love couponing. I was so excited when I found out they doubled coupons where I live now. They only double up to $1 2 days per week but it works for me!

  8. These are some of my favorite entries that you post so I am SO EXCITED about these upcoming entries! I watch Extreme Couponing– and I sometimes hate them. (is that horrible to say?) I LOVE how you have ‘realistic’ numbers to show! We do a few coupons every now and then, but we don’t have a Harris Teeter close by 😦 We have a Food Lion, IGA, Walmart, and Target. I love when we go to Target, because that is where I usually save the most money. This past Christmas we saved $150 on our Christmas goodies (and our total only came to $80) That to me— is couponing. I also shop on sales and deals, because if it’s not on a “good sale” or clearance, it really isn’t worth getting. When I worked at Rue 21 we had TONS of deals, but the BEST was our clearance section! If you by clothes that are off season for that coming winter, you can get a coat, boots, scarf, long sleeve shirts, and jeans for $10!!!! 🙂

    Hope you have a great day!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I don’t like the people on that show either, but it is fun to watch because it’s such a train wreck. They do have a disclaimer now, I noticed the last time I watched, it even says that it’s fake! Makes me kinda sad because TLC should stand for “The Learning Channel”, you think they would just do a show teaching people how to save, right?

      Target is a great store for couponing, they have printables ones on their site and you can “stack” it with a manufacturer’s coupon. Plus they run great sales and gift card deals where you get a gift card back if you buy something.

      Best time to buy clothes is off season! Or anything really- my friend got a Christmas tree from a garage sale one summer. It was weird for her buying a Christmas tree in the summer, but she got one beautiful tree for a couple bucks.

  9. Zaneta says:

    Hey girl! I noticed you entered my Bestowed giveaway… well partially! 😉 You left a comment but didn’t push the +3 on the rafflecopter form which you need to do to be officially entered! *hint – once you do, there are more ways to enter!* 😉

  10. zenlizzie says:

    I’m so jealous of couponers. It is something I really WANT to do — in theory. Like working out at 4:30 a.m. and eating only vegan food. I’m not even organized enough to get to the grocery store some weeks, much less obtain a newspaper or visit any EASY websites. lol. Maybe when I get back on my ADD meds, I’ll be able to focus enough because I feel like it gives a lot of satisfaction.
    And I can’t wait for the day when they start offering up deals on produce! Maybe that’s what it will take for me to get myself organized and commit to couponing.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m too broke not to coupon. Well, I guess I could stop, but then I’d be even more broke. It’s kinda what I had to do to save for the down payment.

      Earth Fare actually does good coupons for produce! You should check them out :).

  11. Wow your couponing skills are impressive! I suck at it and am embarrassed to day I don’t coupon at all. I should, but don’t. I love that you actually have healthy food, I tend to avoid even looking for coupons because it’s most commonly on crap/processed food. Now I might just try!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah- honestly we buy most of our produce at local stands, so no coupons for that, but you can save some $$$ that way and it supports small businesses. There’s a new one that just popped up at the corner of Hwy 17 at Savage Rd too- had some good stuff today. Farmer’s Market is also back at the Catholic Church on Hwy 17 starting tomorrow.

      I do buy my apples from HT though because Cripps Pink are my favorite and I eat one a day :). Usually when I go to HT on a “couponing trip”, I *only* buy the coupon items or what we immediately need. I make other trips for non-coupon stuff. Just helps to keep it separated.

      Earth Fare actually has coupons on produce and meat a lot. Last weekend I got Clay 10 1/4 burgers for $10, and because I had a $10 order and a coupon, I also got 5 free ears of corn! This week’s Earth Fare coupon was $5 off a $25 meat purchase too.

  12. allieksmith says:

    The grocery store near my home doubles coupons up to 99 cents and I LOVE that. It’s saved my family a lot of money over the years!

  13. I’m glad you are doing this series Amy.. I need HELP with this! I always say I am going to start using coupons more and get more serious about it, but then alas, my laziness and lack of enthusiasm takes over. I want to learn better how to double the coupons as you showed here and other tricks of the trade!
    Looking forward to this 🙂

  14. love coupons over here! need to find time to do it

  15. LilMysNinja says:

    I use to coupon but I’ve gotten away from it. It just took up too much of my time and I ended up getting stuff that really wasn’t needed. I wish I could find the time to get back to it an make it work for me.

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