At the end of July, I decided I wanted to start couponing again. Years ago, I couponed. I saw a few extreme couponing shows and decided that my life would consist of hoarding boxes of fruit loops and toilet paper under my bed because I got it for 62 cents. I wasn’t really good at it, and after a few weeks it died down.
I can’t say what really sparked my interest in couponing again. It may have been that I was looking at ways to save a dime and couponing seemed the easiest way. The thing is, couponing is NOT easy. It’s actually the opposite. It involves careful planning, spreadsheets, binders, websites, facebook groups, and money. Yea, couponing is not free. It’s an investment. Unless someone is physically handing you coupon inserts for free, you’re going to pay something, just to save something. But even after all that hassle, it’s still totally worth it.
I joined a few coupon groups on Facebook, and literally stalked their feed for a few days. I needed to know what the deals were. That required making sure the groups I was in were local, so that the deals would most likely be similar at the stores near me. There was also tons of lingo to learn. And the people in these groups are SOOO helpful. They are generous. They aren’t hoarding things for selfish reasons, they are using it to help their family. They also donate some items.
Next, I bought the Sunday paper. Do you know how expensive a Sunday paper is!?!? I mean, $3.50!? C’mon! And that’s for only one set of what ever inserts are in the paper. If you want to get a lot of coupons, spending that much on Sunday papers can negate the effort you’re doing.
So you’ve got to find other resources to get those coupons, at a price that is cost effective. My FAVORITE resource is klip2save.com . They, by far, are the cheapest place to get coupons from. They provide fast shipping and it seems like they have the best variety. If you’re not into paying for clipped coupons, you can also print them from your phone at www.coupons.com. Coupons.com will also let you link those coupons to your store cards, so you don’t have to print them out.
Then I started going to various websites that not only showed you the deals that were happening at your favorite grocery store, but they also matched current coupons to those stores deals! So you don’t have to scour through countless circulars to do that work yourself.
So, I’ve got coupons in hand and now I know where I am going to spend them, but then what? Well you go shopping! Duh!
But actually, for the first 2 weeks, I was SO preoccupied with getting things I had coupons for, I literally didn’t do regular grocery shopping. So I was super stoked about the 25 bottles of shampoo that I got for $15, but my fridge was like “umm, what about me?”. I even ordered take out more than usual because I didn’t want to buy anything if I didn’t have a coupon for it. I know you’re judging me…shyt, I’m judging myself at this point. So then I had a come to Jesus moment with myself and made grocery store lists that made sense.
So, naturally that made everything better right? Nope. I still was buying things JUST because I had a coupon for it. Detergent and Shampoo/Conditioner were my main culprits. And the FB groups don’t help because they’re all “Go Now! Buy This!! On Sale!!” They are literally worse than television infomercials. I have a weird love/hate relationship with my coupon FB groups.
Anyway….after week 4, I was able to prioritize my shopping. I didn’t feel the need to get something just because I had a coupon. Plus I had well over 300 coupons at this point. Yep, 300+ coupons. Just looking at me all dumb….expiring and shyt. UGH!
I’m now at week 6 of my couponing journey, and I feel MUCH better about stuff. I’ve accumulated quite a few things in the last month and a half. And it honestly is stuff that we are going to use. There are 6 people in this house, so laundry detergent is a big deal for us. And not the cheap stuff…it just doesn’t work for us. Of those 6 people, 5 are women/girls, so that means lots of hair to wash and condition. Then we all need toothpaste and definitely need deodorant. So those are the basics that I have….oh wait, and TONS of toilet paper!
I’ve done a few food deals, but since I try my best not to do too much processed food, it’s definitely few and far between. I have noticed that there are more coupons for fresh meat and better deals for fruits and veggies. That helps a lot. I love to keep fruit in the house.
I gathered the receipts I saved from the last 6 weeks. I totaled them to see how I made out.
Typically before couponing, I’d pay around $350 every two weeks for food. So that’s about $700 a month. That’s to feed 6 people, 3 meals a day with snacks, plus toiletries. In the last 6 weeks, my retail total was about $1049.67. I paid out of pocket $524.81 paid. This means I saved $524.86. I was pretty surprised. Even after settling down and buying things my family actually needed, I still managed to save a ton of money. I even included my receipts for school supplies. I’ve managed to get free shaving cream, Purdue all natural chicken strip packs for 29 cent and had a bill that totaled $66 but only spent $13 after coupons were all said and done. (The guy behind me was is disbelief! LOL)
50% savings on my grocery bill is pretty dope. I know it could have been more, but there is a learning curve. My husband is going to get me a deep freezer because there have been a few frozen food items that I wanted to buy in bulk but couldn’t because we didn’t have the room. Plus I’ve learned to maximize my savings, by knowing who takes expired coupons, competitor coupons, who doubles coupons and who will even double coupons up to $2.00.
Then you’ve got to think about store coupons, Plenti points and CVS bonus bucks, etc. I’m telling you, couponing is NOT for the faint at heart.
Oh, I forgot! There are also a few apps that will PAY you if you buy a certain item. All you have to do is upload your receipt (you can cross out any info that is private). I specifically used Ibotta. So far, I’ve earned $19. That’s on top of the deals AND coupons I may have applied to that outfit. For example, if I see Giant is having a sale on diapers for $5.99 and I have a coupon for $2.00 off AND Ibotta is going to give me $3 for buying the diaper once I show proof that I’ve bought, it I gotten a pack of diapers for 99 cent at the end of the day. And the money from Ibotta is directly deposited into your bank account. No Ibotta cash or money that can’t be used in the real world.
I’m still learning and I hope to make it a strategic habit moving forward. I’m not looking to have a huge stockpile of items that we’ll never use. I just want to make sure that I am taking advantage of deals that will be beneficial to my pocket.
If you’d like to know more details about couponing, let me know by joining my mailing list. I’m writing a detailed post about the ins and outs, plus I’ll list all of the resources I’ve used to get me this far. I’m looking to save at least 70% over the next 6 weeks.
Do you know what the words in my blog post title mean? 🙂
Below is are a few pictures of some of the stuff I got while couponing. I’ve got tons more, but….you get the gist. Not pictured are the numerous boxes of Huggies diapers I’ve also bought. I wish I could share the pictures of the people that really have great stockpiles! They put my little stash to shame.