We all want to save as much as we can at the grocery store – but not all of us have the time it takes to clip coupons, scan the weekly ads and make a grocery list that centers itself around sales items.
Quite some time ago I joined a subscription based site that did all of this work for me – but the cost of the site, though minimal, made me realize at some point that I could do all of this myself. Time consuming – yes, though once you get the pattern down you can knock out list making, ad scanning and coupon clipping within an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon.
Then I spoke with Stephanie Nelson, the founder and brain behind Couponmom.com.
Started in 2001 to help shoppers learn Strategic Shopping methods, the site has grown tremendously. In fact, since 2008, when we were right in the middle of the recession, Ms. Nelson says her membership ratings increased from 200,000 to the 2 million it is today!
Nelson’s new book The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half explains that Strategic Shopping is not about changing the way that you eat but about changing the way you buy the food that you like.
By using strategic shopping, a combination of buying on sale and having coupons, it is realistic to think that you can cut your grocery bill in half, ” Nelson told me. “That is real money.”
Since we are part of a budgeting home, I know how difficult it can be to save money on the grocery bill – and to stay within a set range. Many months I end up going over some, and rarely do I come up short. I do, however, practice strategic shopping as much as I can, by using coupons and purchasing items when they are on sale.
How does Couponmom.com handle this?
“Our site is a coupon match up, so you find the store, (view) the sales, then the coupons that go with them.”
This would indeed save me money, because alhtough I do the best that I can, I don’t always have the few hours it takes each week to be diligent enough to catch all specials and sales.
In fact, says Nelson, the process does not have to be time consuming at all.”
We publish a list of the best 200 deals at your grocery store and you can just follow that. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and that is what struck me when we started the site.”
While Couponmom.com is run from her home, Nelson has grown from just one employee – herself – to fourteen. She hires people around the country who are super shoppers and they help her find the best deals in their area, which they then bring to you.
The best thing? Nelson says in her book that any shopping personality can save by following certain guidelines. She notes three types of shoppers: Busy, Rookie, and Varsity.