Since moving cross country twice in the past 6 months I've given away, eaten my way through, and thrown out all of my food storage. So I am using coupons the best way I know how- to find great deals and stock up on essentials. (I do not use coupons to plan meals.) After 2-3 months of "extreme couponing" I will have at least an entire year's worth of food in my shelves, and will have spent exactly the same amount on groceries as if I had just been shopping regularly.
I started extreme couponing in October of 2009. I had about 3 months under my belt when I got laid off. Using extreme couponing, and relying on everything I had stocked up on during those 3 months, I spent a total of $200 on food from January to mid-April. And that was primarily on perishables that I couldn't have stocked up on otherwise.
Today was my first real grocery shopping trip with coupons in about 6 months. It was also the first time in a year that I've had to buy toothpaste, a toothbrush, dish detergent, toilet paper, and several other household items, all because I stocked up on them last year. Normally these are the sorts of items that cause my grocery bill to skyrocket. But not today!
So what did my coupons get me?
I spent $129.95
I saved $59.71 (32% savings)
Overall, each item cost just about $2.
And one of those items was a 19 lbs Thanksgiving turkey!
Additionally I got a Catalina coupon for $1 off my next Kroger/Smith's purchase, plus a few more Catalinas for items I regularly buy. Not to mention the "fuel points," which gets me 10 cents off each gallon of gas at the gas station closest to my house. Which will had up to a $2.50 savings each time I fill up my car.