Friday, August 20, 2010

Ramblings about shopping with kids, coupons, saving money

So after what I believe to be a pretty successful shopping trip, I received quite a few questions. I'm happy to share because goodness, it is one of the sometimes stressful parts of motherhood, no?  Trying to get through ONE store with a 2 y/o and 4 y/o in tow is a major feat some days, but somehow we got through FIVE (5)!!!  And then to try to save money, not spend MORE money because the kids are loading the cart with extras and begging.

The trick? Honestly, it was a total fluke. They had a healthy breakfast, dry pants, and it was a part of the day where they are fairly well rested.  Luckily I was feeling okay this morning, and I had the patience to deal with having to wait on them to look and touch everything in sight.  We played "I spy" a letter, Buzz, airplanes, tinkerbell.... I made sure each one had a job like holding the coupon folder (which Jeffrey about dumped twice!), holding the ad, finding the yellow juice, etc.  Target, there is always the bribe of "if you let mommy find what's on the list, we'll go look at toys".  Today that worked. Other days it totally does not!  For Dillon's, each was in charge of a reusable bag, which for some reason made them feel important all the way through!

Pretty much? I just got lucky.

So how did I rake in the deals and how do I save money?

Basic rules of successful couponing: Match coupons to sales, stockpile, and plan meals and cook from cabinet/fridge.

HOWEVER - Do NOT attempt to reinvent the wheel!!!
Seriously... matching up of coupons to sales is already done for you somewhere on the internet for FREE.  This is the one reason that it is NOT time consuming any more.  That excuse is no longer valid - just my honest opinion.  I will give you the places to look later, but here is what I did today to give you an idea of how couponing really does work!



TARGET

Juicy-Juice 8 pk juice boxes on sale 2/$4
       Purchased 4 packs
       Used $2 manuf. coupon off the purchase of 4 stacked with 2 - $1 off 2 Target coupons
       Final price: $1 each

Del Monte Fruit cups on sale $1.82
       Purchased 4 packs
       Used 4-$1 off Target coupons
       Target Deal: Buy 3 Get 1 FREE
       Final price: $0.37 each

Hamburger Helper on sale for $1.33
       Purchased 3
       Used $0.75 off 3 manuf. coupon
       Stacked with $1 off 3 Target coupon
       Final price: $0.75 each  (Dillon's deal is better this week, but this is an okay price)

Strawberries $1.99
      Purchased 2
      Used 2 - $1 off produce Target coupon
       Final price: $0.99 each

The best deals are money makers:
Whole Grain Chef Boyardee $0.99
      Purchased 3
      Used 3 - $1 off Target coupons (making them FREE)
     PLUS Stacked with $0.35 off 3 manuf. coupon
     Final price: FREE plus $0.35 overage

I could type them all out, but the key here is to watch Target sales, stack manufacturing coupons with Target coupons.  I LOVE Target and the deals I can get there almost every week.  Note the large pack of baby wipes in the back - that is my one downfall. I'm not great about finding good wipes deals, but they do come around periodically, so watch for them!


HyVEE
HyVee deals are few and far between, plus they have a very strict coupon policy that I just choose not to mess with.  What you see in this picture was all part of their HOT DEALS sale, plus one coupon so that the Peter Pan peanut butter was only $0.09! (Not pictured - 1/2 gallon milk for $0.99)

DILLONS
Here is where I really cashed in today. Sorry, I bought so much stuff I didn't take a picture.
Dillon's is running a sale of specific items Buy 8 get $4 off (or $0.50/item).  Match this sale with coupons (that double up to $1) and e-coupons, and you might feel like you are stealing!! Make SURE you are using your Dillon's Plus card. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but I am amazed by how many people I see go through the check out and do NOT use one!

My total BEFORE I scanned my Dillon's Plus card was $247+some change.
AFTER Plus card, E-coupons, and paper coupons: $129.79 (including $14.56 tax)
The numbers say it all for me.
So here are some examples:

Sobe Water $0.99
    Buy 8, get $4 off
    Use 4 - Buy 1 Get 1 free coupons (from playing game on Sobe.com website and codes from lids)
    Final Price: FREE

Cheerios $1.99
    As part of a Buy 8 deal, price is $1.49
    Use manuf. coupon $0.55 that doubles to $1, price is $0.49
    E-coupon kicks in $0.55
    Final Price: FREE plus $0.06 overage

General Mills Nut Clusters $2.49
    As part of a Buy 8 deal, price is $1.99
    Use manuf. coupon $1, price is $0.99
    E-coupon kicks in $1
    Final Price: FREE

Hamburger Helper $1.39
    Purchase 3
    As part of a Buy 8 deal, price is $0.89
    Use manuf. coupon $0.75 off 3, price is $0.64
    E-coupon kicks in $0.75 off 3
    Final Price: $0.39 per box

Dole Bag of Salad $2.99
    Use free coupon got in mail from Dillon's
    Final Price: FREE

Another coupon I got from Dillon's was $2 off the purchase of $10 from the frozen department.
I purchased 10 - $1 bags of frozen vegetables (on sale) with coupon - $0.80 each (BETTER than the 10% off deal going on at HyVee).

Bigger ticket item:
Charmin Bath Tissue 30-pk $16.99
   I get Dillon's coupons in the mail - $2.85 off a 30-pk
   E-coupon kicks in $3 off
   Final Price: $11.14 or $0.37 per roll
          This isn't a great price per roll, but I'm willing to pay a little more for quality.
           (Plus we were getting low again.)

So where am I learning and getting my info?

My favorite site: http://www.moneysavingmom.com - Click on the link to the store (i.e. Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc.) you want coupon matchups to on the right side of the page, and voila!! - your work is done for you!!
Plus, there are links to blogs covering stores ALL over the United States, so you should be able to find stores in your area.
Also, if you are on Facebook much at all, "Like" her there too, because she posts great deals and blog posts that are so informative.

The dear friend that started me on this crazy couponing enjoys: http://www.afullcup.com (This friend is crazy good - WAY better than me at this couponing thing.)

Where do I get coupons?
Sunday paper - KC Star, Topeka Capital Journal, LJWorld
Print them off:
http://www.coupons.com
http://www.target.com/coupons
http://www.redplum.com
http://www.smartsource.com
Watch the websites of your favorite brands, such as Proctor & Gamble - they always have tons of coupons and usually you can print them twice (called "bricks")
If there is an especially good deal on an item and you want to stock up, check eBay for coupons.
Example: Crest toothpaste is on sale for $1 at Dillon's - for $0.99 on eBay you can buy 20 Crest $0.55 off coupons. Take them to Dillon's (which doubles them to $1), and suddenly you have 20 tubes of toothpaste for FREE!!

E-coupons to put on your Dillon's Plus card
http://www.dillons.com
http://www.cellfire.com
http://www.shortcuts.com


Final Words
After diarrhea of the keyboard, I will close... I am not a pro by any means.  I spend about an hour a week figuring out the best way to utilize my grocery budget. More often than not, I don't feel up to shopping for a couple weeks except for essentials, so all my grocery budget has held over and I got lucky to cash in on some awesome deals.  Once you read through some couponing websites, you'll quickly realize - Do NOT pay for body wash or razors - CVS and Walgreens pay you to take them off their shelves most of the time. (CVS is another store that rocks my world when I work it right.)  So feel free to continue to ask questions - no guarantees I have the answers. This blog is not just for coupons, so if you choose to follow me, be prepared to hear my rantings, ramblings, stories of all aspects of motherhood.  God BLESS you for reading this far!

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