Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Coupon Game!

I have always bought the Sunday paper and clipped the coupons for whatever items we used or what I thought might make for a good deal. I only shopped at Wal Mart and Sam's Club. I bought the store brand on most items that had one available. Doing all of this I thought I was being very frugal with my grocery shopping! HAHAHAHAH! That is what I have to say about that now!
I started learning more about this not so secret world of couponing in October and November. This is the same time we were moving and staying with my parents. So, I decided that I would just look around a little and learn until I was back to full time grocery shopping. We settled into our new temporary home at Jeff's parents' at the end of the year. I started getting more into the coupon world, as well as getting freebies, the beginning of January. In the last 6 weeks I have learned so much and received so many free or nearly free items.
Most of the free samples take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to arrive. About 4 weeks after I started all this I began getting something free in the mail nearly everyday! Sometimes multiple items/coupons! A few of the items I have received are pens, prunes, trash bag, insulated freezer bag, coupon books, recipe books, and coupons for various free items.
I have got some of my best deals at Walgreens and CVS. I have made several trips to Walgreens and bought $50-$70 worth of personal care items/cleaners/groceries and only spent $3-$5! This is easy from Walgreens and CVS because they have good sales, store coupons, manufacturer coupons and register rewards/catalina coupons. These all combined make for opportunities for lots of free items! CVS just opened here so I have not had as many opportunities to shop there. But, they have many of the same great deals.
I am also finding some great grocery store buys. There are so many different grocery stores here that I have had to do some research for best buys. Since I moved here I have not even been to my store of choice, Wal-Mart! My grocery trips started with a savings of about 35%, but I have done as well as about 75% savings recently!
I can't say exactly what we are saving right now. Our grocery bills are still kind of random because sometimes Jeff's mom will pick up a few things at the store or she will give me some cash to chip in for groceries. Also, I am cooking for one additional person and we are shopping in a new town and state with a higher cost of living and different taxes. But, I can say that we have already reduced our budgeted amount for groceries by about $50 every two weeks and have been able to stick to that fine, even though we are buying groceries for one more person than we use to. I still feel like I am learning and our housing situation right now is just temporary. So, I will continue to learn and practice and we will sit down with a smaller budget and I will work even harder once we sell our house and buy one here.
I have been looking at this as a part time job. It has been paying me like a part time job and it takes time like a part time job. The benefit is that I don't have to pay for child care and I still get to be with my boy's all day. I do my "work" while they are napping and after they go to bed at night. The biggest complication with this new theory behind grocery shopping is that I make more trips to the store(s) so I end up taking the boys to the store more than I use to. I use to go to Wal Mart once every two weeks after the boys went to bed. Now I go a couple times a week to various stores. I may still go out after they go to bed one night a week though. Have I ever mentioned how much my boys HATE shopping?! Oh, well, maybe if they go enough one day they will learn to love it as much as their mama!

Some pictures of some of my recent steals and deals!
This was a combo purchase from CVS and Walgreens. It totaled FREE! I made $2 at Wags and spent $2 at CVS!
I saved about 70% on this grocery store trip.
This was our first attempt at "playing" Walgreens (affectionately called Wags). Jeff went with me and we made multiple transactions and bought about $60 worth of items for $5!

At Wags, this was also about $50 for about $5.
Wags again, this was $13 worth and I paid $3.
Wags, $70 for $4!
This was another combo trip from CVS and Wags, I think this was about $25 worth of items and we paid about $3.

I have had several other really good trips, but I don't take pictures of them all! ;)

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