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Archive for the ‘Crazy Couponing’ Category

As I mentioned in this post, I watched a bunch of Extreme Couponing episodes while I was sick a few weeks ago. I was amazed. I was inspired. I was jealous. How on earth do these people finagle their way into getting thousands of dollars of groceries for FREE??? I’ve always been a coupon clipper, but clearly these people are out of my league. Or are they? What if I could take what they know and apply it to my shopping habits? Could I save my family hundreds of dollars by becoming a little more extreme? (I already switched to Geico.)

Challenge accepted! I needed a new one for November anyway. So here it is:

4 weeks. 4 shopping trips patterned after the extreme example.  Save at least 75% off the retail value of each week’s haul.

Coupons get delivered to my door every week via the Sunday Denver Post, but I also went to the 7Eleven on the corner and bought 10 more papers. It was $15 well spent, but the guy behind the register looked at me like I was crazy. When my mom was in town, she helped me sort and file the coupon mess I already had, and I spent a few hours creating a system that works for me. I’ll post pictures of my binder in the next post because it’s still a work in progress. Not to be deterred by an unfinished system (which I’ll explain later), I compared a few websites, looked through the circular ads for my local stores to see what was on sale or being featured, then got to clipping coupons. Here’s what I bought during this week’s sale:

Dawn Dishwashing Liquid retails for $1.49, my coupons were .50 off one, and the store doubles coupons up to $1, which made them .50 each.  $16.39 down to 5.50= 66% savings

Gillette Body Wash retails for 3.79, they were on sale for 2.99, and I had coupons for $2.00 off one, which made them .99 each. $7.58 down to $1.98= 73% savings

Schick Razors 3 pack retails for $6.28 each, they were on sale buy 1 get 1 free, I had a coupon for $6.oo off one, which made them .28 for both packs. $12.56 down to .28=98% savings)

Oral B Toothbrushes retail for $1.79 each, they were on sale 10 for $10, I had .75 off two, and the store doubled them to $1, which made them .50 each. $19.69 down to $5.50= 73% savings

Crest toothpaste retails for 2.25 – 3.25 each, they were on sale 10 for $10, my coupons were .50 off each – I had 11 for regular and 11 for kid’s toothpaste, the store doubled them to $1, which made all of them FREE. $65.78 down to $0= 100% savings

Tombstone Pizzas (not pictured) retail for $3.99 each, they were on sale $2.20 each if you buy 5, I bought 10; used .75 off each coupons, the stored doubled them to $1, which made the pizzas $1.10 each. $39.90 down to $11. =72% savings

$161.90 down to $24.26. An 85% savings over all. Goal achieved. Not bad for my first attempt!

This is one of the actual receipts for the toothpaste and toothbrushes. You can’t see it very well even when you enlarge it , but it says “You saved 100% off your order” on the bottom. 🙂

This week I only used coupons for 6 different items. I have hundreds more just waiting to save me money. It’s kind of exciting. I learned a few things this week:

  1. You have to know your store’s coupon policies because the checkers often don’t. One checker told me there was a limit of 3 like coupons per transaction, another told me it was 4, which is what I have printed out and in my binder, another (who was very snotty) told me that the policy changed this week and it’s now 5 like coupons per transaction per day. Seriously? She was clearly not a fan of extremers – which I’m NOT calling myself yet. She said the stores are catching on to the people who take advantage of the system. I was so irritated that I tried to make her feel bad by telling her I work with the homeless and the stuff I’m buying will help a lot of people. I know. Shame on me. One of the checker girls was so impressed that my bill dropped down to just the tax, she asked for my phone number so I could help her get started by teaching her what I’ve learned so far. Nice.
  2. Organization is key, so find a system that works for you. I started out with clear zipper pouches (bought on clearance for .25 each) which I labeled for all of our categories. I thought the baseball card collector’s sheets were too much work. I was wrong, so I’m switching my system around a bit. Pictures coming. It also helps that I have a lovely 9-year-old assistant to help me clip and file.
  3. Take your binder to the store with you. Even if you think you’ve pulled all the coupons you will need, you’ll be surprised at the deals in the store that aren’t advertised. And there’s always the clearance section to consider.
  4. Get friends and family to save coupons for you instead of throwing them away. Most of the people I know don’t want to bother with them, and I’m happy to take them off their hands. I’m also willing to share my loot with them when I find great deals like the toothpaste haul this week. It’s incentive for them to help me.
  5. Don’t be a hoarder. That sounds a little judgmental, but the very first thing checkers asked me this week was if I had a separate room in my house to hold all of the stuff I’m getting free or for pennies on the dollar. I laughed and told them I live in a mobile home, i.e. Itty bitty storage space.

This was fun AND it will help my family and friends get the things they need, and some of what they want. Can I refer to this as my new hobby? 😉

Anyone care to join me? What’s the best deal you’ve gotten lately?

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