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

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Sometimes it’s good to let the whole world know you are human.  While you love a great deal and don’t want to miss any, there are times when it’s okay to just stay home or to just leave the coupons at home.  This week was that for me.  I comforted myself by deciding that I would use it as a way to emphasize one point to you guys:

If you have a busy week just leave the coupons at home but at least get the sale items.

Remember a $1 off coupon is worth a dollar no matter when you use it, but buying an item at it’s best price in a sale cycle… that is what is really saving you money.

This week we had two big events.  First my twins turned 6 and then we had a big family get together to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday.  We are with family so most meals are handled but I needed to get snacks, breakfast and a few lunch items for my crew.  So I headed to Publix (who is having a huge 56 item B1G1 sale this week).

  • I stuck mostly to the B1G1 deals and then got fresh pineapple, strawberries and apples.
  • I didn’t use any coupons except for (3) I found in the store ( $1 off tomatoes dispenser and $2/2 Jones Farm Sausage)

Total before sales and coupons: $103.68
Total Spent: $54.71
Total Saved: $48.97 or 47.2%

If I had coupons with me I would have saved an additional $9.

Yes that is around 2 gallons of gas, and I’m not saying that intentionally not saving is what I want to do every week, but sometimes my sanity and the happiness of my household isn’t worth it.  It was a tiny trip and I’m very pleased with an almost 50% savings just by focusing on buying what’s on sale.

I was also shopping in Publix in Florida, meaning that I had to purchase two on the B1G1 deals.  We didn’t really need two, so I’ll be coming home with food!

So for anyone that just can’t handle the coupons or is burnt out.  Throw the coupons out the window and just buy what is on sale each week at it’s best price.  That’s my two cents worth anyway.

How did you do this week?  Leave a comment or a link to your savings post.

    • Bee

      I stop in Aldi when I can't take the thought of planning a coupon trip. At least there I know I like the food and whatever I am tempted to pick up won't be the most grossly overpriced item out there.

    • Mommyof2sweetgirls

      Happy Birthday to your little ladies. They are so cute.

    • Rebecca D

      If I don't have the energy to do a big trip, I run by Publix & do the B1G1's. Then my “big” trip later becomes smaller. I'm lucky enough to live a mile from Publix though – I don't know how people do it who live way out of town.

    • Lisacake610

      Great to read this post:) Lately I've been feeling burned out by the whole coupon thing, and I LOVE coupons! If it's not my mind spinning trying to figure out my strategy (thank goodness for your blog & all your hard work) then I'm physically spent carting my two boys with me and making sure they behave in the stores. Your post was comforting to read, thank you:)

    • julis

      I was on spring brat and realized that shopping at Publix in Florida is tricky and more complicated than in Atlanta. They would not take my Target coupons…=(

    • anitaj

      I was on spring breaak and realized that shopping at Publix in Florida is tricky and more complicated than in Atlanta. They would not take my Target coupons an had to buy the 2 items to get the deals…=(

    • Jo R

      You are so right! I was getting overwhelmed with couponng lately and I have been doing it for more than a year now. It was a relief to walk into Publix without coupons and still be able to save- it was the break I needed and I still felt great about saving money.

    • Sendcolleen

      I agree about breaking from coupons if stressing… Aldi's is my favorite place to shop for a great deal without coupons! :) and HT b1g1…we don't have publix :(

    • flower_mom

      Thanks Jenny for putting that in perspective! I think we all get burnt out every now and then or just want to take a vacation from our coupons…Thanks for letting us know it is ok and no need to feel ashamed! ;)

    • flower_mom

      Oh…Happy birthday to your little ones and 90th grandma birthday is GREAT! :)

    • Kpatcamp

      Thank you Jenny. This is what I try to remind myself all the time. My goal is always to save more than I spend. My Publix is in FL and takes only Winn Dixie competitor coupons. I don't get many food items for free but I always try to remember that I am saving money!!

    • plant girl

      I needed your post today! With all of this hype about only fat, unhealthy people use coupons, and I should only be using them for toiletries and saving my money for organic meat and making everything I can from scratch for the health of my family – gosh I am about to stop reading any blogs – except yours of course! :)

    • smart

      Hi Jenny, I'm new to couponing and your website has helped me a lot, thank you so much for doing this for us. I have a question: I get coupons in the mail (either RP or SS) middle of the week. Do you include those when you match them up with the items as well? Cause I noticed that the dates on SS and RP always falls on a Sunday that's why I'm wondering. Thanks so much in advance!

      • Look on the spine of your insert and you should see a date. The date will always be a Sunday date (even if they come in the middle of the week) so that will help you see when they are from.

    • Juls Reese

      No pic but I was able to buy 17 Revlon nail clippers at Target over a week long stint for a grand total of $.78 cents! I started with the $2.00 Target online coupon and the MF. Four times in a row, I got catalinas for a $5 coupon off 2 and $2 off 1 beauty item. 17 total! My bible study group is doing Grace to Go bags for the homeless and I popped the clippers in there. If you can get something free, pass it on to someone in need if youdon't need it. God bless & happy savings.

      • busymom2three

        This is what I would like to see more couponers doing–sharing the freebies (and not freebies) with others. We stockpile items and take them to our daughter's college to share with the other students (shampoo, soaps, cleaning supplies, etc.) They really like this. We've also sent items to help in Haiti and Mexico. I am so glad to be able to share, and my young people are learning to be more conscious of the needs of others, too.

        Thanks for posting this and for the reminder that sharing from our value-saving is a blessing to many.

    • Kristie

      First of all, Happy Birthday to your sweet girls and your precious grandmother. My Nana turned 92 at the end of March and I am so blessed to be able to visit with her. Jenny, thank you so much for your post! I have been in a coupon slump lately because of deals being wiped out by the time I get there or just not being able to get to a sale. There are some weeks I never make it to Publix and I am ok with that. Thank you so much for being such a blessing!

    • well, i went to publix on wednesday and saved 42.60. i used coupons on everything and everything was on sale. then i went to cvs and saved 31.91. i bought 20 dollars worth of lysol, and airwick stuff. i used coupons on everything.

    • Carol

      Great post! Although we are all trying to save money, I think most would agree that good relationships with family and friends, having a home environment that is refreshing more often than frenzied, and giving ourselves a break now and then from the things we tell ourselves we “ought” to be doing is more important in the long run.

    • The sales around here had been pretty nonexistant the past three weeks, and I was doing a big batch of freezer cooking with a whole turkey, so my post is going to aldi and haven't used a coupon all week long. I'm about to head out to CVS though ;)

    • Savinglotsofdough

      Wow! What timing! I've been so busy the past couple weeks with kids' birthdays and church events that I haven't been as diligent with my couponing. I HAD to go to Publix today which was unusual b/c I make such a habit of going regularly that rarely do I ever HAVE to go, except for bread and milk. So, off I went but I just wasn't “feeling it”. There was so much more I could've saved had I gotten my coupons in order, but this time I just wanted to get in and get out. It's really difficult for me to buy things now unless I have a coupon to use, even if an item is on sale. Thanks for posting this. It really did come at the perfect time for me. I'm glad to know that even the “professionals” need a break from couponing every now and then. :)

      • Savinglotsofdough

        BTW, my total before coupons/sales was $80.73. Amount paid: $35.91. Still a good trip even though I didn't buy very much. Thanks for the help!

    • TheAnnoyingOne

      I'm 19 and do our couponing mostly. Saves mom a ton of work. I got 20 bags of kettle chips ($.95 ea), 40 Boxes Mini wheats ($1.23 ea), 13 gallons of milk, 10 lbs of free beef, $20 in free fruit, and making money on Finnish dish soap at CVS. Need to get toothbrushes (makes me $.50 ea) and RightGuard (free) on rainchecks, as well as 20 Boxes of Post Great Grains ($1 ea)

      • I hope my children will grow up to be as dedicated to couponing & bargain hunting as you are! Your mom is a blessed woman!

    • Tabi

      I see you said you were shopping in florida and had to purchase two items to get the b1g1. what exactly does that mean? you have to actually get four items and then you pay for two and two are free? they wont let you just get two items? one you buy, and one is free??

      • Allyson

        In FL, it's actually Buy One, Get One. The first one rings up full price and you don't get the discount unless you buy two. Everywhere else, Publix BOGOs really mean 50% off whether you buy one, two , or 25.

        • Tabi

          Wow ok thanks for the info.

      • Fran

        I was on vacation in FL and forgot about this and my nice cashier at Publix reminded me each time to go back and get another item for free. Yay Publix!

    • Charmbak05

      You know that what i did also i went to publix without my coupons and bought the B1G1 and it turned out ok..Thanks for the post

    • Jmh1002

      I tried to look like a “normal person”. I REALLY did! It was my first couponing trip. I went to CVS first and had fun getting freebies and just looking at all the deals. I did the Air Wick $10 ECB deal and got an awesome deal on toothpaste. I found that I really like the B1G1 sales with an extra coupon. After that, I attempted Kroger. I was excited about my great deal on Silk soy and Almond milk. I also did the kroger egg deal on top of the $.55 egg coupon. I got other stuff too, but was confused and didn't realize so many sales on my list were regional! I suppose I should not be surprised in account of which I am in Indiana and this SOUTHERNsavers!! Anyhow, I left there feeling a bit defeated and still confused. I only saved $15. :/

      • shops2much

        If I end up shopping without my coupons, I just get the receipt, pull out the coupons I have for items I purchased and go back the next day to redeem them. I do it ALL the time and never have an issue .

    • Gapixie

      Also, when you want to get a good deal without a lot of effort most meat departments in the store have meat that they can mark down or are about too. All you have to do is ask. Additionally if you a philly cheese steak type of person some meat departments will take the steak that is on sale and slice it super thin for you to make killer sandwiches at a good price. This beats the frozen stuff and can work out to be cheaper if you catch a good meat sale or just ask!!!

    • Beth

      Jenny – You referenced the “Best Price in a Sales Cycle” in your post. Are the prices in that document still the prices I should be shooting for? I noticed that it was dated 2009, so I just wanted to make sure it was appropriate to use it as a baseline. Thanks. I will see you in Gallatin, TN, in May!

      • Sara

        Yes – I was wondering the same thing…. I think that across the board, you probably should add 20-30% to the 2009 prices of non-processed items in keeping with inflation over the last 2-3yrs. It is going to get worse – so stock up where you can.

    • emerson

      i always see these post for 10 oop saved 90 or 95% in savings at publix or another store with great deals weekly. Now no matter how much i try i still cant seem to save more than 68% off my trip. So i was wondering if peoples post are only for the really cheep things. I have two kids that shop with me every week and we use publix only cause of the great deals and service with that being said I buy mostly sale items but also buy whatever i need weekly eggs, meat, milk, bread, fruit, and vegetables which may be on sale or not. so this week i went in and saved 137 but spent 114 with tax and all so should i consider this good or bad…i used a good bit of coupoons am i doing anything wrong…???????

      • Julie

        I feel the same way. I've been doing this for about a year now, and typically save about 60% on a trip, but I'm still spending a good bit oop. I don't know how other people only spend $3.00 on $200 worth of groceries. Remember though that you are still spending half of what you use to. It helps me to remember that I use to spend $100 a week on food for 2 people (we eat healthy), and that was going to wal-mart and buying mostly the “Great Value” brand. Now I get to shop at Publix (a luxury compared to wal-mart!!) and but mostly brand name items and am spending around $50 a week.
        I think it all depends on where you live- some places have better coupons available and better sales. Also how you eat. When I see someone spend $17 on $300 worth of groceries at Publix, a lot of times I don't see eggs, milk, fresh fruit etc;
        Stick with it- your still making an impact on your finances. Even if it's not as great an impact as some people (Extreme couponers on TLC??!!), you are still saving.

        • Susan

          Well said!

      • happymom

        I'm right with you! When I first started, I would compare my savings to other people's enormous savings and feel like I should be doing more. But the longer I've done this, I realize that it's about MY family and my savings of 50-60% is a big deal… and it actually affords us to be able to eat healthier foods. By couponing, I've freed up money in my grocery budget to be able to afford more fresh produce, better meats, fish, etc. So I'm saving money and feeding my family healthier food.

      • Erin

        I know. I don't see those kinds of savings, either. Keep in mind that those trips are “brags”–they are not the norm. Those readers aren't going to post their shopping trips on weeks when they are stocking up on produce and meat. You cannot maintain those kinds of savings week after week without allowing couponing to consume you. Personally, I don't worry about percentage saved so much as my internal “price book.” I know how low certain products go, and I stock up then so I don't have to pay full price when I run out. Having a stockpile allows you to shop the sales, rather than having to purchase everything you'll need for the coming week at full price. I try to buy almost everything on sale (and/or with a coupon), including fruit and produce, but with some things, like organic milk or eggs (or salad mixes for us), it isn't always possible, so I just try to buy those things at the store that I know they are the least expensive. If you are already shopping at Publix, you probably have an advantage, judging from everything I've heard about Publix. The only suggestion I might have is to plan your menu around sale items as much as possible and/or stock up when products you use go on sale to minimize paying full price when you run out. Buy extra meat, cheese, and bread when it's on sale and throw it in the freezer. Buy the strawberries that are on sale rather than paying full price for blueberries. Don't worry about the percentages so much as buying healthful foods at the best prices possible–$23 in savings is $23 you would have otherwise spent on those products, which is fantastic.

        • happyinnc

          Great advice! Just an FYI, if you have a Big Lots in your area, they have great deals on Organic brand cereals, soups, snacks, even mac & cheese and almond butter. Products change all the time and you have to watch exp. dates, but they do offer 20% off total purchase periodically. That box of organic cereal may not be free, but paying $2.00 a box instead of close to $5.00 a box is a great savings. Saving money is saving money. My best to all!

      • Couponbiduf

        I'm the same way. I've been doing this for almost two years now and that's happened only two or three times. (I wasn't getting regular grocery stuff on those trips either.) We've decided on a budget each week for ourselves. if I can get everything we need for that week plus a few stockpile items, I consider it a great week. I know what's a good price by now, and if its a good price, I'll stock up, but I still have to get what we need each week. if I break myself buying stockpile and then have to buy my regular stuff, it isn't worth it to me. Usually, if it's on sale, it's what I cook that week. Find what works best for your family. That's the only way it will help you

    • Ppyle

      Used to live in Lakeland, FL – I MISS my Publix!!!

    • Reesefamilyshops

      How do you get the free meat please?

    • Julie

      this was a refreshing read. Thank you for letting us know you are human! Very encouraging.

    • Acrowe949

      Thanks for posting this article! I'm pregnant in my first trimester and the morning sickness has taken me away from couponing for a few weeks!

    • ChipsMom

      i'm brand new at this and it took some convincing to get my husband on board, but i saved 48.655% on my first deal/coupon trip! immediately my husband was convinced and on board! i'm so excited and pumped about this! i have a 2-year old that has deadly food allegies to a plethora of things and shopping for him is really expensive but this will ease the burden a little… actually, a lot!

      ~OH, and for the girl that checked me out at Publix and gave me a “good job!” and a high five, that made my night! thanks Emily W. of Dothan, Alabama's Cottonwood Corners Publix for helping me not have to celebrate a victory alone!!!!!!

    • Trmorris21

      Great blog Jenny! It's true. I have been couponing for about a year now, and sometimes you do just need a break, but there is no reason we can't still shop for what we need using sale items only! Sometimes sanity is worth a few dollars! :)

    • Marcy Muttercoupons

      I appreciate your balanced approach to couponing and life. Keeping priorities straight.
      Thank you.

    • Mickie

      My life has been extremely busy the last few weeks, and this has been my approach. Hit the sales, do what I can, and don't break my neck trying to get every single penny off that's out there.

      I'm still doing well. We just lowered our grocery budget by $100 a month! And we're also seeing a big difference in the amount of money we're spending on eating out.

      Thanks for all you do!

    • busymom2three

      I see that I'm not the only “couponer” who at times has to make a purchase apart from my coupon stash. I too, had some very busy weeks with both parents in the hospital. Instead of taking time to gather my list and coupons, I had to stop and pick up items in between trips to/from the hospital. Of course, I went to Publix and picked up only necessities (thankfully, I had enough stockpile to fill in the gaps). I do love coupon dispensers and coupons on products for the items that I'm needing!

      Thanks for reminding us that it is OK to shop without our “extra appendage” i.e., coupon collection. ;-)

    • Debbie M

      I agree with you completely…sometimes I don't want to coupon and I feel forced and don't want to miss a deal…this week I did one store only and it felt nice to not have to stress and you are right about sticking to the sales and you can get great deals as well :) Thanks

    • Jennifer

      I accidentally went to CVS before their new sale began and lost an opportunity for $10 ECB and it hurt, but I reminded myself that I still saved a lot on the Aveeno products I purchased and that I was able to use my $10 ECB that I already had. Also, this week I purchased enough to cover at least the next week except milk, so I will get a break for Easter! That means I can take my time to reorganize coupons and do something nice for my family.

    • erins_deals

      Me Too Jenny!

      I have been sooo busy lately, I couldn't properly plan my grocery trip. I had to just make a “list” of what we needed and leave the coupons at home.
      I have to say, it was way hard to shop without coupons! There were too many choices and it actually took me longer in the store, comparing prices and selecting brands.
      Not what I expected at all!

    • Vgwagoner

      I am curious – do the people that link up on here work full-time out of the house? I just cannot seem to find enough hours in the day without giving up my much needed sleep to do this on a large scale.

      • A lot of the people on here do work full-time out of the house and still find time to coupon (including me). It's just about making it a priority, and as you learn it, it doesn't take as much time.

      • Amy J.

        I have a recommendation for you, if you don't mind…..maybe choose one store where you do your couponing…..say, CVS, for instance (whichever pharmacy you prefer). You would still save so much on your toiletries, paper products, cleaning products, etc., that you'd still be amazed at the savings!!!
        When I first started using coupons over a year ago, CVS is where I started and once I shopped there a time or two, it seemed easy….from there I started doing the grocery store (Kroger) but it took me longer to get the hang of it.

        I work part-time from home….besides taking my daughter to and from school, doing all of the errands and all of the chores. Pay all the bills, do the banking, mail, cooking, watch my friend's son after school, etc.(that list could go on and on and on! LOL), and visit w/ our neighbors on a regular basis. I keep saying couponing is a part-time job in and of itself. I'm glad Jenny posted this today as I won't be using coupons this coming week because of the overloaded schedule we'll have and I'm behind on my coupons for like 3 weeks (I use the binder method, and normally this method works best for me although it's not for everyone…It really stinks when I'm super busy and get behind on it).
        Coupons definitely are not worth “breaking your neck” over, so I hope you find a balance with it that does not consume a lot of your time.

    • This is exactly what I did this week! Thanks for sharing that we all need a break sometimes!

    • Amy J.

      Thanks so much for posting this, Jenny!
      I'm know I'll be taking a break from the Q's this coming week, as my daughter turns 6 on Tuesday (we're gonna celebrate on Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday…oh, my!) AND I'm 3 weeks behind on coupons (helping neighbors move, spring break, daughter was sick, birthday parties, etc.)…..ugh! BUT, good news is, this past week I had my best week ever…..at Kroger I spent $37 on @$128 worth of groceries and at CVS I saved 93%……good thing this past week was great, 'cos this coming week I'm gonna be way too busy to care about taking coupons with me anywhere!

      Awww….Happy Birthday to your girls & your grandma!

    • gery220

      Totally agree with you…my stockpile is great @ the moment so we will only be shopping for the everyday basics, for a few. Sometimes its GOOD to take a break, even if its hard!! I cant buy anything knowing I have a coupon, but looking @ how much we save….its ok.

    • genxeratl

      Agreed! I may not coupon as much as some but it's shopping SMART not necessarily hard that saves the most. This past weekend at Publix I saved over 30% just shopping the sale items and only using a few coupons (like stacking on the All liquid detergent they have on sale or one I had for the Finish that's on sale). Fortunately here in GA they allow you to just buy one on BOGO items so if you just happen to have your coupons with you then great – more power. If not then don't despair because you're still getting a great deal. Power to the savers!