Coupons + Store Specials = Savings Double Whammy
Five years ago, I quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom because daycare costs for my young twins were eating up my whole paycheck. However, I still needed a way to afford all the groceries that were being eaten up by the young twins! Enter: couponing.
I began clipping coupons regularly and saw savings at the register. This was great, but earlier this year, it got even better. A friend asked me to help research an article she was writing about couponing. In the course of our research, she found expert couponer Jill Cataldo and her instructional DVDs, which helped me take my couponing to an almost meta-physical level.
Jill taught me the two most important practices that result in huge savings at the register:
- Combine manufacturer’s coupons with store sales to decrease your price paid per item.
- Buy enough items to last until the next sale, so you can “shop at home.” Typically, stores will have items on sale at least once every three months.
My two cents? Be sensible as you are creating your “shop at home” stockpile. We’ve all heard about extreme couponers who freak out the cashiers with grocery carts full of products for which they pay just pennies. Really, who needs a cart full of Febreze and Pop-Tarts, even for free? Who even has this kind of storage space?
Things taste better (or work better, in the case of personal care items) when they’re fresh, and it’s just bad karma to take everything. If I have more coupons than I need for a certain item, I leave them on the shelf at the store for the next shopper to benefit from.
The breakdown: Full-price Cheerios (the brand of cereal my family prefers, and I don’t try to fight it) are $3.59 per box x 6 boxes = $21.54. With store special, $2 per box x 6 boxes = $12. With .50/off per box coupon doubled AND store special, $1 per box x 6 boxes = $6. Total savings = $15.54.
Some stores don’t offer doubling, but might offer store coupons (such as CVS or Target.) You are allowed to use both one store coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon per item.
Rachel Achmad coupons in Western Massachusetts, and blogs about deals in her region at www.momscheapthrills.tumblr.com.