One episode of Extreme Couponing on Netflix (ok, I couldn't stop at just one) and I was hooked. Seriously, those master couponers make you wonder why you've been wasting all of your hard earned money by um, PAYING FOR STUFF. Usually that's the way it works, right? You work, you earn money. You need/want something. You hand your money over to the store and in return, you have that something. HA! Extreme Couponers baulk at that idea. At the very least, they baulk at the idea of paying even close to full price for anything.
Enter: the first Sunday paper I've bought in just about forever. The $2 price tag is well worth the plethora of coupons inside. Long story short, last week was the first time I tried my hand at this uber-couponing thing -- buy it on sale, with a manufacturer's coupon (that doubles!), and stack it with a store coupon and... OH MY! I won't lie. It took me a few hours to get my shit together (ie: super Excel sheet.... let's make use of that Business degree, now shall we). Not every deal is the same of course and I'm not about to become one of those people you see on Extreme Couponing. I mean really, I'm not about to buy 18 bottles of PeptoBismol when we NEVER use that stuff anyway. And, I don't have a lot of time... some of those broads dedicate 60 hours a week to couponing.
Anyway, I did pretty good last week, saving us about $200 on groceries and household items (between Price Chopper, Hannaford, and CVS). But this week... hell yeah! Just one week in and I definitely am starting to get the hang of this and it was a MUCH faster go today. Check this out.... I hit up CVS this morning and got all this loot for.... wait for it.... $17.82! And, being the novice couponer that I am, I messed up my first transaction and ended up spending $4 more than I wanted to. If I had done this 'correctly', that total would have been closer to $13 for the whole lot. But, alas, I am learning!
Here's what I scored:
3 bottles of laundry detergent, dishwasher packs, disinfectant spray, 2 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner, 2 tubs of disinfectant wipes, 3 bags of candy (next I need to teach hubby candy portion control! Ha!), 4 cans of soup, and a can of mixed nuts. I paid $17.82 and SAVED $75.88 at this one store. Granted, you can get these items at a cheaper retail price at other stores (I get that), but when combined with sales, coupons, and rewards bucks, this can't be beat.
Not only is couponing a bit of an adrenaline rush... and sometimes cause for a bit of a panic attack (I got all sweaty and flustered when I did my first transaction wrong which messed me up for getting $10 rewards bucks that I was going to use to pay for my second transaction), but I'm feeling like it's kinda necessary for my family right now. Baby J is coming in less than 3 short months and that means mama is going to be out of work and not making her full salary. Missing an entire paycheck when you get paid once a month will put a damper on things... oh, and then there's that little daycare expense thing. So, as part of my crazy nesting that's been going down lately, couponing is helping me to build a stash of necessities for very little money to hopefully offset some of the income loss that will come from my maternity leave... and make sure there's a can of soup in the pantry when I don't want to pack up a newborn, wipe off the spit up on my shirt and venture through the snow to the grocery store between breast feedings in early April (which is still pretty much winter by Vermont standards).
Go forth and clip! And remember, you only have to go as gung-ho as you want to. I'm thinking I can handle a couple hours on a Sunday morning of clipping and matching up with sales without too much of a hassle. And I grocery shop during the week anyway, so that's no additional time.
A couple of really good resources to get started...
1) The Krazy Coupon Lady (warning: this place is hardcore, but don't be intimidated)
3) Your local grocery store's rewards program (I had no idea mine did email coupons, e-coupons, and website printable coupons IN ADDITION to the regular "scan your card for the discount" thing. Whoa!