So, what method do I use for saving money? In my town we have a Brookshire Bros. grocery store and a Super Wal-Mart. The neighboring town has an H-E-B store that I will drive to for a really good sale (mostly meat sales are all I am willing to do that for). I still get the circular ads for the two gorcery stores and check them each week and see if there is anything on sale worth my time. Unless it is really good I do not go to those stores. You have to realize that the adverising goal is to get you in the store. If you are going because the tomato sauce is on sale for 10 for a $1, then skip it. Yes, SKIP IT! Once you get there you are going to buy all your other groceries there and many of the items will be at a much higher price. Let's say I go to that sale to take advantage of that tomato sauce sale and I have save a couple of dollars, but I have Ritz Crackers on my list. The gorcery store sales the same box of crackers for almost $4 that I can get at WM for $2.50... and there goes all the savings I went there for to begin with. So, my advice is to find that ONE store that is the best OVERALL bargain for the items YOU shop for. For me it happens to be WM.
Okay, I said "non-couponing", but if I somehow obtain a coupon that is for something I purchase on a regular basis I will try to use it. I do not scavenge the sales paper for coupons or search the internet unless I get a tip-off that there is a significant coupon... I just do not have time to spend searching coupons out and don't want to spend my time, energy, paper, or ink on coupons I mostly will not use. What I will try to get are: diaper coupons, freebie coupons (if I stumble upon it), clothing coupons (Old Navy, The Children's Place, JCPenney), product coupons that come in my food packages, and Pharmacy Specials (New prescriptions get a $25 gift card). I recently did a test run to see if I could save money by searching out coupons and it was such a pain and I could hardly find coupons for the stuff I buy. Most of the time if I liked the items the coupons are for there is a compareable store brand at a cheaper price without bothering with the coupons.
And that brings me to the next strategy for saving... STORE BRANDS!! At least, try them to see if you like them ONE TIME. If you do not like them, then never buy them again. If you do, then you can look forward to saving money from then on out on that product. I am not a brand name person, but there are some things that I MUST have the brand... but that list is short. Really we will try the store brand and usually you can't tell the difference or in many cases we find we like the store brand better. But watch out because sometimes the name brand is cheaper. Rarely, but it does happen (ex. Bama jelly @ WM).
When I shop I look at the cost per ounce and not the total cost. Do not fall into the trap of believing that more is cheaper. Often it is not... more than you may realize it is more expensive to by in large quantity. I do shop at Sam's some, but mostly it is not a significant savings on most things... unless you are name brand type person. I like to get toilet paper there, trash bags, flour sugar, yeast, restaurant quality chicken tenders (without me having to bread them). More than anything I think it is a great place to shop for large purchases (TVs etc...) which I try to avoid doing. ;) Another thing I do is that I do not automatically renew my membership when it comes in the mail. Mine was due for renewal three months ago, but I have not been shopping there. When I go back it can be renew for a year at the register and I will save 3+ months of membership dues. I want be going back until the toilet paper supply is low... Heheehee!
And the number one thing I do to save money is.... NOT EVEN GO TO THE STORE! STAY HOME! If I go I am going to buy stuff and yes, it is good to have food.... but amazingly we do not starve to death when I skip a trip. In the last year I have saved a huge amount by sending my husband on some of those necessity runs because he will go straight to the milk and bread and get out. I will go and buy $50+ of other stuff. I start seeing all the things we could stand to have on hand. LOL!!! I took two of the kids last night with me to get like 10 inexpensive things... I spent $78 !!! ???? Cutesy snowman marshmallows, donuts, individual string cheese, Cocoa cereal..... It's fun to get some of that stuff for them, but if they never see it then it does not exist in their world and you do not have to ever buy it... sad little mini-marshmallow are super cool when they have never seen the others! LOL!!
Avoid pre-package food and learn to cook it. Frozen waffles was something I used to buy. Now I make them. And pancakes are just way more simple than people realize. Pancake mix, biscuit mix, cornbread mix... buy a cookbook (secondhand if you can... LOL!)
So really... evaluate whether that coupon is working for you. Don't just think you are saving money. Know you are if you are going to do it. If you have to have the Pilsbury Biscuits, General Mills cereals, Triscuit crackers, etc. and there is just nothing that will work for you but the name brands and pre-packaged foods, then coupons probably will save you money.