Have you head of TLC’s new show, Extreme Couponing? It’s impressively nuts. The people featured tackle coupon clipping with fanatical obsession and even build basement grocery stores. Now, although I can’t get my mind around the hoarding-type dysfunction of owning 1,000 tubes of toothpaste…then going to buy more. I feel like if you don’t need it, then you’re not technically saving money. Especially with something like food that can go bad! However, I’m terribly jealous at their accomplishments and dedication. And, to be fair, the guy with a toothpaste-dedicated room did continue to collect in order to make military care packages, which I though was very cool and a great use of his talents. And I love a good deal, so I decided to make a conscious effort at my own extreme modest couponing effort.
Here was my strategy:
- Buy a Sunday paper ($2) and scour it and the free mailers I had collected over the past week.
- Review my local grocer’s weekly ad to find things they had “on sale” to buy or, if possible, tie a coupon to. No stores near me do double couponing or anything similar. My store does, however, offer many buy one, get one (BOGO) deals that I was excited to stock up on.
- Write my grocery list and stick to it. It’s worth noting that for the first time, I didn’t write down “laundry detergent.” I was very specific so I knew I would get the right thing. I wrote down “Arm & Hammer powdered detergent BOGO” or “Athenos yogurt 5.3 oz.”
- I clipped $13.50 in coupons. Although, I’m telling you though, it felt like it should’ve been worth more with the ridiculous stack and time it took me. But I did kind of like the clipping/sorting. Is that weird?
- I bought this mini expanding file to hold all the coupons. I pull out the items that I want to buy and put the rest away in monthly expiration order.
So, I grabbed this trip’s list and hit the store. The assistant store manager greeted me as I was walking past canned goods. I asked if they had a store aisle list. He said they did but were out of them at the moment, but that he would be happy to write down each aisle number for my items.
And here’s how I did:
- Overall, I saved just under $34. I still paid $74, but I’m happy to keep as much as I can! And, that included quite a bit of food—much of which never comes with coupons like produce. This coming weekend I’m planning on trying the farmer’s market for better produce products and prices. I’ll let you know how that turns out! 🙂
- In addition to the money saved, I also earned $0.25 off each gallon of my next gas purchase thanks to a fuel discount partnership program between my grocer and a petrol company. I have a 14 gallon gas tank so that’s technically $3.50 extra saved.
- I learned to be flexible. For example, they didn’t carry the brand of cheese I had a coupon for. Dang…full price Gorgonzola. And on the other end of the spectrum, I had a coupon for $1 off two boxes of Rice Krispies. However, Rice Krispies are $3.99/box (and I didn’t really need two boxes). The generic Puffed Rice cereal was only $2.79. So I saved $4.19 or $0.70, depending on how you look at it ($3.99×2=7.98 minus my $1 coupon=$6.98 divided by two for the price of one box = $3.19). So although it was a good deal for the brand name, there was a better deal to be had.
I’m looking forward to keeping it up (and getting a better routine down). I’ve heard there are good deals through online grocers that will deliver to your doorstep, too.
Did you try anything new today? Any savvy coupon experts with tips on where to get good coupons?