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

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

When I am around town I always seem to run into people that come up and say hi, and then guiltily confess that they just can’t figure out the coupon thing.   I’ve had others attend numerous workshops and yet come away feeling incredibly overwhelmed.  So for the next few days we are going to break this down into bite sized portions that hopefully aren’t overwhelming and are easily tackled.

To get started, the first step in “couponing” actually doesn’t involve a coupon.  I need you to buy what is on sale.  Easy enough, right?  Not really.  We were never taught to shop this way.  Someone eons ago decided that to go shopping you need to stand in front of your fridge and pantry and make of list of everything you are out of and then buy those things.  Sadly, if that is how you make a grocery list you’ll never save anything!  Nothing on your list will ever be on sale, you are only buying them because you have to have them not because they are a good price this week.

We have to change the way we shop, and move away from need based shopping to sale based shopping.  Before you panic, realize that this takes time.  No one can wait till the next sale if they are out of toilet paper… there are things a household must have.

How Do You Know What’s On Sale?

To start making this change for your household, you need to start first on Southern Savers or with your weekly grocery ad.  Our goal is to only buy what is on sale, so the first big lesson is that not everything in the ad is actually on sale.  Many ads are chock full of high priced deals they hope you will grab only because you saw them in the ad.  Don’t fall prey to those classic marketing tactics.  Every item in a grocery has a rock bottom low price, and our goal is only buy the item at that price.  To make this easy, it is generally at least 40% off of the full price.  To help you spot this faster there are three things that you can use:

  1. Print the Southern Savers Buy Price List and take it with to the store.  This will help you know what a good price is for most products, and help you stay away from pretend sales.
  2. Check Your Weekly Ad.  I’ll post tips on reading a weekly ad later today.
  3. Use Southern Savers.

Yeah, option #3 is pretty easy.  That’s my goal.  When you look at a list on Southern Savers, it is NOT the entire weekly ad.  I only list the items that are at their lowest price.  So… everything on the list is a good price (acorns are only there to show you what is free or an amazing price).  My hope is that you can trust me, make your shopping list and head to the store and save a ton of money.  No stress required.

Keep in mind that we haven’t thrown in coupons yet.  For some just getting started you really don’t have a lot of coupons yet.  Others live in an area where your insert coupons stink and you could have months worth of papers and still not have half the coupons.  That’s okay.  Just focus on buying what’s on sale.  Whether an item has a coupon or not, if you are at least saving 40% off the regular price that’s a huge hunk right there!

Check back this afternoon for how to read a grocery ad, and tomorrow for the next step in couponing!

    • allison

      Jenny is right. I shopped at Krogers last week and I saved only $5.75 by using coupons. I save the most from the sale ($34) and paid $48 because buying five items gets me the best price. Love it!

      • April Stroud Roberts

        Yep! I agree. Sometimes I go into Kroger and have only one or two coupons. The store discounts are powerful.

    • Thank you so much! I am one of those who has tried to save money on my grocery budget and just can’t seem to get it right. After having twin girls a few months ago, and now having 3 babes under three at home, I am ready to start fresh and try this again. I’m ready!

    • Stephanie

      Thank You, I was just talking to someone about this. I love coupons but cannot figure out how to master them.

    • Karen

      Jenny in the last few months I am finally getting this a little. You are the greatest and thank you for all your information. I got so upset the other day. Bill stopped at walmart on his way home from work to pick up a gallon of milk. They put the most expensive milk on display where the regular priced milk belongs. We ended up paying $2.00 over the regular price for this milk. We have a couple new stores in the area that just opened and they are having some great sales on milk right now. I just learned my lesson. I am going to try and freeze a couple gallons. Wish me luck!

      • crystalgoodwin3

        I always keep milk in the freeze.
        We only have one small grocery store near us and the charge $5 and up for a gallon of milk. The next closest grocery stores are over an hour away. So I definitely stock up when I find a sale.
        Walgreens seems to have milk on sale at $2.99 just about every other week. You will need to use some of the milk to allow for expansion when it freezes.

    • annette

      i totally rely on your lists, thank you so much!

    • Andrea Jo

      When people ask me how to coupon I tell them to come here.

    • Carolineagirl

      Thanks for all you do !!!

    • I just started couponing and I’m saving money but at the same time it seems like I’m spending more money now that I’m couponing. Is this normal when you first start couponing or am I doing something wrong?

      • crystalgoodwin3

        It was for me. But you will notice that you have more food in your house then before. After awhile, your spending will decrease. I find that seveal times a year, I can take a break from almost all my grocery shopping. I do less shopping in the summer when we are spending alot of time on the boat fishing or on the beach. I also don’t do much grocery shopping after all the big sales at Thanksgiving. It makes the Christmas season much nicer when there’s a house full of food. Plus, I’ve finally learned that it’s okay if I miss a great sale. There will be another one.

      • April Stroud Roberts

        I had the same issue because I couldn’t pass up a deal for a few months. So, I set myself a weekly budget: $100 for everything (Publix, Kroger, CVS). When the $$ is gone, I stop shopping. Some weeks I have leftover that I use or don’t use, but having a dollar maximum in mind helped a lot! However, what I bring home for $100 is triple and quadruple what I used to bring home for that same amount.

    • Meme007

      Occasionally I have to remind myself that I MAY buy some items without a coupon. If there is an item on sale at a really good price (sometimes less than using a coupon at another time) then I purchase it. One of the examples is when Walgreens has Lindsay olives for .99. That is a good price now for olives. I stock up if I can at this price.

    • Doug Bradbury

      As you know My wife and I and Many others in our Group love your site. To get started is the hard part. You must keep up on the Coupons. And the ads. ORGANIZATION IS KEY… Makes it much easier…. Last week My wife and i went to Walmart and did this trip $471.34 Total OOP $99.13 79%. This is A normal trip for us. But I’m Also retired and always looking for the best deals all day long. Most of all have fun with your trips And enjoy your free shopping :)

    • wanting to coupon again

      I did this a few years ago and honestly I felt like the things that are on coupon and sale are not things I buy or cook with. I may be wrong and should look again but do you have any suggestions for people that don’t need 12 deodorants? Or 50 razor blades? Or have to buy depends? For instance, I cooked taco chicken last night. Olives, corn, cilantro and chicken breasts over lettuce with ranch dressing. Tonight I’m making pulled pork with a boston butt and a bottle of bbq sauce. All of these ingredients came from Sam’s and Publix. I don’t like going to 2 stores and would only shop at Publix if I could. I would love to hear your strategy for using 1 store (such as Publix) and avoid the box stores for a family of 4.

      • Star

        It takes some time to build up your stock. You don’t need to buy an extreme amt as sales run on cycles. Just buy items your family actually uses. Olives you can get at Walgreens free thru Lindsay coupon, corn- just check watch for sales .60 a can or less and I see chicken coupons pretty often. Ingles had BBQ sauce for .50 last week. Hang in there as it is worth it. I take breaks from shopping because we are so stocked up now. You also should watch the other videos on here, I found them very helpful!

    • April Stroud Roberts

      Well explained! When I first started couponing, my sister advised me to start by shopping just Publix BOGOs while I built a coupon insert stash. The first four or five weeks I just got deals at store savings. Then she showed me how to add coupons into the mix. Then I worked my way up to Kroger Mega Events and CVS scenarios. I’m a solid couponer now. :) I think the two biggest mistakes newbies make is to try too much, too soon AND to refuse to think out a deal. Thinking is the biggest tool we have in our arsenal as *nobody* can identify all deals for you, and no site will have 100% info. I see a lot of folks give up the minute their thinking isn’t just handled for them. ;)

    • Jane

      Regarding the “buy price list” to keep handy for knowing the best prices…lots o/the items on that list are missing product sizes. Like cereal or ice cream… is there a list that is more detailed showing $/oz or $/lb? Brand vs. generic?