Saturday, May 18, 2013

Couponing - My Beginning

Ok, so I've been wanting to coupon for years, but I just never made the effort to learn all about it and just do it (to be honest, I made an mild attempt a few years ago, but my husband's skepticism burst my bubble and I stopped before I really got started).

This time around, my interest was renewed after my friend Christy invited me to go to a couponing class in a neighboring city taught by Kelly, The Couponing Coach.  Kellly was on the TLC show, "Extreme Couponing".

I left her class with  3 sets of coupon inserts, lots of information, and an itch to do more research online.  I came home and began watching a number of couponing videos on YouTube and talking with a few old friends on Facebook and making a few new couponing friends on there as well.

I'm off to a pretty good start! Last night I saved more than 50% by shopping at a local grocery store that was running a triple coupon week (triple coupons up to 50 cents, so if you buy an item with a 50 cents off coupon, you save $1.50 on it, for example).

Here's my receipt from last night's trip:

shades of safhire - couponing receipt

The total before coupons was $100.36.  I had 39 coupons and after coupons, the total came to $50.19. I matched a lot of my coupons with what was on sale in the sales ad, so when you add the coupon savings with the store's sale, I saved $68.59.  On top of that, I earned  38 cents off each gallon of gas and we will get that one day this week, so whatever that savings comes to will be added as well!

The cashier was a young girl and was surprised as the numbers kept dropping as the coupons came off. She asked me, "Are you becoming an extreme couponer?".  I took that as a compliment and said, "I'm learning to be! Well maybe not extreme, but at the edge of that" and laughed.  The people in line behind me congratulated me on doing so well and it gave me a taste of what the people on Extreme Couponing must feel like :) (By the way, I'd never watched that show until I got started couponing and looked it up on our TV's digital guide). I know I'll never match the savings those people make, but I want to be as realistically "extreme" as I can be :)

I want to create a stock pile shelving area in our basement to have things on hand in case of emergency, but I don't see it becoming that huge, just a simple area with a few things prepared for a disaster, etc. Who knows :)

Here are a few other receipts from the past week or so:

Shades of Safhire - Couponing Receipt

This is the receipt from my first time couponing at CVS.  I read a lot about how you can get great deals there, and I can see already that it's true.  When you stack  sale price with a manufacturer's coupon and learn how to do multiple transactions so you can roll earned Extra Care Bucks over to the second transaction and use them then to lower your second transaction you can really save!  I need to learn a little more as it can seem a little complicated at first, but I can see how using loyalty cards at CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens can be really great when it comes to getting great deals!

This receipt doesn't show the price before coupons and extra care bucks, but this is the receipt from the second transaction.  I only paid $14.82 and saved $24.17, so it was at around $39.00.

Shades of Safhire - Couponing Receipt

Finally, this receipt is from my first shopping trip to the store that was having the triple coupon week. The total before coupons was $51.67 but I only paid $22.60, saving $34.54.

What I've found really helpful is buying multiple copies of the Sunday newspaper so you have multiples of the coupons from the inserts.  Then I organize the coupons in a binder and also print out coupons from online (more on that in another post to come).  Then you watch the sales ads during the time before the coupons expire and when you see an item on sale you have a coupon for, you can buy multiples of the item and stock up on them (put freezable items in the freezer, stock items with long shelf lives, etc.)   Also, if the item winds up being free or relatively low cost, if you don't want to "hoard" food, one thing I plan to do is to donate it to a local food pantry.  It's a great way to be a giver when you don't normally have the extra money to give!

Next post:  How I organize my coupons.  My binder!!

P.S.  Sure, I've used plenty a coupon in my day, so this isn't my first time using coupons.   However, it's my first time making a concentrated effort at getting the very best bargains I can with multiple coupons and watching sales ads closely for products I have the coupons for.


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