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I want to be a couponer.


Remudamom
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:blushing: I am a coupon girl. I do however have the added benefit of being able to shop on both sides of the Canadian and American borders. It takes time and planing, but it saves me a ton of money. If you are going to start, start with saving money just on your cleaning supplies. It's easiest to start in that area because if you over buy, well it's soap, it won't go bad before you can use it up. I don't hoard. I do try to keep a 3 month pantry up, but if something comes up really crazy cheep and I can pick some up, I'll take it to the local food bank or know of a family or two who can use some and I just bless them with it.

 

You can learn about each stores rules about couponing on their websites. Plus, if you google your state and extreme couponing you will most likely find people who are doing match ups so, you don't have to try to do all the work yourself.

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I don't do it like they do, BUT I have begun to do more couponing. I'm not great but I've had a few great days of savings.

 

If I'm really planning. I have saved as much as 50-60% on some trips. My store that I really save at does double coupons. and they have had doubles for up to $2 and once up to $3.

 

I met an extreme couponer so that helped me get a grasp on it. See if you can find someone who is really into it and doing it and really saving. seriously I met with this person for and hour and gleaned enough to figure out how to get the free things.

 

I did buy some toothpaste the other day just because I hadn't gotten any in several months. Not sure why I panicked but I did. I paid 69 cents for the tube. I have year supply of tooth paste that I got for free. I know I've actually done a few things that I "made" money on but not that they gave me the cash back but it did reduce the bill.

 

I do think the show is over the top. But yes if you can really work it and more then you can get things highly reduced or free. I'll post some sites I use, the thing is I think a couple are just local so may not help.

 

Find places that help you match up the coupons for your area. Can you swap coupons with people?

 

I could also get extra Sunday papers for cheaper here. So I get 3 Sunday papers delivered.

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OH MY GOODNESS! This woman is going to get money from the grocery store??? This can't be real.

 

yeah some of that is because they have changed the rules for things. I can only use 20 coupons, and no more than 2 like.

 

But we have had a 5 cent bill, OKAy we did just buy the bottles of juice.

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I'm watching Extreme Couponing with my mouth hanging open. How do they do that? Where do they get the coupons? The knowledge?? The time? The energy?????

 

Does anyone here coupon? This show is insane.

 

 

I want to start too, because when I did it 18 months ago it saved TONS of money. But I just can't get back into it. Couponing really does take some time to get started, at least initially. Also, our local area doesn't carry a lot of the coupons so I have to buy them online.

 

If you're serious about wanting to start, go to couponmom.com--they have a lot of tips and ideas, and they also match up the stores' ads with the available coupons. Saves you a ton of footwork.

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I was very into couponing but it became very consuming. I suggest checking out the 5 dollar challenge for CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid. There are sites that have you spend 5 dollars a week using coupons, getting coupons back to use for the next week's purchase so it rolls over and over. You can build up quite a stockpile of shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, etc. this way. Target is also a good source for deals. We are still using up body wash from deals that I did there three years ago.

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I did it for a while - on my best trip I think I paid about $7 for $100 worth. But it was very time consuming - it takes a ton of research and organization AND shopping at several stores every week. And I found that I was buying a lot of food that we normally wouldn't eat much of.

 

But I'm glad I know how to do it in case our food budget has to be reduced much more.

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The show is totally not realistic. From what I've read, the stores bend the rules significantly for the show. http://www.jillcataldo.com/supermarket_apologizes_for_extremecouponing

 

I check out Southern Savers and a blog out of the Triad area of NC--- www.moolasavingmom.com. She's recently done a nice series of videos on getting started from where to get coupons to how to store and organize the stuff you buy. I like her because she's a big advocate of ethical couponing----no trying to pass off expired coupons, using coupons for products they aren't intended for, etc. if you can find a blog that's relatively local to your area it will help, as store specials and coupon inserts can vary quite a bit regionally. I can attest that the inserts vary even from town to town as we get our local paper and the one from the city the next county over. Though most of the coupons are the same, sometimes one will have additional coupons or the amount off will vary for the same product. The blog I follow helps tremendously because she notes which items are free and which are at good stock up prices. She also has a listing of her stock up prices for various items. This can vary quite a bit depending on the cost of food in your area.

 

I've only recently gotten back into very intentional couponing (planning rather than just happenstance), so I don't have a deep stockpile yet. At the casual level of watching sales and using coupons I was doing, I was saving usually 25-35% off of retail. Realistically, if I work at it, between loyalty cards and stacking coupons with sales, I save 35-50% regularly, on rare occasions (double coupons, etc) I may get more. This doesn't reflect things I buy on clearance (sometimes with coupons) or buying at somewhere like Aldis or the bread outlet (where I can get 3 loaves of whole wheat for $2.97) rather than the regular store. I am fortunate that there are three grocery stores in the area (2 very close that I shop regularly) which double coupons.I don't go out of my way to shop, but do plan to hit some stores when I'm in the area (Trader Joes is near church, Bi-Lo is near aikido, for instance). I keep my coupons in a binder with plastic inserts (I have baseball card holders, but I saw a pack of multisize pages at Walmart in the collectible cards section), but there are several ways to organize. I dislike having to put the coupons in the holders and pull out the expired ones, so I pay my daughter a bit weekly to do it for me. I figure that I was missing more than the $2 a week I'm paying her by not being organized.

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My teenage daughter is the coupon queen of our house.

 

She saves me 50% on a regular basis and we have a small stockpile of free stuff (that is rapidly growing larger).

 

Our favorite site is www.crazycouponlady.com. You can also "like" her on Facebook.

 

I have enough toilet paper, paper towel, razors (insane amount), shampoo, conditioner, body soap, toothpaste to last me at least a year. I am just running low on laundry detergent after not buying any for about 8 months (a very weird feeling).

 

You can buy coupons online cheaply (our local paper stinks with coupon inserts). Plus they preview the coupon inserts so you can decide whether you want to purchase them or not.

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I'd just like to find some decent coupons!

 

I've tried couponing, but it never saved me much, or I'd buy stuff I didn't normally buy.

Do you get the Sunday papers? Look for local people that coupon in your area. we have several that help with knowing where to get coupons.

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I get coupons out of the Sunday paper, online sites and commissary. I save usually between 50 to 60 dollars a month on coupons. I get stuff the kids/grandkids like and send care packages. The more money I save the more I can spend on the grand-babies. ;)

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I got really into couponing last year for awhile. I wasn't "extreme" (stores won't allow that many coupons and I wan't going to put in that many hours a week) but I did pretty well. We started running out of room to store the stuff but it was a nice stockpile. So stopped couponing for a while to use what we had.

 

I think we will be starting back up very soon. We have just now started running out of some items we had stockpiled. My kiddos were a great help with it too. They helped clip coupons and keep an eye out for sales.

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I used to, but my rule was that if I couldn't break even on the cost of the paper vs. my coupon use I wouldn't get it anymore. I rarely found coupons for stuff I bought.

That is tough so do you not use cleaning products or o personal things that ues coupons?

 

I know I easily save with my coupons that would pay for the Sunday paper. I do get the paper anyway but I added the 2 extra papers last fall.

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I coupon, but not to the extent of the ladies on the Extreme Couponing show. The stores here are pretty strict- no doubling, coupon limits, etc. (Thanks in part to the nutty extreme couponers. *sigh*) And I only use coupons for items we'd normally purchase anyway, so I don't have, say, a three year supply of Glade air fresheners. We don't eat processed food, so that limits it pretty severely. Even so, on my last trip I saved seventeen bucks on a trip that cost less than a hundred dollars, which isn't too bad. And I got sixteen cents off per gallon with my pump perks card through the grocery store, so that saved me several more dollars.

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If only they had coupons for the stuff we actually buy. I find the coupons to be mostly crap and stuff we don't buy here. I do get some from the company's websites but that's it.

 

Wasn't it like coupon Jen who got busted on the extreme couponers show? The lady was showing how to use the incorrect coupons on wrong items and got away with it until she exposed herself on the show.

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My brief foray into couponing years ago (2005) was completely futile. I realized that even at 10 cent ts or whatever my family was not going to make or eat a boxed cake mix as a matter of course. I only did it for a month or so but we had those cake mixes in the pantry for ages and ages. Along with buying and eating other types of coupon foods. I very rarely see coupons for things that I normally buy. I do better cooking from scratch, meal planning to sales, buying bulk, shopping the small stands, shopping the Asian grocery markets and shopping clearance. And I've never, ever seen a store double a coupon. Ever.

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My brief foray into couponing years ago (2005) was completely futile. I realized that even at 10 cent ts or whatever my family was not going to make or eat a boxed cake mix as a matter of course. I only did it for a month or so but we had those cake mixes in the pantry for ages and ages. Along with buying and eating other types of coupon foods. I very rarely see coupons for things that I normally buy. I do better cooking from scratch, meal planning to sales, buying bulk, shopping the small stands, shopping the Asian grocery markets and shopping clearance. And I've never, ever seen a store double a coupon. Ever.

 

Coupons are a tool. You control the tool, don't let the tool control you. :001_smile: If you don't use boxed cake mix, don't clip the coupon for boxed cake mix. We only like certain brands of some items, for instance, so I only clip that item when it's a brand I want. There's no obligation to use coupons at all, if it's a hassle for you. I have gone through periods of using and not using them over the years.

 

It is much more challenging to see the bigger savings when stores don't double (ours will occasionally triple), but an increasing number of coupons are labeled "do not double" anyway. Couponing is only one facet of grocery saving for us. I only clip the coupons for tings I know I am willing to buy and use. In addition to that, we do the buying in bulk (sometimes, looking at a 10 lb box of tilapia at a local butcher right now), shop clearance (and use coupons on that if I have one), meal plan to sales (and match coupons to sales), shop outlets like the bread store, shop cheaper stores like Aldis and Trader Joes (best place to get specialty cheese I've found), use loyalty cards (and stack coupons with those when possible), etc. Not all the places I shop accept coupons, nor do all that accept them double them. I try to cook more from scratch, using basic ingredients I've often gotten with coupons (or at least things I consider basic---plain yogurt, pasta, rice, beans, sausage, ham, frozen chicken breasts, cat food, tofu, cheese, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables and fruit, flour, sugar, plain oatmeal, yeast, milk, salt, spices, vinegar, etc). I use coupons for feminine products, soap, shampoo, dish detergent, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, sunscreen, razors, etc. I also buy those things without a coupon if I find them cheaper somewhere. I throw away a lot of coupons that I had "just in case."

 

I use the coupons from the two newspapers to which I've subscribed for 30 years and which I would get regardless.

If you only buy a paper to get coupons, www.sundaycouponpreview.com will give you a chance to see if that week is worth it (though be aware that coupon inserts are only guaranteed with home delivery---papers don't get enough to put them in all the papers in the boxes). I've definitely seen an increase in the variety of coupons in recent years. Here's a sample of what I would consider coupons for "basics" that I pulled today (as it's only what we might personally use, there were other things folks would consider basic that I didn't clip):

 

Foot cream, frozen Birdseye steamfresh vegetables, tofu (premium, organic ---this is unusual here), Sargento ultra thin sliced cheese (not "cheese food" :) ), Schick razors, Smithfield ham, Kotex pads, Dr Scholls orthotic inserts, Palmolive dish detergent, Cuties oranges, Angel Soft toilet paper, Wisk laundry detergent, Hillshire Farms smoked sausage, Hanover canned green beans, Hanover frozen vegetables.

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And I got sixteen cents off per gallon with my pump perks card through the grocery store, so that saved me several more dollars.

 

The pump perks programs, if available in a particular area, can be really nice. We're trying to restrict our credit card use while paying down a couple of balances, but I still have things I want/need from Amazon or iTunes. I go to the grocery which offers fuel perks and buy a gift card (so it comes right out of the checking account) and use that gift card to make my online purchase. I avoid the credit card, am still able to go online without exposing my debit card to more risk, and I get the little extra off gas.

 

A couple of our local stores offer things like cents off for bringing reusable bags as well. It all adds up.

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That is tough so do you not use cleaning products or o personal things that ues coupons?

 

I know I easily save with my coupons that would pay for the Sunday paper. I do get the paper anyway but I added the 2 extra papers last fall.

 

I can't speak to Wendy's specific situation, but I know I almost never find coupons in newspaper inserts for any products I use.

 

We're vegans, meaning most processed foods are out. I also don't buy much in the way of "natural," organic packaged foods, because they are too expensive, even with coupons. What I mostly buy is ingredients, staples like flour, sugar, oil, fresh produce, frozen fruits and veggies (single ingredient stuff), dried beans, rice, etc. I find I do very well saving on those items shopping at Aldi's and buying generics without needing to manage coupons.

 

We also don't buy cleaning products of personal care items unless we can verify they are cruelty free (no animal ingredients, no animal testing). This means we have to be brand loyal and can't hop to whichever item is on sale and paired with a coupon in a given week. It also means we're confined to just a couple of choices for each category and limited to brands and lines on which there are rarely coupons available.

 

On any given Sunday, it's not at all unusual for me to not find enough coupons in the inserts to even cover the cost of the paper. What coupons I do use (and I'm not averse to using them, when I do find them) I most often get from internet surfing. I average no more than two or three useable coupons a week.

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That is tough so do you not use cleaning products or o personal things that ues coupons?

I know I easily save with my coupons that would pay for the Sunday paper.

 

I could use coupons for brand name products and save a few bucks on toiletries - but I'd rather buy no-name/store brand products and pay much less than the brand name product costs with coupon.

 

Very rarely I find something I can use; today's paper inserts yielded one coupon for body wash. No other coupon for any product I use.

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Foot cream, frozen Birdseye steamfresh vegetables, tofu (premium, organic ---this is unusual here), Sargento ultra thin sliced cheese (not "cheese food" :) ), Schick razors, Smithfield ham, Kotex pads, Dr Scholls orthotic inserts, Palmolive dish detergent, Cuties oranges, Angel Soft toilet paper, Wisk laundry detergent, Hillshire Farms smoked sausage, Hanover canned green beans, Hanover frozen vegetables.

 

Perfect examples of why coupons don't work well for my family. I don't even know what "foot cream" is. I buy a few frozen fruits and veggies, but the store brand/generic ones are almost always cheaper, even when there is a coupon on the name brand. (Today, I bought Target frozen strawberries on sale, with a coupon from the store's website. That was nice, admittedly.) We have only one cheese eater in the house, and I've always found it much less expensive to buy block cheese and slice it as needed. I don't buy Schick products for ethical reasons. We don't eat ham or sausage. I don't use canned veggies at all. When I buy paper products, I buy recycled (store brand). I don't buy Wisk or Dr. Scholls or Palmolive.

 

I could buy some Cuties, I guess. But we rarely go through a whole bag before they go bad.

 

Oh, and we're those weird vegans who don't like tofu.

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I get the paper and use whatever coupon is in there for products I purchase anyway. Which is limited to the occasional coupon for toiletries/cleaners - even most of those, I get cheaper if I buy the store brand and not the brand name item with coupon.

 

We hardly ever find coupons for the foods we buy. I buy almost no processed/canned food. There are never coupons for fresh produce, meat and quality cheese. Coupons for staples such as flour never get me below store brand price.

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I first read this as " I want to be a computer" I thought huh?

 

I would love to be able to coupon. I hear stories of people getting a hundred dollars of stuff for five dollars.

 

The thing is I eat mostly fresh foods. I don't use toothpaste. I use natural deodorant, shampoo and conditioners.

I wish I could get coupons for healthy foods instead of processed foods.

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You have to know what you want, what you use, and what you're willing to pay.

 

This week, the better deals at my supermarket use coupons for Quaker products, turkey bacon, body lotion, mustard, aluminum foil, cottage cheese, canned tomatoes, body wash, tea bags, half and half, breakfast sausage, vitamins, toothpaste, maxi pads, ziplock baggies, paper napkins, canned fruit, razors, fabric softener, tampons, shampoo, and some random junk. Those are the 48%-or-more-off deals.

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Perfect examples of why coupons don't work well for my family. I don't even know what "foot cream" is. I buy a few frozen fruits and veggies, but the store brand/generic ones are almost always cheaper, even when there is a coupon on the name brand. (Today, I bought Target frozen strawberries on sale, with a coupon from the store's website. That was nice, admittedly.) We have only one cheese eater in the house, and I've always found it much less expensive to buy block cheese and slice it as needed. I don't buy Schick products for ethical reasons. We don't eat ham or sausage. I don't use canned veggies at all. When I buy paper products, I buy recycled (store brand). I don't buy Wisk or Dr. Scholls or Palmolive.

 

I could buy some Cuties, I guess. But we rarely go through a whole bag before they go bad.

 

Oh, and we're those weird vegans who don't like tofu.

 

 

It's a moisturizer product I'm thinking of trying.

 

I also buy the store brand/generic unless the brand name is cheaper with a coupon. I get coupons on block cheese, or buy shredded/sliced only if it's cheaper with the coupon than the block (or wait and get what my husband calls "worthy cheese" on sale or at Trader Joes :) ). We frequently buy fresh fruit in season and freeze it ourselves. I only have a few brands where I care more about the brand name than I do the overall cost, simply because those are the brands that work best for us. It would totally defeat the purpose to spend *more* just to use a coupon! :smilielol5:

 

The point is not that you don't want to use the coupons I might. If it doesn't work for you, great, don't do it. No biggie, I have no vested interest in whether you do or don't. People on special or restricted diets for whatever reason (health, conviction, preference, whatever) aren't going to find as many coupons, just as they may not have as many options in other areas. There are tons of coupons I can't or don't want to use every week. People not on any special diet may not care about or want to use coupons. That's okay, too. My goal is simply to lower the bill *on the foods I want to buy* as much as possible. I'll probably never have a "get $200 worth of groceries for 50 cents" day, but I did have a "get $200 worth for $110" day today and I consider that a pretty good return on my efforts.

 

My point is that it's not the black and white choice it seems is being presented in a few posts. You don't have to choose between *never* using coupons and eating nothing but Spaghettios and Froot Loops while sitting on boxes of Glade air freshener just because there are coupons for them ;) . It's not necessarily healthier or less expensive for the average family to never use coupons. Some people who use coupons for the things they *want to buy* do indeed shop sales, buy generic, buy recycled, buy organic, buy local, go to farmers markets, cook from scratch, garden, etc (insert whatever is currently considered a morally superior form of shopping/eating at the moment ;) ) *as well.* Some live off Froot Loops and Minute Rice. :ack2: . I even know a person who grinds her own flour, bakes all her own bread, shops through a food co-op for much of her food, is allergic to corn, soy, and nuts, *and* uses coupons for some things. :eek: :D

 

There *are* coupons for healthy foods and for fresh foods, but not all the time and it does take more effort/time to find them, which may or may not be worth it to a particular individual. Interestingly, there are things called beer rebates that can be used (at least in some areas) without buying the beer. These tend to be the big returns for things like fresh meat, fresh produce, etc and are available in AL, AR, CT, HI, KY, ME, MO, NC, NJ, NY, PA, UT and WV, to the best of my knowledge (which is limited --I've only recently learned about them). These states have laws that prohibit beer companies from requiring you to purchase beer to take advantage of their rebate offers on other things (meat, snacks, ice, "groceries," produce, gas, fruit, etc). They're called NBPR (no beer purchase required) rebates. The same rebates may be available in other states, but a beer purchase is required. http://asupersavvysaver.blogspot.com/2012/11/current-beer-rebates.html talks about them. I have only irregularly seen these forms available and haven't been able to try doing one yet.

 

Like I said---it's a tool. If it doesn't help your situation, use a different one or toss it out (there really needs to be a shrug emoticon) ---kind of like homeschooling curricula :001_smile: . No need to get bent out of shape other folks make different choices.

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No need to get bent out of shape other folks make different choices.

 

 

Oh, I'm not bent into or out of any kind of shape. I just get tired of being told how wonderful coupons are and how much I "could" save with them if only I knew how to do it. And whenever we have these conversations here, there are a few people who seem mystified when I assert that I can't find many coupons I can use. In fact, the truth is, in my family's situation, unless we were willing to make major compromises in ethics, coupons really aren't much help. Again, I'm not in any way against using them. (I used two today.) I've even signed up for the free trial at The Grocery Game twice over the last several years to give it a more serious try. Both times, over the course of the trial, there was literally not a single deal involving a coupon that was of use to me. Even with professional advice, coupons just don't make much of a dent in our grocery budget.

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How can you use a beer rebate without buying the beer? I have yet to see that.

 

Here's a fuller explanation

http://asupersavvysa...f-rebating.html

or

http://www.couponing...quired-rebates/

 

I have laid eyes on one of these rebates, and it does indeed say exactly what the blogger states: a list of states in which no beer purchase is required. Some states do require the purchase of the specific beer product as well. The rebate is actually on a separate item, not the beer itself, these are put out by beer companies. The second link includes links to some photos of actual rebate forms.

 

The links do mention that you can buy rebate forms on ebay or elsewhere if you don't find them on displays in the store, but I personally consider the buying and selling of coupons or rebate forms to be questionable in following the terms of the coupon/rebate. There are plenty of sites to print off coupons if they aren't in your local paper, which I think is a better choice.

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I like what Karen said.

 

Yes it may not work for everyone.

 

I do buy some processed stuff. I do buy vitamins. Got some really good deals on those.

 

I am blessed that my store doubles coupons. sometimes up to $2.

 

I have a growing teen boy, and he eats lots so yes I do buy that stuff for him. I ususally only buy some of it if I get it for free.

 

If you use limited coupons then as someone says look for the ones you use in the linked websites. Those days that the ones you need come out buy the paper. (My local paper I think said they will guarantee the papers in the main office will have coupons). Then see if you can find some people to swap coupons with.

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I like what Karen said.

 

Yes it may not work for everyone.

 

I do buy some processed stuff. I do buy vitamins. Got some really good deals on those.

 

I am blessed that my store doubles coupons. sometimes up to $2.

 

I have a growing teen boy, and he eats lots so yes I do buy that stuff for him. I ususally only buy some of it if I get it for free.

 

Yeah, we can't even buy mainstream vitamins, because we need to be sure the components come from non-animal sources.

 

And no local stores here double.

 

I definitely hear you on the teen boy thing, though. I have a 15-year-old son who is a dancer, and the "I'm hungry" refrain is pretty much constant around here. I am consistently surprised anew at how that kid can eat. And, at almost six feet tall, he still weighs under 125 pounds dripping wet.

 

If you use limited coupons then as someone says look for the ones you use in the linked websites. Those days that the ones you need come out buy the paper. (My local paper I think said they will guarantee the papers in the main office will have coupons). Then see if you can find some people to swap coupons with.

 

 

I will take a look at those websites, though I can't honestly imagine having time to arrange swaps. Still, it might be worth buying a paper now and then if there's an especially good week.

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Yeah, we can't even buy mainstream vitamins, because we need to be sure the components come from non-animal sources.

 

And no local stores here double.sorry ours didn't always here either and my mom lives in Houston the land of triple coupons at times. It has been huge since they started it for me. Yes I got some great deals on vitamins, they were buy one get one free and double coupons. I had several $2 coupons, so I think I paid about $2 for both bottles.

 

I definitely hear you on the teen boy thing, though. I have a 15-year-old son who is a dancer, and the "I'm hungry" refrain is pretty much constant around here. I am consistently surprised anew at how that kid can eat. And, at almost six feet tall, he still weighs under 125 pounds dripping wet mine was a swimmer he ate all the time. I'm glad I found those ramen noodle things- I have coupons occasional for $1. off 2 and they go on sale for $1 each. so I get them for tax.

 

 

 

 

I will take a look at those websites, though I can't honestly imagine having time to arrange swaps. Still, it might be worth buying a paper now and then if there's an especially good week.

 

It may not take a lot to do that though see if you can find a few friends that coupon too. and if they would swap the ones you need. I quite often give my coupons away that I won't use- no pet stuff for us, babies etc so I always have lots to give away.

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Oh, I'm not bent into or out of any kind of shape. I just get tired of being told how wonderful coupons are and how much I "could" save with them if only I knew how to do it. And whenever we have these conversations here, there are a few people who seem mystified when I assert that I can't find many coupons I can use. In fact, the truth is, in my family's situation, unless we were willing to make major compromises in ethics, coupons really aren't much help. Again, I'm not in any way against using them. (I used two today.) I've even signed up for the free trial at The Grocery Game twice over the last several years to give it a more serious try. Both times, over the course of the trial, there was literally not a single deal involving a coupon that was of use to me. Even with professional advice, coupons just don't make much of a dent in our grocery budget.

 

 

I get it and do sympathize. I can fully understand why someone wouldn't want to mess with coupons. Before stores starting doubling around here and the variety of coupons increased, I didn't get a big benefit either. There have been periods in my life when I didn't have the mental energy to even bother messing with coupons--it was all I could do to get to the grocery store at all! I still will never get the benefits that extreme couponers do because I'm just not able to invest the time and energy it would take to go to the lengths they do. I gave up on the the Grocery Game at least twice myself. The advice I got from there wasn't worth paying for on a regular basis to me in the end because I was doing better on my own at the time. Now, I spend that money on something that is worth it to me---paying my child to keep my coupon book orderly, something I find mind-numbingly irritating. ;) While I do check a couple free couponing blogs, I don't do anywhere near everything they suggest. I don't have the time or energy! So, for now, I do what works for me. The way that looks may well change in the future.

 

On the flip side, you can imagine those of us who do use them in a way that works for our family, find them beneficial, and are trying to assist others who've asked how we do so get equally tired of essentially being told repeatedly that we are morons who must never feed our children anything but total junk and care nothing for (insert preferred social cause here) solely because we find coupons useful. That's the message when people repeatedly say things like "I don't do it because you can't use coupons on healthy foods," "well no wonder they work for you but I would never be able to buy x because they do y," and assumptions that we blindly buy items that are more expensive than other options only because there was a coupon.

 

We are probably never as far apart in reality as framing the discussion in blanket absolutes makes it appear. :001_smile:

 

BTW, for folks looking for coupons on items that usually more frequently found in the specialty stores, check the Whole Foods website http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons and Earthfare http://www.earthfare.com/savings-coupons/couponbook. It looks like some of those may be manufacturer's coupons rather than store ones. Neither of those stores is very convenient to me so I don't usually think to check their websites, though I do buy some of those products at least occasionally (the ones that show up in our grocery stores). Those coupons also don't tend to show up on the couponing blogs I've seen. Anyone know of a couponing blog that does focus on these kinds of products or on folks using special diets?

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Oh, I'm not bent into or out of any kind of shape. I just get tired of being told how wonderful coupons are and how much I "could" save with them if only I knew how to do it. And whenever we have these conversations here, there are a few people who seem mystified when I assert that I can't find many coupons I can use. In fact, the truth is, in my family's situation, unless we were willing to make major compromises in ethics, coupons really aren't much help. Again, I'm not in any way against using them. (I used two today.) I've even signed up for the free trial at The Grocery Game twice over the last several years to give it a more serious try. Both times, over the course of the trial, there was literally not a single deal involving a coupon that was of use to me. Even with professional advice, coupons just don't make much of a dent in our grocery budget.

 

:iagree: This has been exactly my experience. I have given the couponing thing a good attempt at least 3 times, but it doesn't work out well for me. What I always wonder is do people who now coupon and claim the savings they claim have a monthly expenses comparison from before they were couponing? So, can they say, "Before I was couponing, my monthly grocery expenses on food was $750, my non-food products was $98 and my pet care was $38 on average. Now that I've couponed for 10 months, my food average each month has dropped to $325, my non-food average is now $35 and my pet care is now $20 on average." I never found this to be the case in my own practice and I have never heard a couponer state this. My grocery expenses overall were higher when I was trying to make couponing work, I guess due to buying unnecessary items, things I later did not want to use or choosing brand names with a coupon, rather than what was least expensive at the outset.

 

A couponer friend of mine talked about one time when she got her gasoline for FREE, because she had accumulated so many gas points. That seems cool and all, but that still means you've bought a LOT of groceries and have spent a LOT of money at that one store if you've accrued so many points within the time window to fill a car for free.

 

I have tried to use coupons only for toiletries, thinking that could be a good strategy, but that doesn't work out for me in most cases, either. I don't ordinarily get a newspaper, so if I buy one on purpose, that is $2.00. If there does happen to be a couple of coupons for a toiletry I will use, it is most likely one or perhaps two. My savings may not even exceed the price of the newspaper. Because of this, I feel that in most cases, the couponing thing works well only for people who will use the large majority of the coupons available in a newspaper and/or who can easily get the coupons for free.

 

One other thing I find to be difficult with coupons is that it introduces so many variables into the price that it's very hard to tell if this is the best deal available, unless it's actually free. I would find myself standing in the paper aisle, looking at my coupon that is for Brawny Paper Towels, which have a six-roll package and costs X dollars, but I need to buy TWO for the coupon, so that is twelve rolls, so how much does that make each roll? But not so fast, because these are small rolls and this other brand (without a coupon) has mega rolls, so perhaps this is actually the better deal per square foot. :willy_nilly: I found all these mental gyrations much more exhausting than it would be to either just buy the generic, super-inexpensive paper towels all the time or not buy them at all period.

 

P.S. I still have several boxes of cake mix and brownie mix in my pantry from last year. I thought they would be handy for the inevitable need-to-bring-brownies-to-share event, but I'm too snobby to bring those inferior brownies; I want to bring the same delicious, homemade brownies I make for my family to eat. :laugh:

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I get it and do sympathize. I can fully understand why someone wouldn't want to mess with coupons. Before stores starting doubling around here and the variety of coupons increased, I didn't get a big benefit either. There have been periods in my life when I didn't have the mental energy to even bother messing with coupons--it was all I could do to get to the grocery store at all! I still will never get the benefits that extreme couponers do because I'm just not able to invest the time and energy it would take to go to the lengths they do. I gave up on the the Grocery Game at least twice myself. The advice I got from there wasn't worth paying for on a regular basis to me in the end because I was doing better on my own at the time. Now, I spend that money on something that is worth it to me---paying my child to keep my coupon book orderly, something I find mind-numbingly irritating. ;) While I do check a couple free couponing blogs, I don't do anywhere near everything they suggest. I don't have the time or energy! So, for now, I do what works for me. The way that looks may well change in the future.

 

On the flip side, you can imagine those of us who do use them in a way that works for our family, find them beneficial, and are trying to assist others who've asked how we do so get equally tired of essentially being told repeatedly that we are morons who must never feed our children anything but total junk and care nothing for (insert preferred social cause here) solely because we find coupons useful. That's the message when people repeatedly say things like "I don't do it because you can't use coupons on healthy foods," "well no wonder they work for you but I would never be able to buy x because they do y," and assumptions that we blindly buy items that are more expensive than other options only because there was a coupon.

 

 

Again, for me, at least, it's not about not wanting to mess with coupons. As I've said several times, I do use them when I find them. And my experiences with the Grocery Game weren't about it "not being worth it," but about the fact that, during each trial period, there literally wasn't a single deal I could use, meaning I would have lost money by maintaining a subscription. (Okay, actually, the second time, they did list one in-store sale on fruit. I think it was grapes. It did not involve a coupon or anything special. It was advertised in the store's flyer and signed in the store. I would have found it on my own simply by walking into the produce aisle.)

 

As for that second paragraph, I honestly apologize if you got any of that kind of judgement from my posts. I don't think I actually said anything about health anywhere, because, while I do believe it's probably healthier to eat simpler, less-processed foods, my motivation for shopping and eating the way we do is ethical/spiritual, not health driven. I thought I had been very careful to frame my comments as "I statements" and not to make or imply any assumptions about folks who are successful using coupons. In fact, if anything, what you would be more likely to hear from me is envy that you've found a way to make it work for your family and/or frustration that I can't seem to figure out how to do so for mine.

 

My point was that I truly have given this the old college try, but found that, given the lifestyle choices my family has made and the things on which we are not willing to compromise, coupons just aren't a big help to us. I know we are far from the only family who has this kind of experience. And that knowledge, along with some news articles I've read about "extreme couponers," cause me to get irritable whenever this show comes up in discussions.

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One other thing I find to be difficult with coupons is that it introduces so many variables into the price that it's very hard to tell if this is the best deal available, unless it's actually free. I would find myself standing in the paper aisle, looking at my coupon that is for Brawny Paper Towels, which have a six-roll package and costs X dollars, but I need to buy TWO for the coupon, so that is twelve rolls, so how much does that make each roll? But not so fast, because these are small rolls and this other brand (without a coupon) has mega rolls, so perhaps this is actually the better deal per square foot. :willy_nilly: I found all these mental gyrations much more exhausting than it would be to either just buy the generic, super-inexpensive paper towels all the time or not buy them at all period.

 

 

Unfortunately, it seems the variables are often there (and aggravating!) whether one is using coupons or not! Many stores will now list the price per x on the shelf label, but it's irritating that they don't always show what it is with the sale price and they don't always stay consistent with the units (this brand/size is shown in price per ounce while the other brand/size of the same product is in price per lb or per unit).I found this post on two ways to compare toilet paper prices extremely helpful http://moolasavingmo.../02/34965/ The same sort of thing would work with paper towels. I love having a reasonable calculator on my phone to help with situations like this.

 

Something I've found helpful as a basic guideline for sales as well as for coupons (just grocery shopping in general) is the idea of a price book. I think I first heard of it in the Tightwad Gazette. Here's a website with some ideas of how to set up and use one http://organizedhome...book-save-money

 

Because I've never had the discipline to set up one of my own, right now I'm using the one at www.moolasavingmom.com as a rough guideline. She has a listing of the goal price she considers a good deal for stocking up, after sales/coupons. http://moolasavingmo...-up-price-list/ ---I just looked at the online list and copied out those items I tend to use as a starting reference point. There are a number of categories I usually buy she doesn't and categories she buys that I don't. I put a copy of the list in the front of my coupon binder, and one of these days I'll probably get around to adding the categories that are missing. She's relatively nearby geographically, so the prices aren't way out of line for me. It may vary with area of the country, whether you prefer to buy organic, special dietary needs, like particular ethnic foods, etc ,and will need to be periodically updated as overall food prices rise, but I think the base idea of having something like this is a good one whether or not one uses coupons.

 

She also has suggestions to set a starting stockpile budget without having your spending go up dramatically at the beginning, if anyone is interested. I haven't tried it personally, but the reasoning seems sound. http://moolasavingmo...ile-budget-3/

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Again, for me, at least, it's not about not wanting to mess with coupons. As I've said several times, I do use them when I find them. And my experiences with the Grocery Game weren't about it "not being worth it," but about the fact that, during each trial period, there literally wasn't a single deal I could use, meaning I would have lost money by maintaining a subscription. (Okay, actually, the second time, they did list one in-store sale on fruit. I think it was grapes. It did not involve a coupon or anything special. It was advertised in the store's flyer and signed in the store. I would have found it on my own simply by walking into the produce aisle.)

 

That's similar to my experience. By "not worth it" I meant that I did feel I was losing money or at least spending it needlessly on that particular program at that particular time because I was doing just as well without it.

 

As for that second paragraph, I honestly apologize if you got any of that kind of judgement from my posts. I don't think I actually said anything about health anywhere, because, while I do believe it's probably healthier to eat simpler, less-processed foods, my motivation for shopping and eating the way we do is ethical/spiritual, not health driven. I thought I had been very careful to frame my comments as "I statements" and not to make or imply any assumptions about folks who are successful using coupons. In fact, if anything, what you would be more likely to hear from me is envy that you've found a way to make it work for your family and/or frustration that I can't seem to figure out how to do so for mine.

 

Just as I didn't take it that you were speaking only about me or even mostly about me, my response was not particularly about you. It was the tone of multiple posts from multiple people, and over multiple threads/discussions, as I assumed yours were. :001_smile: It's all good.

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Unfortunately, it seems the variables are often there (and aggravating!) whether one is using coupons or not! Many stores will now list the price per x on the shelf label, but it's irritating that they don't always show what it is with the sale price and they don't always stay consistent with the units (this brand/size is shown in price per ounce while the other brand/size of the same product is in price per lb or per unit).I found this post on two ways to compare toilet paper prices extremely helpfulhttp://moolasavingmo...mo.../02/34965/ The same sort of thing would work with paper towels. I love having a reasonable calculator on my phone to help with situations like this.

 

Something I've found helpful as a basic guideline for sales as well as for coupons (just grocery shopping in general) is the idea of a price book. I think I first heard of it in the Tightwad Gazette. Here's a website with some ideas of how to set up and use one

 

Yes, I have discovered practices where stores IMO try to make it hard to compare unit prices. I've seen spices listed by the gallon or some such thing, which is useless as a comparison. I do keep a calculator handy to help me out when I'm not sure. I have used a price book for at least ten years; I do find that very helpful. I don't take it to every single shopping trip, but I use and update it from time to time, so that I have a good awareness of what to spend on a gallon of milk or other common items. I do find that some items tend to be consistent at a particular store - Walmart is almost always the least expensive place I can buy my dog's food, for example. A particular Walmart in my area always has a rock-bottom price on milk.

 

When I've used coupons, I pretty much never used all the coupons I had brought with the intention of using, and that was even with extensive planning. If I brought 7, I used 4. If I brought 10, I used 6. If I brought 2, I used one. Once at the store, there were often better deals to be had by buying a generic product, or there was another aspect of the strategy that I didn't want, such as buying 3 bottles of mustard.

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Saying that coupons don't work for the way we eat and shop is not critizing the food that couponers may buy. I think that would be like me reading into pro-coupon posts critical things that aren't there.

 

I buy my various flours in 25-50 pound bags from restaurant supply stores. Per pound for the same quality (usually Bob's Red Mill GF or WW), I can't do better with even a BOGO on name brand 5 pound bag of wheat flour at the store, say nothing of the 2 pound pouches of Bob's at WF. I prefer to keep it simple with the sort of consistent savings I can get on staples whenever we run out. My spices come in downright huge containers or from bulk bins without packaging. No coupons. Nearly all food coupons are for packaged, processed stuff be it conventional or organic and which are designed to give a minor discount on a pricier option. Like frozen veggies in 12 ounce steam bags. A 3 pound simple pack from Cash and Carry is still going to cost less pet serving.

 

The coupons I take advantage of are the $25 off $100 purchase, paired with a shopping list designed to match sales. But I can get those perhaps 1-2 a year. I do find the app for the nearest grocery store helpful because sometimes I will find a coupon I can add to my club card number for something in my basket like ice cream or mixers or whatnot. But I buy very little of our food from the regular grocery store. In the last week or so my only grocery purchases have been for produce at a permanent stand/market all for a fraction of the cost of the regular store; for curry paste, rice sticks and coconut milk at a little side corner of a very rickety an tiny Asian market; a bag if salmon fillets from a store that only sells smoked, canned and frozen fish from one fishing company; eggs, milk and last minute kid picked movie snacks from a regular grocery, gigantic containers of vinegar, whole dried oregano and molasses at a restaurant supply store and for a single bag of injera from the sort of sketchy East African minimart where you can buy African phone cards and make travel arrangements while buying your Ethiopian spices, bread and lotto tickets. No coupon zones.

 

Karen, I think it is best to assume positive intent and not read insult into things. I wasn't criticizing the food choices of couponers anymore than you were calling us non couponers wanton spendthrifts! Sharing what works for us is not an indictment on any other way of doing things. Saying why I don't use coupons is not telling anyone else they have to start digging for curry paste in barely marked buildings or schlepping 50 pound bags of staples home or that I assume all couponers eat nothing but junk.

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