March 15, 2012

Newbie Couponing

Yep, I'm turning into "one of those" shoppers. With the coupons. Luckily I'm doing a decent job at it!

I'm mostly writing this as a jumping off point, something to compare myself to as I - hopefully - gain more skill at saving money. I've always been frugal, and I assign a certain value to something and won't buy something unless I love it $XX worth. This means I often stalk a dress for weeks or months before I finally buy it, and by then if the price hasn't dropped or there's none left in my size, I can live without it!

The same goes for groceries. I used to work at Walmart, so after almost 2 years of spending my breaks walking up and down aisles, I have a general idea of what the rock-bottom retail price of things can be. So I struggled understanding how shopping at regular grocery stores could save me money. I did convert to shopping at Publix while I was pregnant, because I could get in and out faster than Walmart before I was super swollen, and it was a much calmer experience. I tried couponing, but we didn't have a printer and it was a 15 minute drive to get a Sunday paper for coupons, so I wasn't doing well at it. But now we have a printer, and I live <1 minute from 2+ stores that sell papers, so there's no excuse!

Cutting to the chase, here's an example of how much money I've saved this week:
5 -12pks. Coke Zero, $3 each
2 -30ct. Neutrogena Wave refills, $6.99 + $3.49 (they were b1g1 half off)
- $5 CVS "cash" for spending $15 on Coca-Cola
- two $2/1 Wave refill coupons
Total Spent: $17 in 2 transactions
Total Saved: $24.50 or 69%
Like Paying: $2 each for Coke 12pks, and $4.25 each for Wave refills (though it depends on how you do the math)

6 Mueller's pasta (b1g1) $1.59 or $.80/ea
- six .55/1 Mueller's pasta coupons
2 Palmolive dish soap (b1g1) $3.49 or $1.74/ea
- two $.50/1 Palmolive coupon
2 Kibbles n Bits dog food 4lb. (b1g1) $4.99 or $2.50/ea
- two $1/1 Kibbles n Bits coupons
1 All laundry detergent, $3.50
- $1/1 All laundry coupon
Total Spent: $9.29
Total Saved: $24.04 or 74%
Like Paying: .25/ea for Mueller's pasta, $1.24/ea for Palmolive, $1.50/ea for Kibbles n Bits, and $2.50 for All laundry.

Of course, these aren't things we can survive on for one week. The point is to get things at the cheapest price I can, which happens with a good sale and having the highest value coupons you can find. Especially at Publix, where you can combine Buy One Get Ones with Manufacturer AND Store coupons, for the most savings. And of course for most of the weekly groceries we need, I use coupons, even if it's only a couple dollars here and there, though the idea is to stock up on things when you get a great price on them, so that when the price is higher you don't need to buy it and waste money!

Hope that makes sense... and I'll also share some of my favorite couponing and money-saving sites:
I Heart Publix
Southern Savers
Swag Grabber (not just coupons, a lot of freebies and deal sites)

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