Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joining the ranks of the coupon queens

I was talking to a friend of mine who went shopping recently with her mom (who is a coupon fanatic.) She said that they learned that the SuperKmart near our house does double coupon days about once a month. They both went there that week and stocked up on groceries and saved a bundle.

So, when the store did another double coupon offer, I thought I’d see how big a savings I could get. I used manufacturer coupons that were doubled and a few that I got off the Kmart website that couldn’t be doubled. I also found a coupon online for $5 of a $50 purchase.

Here’s how I did. I had two transactions. My first total was $52.36 and I had $27.23 in coupons, so the total I paid was $25.13. My second transaction total was $42.59 with $14.46 in coupons, so my total was $28.13.

I also got three register coupons on my way out. One was for $5 off a $15 purchase, one was for $4 of a $20 purchase and another was for $5 off of $25.

I got a box of cereal that's normally $4.59 for 90 cents. I got Pringles for 50 cents a can. I got a pack of razors that are normally $7.49 for $1.00 because they were on sale for $5 and I had a $2 coupon that was doubled. I also got a $5.49 bottle of shampoo for free because it was on sale for $3.33 and I had a coupon for $2 off that got doubled, so I didn't pay anything for that item.

I actually enjoyed it. I can see why it’s almost an addiction for some women. I got a few items I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have the double coupon offer. For example, I’d never pay full price of $5.49 for a Sara Lee Cheesecake, but since it ended up being $2.49, I got it. I chatted with another shopper who suggested some other websites and we swapped some coupons. Another lady told me that the Chicago Tribune has a lot of coupons and that you can buy a copy at the Dollar Store.

I also figured out an easier way to organize the coupons. When I remember to bring along coupons, they’re usually all stuffed into a small envelope or I have them in a little coupon caddy with about a dozen different categories. That sometimes makes it harder because you have to search through so many places to find them. I brought along a file folder and had some sheets inside as separators. I had four sections: one for frozen and refrigerated foods, one for foods that aren’t refrigerated, one for non-food items and one section I left empty. As I went through the stack, the coupons I realized I wouldn’t use that day went in the fourth compartment so I didn’t get them mixed up. It worked out well with the way the store was set up.

This morning I also made a stop at Walgreen’s. It was Saturday afternoon, but they were already putting up tags for the sales starting on Sunday. I knew I was almost out of peanut butter, so I went to that aisle to get a jar. I saw that it was on sale for 2/$4. I think the normal price was around $4. In smaller print, it said that if you bought 8, you’d get an $8 off coupon for your next purchase. So, it was like getting them for $1 each. Now not everyone goes through that much peanut butter, but the expiration date was more than a year away and the way my boys are eating lately, we’ve been going through a jar of peanut butter every two weeks. It will probably last us through the end of the summer. And if I had gone tomorrow, they would likely have not had eight jars on the shelf since they run out of sales items quickly. Now on my next visit I can use that coupon and get three gallons of milk for free.

Well, happy shopping! Can’t wait to get the Sunday paper in the morning and start clipping.

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