Smart shoppers save big money

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2012

By Dana Zeliff

I am THAT lady.

I am the lady marching purposefully through the store clutching a fistful of coupons on the hunt for a good deal. You can find me in my local grocery stores every Wednesday morning shopping from the new sale ad that started only a few hours prior to my arrival. I’m dedicated, thrifty, money-savvy and a bit obsessive.


Email newsletter signup

I am a couponer.

According to the USDA Food Plans Report for June 2012, a family of four spends $1,245.60 per month under the liberal plan, $822.30 for the low-cost plan and $627.90 for the thrifty plan. The liberal plan spends more in one week on food than I spent in an entire month on all my family’s essentials.

Through the years, I have cut my grocery budget from more than $600 per month to less than $250. I have shaved more than 50 percent using coupons and purchasing items on sale. Included in my grocery budget is food, personal care, household and pet needs. Organic and natural products are also a large part of our monthly budget.

You can live well on a budget. Learning not to overspend on the necessities is a worthwhile endeavor for all family sizes.

Hampton Roads is a wonderful place to live if you use coupons. We have stores competing for our business. Farm Fresh, Harris Teeter and Kroger offer double coupons every day. Walmart and Target will price-match other stores’ ads. By taking advantage of store coupon policies, you can save your family money.

Become a smart-shopper by following these tips:

4Shop with coupons and weekly sales in mind. Remember to maximize a coupon you want to combine the sale and the coupon.

4Don’t aimlessly throw items in your cart. Create a shopping list before hitting the store, and stick to it.

4Use a store loyalty card to take advantage of sale items.

4Compare the price per unit on products. Purchasing the largest size is not always the best deal.

4Get coupon matchups from local blogs. We do all the work, so you can save time while saving money.

Follow my money-saving tips, and you can save 50 percent or more on your grocery budget by using coupons. My family lives well within a budget, and so can you.

Dana Zeliff lives in Chesapeake and writes a blog full of money-saving tips, coupons and advice. Visit her blog at