Monday, June 6, 2011

Adventures In Couponing

I've recently become moderately addicted (can those two words really go together???) to the new TLC show Extreme Couponing.  You have to see it to believe that it is possible to purchase $500 to $2000 worth of stuff for $20 to $50, and its pretty ridiculous.  Ridiculously AWESOME!!!
So I decided to try my hand at this couponing thing.  And today was my first time.  [Coupon virgin]

On Friday a coupon booklet came in our newspaper with the flyers, and it had a number of coupons for items that we already buy.  Like, for example, toothpaste.  Crest had a 75 cents off coupon in this booklet.  Brent and I scanned the flyers [flyer virgin: Brent usually reads the flyers while I swear at them and hustle them into the recycling box as fast as I can] for sales to combine with the coupons, and I was SUPER EXCITED when I found a 2 for $3 sale on 130 mL toothpaste.  Combined with my coupons, that would be 2 for $1.50!  Woot!

Of course, at this point I had only one coupon for 75 cents off toothpaste, so the next order of business was to procure more.  I pilfered every rural newspaper box we could find~it was a family affair: and I got my mother in law on the job.  She's a master detective =)
We managed a small collection of coupon books, resulting in 9 coupons for 75 cents off Crest toothpaste.

Then Brent said, "Hey, another store is having a sale on Crest toothpaste, 99 cents per tube!"


So today we gathered the kids and drove to the drug store that had 99 cent toothpaste, and I was PUMPED!!  I was walking to the front door so fast that Riley lost his boot on the steps and I barely let him reclaim it!  Here I was, a coupon virgin, about to save some serious money on toothpaste!  We jogged over to the toothpaste aisle and there was ONLY ONE lone Crest toothpaste tube on the shelf behind a sign that read 99 cents.  OH SO SAD!  Apparently someone else is in the same frame of mind as myself, with the late night Extreme Coupon watching, and the collecting of Crest coupons....

So I bought one 130 mL tube for 36 cents after tax.  And we drove to the next town over.  Their shelf was totally empty.  And the next one after that....
I was getting pretty down, when Brent said, "Doesn't Walmart price match?"
So I went to Walmart with a flyer from the other store showing the sale price, gathered 8 tubes of toothpaste, and lined up--the cashier had to ring them up separately to price match, and then enter the coupons individually, so it took some time [meanwhile, everyone behind me in line is thinking, jeepers I lined up here on purpose because this chick had only eight tubes of toothpaste but it turns out she's the slowest checkout in the store].  Grand total?  $2.86.  EIGHT TUBES!  So in all, I got nine tubes of toothpaste for $3.16, approximately the price of one tube.
It's not $1800 for $44, but it felt pretty good.  And we're stocked now, for toothpaste, for several years!

I could really get used to this....
[as an aside, some Extreme Couponers feed their entire families with only several hundred dollars per year, but there is no way we're eating junk just to save money.  Homemade food from real ingredients is so invaluable, and in general you can't find coupons for fuji apples or ground beef.  But dry goods and the few processed foods we eat?  I can save some serious money.  Maybe.  We did spend some money on fuel chasing around toothpaste availability, but I think I did pretty good for my first time.

I saved $32 today.


Sandra said...

I'm also a coupon virign. After reading your post couponing sounds like fun! =0)
Ty was talking about couponing and he always read the flyers. I don't know if you heard about couponmom, but you can find tons of coupons there.

Louise Chapman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaclyn C said...

I am DYING to see Extreme Couponing - I am so intrigued by what they can do! I agree with you though about the processed vs fresh foods, but for household items some of those deals can't be beat! Good job on the toothpaste; I'd by lying if I said I wasn't just a tad jealous :)

Louise Chapman said...

Mel, did you know there is a course you can take? My sister did it and she is a fantastic couponer. Also, lots of free coupons at P&G brandsaver, etc. London Drugs lets you stack coupons too. Welcome to the world of coupons! By the way, do you get your bread at MacGavins Discount Bakery on the bypass? Total, total money saver!
(I wrote the wrong place in the first comment so changed it:)