Saturday, March 26, 2011

My new hobby - COUPONING!

Yes, I am one of those "crazy couponers".  However, I promise if you get behind me in line I will not make you wait for my multiple transactions.. I will step aside in between and let you go.  (However, I save so much $ if you have time you might want to stick around and see how I do it..after all it is pretty cool!)  I did not come up with any of this stuff myself really..I have to credit the sources I am learning it from: sites like the Krazy Coupon Lady , Coupon Divas , Hip2Save, and the ladies on Coupon Newbies over on BabyCenter.

You may have seen the shows on TV where people go grocery shopping and get $600 worth of food for $2.  I have never done that.  In my state it is not even possible.  TN has a nearly 10 percent sales tax on everything including food.  That means that the register would have said at least $60 or matter what.  It is for that reason I count my $ saved in pre-tax.  After all, I would have paid the tax anyway so it does not count in savings.  There is no way around paying sales tax (unless you are a not-for-profit organization which average people are not).

My favorite grocery store is Kroger.  The one here is nice and clean and MOST of the staff is nice.  On a Kroger trip I typically save about 50-60 percent when I am seriously using coupons.  Their mega sales are great..especially when combined with coupons.  An example of this was this past week.  Ronzoni pasta was on sale for .49 if you buy 10.  There were several printable coupons out for $1/2 boxes.  Combining the sale with the coupons made the pasta FREE (excluding tax..if you are on such a tight budget you have to include tax in the amount..then in TN it would be about $1 for 20 boxes of pasta provided you had 10 coupons).  Some Krogers also either double or triple coupons up to .50  which can also increase your savings.  The things that make the Kroger bill go high for me are meat, milk, and produce.  They rarely have coupons and lately most of the "sales" on them have been nothing to blog about!

Target is another store I like to coupon at.  I do not buy a lot there, but I do buy some.  The cool thing about Target is that they have store coupons and allow you to "stack" them with manufacturer coupons.  This is especially cool with high $ coupons.  (They do not double coupons)  An example of this was one of my purchases today.  I got a box of Excedrin for free. I combined a $1/1 Target Q with a $3/1 manufacters Q.  The price of the Excedrin was $3.89 so it was free after the coupons!

Walmart can also be fun to coupon at if you have high $ coupons.  If the value of the coupon is more than the price of the product..they let you keep the overage.  For instance if you have a $3/1 coupon and the item is on sale for $1.50..then you have $1.50 to apply to something else!

Walgreens is fun..but in my experience it is hit or miss on how nice cashiers/managers are.  A couple of Wags near me are AWESOME!  Others...not so much..I'll just bless their hearts and hush now..  Anyways..Wags has really good sales some weeks and will also let you combine your manufacturer coupons with their store coupons (some stores are really strict on the coupon limit and will not let you do another transaction but some are not).  They have what is called Register Rewards (RR).  These are "coupons" that print out after your purchase for $ off your next purchase of anything - that means they act like CASH so do not loose them!  Sometimes they are for less than you paid for the items - but it is still $ back!  Other times it is for the same amount as the purchase, making the item essentially FREE.   If you do multiple transactions you can "roll" the RR through in one day..that is you can start out paying $10 or so and get RR and then use them to get other things that have RR and then use those RR...and so on (and you get the RR even if you used coupons on the product that made it free..however you can not use RR to pay for the same product again and get more RR only different products).  It is possible to pay $10 or less for over $100 worth of stuff some weeks..but not always.  That is on the extreme end of things.

Probably my favorite couponing store right now is CVS.  They have good sales a lot of weeks and they also have a program similar to Wags RR, only they call it Extra Care Rewards (ECB - extra care bucks).  You can do the same thing I mentioned above..only use the ECBs and you have to have a card (like the Kroger card..but for CVS) to get the discount.  The card is free, you just have to apply for it.  Last week I paid $10 for my first transaction and then did 2 more transactions.  I ended up with about $75 worth of stuff for $10...well almost $11. Later on I went back and bought more stuff, but I did not roll my transactions.  I kept my ECBs to use this week (and coming weeks).  I will just buy more stuff that I can use (or donate as I am making a stockpile of donations for something I am planning on doing at Christmas time) that has ECBs and keep them "rolling".  It will be fun to see how much I spend OOP (excluding ECBs as those are rewards and not out of my household budget $).

I get most of my coupons from the Sunday paper and printable sites such as, Smart Source, and Red Plum.  Companies also often give coupons to people who "like" them on facebook.  You can also go to pretty much any major companies websites and sign up for newsletters and coupons.  If you email a company and tell them how much you love their product, they often will send coupons to you as well!

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