6. Some final tips
6.1.1. It is Walgreens (Wags) policy that you cannot have more coupons than items, so you often have to find “filler” items. There are often little caramels, laffy taffy, or cowtails near the register for about $0.30 each.
6.1.2. Register Rewards(RR) don’t usually “roll”, meaning if a RR prints for the q-tips you bought, you can’t use the RR to pay for the next q-tips or else the RR won’t print again, so you have to rotate the purchases for the best possible deal.
6.1.3. The best order for coupons at Wags is to hand them MC first, then store coupon (in-ad), and then RR.
6.2.1. Double coupons usually limit you to using 1 set of 3 (or however many are in the ad) per shopping trip. So, I do one transaction, walk it out to the car and then head back in for another transaction. But I only do this for doubles.
6.3.1. You can load ecoupons to your Safeway card at shortcuts.com and cellfire.com. The coupons will be automatically deducted from your total when your card is scanned at checkout. And the great thing is the coupons will stack! So you can have a clipped MC for $0.40 off Granola Bars, plus a cellfire ecoupon for $0.35 off Granola Bars AND a shortcuts ecoupon for $0.35 off Granola Bars…PLUS use a safeway Double for another $0.40 off—you just saved $1.50 off one box of granola bars—and say they are on sale for $1.75, you get them for $0.25! But the ecoupons will only be used once, so you can’t get that off of 4 boxes of granola bars in the same transaction.
6.4. What about other food?
6.4.1. I continue to make once a month trips to Winco to get items we haven’t found with coupons. (I buy the 5 doz. Eggs there) But in general, you can pick up produce here and there to eat up any overages you may generate with your coupons. And I always shop the on sale produce. I used to just put what I needed on the grocery list and select from the best priced apples or whatever. Not anymore. Today for example, I bought bananas at Safeway (with 3 boxes of Tissue and only paid $0.26) and I bought Strawberries at Fred Meyer where they were on sale. I also watch FM for milk & butter to go on sale.
6.5. One-Stop Shopping does not always save you the most money!
6.5.1. It doesn’t always make sense to buy everything at one store. This summer I did a grocery challenge, keeping track of everything I spent for 4 weeks and everytime I went to the store. I found I went 20 times in 28 days. Some days I stopped at 2-3 stores others I didn’t go at all. But I ended up spending $241.08 that month and got $565.76 worth of food.
6.5.2.Don’t make impulse purchases when you are couponing. Never fails, when I take my husband couponing, he ALWAYS wants to add something (usually Oreos) and I always have to insist on waiting and looking for a coupon. Why pay $3.99 for Oreos when you can find them on sale in a week or two for $1.99 plus a coupon? Anyway, it will cut into your cost and you will think, “hu, that didn’t save me THAT much money” so, just give your hard work a chance to pay off.
6.6. Give it time
6.6.1. Building up a supply will take some time. And until then, you may have to suffer through some not so frugal prices for things. Give yourself some time to get your stockpile (food storage) built up, and once you do, you will be able to wait for the great sales to purchase the things your family likes. I mentioned that I always watch for the butter and milk to go on sale at Fred Meyer. Every couple weeks they will have a gallon of milk 3 for $5 or butter 4 for $5, and I stock up. I bought 8 butters last time and I was down to my last 2 packages when the sale came around again this week.
6.6.2. Don’t expect to see the huge savings right away. Your first month, you may not be saving $320 like I did in August, but it will happen. I’ve only been couponing since Mar/April 2009, so it did take a couple months to build it up (we did have a “move to a new state” adventure in there too). It takes a couple months to build up your stockpile, and then the majority of your grocery budget can be used toward couponing.
6.7. It’s okay to not do EVERY deal
6.7.1. You will run yourself ragged doing every deal at every store. Give yourself a break! It is refreshing to sit out and watch all the craziness from the sidelines once in awhile. Plus you will burn out quicker if you don’t. It is not always constant deal craziness, there are slower times when the deals aren’t as great. And then there are SUPER GOOD deals when you will go to Albertsons 6 times in one day to use all your doublers and pay hardly anything out of pocket. So hang on when it’s crazy and enjoy the quiet when it’s not.
6.7.2.Truth be told, I have not yet even mastered ALL the stores. I’m still learning RiteAid’s rebate program and therefore don’t do their deals very often. But one of these days I will.
Sites to print coupons from: