So before I started my own coupon journey I had some notions, the preconceived sort, about whether or not clipping coupons was really worth my time. Having just turned 40 years old and living on my own since the age of 17 I operated under these notions for... you do the math.
Here is what I believed about Coupons:
When I clip coupons I always end up buying things I wouldn't normally buy.
When I clip coupons I end up spending more money!
When I clip coupons I spend so much time and save only a few dollars.
They don't offer coupons for the things I buy the most like milk, bread, eggs, cereal, or meat.
There are so many coupon rules it's too frustrating.
They expire before I can use them.
I save more money just buying the generic or store brands.
It's too much work.
I shudder to think at the amount of money I have wasted, given away because I hadn't taken the time to learn how to clip coupons successfully. Like minor home repair, changing the oil in the car, growing vegetables and mending clothes these are lost tools in the housewife's tool box. Our mothers and grandmothers knew how to stretch a penny. We won't even bend over to pick one up from the sidewalk.
Maybe it's the economy, maybe it's the tv show, or maybe some combination of factors is contributing to women taking up the task of running their home more efficiently and with care to details. Whatever it is, it's rewarding, it saves your family money, which is like getting a little part time job without ever going to work, paying taxes, leaving your home or your children and you are the boss.
As I am sharing my own journey into the coupon experience I thought I would share my trip yesterday to give you an example of what is working for me. Please remember I am a rookie. I'm not at the point of leaving the store with thousands for $20.00. But I am very pleased with my savings.
The video above is everything I purchased at Shop n Save Friday afternoon. This was not a $10 off $50 day - had it been whew! I would have cleaned up.
The receipt below is nothing but Splenda. I use splenda everyday. The box is normally priced at $4.24. I had a coupon for $3.00 off each box. Bring the price down to $1.24. The store hangs little blue notes on special offers throughout the store. Splenda was offering $3.00 off your next shopping trip when you buy two boxes. I had 12 coupons (clipped from extra newspapers purchased for fifty cents on Mondays.)
$3.00 for every two means I received 6 coupons for $3.00 off my next shopping trip = $18.00 As you can see below the total for all my Splenda after taxes was $17.44. The register however didn't print my coupons! It gave me one coupon for $4.00. huh?
A quick stop at the customer service counter and it was easily resolved. He checked it out then handed me $18.00 cash. He marked it on the receipt so it couldn't be used again. I kept the $4.00 of coupon as well.
Total - I purchased $53.57 worth of Splenda and I actually MADE $4.56.
That was my first time ever accomplishing this so I want a coupon badge!! I won't need Splenda until I find another great buy :)
Now, I checked out with the Splenda before ringing up my second order. Does the cashier seem a little put out by having my coupons, split order, and me checking the prices like a hawk? Sometimes. I try to be as sweet as pie, but I also browse the checkers before I pick my lane. I don't want a newbie who will get flustered. I don't want a curmudgeon who will want to pick a fight over every coupon as if I am stealing either. I look for someone who seems in a good mood, efficient and who is moving their line quickly.
This next receipt will debunk almost every lie I mentioned earlier. This shopping trip was filled with fresh fruit & vegetables, cereal, and meal prep items. I did not have bread coupons this week or cream cheese so I purchased the store brands. I also sprang for some pricey cheese which makes the italian food I love to make - delicious. The total for these groceries was $85.04 before sales and coupons.
I cannot stress enough how critical it is if you are trying to save big bucks to match sales to coupons. It may mean going with a different brand but it's so worth it. After coupons and sales the total was $57.28 for a savings of 33%. Or I could have just handed the store over an extra $27.76, just for the heck of it.
The other fun piece of this puzzle is that I received another $4.00 coupon for groceries and more than $13.00 in fabulous coupons by picking up a free book with my Special K cereal purchase and coupons inside the cereal.
One commonly held idea about extreme coupon clipping - you have to stock pile. I'm good on Splenda now for probably 6-8 months. So yeah there's a bit of that. I have several jars of miracle whip I purchased for only a $1.00 a few weeks back and a couple dozen boxes of Creamette Quick Cook pasta - elbow, penne, rotini, etc. each costing 45 cents. So yeah, I'm stock piling. This process is one I am careful about. Stocking on things that will not perish before I can use them. Not buying enough for a lifetime but a few months, and keeping it organized.
Last thing. This is so much fun. I cannot describe to your the rush of adrenaline I experienced carrying home $138.39 of groceries and having paid ONLY $58.00. I saved 42%. I had the best food. Fresh food, great cereal, healthy meals and snacks. I was almost trembling at how much fun I'd had.
I'm happy to help if you are local and want to sit and clip or need help getting started. I also imagine we could swap a lot of coupons :)
It's pretty easy ladies - try it, Robin