Questions about coupons and big box stores …

Charlotte asked, “I would love to know where you get all your coupons. Do you buy any?

I do not buy papers. I get my coupons from various sources. I happened to pull up behind the newspaper man at the recycling center one day as he was unloading his truck of leftover papers and asked him for all his Sunday papers. He told me that he puts lots of Sunday papers in the newspaper recycling bin on a certain day of the week and I usually get those inserts each week.
I also can recommend The Coupon Clippers as a good resource for bulk coupons. You can not sell coupons, but you can sell your service as a coupon clipper, which is what this home schooling family does. I ordered 60 coupons, all the same coupon, to use on a big ta-do sale this week. I will update on this big deal later on in the week.
You may also ask different stores what they do with their old Sunday papers. Some stores throw away the papers, in which case you could ask to come by and pick them up. Many stores sell cheaper Sunday papers during the week. Many other stores will have the paper delivery man come by and pick up Sunday papers on Sunday night.
For our family, I need a lot of coupons. For a smaller family, I think it would be worth it to buy a paper and gather coupons from family and friends.
I try and have at least 10 copies or more of each coupon insert in order to stock a pantry and freezer.

Next, Jillan asked, “Do you think it is worthwhile for a family who is only blessed with two children (11 and 13yo boys) to sign up for a big box store membership, for groceries, etc.?”

They have great buys on many things, however, I have cut my spending at these stores by shopping grocery store sales with coupons and finding a greater savings on many items that I use to buy there every month. However, many items you just can not find anywhere else for a better deal than at Costco.
Cream, Eggs, Milk, Butter, Cheese — Costco has cream around $2 and some odd cents for a quart of cream. Grocery stores carry this for $5.xx. Costco has excellent prices on eggs, especially the good for healthier eggs. We usually get the 7 1/2 dozen large box of eggs and that equals out to about .77 cents per dozen. Good prices on milk, however store sales on milk are comparable.
Good prices on butter and unless a store has a great sale on butter, I always get butter from Costco. This month, I found it on sale at a grocery store for less than what I pay at Costco. So I stocked up. Cheese is usually a great deal at Costco, however, after this week, I don’t think I will have to buy cheese for a very long time. Getting it free at the grocery store is a better deal for me this time.
Baking items — Costco has the absolute best real vanilla extract. If you bake, you must try it. I love it! I also buy olive oil and some spices there. Occasionally olive oil is a better deal at the grocery store.
Produce — usually have great prices on produce, however, if you do not eat a lot of produce it will be hard for you to eat a package of 6 romaine lettuces before they go bad or 15 lbs of onions. Our large family finds the produce prices and quantity the best around except for a really great sale at the grocery store and family markets I buy from.
Meat — I do not buy meat at the grocery stores or Costco/Sams so I can not offer much on meat prices and quality. Except Bacon…they have the best bacon deal. I have only once found bacon cheaper.
Bread — The large bags of rolls are a good deal, however, I have not been impressed with their bread prices. I always find bread cheaper at the grocery store on sale or make my own.
Cans — I think the canned foods you have to watch out for. Many times these are not cheaper than the store. However, the larger cans are usually great buys. I do buy the large can of tomato sauce for around $2 and make homemade spaghetti sauce with it. I also buy the large can of pineapple, baked beans, black beans and chopped tomatoes.
Frozen Food — They have a lot of frozen food but I only buy the frozen veggies if I am in great need of them. Usually I stock up on frozen veggies using a grocery store sale and coupons. You will have to compare ounces and price to figure out if the big bag at Costco really is cheaper than buying several little bags. One thing I absolutely love is the Costco brand frozen cheese ravioli — great price and very good.
Other household goods — I always get cleaners, paper products, cat food, soaps, toothbrushes etc. at the grocery store on sale with a coupon for way less than Costco. I will buy trash bags there. Laundry soap is usually a good deal depending on the brand you get. The store brand is hard to beat price wise, but you can quickly figure out mathematically what your price needs to be to beat the Costco laundry soap. I stock up on laundry soap at the grocery store when it goes below my Costco price and so far I have not had to buy laundry soap at Costco.
I know many smaller families that use Costco/Sams and love it because they can buy items that last for a really long time. One box of oatmeal may last 6 months or more for you. If I did not use coupons like I do, I would definitely shop at Costco for most items. After speaking with several of my family members who use Costco, I can tell you that there is a huge difference between Costco stores. My Costco store doesn’t have near the items for the prices that my sister-in-laws Costco store has. If I had her store near me, I would be more likely to shop there more often.
One thing I will say about Costco, is that they carry a large variety of organic or whole food, natural food products for WAY less than a health food store. They also have organic coffee and organic frozen foods, organic cereals, organic peanut butter, hormone free chicken meat for very good prices.
For our family, because of my coupon deals, I am now able to get out of Costco without dropping $400 each trip. I spend way less there and buy products that I can’t get anywhere else for the price.
Can you get a pass to check out the store and compare prices and products?


  • Jillian says:

    thanks so much for taking the time to provide a detailed answer to my question! After reading about 3/4 of your response, I was thinking that maybe it isn’t worthwhile to look into Costo, but when you mentioned the good prices on organic/natural products, that perked up my ears! I am planning to find out if I can get a visitor’s pass and check it out. I have to buy specialty cereals, flour, etc. for myself, so this might be a good deal; maybe I could go under a friend’s card, and pay her back. Thanks again.

  • Charlotte says:

    Jillian, Costco offers a one time visitor pass so that you can see if you like it.
    Thank you for the info. I have been looking into coupon clippers for a long time and I keep hesitating because I wanted to make sure that it was a good deal. I am going to try it on Friday to see how it goes. Thanks again!

  • Bethany says:

    Depending on what area you are in, Costco’s organic foods vary greatly….. some stores may carry a lot of food choices, others will have a few items. You would have to go check out your store to see what they have.
    As for The Coupon Clippers…. be sure to read their shipping schedule before you order. They do charge a .50 admin fee and shipping, but it is very minimal for what you will be getting with those coupons. I do not use them as a place to buy just any coupons, but how I use them is when I find a sale that is a really good deal and know that there is a coupon to go with it, but do not have enough coupons, I will order them the day the sale comes out so that the coupons are at my house before the sale is over.
    For example, I ordered the cheese coupons the day the sale paper came out to give me enough time to get the coupons in the mail and then get to the store with them. I don’t just order a bulk amount of coupons unless I have a specific purpose for them.
    If you stumble upon a really good sale, it would be possible to stock your pantry for a year on a certain product if you ordered a bulk amount of coupons and had them shipped to you in time to play those coupons at the store.
    I should have done this last week when I spotted a sale on Dawn Dish soap, 10 for $10. I had a few .50 cent coupons that were doubled to a $1 making the soap free. However, I could have maximized my energies and stocked my pantry with free dish soap for a year if I would have ordered coupons from the coupon clipper website.
    It is definitely not regular grocery shopping, but those who are serious about cutting their grocery bill can do it with strategic planning and smart shopping.

  • eating better says:

    I really need to know if COSTCO sells hormone free meats’ and other stuff without high fructose corn syrup. (Big bakeries are even putting that poison in hot dog buns, and whole wheat breads.)