It’s been a long time since I’ve done a coupon post. Probably because I took a complete break from coupons while I had morning sickness and it takes a while to get back into the swing of things.
As usual, I’m all about making couponing easy and accessible for regular people who don’t have the time or patience to go the extreme route. Today I want to focus on one thing in particular:
You do not have to stockpile.
Seriously. You don’t. That’s where the serious time and energy goes. It requires getting multiple coupons from multiple sources, possibly using clipping services, etc. Plus the grocery trips themselves can be hellish when you’ve hunted down a great deal only to find they are all out of stock.
I don’t stockpile for a few reasons.
- I don’t have the time.
- I don’t have the patience.
- I don’t have the space in my small pantry.
- The only things I could stockpile are health/hygiene/cleaning products, since the foods we eat tend to change and we focus more on fresh produce.
I’ve talked before about how to make coupons fit with a non-processed diet, including plenty of meat, dairy and produce.
And I also want to make it clear that you can have mini-stockpiles. For example, I have enough toothpaste to last for a good year. Because toothpaste sales and coupons are pretty easy to find and I may buy one every few weeks, which is a lot faster than we use them. Plus toothpaste doesn’t take up much space and I’m not hugely picky about brands, so it’s not a big deal to keep a stash. (I also have a decent stockpile of tampons…… which will be gathering dust for quite some time.)
So what can you expect when you have a mostly normal grocery trip with basic couponing included? I save about 20-40% per grocery trip. Which is no small feat when you consider how much stuff my toddler eats that NEVER goes on sale or gets coupons, and how much milk and juice we go through. (Lots of fruit. Raisins are insanely expensive. And I get these all-natural chicken nuggets that never seem to get cheap. Ever.)
I like my weekly grocery savings. I tend to stay rather faithful to one store in particular, they’re close, they have good deals, AND they’re printing some amazing catalinas (checkout coupons) that aren’t brand specific. Stuff like $1.50 off your next Detergent Purchase. Oh, I love those.
But I do like to get in a real serious coupon trip every now and then. The funny thing is that it’s the little ones where I’m most successful, they don’t take a lot of planning, and they usually involve the Drugstore. CVS is not only incredibly close to my house, but their Extra Bucks program seems to be the most reliable and useful one around.
My most recent success involved only 2 items. I didn’t make a huge run, it was just a tiny one. In fact, I ruined my own possible success by throwing in some non-sale items. (A wipe for my glasses cuz they’re always dirty, and a soda because it is my grocery shopping reward for myself.)
My items were:
(Soda not shown because it was consumed shortly upon leaving the store.)
These were items we NEEDED. Not stuff I was picking up just for kicks. We were out of ibuprofen and if you’ve ever been pregnant, you know Zantac is a way of life with pregnancy heartburn.
Lucky for me, I had coupons for both. Advil had some pretty decent coupons over the summer, I had an awesome $2 coupon, which is great, especially compared with other pain relievers. And I’d just clipped a $1 Zantac coupon that day.
I also had $4 in ExtraBucks to cash in.
And there was a special to get $5 ExtraBucks with a purchase of Zantac over a certain size.
Then I went into the store and hit the kiosk to get my coupons for the week. Lo and behold, I got one for a stomach relief purchase for $4 and another $1 I could use for the Advil.
The elements combined and it was beautiful.
My purchases were $19.99 and $7.99 at regular price. With coupons and deals, I saved $17.80.
That’s 64% savings. It may not be the free items you see with extreme couponers, but I will take it, thank you very much. (Of course, my savings was less since I added on about $6 in extra items cuz I didn’t think about posting until afterwards, in which case this would be a much more pic-friendly post.) Oh, and don’t forget, I also left with a $5 ExtraBucks in my hot little hand.