Monday, May 2, 2011

Extreme Couponing

This show on TLC is my new guilty pleasure. I love it!

I really can't decide what I think of these people. On one hand, I admire them and want to be just like them; I love how organized and planned they are. While on the other hand, all they are are organized hoarders and shopaholics. lol

One thing I can say is that they have me super motivated! Jeff and I have been needing/wanting to do something about how much money we spend on groceries. It is so out of hand! There is NO reason we should be spending as much as we do on food/toiletries/etc for just 2 adults and one baby who hardly eats anything.

I HATE spending money on food. I always have. Its so annoying to see your money here one minute and gone another. I love good food but I tend to find the constant need to eat so annoying! I would much rather spend my money on fun stuff like crafting, sewing, gifts, home decor stuff, clothes, etc. Wouldn't you??!

We've tried the Sams Club route. That's nice for frozen items and meats that you can stock up on but I am not really sure how much it really works. I don't see much of a change in our expenses from being members.

I've got into couponing many times in the past but after about 2 days it fizzled out. This time I am getting serious! The show has given me some tips that should help out tremendously. By no means am I going to start a stock pile like these people do (at least not right now), but I can see already how you can save by buying in bulk. Who needs a million bags of cat food when you dont even have a cat (as one lady had on an episode)?!

I have a few guidelines that I am setting up for myself:

1. Do not buy something just because I have a coupon for it. It's still spending $ and the whole point of this is to save $.

2. If I don't need it right now, don't buy it! There might be a few exceptions to this one such as if the grocery store has a great sale on an item I always buy and I have a coupon for it, then I can buy ahead.

3. Avoid retail coupons for "fun stuff". If I already plan to buy something like a new outfit, gift, or item for the house, then I can save that coupon. This one goes back to rule #1; don't go shopping just because I have a coupon!

So here is my current plan of attack:

1. Spend Sundays clipping coupons out of the papers and online (from sites such as

2. Make a list of items that we will need that week and plan out our meals

3. check out the circulars from the grocery stores and other places that I frequent

4. Compare the sale items to those on my list and the coupons I have found

5. I use a hot pink marker to circle the items in the circular that I am interested in and potentially will buy and those that I have a coupon for.

6. Try to figure out how much I will spend at the store after coupons and such. This way, I am not surprised when I get to the check out

7. Head to the store on Monday. Avoid anything that is not on my list. If I didn't think I needed it at home I probably really don't. There might be a few exceptions here like produce. Avery eats a lot of fruit and I am always looking for something new to try out on her so I will have a little leeway.

8. Make sure I bring my binder with all of my coupons, calculator, list, notepad, markers and pens.

9. Start with the items of most priority on my list and keep track of prices as I go.

10. I am going to try to do most of my shopping at our local grocery store. They have a member rewards card that gives discounts and also they started a fuel perks program where I get 20 cents off ever $50 spent. Plus, I found out that they have a baby program that for every $25 spent on baby items you get another 5 cents fuel perks and a few other similar goodies. Sounds good to me!

I am headed to the grocery today to try out this plan. I've got my binder all ready to go; coupons clipped and divided into multiple sections; the grocery store circular marked up with items of interest; calculator, list, and pens all handy. I sure hope it works but I am sure that I will get better and more efficient as I keep it up.

I had my first coupons savings trip yesterday. I do have to say it was rewarding! I knew that we needed to get a new baby monitor soon and I had a coupon for 10% off at Target for the exact one that I wanted. The monitor was $200 so with the coupon I got it for $180.

In that coupon mailer I also got lots of diaper and baby snack coupons, so I brought those with me too. One of the coupons was $2.50 off when I box of diapers and a pack of wipes. The wipes themselves were $2.39 so I actually had 11 cents go towards the price of the diapers and the wipes were basically free!

I don't remember the details of the other coupons but I was able to get 7 different baby snacks (puffs, yogurt bites, etc) for $4.05 (a $10.55 value)! Pretty awesome deal if you ask me.

All in all, I saved a total of $27.50. One bummer is that after I checked out I remembered I had a $20 gift card to Target that I had planned to use but forgot. Not a big deal since I can use that on another transaction sometime.

It felt really rewarding when I left. Everything I got was something that we needed and will use. Plus, since I was able to get so many snacks I shouldn't have to buy any for a while.

I think the whole trick to couponing is keeping your eyes open for deals. Watch the circulars and find what is on sale, buy one get one free, etc then use a coupon on top of that and you can save big! Just don't buy something you normally wouldn't just because it's on sale.

Here's a few obstacles that I know I will have to overcome:

1. Being the customer that no check out person wants to get. There is inevitably at least one price check which means that you have to wait for the manager to come over and approve. Annoying but worth it.

2. Being the customer that no one wants to be behind in line. I used to get so annoyed with couponers. Now, I am one! I just need to go to check organized and ready. Nothing is more annoying that being behind someone that is all over the place and has coupons flying everywhere!

3. Being the customer with a binder and calculator on hand. Yes, I have already gotten some "looks" at the store by fellow shoppers

4. Get good at my math skills. It can get a little overwhelming trying to stack discounts over and over but I hope to get better at it.

Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted on how I do and if I find any great deals that are too good not to share!


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