Was I up for the super big challenge to see if I could pull off some major savings this weekend... Sure, why not.
I grabbed an empty binder I had, went on a little hunt around my studio and grabbed up some empty clear ball card sleeves, jumped online and started to print off coupons. Grabbed the Sunday paper and cleared off a huge area in my studio and started to clip, clip and clip away... And when I thought I was done clipping, I found I was not even through clipping. This is the hardest part, clipping all the coupons. From there I found in my studio, a package of 1-13 index stock size 8.5x 11" with a front cover blank page, listing 1-13. I used these to divide up my ball card sleeves, so I could then flip through my binder (after I named each 1-13 section in my index)
So, number 1 became, frozen, can goods, meats. I went through and named each 1-13 pages, then started to fill the coupons inside the binder in their proper place in each ball card sleeve. (hope that makes sense)..
Next, I started with the CVS flyer in the paper.. I saw that several things were FREE, with CVS reward bucks given upon check out.. So with proper planing on how to use CVS reward bucks could work in my favor, I sat down and made a list, using the flyer, matching coupons, and pre-planned prior to getting in my car and driving to my local CVS.. wondering during the 1.7 miles if I could become my own "Coupon Diva"..
Here is the trick I learned. First, you have to pick out the most expensive item from the list, match up your coupons with that item... my first item upon check out was the Crest Mouth Wash, $6.00, minus $3.00 paper coupon, plus I received $3.00 reward coupons back..( So I am out the $6.00 cash up front) this was one transaction. Next up was the second item on the list, giving me back $3.00 in reward coupons.. I kept doing this, using the reward coupons, to get more reward coupons, doing this one transaction at a time.. ( you must make sure no one else is behind you tapping a foot and rolling the eyes) because if there is someone behind you. CVS has a policy, you must return to the back of the line.. for your next transaction, I was lucky, no one was behind me.. I did 6 different transactions, each time, applying the CVS reward bucks back to the second item, the third item and so forth.. At the end of my total transactions, I had spent the $6.00 up front plus tax and had over $43. 20 worth of products for free.. using CVS coupons, and manufacture coupons. Hey, they call this; "Double Stacking" (it's where you buy an item, using an "in store" coupon and then add a manufacture coupon along with the in-store coupon. So if you buy 2 of the same items, you can use 2 in store coupons, plus 2 manufactures coupons. The savings is HUGE..!!
After I had my bags in hand.. I jumped out the door. skipping and smiling all the way to my SUV.. I felt like I had just robbed the bank around the corner.. How could I have just master minded a coupon thrill.. I know nothing about couponing.. trust me, there is a madness to the way you MUST plan out your every move.. this took me over 3 hours to plan out this coupon thrill shopping experience !
I got to wondering on the 1.7 miles back if I could do the same with the grocery store.. Once again back home, hubby happy, I sat down and looked at the Kroger flyer.. lots of 10 items for $10.00 bucks.. plus, I could match each item up with a coupon..I pre loaded my Kroger card online to match the sales in the flyer. Yes, you can jump online and go to Kroger.com and insert your Kroger reward card. I then scouted online and found that I could grab the coupons for the Horizon Organic Milk, listed $3.99, found $2.00 coupon, plus matched this with another .35. off coupon. bringing my total cost per half gal down to $1.64, (again I had to lay out everything I was doing, this trip cost me over 4.5 hours to plan) I looked online for product coupons that would save me money or almost give me the item for free. I purchased nothing else other then what was on my list. Upon check out. with Kroger savings card, that was the first thing I did hand the clerk, then I watched every item on the register to make sure it rang up correctly. Then came the "COUPONS".. poor lady behind me, I said; "this lane might be tied up awhile"....
Double stacking coupons, is not against the law.. by the way, stores get money back for every coupon they receive. My total was $205.79, I ended up paying right at, $45.00.. it took about an hour at check out.. this is not the way to shop if you are in a hurry or with children. Everything must be planned out and once you start shopping, you can not add anything to your cart that you don't have on your list.. it will toss off your numbers and cost YOU money.. several items I was able to get for FREE..Oh and by the way, you do have to profile your cashier.. the last thing you want is a cashier who is going to print off the grocery store receipt and go item by item making sure to check every single bag that you did purchase the item in question.. Yes, I didn't profile my cashier :(
After I got home, blowing the horn of the SUV from down the street.. heck why not, I had just won, HUGE SAVINGS.. lol lol
Back at the kitchen table, I wondered if I could do the same thing with another grocery store.. Marsh has great deals, 10 for $10.00.. 3 hours later, I was in side Marsh buying what I had coupons for. Marsh as well had a deal where if you spent $10.00 you got $5.00 back. With limited cashiers, profiling was not something I could do, one lane open only :(
Again out came the pile of coupons.. one after the other.. I could really tell the cashier was totally not liking me too well.. I did apologize, but it didn't seem to help my case..10 gaterade bottles, only ended up costing me .16 each.. total with coupons, $14.00, 3 transaction later, $15.00 in reward bucks. So I spent $29.00 but got back $15.00 in reward bucks.. good thing, while I was inside the store, I ordered 10 more Horizon organic milk, $3.99-(in store savings $1.00) - $1.50 off 2, plus another instore coupon, made each half gallon only .69 cents. 10 half gal of milk $6.90, 10 boxes of cereal, plus all the coupons, $1.25 a box. Plus I had to pick up a few other items, which I had coupons for as well.. Bringing up my total upon check out to $29 and some tax .. but then I received back $15.00 in which I can use upon my next visit.
So there you have it.. in total, about 7.5 hours plus figuring out my coupons with store ads, loading 2 cards up prior to shopping, matching up coupons.. but the savings was HUGE.. I don't know why I never used coupons prior.. Will I do this again.. sure, now that I have a binder full of coupons.. Oh, by the way.. when I was at Kroger a man asked me to sign up for the Indianapolis Star newspaper.. I would receive the Thursday paper with coupons, plus the Sunday paper with coupons for $4.24 a month... Remember the blog I had written up about walk away, for the best deal.. I took my own advice and walked away from the newspaper offer..Guess what I got, the subscription for $4.24 a month, but I got a $5.00 Kroger gift card, I used upon check out :) So, really I got the first month for free, plus I made .60 cents off the deal.. See, it never hurts to walk away from something because you never know what someone will offer you .. I am now wondering if I would of held out, if I would of received 2 $5.00 Kroger cards, darn.. my sales Technics are slipping with age..
So, do you coupon clip? Are you a coupon hoarder ? Did you save big with coupons? Let me know how you feel about coupons and if you have ever used coupons, or are willing to try being a "Coupon Diva"