Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My newest hobby

Buying ALOT for very little... I am way into couponing. I've always been one to enjoy the thrill of Black Friday. I look forward to perusing the ads after a filling Thanksgiving meal and waking at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to get the good deals...and then we always hit the thrift stores ;)

Anyhoo, I stumbled across a few cereal sales at Albertsons in the past, and had NO IDEA that people actually shopped those kinds of sales all the time. I found a few blogs that keep track of things very nicely--inform you of the super deals you just can't miss out on, and I started clipping those coupons. I even made myself a binder. (For someone less OCD than me, I would recommend one of those photo books-2 per page or something, or ya know- an envelope)

So, yesterday was my first big, plan it out, couponing trip and this is what I got:

10 boxes Mac n Cheese
4 boxes Capri Sun SUnrise
3 boxes HOney Bunches of Oats w/ Almonds
3 boxes Velveeta Shells & Cheese
6 bottles of BBQ Sauce
10 Yoplait Yogurts
2 Salad Dressings
6 boxes of Jello
2 dozen eggs
2 strawberry milks
5 Frozen Dinners
and Butter Toffee Peanuts

Spent $21.34

I was pretty excited, but not done yet. Because there were more deals I wanted to get before my dbl coupons expired. So I went out again today:

4 boxes Ritz
4 boxes Honey Bunches of Oats
2 boxes Pops cereal
2 boxes Frosted Flakes cereal
1 box Fruit Loops... Read More
18 boxes Mac n Cheese
4 Easy Mac Cups
1 box Capri Sun Sunrise
2 bottles of salad dressing
1 BBQ sauce
1 Mayo
1 Miracle Whip
1 box Wheat Thins
2 cheetos snack things (filler item)

Spent $20.01

Now, I really try not to hoard. I s'pose I did go a little overboard on Mac N Cheese...but it is like our food storage so, deal with it ;)

So, if you want to embark on a very affordable grocery game journey of your own...you can do it!
This site
has a Grocery Guide tool. Just enter your zip code, select the stores you shop, and it will tell you what is on sale...there is a "find coupon" link, but I haven't gotten it to work for me. I would say, look through to see what products you buy are on sale, then look through your coupons (helps if they are organized into categories or alphabetical).

So that is a site helpful to you no matter where you live (even June Lake or Ridgecrest;) ) Those in Idaho/Utah can check out some of my fave frugal blogs for more specific tips/sales:
FabuLESSly Frugal
A Thrifty Mom
Being Frugal is Fabulous

Coupon Lingo/Abbreviations:
  • MC=manufacturer coupon
  • catalina=coupon printed after a transaction
  • RR=Register Rewards (name of the catalina coupon that prints at Walgreens)
  • SS= Smart Source Coupon (comes in the newspaper or print from your grocery stores website)
  • RP=Red Plum coupon (also comes in the SUnday paper)
  • P&G=Procter & Gamble (comes in the Sunday paper)
  • blinkies=the coupons in the displays at the store that stick out from the shelves
  • peelies=the coupons attached to products

Tips/rules I've learned (mostly the hard way)

  • You can only use one store coupon AND one manufacturer coupon per item.

  • If you use RR or catalina you earned from item "A" to pay for another item "A", you won't get another cataling/RR. For instance:
Yesterday's sale: bought 4 Mac n Cheese (10/$10) $4.00
1 Mayo $3.99
1 Miracle Whip $3.99
Kraft promo $3 off $10 purchase -$3.00
MC buy 3 Mac n cheese get 1 Free -$1.00
MC $1/1 Mayo -$1.00
MC $1/1 Miracle Whip -$1.00
Double Coupon (Albertsons had 3 in their ad)
I used 2 -$2.00
Total paid $3.98 + tax
Mac n Cheese catalina prints for $1.00 off next purchase.

I used a $1 catalina I had from the day before (forgot it was from Mac n Cheese) so the new catalina wouldn't print for me. Make sense? So use the catalina/RR to pay for a different transaction to make the most of your $$.

  • You won't use EVERY coupon you clip...don't bother trying.

  • Expired coupons can be sent to military families and are still usable for up to 6 months after expiration. C'mon, I KNOW you know someone in the military that can stand to save a few bucks.

  • To save the most money, you want to use your coupons when the item is on sale. I started saving my coupons for 2-3 weeks before I did my first shopping trip.
I went to Walmart last night for some VERY last minute items I needed. It was late, and I wasn't thinking right and left my coupon binder at home--I wasn't intending to do a bunch of shopping, just a thing or two (for which I had grabbed the associated coupons). Of course, the brands I wanted were not on sale, and a different brand was cheaper even if I had used a coupon. So that is why you watch for sales...unfortunately I couldn't wait for a sale...but FYI Philly Cream cheese is on Rollback at WalMart for $1.18 and when you use the Kraft coupon $1/2 they are only $0.68 each which is cheaper then the generic.

  • I still make a 1-2/month trip for regular groceries that I don't happen to get on the sales. We have a Winco, so things are pretty well priced, but I'll still use my coupons there. That is the only instance where I will use a coupon with a full price item. If you have to buy it anyway, use the coupon. But if you can wait to get it on sale, that's the best.

Good luck and thanks for letting me share!


Devin, Shellie, Addie, Connor And Noah said...

Thank you for your blog. My sister is big into coupons too and I just haven't understood how to do it but your blog and those websites definately help. Thank you. Can you use the target coupons to get like 3 of something or is it only good for one item? I mean if I have two coupons for salad dressing can I use both of them and get 2 or can I only buy one? And I have to have one manuf. coupon per item too right? Hope that makes sense. Thanks.

Karilyn said...


Here is an example (or a story problem hee hee):
Target happens to have Ritz Crackers on sale for $2.50
use a Target store coupon - $1.00
use MC -$1.00
get one box of Ritz for $0.50

you can do that for as many coupons as you have. So if you have 4 Target Coupons and 4 MC, you can get 4 boxes of Ritz for $2.00.
Does that help?

The Robinsons said...

Your awesome Kari! I have been meaning to get on the ball with coupons - I have not turned pro yet. Thanks so much for the help!

Karilyn said...

I'll be sure to share the where/what/when details for my planned shopping trips next time, for those that want to get in on it.

And I'm not a pro by any means, especially since this was my first time out with my handy dandy binder ;)