Monday, March 2, 2009

Coupons, Schmoopons... and, what's that? Massive savings?

Hello bloggy friends,

My goodness it's been too long. After all my posting on the internet love of my new flock browser, my favorite feature being the easy blog clipboard, it has failed me. Yes, I have been unable to blog from flock. I have tried to figure it out, but it's no secret that technology and I are not really good friends. As a result, my poor blog has been neglected...and just as I was beginning to build momentum and see more than two hits a day! Ah well.

So I am back at the blogger platform because I am busting at the seams to share a huge, HUGE success story. No, the skinny fairy did not visit me...

But the Coupon Maven did. =D I have shared before about my abysmal failure with couponing. Anything that seems to require a level of discipline and organization eludes me. Maybe because I have spent my alloted quantity of brain cells in that area homeschooling for the past 9 years. (and with many more to go, I need to use those cells wisely!)

Even though organizing or crafting a system from the ground up seems frightening and overwhelming, if you show me a system (again, only in baby steps, please) I can run with it. I am very good at taking directions!! Once I am comfortable with an idea/system, I do not mind making it my own and tweaking a bit, it's just the pulling it together part that is too much for me.

About a year ago, I saw a blog button for a site called "the Grocery Game." Whaat? Grocery shopping, a game? I despise grocery shopping, unless there are lots of free samples through out the store and I do not have to think about the money being spent just ending up in the toilet (get what I mean?) I love games and so I was intrigued. What I don't love are complicated rules and directions. Although I read the rules before playing a new game (what, doesn't everyone??!), I like to 'get it' the first time through. If I have to keep referring to them to understand what happens next, it's going to e-bay friends. That's how I felt about that particular site. I gleaned some useful information and got some new ideas, but overall, the directions seemed to complex and the buying window to maximize savings way too short.

I was not a lost cause though, because the main idea that stuck with me was 'need shopping versus building a stockpile.' My curiousity had me reading blogs and finding out more over the last year. I've just been mariniating my brain in the how-to part a little at a time...those baby steps are really important.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I took a coupon class at a local church on how to maximize your savings shopping the sales and using coupons. Many of the same ideas I had been introduced to before were presented and this time I decided to really explore further on the web and in the blogosphere the great big beautiful world of coupons shopping.

Oh my bloggy friends, couponing is rockin and rollin the blog world. I found some fabulous resources, some recommended at the class, others on my own. It is worth exploring!

Some basic principles to make coupons work hardest for you are to wait until an item is at it's best sale price and THEN use your coupon(s) to get it even lower, in many cases *FREE*!! As inspirational as free sounds, it would be too much work if *I* had to scan the sales papers to find the sales and them match the coupons, but Jenny at Southern Savers does it for me! Another great resource for learning to work the drugstores to get almost all your personal care items free is Claire at ChoysterCash. She is running a ten week e-course right now on how to do just that! It's not too late to toothpaste, people!! A couple other favorites are & MoneySavingMom. Any of these have links to lots more resources (it can be overwhelming, go slow).

So here's my bottom line. After the class, I was truly inspired. It was like a late night infomercial where the gal waves a mile long register tape and says, "I got $250 worth of groceries for $8.00!!" Only, these gals were right in front of me and had three tables loaded with stuff they got for free or pennies on the dollar.

I clipped, I printed (internet printable coupons)I went to e-bay and bought some coupons (you have to have coupons to start!). I sorted and organized. (I almost fell off the wagon at this step. Organization is so paralyzing to me. Perhaps I need professional help.) I made my list and checked it twice. I was very worked up about the whole experience by this time. I have a lot of time and effort invested, what if I didn't so something right? What if I don't have enough coupons? What if it doesn't really work?

On the way out the door, my 14 year old, noting my frayed condition, said, "You're nervous?! About coupons??!

Bloggy friends, gather round. I can tell you, couponing this way does work. If I can do it, anyone can.

My total savings for the night was a whopping $114!!! That's right, 40% of my total bill was wiped out using coupons on my first time out!!

Cue, "I'm a Believer" music now. I understand the game now. And the high of winning. Now I want to beat my best score. Which, incidentally helps me relate to my boys and thier love of all things competitive. Who knew couponing would make me a better mom?

I'm completely sold. So sold that last Sunday, I gathered the children around the dining room table for what will become the weekly ritual of clipping sorting and filing. If you're not planning to use your coupons, send 'em on to me. I'll play for both of us.


Rachel said...

I like too! Checkout, specifically the forum, "deal talk" then the Target or Kohls Thread. You may find some you like in the The Deals Forum under Drugstores, especially if you do CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid. The site is a bit overwhelming so try not to do too much at once.

I LOVE the Lumene deal at CVS this week :)

Also, check out:

Happy Coupon Shopping! BTW, I follow you on Twitter...@rmcd496

Gina C said...

Oh, couponing is so tempting, but it sounds like a full time job. How much time do you spend doing all this. I tried it years ago. Never got the savings because I don't buy typical coupon food. But I'm intrigued. Intrigued enough to find out more!

Andrea @ Mommy said...

You sound just like I did when I first started doing this! It is so much fun and you feel like all these people have been getting this stuff for FREE for so long that it's a big party when you get it!!

Good luck and keep it up!

And, to Gina's comment about being a full time job. I just want to say, take it slow and focus on one store. It can seem overwhelming but when you try just one place first and get that, adding others are a piece of cake!! :-)

Michelle said...

Oh Phyllis!!! It is so addictive!! I went to the same class and have done the advanced and next week is the drug store ones (they dropped the price to $30 for both)....I picked up some more good tips to tie it all together! My first outting was to Publix--LOVE that store--I spent $61 and saved $102....if they had taken target Qs that week I would have spent $48 and saved $115....I used to despise the grocery store but now LOVE going...cna't wait for Sunday's paper!

Mrs. Tara said...

You made me laugh. Stumbled upon your site! Didn't realize you blog too. Have a great week!