Monday, April 18, 2011

The Crazy World of Couponing

So I saw the show Extreme Couponing and thought it was completely insane. At first I was thinking these people are insane...what in the world are you going to do with 87 bottles of Maalox... stupid. But after watching I got to see that there are a lot of good things these people get for a steal too, stuff I'd actually use. I decided I'd give it a whirl, why not, if I could save us even 20-30% on our groceries that would certainly be helpful and maybe we could finally start a vacation fund!

And so I decided to delve into the crazy world of couponing.


Crazy is a complete understatement. I spent an entire day on the interwebs learning how this whole process works and by the end of the day my head was spinning. They should offer a degree in couponing, seriously! It is so beyond complicated. I basically took away a few things from my day of research and decided just to give it a try. My biggest fear was to do it wrong and look like a complete idiot in the checkout line and end up spending 4x what I anticipated.

Sparing you all the boring details and advice (because honestly I only understand about half of this couponing thing and would hate to give you the wrong advice) I did fantastic on our first shopping trip!

I saved us 76%!!!!

For. Real.

I spent $8 on $34 worth of stuff at Target using coupons. What did I get for my $8...
3 bottles Nivea Body Wash for men
1 bottle Nivea Body Wash for women
Happy Bites organic frozen toddler food
7th Generation cleaning products
GE CFL lightbulbs
2 bottles Wishbone salad dressing
Frenchs spicy brown mustard
Stove top stuffing

I also headed to Albertsons and without using a single coupon, just following the sale ads I spent $20 on $60 worth of groceries. Now if I would've had coupons for my groceries I could've spent even less, but we just got started on all of this and your coupons typically run from behind. So I'd have to have coupons from back in January or so.

What did I get for my $20 in sale groceries?
3 cans refried beans
3 cans pinto beans
4 packets McCormick steak marinades
3 bottles of various Finesse shampoos/conditioners
6 2 liters of various soda (it's almost BBQ season!)
4 ears of corn on the cob
2 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats
3 packages of Jello pudding (my biggest pregnancy craving)

$21.66 with NO coupons! Not too shabby I think. Can't wait to keep doing it!

What I learned in from my first trip... My first issue came from differences in match up pricing. I used a lot of coupon match up websites to help me scout out the good deals, but upon hitting the store I saw that some of our prices in this area are different from the ones online so the coupons didn't match up on a lot of items that I had hoped. So they go back in the pile to use again at a later date. For example I hoped to use a coupon on Miracle Whip- it was supposed to be on sale at Target for .99 and unfortunately our Target had it priced at $3.69! Bummer.

I also learned that you have to be persistent with the cashiers. I had a mobile coupon for lightbulbs. You basically get a text message with a barcode that the cashier can scan. These coupons came DIRECTLY from Target yet 2 cashiers and 1 manager apparently had never heard of it or done it, the barcode wouldn't scan and they were trying to tell me that they don't take coupons like that... until I INSISTED and told them that it was from flippin TARGET.COM and they finally figured out how to process it.

Anywhoo... We're still newbies here but I think we rocked it for our first trip out, can't wait to report more as we go! If you're looking to start couponing here's some of the websites I used to get going that are great.



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