Food prices on the rise, gas prices ridiculously high and climbing, and the recent threat of a government shutdown made me give serious thought on how to keep the family fed and running when the paycheck is being stretched so far to begin with. And the thought of possibly not having a paycheck made me physically ill. Enter the coupon queen. Or the former coupon queen is more like it. I used to be pretty good at couponing. Then I slacked off for a while. Then I had a second kid and time got even more scarce. But I have recently put my crown back on and have gotten into a routine and scored some great deals that I would like to share along with tips on how to do it. Have you seen the show Extreme Couponing on TLC? Please forget about all that. Its not reality and most stores will not let you do what those couponers did. You can, however, do that on a much smaller scale. So here are some recent shopping trips that I am proud of and how you can do it too….
The key is to take a look at the sale fliers and match up any sales with the coupons that you have. I am focusing on drugstores but this works in grocery stores as well. In addition, look for items that will get you Register Rewards (Walgreens), Extra Care Bucks (CVS) or +UP Rewards and Single Check Rebates (Rite-Aid). All of these are free money that you can use the next time you are in the store. Note that you need a store loyalty card to get these savings.
Example from my trip to Walgreens:
Aleve 40 count liquid gels: $8.99
-$3 off in-store coupon
-$2 off manufacturers coupon (MC)
Final price: $3.99
This technique is called “stacking” and the drugstores will let you do it. It means using an in-store coupon and MC on the same item. Learn it.
Another Walgreens trip:
Heinz Vinegar (gotta dye those eggs): .99 (in-store coupon)
Final price: .49
(3) 8 lb. bags of potting soil .99 (in store coupon)
Pampers Jumbo pack of diapers: $9
-$5 Register rewards from previous purchase of Pampers
Final price: $4
Skittles (a bribe to keep my daughter from fussing) .89
$3 Register Reward from previous purchase
Total with tax: $6.40!!
(2) 18 pk. Scunci Hair elastics $1.99 each
$1.99 +UP Reward on each = FREE!!
(1) Complete Multipurpose Eye Solution: $8.99
(1) Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash: $3.49
-$1 off coupon
(1) Crest Pro-Health Toothpast 4 oz: $3.49
-$ 1 off coupon
Total: $1.28 (tax)
By taking a little time, I have been able to save quite a bit of money in the past few weeks on items that we use all the time. I'm not clearing the shelves at the store, I'm not hoarding 3 years worth of stuff. I'm just getting the necessities for less and stocking up a bit when I can. Because the less money I have to spend on diapers, the better.