After putting my size 8 hoof (and anyone that tells you that your feet don’t spread during pregnancy LIES) in my mouth when discussing my new obsession with couponing with a purpose, I finally watched an episode of Extreme Couponing.
The savings were awfully impressive, but I’m not sure what any mortal person would do with 98 bottles of hot sauce.
My heart was racing with them as the cashier rang up their total. I don’t think I could handle that kind of pressure every week in the checkout line. I had a very small taste of what it would be like when I hit CVS today with my little list, some rainchecks, coupons, and my $3.00 in Extra Care Bucks from last week.
I have been able to bring my Publix grocery shopping down. I think I bought $170.00 worth of groceries for just a tad over $100.00. I accomplished this by shopping the sales items, particulary BOGO, and stacking store and manufacturers coupons. I will never see the huge savings that the folks on Extreme Couponing see, mostly because we don’t have double coupons here in Florida.
And I don’t need 98 bottles of hot sauce.
I’m determined to only buy what we will actually use.
But it’s a start. I’m certain that I will get better at couponing, and I plan to whittle my grocery budget down each month. My dream is $500 a month. Which still sounds like a lot in todays economy, but all 5 of us eat every single meal at home, 7 days a week. Do the math, that’s a lot of meals I’m preparing. Come to think of it, I need a raise.
Shopping at CVS and Walgreens is what you would call Advanced Couponing 101. Because there is a strategy. I had a half hearted attempt at shopping at Walgreens this week, but gave up when they did not have a single item I was looking for. And at Walgreens, you can ask for a raincheck, but it won’t include the register rewards. They also have a rule that states you cannot have more coupons than items. Thus necessitating purchasing “cheap filler items”.
Just typing that gave me an eye twitch.
I have found CVS to be a far easier drug store with which to cut my couponing teeth while procuring our toiletries (which make up a good deal of our expenses each year). I visited a CVS near our house last week, and they were out of a number of things I was looking for. But as I mentioned last week, I asked for rainchecks. And CVS will give you the Extra Care Bucks on rainchecks, just make sure they mark the ECSs on the actual raincheck.
I found another CVS just a little further away today that was very well stocked, and not at all crowded. I bought the below pictured items, all being raincheck items from last week. And let me tell you, my little trick of clipping the ad showing the product sale from the CVS Sunday circular, and then attaching it to the raincheck with the coupons, was one of my more brilliant ideas.
It even helped the cashier. Which is handy, because you want a happy cashier.
I split my purchases into two transactions. In total, I bought $45.00 worth of merchandise, and my out of pocket expense was $8.00. And I walked away with $11 in Extra Care Bucks to use next week. I should be able to only use the $11 ECBs, and rack up more ECBs to use the following week. While not spending anything out of pocket.
That’s my plan.
I have two accountability partners in the form of my two sisters-in-law, Cathy and Trish. We’ve made it a point to keep each other informed as to what we’ve saved, and what our experiences have been like. I happen to know that Cathy drove to Trish’s house just to show her a receipt.
When I say “we’ve made it a point…” I mostly mean “they’ve made it a point” because I’ve been remiss about reporting my savings. And I’ve been chastised by the sisters. But no more. I now have proof in the form of this blog post.
For me, couponing with a purpose is going to be a series of baby steps. And I’m off to a very nice trot, I think.
To all of my couponing cohorts, what is the best haul you’ve ever made?