Friday, March 25, 2011

Coupon?

So.  Because my life is so boring and I have nothing better to do, I have started to use coupons (better).  I've always loved a deal, but purposeful coupon use has not been a passion of mine.  I DO use coupons on things like getting my kids pictures taken or clothes from KOHL'S or oil changes.


  I collected PediaSure coupons back when LMM was drinking his weight in it each day.  (And for the record, due to Rosebud's lack of weight gain she is also getting some each day, but not nearly the amount he consumed.

But for groceries?  Not so much.  Why not?  Well here is my pros/cons list for coupon use.

Pro:  People actually end up with FREE groceries
        It saves money
        It is fun to see how much money you can save!

Cons:  I don't have excessive amounts of extra time
           We don't subscribe to a newspaper-we don't read it and I can't justify the use of trees for paper on something I'm going to toss because I just wanted a few coupons.
            I see a coupon that is GREAT and then buy something with it I"d never usually spend money on.  Not a great way to save money! Part of our Financial Peace journey (click tag at the end of the post to learn more) was learning to NOT just buy something because it was on sale.  That can get you in money trouble-fast.  I try really hard to not get caught up in the "deal", and instead make sure it is useful.
            95% of coupons are for name brand items we never ever use OR that I'd still get cheaper buying generic brand or from ALDI.
            Most coupons are for pre-packaged, preservative laden, nutritionally void foods.

So for that very reason, it has been rare I use coupons.

BUT.

I was at my parent's house awhile back and saw a show on their cable called "Extreme Coupon-ing" or something of the like.  I was fascinated.  These people bought hundreds of dollars of goods for pennies.  It really was quite something.  However, it took them tons of time, they bought and threw away tons of newspapers, and they bought junk I'd never buy.  Hmmmm.

AND THEN.

We started getting coupons in our weekly free grocery circulars that are thrown haphazardly at the end of our driveway each Sunday morning while we're at church.  Of course I look through the grocery circular at our local grocers to see what deals they have.  Very often I can spend 10 minutes browsing them and get a store brand item at a good deal.  I always have a detailed grocery list going, and just make notes on it of where to buy what. (And no, I don't grocery shop hop as the norm, but we do go to ALDI and Kroger each week and I always compare their prices).  I also recycle the circulars when I am done and don't feel terribly about the tree usage as at least I didn't ask for it.

So I started perusing the coupons and comparing them to the ad prices.  I also started cutting coupons I might want at some point and keeping them.  Then if I notice something in the circular is on sale AND I have a coupon...well I might consider it.

AND NOW.

I have started using coupons each week.  Granted I'm talking one or two a week...but I have been getting big savings.  The picture above is for Corn Chex.  We get the off brand Rice Chex at Aldi for $2.18/box as they are gluten free and MUCH cheaper than gluten free cheerios or the like for $4-$6/box.

This week both Rice Chex and Corn Chex were on sale at Kroger for $2.18/box (same as ALDI) regular price is $3.52/box.  I also had a "buy 3, save $1.50" coupon.  ***STAY WITH ME HERE***
If I had used the coupon any other week, I'd get 3 boxes of cereal for $9.06...but at ALDI I'd have gotten the same thing for $6.54.  That use of coupon would have been really dumb.

However, with the store deal and coupon, I got 3 boxes of cereal for $5.04, a savings of $1.50.  When I bought the 3 boxes of cereal, another coupon printed with my receipt and it was a "buy 4 boxes, save $1.50".  Not as good of a deal...but I went ahead and did it.  I got 4 boxes of cereal for $7.22, saving 38 cents/box. (I walked my groceries to my car, went back in and used the freshly printed coupon).

And in actuality I saved more like $12.38 because we got CORN, not RICE chex...something we can't get at ALDI but will buy occasionally so that LMM doesn't have to eat the same cereal day in and day out.  I figured I can get the off brand rice version any-ol-time so I bought the "fancy" stuff.

So I spent $12.26 and I saved $12.38.  Now before you ask what on earth I am going to do with 7 boxes of cereal...we go through 1 1/2-2 boxes of this cereal a week. Rosebud eats it (as we are highly suspecting she is also wheat/gluten intolerant) and LMM eats two bowls a morning, 3-4 mornings a week.  And we also give it to our daycare kids and Snug if they want it (being as it isn't the pricey gluten-free cereal).  So it will be gone within a month, easily.

Any coupon tips?  I know I'm not a HUGE fan of them...but I know some people do really well with it.

3 comments:

CM said...

So when you say "Off Brand Rice Chex", is it Aldi's version of it? I've never shopped there just because there isn't one close by. I do, however, like the deal you got. Good job!

CupcakeLiz said...

I used to coupon, but always ended up buying, like you said, things we didn't even need. So I stopped. This was also around the time I started shopping at Aldi. Now? I don't coupon, shop almost exclusively at Aldi, and as a family of 4, we live quite comfortably on a budget of $150-200/month for groceries and toiletries. And that includes dog food. But I get that at Meijer.

I am still amazed at the quality and taste of Aldi's food, after shopping there for almost(over?) a year now. We have only found 2 or 3 things we don't like-chocolate syrup mainly. The cereal is way more affordable than name brand, and the groceries I buy at Aldi, even if I had bought store brand at Meijer, would have cost me at least $20 more!! So thank you for blogging about Aldi and the savings, in the past!! :)

Deb said...

Oh Jenney, this makes me so proud! I have actually found myself using products that I have never used before- because I got them for such good deals. Cereals always have great deals, but since we get WIC, I dont worry about those. But I do love me some free (or money making) shampoo/toothpaste/deodorant. And getting the super fancy razors for 1/4 price.
Dont forget that you can stack coupons. So work the deals with stackable coupons and you're saving even more! I love seeing brand names on my shelves knowing that I paid half of what the generic costs.
I will agree with you though- it does take time. I'm not the extreme couponer that I wanted to be, mostly because kids (especially being sick ALL winter) take up a lot of extra time... when they dont want to sleep, I cant spread everything out. Anyways- always keep your eyes open for good deals, and just skim though coupons when you get a chance.