#Thatawkwardmoment when you realize couponing is more about being wise than extreme.
I used to think couponing was a little nuts. It sure seemed like a lot of work to save 30 cents on something I wouldn’t normally by. Than TLC aired, “Extreme Couponing” and I was totally convinced couponing was nuts. If you have to store your cereal boxes in your kid’s bedrooms, or change your guest room into a pantry you are probably a hoarder… an organized hoarder, but a hoarder non the less.
Then I started to hear real life testimonies from friends, sensible women, who were using coupons to save hundreds of dollars a year and even bless others. I realized an important lesson, COUPONS WORK, and can save you and your family a lot of money. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to save money on toilet bowl cleaner and dish soap so they can use that money elsewhere? I guess being wise, is pretty extreme these days.
My friend Melanie Chadwick feeds her family of eight using some practical coupon strategies and she is sharing them with you.
Here is her story:
Let me start by saying I am by no means what most would consider an “extreme couponer”. I save about 90% on toiletries and on average, 35% on groceries. There are couponers (not sure that’s a word, but for the purpose of this post, let’s pretend it is) who save over 90% on everything they buy, including food. When I first started couponing I would buy my groceries for up to 80% off, but I found that my pantry was filled with things I really rather not be feeding my family like boxed dinners or meat and dairy that had no guarantee of where it came from. I’ve really tried to find a balance between buying frugal and eating better.
Start collecting coupons. At first, it may be a little frustrating when you start seeing the list of match ups and you don’t have the all the coupons. After about a month you will be pretty well stocked. You can find coupons in your local Sunday paper (Even if you buy the paper, ask others that you know who get if they will set the ads aside for you if they don’t use them.) Online coupons such as redplum.com, smartsource.com, target.com, etc. are also great. They will run out of some of the high value coupons, but will list more on the first of the month. Contact the manufacturers of products you normally buy and get on the their mailing lists. You can buy coupons on eBay. It’s illegal to sell coupons, however, they can charge you for their time of clipping them for you.
Couponing is like a game to me. It actually becomes pretty fun when you get the hang of it. It’s like the coupons are your cards and you’re waiting for the right time to play them. (Maybe this mom doesn’t get out enough. 😉 Don’t buy something simply because you have a coupon. Wait until something is at its lowest sale price or on clearance. If you have multiple coupons for the same thing, you can stock up until the next sale. Most stores will let you use them on buy on get one free sales. You can use two coupons even though one would have already been free. You can also stack coupons by using in store coupons with manufacturer coupons. Get familiar with the coupon policies at the stores you shop at. If you shop at Walmart, print out their policy and always have it with you. Most the cashiers have no idea what their policy is and this will help you.
Some stores like Walgreens and Albertsons have what are called register rewards or Catalina’s. These are usually advertised in their weekly ad. They will advertise that when you buy a specific item, you will get a RR or Catalina in a specific dollar amount. These spit out the machine after you pay and you can use them like cash on your next purchase. This is how I get most of our toiletries. Between register rewards and coupons, you can usually get most of your toiletries 90% off or even free.
Every week on Tuesday or Wednesday I cut coupons, look through weekly ads, make weekly list of match ups (matching up sales with coupons). On Tuesday, the Red Plum and Smart Source coupons come in the mail. So I don’t cut the coupons from Sunday’s paper until Tuesday, because I’d rather just do it all at once. This is also the day the weekly grocery adds come out. I go to faithfulprovisions.com and look at her list of match ups first because her list is thorough and I can just check the deals I need right on her site and print it. I then go through my coupon clutch and get out the coupons I need for that week. I always carry all my coupons with me, because you never know when you’ll see something on clearance or an unadvertised sale that you can match it up with.
Here’s the deals I got this week at Walgreens.
Pert Plus 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner, 25.4 oz – $3.99
*Get $3 RR -used a $1/1 Pert Plus 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 Products coupon (from Sunday’s paper) Final Price: FREE after coupons & RR
Revlon Nail Enamel – $3.99
*Get $3 RR
-used $1/1 Revlon Beauty Tool coupon Final Price: As low as FREE after coupons & ECB
Renew Life Omega Smart Super Krill Oil, 60 ct – $10.00
*Get $10 RR -used $2 off Renew Life Omega Smart Super Critical or Omega Smart Super Krill coupon (printable) Final Price: FREE + overage, after coupons & RR
Expo Dry Erase Markers – Washable, 6 pk – $3.99
-used $2/2 Expo Markers coupon (printable) -used $3/1 Expo Washable Dry Erase Markers Walgreens in store coupon Final Price: 2 for FREE w/ both coupons (This is the deal I planned to get, but they only had one package of the markers left so I couldn’t use the $2/2 coupon. Still got a great deal, 6pk for .99)
Herbal Essences, 6-14 oz – $3.00
*Get $1 RR -used $1/1 Herbal Essences coupon Final Price: $1 after coupons & RR
I paid $17.92, but as you can see in the picture above, I got $17 in register rewards which I can use on my next purchase. I basically got the five products for .92! It’s not a lot of stuff, but it’s things I use and need.
There’s more to learn about this coupon craze, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. If you’d like to learn more, I would encourage you to go to faithfulprovisions.com, dealseekingmom.com, and athriftymom.com. Or, you can follow them on facebook. I hope you are blessed as you learn a new way to be a good steward of what God has given you.
Awesome tips Melanie! Share some love for Melanie or add your own money saving tips in the comments below. You will want to hear more tips from this awesome mom of six by checking out her blog chocolateandsalsa.blogspot.com.
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
Praying God will make us faithful with the resources He provides this week!
PS Share Your Story too :0)
I love coupons!!!!! They just had a story on this the other night on tv though, ever since that coupon show, stores are limiting coupons and usage, because people are getting everything for free. One guy claimed stores won’t stop him because he will just go from store to store until he can use all his coupons! Crazy!!
I don’t know if I would go store to store but I am proud to say I’m a coupon lovin lady!!! It’s kind of fun once you get in the habit!
I’ve heard that too. Only the strong will survive now… I don’t think I’ll make but I am sure proud of those who do!