The Miser’s 3 Things:

  • You don’t have to join coupon-clipping clubs to save $40-75 a month at the grocery store.
  • Savings strategies begin days before your trip to the store, by scouring ads and meal-planning.
  • On shopping day, rely on a list to keep you on track, and buy nonperishable items in bulk.

My weekly grocery bill totaled $27.72.

The “savings” line on my receipt read $27.73.

I was in the checkout lane, and had finally accomplished a long-held goal in my coupon-clipping world: I had saved more than I spent.

Since I started actually trying to save money at the grocery store about three years ago, my savings average between 15 and 25 percent of my overall bill. I figured: why not shoot for 50 percent?

Admittedly, you’re not going to have this success every week, and maybe not even once a year. The stars have to align. But you can save hundreds of dollars a year with a few minutes of legwork before you go to the grocery store.

receipt close up 2The 50 percent off grocery trip

For my 50 percent off receipt, I got: two free Crest toothpaste tubes, a 99-cent Oral-B toothbrush, $1.49 Bounce 80-count dryer sheets, two 45-cent boxes of Barilla pasta, half-off Cottonelle toilet paper, and half-off honeycrisp apples, plus other items that had smaller discounts or that I had to buy full-price.

My receipt that week was so low, $27.72, because I was able to make my meals for the week using meat that I’d bought the week before on sale and had stored in the freezer.

Over this Thanksgiving week, I’ll share some tips with you about how to prepare for success through coupons and meal planning, and then how to execute your plans at the store.

Before I got into the savings habit, my normal grocery store trip cost $75. Now, it’s roughly $60-65.

I don’t belong to coupon-clipping clubs, and I don’t pay to be a member of online coupon sites. I’m not sure that “extreme couponing” is worth the time. And I still make lots of mistakes in my own shopping.

For example, I went to the store in the middle of last week just to buy a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving. I realized AFTER I got home that there was a special sale going on, and if I’d bought $25 in other items, I would’ve gotten the 13-pound, $20 turkey for $7.

You live and learn.

SAVINGS: $40-75 per month ($10-15 savings per week, times 4-5 weekends in a month)