Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adventures in Couponing

For those of you I have discussed this with you know that I am getting into this kicking and screaming! I have tried using coupons in the past and my theory has always been that I can save more money buying generic than using the coupons.
After a meet up with some other Columbus blogging moms I decided I had to try it. See, one of our moms is Ellen from Thrifty Chic Mom. She is a couponing queen. But get this...2 of the moms who are going to try and come to our next meet up (this was our first) are both huge into couponing too! (I think it is a sign Sandy...you HAVE to try this). They are Marcy from Stretching a Buck and Tara from Dealing Seeking Mom.
Ellen told me, "I never pay for toilet paper, I never pay for toothbrushes." and she named a couple others...I was like, "What....How....huh????"

She gave us a little run down on how it works. (She has a tutorial on her site)
So I said I would try it. I knew I would have to make up a coupon notebook.(Kim from Crafty Mama of 4 did a guest post a couple weeks back about making up one, and Ellen also has one on her site.) That took me a most of Saturday to do. Make sure you get dividers that are wide enough to show past the edges of your baseball card holders. I also labeled my coupon pages at the bottom with a labeler to help divide them even better. Making it fast and easy to find your coupons will help in your over all experience.

Here are a few tips from me when you go on your first adventure:
* Do not take kids if at all possible (especially three 8 year olds! LOL)
* Do not pick a New grocery store to do your first adventure out because it is
bigger and has better selection (DH idea). I didn't know where anything was.
* Make sure you have it all planned out ahead of time. Do not try to figure out
what you are going to buy when you get there and then look for that coupon.
I did...and can't imagine if I had not had it planned out.

I am not sure how much money I saved. I mean I know I used about $15 in coupons that came off at the end. The receipt said I saved $67 (with Kroger savings). But I also know I bought things I wouldn't have. It will give us more food, for a longer time....so I guess that is good. I made sure things were less with sales and coupons than with generic. So that is all positive.
I still have to give this some time and feel like I get the system down before I can give it a full review. I have not tackled CVS or Walgreens yet. CVS seems even more confusing with the Extra Care Bucks.
We spent $199 (keep in mind we are buying for 7) which filled two carts (3 when bagged up). DH always likes to estimate what the total is when they are checking us out. He is usually pretty close. He guessed $280. (If you add that $67 he would have been close). He felt it was worth it. My decision is still out, but I will give it more time.
I am going to try and get some coupon resources on my site for you though. So watch for those. Coupon Queen I don't see in my future, but you never know. I have heard this is addicting.
The kids were trying to figure out why in the world I was taking a picture of the groceries! LOL


Ali said...

You go, girl! Can't wait to hear more details when I see you on Monday.

Thrifty and Chic Mom said...

Great job for your first try. One tip never buy something you wouldn't normally buy just b/c it is cheap that is an easy way to cancel out your savings. Yes you get more stuff but the point is to save on what you would buy anyway. Thanks for the linky love

My2Gs said...

Good job Sandy! I'm really bummed that I can't come to the next meet up :(

Donna said...

Great work! I second what Thrift and Chic Mom said only use coupons for you would normaly buy.

I also don't use coupons. I save more without them. I went shopping on Saturday and saved over $200 just on shopping the the 10 for $10 sales for meats and things I use. (And that was 50% percent of the bill.)

Mommy Managing said...

I'm so glad you decided to join "The Dark Side"! LOL!

You're already ahead of the game knowing the people you know and having your binder set up.

I had the same problem quoting my "savings" because I would not have bought 15 razors at one time previously. However, if they are only 15 cents, I'm stocking up!

I did spend a little more initially, while stocking up, but then I noticed a dramatic decrease.

Stick with it!

Tara @ Deal Seeking Mom said...

Fabulous job! Thanks for the linky, Sandy.

Although I will occasionally buy things that I wouldn't normally if they're ultra cheap or free. I might find out that I like it, or pass it on to a friend or someone else that can use it.

Felicia said...

This is an excellent post! I've been trying to do a better job with this stuff! I really need to build up a stockpile though. .that is the key I hear.

Kimberly said...

It is really hard to get into the coupon thing. My problem is I never really read the ultra fine print and then I look like an idiot at the checkout!

FromThe Creek said...

Great job Sandy! I got really lazy after Christmas with my couponing and noticed a huge difference in a few weeks. Stick with it and you will get better about stockpiling things that are great deals...just so long as you will use it that is.

Christy said...

Keep us updated. I was planning to do something on my blog about coupons (I never use them - they are always out of date before I realize that I have them). Since I only buy name brand mayonnaise and dish detergent, I didn't figure it would save me anything. I saw where Sunday's paper is going to have three good coupon flyers this week so maybe I'll give it another try before I post in my blog my "true" feelings about coupons.