Monday, February 15, 2010

Coupon clipping 101.

coupons

Several people have requested a post about my coupon clipping, so ask and you shall receive.  Warning:  there will not be a lot of my normal sarcasm and humor in this post, so if you’re here for that, you might want to check back tomorrow!

Also, be forewarned that I am in no way a coupon expert, I only went hardcore with this in January.

The first question someone asked is “Where do you get your coupons?”  Well, come on now, that’s an easy one!  The answer is:  everywhere.  In January we started buying the Sunday paper, and that is usually chocked full of coupons.  Except for last Sunday, that one was a total bust.  I clip almost every single coupon, even the ones for items I might not normally use.  Usually the only coupons I don’t clip are for dog/cat food and adult diapers, even I have to draw the line somewhere!

There are also tons of websites where you can print coupons, a few are:  Coupon Mom, Coupons.com, and Smart Source.  FYI:  you might notice the same coupons on every site, and when you go to print them you usually can’t print more than 2 of the same coupon.

Ok, so the coupons I just talked about are all manufacturer’s coupons from the newspaper and the internet.  For an even better deal, you can pair those coupons with store coupons when you have them!

Here a few examples of this, just for items I have bought this week:

Wanchai-Ferry-Meals

We buy Wanchai Ferry Sweet and Sour Chicken kits.  It comes in a box with everything you need, you just add the chicken.  These are rather expensive in my opinion, the regular price at Meijer is $5.39.  However, this week I am buying them for 99 cents!  Here’s the breakdown:

Sale price this week: $2.99

$1 off Meijer coupon from here

$1 off Manufacturer’s coupon from here

Final price $0.99 and a big Hell Yeah!

That’s an 82% savings, for those of you who aren’t good at math, like me.

Oh, and you can get the Macaroni Grill boxed kits for the same deal this week, if you like those better.

 

How about one more?  Does anyone else buy the refrigerated cookie dough and just eat it raw?

PBCOOKIE_09-09_200x200

Here’s the shake down on the cookie dough (which is normally 2/$5):

Meijer sale price this week: 2/$4

$1 off 2 Manufacturer’s coupon from here

$1 off 2 Meijer coupon from here

Final price $2 or $1/each!

That’s a savings of 60%, and a lot cheaper than buying a package of Oreos or Chips Ahoy for your kid’s lunch each week.

 

Those examples also answer the next question of “How do you get the best deals?”  You will get the best deals when you buy “sale” items and then pair it with a coupon (or 2 in some cases!).  To find the best deals each week you’ll have to go through all the store fliers, or there are several mommy bloggers out there who have sites solely dedicated to the best deals of the week! 

I will admit that I do sometimes buy things I don’t need when it’s a great deal.  For example, 2 weeks ago Lainey and I were in the store and I saw salsa on sale for $1.19.  I had $1 off coupon for that salsa, so I got it for 19 cents!  We didn’t need it at that time, but we need it this week, and now we already have it!  So, I’m starting to “stock up” on things this way, and it’s totally paying off.  Like I said in an earlier post, we’ve bought all our groceries for the rest of the month, and we have over $100 left in our grocery budget.  And it’s all because of the coupons people!

Here’s one more example of my “stocking up.”  Toiletries can be super expensive, but if you watch the Walgreens flyer you can get some great deals!

dove%20men%20care

Last week they had this Dove men’s body wash for $5.99, and when you purchased it you got a register reward for $6 off your next purchase.  I may have went a little crazy, and throughout the week I purchased 3!  However, in addition to the Walgreen’s deal, I had coupons!  I had 2 coupons for $1.50 off each one and 1 coupon for $1.25 off one.  Are you doing the math?  I got 3 body washes for free plus $4.25 profit because of my coupons! 

In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve become addicted to coupons.  It’s actually fun though, and it’s like a game to me.  It does take time though, and be prepared for a lot of sighing and grumbling from your husband in the grocery store while you look through coupons and try to find the best deal.  To save time in the store, make sure you have them all neatly organized:

DSC_0489

DSC_0487

The first organizer I had was only $1 from the Target dollar section, but it only had 8 divided sections.  I ended up buying this cute one from Meijer for $5.99 and it has 18 sections.

One last thing (pinky swear).  I also save money on my girl’s school tuition by buying scrip.  Scrip is basically gift cards, and they all have a % which we get back.  I pay for all my groceries with Meijer scrip.  Their percentage you get back is 4%.  My monthly grocery budget is/was $600, so that’s $24/month.  However, the school gets half and we get half (towards our tuition bill) so we end up with $12/month.  We also use scrip to pay for gas, eating out, clothes, etc.  Remember that trip to Chicago?  I paid for the hotel, dinner at PF Chang’s, and dinner at Ruth’s Chris all with scrip cards!

I hope this answered a few questions, but please feel free to ask away, if I missed anything.  Here is another post I did in October about restaurant and clothing store deals!

11 comments:

Kelsey Claire said...

I am going to have to start doing this. I just don't know if I have the patience. Maybe I will start over spring break when I actually have time to start a new "hobby"!

Hillary said...

We started budgeting this year too and I have to admit it was somewhat liberating. I felt so much more informed as a consumer when I knew prices better. Just yesterday I saved $20.25 at Costco with coupons, then went directly to Antropologie and bought a new sweater.

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

Wow! Great post! Thanks for the helpful tips!!

Llama said...

Thank you so much for all of the awesome info. I do the food shopping in our house, and my boyfriend just doesn't understand how MUCH money it costs to buy groceries. I am definitely going to try and implement some of these awesome money saving tips. It is also another thing for me to organize...i LOVE to organize. Thank you again.
p.s.
I eat cookie dough.

Amber said...

What stinks is when you live in the south where they don't have Meijer and Rite Aid:(

Corrie and Phil said...

Thanks for sharing!

My MIL gave me "The Frugal Mom Cookbook" for Christmas, and the author dedicates an entire section to the art of coupon clipping.

My recent triumph was getting 4 boxes of General Mills' products for a total of $5. The store sale was 4 for $10, but there was a coupon for $4 off when you buy 4 and, I had an additional coupon for $1 off when you buy 3 or more. So, instead of spending between $16 and $18 for 4 boxes of cereal, I only spent $5. Phil couldn't understand my elation when I shared all of the details, but it was very exciting! :)

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

Man you are organized!! I don't need coupons because I don't go to the store...if at all possible.

d.a.r. said...

Ugh I need to do this. I just can't get the motivation...

Leah said...

Oh Tami, this is such a great post... very informative. I wish we have the coupon thingy back home in the Phil. But I do use coupons when I shop here like in Costco but I don't get the deals you get. You are a genius... brilliant is another adjective to describe you. :-)

Laura and Ryan said...

Awesome...thanks for the info! I bet you can save a ton!

One Take On Life - Heather said...

Love this post. Have to ask, do you see duplicates from the sunday paper coupons to the ones online? I ask b/c we don't get the sunday paper. I never found that I was saving more in coupons than I was spending for that paper. I do sometimes miss the paper, but it saves us $100 a year without it. cu