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Nonfiction Review – The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half

 

 

The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half by Stephanie Nelson


Review by Brenna B. (demiducky25)  

 

I saw this book advertised in a local bookstore when it first came out, but I didn’t pay it much attention.  Fast-forward to now, and I decided to check it out of my local library after it came to mind recently. I’ve been a member of CouponMom.com for about a year, maybe a little less, and I don’t know what made this book come to mind, but I am glad that I checked it out.  Most of the information that Stephanie Nelson gives in this book really is good, old-fashioned common sense, but most of us are too busy and involved in our own lives to really think about it until it is pointed out to us.

The first few chapters give the reader insight into their own shopping and spending mentality.  There are concepts to think about and a quiz on spending that I do recommend taking since the names she gives to each type of spender are used throughout the book.  That way as you read, you can understand in which particular scenarios you might be a “Busy Shopper,” a “Rookie Shopper,” or a “Varsity Shopper.”  (I ended up as a Rookie Shopper, and I’d say that’s fairly accurate based on the description- though I’d one day like to become a Varsity Shopper)!

After those introductory chapters, Ms. Nelson discusses her “Strategic Shopping” concept and how to make it work for you.  She details using grocery lists and meal planning and how to effectively plan a variety of meals around what’s on sale this week at your local grocery store.  She also discusses how to track prices so that you know how to recognize a true bargain when you see it.  Of course there is also a discussion on how to use coupons to their maximum potential, and lots of name drops for CouponMom.com, but that’s to be expected.  Ms. Nelson also discusses alternatives to grocery stores (wholesale clubs, the local pharmacy, etc) that can sometimes offer better deals on certain grocery items if you are willing to do the research.

The last portion of the book really gets into how to save in each category of shopping (dairy, meat, produce, health & beauty, etc) and each category gets its own chapter and advice.  The second to last chapter gives recipes that use a number of “good deal staples” (things that can be acquired frequently at low cost using a combination of price tracking and coupons).  Oddly enough, this might be my second favorite part of the book since nearly every recipe seemed doable and most didn’t contain any weirdo ingredients that would be difficult or expensive to acquire.  My favorite part of the book, which is also my favorite part about using CouponMom.com, is the last chapter which details how you can use this new-found savings knowledge to purchase products for people in need at little to no cost to you.  As someone who volunteers at my local food pantry, I really liked getting some tips and ideas that I could use to increase the donations I make without spending more than I can afford.  The excerpts she includes in that chapter from site members about their experiences sharing their deals with others were a pleasure to read.

The book is written at an easy to understand level, but it doesn’t talk down to the reader.  Each chapter is prefaced with an outline of what will be contained in that section, so it is easy to skip around to what you are looking for if you aren’t planning to read the entire thing like I did.  Again, most of the information is common sense, but it does make you think of ways to stretch your grocery dollar, and it does offer some advice that you might not have thought of on your own (I know I never thought of price tracking, so I might try to give that a go on a few items), but it isn’t a dry read and if you are looking for some basic information on how to start saving money by cutting your grocery bill, then this book is a good start.  Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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