Over the years I've been asked quite a few questions about how we make ends meet on a limited budget and I've always meant to post more about it. In the past, coupons have been a big part of that strategy and so in addition to hopefully writing other posts about my savings strategies I've decided to do a (possibly) weekly posts on our couponing adventures to share one of the main ways that we save (that possibly is there because the moment I try to do every week posts I almost always forget or have something come up and don't get around to the next one).
Today was our weekly shopping trip and I'd carefully planned and plotted an extra stop at CVS to do a little couponing. I had $26 in extra bucks from last week to use, plus quite a few coupons that I was hoping were going to be problem free (and they were).
I actually wasn't planning on buying diapers today, but when I saw the sale price plus the gift card back and thought about the extra bucks I already had I decided to get them now, while they're a fairly good deal. And we needed wipes, which is why those $3.99-not-a-great-deal-wipes made the cut (I'm always grateful when we do have extra bucks when there's something we need that I don't have a great coupon/sale combo for!)!
Here are today's deals:
I used 2 $1.50 manufacturer coupons (-$3)
And then got a $5 gift card for the purchase (-$5)
Which brings the cost to $6.23 a pack
1 Pack of Pampers Wipes ($3.49)
$2 off manufacturer coupon (-2)
Final Cost- $1.49
1 Large Pack of CVS Wipes ($4.99)
CVS $1.50 off CVS Wipes Coupon (-$1)
Final Cost- $3.99
After adding the diapers and wipes to the cart I got back to the task of finding the deals I'd carefully planned out. The main thing that I needed to get was a razor for Paul, since apparently we're not in couponing razor season (is that fall? I was trying to remember because I know there's a month where men's razor blades were pretty much free on a weekly basis, but I think we're still a ways off from that time of year). Then I found the other super deals on my list and it turned out like this (these are the prices after receiving CVS Extra Bucks back on the receipt):
Birthday Cake M&M's ($.75)
CVS Extra Bucks Back $.75 (-$.75)
Final Cost- Free
Culturelle Probiotics ($10)
CVS Extra Bucks Back (-$10)
Final Cost- Free
Colgate 2 for $6
CVS $1.50 off toothpaste coupon (-$1.50)
CVS Extra Bucks Back $3 (-$3)
Final Cost- $.75 each
Tresemme Shampoo and Conditioner 2 for $8 x 2 ($16)
Manufacturer Coupons 4 x $2.00 (-$8)
CVS Extra Bucks Back $5 (-$5)
Final Cost- $3 or $.75 each
Gillette Venus Razor $11.49 x 2 ($22.98)
Gillette Fusion Pro Razor $9.99 ($9.99)
For a total cost of $32.97
Gillette Venus Razor Coupon $4 x 2 (-$8)
Gillette Men's Razor Coupon $4 (-$4)
CVS Extra Bucks buy $30 get $10 back deal (-$10)
Final Cost $10.97 or $3.66 each
Before coupons the items rang up in the triple digits. Even with the coupons in my hand that always makes me nervous. Then I handed over the coupons and that knocked off $58.50. I paid $47.35 and then got back $36.75 for my next trip.
Not a bad day of couponing! I'm not quite back to where I was when I'd been doing it for a few months but I feel like I'm starting to get back in the swing of things!
My son and my son-in-law both switched to the old fashioned razor that you put blades in several years ago. They use shaving soap and a brush instead of shaving cream and have saved a bundle. My SIL has a really heavy beard and really likes the close shave he gets. My daughter has cloth diapered and says that even with the initial cost of the diapers it saves about $1,600 per child. It would be somewhat less with couponing, but still a savings particularly with several kids. I do use my extra bucks and appreciate them when I get a deal on Epsom salts or vitamins. You are much better than I am at making sure you use them, though. Are you finding it less of a savings since you are using less processed food? I remember reading your blog back when Paul worked at CVS and thinking that it wouldn't pay me as much to coupon because you were buying food items I never buy.ReplyDelete
Cam, this might seem like a silly question, but what do you do with all this stuff? I remember from your last post that you also bought shampoo. Do you continue to stockpile it? Will you reach a point where you quit buying it for a while and start stocking other things?ReplyDelete
Interesting point about some things having coupons during certain times of year...I would have guessed that for seasonal, but had no idea for other products.
I am really loving these posts, although couponing still seems really, really intimidating to me! I usually shop at discount stores that don't offer many sales or accept coupons, and I get really good prices, but you're doing better than I would there so now I'm very, very curious...
It's definitely harder to save on food. I think my record now is around 25% off, which isn't bad, and is mostly because our grocery store (meijer) has a huge coupon program where you pick out deals online and they do a bunch of rewards which really add up since we do most of our shopping there.
I did cloth diapering up until we had a sort of disaster with Mae (think going to the doctor with big bloody welts) that kind of scared me off cloth forever (or at least for a long time!). The other downside is that Paul never got the hang of it (we have diapers but we used prefolds)so when we used cloth he doesn't do diapers and with soon to be three in diapers that might drive me insane!
It's actually really interesting how the sales work because a lot of things do come on sale seasonally (or at least their really low prices). I was trying to find some lists on couponing sites but they all seemed to revolve around food.
A lot of what I've seen is that the super low prices revolve around what is going on, so you will see a ton of medicine and cleaning products in January and sales like that.
What we've done in the past, when I was really in the swing of couponing and was spending about $6 a week, is donate about 75% of what we were buying. I basically waited until we had a stockpile (and that stockpile almost got us through law school! That's what inspired me to start up again because after three years it was running low) and then started donating the stuff that was basically free to a local organization that ran through a priest we knew.
Right now I'm probably extra hoard-y though since the next year is so uncertain (when Paul will have a job!) and so I'm definitely stocking up and buying things when they're at their lowest just in case it takes time for him to find a job this next fall/winter.
I tried cloth diapering my first... But sold the diapers when I felt it just meant too many contacts with bodily waste. Honestly, too gross for my washing machine. Now I just potty train between 15-18 months. That's where the real savings is - not diapering through the 2s and into the 3s.ReplyDelete
Do you use the mPerks coupons at Meijer? We don't have a Meijer nearby, so I don't shop there, but I guess you can get additional coupons via a mobile phone number and pin if you sign up online, and then "add" the coupons to your account. Do you go online to any other stores to see if they have coupons not available in the paper? At a grocery store nearby me I can enter my Customer Loyalty Card number on their web site and then "add" coupons to my card, so that when I shop at that store and buy those items, the coupon amount will deduct from the item. (I think that's a little harder to use than paper coupons, because you have to have a list somewhere of what coupons you are redeeming and products you need to buy.)ReplyDelete
Any way you do it though, I love saving money and getting normal items for bargain basement prices. Love your ideas.
God Bless. ~ Bonnie
We do use Meijer MPerks (it took me a while to figure out that we could since the first time I asked I was told we had to use a smart phone, which we don't have, but a few months ago someone explained that we could use a computer and it's been great). This week there's a 5% off your entire grocery bill coupon.ReplyDelete
I do use some online coupon sites, with the exception of the Sunday Paper one, after trying to sign in to that one and reading the disclaimer which said that once you click okay they have access to everything you put in on every website! Since that includes passwords and stuff like that I thought that was kind of horrifying, but I do use sites like coupons.com!