Several months ago, Rusty and I got hooked watching Extreme Couponing on TLC. We were blown away by this entire culture of people who were beating the system. We actually made it a goal, and said it aloud, that we wanted to try couponing over the summer.
So we have.
It all started the last week of school. During that week, kids are coming and going, you are sitting for 3 hour blocks of times for finals and the days end at 1. That was the perfect time to start learning how to coupon.
I picked up a paper and worked with my friend, Lisa, to learn what she had picked up in just a few weeks of clipping. We went out to a few stores and tested out our skills. I tried to talk her into filming me at the register just like in the show, but she didn't go for it! Here is what I first came home with.
Ingles, $4.02 (One tea retails for $3.99)
Kroger, $10.50 (One of the packets of chicken retails for $4.99)
Walgreens, $9.50 (One bottle of Advil retails for $7.00)
Once school was out, I had to teach Rusty. Here's the problem. The Atlanta Journal Constitution doesn't deliver to Dahlonega. We figured out that there is a gas station at the top of Crown Mountain that carries the AJC...because the owner lives in Atlanta and drives up about 50 copies each day. So.....we either have to get up to go grab one on Sunday morning, or I have Lisa pick me one up and pass it off at the gym. Normally, Lisa bails me out of driving into town!
Here are our purchases the first time Rusty went with me.
All Over, $38.43 (One bottle of the fish oil retails for $25.00)
There have been a few other times we have gone out. Here is what we picked up.
CVS, $4.00 (The Zyrtec retails for $5.00)
Ingles, $12.00 (One bottle of V-8 retails for $4.00)
Ingles, $6.00 (The Air-Wick starter kits retail for $8.00)
Kroger, $4.00 (One package of hot dogs retails for $3.00)
Publix, $9.50 (One package of Beggin Strips retails for $10.99)
Rite Aid, $3.00 (One body wash retails for $4.99)
Rite Aid, $24.00 (Lysol wipes retail for $6.99)
Walgreens, $25.00 (Schick razors retails for $8.99)
If you've never considered couponing before, you probably have a lot of questions! Ask away!!! I am happy to break it down for you. Here is my system:
- Clip all coupons from the paper inserts
- Read each store add one by one and match up your coupons to the best sales
- Stop into the stores with your list and attached coupons when you are passing by that store. Don't go out of your way.
Here are some of the basics that I learned in the beginning:
- Check each of the store's couponing policies. For example, most grocery stores will double coupons up to $.50 each day. However, drug stores won't. Go to where you will get the biggest bang for your buck!
- Check the drug store couponing policies and Register Reward/Bucks Back policies. More than likely, you will have to split up your purchases into two or three transactions to drive the price down.
- Always buy a paper with double coupons. You want two of each of the coupons to pair with the BOGO sales.
- Don't pass up clipping a coupon because you haven't heard of the product or never use the product. If you do this, you will find some killer sale in an ad that will make the product free or a money maker if you had the coupon! It is a pain to search through a pile of clippings for a valuable coupon.
- To get really good deals, you need to have coupon loyalty over brand loyalty.
- Stores will write you a rain check for their deals if a more extreme couponer beats you and cleans out the shelves!
- If you think that you only use one bottle of ketchup a year but the deal is for two and you don't think you need two, stock up and venture into the world of donating to a food bank for a family you know who is in need.
- Think you will never need 4 large bottles of lotion, or soap, or shampoo or mouthwash but the deal makes them free, make a kicking guest basket for your guest bathroom. What could be more welcoming than having everything you need to host company within a moment's notice!
Some of the awesome deals I got aren't even up here. Twice, I have purchased Jergens Build-a-Tan lotions for summer that retail for $8.99 each. When the BOGO sale is on and I pair two $1 off coupons, I get two bottles for $6.99! Think of what kind of damage you can do on the make-up aisle...especially since coupons work on clearance.
So - that's my exciting summer, lol! Just kidding. I probably spend about 2 hours in front of the t.v. on Sundays clipping, and I only run into stores if I pass them. What about you....is couponing tempting? Maybe you are more extreme than me?! If so, what are you secrets?