Welcome to Southern Savers, where finding deals and steals is simple and rewarding!

See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

Friday Finals 1/6

on 1.6.2012 at 5:24pm

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.

With so many coupons expiring last weekend, I had a fun New Years Eve.  I am normally not a procrastinator, but I really pushed it this year.  I had a number of free coupons from calling manufacturers or from product samples that came, and they ALL expired on 12/31.  So I ran to Food Lion, Bi-Lo and Kroger that night to try to split them up a bit and not overwhelm anyone’s supplies.

I also had a trip to Bi-Lo today to make a new youtube video for you guys…  I think I’m going to hold off on the details of that trip though until I post the video next week (I know the suspense will kill ya).

Food Lion:
Total Before Sales and Coupons: $89.13
Total Spent: $3.04
Total Saved: $86.09 or 96.5%

I bought tomatoes and a clearance for dinner that night too.

Total Before Sales and Coupons: $45
Total Spent: nothing

Total before Sales and Coupons: $4.99
Total Spent: nothing

Since I still had our budget for the week left, I also hit the Kroger P&G mega event that started on New Years day, and stocked up on Tide, Cascade and other items.

Kroger Trip #2
Total Before Sales and Coupons: $112.01
Total Spent: $44.89
Total Saved: $67.12 or 60%

Last week I told you I would also figure our yearly savings totals. So here they are…

2011 Totals
Before Sales & Coupons: $4667.36
Total Spent: $1894.29
Total Saved: $2,736.21 or 58.62%

We had a budget of $50 per week, and instead spent an average of $36 per week (though you know it really was nothing some weeks and higher others).  I am thinking the decrease was from my youngest finally potty training in early 2011. It may not be a 99% percent savings that some feel the need to strive for, but I think feeding 5 people on $36 a week is pretty awesome!

I’ve decided to keep our budget at $50 a week this year, but hope to tuck away some each week so that we can start a real garden this summer.  We’ve never done anything big so it will take some extra prep work to get our yard ready.

Do you have a set budget for the year?  I’d love to hear your goals!

Leave a link to your savings or a comment for this week:

    • Anonymous

      Jenny, you are an amazing woman!  Can’t tell you in words how thankful my family is for you!  What an inspiration you are.  I would love to have your mailing address to send blessings your way!  I’m sure others feel the same way too.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • jam

      What kind of meals do you prepare for $36 a week for a family of 5?  Please share!

      • I was just thinking the same thing! I have a family of five as well! I know my food is very expensive because I have to eat gluten free, but I don’t feed the fam my specialty food – and I keep my food expenses completely separate in our budget. I still can’t get below $500 a month. We drink a gallon of milk a day for goodness sake, that alone is $21 to $28 a week!!! Wow, Jenny you really are amazing. 

        • Haley554

          We are a family of four, and it’s always about $500 for us a month too, on average. I buy lots of fresh produce every week and my kids drink about two gallons of milk every week. 

          • I too buy a ton of fresh produce, and after reading other comments I realize we might be weird for eating meat every night! I’m a celiac, so I’m limited to begin with. We try to eat a variety of dishes, so we vary from chinese food to hm soups to classic stews to burger nights. I guess eating vegetarian could be cheaper, but have never tried it. I’m already stuck to a limited diet :)

        • Haley554

          We are a family of four, and it’s always about $500 for us a month too, on average. I buy lots of fresh produce every week and my kids drink about two gallons of milk every week. 

        • L. Smith

          The only way I see to save on milk is buy it when they mark it down because it will soon go out of date. That is a help when you have all boys like I do! Sometimes if you ask the stock guys they will tell you when you have better chances of getting the reduced milk or when they restock the shelves. Some grocers don’t do this (marking down) but mine will.

    • Bklyn1226

      Kroger Trip : total  107.45
      Coupons 91.82
      total 15.63 Nice !!!!!

    • Hsasin

      I get confussed as to how you spend so much and yet spend so little. I do coupons and I have not figured you out. Please help me so that I may do the same. Thanks

    • Brooke

      I really want to know how you did that at Food Lion.. Does your food lion double coupons? I just looked at the AD and see nothing that cheap this week…

      • Brooke

        Oh I see you had free coupons. 

    • nadia

      I am not sure how you can spent that little using regular coupons. Thinking you must be getting lots of coupons from manufacturers for advertisment and so on…please let me  know how you do it, i am working hard but not saving that much!

    • Cfoster1212

      Jenny,can u share your list from food lion?

    • Natalie

      Used P & G coupons for $2.00 off Tide, sale priced at Kroger in GA for $5.99, purchase four an additional $4.00 off making it $4.99 with use of Tide coupons for $2.00 off, made it $2.99 for each tide purchase

    • Anonymous

      Wow – $36 a week is amazing! I WISH I could get there but I’d be happy with even $75/week. I’d love to hear tips on how you eat healthy meals and feed your whole family for less than $40.

    • MustangLadyred

      I get $160 from my husband every 2 weeks as my grocery budget…giving me $70 per week & $20 for the gift fund.

    • Anonymous

      I just started couponing and I think I may be at the $50-60/wk. mark for our familly of 5!  Especially now since most of our health and beauty supplies are nearly free from CVS.  It does require cooking though!  lol  In the last two weeks we’ve had homemade potato soup (w/bacon, carrots, celery, mushrooms).  I made 2 giant pots and it cost nearly nothing, maybe $8.  We had Bob Evans Sausage (2 packs) which was nearly free, with eggs and toast, tuna salad (w/pickles, onions, celery) costing about $5, hotwings with celery and carrots on side costing about $12, spaghetti with free noodles and about a buck each for the sauce (and used left over mushrooms).  Beyond that, leftovers, leftovers, leftovers.  It can be done!

    • amanda baldwin

      I just started the coupon fun about a month ago now. I did great at Walgreens this week.I had (4) .50/1 Dawn Olay hand renewal and (4) .25/1 on regular Dawn. The had an add coupon for .99 on each 9oz bottle!!! The Walgreens coupon said I had a limit of 3, but the cashier said it really didn’t matter, so I got 4 for .49! and another 4 for .74. I stocked up with the 8, and since I am only supporting my boyfriend and myself, they will last a good while. They also have a double duty as being a good dog shampoo to help get rid of fleas.

    • cathy

      Ha – I’m thrilled to be at $100 a week for groceries and drugstore stuff.  I do have 3 teen boys that eat A LOT, but I used to spend closer to $200 a week before I started seriously couponing.  SS is still my fav site.

    • hlt

      I’ve been at about $300 to $400 per month for two adults, a 4-year-old, and a 10-month-old on Similac.  Once she is on whole milk I’ll be spending even less (like $60 less per month!).  I don’t plan on getting it much lower because we don’t eat bread, pasta, rice, or cereal OR any processed food.  And I cook some kind of meat for every dinner.  What I’ve noticed is that some couponers have 1 or 2 meat-less meals per week and that keeps costs down.    I’ve been trying to keep my couponing in check lately by just not shopping.  I passed up a good deal on shampoo and conditioner this week because I have 5 bottles in my closet and I have short hair so I really don’t need to buy it.  It’s really hard though…..  I HATE passing up a good deal!!

      • Jessica

        Just wanted to let you know that Target makes their own formula. They have several different kinds…one is similar to Similac. I had my son on Similac before I found the Target one. He had no problem transitioning and it was almost half the price! The nutrients all matched up exactly with what he had been getting. When my daughter stopped breastfeeding I put her directly onto the Target brand and she did well with it. You probably aren’t far away from buying whole milk but it might save you a few dollars!

    • Everything purchased at Food Lion and Bi-Lo was dole fruit products.  I got a ton of free product coupons at a conference we went to earlier this year for fruit cups, frozen fruit bowls, fruit crisp bowls and canned fruit.  At Kroger I bought Weight Watcher’s cheese, a free coupon as well. 

      As for how we do it, here are the top things I try to stick to…

      1.  It is more important that we always leave the store with only what we need.  Even if Chex Mix is 30¢ a bag and would raise my percentage of savings… we don’t need it.

      2.  We eat very basic meals, so no fancy spices etc.  A typical Sunday dinner is Ham, Rice and veggies.  One Ham will actually feed us for about 5 meals, so after Sunday I individually bag up the leftovers into meal size bags. 

      3.  I only cook one real meal a day.  Dinner.  We eat PB&J most every day for lunch, or we eat leftovers from last night’s dinner.  Breakfast is usually a basic bowl of cereal. 

      So that’s a day at house… hope it helps a little.  We are just very basic folks.  Also remember that 3 of 5 people in my house are under 4 feet tall and eat like mice.

    • Texas Singer

      I sure hope a lot of mine were expiring, because I accidently lost them all! I’m SO mad at myself. I hope someone found them and was able to use them. They included 2 $2 Tide and 2 Herbal Essence $1 ones /cry

    • Christy Miller

      Jenny, I have organic raised bed vegetable gardens and I absolutely LOVE them!!!  I used to have traditional farmers’ gardens (grew up with a very large garden and all of the weed-pulling that the kids had to do!).  I love this raised style for many reasons, some of them are: 1. raised is easier on the back  2. is by using 75% hot compost and 25% creek/river sand mixed I don’t get weeds (maybe a stray on here or there)!  3. the nutrient content is very high/dense so I can really ‘over-plant’ without worrying about fertilizing (compost is the fertilizer).  There are many, many more reasons but those are the biggies!  I am NOT an ‘organic-nazi’ either, but I do what I can, when I can and I don’t have to use any sprays or insecticides at all.  If you would like any more information I would be happy to help you out, after all…you have saved me THOUSANDS of dollars last year!!!!  I would be honored to help, in fact!

      • MagzieM

        I wonder if you and Jenny would be willing for you to do a guest post /series of posts. I’d would love more info on this. I always get so overwhelmed trying to start a garden, that I end up not.

    • Robin G.

      I am amazed!! Its hard to imagine having a bill for $89.13 and walking out after paying just $3.04! Southernsavers is the best thing that has happened to our fam. in 2011 because we saved so much money on coupons we once just threw away. THANKS JENNY! we appreciate all u do!

    • Deecheers4rv

      If only my DD didn’t drink almost 36 dollars a week in pressure…ha

      • Deecheers4rv


      • MagzieM

        OUCH! We only do a couple pediasures a week, but even then I half it with milk to make it stretch further. My son has autism and a lot of texture issues, so pediasure and peanut butter is the only reason he isn’t losing weight. He hasn’t gained since he was 18 months (2 years ago). I’m grateful he was a chunky monkey at that point.

    • Caroline

      Jenny, thanks for all you do!  I constantly recommend your site to others.  Question about your savings.  Is that only your grocery store savings?  I use a savings tracker (I think one you posted a link to last year) but I include all places I use coupons so grocery stores, drugstores, Target, even Kohl’s and other places that I get really good deals.  So it makes my total spending looks high.  But my totals for last year:
      Before savings and coupons: $8325.48
      Total Spent: $2691.52
      Total savings: $5781.19 or 69.44%

    • Mt-sullivan

      Do you count the ink and paper used to print coupons in your total expenses?

      • MagzieM

        I personally don’t but I stock up on paper during back to school sales, so it costs me all of $10 per year (and that includes not just coupons but my occasional work documents, recipes, etc). I also get ink refills on ebay and only spend about $15 a year on that….so If I were to add that to my weekly budget it would only add $0.50.

        Thanks Jenny for all you do! You are amazing!

      • mum2girlz

        We do–we also include the cost of the papers we purchase each Sunday. And our grocery budget includes all “body” items. I think folks need to be careful when they talk about how much they spend on groceries because there are numerous things to take into account–another example is how much you eat out. Some people do not include these items in their budget, so it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

    • Bellfamily

      We are a family of 5 like many others.  I’ve been couponing for a little over a year thanks to SS and many other great couponing blogs.  I didn’t keep up with totalling my savings for 2011, but we stick to about $400/month for all our grocery and drugstore needs.  I have one still in diapers, so I can’t wait till he potty trains this summer!  We are going to stick to $400/month this year, and I will be eyeing it much closer with a savings tracker.  We eat meat 2-3x per week for dinners and I repurpose leftovers to new meals to keep it interesting.  Breakfast and lunches are basic and I keep fresh fruit, veggies, and milk in the house everyday.  My goal this year is to shop less.  Couponing is great, but it can get you into the stores more often than you really need.  We are hoping to buy a CSA share for produce this spring and join other families in buying a whole cow for beef.  Can’t wait!

    • Tinkerbella

      I think 50.00 a week is just impossible for us since fresh fruit is most important thing in this house healthy is first, and i expend at least 15 a week in fresh fruit also between meat chicken and ribs is a little impossible.  never ever buy canned or boxed  food for my kids my husband is a chef and we eat  real fresh food in this house I grew up eating fruit from the tree so I make sure my kids eat the most fresh possible I use your advise to save in other things like drug stores, the less expensive cellphone, buy clothes when is 80% off less expensive tv etc. I very thank full for your site and all you do  and Im saving a lot but I never ever will be skimpy when is about fresh food  i think will keep our budget 400 a month. thank you for helping us to save.  

      • Katieprov19

        Have you tried to do a CSA at a farm market?  That is when you pay a certain amount up front and then get groceries every week.  At our market they say it is generous portions for 2 adults and 2 kids.  We do that every summer and fall.  By doing that we get a lot of fresh fruit and veggies.  I can freeze a lot of the veggies and they last for a really long time.  It adds up to about $10 a week for a ton of fresh food.

      • Amanda Leach

        I know one suggestion I would have would be to stock up on the meats when they are on sale so that you arent buying every single week. I know you say that you like it fresh but if you are really wanting to get down on a budget, it’s the best way. I understand you with the fresh vegs and fruit – we go to a local fresh market to save instead of buying in a store. We budget $50 to $60 for a family of 5, and that includes EVERYTHING…groceries, health and beauty, laundry and pet and baby items (my youngest is 15 months old.) We only go over budget once a month and thats when we buy meat.

    • Kris

      Jenny, when you spend $50.00/week for groceries, does that include household stuff like papergoods and such, or do you keep that separate. I am working really hard on setting up a budget and trying to figure out how to set up my budget envelopes.  Thank for all that you do each and every day.

    • Psimmons5565

      Jenny. Does the amount you referred to include CVS items or just groceries. You are an inspiration.  Don’t you earn a lot of gift cards from working with companies. Or is there a secret to that?

    • Jackie

      Kroger total $23.75-List of items- 2 each of the following items: Ivory body wash, Old Spice Body Wash, Gillette Body Wash, Tide Detergent, Keebler Snacks, Dawn dishwashing liquid, 1-Tide Stain Release tabs, 3 Colgate toothbrushes, 1-Bounce dryer bar. 17 items total.. :) Saved $44.04

    • Susan

      I’ve only been doing this 9 months and I have only 2 categories in my budget: 1. Bills 2. Everything Else which I call “expenses” so my avg svgs % will be lower.. but I think I’m doing pretty good as a newbie!
      2011 TotalsBefore Sales & Coupons: $6528.59Total Spent: $4248.38Total Saved: $2280.21 or 35%

    • sassyteacher

      We are a family of 6, 2 adults and 4 girls ages 2-11.  We eat meat everyday and I would like suggestions on how to purchase various meats cheaply.  We eat chx, beef, and pork.  Bacon and beef prices are ridiculous.  I do watch the prices each week, but even the sale prices are steadily increasing.

      • MagzieM

        It’s in the meat section not the bacon section, but Pork Jowl Bacon is soooo flavorful, and full price is only $2.99 a pound (although I stocked up this week at HT when it was B1G1)