Walmart Trip 9-29-09

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Some deals for you to look for

  • If you have the $1 off Rhodes coupon look for the small 12 ct package in the freezer section for about $1.29. This will score you some rolls for about 29cents!
  • If you have the BOGO coupon (from the papers) for Magic Erasers and the 75 cent coupon (from Home Made Simple) you can use them both and get (2) 2ct packages for $1.25 total.
  • Look for $1.50 off peelies on the Precious Mozzarella.

After spending some time reading blogs with Walmart matchups, printing coupons, and organizing my coupons I made a solo trip to Walmart.  It’s not my favorite place to coupon, but I knew it was time.  I planned to take my time and see how many deals I could find in addition to the things I knew I was looking for.  I was pretty happy with how the trip turned out.  Many of the things in the picture were things we were completely out of, a couple were things I had great coupons that I thought might give me some “overage,” and the rest were things I knew we would use that were great deals.

My total before coupons (including sales) was $53.49

Amount saved with just coupons $23.25

Number of items purchased-27

Number of coupons applied to products (some were BOGO) -25

My total after coupons was $30.24!

I was very happy with this total because like I said before this trip was not just a “stockpiling/couponing trip” it was largely a trip for things we were out of (dish washing detergent, dish soap, oatmeal, deodorant, a roll of paper towels (rather than our former Costco pack), butter etc.)

The other thing that was great about this trip was that almost all the food products I purchased were healthy, natural, or organic.  With the exception of the biscuits and the Yoplait (still fairly healthy) most of the food was minimally processed and free from weird ingredients (the turkey bacon might be semi-questionable, but it is a rare treat and better than regular bacon).

The reason that I show my what I purchase at stores occasionally is so that you can see how much I can get for my money, and that you don’t necessarily have to live off junk food if you coupon.

Hints-

  • Go later in the evening when the store is slow and easy to navigate.
  • Double check all your coupons before you hand them over to make sure they are for the right product and not expired.

Have you had a great trip lately? Tell me about it or post about it and share the link!

Couponing 101 Part 2: The Basics

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What we have learned so far in this series

Now that you know some great places to get your coupons and hopefully have a little stash created its time to learn the basics.  Many people are slightly intimidated by the coupon game.  They know there are great deals to be had, but are afraid they don’t know all the rules.  This post should help you learn the basics so that you can use coupons with confidence.  Here are some tips to help you make the most of your shopping trips with coupons.

You can “stack” a manufacture coupon with a store coupon.  This is how many people get many items for close to free.  Many stores release coupons that are strictly for use at their store.  Companies also release coupons that are strictly for their product.  When you use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon at the same time you will save big.  Stores are reimbursed by the “manufacturer” when people use those types of coupons, so when you use both types of coupon the stores are not giving you that item for free.

Try to use your coupon(s) when the item is on sale.  Unless you need an item badly, try to always wait until the item is on sale before you use the coupon you have been hanging on to.  Most items will go on sale sometime before your coupon expires.

Take advantage of stores that offer double coupons.  Many grocery stores have what they call “double coupons.” These are the blank coupons (often in their add) that will usually say something like “Double Coupon” or “Double Your Savings.”  Most are only good up to a certain amount.  Some say something like “will double your savings up to 50 cents per coupon” or ” double your savings with coupons that have a value up to 1 dollar”.   There are usually about 3 or 4 of them in the adds that run them (so you will not be able to double all your coupons you use in that transaction).  Some cashiers like to fill in the value themselves and some want you to do it.  I always ask when I start putting my items on the belt which they prefer.  Some coupons (especially the coupons you find in the store in the “blinkie” machines or on the tear pads) will have the wording “Do not double” or “Not subject to doubling.”  These are obviously coupons that your store is not allowed to double.

Use your coupons that have the nearest expiration date first.  This seems like an obvious tip, but it is easy to forget if you are in a hurry.  Many times I have used a coupon only to later realize that I had another coupon that is just about ready to expire or has already expired that will now go to waste because my coupons weren’t organized.

Keep your eye open for unexpected sales.  Many stores will have unadvertised sales on certain items.  As you walk through the store keep your eyes out for items that are on sale that may not me mentioned in the add.  If your coupons are well organized you might be able to score a good deal by digging out a coupon to pair with an item you were not expecting to find on sale.

Watch for markdowns.  Those are the items that are nearing their expiration date that usually have little stickers on them offering a discount.  Sometimes they have multiple stickers on them and each sticker means more savings.  The other day I found a package of yogurt that had (3) 75cent off stickers on it at Safeway.  This means that we saved $2.25 right off the bat.  If you happen to have a coupon for this item you will save even more.  The most common places to find these stickers are in the dairy section, meat department, produce dept., and refrigerated section (items like biscuits or cookie dough), and bread dept.  Basically any items that have a limited shelf life are often marked down like this.  These will often be easier to find at stores that are a bit slower.  You can even ask employees that look like they are familiar with these departments if there are certain days they do markdowns on.

It usually works best to hand over your store coupons first.  Sometimes people have trouble using coupons even when they are following all the rules.  Sometimes the order you try to use your coupons effects weather or not the register likes what you are using.  In most cases you will have the most luck if hand the cashier all your store coupons followed by your manufacturer coupons.

Watch your items and coupons when they are rung up.  As the cashier rings up your items make sure they are coming up at the right price.  Pay special attention when you have items with markdown stickers.  After they have rung up all your items make sure that all your coupons are working properly.  If you hear a beep and nothing is deducted from your bill as they scan a coupon sometimes the machine rejected it for some reason.  If they don’t seem to be trying to figure out what is wrong, kindly ask if the coupon worked.  Sometimes they can push it through by if you have both determined that it should be working.  If the cashier does not seem to be familiar with a stores coupon policy or a coupon is not going through that should, you can always politely ask a for a manager.

Know the wording on your coupons.  Make sure you know what product the coupon is good for, if there are limitations on that size of product it is for (like can it be used on any item, or any item except for travel size, etc), and always pay attention to expiration dates.

Know your stores coupon policies.  If you have questions you can always go to customer service and see if they know, or ask if they have a copy of the stores coupon policies.  If you have a specific question you can always call to try and get an answer or ask to speak with a manager the next time you stop by.

Knowing these tips will help you save lots.  Being friendly to your cashiers will go a long way in how helpful they will be to you in that specific transaction, and also in future transactions.

Helpful Hints

  • Always have your coupons clipped and ready to hand over when you get inline.
  • Sometimes I smile and tell the person who gets inline behind me that I have quite a few coupons and it may take an extra minute or two.  At that point they can either choose a different line or are atleast warned incase things get a little bogged down.

Any questions?  Twin mama LOVES comments!

Target Trip

A friend of mine was interested in how I use coupons to save money for our family.  I figured the best way for her to see what I do was actually show her, so we decided to make a run last night.  We met up at Starbucks for some pre-shopping fuel and to talk about how to organize, acquire, use and pair coupons.  After we chatted for quite a bit we headed over to target with a huge stash of coupons. To prepare for the trip I had spent quite a bit of time reading some blogs that outlined some of the deals for the week, and also printed off a bunch of online coupons.  You never really know how a trip will go till you see what products they actually carry, have in stock, and how good your checker is with coupons.  All in all it was a pretty successful trip! I was excited with what I came home with, and even more excited about how much I spent on it.

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Full shot of the loot
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Closer view
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Closer view

Here is a rough breakdown of how much my stuff cost.

Cascade rinse agent-Coupon for free item

Cascade gel-$2.50 used store coupon(S.C) and manufacturer coupon(M.C)

Dawn foam-79 cents used M.C

Dawn hand renewal-$1.09  used M.C.

Kraft BBQ sauce-24 cents used M.C

(2) Morning star farms Spicy black bean burgers-$1.29 each after M.C and S.C

All Beef hot dogs-Coupon for free product

Dog teeth cleaning treats-$1.04 after M.C

Earths best-27 cents after S.C

Kotex 36ct-$3.54 after S.C. and M.C

Band aids- 27 cents and 77 cents after M.C and S.C.

Bryers on sale for $2.50 each and if you bought 5 you get a gift card for $5. so….like getting 5 for $7.50

Shredded Wheat-about $4.25 for the three boxes  (2)M.C. and S.C

Milk-Free when you bought 3 boxes of cereal!

Archer Farms organic tortilla chips-$1.33 each after S.C

Archer Farms organic mango peach salsa- Free when you bought 2 chips!

Total………..$33.26 minus the $5 gift card from the ice cream

=$28.26 WOO HOO

Total before savings $82.35!

We got lots of products we will use and a few to build up our stock pile.  Some are products we are pretty brand loyal to, and some are just things that I got for free or close to free I knew that we could use.  I love to have a small stash so we won’t have to pay full or even just sale price when we run out of something.

Stats:

Time preparing for trip–Sadly it took me a couple hours because I had not organized my coupons lately and spent quite a bit of time looking for and printing coupons online.  I had the time though because our trip to the beach with the youth group got rained out. I don’t normally spend this much time preparing for a trip.

Time spent in Target–couple hours. More than normal because we were talking about the deals as we went.

Checker–Male and great with coupons! (I would use him again)…as you coupon you learn that the checker is crucial. Some don’t know hot to ring things up properly, some don’t know their companies policies, and some are just mad that you are getting better deals than they do.

Location-Keizer Station

If I continue to post about some of my shopping trips I likely won’t go into so much detail.  I just know that I like to see exactly how people are getting their deals so I can refine my game.

Happy Sunday! Its a new week with new deals!

Let me know if you have any questions!