Does anyone out there coupon? I spent a day last month rotting my brain watching Extreme Couponers on Netflix, and I am HOOKED on coupons now. Tonight I saved $75.00 on a $160.00 bill. It is insane, but I can't stop and was wondering if I'm the only crazy one on here.
I watch this show all the time, but the problem for me? I don't understand how it works, I am not a dumb person, but i just don't get it. Could you maybe explain it to me or is there a website to explain it?
I am not super "extreme" about it. I do buy in bulk if there's a good deal w/ sales and coupons, but only non perishable things that I know we will use (toilet paper, diapers, razors) or something that we will need in an emergency situation (bottled water, band-aids). I am limited in my couponing because I only coupon things that I know I will use as a part of my regular every day living, so I don't clip every coupon available.
When I do get items for free that I know I won't use, I donate them to charity. Packaged foods, canned foods, toiletries, clothes, etc. are always in need. The other "bonus" with donating items is that you can get a receipt and write-off the value of the goods at the end of the year.
The concept that the grocery store is going to get upset by couponing for free things, even in bulk, is also a misconception. The manufacturers reimburse the store for the amount of the coupon, and usually also pay the store an additional % (I think the average I've seen is 8%) to cover the cost of labor of the person ringing in the coupons at the register.
Anyway, here is what I do:
- Get a copy of the free paper that is delivered to my house every week (w/coupon insert) and check the coupons. If there are several for products I know I will use, I'll go to the store and pick up an extra 4 copies.
- Clip coupons that are for items I know I will buy at some time in the next 6 months. Especially non-perishable items. I keep them in a coupon organizer separated by type (lines up with the aisle headings at the store).
- Check the store ads for stores within 3 miles of my house. I don't care how good a deal is if I have to drive all over town. I find good deals on items that I need, and then choose the one or two stores that have the MOST bargains this week. I am lucky to have 5 close by, but I will only do 2 a week.
- Go through my coupon organizer and check to see if I have coupons for any of the items on sale that I know I will be buying. I pull the appropriate coupons out of the file and paperclip them to the back of my shopping list for each of the 2 stores.
Then I just shop like normal, but at the register before I pay I hand them my stack of coupons. By pairing up sale prices w/coupons I have been saving on average 45% off of my grocery bill. It would be great to save 99% like the people on the show, but I think half is pretty good and I'm not spending 60 hours a week on it. I probably spend an hour or two a couple nights a week on the couch reading the ads and pairing them with coupons.
The key is to clip coupons you know you'll need and then hold onto them until the item goes on sale to get the most savings. As an example, I just bought baby food:
- Normally the organic baby food is $1.50/package.
- The store had all organic baby food 15% off, making it $1.28/package
- I had a coupon for $3 off the purchase of 6 packages, making it $0.78 each!
If you need that product immediately and it doesn't go on sale, you're still saving money though! And if the coupon expires before you use it, you can actually donate the coupons to military families overseas who can use them for up to 6-12 months after they expire at their military stores.
In the UK couponing isn't embraced as much as the USA. The checkout workers look at you like you've produced a wad of pain when you present more than 1! I love watching extreme couponing and wish I could do the same!
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