Saturday, April 30, 2011

25¢ Walmart Trip

A small trip, but my first real freebie trip so it was still fun. 2 40 oz bottles of ketchup and 3 travel sized deodorants.
Total spent: $0.25
Total coupon savings: $7.00 (96%)

Coupons used:
$1 off Degree deodorant (4/17 SS)
$2 off Heinz ketchup (Facebook, no longer available)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trip #2 of the Day

4/27 Shopping Trip Version 2.0
I had to visit a neighboring city after my morning shopping trip to run a few errands, and afterwards I just happened to drive by a Walgreens, so I thought I'd stop and see if they had my moneymaker toothpaste in stock. Lo and behold, they did!
Total spent: $3.49
Total sale and coupon savings: $3.50 (50%)
Total savings after RR: $7.50 (Net $3 profit!)

After my Walgreens success, I stopped by King Soopers. I had my eye on some Excedrin PM that I had heard was on clearance and I should be able to get it for about $1/bottle. The price must have been regional, however, because I couldn't get the price I wanted. I did get a few other things though:
A bottle of vitamins (50% off + $1 off MQ)
Crest toothpaste (On sale 10/$10 + $1 ecoupon=FREE)
2 bottles of Wisk detergent (On sale $7.59 +$2 off MQ)
Total spent: $17.61
Total sale and coupon savings: $14.19 (47%)
Plus, I scored two $2 off your next order coupons for buying the Wisk, which means I really saved $18.19 (51%)

Walgreens Moneymaker/Cautionary Tale

Just got back from a quick Walgreens trip. They were out of stock of one item that would be a moneymaker, so I'm going to check at another Walgreens this afternoon. I still got some good deals though:
The growing personal/household supplies stockpile
2 packs of Stayfree maxi pads for $2.99 each-$2.99 RR-$1 coupon/pack = 2 packs for 0.99. It should have been a moneymaker, however, I forgot that you can only buy 1 of each RR item per transaction. Had I planned it right, I should have bought 1 pack, used a coupon, and gotten $2.99 RR and then completed the rest of my purchase as a separate transaction. Now I know for next time :)
I did get a fantastic deal on Nexcare bandaids. They are on sale for $2.99 a box right now, and there is a refund certificate for the full price on each box. I also had a coupon for $1 off 2 boxes, so I bought 2 boxes for $4.98 out of pocket, and I will be getting $5.98 back in the mail when the rebate comes. That makes the bandaids a $1 moneymaker, which means that I broke even on this trip, even with the maxi pad mixup.
Total spent: $8.96
Total sale and coupon savings: $6 (40% savings)
Total savings after RR and rebates: $14.98 (63% savings)

Weekend Grocery Shopping

It's been a little hectic this week, so I haven't been able to update on our weekend shopping trip yet. It was a pretty small trip, but we got what we needed for the week. I'm hoping there's some better deals in the next few weeks so we can really start stockpiling. Here's the lowdown on this trip:
Spent: $57.21
Sale and Coupon savings: $41.89 (43%)
Plus I used my $5 giftcard from last week's cereal adventure, making my grand total for the week $52.21. Much better than the $150 we would sometimes pay.
I am planning on making a stop at Walgreens and possibly another King Soopers small trip today. I will update with my finds asap :).

Happy savings everyone!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Walmart Quick Trip

On Wednesday I thought I'd check out Walmart's coupon deals for the week. I had seen on Southern Savers that I could get a certain brand of deodorant for free with a coupon that I happened to have. However, I knew Walmart's prices were regional, so I would be taking a gamble on whether my store's prices would match up. I found a few other items that were going to be a good deal, so I decided to just go for it.
When I got to Walmart I was disappointed to see that the deodorant was $1.97/stick, rather than the $0.97 I was expecting. So even though I could have gotten them for about $1 per stick, I decided not to get it. I did, however, get 2 things of floss for free ($0.88 apiece, and I had a $1 off coupons for each of them). I also got a small pack of antihistamine (with allergy season coming up) for $0.94 (Priced at $5.94, and I had a $5 off coupon). My grand total? $1.33. The most rewarding part of the trip, however, was the cashier's comments.
"You have some great coupons here! You're pretty much getting this stuff for free!"
All I could do was smile and say "yup. That was the plan." :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RiteAid Steals and Free Paper

It's been a good week for deals so far. I hit RiteAid on Monday for some cheap stuff, here's what I scored:
  • 4 bottles of Nivea body wash
  • 2 boxes of L'Oreal Hair Color
  • 2 boxes of Ziploc sandwich bags
Total value: $47.52
Price after sales and coupons: $16.96 (36% savings)

Plus, I got back $10 in +UP credits, which can be used to buy pretty much anything in RiteAid. My plan is to spend these credits on more items at RiteAid that will get me more +UP credits, "rolling" my credits.

My great deal today was on HP Multipurpose Paper at Staples.  I found a coupon (good for today only) for a full rebate on one ream of paper, making it free! I paid about $6 upfront for the paper, but I already filed for the rebate and my check should be here in 4-6 weeks.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow and Thursday, because the ads for King Soopers, RiteAid, and Walgreens for next week should be out and then I can start planning for this weekend's grocery shopping and for more drugstore deals next week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Week 1 Wrapup

It's been almost a full week since this couponing adventure began. I'm going to share just a few of my favorite deals with you from this week, and show you how I've started organizing my stockpile.
Total spent between 4/14 and 4/17: $126
Total saved between 4/14 and 4/17: $118 (48.3%)
The spoils of the GM cereal special
My favorite deal of the week: General Mills cereal. My husband eats cereal every day for breakfast. He generally likes Kellogg cereals more, but when I told him I could get General Mills cereals for just over $1/box he was on board with stocking up on those. King Soopers is running a great deal this week, if you buy 4 boxes of select General Mills cereals (some of which are on sale for $2.79/box) you can get a $5 gift card back to use on your next purchase. When I stacked that sale with several coupons I had for GM cereals, the cereal ended up costing me about  $1/box.
The old shelving unit

I had to pick up a new shelving unit this week since my goal is to start stockpiling foods/products we use a lot when there's an awesome deal on them. Our apartment doesn't have a pantry built in, so we were storing our food on this old bathroom storage thing in the laundry room. I don't have a "before" picture, but needless to say, it wasn't very pretty. I'm going to keep this in our laundry room for the time being (since that's about the only room left in our apartment!) but it will now be used for storing household and personal items.
I got the new shelving unit from Walmart, I believe it was about $14. I think it will work perfectly for the amount of stuff I'm hoping to stockpile, and will transition easily into a garage or basement when we buy a house. Some of the shelves look pretty sparse right now, but hopefully they'll be filling up in the next few months.
The new shelving unit
Another great deal this week at King Soopers was on cleaning products. They are doing a Spring Cleaning Mega Event, buy 4 selected cleaning products and save $4 instantly off your order. This was my first foray into couponing, so I was hesitant and nervous going into this order. I spent a lot of time planning and double checking every coupon before I went to the store. We ended up getting 12 bottles of cleaning stuff, everything from PineSol to Febreeze. This will probably be enough to keep us stocked for 2 or more years. We also bought a tub of ice cream (on sale and I had a coupon). The total for this shopping trip? $23.59. Total coupon and sale price savings? $37.51. We saved an amazing 63% on the first shopping trip using coupons.
Our amazing cleaning products deal.

Getting Started=Getting Organized

If I was going to do this couponing thing, I knew I was going to have to get organized. Once upon a time I had a small accordion file for the few coupons I did use, but I lost it years a go. I thought this might be a good place to start though, so I picked up a new one. My tabs are labeled with the following categories right now:
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Small accordion file from Hobby Lobby
  • Pantry
  • Refridgerated
  • Fresh/Produce
  • Frozen
  • Health/Beauty
  • Cleaning/Household
  • Pet
And the very last tab is devoted to non-grocery coupons (20% off Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohls, etc). This left me with 4 tabs that I can label later if I find I need more categories.

So now that I had my accordion file, I thought I was set. I began clipping coupons in earnest, but after going through only one coupon insert from the Sunday paper I quickly realized that this was not going to be practical. Not only did it take me a ton of time to go through the coupons and clip the ones I wanted, but sorting them all into the accordion file took way too long. I knew from looking at several websites devoted to couponing that I was going to need to keep a LOT of coupons on hand in order to get the best deals. So I started researching how the pros organize their coupons. There are a couple different methods, but this seemed the be the one that works best for me.
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Inside the file box
I picked up this hanging file container from Walmart (I think it cost me around $7). I decided I'd start with keeping about 3 months worth of coupon inserts. Each hanging file is labeled with the date from Sunday of each week for the next 3 months. So all I have to do each Sunday is pull the coupon inserts out of the paper and put them in the right file. Most websites will reference a coupon by the day it appeared in the paper (i.e. 4/17) and by which insert it can be found in (Red Plum (RP) or Smart Source (SS) are two examples).
I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with spreadsheets. I get a little thrill out of entering equations into cells and seeing the numbers work out. So when I found a link to a grocery savings spreadsheet, I knew it was right up my alley. Here's the screenshot for what I've saved in the first week of couponing.
Grocery Savings Spreadsheet

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Madness That Started It All

It was a quiet afternoon at home, spending some of my precious free time watching TLC when it happened. I saw an add for a new show called "Extreme Couponing." So I set my DVR to record the next episode, thinking "oh good, another TLC show where I can feel good about myself knowing I'm not as insane as the people on my TV."
Fast foward to the weekend, when I decided to catch up on some episodes of this show that were sitting on my DVR. My first impressions were as follows: 1) these people have entirely too much free time on their hands 2) really, who needs that many bottles of body wash/deodorant sticks/boxes of pasta (you get the idea) and 3) for all the insanity going on here....these people are getting insane deals. Like, saving up to 95% off their order. Ok, that got my attention.
My household is currently just my husband and I (and a dog and a cat) and we easily spend up to $150 per week on groceries just for the two of us. That's up to $600 a month, which I know is the grocery budget for some families of 4 or 5. I had never really though about using coupons before, for many reasons. I didn't think I could save that much money that would make it worth my while, I had no idea how to keep track of them, and I thought coupons were mostly for things I didn't want or need. After watching the show, I decided to do a little more research.
The world of couponing is not like it used to be when my mom couponed. There are THOUSANDS, maybe more, of websites devoted to hunting down the best bargains every week at grocery stores and drugstores so that you don't have to do it! These sites will tell you what coupons will match up with the sales to give you the best deal, and where to find those coupons. "So all I have to do is look at these websites before I go shopping each week, and hold onto the coupon inserts from the Sunday paper? I can do that" I thought to myself. And so I embarked on a journey to see if couponing really could help me save money on groceries every month.