Nov 20, 2008

A great example of the power of couponing

I don't mean to keep talking about couponing but I couldn't pass up the example below. (That's right. I used "coupon" as a verb. It may not be proper grammar, but it's appropriate. Trust me.)

I came across a thread at SlickDeals started by Norgechica, whose husband is competing in a "food bank donation contest." Whoever buys the most non-perishables by weight for $15 or less wins. After I read her post, I could only imagine her husband blowing the competition away and having to prove that his wife had stayed within the $15 spending limit.

Here's what she has already gotten for free:

Muir Glen tomatoes - 8 cans
Powerade - 10
Sobe Life Water - 15
Joint Juice - 8
Baking powder - 6
Corn Starch - 4
Chex Mix - 2
Celestial Seasonings Tea - 4

Her post includes notes on where and when she obtained these items, combining coupons and sale prices.

And here are the items she is planning to buy (Q=coupon; IPQ=internet printable coupon; WAGS=Walgreens, SS=Smart Source newspaper coupon insert):

Joint Juice - $0.99 - $1 Q = free (Target)
Baking Soda - $0.46 - $1/2 Q = free (Walmart)
Chex Mix - $0.99 - $1 IPQ = free (WAGS)
Duncan Hines Carrot Cake Mix - $1 - $1Q (SS 11/9) = free (starting tomorrow at Kroger)
Vlassic Pickle Relish - $1 - $1 IPQ = free (Walmart)
Muir Glen - $1.19 - $1 IPQ = $0.19 (Target)
Progresso Soup - $1.30 - $1.10 IPQ = $0.20 (Walmart)
Kroger Broth - $0.33 (reg price at Kroger)

She asked for help coming up with more coupon match-ups for free or nearly free items, and SlickDeals members obliged.

There a few things worth noting about this example:

Use coupons and combine them with sale prices. This is the obvious lesson here, of course.

Shop with a list. You have to go into the store already knowing the sale and coupon match-ups, or you'll be there forever.

Shop at multiple stores. This will allow you to take advantage of each store's sales. This is a tough one for me, though, because I get tired after two or three stops. It helps if you can plan ahead so that you're only making one trip to each store every one or two weeks. Walmart and Target deals are tough to find out about ahead of time, but previews of the drugstore deals are available weeks in advance.

Buying things for free or almost free takes time and effort. But it can be done! For some people, time is really worth paying for. But many of us have more time than money, especially in these rough economic times. And couponing gets easier and takes a lot less time once you've been doing it for a while.


Anonymous said...

This is a great example! It's exactly the kind of thing I LOVE to do too. After a few months of aiming to stock our pantry doing this kind of thing, we are finally not needing our full food budget anymore - just in time for my morning sickness, which will no doubt result in us spending more. Still, it's better than it would have been without that effort. Once I'm feeling better (and not afraid I'll throw up if I go to the grocery store) I will be back in the game! Thanks for sharing this. :)


Chief Family Officer said...

@Jennifer - Being sick is a great sign! Take it easy, worry about stockpiling later :)