Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Savings - 03/29/14

Source unknown...
I recently mentioned I have been spending some of my reading/blogging time couponing.

Why bother?!

The obvious answer is to save money.  But there is also, admittedly, a thrill in couponing. The excitement of walking out of a store having paid nothing for a couple tubes of toothpaste or several boxes of pasta - legally* - is much like opening your mailbox and finding that new ARC you've been sent free of charge for a quick review!  Yippee!**

Courtesy of TLC television
Many of you have likely seen Extreme Couponing on cable television. The couponers on this show are just that, extreme! I am not. I don't use hundreds of coupons in a trip. I don't clear the shelves at stores if I can avoid it. I do not have, or need, a separate room, an extra shed, or even the space under my children's beds to store my purchases.

But I do have a stockpile.  It is one of the keys to "strategic couponing", as calls it.

What does strategic couponing mean?

A typical shopper goes to the store and finds what she (or he) needs that week: milk, bread, eggs, cereal, and cold medicine. Smart shoppers may shop at a discount store, a Walmart or something, but again they are buying what they need in the moment and perhaps they save a few dollars because they choose the medicine that is on sale that week.

A couponer will bring along her coupons and, again, buy what she needs.  But she might opt for a different type of cereal, because she has a coupon, and save an additional $0.50. Good for her! There is nothing wrong with this kind of couponing, you are still saving money!

A strategic couponer, however, will plan her shopping trip to include the store/s where she will get the best deals on items she uses, but not necessarily items she needs at that moment (what she needs is already in her stockpile)***. She will plan as much of what is referred to as "stacking coupons" as possible. When she gets to the store/s, she knows what is on sale that week and has her needed manufacturer's and store coupons and any store reward bonus coupons (I'll explain these a bit more in another post). She will then "stack" those discounts (yes, most stores allow this) and end up paying bottom dollar for those items, which she slides into her stockpile. And, the next time she needs cereal, she pulls down a box of cereal for which she paid $0.50 or $1.00, rather than purchasing that same box of cereal for $4.59 this week because she needs it!

That is strategic couponing and that is well worth a couple of hours of my time a week!


Two tubes of toothpaste, for FREE

On sale 2 for $6
Stacked with $1 coupons for each item
Stacked with $4 "register reward dollars"


$0 per tube (FREE!!!)

That's the best deal!

*Yes, strategic couponing is totally legal - as long as you don't break the law - IE copying coupons you found in your weekly newspaper is not legal, so don't do it and you are good!

**Admittedly, for me, there is also a thrill in sticking it to "big business". These guys have been making money off of me for years!  Every day I am bombarded with, legal but all too often covert, advertising created with the sole purpose of making me spend, spend, spend (think that conveniently placed can of diet coke on that sitcom you love, or that darn pop up on your favorite website). If I can swing the game my way for once, yeah for me!

***This is important! Strategic, non-extreme, couponers will NOT waste money on items just because they have a coupon. We only buy items that we know our family will use and only in quantities that are reasonable. Twenty boxes of ice cream are a waste - they will get freezer burnt before my family will use them - but twenty boxes of pasta will last for years and it is totally likely my family will use them all. Skip the ice cream, buy the pasta!