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New Jersey mom can feed her family ... for free

Tips to Getting Your Groceries for Free?

Is the cost of food turning your grocery shopping plans into a stressful weekly event?

A New Jersey mom named Cyndi has figured out how to get a whole week's worth of groceries -- for free. 'I got started couponing because in our family we had some layoffs, our grocery bill was huge, and I had to make the cut somewhere,' Cindy explains.

Motivated and creative, she came up with a system that has her going beyond savings so she sometimes even gets money back from the store on purchases. Now, she keeps her budget in check and finds healthy foods for her family at the same time.

She starts by downloading coupons at home and then checks which stores (if any) in her area are offering double coupons.

Next, she writes a strict shopping list. If she finds a coupon on a manufacturer's website, she says she can 'stack' that in addition to a store coupon and get an overage of savings.

'Some stores will even give you cash back,' she said.

One of her other secrets goes against what might seem obvious: if you have a coupon for a specific product, don't think big. 'Buy the smallest package, because you're going to get the best bang for your buck,' Cindy explains.

'Taking the most money off on a smaller package is much better than buying a larger package.' That strategy helps her feed her family for a lot less money.

Do you have any great couponing tricks? Let us know in the comments below.

Join the discussion

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Rachel February 18 2014 at 9:30 PM

I challenge this coupon lady or any couponer to come to my store and do this. It can't be done. Stores in my area have stopped doubling coupons, they make it SO hard to coupon. Its retarded, they get reimbursed the amount on the coupon, but they act like its money our of their own pocket. The manufacturer pays them back the money I would save IF they would just except them. Had one cashier say coupon wasn't valid because item wasn't as pictured. When coupon clearly says ANY! So sick of Extreme Couponing making it look like its achievable. I honestly think they contact manufactures for coupons to be shown in show so their items are showcased. Just a bunch of rigged set up ahead of time deals.

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Nae-Nae Rachel February 18 2014 at 11:38 PM

I am sorry that the stores in your area don't accept your coupons or do so with great prejudice....my daughter coupons and so does my niece...they get a lot of usable things with their couponing. eg...ALL laundry detergent was on sale @ FD- 2 for $5, mfg coupon was for $2 off per bottle limit of 4 per transaction. She paid $2.28 for 4 bottles of detergent!!! It is attainable, it depends on the stores used and their coupon policy! Sometimes you can use price matching + coupons to save even more! It takes patience to do this...it is NOT for the faint of heart!!!! Just follow some of those extreme couponers...they have websites that teach you how to do it! They let you know anout things that are going on sale and tell you how to get more bang for your buck! Check them out first BEFORE you bash the process! Every experience is a learning experience....just find another store or look for their actual policies regarding coupons. Sometimes the cashiers just don't want to do it...and figure you are NOT going to press the issue. If managers are doing it also you need to call their CORPORATE OFFICE...and let them know that is your next step. Usually they will be trying to keep you from making that call...by not only honoring your coupons, but sometimes offering other incentives for you to utilize their store!! IJS

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sharonsharky February 18 2014 at 3:11 PM

eveytime i use coupons i spend more money thats why i never use themfrom sharonsharky

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sharonsharky February 18 2014 at 3:09 PM

i would like to learn how to do the couponing like just buying only waht i need and not a stock pile of tons of stuff i wont use it would help me out alot because i cant afford to go grocery shoping all the time i live paycheck to pay check if there is someone in st petersburg fla that can teach me i would lof it my email is sharonsharky@aol.com

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graphikzking February 18 2014 at 3:06 PM

I'd love to know where people find coupons for the "staples".

You know like Milk, flour, sugar, fruits and veggies.

All most are getting is canned and processed stuff.

I am pretty frugal. My family and friends think it's funny because I almost never go without a giftcard or coupon to restaurants unless they are small local homemade type establishments. However, when going over my grocery bills over 90 days I found that 80% of my purchases were meats, fruits, vegetables and milk.

I used coupons on Orange juices, cheeses, breads (rolls), chips, ice cream etc but no where could I find anything for "$1 off boneless organic chicken breast".

We do purchase whole roaster chickens and cut the thighs, breasts and wings off and make 3 meals out of it. This brings the cost of /lb of chicken pretty nicely.

I can buy produce from the produce junction, but I find that most of their produce is imported (thank the government for making them put origin labels on fruits/veggies) while the domestic stuff at grocery stores and Whole Foods/Trader joes is a bit more expensive.

So yes, I can feed 6 kids for $1 (cheap pasta and pasta sauce) but it's not going to be healthy.

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Michael Walsh February 18 2014 at 2:45 PM

It's always nice to be behind one of these people and wait while all their coupons get scanned!

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Rachel Michael Walsh February 18 2014 at 9:54 PM

LOL.. My sister worked a long day on her feet, only to run to WM for a few things to get stuck behind someone doing the "Price match guaranteed" thing. The person had a full cart of junk and like 4 or 5 different store fliers to be matched. They had other registers open but lines were 2x as long so she jumped over to one of them and still had to wait a long time, but beat the price matchers out.

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leahclay February 18 2014 at 2:20 PM

I would love to do this for my family -- and, I do clip coupons and use them when I can. But it seems like the stores in our area have already caught on to all this combining and doubling coupons and have policies about that -- they will double coupons but only to a max of $1, no combining coupons (i.e. manufacturer and store), and maximum number of coupons per order. So, while it sounds great -- this is just not a reality where we live. I usually find that buying generics is a great way to save money, even with coupons, the name-brand items are often still more money.... Good for this woman and anyone else who can make this work; just wish it would for me!! : )

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Rachel leahclay February 18 2014 at 10:01 PM

So true. Store near me here in Ohio don't double any more. They don't let the overage go toward the total purchase. They don't let you do anything any of these Extreme Couponers do. Couponing is going to become obsolete because stores are to stupid to realize they aren't loosing money. They always get reimbursed for manufactured coupons, but for some reason often want to say decline a coupon for only the reason they think were getting to good of a deal. I had a cashier tell me once the coupon wasn't valid on item I had because it wasn't same as pictured. Coupon said $1 off ANY, not $1 off the one in picture. LOL

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pjwinstead827 February 18 2014 at 1:33 PM

I use coupons but I think these extreme coupon people have caused prices to go up for the rest of us. The companies will get the money from somewhere and it is the consumer.

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cgssnavickas pjwinstead827 February 18 2014 at 4:31 PM

Personally, I think it's an addiction. Anything done to the extreme usually is.

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sharon February 18 2014 at 12:31 PM

I use coupons but in no way am I an extreme couponer. I usually save about $25.00 per $150-200 shopping trip. This is not taking into consideration the buy 1 get 1 free items or coupons that I get the item free.
I cut my coupons from Sunday paper and our local paper has a coupon sheet on Wednesday that usually is good for beauty and pet coupons.
I also will write to companies asking if they offer coupons for their item and many times they will send them to me. Also don't be afraid that if you have a problem with an item to write to the company and let them know about the problem and many times they will send coupons to compensate you. For example, I recently bought coffee (for Keurig) and when I opened the box 4 of the cups had leaked when the tops were not on tight. I wrote them and they replied asking for more info on the box. In return they sent me 2 $9.oo off coupons which allowed me to purchase 2 boxes of 22 count boxes for free. I also take advantage of coupons that $ of 2 and when my store has buy 1 get 1 I use that coupon to get 1 free and than the other one uses the coupon off cost which saves me money.
I use Coupons.com to get several of my coupons. Also AARP has their own coupon site.
I am not a fanatic coupon cutter and I only spend about an hour a week cutting them out and putting in my coupon book but whatever I save is less money I have to use to feed my family.
I don't know where all these people get coupons for meat and organic stuff cause those coupons I don't find.

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thebichywitch sharon February 18 2014 at 2:29 PM

you should try redplum.com also and smartsource.com for printable coupons too - also if you go to pillsbury.com they have better coupons there than on the coupons.com site usually $1.00 instead of $.75

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thebichywitch sharon February 18 2014 at 2:30 PM

for the organic stuff - send emails to the companies and tell them you love thier products but wish you could afford them for your family and ask if they have coupons available - including your email AND mailing address - many will send you a coupon packet!

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jteasdale February 18 2014 at 12:25 PM

I have watched some of the TV shows about this type of couponing but then saw reviews on line that stated for some of the shows, the grocery stores that participated removed their normal coupon restrictions for the TV shooting. Most stores restrict you to using coupons for something like only 4 of the same item but on these shows they show people buying 100 of the same item with 100 coupons. Also some stores limit the number of transactions in one day to maybe two or three per person but on the shows some of these shoppers divided their stuff into 15-20 separate transactions when checking out.

Of course not all stores have the same limits and some have special days where they reduce their restrictions. But if the normal customer can't get the same treatment at a store because of restrictions that apply to them but not someone on the shows then that seems wrong.

I use coupons when I can but I never buy anything I wouldn't ordinarily buy and I never buy more than I need. Who wants their house to look like a grocery store?

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stephentareila jteasdale February 18 2014 at 1:02 PM

Bring family members, they can each get 4 or so of any "deals" . Find a source of free out of town Sunday newspaper coupons(they may work better(for you, not the grocer) in you. If there aren't enough competing grocery stores in your area, then travel once a month to an area that has them and bring your family members. If one day is better than another for double or triple coupons or some lifting of restrictions, then go on that day. You will most likely see dramatic savings.

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jteasdale stephentareila February 18 2014 at 1:12 PM

I'm retired and don't have 15 family members just waiting around to spend hours in the grocery store. Also not interested in wasting gas $$ to get a few dollars off of something I don't need.

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william01609 February 18 2014 at 12:16 PM

Most if not all the stores I shop in, using coupons, the coupon tells you the size of an item you can buy!!!!!!!!!

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dyane10 william01609 February 18 2014 at 2:31 PM

Exactly...and the ' x cents off of when you purchase 2' coupons are not good on a buy one/get one store promotion because the customer is only paying for 1 item. The customer takes home 2 but only pays for one, hence they have only BOUGHT one. Most grocery stores nowadays are scan capable and so there is no getting around having wrong size, quantity, or incorrect items to garner extra cents off of savings.

I remember many times while working as a cashier in high school when someone would come through my line with a fist full of coupons, an overflowing cart, and I'd have to hand back over half of their coupons because they did not have the correct item to satisfy the coupon conditions. Wrong size I can see as an honest mistake. But the wrong brand/product entirely...like wanting to buy (2) 6 packs of Coca-Cola instead of (1) 12 pack of Pepsi.

Ugh! And not just once, but multiple times in the same order trying to slip things past the cashier. We learned very quickly who to watch out for when they came to the checkout. Especially if you got burned previously by accepting on good faith that the items/coupons matched or credited expired coupons to their purchase. That counted against your weekly balance total and if it happened enough times you either got pay docked, or terminated if your total hit too high.

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