::couponing:: this is serious business

so the other day, one of the girls at work came in with a picture of her previous evening's shopping purchases. she's one of the coupon-ers. "guess how much all this cost me?" she had purchased two of the TP pictured below, two of the Tides pictured below, 15 powerades, a package of gum, two air deodorizers, and some other smaller things that i can't remember.

finally, she whipped out her receipt. "SIX dollars and nineteen cents!"okay, WHOA, now that had my attention. so i went home and i tried it. and this is what i bought;

"Guess how much all this cost me?"


If you're thinking, "hmm, that doesn't seem that impressive," I would agree. BUT I did learn some things. And I am here...to share.

  • I went to Albertson's. So at Albie's (as the coupon-ers affectionately call it), they do these sort of package deals. "Buy thirty dollars worth of qualifying items and get fifteen dollars off your next purchase. They print out 3 - $5 coupons for your next purchase, and it continues. The professional coupon-ers, though, know which coupons to use, and so they can actually spend a lot LESS than the thirty dollars, and STILL get the fifteen dollar coupons. It's a skill.
  • It is also stressful. I'm looking around, trying to figure out which items are qualifying, which are not. You also know, walking up to the cash register that the cashier has a pre-determined hatred of you. It also takes about five times as long because items are not listed together, so you go back and forth around the store a million times.
  • These women do NOT mess around. I encountered two while I was in the store. I knew they were coupon-ers because they were buying exactly what I was buying. Head down, flipping through the coupons, with a MISSION!
  • I went on Tuesday night, which is pretty much the worst night to go. Sales change on Wednesdays so Tues is the last night each week. These coupon-ers stock up, so they literally empty the shelves. Also, the employees were already starting to switch over signage, so some sale prices were no longer posted so it was even HARDER to figure out if I was picking up the right item.
  • They definitely jack up prices in order to give you the sales. I came home and added my stuff up according to what I believed the Wal-Mart price would be: I think it would have been pretty close to $33. But I did get a five dollar coupon. I guess. Anyway, so not a crazy successful trip. But I'm determined - I will keep trying until I, too, can ask with REAL excitement, "Guess how much I got ALL THIS for?"

ps - i went to Grocery Smart and the code for our area is Studio5, in case you want to check this out. If you'd like more info about how it works, just let me know...most tutorials out there about it are really confusing, i think.

pps - next week they're running a "buy 25 dollars worth of participating Kraft foods and get an instant 5 dollar coupon and 20 dollar rebate. i'll let you know how that goes.


blackstarmonkey: aspiring ninja/sheepherder said...

whaaaaat?! This is rad. i tried doing this once but i just ended up spending a lot of time online.... :(

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are onto something here.

Wal-Mart managers are suppose to do a "market basket-shopping cart" comparison of 30 traditional items each week of the competition. They actually purchase the items, take them back to their store and compare pricing and report the results up the chain.

To objective is to be below the competition on the total.

When I would travel with Regional VPs, they would always spot check half dozen of their favorite items in several competitors then report back to the WM manager, and prices were quickly adjusted if necessary. Not sure if that still occurs.

Anonymous said...

V. here... Excellent information about the realities of couponing. It is definitely for those who are long term. Much success as time goes on and you get the store memorized and go earlier in the week. I am eager to hear more.v

the gramma said...

I have a lot of patience with a lot of things but that is one thing I never somehow cared to get involved in. More power to you - I know you will stick with it and be one of those like your friend - you will have the rest of us wishing we had started with you.

the Rew Crew said...

Good lessons learned. I am a crazy couponer, but I wasn't always that way. There is a HUGE learning curve and this is why so many people quit.

First rule of thumb is to start small. Since you have Albertsons, maybe just start with their 10/$10 deals (you don't have to buy 10 to get the $1 price).

If you use a coupon on each of those items you will probably have a couple of freebies in there. Always try to stock up on toothpaste this way since toothpaste companies regularly put out $1 off coupons in the Sunday paper.

Second rule of thumb, let others do the organizing for you. Check out sites like Krazycouponlady.blogspot.com, and utahdealdiva.com for grocery lists for Albertsons. They will also tell you where to find a coupon for each item.

There is no reason you should cut out and organize all your coupons--that is WAY too much work. Just hole punch the insert and stick it in a 3-ring binder, or file it in an accordian file. Then, when Colgate is on sale for $1 at Albertsons the blogs will tell you where to find all the Colgate coupons.

They will tell you the date the insert came out, and which insert it was in (Smart Source, Proctor & Gamble, or Red Plum).

Also, those sites will usually link online coupons, so you don't actually have to get the Sunday paper to take advantage of a lot of these deals.

Email me if you have questions! It's way worth it but a pain in the butt in the beginning.

liso. said...

Thanks, Rew! I totally hear you on the learning curve...I initially tried this about 6 months ago and all but gave up. I'm doing better, but I'm definitely still learning. and I think i might be getting a little addicted...

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