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
  • RMN = Retail Me Not
  • 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.

We now have covered all of the basic steps to getting started couponing. The goal is to save at least 50%, but some folks still have trouble being able to save that much.

I often get e-mails from users who feel frustrated in the beginning because they don’t feel like their savings are adding up. It does take a completely new way of shopping to see the real savings, which can be a difficult adjustment for some at first.

Here are some of the top hurdles that hinder saving and how to overcome them.

Brand Loyalty

You must give up your brand loyalties in order to save. If your family prefers one brand of cookies, shampoo, lunch meat, etc. it makes it harder to save. The brand you love may not go on sale anytime soon, but another brand will. The key to being able to save is to be willing to buy the brand that is on sale.

For example, you may love John Frieda shampoo, but if Herbal Essence is 74¢ after a coupon, then try to buy the Herbal Essence. Whenever the brand you love does go on sale, stock up.  If you can’t handle switching brands, that’s your call but it is cost that you need to realize.

Not Stocking Up Enough

You need to buy enough to last your family for 6-8 weeks when something is on sale. If you run out before it goes on sale again, you will have to pay more.

For this to work, you have to get out of the mindset of how much you will need that week. This can cost more in the beginning when you are stocking up and buying what you need. You will get to where you do not need to pay full price for anything though, and the savings will really start to add up then.

Only Processed Foods Go On Sale

While many processed foods do go on sale, whole foods also go on sale. Everything in the grocery store will go on sale at some point and when it does, you should stock up.

There may not be as many coupons for the items you are buying, but you will still save a lot buy buying the meat, produce, beans, etc. that are on sale.


If you are organized and use Southern Savers, it should only take you around 45 minutes to get ready to go shopping. You only need to shop 1 or 2 grocery stores and 1 drug store. When extra deals pop up, you do not need to run out and get all of them.

If I’m in a hurry I will set a timer for 30-45 minutes. When the timer goes off I leave and go shopping, even if I don’t have all of my coupons ready. It can be painful to miss out on savings, but remember that your time is valuable. Every now and then if I do a huge stock up trip it will take longer, but for most trips, 45 minutes is plenty.

Lack of Coupons

If you live in an area that doesn’t have good newspaper inserts or if you don’t have a printer, it can be harder to get coupons. If you are committed, you can buy coupons online.

Unrealistic Expectations

You aren’t going to be able to feed your whole family for $4 a week. No matter what people on TV do, in real life, it isn’t going to happen. The goal is to save at least 40%.

In real life, we need meat, produce, milk, bread, etc. and though they go on sale, they are very rarely free. So expect to save, but don’t expect to eat for free every week.

What have been your top challenges to couponing?

    • Mel

      The biggest challenge I ever see is dealing with cashiers that either don’t know the coupon policy themselves or don’t like to process coupons…. In most cases you can resolve these issues right at the register however it can feel a bit embarrassing when it happens and can turn people off to couponing….most of the time if you are doing the right thing and following the rules, couponing is not only rewarding but tons of fun too!

      • deedee362012

        I agree,I have this problem alot,but I dont get embarrassed(My husband does and my kids are like..OMG,lol)I stand up if I know Im right,always helps to bring their coupon policy with you,I print them and keep them in my binder.Theres always that person behind you too who gets an attitude but if they say anything my response is always”Oh,Im sorry,are you paying for my food?”But 90 percent of the time cashiers want to help you and everyones real nice and patient when theres a problem.

    • Mightymousemom

      This is great advise. I think one of the biggest eye openers I had with couponing was to get out of the big box store, economy size mindset. I had to learn that stores such as CVS & Harris Teeter & BiLo had the better deals with coupons. When I tell people who do not coupon that’s the case, they do not believe me, then I invite them on a shopping trip:) Most of all, I could not do this without Southern Savers, I can not thank you, Jenny, & all those who share the savings finds enough.

      • Linda

        Couldn’t agree more. The minute I stopped shopping at WalMart, I started saving. Thanks, Jenny!

        • David Ballinger

          amen haha. I went to Wal Mart for the first time in months to get a check cashed, and they had a huge sign that said “coupons? we gladly accept them!” and I was like oh ok when did this happen haha. But even after coupons, I still come out ahead getting my coupons doubled at other stores!

          • BD

            Ask Walmart to define “gladly”. Most of the time they are very scrutinizing & make you feel like a criminal for using them. Most every time that I’ve tried to use a coupon at Walmart, they didn’t even have the product. I’ve decided that it’s just not worth my time to even try WM. Publix & CVS are truly “glad” to accept them and have much better business ethics & morals!

      • SaraJ

        AMEN! Learning CVS and Harris Teeter’s systems has paid off so much for me as well! I still round out my shopping with some trips to Food Lion and Target as well but I don’t just automatically shop there assuming they are the cheapest. I’m spending less in a month on groceries and household goods than I used to while still stocking up our cabinets!

    • SaraJ

      I know these tips are targeted to newbies, but I think they are also great reminders to even seasoned savers! I was a newbie myself last year and am thrilled with how my efforts and new strategies I picked up on this site have paid off. Big savings for my household, and I look forward to continuing to improve on what works for us.

    • Jeffy Walker

      Sometimes it does help to buy at BJ’s

    • Sheila C.

      My biggest challenge is not having the coupons from the weekly inserts match up. Even though many are online, I don’t always have time to print them regularly. Oh well.

    • cakewalkingmother

      I’m a coupon veteran but my family has begun greening. My biggest challenge as of late is replacing my stockpile with jarred, organic foods and my fridge/freezer with whole foods, meat and dairy–not to mention finding deals on our hygiene items. I do love the highlights on Earthfare and the organice posts you do, Jenny!

      • BD

        I’m having the same challenge! However, I do find lots of great organic deals at Costco… and Costco accepts coupons (unlike Sam’s). Also, I’ve learned that I can’t do green/organic 100% of the time. If we hit 80% green/organic, then that’s way better than where we were last year.

    • crystalgoodwin3

      Thanks so much Jenny for all the hard work.
      I think we can all use a refresher from time to time.
      I definitely agree with many of the comments especially the ones about not shopping at Walmart. When I first started couponing seriously, my walmart was price matching the B1G1 from all the other sale sheets, even if it didn’t have a price listed. Every week the drug stores have several items that are B1G1 or Harris Teeter will do B2G3 with no price.
      My Walmart store was doing this as a experiment. I did this for about 8 months before they stopped. But I sure did stock up on alot of really cheap especially after coupons. It was great. I quickly learned which cashiers and which supervisors were the nicest. After they stopped, I didn’t go in there for months. Now I rarely go. When I do go, it’s usually for he Perdue fresh chicken. I think Perdue has a wonderful taste compared to some of the other brands.
      Now, my CVS has a new manager and they have stopped taking printable coupons except the ones directly from CVS.com
      So I’ve learned Walgreens system and have been doing pretty good there. Hopefully this manager won’t last long.

    • Imeena Lestat

      look at it this way if coupons saves me 90% almost every time i go to
      the store then its worth my time to cut them out .the money ive saved i
      used to pay$ 25,856 on my house in 1 yr …8 more years paying like this
      and i will have our house payed for in full way before the note .i
      would never stop couponing i save way to much and have more money in the
      bank just from coupons lol

    • Imeena Lestat

      look at it this way if coupons saves me 90% almost every time i go to
      the store then its worth my time to cut them out .the money ive saved i
      used to pay$ 25,856 on my house in 1 yr …8 more years paying like this
      and i will have our house payed for in full way before the note .i
      would never stop couponing i save way to much and have more money in the
      bank just from coupons lol

    • Tera

      I have been cutting coupons for about 6 months and for some reason did better in the beginning than I am now. I work in a school and have had trouble finding the time to coupon now that i am back in school. I also have a hard time letting a deal go by. Thank you for the tip about the timer! That may help me a lot. Each store will have a deal so I have a hard time picking!

    • Bean

      Biggest challenge is the amount of time it takes me to pull everything together and shop. I like the idea of the timer, but I just don’t see how I can cut the time down…