Belinda has chronicled her foray into serious coupon-cutting over on her blog, Ninja Poodles. It’s an interesting read if you want the point of view of a “regular” person following an extreme regime.
She links to her inspiration (be sure to follow the links to read the 4-part series by Attila the Mom) and shares her results.
Personally, I do not do the hard-core couponing because I think it takes too much time (and when I compare the money I’d save to the hourly rate I charge my clients… I figure it’s a wash). But stories like this make me wonder if I’ve been hasty in my decision.
Definitely worth a read.
Okay…I was just blown away at the three “inspirational example receipts.”
Really, once you have a system, it’s not that time consuming…and the kids love to help, at least around here they do! 😉 A list of things I have not paid one penny for in the past three years: toothpaste, toothbrushes (the electric ones too), razors, pads, deodorant, band-aids, shampoo, conditioner, other hair stuff, batteries, light bulbs, gum, pasta, microwave popcorn, oatmeal, granola bars…and I’ve gotten a ton of other really good free stuff, like milk, cheese, beef, cereal…
Not that I don’t get lazy or burnt out or whatever…truthfully these days I go in spurts…but in a month or two “on the wagon” I can amass enough stuff to last us quite a while. 😉
Annual peanut butter sales are on — every August major retailers put it on sale for $1 a jar…go find some coupons and buy enough to last you the whole year long!
I used to do that more often. I would go with two friends to some stores about an hour away that ALWAYS doubled/tripled coupones and would price match. Then I moved. And the combination of a second child (much less time), and stores that only double/triple a bit at a time makes it much harder to get the great deals. But, I am running out of my toothpaste and lotion stash I’d gotten for free, I may have to start up again. The hard part is getting extra of the coupons without buying several papers. I may have to go visit her site for on-line coupon clipping services! It is a thrill to get stuff for free. It is a bit harder to not start buying too much processed/junk food when you see how cheap you can get it!
Seriously? I found ATM’s time estimates to be right on the money. 2 hours initially, to organize your photo-album (no namby-pamby “coupon organizers” for ATM), and then at MOST an hour a week (it doesn’t take me that long, because we don’t have multiple stores for me to choose from, so I’m just concentrating on Kroger and their ONE weekly circular), as you co-ordinate your grocery circular sales of the week with your coupons. It is SO easy.
Also, time-wise, my time in the actual grocery store is cut WAY down: we figured about 1/3 of my usual time, because I’m not wandering around with that vacant “What am I doing here?” look on my face, buying whatever jumps out at me.
My next experiment will be with Wal-Mart, which should be interesting, since their sale circulars kind of suck.
I used to “coupon” in the past, and like you, found it to be just “not worth it.” BUT what I was missing, was the “circular factor.” It’s the coordinating of the coupons WITH the circular/discount card sales that makes ALL the difference. THAT is how you come home with, not just cheap groceries, but FREE groceries. Here’s my big example: Last week at Kroger, Crest toothpaste was on sale, 10 for $10. (You don’t have to buy 10, it’s just a buck apiece.) NOW–I also happened to have a fistful of $1 off Crest Toothpaste coupons. Do you see where I’m going here? TEN FREE TUBES OF CREST TOOTHPASTE. And yes, that’s more toothpaste than I normally buy at one time, but it’s not like I’m not going to use it eventually, right?
Anyway, I would say to anyone, read my post AND ESPECIALLY Attilla The Mom’s carefully. Think about it. What’s an hour of your time in front of the telly once a week worth? $50? $100? $200? This is where the “my time is more valuable” excuse falls apart! 😉 Also? PUT THE KIDS TO WORK ON THIS! Explain to them the the more you save on neccessities, the more money will be freed up for more, um…non-essential items, perhaps! Or, you know, college. Whatever.
And anyone, feel free to contact me with any questions, and I’m happy to let you know what I’ve learned, and what I am still learning. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and Tina: The coupon clipping services are WAY worth it. The handling fees are SO low. They do have minimums (3 coupon minimum at one place, 5 copuon minimum at the other), so you have to figure out what works for you. The Coupon Master has a $3.00 minimum purchase–you must spend $3.00 with them before they will process your order–you’d be AMAZED how long it will take you to reach that $3 goal! Much cheaper than buying another paper, plus you can pick ONLY the coupons you want.
Another advantage is that you can get your grocery circular on Wednesday, go through it to see what you need/want, and THEN go online to order as many coupons as you need to make those purchases into ROCKING BARGAINS. Since the circulars usually run from Weds to Tues, if you order your coupons on Weds, you should have them in plenty of time, even with just regular mail. The Coupon Master is REALLY fast. I haven’t had them take longer than 48 business-day hours. My last order was placed at midnight on Friday, and my coupons were in my mailbox on Monday. Try it! Buy $3-5 worth, that match what’s on sale at your local store, and see if you don’t clean up!