When I teach my coupon classes I talk about how much of your budget to set aside for couponing and how to stock up. When a new couponer watches a shows like Extreme Couponing they are lead to believe that you are suppose to build a massive stockpile in 1 day, using 100’s of coupons and walk away paying nothing. This “can” be done but is NOT realistic and is more for tv ratings than to teach you a skill to save you money.
When you first start couponing you will need to still buy the “normal” things on your weekly shopping list because you do not have a stockpile at home. What I suggest is to take 10-20% of your budget and set that aside just for couponing. Then shop like normal with the other 80-90% of your money. Becuase if you where to put ALL you money towards the lowest stock up deals that week… sure you would get a good deal but you would not have the items needed to create a menu plan for your family. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to creating a well balanced stockpile.
Now what are you going to buy with your 10-20% set aside, you are going to focus on stocking up on the items that are at there LOWEST price point and try to buy multiples. For example if mayonnaise is a regular item on your shopping list you are going to pay $3-$5 per bottle depending where and when you shop. Recently an ad at Albertsons showed you could get mayo for low as $.49 a bottle after sale and coupons.
Best Foods Mayo $2.99 when you buy 10 $2.49
These bottles do not expire for 8 months. So stock up when the price is low, and get 8-10 bottles for the same price you would pay for one bottle that is not on sale. This now gives you the power to mark that item off your list for the next 8 months and you DO NOT have to buy it until it is a price point you are willing to pay. You also get to use that money towards other items like fresh produce or milk… or apply it towards more coupon deals. The longer you shop this way you will build up a stockpile and you will get to “shop your stockpile” instead of shopping the stores for your pantry staples.
Question from my inbox this week,
First I want to thank you for your thriftymom website. I’ve been
couponing for a year now and I still have questions. I learn
something new everyday about coupons….I do have a question after
watching TLC’s Extreme Couponing, in the show the couponers bought a
large number of items and used coupons for every item…… I’ve read
the fine print on the coupon and most of these coupons have written on
them “one per purchase” or “one per purchase of like item”……..I’ve
tried to use multiple coupons, for instance, Act Popcorn at Winco and
the cashier refused my coupons because they read, one per
purchase……on the show there were items the couponers purchased and
i have the same coupons and mine read “one per purchase”. So does
this depend on the store and cashier to take these multiple coupons?
does it also depend on the store and cashier to double a coupon that
reads “do not double”. I hope you can explain this to me.
Answer: This is a great question and asked at every coupon class I teach, so I thought it would be a good topic to cover. First let me say the fine print on a coupon should be read and honored. A store has the right to refuse a coupon ( which is silly they get reimbursed the full amount plus 8 cents). That being said this is what the fine print means…
If your coupon says ” One coupon per purchase”
That means you are only able to use one coupon per item purchased. ( NOT buy 5 items and scan the same coupon 5 times). If you are buying or purchasing 5 items you can then use 5 coupons. Ask yourself or the cashier how many items did I purchase….5, so that means you can use 5 coupons (One per purchase). You can have multiple ”purchases” within one transaction.
If the coupon was to say “One coupon per transaction” then yes you are only to use one coupon for one item on that shopping trip.
If the coupon was to say ” One coupon per House Hold” then you are only use one coupon , not even on a new transaction or next shopping trip.
Many of you may have noticed P&G changed the wording on there coupons. They now reads ” Limit one coupon per purchase, Limit of 4 like coupon in the same shopping trip” The top line means the same as above, one coupon per item or purchase ( you can buy 3 of the same items and use 3 coupons)…. but then the next line gives you even further instruction. Only 4 like items in the same shopping trip. So you can buy as many P&G products as you want in one transaction….but limited to 4 of each product. So 4 toothpaste, 4 shampoo, 4 bodywash…you get the idea.
The main thing is to remember a transaction is different than a purchase. A transaction is the sum of all the items or all the purchases you made.
Dear A Thrifty Mom,
I am a new couponer (since October) and need a little help. I love your site. I found you soon after starting the coupon adventure and I am afraid that couponing has become a bit more of a bad dream than a joy. I read about the people who spend $400 and save $1500 and am at a loss. I have been pretty hard core couponing for 3 solid months and have yet to see a dip in my spending. I am working on stocking up on items that are on sale, buying meat only on sale, and shopping multiple stores only to feel like I am wasting my time and energy on something that is pie in the sky. I had hopped to save some serious money to help with our one income budget. My husband works hard and I was hopping my couponing could support him and help our family to make ends meet as I stay home with our 3 boys.
I just feel like I am missing some key ingredients. I get 5 papers weekly. I clip them all. The major portion of my time is spent clipping, organizing, looking online for additional coupons, using your site to find match ups. Then I shop at Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Winco, and Walgreens with occasional stops at Pauls and Walmart. I have 2 young children with me most days so shopping and price comparisons are time consuming and often less than pleasant for 2 busy boys. I live in Kuna so a trip to the store is a 20 min drive one way and I don’t want to tote my kids to the store daily.
Do you have any ideas any ways I can make the major savings happen for our family. I am so thankful for the matchups you do. Without it couponing would be even more labor intensive and I am sure I would have given up long ago. I don’t want to give up on couponing, but I am close to deciding it is more stress than benefit.
Well it sounds like you have your hands full, I wish I had the magic answer but I hope a few of these tips will help.