Coupon haul, February 15, 2014

Y’all, it is not secret that I love couponing. People have made fun of my obsession and my posts on Facebook, but I don’t care. I think it’s so much fun and a challenge to get your money’s worth on various products. I also really like helping out my family. They put me through college and have gotten me where I am today, so the least I can do is save them some serious money on groceries.

This is everything I got today:

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This haul included 3 free 12 packs of Coke, 8 types of various dog treats, 4 jugs of Simply Orange OJ, 4 packages of Betty Crocker Cookie Mixes, a free large Tresemme Hair Spray, and various other toiletries and groceries. I paid $86.19 and saved a total of $103.78.   I mean, how cool is that?!

I get asked all the time how I save so much on my trips and manage to get things I will actually use. Before I reveal all those “secrets,” let me just rant for a second. “Extreme Couponing” has given a bad rap to coupons. First of all, this show (shocker!) is not realistic. Most of the time, rules have been bent for publicity. No store is going to let you use 50 coupons in a single transaction and pay you to walk out of the store. And seriously, who needs 500 mustards? It’s just silly. That’s why the more recent shows have been toned down so much on the savings and totals; they knew it wasn’t realistic and changed the way things went on the episodes. Ok, now that that’s done…

I love stores like Target because they have store coupons. If you go to target.com and click on clearance and then coupons, you will find quite a few coupons to be used on various products in the store. You can use a Target coupon and a manufacturers coupon (like you’d find in the Sunday paper and online) together for a higher level of savings. For instance, in this transaction, I purchased 2 Kashi cereals, which were on sale for $2.99 a piece. I had a manufacturer coupon for $1 off any 2 and a Target coupon for $1 off any 2. I used both, which allowed me to purchase 2 Kashi cereals for $3.98, or 1.99 a piece. Target also sends coupons to your cell phone which can be scanned straight from the Passcode App. on your Smart Phone for more savings. They also now have a Cartwheel app. This features various products on sale for a certain percent off specific products. This can be used in conjunction with manufacturer and store coupons for even more savings.

I get my coupons from a lot of different places; Sunday papers (which you can buy at stores if you don’t want to subscribe. You can also buy more than one if there are coupons you know you’d use multiples of), online websites (coupons.com is a favorite), websites of stores (like Target), product websites, and family/friends! You can print a coupon online up to 2 times per computer. I also recently found that there is a smart phone app for printing coupons straight to your wireless printer for even more savings! If you see a coupon online but can’t find a good sale for that product, print it anyway! You never know when you may be out and about and score a huge deal. This also allows you to build a stock pile; more on mine later!

I also love to follow blogs that are dedicated to specific stores and their deals. Totallytarget.com is like my Bible. There are also various other sites online for just couponing and ones dedicated to stores like Rite Aid or Walgreens. Rite Aid is a gold mine for medications, beauty products, and sometimes food. I sit down with my ad every Sunday to see if I have any coupons that match that weeks sales.

To follow up with that, know your favorite store’s coupon policies. Target only allows 4 like coupons per transaction. Harris Teeter occasionally runs double coupons up to $2.00 for up to 20 coupons for some MAJOR deals. Food Lion allows 10 like coupons per transaction. If you know the policies, you’ll know what you’re walking into. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! I was supposed to get a deal today that gave me a free $5 gift card for buying certain items, but it didn’t populate. The service desk at Target gave me $5 cash instead! They’ll work with you, because they want you to come back and see them again.

I love being able to purchase things to stockpile. Beauty products, certain meds, and paper/plastic products don’t have expiration dates. You can freeze cereal and milk (and of course, frozen foods, if you have the space). Canned goods last for a long time. It’s good to know these types of things so you can stock up. Below are some (badly taken) photos of our stockpile in our household.

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At last count we had 35 various shampoos and conditioners, countless body washes/lotions, 13 containers of toothpaste, and multiple pain relievers. It’s good to know we have a lot of this stuff if we ever hit seriously hard times!

Does anyone else out there coupon like me? What are your tried and true practices? Have I convinced you to start? 🙂

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