PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - You may have seen or heard about people who use coupons to pay next to nothing for groceries. We wanted to know how much you can really save. We take a single mother of four who has never used coupons before, shopping with a coupon expert.
Single mom Kristen Schufler has five people in her family to feed and she has never used coupons. We teamed her up with Ruth Soukup, a coupon expert who showed her the tricks of the trade.
The first tip? Before you even walk into the store have your coupons printed, your list ready, and create a game plan. It's all about organization.
"Today I brought my calculators. Sometimes if you don't have time to prepare at home, you might want to makes sure you have your calculator. That way you can add things up when you're going along," advised Ruth.
Or better yet, you can use it to subtract!
"You said you're spending about $150 a week? So you might continue spending $150 a week, maybe a little less, for the time being but then after you have that stock pile built up, you'll start seeing a drop off," explained Ruth.
Ruth says building a stock pile can take about two months, which is fine if you shop at Publix because that store usually cycles its sales every six to eight weeks.
When you're trying to save, our expert also suggests that you forget about brand loyalty. If you have a coupon for a brand you normally wouldn't use, keep an open mind.
The week we went shopping "Hamburger Helper" was on sale, buy one get one free.
Ruth had two coupons each one for 75-cents off three boxes. The best deal: buy six boxes, automatically get three of them for free. When you take off $1.50 for the remaining three boxes, you're spending about 70-cents a piece.
Once you start couponing, and start saving every week, Ruth says don't worry if you have to take a week or two off.
"You'll have a stockpile that you can rely on to feed your family for the week. And you can just go to the store and look for the BOGO items and look for the things that are on sale," said Ruth. "Even if you don't have the coupons, you're still going to be saving a lot of money because you're going to be getting the sale price."
And remember, social media can help you save on some of your favorite items. By clicking "like" on the facebook pages of brands you love, you could get your hands on more coupons and free samples.
At the checkout, Kristen guessed that she had about $150 - $200 dollars worth of food in her cart. The grand total, before coupons, but including the buy one get one items, rang up at $210. After the coupons, it dropped to $115 saving Kristen $95 dollars.
The $115 total included a $50 gas card (purchased for $40). The food total was only $75 if you don't include the gas card. Also, Ruth will be teaching a coupon class at First United Methodist Church, Punta Gorda on Saturday, November 17th from 9am-12pm.
Ruth has a whole website explaining just how easy it is to coupon. Click on this link for Ruth's website.