Sunday, May 16, 2010

Something Many things for nothing

Since I first mentioned about couponing, I have gotten a standard question over and over:

"How do you do this!?"

I wanted to write about it, giving the simple basics. There are many, many ways to effectively coupon, and it would be a rather lengthy discussion--and I am no expert on the subject (still learning!) But here is what I am finding is working for me.

I first discovered couponing because a friend wrote about it on her blog. I had the same reaction as many commenters on my own post:

1. How does she do that?


2. I don't think I ever could....

The answers, I quickly discovered?

1. It's not as hard as you might think (although, you must change the way you think about shopping for what you need and, in the beginning, it is a bit time consuming--I'll hit on that later)


2. YES. I. CAN. (Yes YOU can, too.)

As I mentioned before, the first thing I did:

I hung back and watched a bit, to try to figure out what in the world these couponers were doing to get $150 worth of groceries/toiletries for like, .20 cents. *grin*

I read some deal-seeking blogs (google "Money Saving Mom"; "Living Rich with Coupons" ; or "Deal Seeking Mom" and you'll find three great ones!) and learned some lingo by checking out their FAQ pages. Bargain Brianna did a great series of "15 days of couponing" which is designed to be very helpful for a beginner like me. It all seemed very logical and simple. And, with people like this doing much of the work for me by listing store deals on their blogs each week, it seemed like this was a very possible thing for me to tackle.

{Because, you know.....we moms always need one more thing to try and tackle. *sigh*}

After a few weeks of watching Shelly's deals and collecting the Sunday paper for coupons, I decided it was time to go for my first deal. I walked out of CVS with about $50 worth of merchandise for $9 OOP*.

*out of pocket

I was thrilled!!

The next week, I did better. Practice makes perfect, and all that jazz.

I've since gotten better. Much better. I shared on Facebook earlier this week that I basically stole from CVS came home from my weekly CVS trip with $119 worth of merchandise--and, by using coupons and 'bucks' that I have earned at CVS previously--spent only $3.82 OOP.

Crazy, right? But that's not even the best part. I came home with $26 in ECB* that I will use next week for whatever we need.

Extra Care Bucks =
FREE money you can spend at any CVS store

I'm telling you--it's amazing stuff. It sounds overly dramatic to say that "it's changed our lives" but, let me tell you:

It's changed our lives.

I don't know about the rest of you--but things can be tight sometimes. This family only has so much money to spend, and I'm a big fan of keeping said money in our pockets rather than in the pocket of merchandisers. I only have a certain amount of money each week/month for groceries and toiletries. The fact that I am able to shop this way now is keeping that budgeted weekly amount in our pockets, and allowing us to use it for other needed/desired things.

{Like healthier food....which is a topic I plan on getting into later.}

I know what you're thinking. And it couldn't be farther from the truth.

Clipping coupons is too much work. It is a waste of time.

Ahem. I and my bank account would kindly beg to differ.

To be continued.....

{Intrigued? Good!! Part TWO coming soon, in which I'll show you what I'm buying and how exactly I am getting it so cheaply--stay tuned!}


Katy said...

I can't wait for part 2. I'm in that "sitting back and watching stage" and I feel like I need just a little bit more until I give it a real go. Thanks for the google tips. I'm definitely going to give them a try too!

Shelly said...

oh girl, next to meeting Jesus and my husband, and having children, my life has never been changed so much. =) i love that you're sharing it!!

Brittany said...

My problem isn't always figuring out the deal it's once I get in the store. I get in the store and the things I'm after are gone and then it messes up my whole "plan". So frustrating. As you know, in our area, things aren't the same as they are in the bigger cities. That's frustrating too. Our measly paper doesn't carry the coupons the bigger cities are getting. I detest that. I print coupons often but wish I could get some of the better deals my friends are. I don't want to get things I don't need/won't use. I'm interested in part 2.

Devin said...

Brittany--I conquered the 'measly' coupon problem by buying the Indy Star. I get it from the Circle K across from the south Big R. It does NOT carry the Red Plum inserts, however--so those weeks I buy one Indy Star and one News-Gazette. Best of both worlds, that way!

Also--I'm mainly a CVS shopper, and they will give a rain check for any item not available! It actually as worked out to my advantage several times now :).

Kara said...

I dont' have a CVS here, but a Walgreen's I wonder if it is similar?

I really want to tackle this challenge, but I am so OVERWHELMED lately with life you know...keep mentioning it and I just might bite the bullet!

Great work gal!