by Amy Platon
I’ve never really believed in cutting coupons. My Mom always told me that I wouldn’t save that much with ‘em, and if I went generic on most stuff that would save me the most money in the long run.
I believed that for most of my life, until recently when I got a copy of the Sunday paper and rediscovered the land of the coupon. Some things never change. The Sunday paper is full of goodies. But maybe, I thought, just maybe I’m not seeing the full coupon-picture.
That’s when I decided to call my Coupon Guru and good friend/fellow mom Tracey. We all have one. It’s the person in your life that seems to know every deal out there. If I was going to take a Sunday-drive through Coupon World, (and bring you with me) then she was gonna be our guide!
As soon as my husband left with our son, I picked up the phone.
“Are you busy?” I asked.
“Nope, just waiting for Princess to finish up on the potty. What’s up?”
“What can you tell me about coupons that I would be surprised to hear?”
She laughed. “What are you up to?”
“Well, why are coupons such a big commodity?” I glance down at my circular. “I mean is 35 cents off Minute Rice really worth the trouble, when I can just by the store brand at the same savings?”
“In some cases you’re right.” She admitted. “But are we talking about a manufacture’s coupon or a store coupon?”
I looked again, “Manufacture’s coupon.”
“Well, if you can get a store coupon on the same product you can use both on the same purchase.”
“Whaaaat?” I was shocked. What in the world of not good in combination with other offers could she mean? “Two coupons for the same purchase?”
Her voice in calm hesitation responded, “Yes.”
She continued, “You can actually make money on some of these coupons.”
“No!” My voice deepened in total disbelief.
“Oh, yeah. If you shop at stores that give register cash or store bucks on specific products, you can use the coupons on top of that offer and actually make money, well store credit anyway.”
“People really do this?”
“Mmm humm. It’s like a whole underground society. There are websites that do all the work for you. All you do is click and print.”
I tried to disregard the seeping thoughts of dollar signs raining themselves into the gutter all these years. Now is not the time for looking back, I tell myself. To the future!
Then Tracy brought me back to earth, “You may only save a few bucks here and there in the first couple weeks of shopping, but the more you clip the more you’ll save. You can combine coupons on the buy-one-get-one days at the grocery store too.”
“Get out! You’re kidding!”
“Oh no.” Her toilet flushed in the background. “And you can save money by stocking up on the stuff you know you’ll use, like toothpaste, shampoo, paper towels... toilet paper. Max out on sale stuff and your week to week amounts at the grocery store will decrease.”
“Ok, but how do you plan a meal with all this random stuff you got on sale?” I asked. Because if there was a catch, then I was going to find it.
“Well, there’s always a buy-one-get-one sale in every section of the store. Every meal has a meat, a starch, and a veggie right? So do sale frozen veggies, sale meats, and sale starches. You’ll have to give up the weekly list and just make a menu from what you’ve got instead of getting your groceries for the menu.”
Once I got off the phone with her I went straight to the computer looking for store coupons that matched the products I had for manufactures coupons I found in the newspaper. She told me to research my BOGO deals and match them to coupons for maximum savings. Then I was off to the store to test her theory. And, she was right, sorry Mom. I saved $32.00 on my first try. And I have to admit, it's a little like chasing the dragon, I'm only as good as my last savings! (Signs of addiction are glowing hot red.)
Now every publication I pick up, I search for coupons. Including the packing sent in my kid's Christmas present shipments (told you I was addicted). I see it as free money.
As a novice, I will admit I made a few mistakes. Mainly because I didn’t read the fine print, or let the coupon expire, but overall I found that it’s totally a thrill to get the best deal I can.
Thank you Coupon Guru! Thank you!
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