That’s right for 3 days between my usual mom duties, homeschool, and trying to make time for myself I binged on learning how to coupon. My husband and I had tried it before and had some small success but this time I was thinking on a much bigger scale. I read numerous “Intro to Couponing/Extreme Couponing” blog posts and watched Extreme Couponers on TLC like it was Sesame Street for 3 days. The funny thing is it came natural to me.
My dad taught me a few things when I was younger that I find myself using constantly. The first of these life lessons was shop multiple stores, you can always find better deals that way. It was true when I was a teenager and it’s still true. If you shop by the week shopping only sales ads it can be easy to purchase the groceries and household supplies your family needs on a strict budget. I have memories of my dad making out his shopping list for two or three stores and we come home with a carload of food purchased inexpensively.
One big tip for top coupon bloggers is simple to follow but could be hard to implement when you need to fill in missing items from your usual shopping list. ONLY SHOP THE SALES. Whether it’s a sales ad or an in-store unadvertised sale, if you stick to couponing just the ads you can save big! In my case our neighborhood Kroger is running an excellent 2 week sale just in time for school to start. The sale is known as the 5 for $5. During the sale if you buy 5 participating items you get $5 off your purchase. Kroger makes shopping the sale items simple by advertising the sale price of the item with a blue sign containing the 5 for $5 purchase price. The mix and match sales are also run for the following offers: buy 10 save $5 and buy 6 save $3. Not all items included in these sales are listed in the sale ad. When you go to the store look for a brochure sitting next to the sales paper. This brochure contains a list of everything included in the current mix and match deal.
Armed with the coupons I had collected over the last, a list of all items included in the mix and match sale, and a spreadsheet I created just for couponing I sat down to tackle my first major couponing list. I made sure not to include anything that was part of the 10/10 promotion going on in the store and only listed things my family purchases. This current sale is running just in time for back-to-school deals so there are a lot of snack items and other kids products my two love to devour or use.
Come Saturday the kids and I along with Uma (what they call my mom) set forth to the store. As I found the deals Uma was in charge of pulling coupons needed for the various products. This sale is also a great time to have a separate shopping cart. Uma has bad arthritis and a spine disease so she takes full advantage of electronic ride on carts. When we hit a total of 5 participating items in her cart they got transferred to the big cart where Topher was enjoying his people watching, and watching all the awesome snacks and lunch items being tossed into his cart.
After 3 hours of meticoulus deal and coupon locating it was time to checkout. My heart was racing and I was thinking ‘If this doesn’t match my calculations we are going to be putting things back because I’m not going broke over snacks and lunches”.
Wouldn’t you know it! All of our coupons scanned and our shopping trip was a major success. The screen in this picture doesn’t show our total balance at the end of the trip after store specials, digital coupons and printed coupons. Take a look at the receipt for the complete savings breakdown.
Our total balance after the coupons was $143.48. So we basically had a savings of 50% (total before savings was $285.97). Whoohoo! This was a great end to our first trip. Take a look at our haul.