Sunday, May 8, 2011

Extreme Couponing... NOT!

I was finally able to watch an episode of Extreme Couponing a few weeks ago.  Wow! All I could think about was how 'sharp' their minds must be to figure out such huge transactions. I almost blow a brain cell just doing a few transactions at a time.

I've been going with a friend a couple times a month to show her the 'ropes' in getting free items at the drugstores in our area. I'll be the first to admit that I just don't have what it takes at this age of life to go extreme in this couponing arena. But I'm very happy about what I have learned. 

 I'm able to get free or nearly free body soaps, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, floss, hair scrunches, chap stick and aspirin to help stretch my $200/mo. grocery/household budget. I try to get 3 or 4 items ahead to last until the next free deal.

 Normally I'll look through the Sunday ads for RiteAid, CVS and Walgreens flyers to see if they are offering any free items that give out Register Rewards. I'll circle those deals in my newspaper which I will end up taking to the store. I'll also go back through the same ads and circle any other items that are on sale.  I will also circle 3 or 4 items that cost $1.00 or less (I'll tell you why later).

I then check out REFUND CENTS to see their write up on the drugstore deals. They list every deal that the drugstores offer.  I used to have a list of websites that posted drugstore deals but it was a lot more work and not always reliable. I pay around $1.25 a month to use their service and it's definitely been worth it. Next time I plan on splitting the subscription with my friend. I will not order the magazine next time because it was full of rebate offers that I really wasn't interested in.



I also check out HOT COUPON WORLD  and use their coupon database to see if there are any coupons that I have missed. You can 'stack' manufacture coupons with store coupons and Register Reward deals.  Every coupon available is listed on this site and tells you where you can find it.


Next, I look for which free deal offers the highest Register Rewards. That will be my first deal at the cash register. If I can find a manufacturer coupon I will save even more money. I then take the Register Rewards and use them to purchase the next Register Reward deal and so on and so forth down the line.

I've learned to stack my grocery cart with low cost items I can use just in case I've miscalculated. Walgreen's cash registers have a bunch of rules I'm still trying to figure out like you have to use as many coupons as you have items. I think another rule is that they only count the bottom line cost AFTER Register Rewards so I keep these low cost items in the cart to grab in case I'm short on items to spend with my RR's.

Does this make any sense? Please feel free to ask questions.

9 comments:

  1. I read a lot of frugal books and a lot of them are Amercican and talk a lot of couponing, we just don't have this on the same level in the UK as far as I know! It seems to be so popular 'over the pond'. Over here if you register and have 'cards' with supermarkets they send you lots of junk mail and some money off coupons but I value my privacy and don't like shopping cards as they are used to spy on shoppers and put you on TONS of mailing lists. I wish we had really good coupons printed in the papers etc each week, especially with the opportunity to get free items. The best I can do really is register with moneysavingexpert website and they send me an email each week with any major special offers that are going on- apart from savvy frual shopping that's about the best I can do over here! :)

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  2. Trying also to make sense of couponing. I clicked your links and without joining them I pressed "Like" on Facebook for them. In Florida we have "True Couponing" which was free after I went to their seminar. One gal at church yesterday had spent $40 on $140 worth of groceries.

    Carol

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  3. I am also following this blog:
    http://www.justtryingtosavemoney.com/.

    True Couponing group told us is only buy what you may need; the store will get reimbursed by the manufacture; if we are able to stock items, we can give to those in need such as church food pantries; coupons are good to service men and women 6 months after they have expired.

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  4. I use grocerygame.. I used to do a drug store and 2 grocery stores but I only do just one grocey store now--its less pricy and much less work for me.I so pay a little to use it, but it is very small. Also I have done couponing without it and finally decided thier service is well worth the small cost, as it takes me hours and hours to do what they do. I get to choose my deals easily on their website and if there is anything I need that is not a good deal I can at least check to see if there is a coupon available on their coupon database, and sometimes they have printables. I try to stay a few items ahead of our need now too--used to stock up more but in the cabin there's no space for it and we move too much. I keep my copouns in 36 hanging file folders divided into 3 sections-Smart Sourch, Red Plum and 'Other' each section has 12 folders-for the months of the year. When I get to a new month I usually go through my file and toss last years as there is almost never a coupon in them that I will still use after a year that hasn't expired.
    I find I can get the cheap deoderant and free toothpaste and super cheap soap, etc at the grocery store too. so that's nice.
    When there are free items I don't think we'll use I put them in the bin for donation. I get 2 papers delivered to our house--and in our area one is only $1 per week, the other is $1.50 so its cheaper than buying them at the store.
    I save half or more on what I buy usually and I think that's good enough--I don't go more extreme cuz I want to do other things too in life. :) Also-- I like shopping only the one store because I get my drugs there too-and it just seems they deserve my loyalty if I get so many deals.
    Plus my life is so much easier. :)

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    1. Just an update on that--I don't use any service anymore. Now I'm living along most of the time so I just do scratch cooking and dehydrating and scrutinize my shopping lists--usually end up taking most things off. :)

      I struggle these days with a lot of brain fog and pain/stiffness issues and I just do not need to go to a big store. I do most shopping at Aldi--and a few things are in my garden, and just a few others at regular grocery stores.

      My garden is my 'exercise' but even that I don't do too much. Its all good. :)

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  5. I have not seen the actual show, just clips on line, but No, I have no need or desire to do what they do.
    I am happy to just save enough to make a difference.

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  6. @Gille: how interesting (and sad) that you don't have access to coupons in the UK. Can you use coupons that are printed from the computer?
    @NewKidd: Thanks for the link. I always love to learn from new websites on saving money.
    @Mary:I've used The Grocery Game before but unfortunately the stores they recommended in our area had higher prices than if I shopped the loss leaders and Winco plus I had to pay extra for the drugstores. They were very easy to use. I liked that. It sounds like you have worked out a very 'easy to use' system. Good for you!
    @Rhoda: Me, too! :-)

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  7. You inspire me so much. We have tons of coupons in our papers, and I throw them away. Thanks to you, I'm going to work on using some.

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  8. your blog is so wonderful. I think southernsavers has a free
    coupon data base . They also have a you tube video on wal greens deals I also found walgreens a little confusing.
    Money saving mom also has a free coupon data base. Hip 2 save does a lot of the coupon match ups .
    Have a really blessed day.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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