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How One Woman Saves Money on Groceries

One Woman's Shop-Smart Strategy

Admittedly, I'm not a coupon clipper. I rarely have time to make full grocery store runs, and when I do, it's usually impromptu — I'll be out already and realize that I have a free hour that could be used to pick up some much needed items at the supermarket. Just because my store runs aren't always planned doesn't mean I don't make an effort to save, but I'm hardly meticulous in my methods and couldn't give this woman a run for her money. Chrissy Thompson, wife and mom of three kids, spends an hour each week preparing for a three to four hour long shopping trip that covers anywhere from three to seven stores. So how does this woman manage to sometimes spend $10 a week on groceries for her family and get $140 worth of CVS goods for $5? A news crew followed this smart-shopper around, so to see her story just

  • Her two favorite stores are CVS and Publix. She uses the buy one get one free deals at Publix. Those deals usually allow you to buy just one item for half price, and she applies a coupon on top of that to get the item for less.
  • When a coupon reads, 'one item per purchase,' it doesn't mean that it can only be used for one transaction. In this case, the word purchase is synonymous with the word item.
  • She doesn't necessarily buy her meat and produce from her favorite store, and instead buys them wherever is offering the best deals that week.
  • At CVS, Chrissy uses coupons and Extra Care Bucks. Extra Care Bucks are given on specially marked items, awarded on your receipt, and good on your next purchase. Her specific strategy allowed her to buy about $140 of items for under $5.
  • Chrissy advises that people don't clip coupons for unneeded items because then they'll spend more money.
  • Fun fact: Her proudest frugal moment was when she got $380 worth of items at Target and paid only $0.02! She says you can use two coupons to buy one product at Target by printing coupons out from their website and using a manufacturer coupon with them.


Join The Conversation
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
I think the amount of time and gas money she is putting into it is worth it. She has 3 kids and two adults to feed and spending 4 hours a week on this seems like a great investment. But yes, I would worry about inconveniencing everyone in line behind me if I did several transactions. Maybe I just need to get over it?
cherrylistic cherrylistic 9 years
Impressive there are so good ideas i might use.
Anabellatc Anabellatc 9 years
I try to clip coupons but always forget them or don't have them when i really need them! I am still surprised how she is able to save so much money...wish i had half her discipline!
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
Wow, she is savvy. I love that she makes a point to get items for free, the she wouldn't use herself, & donate them to a local shelter.
dcfashionista dcfashionista 9 years
Very impressive. I need to try the CVS tips.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I'm going to have to try the CVS strategy since I shop there almost every week. It seems like it's time consuming but probably worth all the time in the end.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I don't have time to think that hard about cutting coupons. Plus the driving around she does probably costs more in gas then how much she saved.
bushra bushra 9 years
Lilavati: that's exactly what i thought. i don't have the time to scrabble around for a bargain pair of clothes that meet my tastes or requirements, especially in the sales when there are so many people pushing about plus what are the chances of finding your size? my oh so frugal sister in law constantly makes cutting remarks about how i am 'rich' because i have a job and don't do much bargain hunting (i'm not rich, i just got off my backside and got a job!), very annoying as there are many examples where she is not actually practising frugality but false economy.
stephley stephley 9 years
I can see being that scientific about your shopping if running the family finances and the home is your job. I wonder, though about what she's buying if she's making these shopping trips weekly, or even bi-weekly. I find if I shop right once a month, all I'm doing weekly is picking up a few fresh vegetables.
apeacefulife apeacefulife 9 years
I'm a huge fan of coupons and deals and I've been able to get a few fabulous buys too... BUT I'm even a bigger fan of 'Time is Money'.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
I really think the people in line behind me, and the cashier, would hate me if I split up my checkout in 5 different transactions. And I mean...if this woman doesn't have a job and has nothing better to do...then of course she has all this time to plan for it!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
That is impressive; I do *some* coupon clipping, but not that much! She must always have an eye on the latest deals - and probably needs to write them all down to remember. I know I wouldn't!
stargrrl stargrrl 9 years
I feel like a total amateur compared to Thompson! Kudos to her for being so diligent about saving!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
That's pretty impressive, even if it is taking up more time. Seriously 2 cents for $380 worth of stuff? Who WOULDN'T do that? I always try to buy on sale and whatnot, but I should get more on the coupon thing. But like some people said, most of my grocery purchases are fruit and veggies, meats and the like. I usually buy on sale when I can but it's not super often
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 9 years
Those are great tips! I cut coupons every week and I'm quite the bargain shopper. I've never had any bargains that were close to that amazing, though.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
That is truly amazing. Just shows that I should do some more research before I buy!
brookrene brookrene 9 years
sundrops - totally agree with you! i try to buy tons of healthy produce and natural meats and poultry. You cant find coupons for that stuff! I wish i were able to shop like this, but alas it just doesn't work for me unless it's a non-food item.
sundrops sundrops 9 years
Very rarely does a coupon come up for a product I normally buy, or would consider buying. Phooey! Hearing stories like this makes me wish there were more available for items I normally buy!
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
It's awesome that she's able to do this, but it seems like it would be a job in itself!
emalove emalove 9 years
My father has always been such a coupon-clipper, but I never remember to...I think I need to try harder!
MsWalton MsWalton 9 years
And I thought I was cheap! I don't think I could be that frugal although my hat's off to her for being able to do so.
verily verily 9 years
I bet all the cashiers really despise her when she comes in. I really hated those people when I worked as one a long time ago...they usually didn't read the coupon right and would grab the wrong item or the wrong quantity or it was expired. I wonder how much crap she is buying with all those coupons. Coupons are usually for all the processed, packaged goods in the store. My grocery bills tend to be high...but I am buying mostly produce, meat, bulk grains, and dairy products. And I go for organic whenever I can.
Lilavati Lilavati 9 years
Well, there's a bit more to this: - she spends a lot of time collecting/printing the coupons - on one shopping she has to visit 5 different stores to take advantage of all the coupons. She saves money but uses time. I prefer to spend my time at a job that I love to have more money and not need to save that much, but that's a personal choice.
Geisha-Runner Geisha-Runner 9 years
Wow! I should really start to try to save money on my shopping!
Frenched Frenched 9 years
This woman is my new hero! :D
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