Save {part two}.

As I shopped, I had my handy dandy calculator out figuring how much my haul would be at full retail value. As I put my final item in the cart the total was $405.13.

Holy smokes.

Being as how we’re a one income family now, we simply do not have $405.13 for a weeks worth of groceries. So, I immediately began sweating.

Because, friends, I’m a sweater.

Always have been.

As I pushed my cart up to the front of the store I scanned the cashiers. I have a few favorites, but I didn’t see them.  You see, choosing the right cashier is an important detail in the saving process. Choose the wrong one (like I did last week) and it’s rough.  I like middle aged women. They are my favorite.

Aha! Melissa just came up to a register to begin her shift. Praise the Lord. Melissa is one of my favorites.

When it was my turn, I looked and her shyly and said, “Hey! It’s me again, your favorite!” She didn’t roll her eyes on the outside, but I’m pretty sure that I’m her least favorite customer of all time, as it takes me FOREVER to check out. I told her that even though she didn’t love me the way that I love her, I will still always choose her if given the choice. Somehow I’m pretty sure that she didn’t appreciate my sentiments.

Anyway, I had my list ready and as she picked up the first item I said, “You know that every single item is going to be a price match. We may be here for awhile.”

You see, as I said before, Wal-Mart price matches. This is a wonderful gift.

When you price match and use coupons, it can be a serious home run if you play your cards right.

For example, here are some of my items from my haul…

20 Tubes of Aquafresh Whitening Toothpaste- They paid me $.04 per tube!

20 Oral B Toothbrushes-FREE

12 Colgate 360 Toothbrushes- FREE

10 Smart Ones- $.95 each

3 Packs of Scott Paper Towels (6 pack)- $3.00 each

20 Boxes of Whole Wheat Pasta- FREE

66 Packs of gum- FREE

3 bottles of Masterpiece BBQ Sauce- $.89 Each

2 jars of pasta sauce- FREE

5 boxes of Finish tablets for dishwashers- $1.99 EACH

2 bottles of Finish Rinse Agent- $2.49 EACH

9 bags of Halloween Candy- $1 EACH

With price matching and coupons I paid $71.25 (which included over $9 in tax) for over $400 worth of stuff! That’s a savings of over 80%!

Let me say, for the record, that I am a novice. There are tons of people who are much better, and much more organized than me. I use several sites to help me. Here are a few…Coupon Katie, Couponing to Be Debt Free, The Krazy Koupon Lady, and Money Saving Mom.

Even though I’m very new to this couponing game, I will share my strategy and hopefully you’ll be inspired to give it a whirl. Why not? Don’t we all like to save money?

First things first: Buy a Sunday Paper. Pull out the inserts and start clipping those coupons! Also, look online for coupons! About 25% of my coupons come from online sources like Coupons.com, Smartsource, Red Plum, and others promotions (like Facebook offers).

Second: Buy some kind of 3 ring binder. I have one with lots of pockets. Some may call it a trapperkeeper, like we did in 7th grade.

Third: Buy baseball card clear organizers. I ordered mine on Amazon.

Fourth: Find a way to organize that works for you. I am not the most organized gal. I’m totally OCD about things being clean: but organized? Not so much. There are tons of resources online for how to organize your binder, I simply organize by month. It’s the easiest way for me. I’m sure that my binder would give Type A personalities a heart attack (as would my closet).

Fifth: Look at the sales ads. If Rite Aid has Herbal Essence Shampoo on sale this week for $1.99 (they do), then look for a coupon to match (in the 10/31 Sunday paper there was a $1 off coupon). You can go to Rite Aid and get it for $.99 or go to Wal-Mart and price match.

Sixth: Strategize. Are you looking to save a little and plan your meals out? Or bulid a stock pile? Or only coupon for free stuff?  To be honest with you, when I started couponing I jumped in head first with no real strategy (shocking, I know), which for me, worked great. I’m not so much of a planner, so pulling from the pantry/stockpile every day for meals works for me. But again, if you’re a planner, you can simply plan your meals based on the sales ads and coupons. For example, my family loves “NuNu Nights” for supper. Translation: Pasta with tomato sauce and meat (sometimes I do chicken breast and sometimes I do ground turkey).  It’s a simple  and easy meal. So, I know that I will use them. When I saw the  whole wheat noodles on sale for $.99 a box (normally $1.64) I ordered 20 coupons for $1 off from ebay for $1.50. So basically, I paid $1.50 for 20 boxes of pasta and I will use them for a healthy meal for my family. So, technically, I don’t meal plan, but I only buy and stockpile what I will use. I am not going to get 100 boxes of processed food just because I can get it free, because we won’t eat it. Another example, soup is on sale this week for $.49 a can at Kroger (normally $1.29). I have accumulated several coupons over the past few weeks for soup, so I’m going to get 20 cans for $6.10. I know that I’ll use them, so why not take advantage of such a great deal?

Seventh: Make a list. Again, make a list that works for you. I just write it all out on a piece of paper (because I’m old school). I put my list into categories: Health/Beauty, Food and Cleaning Products. This helps when navigating the store. I write down the quantity, the product name, where the price match comes from, the matched price and then my final cost (after match and coupon). Side Note: Wal-Mart does not require you to bring ads to prove your match, however, if you’re getting something for more than 50% off the Wal-Mart price they will ask to see the ad.

Eighth: Be confident. Couponing requires concentration and attention to detail (which is a real struggle for me), but you CAN do it. Start small and build up. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Ninth: Be kind. Your cashier may not be familiar with all the policies and that’s OK. I have found that having the coupon policies handy, helps everyone.

Tenth: Celebrate! Whether you save 10% or 90% you’re saving something!!!

So there you go! As I’ve said, I’m new at this and would love to share stories and lean on each other for help and pointers!  Now, go SAVE!

PS: One more pointer: GO ALONE. Taking kiddos would be a terrible idea.

Love to all,


6 Comments

  1. margaret rice says:

    Your amazing!! I love love love reading you blog!! Thanks for sharing
    Margaret

  2. Cathy Flynn says:

    Let’s hope with that lifetime supply of toothbrushes & toothpaste you just took home you will save money by never ever seeing your dentist again.

  3. keely says:

    You are an inspiration, sister. All that free stuff?! (Come do my shopping?)

  4. Belinda says:

    Wow! You go, Girl!!!! I’m so inspired to start doing better at couponing. I’ve got to become more efficient… my ‘hourly rate’ has not been very high for the planning vs. the savings here lately. Thanks for the tidbits of advice and inspiration. I’m on it…

  5. suzanne says:

    I’m back to say once again how impressed I am with your loot. I started couponing back in January…and I thought I was doing well….but nothing like this!!! I took you up on several of your tips on a trip to the store last night and had more success. Thank you!

  6. carolynlaws says:

    PLEASE…teach me:)

    Thanks Molly..love you!

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