Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My new hobby

Nik and I had off the week between Christmas and New Years (post about the holidays is still to come). We didn't have anything planned, so we didn't do much. I ended up using much of the time to research couponing. I had been wanting to try it out, but needed to learn more about it.

Couponing is not just about using coupons. It is about using coupons the right way, to save a ton of money. You have to greatly change the way you shop. The basic ideas are: match up coupons with sales and pretty much only buy those items; and buy as many of those items as possible so that you will not need to buy the items again when they are not on sale. This means that if one week there is a great sale on laundry detergent and you also have a coupon, which makes the item a steal, you stock up. Buy as many as you can so that you won't run out before the next time the coupon and sale match up.

Shopping this way means that you never buy regular priced items. You no longer buy whatever you want and need at the store, you only buy the stuff you want and need that you can get at a steal. Stocking up on those items allows you to keep from buying items not on sale.

The key to making all of this work of course, is the coupons. They come in the Sunday paper and you can buy a few of them to get multiple copies of the coupons. The suggestion I read is to buy one paper per person in your household.  You can also print out many of the same or similar coupons online (2 copies of each coupon per computer). The cost of the Sunday papers, ink and paper for the printer is worth every penny because following the basics of couponing will save you a ton of money!

During that week of research, I got really excited about couponing and could not wait for Sunday, so that I could buy the Sunday paper and get started. I spent a ton of time the next week and a half organizing my coupons, planning out my shopping trips, and doing the actual shopping. Since I have a strict grocery budget, by the middle of the second week, I ran out of money, but I got a ridiculous amount of stuff at an awesome price! I am so excited to get my next paycheck so that i can get back to couponing. The more I do it, the less items I will need and the less I will spend.  For now I'm going to stick to my normal grocery budget so that I can stock up on the items on sale, but once I have most of the items I need on a regular basis, I won't have to buy many items.  I will start to see my grocery bill go down, down, down, because eventually, all I will need to buy on a regular basis is perishables.

Ok, so here is the exciting part for me. Take a look at everything I bought and then see how much I saved at the bottom.

2 weeks of couponing:

5 Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo
13 Clean & Clear face wash
2 Aussie hairspray
2 Aussie mouse
1 Aussie shampoo
1 Aussie conditioner
5 Pantene shampoo
4 Pantene conditioner
24 toothpaste (Colgate, Crest, and Aquafresh)
10 Colgate manual toothbrushes
2 Oral B powered toothbrushes
2 packs of Reach floss
2 gallons of milk
1 half gallon of Smart Balance milk
8 boxes of 100 calorie snack packs
20 boxes of smart taste pasta
2 boxes of Old El Paso taco dinner kits
1 clearasil pore cleansing pads
2 Johnson & Johnson baby lotion
2 1.5 liters of coke zero
1 16 oz bottle of luberderm lotion
2 cover girl foundation
4 cover girl lip slicks (love these!!)
1 cover girl eyeliner
1 cover girl mascara
2 cover girl blush
2 listerine mouthwash
1 Act mouthwash
4 boxes of DayQuil (24 ct capsules)
4 DayQuil (liquid -12 oz ea)
1 pack of printer paper
2" Avery binder
2 boxes of centrum multivitamins
3 boxes ziploc bags
15 boxes of Disney vitamin gummies
4 boxes of alieve
9 old spice deodorant
10 soft soap hand soaps
2 first aid kits
10 boxes of desitin diaper rash cream
4 tubes of Nivea lip balm
1 tide stain release package
6 tide free and clear (32 load ea)
10 all free and clear (30 load ea)
2 tubes of aquaphor on the go
40 rolls of Bounty paper towels
84 rolls of Charmin toliet paper
4 boxes of hostess snacks
1 box of cake mix
1 container of cake frosting
4 bags of frozen veggies
1 box of pampers cruisers (68 ct)
1 jar of spice islands thyme
1 salad dressing
1 bag of tricolor peppers
1 bag of shredded cheese
2 boxes of Swansons chicken broth
2 jumbo boxes of Cheerios
2 boxes of market fresh Mac and cheese
10 up2u packs of gum
2 containers of mushrooms
2 boxes of frozen pancakes
1 ribeye steak
3 pack of Puffs tissues
1 box of egg beaters
1 12 pack of sprite
1 large Palmolive dish soap
3 small dawn dish soap
13 pouches of tuna
6 pouches of 75ct wet wipes
1 bag of lays chips

Ok, here is the exciting part. For all of that stuff up there, the retail value is $1,654.69.
With my brand new couponing skills, I only paid $434.60.

That is a savings of 74% !!!

That isn't exactly Extreme Couponing worthy (have you seen the show on TLC? Some of them save 90-100%), but it is an awesome start to saving a ton of money, and I had a blast doing it!  I am pretty sure I am not going to need to buy laundry detergent, face wash, deodorant, hand soap, vitamins, diaper rash cream, tooth paste, tooth brushes, dish soap, mouthwash, paper towels, or several other items for the next YEAR.  So, yeah, pretty cool.

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