Thursday, July 30, 2009

Couponing Tips, Tricks and a Contest!!!

Ok Facebookers, and blog readers, this has been a long time coming.

No matter how much money you make (or don't make) EVERYBODY could stand to save a little bit of cashola!


A few months ago, I heard several of my friends brag about ways they were saving money with coupons, but never really felt the desire to 'mess' with it.

Then, one day, ironically April 15, 2009, I decided that SAVING MONEY should become more of a priority in our household. I went to CVS with $4, a couple of coupons, and a plan.

I bought a Schick Razor ($10.99 value) and a Schick Razor Refill pack ($9.99 value). I walked out of there with a my razors and a PROFIT of $.26. LEGALLY AND BY THE BOOK! (I'll explain more about that later)

Here are some of the TIPS AND TRICKS OF COUPONING that have helped me get started:

-ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS buy AT LEAST 2 Sunday papers for the coupon circulars! (unless it's a holiday weekend, then don't buy any, as they most likely won't have coupons)

-Try to shop sales AND use coupons to maximize your savings. You can even plan your meals around what's on sale.

-Stores such as Publix, Kroger and sometimes CVS take competitor coupons AND manufacturer coupons on the same item.
EXAMPLE: If Kroger has Huggies diapers (regularly $15.99) on sale for $8.99, use an in-store Publix coupon for an additional $2 off, then use a $1.50 off manufacturer coupon (usually comes in the mail or in the Sunday paper)...You could get a pack of Huggies diapers for $5.50. That's less than the off brand diapers!
ADDITIONALLY, lets say you buy 3 of packs of diapers...you can use a Rite Aid $5 off $25 purchase (found online or in the Rite Aid ads found in their store) or Kmart $5 off $25 (sometimes found in their Sunday ad), to save even more!
EXAMPLE:
3 packs of diapers X $8.99 sale price= $26.97
-$6 (one $2 competitor coupon per item)
-$4.50 (one $1.50 manufacturer coupon per item)
-$5 ($5 off $25 competitor coupon)
= $11.47 for 3 packs of diapers!!!!!!

That's a savings of $36.50 off of the regular price!!!
If using the $5 off $25 competitor coupons (or ones like it), MAKE SURE YOU HAND THE CASHIER THAT COUPON FIRST! If you don't, your total after the other coupons won't be enough to make your subtotal $20.

-Publix and Kroger always double coupons $.50 or less. Some stores in some cities even TRIPLE coupons up to $.35. Ask your local store if and when they double/triple coupons.

-When stores like Publix and Kroger have BOGO (buy one get one free) sales. You don't have to buy 2 to get the discount. For example if an item is BOGO $2...it's $1 for each item. OH and if you have bought two papers, you'll have two coupons for each item and can use BOTH COUPONS.

-Adding to the savings of BOGO's...if an item is BOGO $2 and you have 2 $.50 coupons (that BTW double making the coupons worth $1each)...guess what...BOTH ITEMS ARE FREE!!!!! Yes, FREE! I try to stock up when I come across these deals. Because, even if I don't need or use the item, I can always hang on to it until I need it or donate it to charity.

-Most grocery store sales and promos are cyclical. If you see a great deal that ended yesterday, don't fret...it will most likely come back around in 4-6wks, if not sooner.

-Stockpile when you can. Since you're already saving a ton using coupons and buying on sale...when you come across a GREAT DEAL, take some of the cash you've saved and purchase multiples of those items. It will save you EVEN MORE in the long run.

As I said before, I started out small using coupons here and there, and now, only three months later, I've managed to SHAVE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS off our family's monthly budget for food and drugstore items. AND, I 'buy' a lot of stuff for FREE or nearly FREE, so our family now has lots of groceries and goods stockpiled. OH, and FYI, I only shop at Publix, Kroger, and CVs. I rarely even go to Walmart anymore (thank goodness because boy do I dislike that place!).

So, going back to that CVS purchase...The Schick Razors and Refills were on sale BOGO.
I had 2 $4 coupons.
10.99 Razor
+9.99 Refill
-9.99 FREE with BOGO
-$4 mfr. coupon
-$4 mfr. coupon
= $2.99 + $.24tx
= $3.23 OOP (cash Out Of Pocket)
-$3.49 ECB (Extra Care Bucks) received
=+$.26 profit

ECB's are CVS coupons earned by purchasing select items (per CVS weekly ad). ECB's are good towards your next purchase on a pretax basis and usually expire within a couple of weeks.

If you've made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS, you deserve to enter my Facebook and Blog Reader contest:

I'm declaring August the ALL ABOUT SAVING CASHOLA MONTH!

I want to know how much money you have SAVED BY SHOPPING ON SALE AND USING COUPONS at grocery and drug stores!

Most stores like Publix, Kroger and CVS put your total savings in bold print at the bottom of your receipt. So, for the month of August, add those totals up! Although saving money at any store for any item is great, for the purpose of this contest, please only include savings at grocery and drug stores for items usually purchased at those stores. For example, if you buy a computer desk, flat screen tv, garden plants or clothes on sale or with a coupon at a place like Walmart...don't include those items. I'm looking for savings on GROCERIES and REGULAR DRUG STORE ITEMS, If you have a question about a particular store or item qualifying for this contest, just ask.

The person who SAVED THE MOST MONEY will win.

As I displayed in my BOGO examples above, you don't even have to spend money to save money!!! I'll go by the honor system throughout the month to see how things are progressing, but the final winner will need to show me their receipts either in person or digitally (scanned into pdf's, photographed, or viewed via webcam).

THE PRIZE: The winner will receive a NEW PAIR OF SCISSORS, a purse sized COUPON ORGANIZER, a POCKET CALCULATOR, a NOTE PAD, a PACK OF PENS, and an AWESOME ZIPPER COUPON BINDER/ORGANIZER complete with TRADING CARD SIZE COUPON SLEEVES and DIVIDERS....JUST LIKE THE ONE I USE!!!!! I'll even fill it with AT LEAST $100 IN MONEY SAVING COUPONS and MAIL IT TO YOU FREE!!!

In THIS economy, every little bit of savings helps! So, instead of feeling sad and depressed about your bills or nose-dived 401K.....GET UP AND DO SOMETHING TO HELP YOURSELF!!!

August is ALL ABOUT SAVING CASHOLA!!!! So, get to saving money and enter my contest!!!

This contest is open to all of my Facebook friends and Blog readers.

If you are planning on participating in this contest, please comment below with your name and a rating from 1 to 10 on how much you were into coupons and shopping sales before today. (Rate from 1 being not that interested in couponing and 10 being you're a super crazy couponing money saver!)

Good Luck, and Happy All About Saving Cashola Month!!! :)Christina

7 comments:

Rebekka said...

Hi Christina,
I want to play for August!
Should be fun! I went to CVS yesterday and did okay, but then I saw the Walgreens ad for something and kicked myself. I'm ready!
Bekki (in Houston)

Rebekka said...

Forgot my number -- I'd say I'm a 5 or 6.

lyse said...

I am in! I am excited to see the kind of savings I can bring to my family. :) Great idea!

Anonymous said...

Today I saved-all together $26.47 at Publix-1/2 of my total Order!
:-) Cindy G

CJAlabama said...

Thanks for entering the contest Bekki and lyse!

Cindy, WAY TO GO GIRL! That's awesome!!!

Sarah said...

I'm game! I would have to say I'm a 9 or 10 :)

CJAlabama said...

I'm so excited to see some new faces entering the contest! Keep checking back because I plan to post more tips and tricks throughout the month.
:)Christina