I loved seeing the amazing deals that people got on the TV show Extreme Couponing- they saved hundreds of dollars each month with their strategies, usually 90-95% on each of their (massive) shopping trips. But after watching this show I usually came away with the thought of “that’s awesome, but not something I can do.”
My rationale for why I couldn’t was:
- I don’t have the storage/closet space to stockpile and I don’t want to be staring at piles of TP and rice in my living room. Plus there’s just two of us- it would take years to use up 50 bottles of laundry detergent.
- I don’t have the time to coupon– the really successful Extreme Couponers spend 10-15 hours a week on it.
- I’m wary of coupon websites– I haven’t used them in years after my computer got a virus when downloading a coupon from a well known, national coupon site.
- Most of my Sunday paper’s coupons are for junk food.
But here’s what I found to be really true once I started couponing more seriously:
- Even if I don’t have the storage space to buy in bulk, I can still save money on the smaller quantities of regular sized items that I buy every week.
- Spending just an hour or so a week looking at my grocery store’s sales and coupons, and then using that to meal plan, has saved me about 30% on groceries consistently.
- For me, my grocery store’s sales and coupons are a better source of coupons than websites, and they are more likely to be for items that I actually buy.
Some couponing is better than no couponing at all; why pay more when you don’t have to?
Two Hour Couponing has a great post on the strategy behind effective couponing- check it out here.
Here’s how the math worked out on a few items this past month:
- My grocery store was having a BOGO sale on “All” detergent, but they were wiped out of almost all of the liquid detergent. So I got a raincheck for the liquid detergent, bought the pods on BOGO instead, and used a coupon.
- Normal cost of two bags of pods: $12.00
- I paid: $4.00
- Savings: $8.00
- For those who are curious, this is 0.09 cents per load vs. 0.27 cents :).
- I know that yogurt is cheaper in a larger container, but the two of us don’t eat through a 32oz container of yogurt fast enough and it used to go bad before it was used up. I’ve found it’s less wasteful to buy the single serve ones, but use coupons and sale prices to make them cheaper.
- Normal cost of 3 Chobani single serving yogurts: $3.75
- After sale price and coupon: $2.00
- That’s 0.67 cents each vs. $1.25 each, almost 50% cheaper.
In my two big shopping trips this month, I saved $118.00 by shopping the sales and using coupons. Once you get into the habit of doing this, it almost becomes a game or challenge- how much can I save this month? What’s the best deal I can get?
If you are willing to eat based on what’s on sale vs. what you want in the moment, the savings can be substantial.
On the bright side, planning meals based on what’s on sale means you won’t get stuck in a rut eating the same things each week, since sales constantly rotate. You may try some new items that you really enjoy!
What are your favorite couponing tips and tricks? Please share below!
(Images from pixabay.com)
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