Reader Spotlight – Stockpiling One Category At A Time

Today's Reader Spotlight comes to us from Jared. Jared felt overwhelmed with the idea of starting to coupon all at once - so he started a category at a time and has done a great job!!

Take it away, Jared!

Like most everyone I started couponing out of necessity. My wife and I were just getting by on a budget of $200 a month for food for us, our daughter and our 2 dogs. We could never eat extravagantly and dinner was always limited choices and bland, but we made do. I used to hate the grocery stores. If my wife called me and wanted me to pick an item up on the way home from work I would feel as if it ruined my day.

I wanted to try couponing but just didn't know how. We had been watching the show for a year and would say"WOW ! Look how much food they got." But we would also see what they got and thought that is a lot of junk food, fatty food, or just plain old unhealty.

I really did not have much spare time, so instead of thinking big, I thought small. I started with toiletries. I spent the exact same dollar amount I would 'normally' spend and in 2 months had a 1 year supply. During the 2nd month, I added laundry detergents and cleaning supplies. Yet again, in 2 months I had a 1 year supply - still spending the exact same amount I budgeted for.

From then on, I just started adding more categories and items to my stockpile. Now my shopping list has all items on it that we use, including meats, snacks, vegetables. I can hit almost all the categories on my grocery list without feeling overwhelmed. Our fridge/freezer and pantry are all full of food with a reasonable stockpile for rotation. We go to food websites to get recipes for items we want to cook that we have in the house.

It has been exactly 1 year since I started couponing. I spend 45 minutes a week couponing and do all the shopping. It is now my happy place! A couple of times a week I just walk around the store in the evening to get a feel for whats on sale. My binder is usually full of coupons (maybe not organized the best).

Last year we purchased $6000 worth of groceries, and paid less than $2500 for a savings of $3500. This might seem like the best savings to some couponers...but we have fresh meats, fruits, vegetables as well as some items we just want to treat ourselves with every so often.

Thanks for sharing your story, Jared! 

I could really use a few new volunteers for the Reader Spotlight – so pretty please with a cherry on top...please write in if you have a story to tell! Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got into couponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @

This is one of my favorite features on the site! Be sure and check out all the past Reader Spotlights HERE.


  1. Jennifer says

    What a great idea: stockpile one item at a time. I follow I heart Publix on Facebook but am sad to say I often am overwhelmed by couponing. Sometimes I can knock it out like a champ, but other times, I feel like it too so much time and effort to keep up so I quit. But I could definitely stockpile one item at a time and probably save a ton in the process. Thanks for the idea!

    • says

      Just started with laundry detergent, paper towels, and toilettries – such as razors, toilet paper, body wash. These are expensive items so getting a good stockpile really adds up in savings

  2. Samantha Downing says

    This is almost my story execpt I feed my husband and our four kids with under #200 per month. That’s including toiletries and cleaning supplies. I love publix! and I love iheartpublix! By couponing I made some really great friends, we have our own couponing page and meet up for coupon classes that I do for FREE, I know some people make lots of money teaching couponing but I’m in it to help people save their families money. I do coupon swaps too and its been a lot of fun. A few of our husbands even jumped on the coupon wagon and will go to the store with a list and coupons and get it done! I liked this story!

  3. Amber says

    I love the idea of taking one category at a time. That’s one thing people ask me all the time and seem to struggle with is organization. This will be a great suggestion. Thanks!

  4. Jenn says

    Great job Jared! So good to hear a man get into couponing…I know there are a few on iheartpublix and they know their stuff. I love the approach you took to get started and think it would help a lot of beginning couponers, as well as those of us who get confused (like the current Edy’s Outshine deal!) and even discouraged from time to time. Sometimes it takes slowing down & narrowing your focus instead of trying to grab every deal out there just because it’s a deal.

  5. Lori says

    I agree with Jared! Start small and work up. I started the same way with toiletries and laundry, then moved on to long shelf life products, then freezer, etc….

    One thing I DID do was watch IheartPublix for those free or nearly free deals on things we WOULD eat. If one of those popped up, I made sure to grab it. Now, I actually just glance over the whole ad, but do most of my shopping off the Super Deals page. Once you get a stockpile, it’s easy to focus on a smaller list, and you rarely miss those fantastic deals.

    This week I spent $40 and brought home $200 worth of items. Mostly tissues, body wash/soap and canned meats and hurricane supplies, but I’m stocked up well on everything else!

  6. Jodi says

    What a great idea! While I’ve been couponing for years it is difficult to pass on the tips and tricks of the trade without overwhelming a newbie. Starting small in one category is an excellent way to start! Then when someone has built up their confidence their excitement from their success will surely help them carry it on further. Starting with someone that has a long shelf life is perfect.

    Way to go Jared!

  7. Pam says

    I give up…what show did you watch for a year? I do like this approach but just can’t figure out what the show is.

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