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I really don’t get how this works. I’ve been cutting coupons for a long time and saved a bit of money, but I have never figured out how people save THAT kind of money.
Most coupons have printed on them that you can use one coupon per item or something to that effect. So maybe you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same item, but beyond that…
Are they committing fraud and expecting the store to look the other way? Really, I want to know. Two hundred dollars worth of groceries for six bucks would be great! [Apparently TLC is going to make a tv series about people who are very clever w/ coupons. I was once behind a man who bought $500 worth of groceries for less than $223 -admin]
Jenny, one key is to wait for the store to have a really good sale and then use multiple coupons and buy a lot. People print duplicates of the coupons off the internet (which is totally legit; the manufacturer releases the same coupons to different sites), get multiple copies of the Sunday paper and sell/trade coupons online. Like, Albertson’s regularly has these 10 for $10 deals on things that usually cost between $1.50 and $3.50, like cereal, condiments, crackers, etc. If you wait for one of those deals, the Special K that’s usually $3.00 is already $1, and if you have a $.35 off coupon, now it’s $.65. You do that ten times, with ten coupons, and it adds up. Of course you have to stockpile food for that to work, but it does work. You won’t get a varied, weeks-worth-of-food cart of groceries for 6 bucks; you get a lot of boxes of cereal, a lot of boxes pasta, etc. and then you get your usual produce, meat etc. and add it in.
I first tried to do coupons a few years ago and decided it wasn’t worth it because the store brand was still usually cheaper than the name-brand w/coupon…BUT I was exclusively shopping at Wal-Mart because I didn’t have a car. Coupons don’t save you a lot at Wal-Mart, because they don’t really do weekly sales. Smaller grocery chains offer more sales that you can coupon the snot out of, but their everyday prices are higher. To really save, you have to figure out the coupons and figure out which store (usually wal-mart) has the cheapest everyday price. Now that I have a car and live reasonably close to a regular grocery and a Wal-Mart I hit the regular grocery for the coupon stuff and their sales and then go to Wal-Mart the next day for whatever wasn’t a good deal at the grocery.
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I had a coworker who did this. He would save hundreds of dollars in the grocery store. He was somewhat compulsive and would “buy” multiple newspapers on Sundays. He loved doing it. He used his garage as a pantry because he would stock up on so many things. He would buy things that he didn’t need like diapers, and other baby and women’s products. He would then give things out to his siblings and friends. He was a very generous person.
I coincidentally tried my first real couponing adventure this week. I used the online site Coupon Mom. You have to save your coupon books and keep them in reasonable order, but the site shows you the good deals at major markets (Target, Grocery stores, etc) You pick the store you want to go to and it shows a master list of the deals at the store for the week. You can check off which items you want to get (it shows you what percentage you will save) and which books or online coupons you can use. You can print out the list or email it to yourself when you are done. Anyhow, first time out, not buying absolutely everything on sale – I paid $103 for $199 worth of groceries. Some of the deals were suspect. The store prices are sometimes elevated, and then when they are on”sale” you seem to save more money then you probably actually did. But it was still kind of fun, and I did buy quite a bit of stuff.
LOL, that was great. The problem with coupons is that if you want to use all of them from the newspaper you would have to buy things you don’t want. If I see a coupon for an item I buy or really want to buy then I’ll use the coupon. Otherwise it’s not worth it.
I used more coupons when I was 60 pounds over weight. I got good deals but bought high calorie packaged foods. Also, I have 4 kids and the garbage they were eating was alarming. When I stock pile food it is easy for me and my family to eat mindlessly. Unfortunately I do not have much self control when the food is in the house but I do when I am in the grocery. I would rather be 60 pounds lighter and pay more for fresh fish, fruit and veggies than save a ton and weigh a ton. I do clip all the coupons a can for paper products, personal items and cleaning supplies. One trick I found at the local grocery is to go late on Sunday night. They clear out the meat with sell by dates that are coming soon. I get a lot of our roasts, chicken and ham with store coupons for a few dollars off. Then I spend the next day cooking for the week, or I freeze it.
I don’t know about Wal-Mart in your parts, but around here they will price match other store sales. So if you bring in flyers from other stores and show the checker the sale price, they will give it to you. It takes a little bit of time at the check at and the cashiers will love you for it (or not), but you can save time and money by not running to three different stores.
Jenny, that’s true here, but only for advertised sales and not true for the sales where the price is “xx with your store loyalty card”…which is a lot for some stores, because they’ve caught on to Wal-Mart’s price matching. They also don’t match percent off, half-off, or buy-one-get-one. A lot of the sales at Albertson’s and HEB also aren’t advertised in the flyer.
It does take some time, but I generally go ahead and pick up the sales and coupon stuff at HEB and quickly walk up and down the other aisles and see what else is cheaper than Wal-Mart’s regular price before I head out. Also, regular groceries sometimes double and triple coupons on certain days, but Wal-Mart doesn’t.
I do coupon but not the extreme of the couponers from TLC’s show. There are tons of coupons out there for seriously crappy food, but there are also coupons for the good stuff. I’ve gotten free produce, free whole wheat pasta, organic snacks for cheap, tons of free toiletries, etc. The key is to use coupons when items are on sale, BOGO, etc. My local grocery store also allows coupons stacking (store + manufacturer or competitor + manufacturer). You can save a lot of money that way.
Couponing does take a lot of time, but it’s been worth it for my family. We’ve totally chopped our weekly grocery bill, probably in half if not more. And I’ve been able to donate quite a bit to the food bank because I’ve been able to buy things for free or next to nothing.
Some of these people have so much stuff that I cannot understand how the expiration dates don’t run out or how the pasta doesn’t gets those little bugs or something. I have tried couponing but I just can’t get the hang of it. If I could walk into a store and get $200 worth of stuff for less than ten bucks, I would be ecstatic. I guess I just don’t really understand how it all works. Do they eat the same thing day after day?
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@Sheena, Wal-Mart will price match local grocery store ads. Just take the ads in the store with you. Tell the cashier you want to price match. Show them the ad. It works great.
Elizabeth Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate and the Managing Editor of the Catholic Portal at Patheos. She is an award-winning writer and a regularly-featured columnist at [Read More...]
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