I have been walking across the street to Wawa, a gas station that I have never heard of until I moved to the East Coast, to pick up a Sunday paper every week. By the second week, I was hooked and as soon as I get up, I am over there. Can you believe they are $3.00? Back in Washington state, it was $1.50 for a Sunday paper, at least they were before I moved to Germany. I decided to get a subscription to the paper so now its only $8.50 or something a month for Sunday delivery so that is awesome.
I have been collecting coupons and having a ton of fun with this. My little accordion file will not hold any more coupons so I ordered some baseball card protectors to start my coupon binder. But since it wont be in the mail for a few more days, I had to bring my overly stuffed file with me for my first shopping trip using coupons. Thankfully Steve had the day off of work and school so he got to come with me because I needed some back up. Being a "coupon virgin", I really had no idea what I was doing and the thought was intimidating.
Once I got the ads for the week and knew what was on sale, I immediately started doing match-ups for what was on sale and what I had a coupon for to make the price even lower. I had a envelope for each store we were going to with its coupons I was going to use inside. I emailed all the stores requesting its coupon policy, emailed companies of products we bought the most requesting coupons, and then created a spreadsheet and had a tab for each store with the item, sale price, coupon amount off, qty, and what I was expecting to pay. I wanted to be 110% prepared.
All that work paid off. Those gals on TLC's Extreme Couponing are not joking when they say that couponing is a part time job. Its just something that I make time for in my week now. Steve and I started the day off with some fast food so we wouldn't be hungry while we shopped and started our day. Steve was a bit skeptical with it all and I didn't want him thinking I wasted all that time clipping coupons, going through ads, and being as organized as possible for this one trip to not save any money at all. I loved having my list right on my tablet in front of me while we went aisle to aisle matching coupons to sales that weren't even in the ad, its like a treasure hunt. It was so nervous that the cashier at the first store, which was Pathmark by the way, wasn't going to accept any of our coupons. I was having a lot of self doubt when we got to the register. I thought there was no way I did this right and there is no way he will accept all these. But he did, and we only paid twenty something for a sixty something order. I couldn't believe it. Steve actually said he felt like we robbed them.
We went to 6 or 7 stores total in that one day, every single one I had an Adrenalin rush at the register. It was exhilarating to see the prices drop dramatically from retail prices because of coupons, sales, membership club cards, and in store coupons. We have never ever filled up our car with groceries. We never spend enough or get enough at the store to do so. Our car was FULL! Trunk was full and back seat.. Full! Wanna know how much we paid for all our groceries? ...(drum roll, please)... about $200. How much would it be if we just walked it and bought it without coupons or any thing else? Over $400. Steve and I were so happy and giddy the whole way home. We were having a hard time trying to fit it all in our cupboards. fridge, and freezer.
He is encouraging me now more then ever to keep couponing and I never want to stop. Steve is a see it to believe it sort of man and he says he is now a believer in couponing, Hah!
Want to know some of my favorite deals we got?
Tidy Cats 20lb bag cat litter
On sale for 3 for $10.00 (thats 60lbs of litter for 10 bucks, that's a deal on its own)
1.00 off coupon (from calling them saying how much I love their product)
Total: $3.00 per 20lb bag (Reg Price:20lb Tidy Cats can get up to $12.00+ each)
Palmolive Dish Soap
On sale for $0.88 each
$0.25 off Mfr coupon that doubles to $0.50 off
Total: $0.38 ea (I had a few coupons for this so I stocked up, we will have clean dishes for some time!)
Retail $5.99 each
Walgreen's Register rewards gives you $6.00 towards your next purchase.
Buy KY in first transaction, gets $6.00 Register Rewards to pay for other items you have
Final price: FREE!
International Delight Iced Coffee
Retail $3.99 each (not on sale)
$1.00 off Mfr coupon
$1.00 off in-store coupon loaded to saving card
Total: $1.99 (what I had to pay at the register)
Ibotta (app) paid me $1.00 to buy product
Final price: $0.99 ea (had to get a few of these too, they are delish)
Check out Iboota here! I get paid for every "recruit" so please sign up through that link. pretty please.
I could go on but you see how I shop! It is thrilling to see the savings and now we have more food in our home then we know what to do with. Couponing gives us affordable food and we get to try all these new foods that we never could before because to us, they were over priced, with coupons when they are on sale, they are cheaper then generics. Its wonderful.
I just wanted to share with you my first couponing experience. It was
pretty great, went better then I expected and I did not have one coupon
rejected which was a fear. I am looking forward to Sunday to see next
weeks deals and start the process over again.
Once I realize that I have coupons that will expire soon and will not be on sale anywhere around me, I put them aside to be shipped off to Military families stationed over seas. They can use them at Commissaries over there for six months past the expiration date. I remember going to ACS (Army Community Service) and getting coupons that people sent from the states. Although I wasn't as in to couponing as I am now, it was pretty neat to use them at our Commissary after they were expired. Military member really don't make that much and coupons were a big help for us and many of our friends.
Another thing I learned and encourage you to do as well is that I don't throw away any newspaper, ads or anything that the newspaper comes with every Sunday. I set those aside as well and let my stacks of newspapers keep piling up and then donate them to animal shelters because they use newspaper to line cat cages. At the end of the day, the only thing that enters the trash from my couponing is the insert scraps that I cut the coupons out of because their isn't much to speak of after they are all cut out. Its great that we are able to help two things we care about; other Military families, and animals that are less fortunate then ours.