Twenty Five Dollar of Free Food from Kroger: Here’s How

April 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm 1 comment

Free stuff from Kroger in the last week: two cartons of eggs, two large bags of peeled carrots, a pack of hamburger buns, a box of spaghetti, a three meat Tombstone pizza, one large bag of BBQ Lay’s chips, 1 large bag of Dorito’s, one bag of salad.

So, here’s the nitty gritty on how.

First, know I’m a “all things by grace” kind of person which means that in some seasons I am on top of this and in some seasons, I’m SO not.   I don’t know your family flow or your needs, but here’s what I do/did when I have time to mess with it.  Seems I can’t stay in the swing of much of anything for more than “intervals”, so maybe I should call this “Interval Couponing”.   Once my main pantry is full, I don’t worry about it on small trips.  If I try to focus on it for weeks and months at a time or I get burnt out.  It’s still worthwhile ot pay attention.  For example, Kroger often prints coupons with your sales bill.  I’ve gotten to where right when I check out, as the bagger is turning my cart around, I look to see what is in my hand.  If it’s a coupon I think I could use for my family, I make a mental note.  If I have time, generally there is a trash can behind me from the other checker.  If it’s junk, I move it to that can immediately.  Junk and loose paper and receipts feel like they could be the death of me and my purse sometimes!  I’ve also moved a small trash container or cup that stays in my van.  I can put them there as well if they are useless.  Getting rid of paper clutter as soon as possible still doesn’t work for me…it’s everywhere!  But, these things help!  LOL

I found a really great zip up folder, used at a flea market with the brand name “Children’s Place” on it.  I advise watching little lame video I made about my binder and how I set it up if you haven’t seen one of these.  I stalked a lady in Kroger who was doing it a few years ago and it was totally new to me.  I asked if she’d show me her system and explain a little about how she did it.  Three years later, I’m still very pleased with it and have stuck with it much longer than all the little bitty penda-flex type coupon things I’ve tried in the past.  I’m totally dependent on this notebook when I’m into my coupon groove.   You’ll be happy to know that since the making of that video, I did find a perfect a three ring pencil binder with a pen holder in the top it now holds my trash, scissors, calculator, and any coupons I’m going to use that day.  I’ll post a pic when I have more time later perhaps.

PHASE OF LIFE: As I said in the last video…couponing was very hard for me when I had small children.  If I found coupons for diapers, formula, or baby food, that’s about all the grace I had for it to fit it into my routines.  Also, if you have children that need to sit in the front of your cart, the binder won’t work very easily.  If you were doing a “coupon day”…I’d get childcare.  I seldom had luck with the grocery AND lots of young kids–that’s a job in itself which took more brain/emotional staying power than I had available.  I’m sure you new Moms have that down better than I did.  Anyway, that was my limitation.  Know thyself is the name of the game.

GRACE: You may have grace for that at this stage of life, you may not.  Go with the grace you are given, and pray for it if you need more of it, but forcing it is legalism, and that is no fun, and doesn’t work.  Forcing things makes everyone miserable.  In the same way, I can’t make my family eat a brand on sale they don’t like even if I got it free.

COUPONS: I don’t even buy a Sunday paper.  I hate papers.  They just seem to add to my paper clutter problems.  But, we get one or get mailed coupons or I stumble on them.  When I find these little pieces of dread paper to keep up with, I put them all in the front of a drawer on my counter (where I keep my grocery pad) OR I stick them in the front of the binder which stays on my desk.  They are not ready for a quarterly sifting.   Yes, some things expire this way, but as a whole, most coupons on are a quarterly rotation.  If there is something I know I’m using right away that is going to expire and is worth my mental attention, I’ll keep it near my grocery list.  I don’t know about you, but in my house, there is just a lot of paper in my kitchen to deal with, and a lot of paper on the bar, all the time.  That alone can turn me off if I don’t have a place to stick stuff.

-Paperless Coupons. On Spring Break, I remembered hearing about the coupons you can have added online straight to your Kroger card:  paperless coupons. I asked another child to get online and sign me up with my card.  The child added things we needed for a fundraiser coming up at church (free spaghetti with 2 sauces that happened to be on sale as well).  Note:  it takes one hour for coupons to load to your card for use once you add them on.  Time errands accordingly.  That brought me the free spaghetti and buns. Make a mental note or a written note of these coupons or you’ll forget you have them loaded.

-Online printable coupons below.  I only do this now and then, but it’s usually a good use of time when I have ink ready in my printer (seems it runs out constantly!)

WHEN: In cycles for me.   Namely, when our health is good, when I have more time for shopping, when weather is better, when our budget increases motivate me.

PANTRY REVIEW: Review Pantries!  Clean fridge and freezer!  This is very important.  Do this first. Get some idea of what you have on hand.  Have a meal plan.  If we are not too exhausted as women to answer the question “What do we have to eat?”, we are in a much better situation to make all this worthwhile.  Watch your commitments in the evening and plan on several meal nights at home around the table as a priority.  Make these plans and goals with your spouse so that your commitments are not fighting each other.


Over Spring Break I got in a mood to clean out my binder.  I was not looking forward to this task with so many other things to catch up on around the kitchen.  I assigned a child the task of throwing away everything expired.  This did not go as well as I’d hoped, but it was still worthwhile.  The child didn’t want to stop a game online and acted like it was rocket science to check dates.  I modeled it and involved the child as much as they were willing to do.  They moved the trash from my hand to the trash until I finished.  It was good moral support for me, and it was important for them to see me doing it, the time it took, and what needed to be done to shop well.  That was all the help I could get and it probably took half an hour for that portion.

It took another hour to restock it with my stash from the mail.  Some of the coupon books had items I would only use if having a superbowl party or going to a potluck.  We have done neither due to illness.  Simply threw those away, not having cut any of them out of the mailers.  I ran across the last one with a LOT of free items in it, even a lot of veggies, it was then that I saw a shopping trip was imminent.

That day was supposed to be chore day, but one child had a hurt ankle from a ball game, another wasn’t feeling great to help with chores.  So, instead of staying home, I asked if they’d be willing to go to Kroger with me, sit at the front of the store, then check out when I was done.  Once we got there, they actually seems to enjoy stirring around a bit.  I let them go choose what kind of chips they wanted with their FREE coupons (Spring Break treat).   They got their chips (bigger bags than I imagined they would be).  They found a few other favorite items they enjoyed on sale. It was a good experience.  They are not always game, but they were willing that day.

MORE FREE FOOD. I could only use four of my FREE coupons that day.  This week, I had to be out doing errands anyway,  I kept my binder in the car.  When I went past that store, I used a few more of the FREE item coupons (saving the gas of making a trip across town).   While in the store, I ONLY got other items I needed to complete meals for that evening to go with the meats I’d bought on sale last week.

I still have much to learn, but I’m enjoying the challenge of getting what part of our budget down that I can, when I can!

Good luck with your couponing!

Entry filed under: Everyday.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Meagan  |  April 19, 2011 at 12:44 am

    I’ve always been fascinated at the thought of being a disciplined coupon-using person, but am lacking on the knowledge and insight to do so. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

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