Couponing Stocked My Shelf

I’ve never watched the extreme couponing show on tv.  I knew I never saved big money with coupons in the grocery store, but I was intrigued.  People are saving lots of money.

I asked myself two question:

How does it work?  Can it work for me?

Here’s what I found out.

You must use a coupon in conjunction with a major store sale.

Yes, it can work for me.

That’s the basic explanation, but couponing isn’t simple.  It’s a complicated labyrinth of store flyers, $1.00 squares of coupon, and TIME.  Yes, couponing takes time.  I do believe that the more you do it, the better and quicker you get; however, I’m still slow.

The only grocery stores I have in my area are Super Wal-Mart and Hannaford.  Neither run great promotional sales.  My coupons will only take me so far there, but I do have a CVS in my town.  CVS runs crazy weekly specials.

I googled how to coupon and I watched videos, read lots and lots, and decided to focus on one store.  CVS.

I love that store now.

I’ve been at this for a few weeks and my savings are growing each week.  I spend Sunday going through the coupons that come in the Sunday paper and clipping them.  I put them in a binder filled with plastic card sheets.  They are the sheets used to hold baseball cards.  My son graciously gave me a few.  He doesn’t collect baseball cards, but he does have fifty-million Star Wars cards.  After my coupons are in the binder, I go online and search the most recent CVS flyer.  You can enter your zip code, so you get the appropriate flyer.

Here’s my book.

Nothing fancy.  I’m sure it could be more organized, but this IS organized for me.

My son asked me the other day if all the time I spent on coupons is worth it.  I told him I wasn’t sure, but I was going to find out.  So Monday morning, armed with coupons, two kids, and a plan of attack, I walked into CVS.

I opened my coupon book right on top of my cart.  Then I pulled out my detailed list and a calculator.  That’s how I shopped.  My son trailed behind me with an extra cart.  People gave me funny looks.  I smiled and waved.

I walked out with this bounty.

I paid $28.74 for all of this.

I thought that was pretty good.  Every item was on sale.  I did not have a coupon for the water, but the water was on sale for $2.22 a case and that’s a good deal.  We don’t drink our tap water because it’s nasty and will kill you.

The Oral B Floss I got for free.  The Dawn dish soap I got for free.  Everything else was very discounted.

I also received $9 in xtra bucks to use on my next purchase.  In CVS language that’s a free $9 for my next shopping trip. Gotta love it!

So here’s what I learned.

  1. Give yourself time to figure things out.
  2. Don’t buy beyond your budget even if it’s a good deal.  Work with what money you have.
  3. Pick one store and become familiar with the card system and sales in that store.
  4. Learn to buy name brands. I know this goes against the thrifty grain, but name brands go on sale and manufacturers put out coupons only for name brands.
  5. Don’t be loyal to a brand.  Be flexible.  If something is free or only pennies, that makes it easier to enjoy other brands.
  6. Have some fun!  Treat yourself to a discounted bag of M&M’s.  (I passed up that sale this week thank you very much. *pats own back*)
  7. Show your husband your haul and receipt.  He’ll be pretty amazed.

After I paid and we were walking to the car, my son said, “I can’t believe all this only cost us twenty-eight dollars.”

I still have lots to learn, but I knew my time spent clipping coupons on Sunday night was worth it on this Monday Morning.

What about you?  Have you tried couponing??

**  On a side note – if you accumulate too much stuff, there are women’s shelters all over our land who take abused women and children and offer them a new beginning.  they are always looking for these products.  They’d be more than happy to help lighten your load and you’ll get to be a blessing to some women in need.


13 thoughts on “Couponing Stocked My Shelf

  1. Deb

    Do you know how much your bill was before all the coupons were redeemed? Our coupon system doesn’t work here like in the States. 😦

    1. the domestic fringe Post author

      Deb, I’m not sure. I threw away my receipt. I do know that I bought 23 items and the before tax total was 24.94. That’s like saying I paid $1.09 for each item. That’s really cheap for what I purchased. It would have been double my total without the coupons and it would have been 3 times my total without the sale + coupons.

      Sorry your coupons don’t work as well for you.

  2. laura

    Good job! I’m trying to be more conscience of sales and promotions, but I find in Canada (or at least my neck of the woods) we don’t get as many coupon offers. Also, most coupons are only for regular priced merchandise, so we can’t benefit from an instore special as well. Still, there are deals to be had!
    Good job on passing up the m&ms….when I was away for work last week my supper for 2 nights in a row was a large bag of peanut m&m’s

  3. Charming's Mama

    Wow good job, FringeGirl. I have not done much couponing, have thought about it, but when I look at what coupons are out there it seems that they are for things we don’t use or need. Also one thing that I have noticed, especially with brand name products, sometimes even with a coupon they are still more expensive than the store brand, so you need to check that too. I had a dollar off coupon for children’s Tylenol, even with that it was still twice as much as the store brand. I bought the store brand.

    1. the domestic fringe Post author

      Here’s the thing Sydney, you never buy something if you just have a coupon. You only buy it if there’s a really good sale and then you have a coupon. That makes it cheaper than the store brand. I think medication is a hard one. I use Zyrtec. I buy the biggest generic bottle in Wal-Mart and I haven’t found a cheaper price even with coupon. Maybe someday I will, but not as of yet.

      Anyway, the soaps, toothpaste, shampoos, paper products – all that stuff you can get severely discounted or even for free. You really have to study the sale flyers and then match up your coupons. I think it just takes practice. I’m still trying to get the hang of it. 😉

      1. the domestic fringe Post author

        Oh, ya. I use to think I don’t use or need it either, but the truth is that we all need toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, laundry and dish and bar soap, paper towels and toilet paper. You just have to be willing to open yourself to brands.

    2. Charming's Mama

      Have you been talking to my sister?! It’s not that I’m not open to other brands, the cereal coupons are always handy. It just seems there are a lot of coupons for dog food or kitty litter, coffee or creamer. We have no pets and I’m mostly a tea drinker, so’s hubby. I do occasionally have a cup of coffee but only socially. I don’t think I’ve seen a coupon for green beans or canned corn in years. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right place. And unfortunately fresh meats, fruits and vegs rarely have coupons, but I do watch for sales on those items. Thanks for the tips!

      1. the domestic fringe Post author

        Ya, it’s shame there aren’t coupons for meet and produce, but I figure if I can save enough on toiletries and paper products, it will bring down the overall budget for food, because we count all that stuff (even laundry soap) in our food budget.

  4. Jersey Coupon Queen

    Love it! I am a true couponer at heart and love my binder, which I have organized just like you. I get such a euphoria when I put together the coupon and sale mathc ups for the following week. It also is a great feeling to be able to help family, friend, and the community with the freebies that I have purchased 🙂

  5. Karen

    Great deal!!! Thanks for adding the bit about the women’s shelter. When I see the t.v show and these people have garages full of hundreds of items that will expire before they even get around to using them, I can’t understand why they won’t donate it. Especially when they got it for free or practically free. My grandma does the coupon shopping as a hobby and then we get all the bbq sauce and toothpaste to last a year!

    1. the domestic fringe Post author

      I would go shopping at my grandma’s house when I was first married. Grandma’s are good for that. 😉

      There are so many in need, it’s crazy selfish not to share what we have. We would have the blessing of getting savings and then the blessing of giving if only we’d spread some love.


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