Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Random Post: Coupon Crazy!

So, I am going to go on a little rant here about couponing. It seems as if some people perceive coupons as a ploy to get you into the store and spend money on products you don’t need. People may think it is a waste of time. People may think couponing is too much work. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

I want to explain my experience with coupons and deals on products I have gotten recently.

My Experience Couponing
I have been couponing for about 6 months now. I get about 9 Sunday papers a week (depending on how good the coupons are). I cut out the coupons we may use in the next couple months (or until the coupon expires).  After I cut the coupons, I take each coupon stack and paperclip them. Before I file them away in my coupon holder I go through the store ads and match coupons with weekly sales. I try to match as many store sales with coupons (which means extra savings!) Throughout the week, I check blogs and Web sites for more matchup deals in stores. The blogs and Web sites are my main source to finding low priced items. This week I have scored tons of free items at multiple stores.  

It has taken me awhile to get in the swing of things with coupons. Once I started couponing and realized all the deals I could get and how many items can be incredibly inexpensive, it is almost addicting. I slowed down for many weeks but very recently I was re-inspired. Over the past 6 months I’ve read books, done research online, made mistakes on transactions and learned from them. I’ve read my top stores coupon policies, many times. I’ve watched videos on YouTube.

The secret
Store sales, plus store coupons, plus manufacture coupons = major discounts on retail items. Some items may work out to be free. Some items will be majorly discounted. Some items you can even make money on. Either way when you are able to match up sales with coupons there is still some savings.

Examples of Transactions and What A Deal Looks Like

For example, at the store Walgreens. The store is having a sale on body wash for $4.00. The regular price of this body wash is $6.00. You have a store coupon for $2.00 off, and a manufacture coupon for $1.00 off (yes you can stack a store coupon with a manufacture coupon!). The body wash with coupons is now only $1.00. You already have 5 bottles at home which will last you awhile, but knowing it is only $1.00 would you buy more??

Here is how the scenario looks:
Body wash, regular price        $6.00
Store sale                             $4.00
Store coupon                       -$2.00
Manufacture coupon             -$1.00
            You pay                    $1.00
Savings                          $5.00 a bottle

So, would YOU buy more??

I would. Why? Because it is a $5 savings per bottle. It might not go on sale very often. I would rather have extra and be stocked up than run out and have to pay the $6.00 original price. It is an item I use and will continue to use. I like to be clean. I have coupons to use for added savings. Now, I might not go crazy and get 10 bottles of body wash, but perhaps get a couple more.

Another example. This is a real situation that happened to me. Walgreens is having a sale on the Tricalm Anti-Itch Cream. The original price is $9.99. It is on sale for $7.00 with a rewards card. Plus, you get $7 back in rewards to use on your next purchase. This comes out to 100% FREE.  Now, seriously do you think you will never, ever, ever use an anti-itch cream, ever? Well I took advantage of it and got me some. I could think of many scenarios where this cream would come in very handy. IT IS FREE! Why not!? Now when I need it, I have it and don’t have to run out and pay $10 for a small tube.

Here is how the scenario looks:
Tricalm Anti-Itch Cream original price         $9.99
            Sale price with rewards card          $7.00
            Rewards received                        -$7.00
                        Total                              FREE

So, people say nothing is free. Okay, maybe not completely free. My point is, I got it for a major discount and didn't have to pay full price.

Couponers vs. Hoarders
One thing I want to make clear, very clear is the difference between couponers and hoarders! Couponers' tend to have a stockpile of the items they get using coupons. People will give up their garages and fill their basements with items they got. However, it is neatly organized, dust free, and useful items they use. They just happen to have a lot of it because they got it all for free or a really super duper awesome price. Ever watched Extreme Couponers?

Now, there are hoarders who don’t ever get rid of anything, nothing, and it is very dirty. There are constantly messes, papers everywhere, sometimes food, everything is unorganzized, and can be very stinky. Ever watch Hoarders?

There is a BIG difference between the two!

There are also extreme couponers’. However someone can take a $2100 grocery bill and only pay $100 still completely baffles me. It almost seems unrealistic especially in the city I live in, but that is a whole other topic in itself.

However, I use coupons on items to get good deals on things we will need throughout our lifetime and never have to pay top retail dollar for an item, like toothpaste. I plan to use toothpaste for the rest of my life. Why pay $4.00 for a tube of toothpaste, when I can stock up and only pay $0.99 a tube for the good kind of toothpaste. That is a $3.00 savings per tube! Yes, I have a stockpile of toothpaste. *grin*

Do you Really Need it?
One may argue, it seems like you are spending more money on items you don’t really “need”. If an item goes on sale you use regularly, why wouldn’t you stock up and take advantage of those savings? Yes, it may go on sale again, but right now you also have coupons to make the savings even better. You might not have those coupons the next time. The sale might not be as good. This way you are always stocked up and never have to pay top retail dollar again.


I do have a small stockpile of items. Easy items where there are constantly coupons available and stores are having sales. I’m still working at this process since I’m still kind of a newbie at this. It is a lot of work. I enjoy it. I am learning something everyday. I am also saving money. Besides, it is fun.

Store Brand vs. Name Brand

I’m not very brand specific. I’m more conscious about price. People may think the generic brand or store brand is cheaper. Not necessary. If a store has a sale and you add coupons, sometimes the name brand product ends up being cheaper than the generic or store brand. Something to keep in mind.

Try New Products

Coupons give you the opportunity to try new products. I just scored FREE deodorant at Walgreens this week. I never used the brand before, I tried it, I liked it. The price was affordable: FREE!  It was on sale for $1.99. I had a $1.00 off coupon, plus I received $1 back in rewards. Even if I didn’t like it, it was still worth it because it cost me nothing to try.

It is just very satisfying knowing I don’t have to pay full retail price. It helps to watch for store sales. Even tho there are rarely (or more like never) coupons for produce, and meat, (and items similar) buying when the store has it on sale is still a savings. Every little bit helps.

More Deals I Found

The other day I saved over $100 at Target, plus received three $5 Target gift cards (a total of $15) due to promo items in the store (I stacked Target store coupons with store sales with manufacture coupons). That transaction retail price with no sales or coupons was easily over $200. Because the items I purchased were on sale, and combined them with coupons, and store promos, I paid $80. If you subtract the $15 I got in gift cards, I really only paid $65. Yes, it was for things I needed too.

I scored free items at Walgreens this week. I’ve scored free items at Target this week. I scored free items at Fred Meyer this weekend. Savings is all around you. All because of coupons and sales!

What Do You Think?

So I’m curious what your thoughts are on coupons? Do you think it is a bit crazy? Does my post make sense? Does it sound convincing to buy a Sunday newspaper and try to coupon? Do you want to know more about couponing? Do you use coupons?

I have a lot, I mean a lot, to share about coupons and what I have learned. Once you get the hang of it and are more comfortable using coupons, it really is fun, especially when you can take a $20 transaction and only have to pay $3.00! woohoo!

One thing to keep in mind, Coupons = Cash

Happy Couponing!
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