I've been sitting on the idea of using coupons for a long time but haven't really gone anywhere with it because 1. it always felt like coupons were for things I never used (frozen dinners, diapers, candy, etc) and 2. I didn't want to be one of those crazy people who would spend 40 hours a week clipping coupons and filing them away lovingly in her coupon binder... weird (Jim Gaffigan)
Enter TheCouponProject, which is an awesome awesome site that basically does all the hard work for me - all I have to do is scan the sales to see what looks interesting, then dig up/print the coupons she's recommending. Yes! Someone to do all the boring work for me while I reap the rewards.
Soooo I finally realized I don't really have a reason to NOT coupon anymore, and did a test run with DM for some pasta (specifically, Ronzoni SmartTaste). We printed out a $1 off 2 manufacturer's coupon from Facebook (because, you know, a pasta brand needs social networking) and found a sale at a local store that was not only holding a sale for this pasta (10/$10) but also had a doubler coupon (any coupon 1.00 or under doubles in value). After some initial confusion (how many boxes can we get? SHOULD WE FILL UP THE CART? (yikes)), we decided on 8 boxes of pasta and headed for checkout. we ended up paying 5.60 (including tax) for 8 boxes of pasta that would retail for 15.92 at the store down the street that wasn't running the sale/promotion.
I ended up breaking even on this run because the newspaper to get the coupon cost me $2, however I went through the paper and found more coupons to use so I'm pretty sure I'm going to come out ahead in the long run. Like pretty much everyone in existence I want to lower our grocery bill, I don't think it's unreasonable to aim for $250 for two people - $200 on the main run (done every 4 weeks or so) and $50 for the weekly runs we make for things like milk, bread and produce. We eat 99% of our meals at home, so we need to cover 168 meals (28 breakfast, 28 lunch, 28 dinner for two). I'm intrigued by the idea of stockpiling, though I would never want to keep canned goods in my bedroom (like the crazy woman on Extreme Couponing from TLC). Mostly I think the trick is going to be isolating the products we'd actually benefit from stockpiling (pasta would definitely be one!).