January 11, 2009

Coupons Are Free - Save And See

Jim says when he was a newspaper carrier for the Columbus Dispatch about 50 years ago, he remembers several “older’ customers who only got the paper on Thursdays and Sundays – for the coupons! Now his wife is laying claim to the Thursday and Sunday papers the moment they hit the doorstep – for the coupons!

Before you click on to something more your interest, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn some amazing ways to save a LOT of money – instantly! I'm saving so much money that hubby is walking on air! And I've only been doing this for a couple weeks! What got me started was when my sister sent me a coupon book for Christmas, and my friend, Buffy, introducted me to the real stuff that coupons are made of! She also tells me coupon secrets that I'm going to share with you.

Tonight as I left the cashier’s line after paying for my groceries at our local grocery store, an employee walked up beside me and asked if I was feeling okay. She said I looked ‘pale and quiet”. She asked if I needed help.

I told her thanks, but I was probably still in shock at how much I had just saved using coupons. When the original total came to $67.00, I informed the young clerk that with these coupons, the total should come to about $35 – if I had figured it right.

She looked at me disbelieving, and I almost agreed with her. I wasn’t sure that the few ‘coupon lessons’ I’ve learned from Buffy, would work for me. I figured that most of my coupons wouldn't work, or they would have some excuse not to accept them! But only one of about 25 was rejected.

First, the pennies came off from the discount I got from using the Giant Eagle member card (a free store service) because what I brought tonight were the store's weekly sale items that corresponded with my cents off and manufacture's coupons for the same products.

Then she deducted the ‘store coupons’ for the same items that I clipped from the paper and other places – and these were doubled this week up to 99 cents for each coupon.

Next, I handed the clerk the manufactures coupons that came in the Sunday’s paper for the same items. (They come in fliers – You don’t have to open the entire newspaper to get the coupons). Lastly, I handed her the manufactures coupons that I downloaded on my computer for the same products (anyone can do this). My final cost was just about $37.00 and my SAVINGS was $30.00! (Buffy could have done even better, but I’m new at this.)

At the same time, I’m saving .20-cents per gallon of gas (at Giant Eagle) for every $50 I spend in groceries. And, we get 1% off toward groceries for every gallon of gas we purchase. And, we buy gift cards at Giant Eagle for the other stores we regularly shop (or eat at) to save further on gas – but that’s another story.

Some basic rules: When checking out, use the store (not manufacture) coupons first. It’s a store computer thing. Also, you do have to make sure you actually purchased the product, but not necessarily the exact one so long as it’s the same brand. The computer keeps track. (This is a trick I’m still working on. But Campbell’s soup doesn’t always have to be ‘chicken noodle’. I can also be tomato. Crest toothpaste doesn’t have to be the same size that’s on sale if another Crest toothpaste is cheaper.)

Finally, you must plan this coupon organization like it’s a second job! But, when it comes together, it’s a high-five feeling!

I made a new email account to use for website requests for coupons. Not wanting the spend money to save money, I used a large recipe box for my coupons that I already had. TIP: Label by manufacture because that's how you will save the most money. IE: CREST, CAMPBELL, DOVE, Etc. instead of toothpaste, soup, shampoo.
There are so many tips and lessons to learn about effective coupon savings that I'll always keep learning to be better and better at it. Rebates and refunds are still to learn!
Oh yeah, an important one. Get out there and buy those store specials the day they come out because more and more people are doing the same thing. Those items that combine out to be FREE will be gone within a day. "Coupon people' know these things. Tonight at the grocery store, it seemed that everyone shopping had a handful of coupons.
Another important fact. Watch the check-out person!!!!! Make sure you get the product at the sale price and THEN watch as each coupon goes through that the register shows the discount (and double discount if applicable). Sometimes the clerks skip a coupon or it doesn't ring up at the right price. Today, butter was on sale for $1.99 at Walgreen's. It ran through as $3.99. I told her that it was on sale and had to wait while they went and looked to make sure I was right. (I was.)

Each week, gather all the circulars and look them over, pull out the grocery store specials for the week, check out your coupon websites (you can find them through friends and Google searches) and then make a PLAN for the items that you use, would like to use, or will learn to use after you figure out that with the appropriate coupons, some items might be FREE. After that, combine the store specials with all the coupons for that product for best savings. (You can find the local weekly store sales online too.)

Take today, for instance. Hubby and I went to Target on a mission for certain food items that were on sale and we had coupons for. The Cheerios were on sale for 3/$7. (14 ounce). (Hubby loves Cheerios!) I had several .40-cent coupons on hand. I had 3 manufactures coupons for $1 off I had downloaded. Using all the Cheerio coupons, I got three giant boxes of Cheerios for about $4. If I were better organized and had downloaded more manufactures coupons for Cheerios, we might have gotten all the boxes at NO cost. (Just make sure your coupons don't save MORE than what the items cost. Stores don't like that.)

Also, I have been looking for coupons for dog food, which is hard to find. At Target, they had a 48-pound bag of Purina dog food for 19.79 (advertised for $20) with a gift card of $5 when you paid for the dog food. (Sheba’s dog food usually runs about $14 for 12 pounds of dry food.)

After selecting all the items we had on our ‘coupon list’, Jim checked out with the dog food ahead of me and handed me the $5 gift card to help pay for the rest of our items. We winked at each other, but it was a perfectly honest plan! (You don't want to know how we dragged the bag through the snow and over the ice to get it into the house!)

At Walgreen’s, they have Campbell’s soup on sale this week for .60 cents a can. That in itself is great, but I had several Campbell’s soup coupons that added to the discount.

Another favorite item at our house is Instant Oatmeal. Last week, Walgreen’s had it on coupon special for $1.99. (Usually a box is about $3.50) I added another coupon for $1.00 off and got the last box they had when I got my limit of three. (The store is still out of Oatmeal.) (But we don't need any more right now please).

At first, you will find that you have extras of the same thing because you often have to buy two or three. Right now, the top of the refrigerator has several boxes of Kleenex and cereals. The bathroom has many containers of hand soap and toothpaste (some were free). The soup shelves are loaded with cans of soup. I have 8 boxes of Uncle Bens Rice. We have several bottles of fruit juice and many small containers of mixed fruit for Jim’s lunch. Some of those were free, most were probably 90% off.

Oh yeah, not to mention the toilet paper and paper towels!

Well, I hope this sparks the light to lead the way for your fun coupon adventure. Once you start, you will be hooked for life! If you have more helpful tips or information about coupons, feel free to add your comments at my website so all can enjoy them, or just post to my email.

Take Care on the Journey,
~Coupon Linda

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com
E-Mail: bestnurse@usa.com


Katy said...

I do love to save money but I often only find coupons for things I never buy. Darn! Good job on saving so much money! Way to keep thrift alive. :)


Bringer of Peace said...

Glad you were able to save. My problem is that often the name brands are so much higher that I have often saved more than what I would have saved by using a coupon just by buying a house brand. When you get double coupon off that does help a lot.
Congratulations on your savings.