Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saving Money with Coupons

By looking at the polls, I can see that most of our readers don’t use coupons. I can understand this. I was never really convinced that using coupons could save me money. Coupons usually come out for name brand products. I would take a coupon to the store and see that even if I used the coupon, the amount off was so low that I would still be saving money by buying the store brand instead. This is very often the case, so I want to talk to you about how you really can save money by using coupons.

Here is the formula for saving money:
store sale + manufacturer coupon + store coupon + rebate(or some combination of these things) = cheap stuff!

Yes, at most stores you can use two coupons for the same product. For example, Target often puts out their own store coupons (look on their website). You can stack their store coupon with the coupon that the manufacturer puts out which really adds up. The trick is to hang onto your coupons until there is a store sale or another store coupon that you can stack it with. Here are some examples:

This week at Albertson’s Captain Crunch and Life cereal are on sale for $1.60. There was an in-ad coupon for $3 off 5.
$1.60 x 5 =$8
$8 – coupon amount ($3) = $5 out of pocket or $1 each.

Also at Albertson’s Yoplait yogurt cups are on sale for $0.50 each. There was a coupon available for $0.50 off 6. they are $0.38 each.
$0.50 x 6 =$3
$3 – coupon amount ($0.50) = $2.50 out of pocket or $0.41 each.

Last week at Target, there was a deal on Special K cereal and snacks. When you bought 5 participating Kellogg’s products, you got a $5 Target gift card. The Special K Cereal was $2.39 each. You would buy 5 and use three printable $1 off 1 coupons, and use one $2 off 2 coupons from the newspaper insert.
$2.39 each x 5 boxes = $11.95
$11.95 - coupon amount ($5) = $6.95 out of pocket
Get a $5 Target gift card and the total would be $0.39 each!

Drug store shopping
Some of the best deals come from drugstores like Walgreens, CVS, and RiteAid. These stores offer store coupons called Register Rewards, Extra Care Bucks, or Single Check Rebates depending on the store, that can be used like cash on anything (with some restrictions). With the combination of store sale/store reward coupon + Manufacturer coupon you can get some things for really cheap, or even free. Here are a few examples:

This week at Walgreens you can earn a register reward (RR) on Colgate toothpaste. The 4 oz tube is $3.99 and you earn a $2 RR when you buy one. There is also a coupon for $1 off. You pay $2.99 out of pocket and get a $2 RR to use on your next purchase, so it’s like getting toothpaste for $0.99.

I love getting diaper deals at these stores. They often have offers for reward coupons if you buy a certain dollar amount worth of diapers. For instance, a deal could be get $5 RR when you buy $25 worth of Huggies product. This is before coupons, so you could spend less than $25 out of pocket and still get the $5 RR.. I jumbo pack of diapers usually costs about $8.99. Use 3 $3 off Huggies diapers coupons. This is a rare coupon, but there have been some available lately.
Buy 3 packs @$8.99 = $26.97
$26.97 – coupon total ($9) = $17.97 out of pocket, plus a $5 RR to use on your next visit, which makes the diapers $4.32 a pack!


Where do you get coupons?
The best place to get coupons is from the Sunday paper. Yes, you have to pay for the subscription, but I have found that I am saving more money on food, toiletries, and diapers than I spend on my subscription. My favorite places to find coupons are online. There are many websites that offer printable coupons for no charge at all. Try redplum.com and coupons.com. You can also try going to company websites to find any coupons they offer there (like colgate.com or verybestbaking.com)

If you find a coupon you really like, you can order them off ebay.com. They usually come in packs of 10-20. This sounds crazy to need that many coupons, but it can come in handy. For instance, there was a great deal on laundry soap with a coupon, so I bought 20 from ebay. It cost me about $5 to pay for the shipping, but I saved a lot more than that. I was able to get 20 bottles of my favorite laundry soap for $0.50 a piece, so it was definitely worth it to me to order the coupons online. If you are interested in this, you will want to jump at it so you can get your coupons in the mail before the deal is over.


Resources:
This is a really quick run through of what I have learned the past few months. I will list my favorite websites that I get this information. These have some really great information and explain drug store shopping and all the exceptions very clearly, so I would suggest reading up on the policies of the stores if it’s something you are interested in. I also check them often because they point out sales I wouldn’t have known about.

Hip2save.com – has great information about drug store shopping, and "Follow Me Monday” videos to show you how she gets her deals
Moneysavingmom.com – has excellent store guides

So tell me!

Do you find that coupon shopping works for you?
Do you have any other tips about coupons to share?
Do you have any questions?


4 comments:

Tannie Datwyler said...

I have no suggestions because I am woefully inept at this... but I LOVE the way you've organized this Erin. This is SUPER helpful.

One question - how many different stores do you look into to try and save money? How many stores do you shop at per week? And... do you find it wastes a lot of gas and time to shop several different places? Does that make sense? I only shop at one place... so this is a bit new to me.

Thanks again Erin - this is awesome.

Erin said...

There are two different grocery stores here that I go to regularly. If they both have a lot of really good deals, I will go to both. If one has more than the other and it's not worth it to me to go to both that day, then I will just go to the one that has more. Going to more than one stores doesn't bother me if it really saves money. We have found that it's been worth it to us (and stores are spread out here more than where you are.)

For some reason, drugstores always build right by each other, so when I want to go to CVS the Walgreens is right across the street. I usually split them up and go to the drugstores one day, and grocery shopping on the other. Generally the best deals at drugstores are on toiletry items, but they do have deals on food too. I rarely buy things like contact solution or soap at grocery stores because I can get them so cheap at the drugstores.

One thing I want to add is that you don't have to go crazy with the deals. If you are buying things you normally wouldn't just because they are cheap, you really aren't saving money.

Kym, Shaun and Riley said...

I LOVE couponing!!!!! As a little girl I remember sitting at my grandma's house on Sunday evening clipping coupons for her to use. And now I sit at my apt. and clip the coupons!!

If I have a list of items that I need I will usually google the coupons that I am looking for. Sometimes something comes up, but sometimes it doesn't.

A few months ago I was watching Studio 5 and they had a lady on their that has a website and she does a lot of the dirty work for you. IT'S GREAT!! Her site is freebies2deals.com. She is from Utah, but has subscribers from all over. She has a lot of good ideas and lets you know about good deals. Since I have paid more attention to her site I have received 6 diapers, shampoo, Tide, Downy, and oodles of other free samples. And the best thing about her site is that is is FREE!!

Also, my SIL told me about a site called dealstomeals.com. You have to be a member(which is $4.95/mo.) and they scour the ads to local grocery stores to let you know an okay, good, and best deal for many items. AND they give you a week's worth of menu items that consist of food that is on sale. If anything, I do it for the recipes because I hate coming up with something for dinner. So I think that all of that is definitely worth my 5 bucks.

Also, like Erin, I get the Sunday paper and I am able to save more $ than what my subscription costs. I've been seriously considering ordering another Sunday edition just to get the additional coupons.(Freebies2deals has an in with the Herald Journal for a special rate--so if you live in Logan check out her site)

Anyway, now that I've rambled on I think it's time for someone else to comment.

And, Tannie--I will only go to a couple of different stores ONLY if it is a really good deal and if it's worth my time to make the trip. Sometimes it's not worth the time. So you have to be the judge of that.

JeriLynn said...

Wow. . . I get it now! I've been to how many coupon-clipping classes, and it wasn't until I saw your little equation that it finally clicked for me. Thanks! :)