Saturday, September 06, 2008

I LOVE a Great Bargain! (I am becoming the coupon queen!)

There is something about getting a great deal that just makes me so happy. It must be a bargain-hunter gene. I have always tried to be thrifty in my spending. Groceries can be a struggle, though. I have tried to do the coupon thing before. When I did it successfully, I spent several hours each week scouring all the local stores' ads and matching them to coupons. I even kept a price book.

What I found over time was that I was getting some great deals, but on things I probably wouldn't necessarily buy otherwise. I just had my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and she was becoming a full-fledged eating toddler. I was very concerned with feeding her healthy and wasn't thrilled about all the packaged, processed foods that the deals and coupons got me. I decided that I would be better off saving my time that I spent couponing and just buy more staples and spend that time on cooking from scratch.

Fast forward a dozen years and 5 more growing grocery bill is significantly larger and the budget is significantly tighter. I have looked into couponing on more than one occasion, but saving 50 cents on a name brand item really doesn't put you much ahead of just buying the store brand or making it from scratch. It doesn't really warrant the amount of time I would spend clipping and organizing the coupons.

Recently, I read a blog post by my online friend, Carla. She talked about organizing her coupons and only using them only on items that were on sale. From my experience, I know this is the right way to go about it. She inspired me and I also remembered hearing about The Grocery Game. The "game" is "playing" your coupons when an item is at its very lowest price. At this site you subscribe to a weekly list for one (or more than one) of your local stores that highlights what things are on sale for a good price and exactly what coupon to use on them from your Sunday papers. It is a huge time saver because not everything listed in a store's ad is a great deal. You have to maintain a price book and know your prices.

I signed up for a 4 week trial at the site (for a dollar!) to try it out. It seems to be working. Now that I am building up my supply of coupons, I am getting some great deals and not spending too much time at it. My trial ended last week and I decided to continue to pay for a couple of stores.

One of the store lists that I get is CVS. If you are not familiar with CVS, it is worth doing so. You can sign up for their Extra Care Card and get extra savings as well as Extra Care Bucks. These are like a rebate that prints like a coupon at the bottom of your sales receipt. You can spend them like cash the next time you shop there.

I have to share my great bargains I recently got. I used my CVS list from the Grocery Game site. I got a nice variety of things that we will use for sure: shampoo & conditioner, deodorants, toothpaste, air fresheners, paper towels, cereal, makeup, facial cleanser, Crest Pro health mouthwash, pain relief gel, saline nose spray, and dish soap. Everything was name brand, nice stuff (better than what I usually buy without coupons).

Here is the breakdown of what I spent and saved:

Total before coupons and sales $165.51 (yikes!)

Saved by using Extra Care Card 51.43

Saved with coupons 35.06

Saved using CVS bucks from previous visit 35.00

TOTAL (before tax) 44.02


AND I generated $31.00 in CVS bucks to use next time!!! Isn't that amazing?

Now, you can certainly do this without the Grocery Game list. The list is just a time saver. I figure since it only costs $1.25 per week, it is worth it considering the savings that I am seeing, because honestly, I don't know that I could find the time required to do it without the list.

Just so you know, I am no way affiliated with the Grocery Game. I am just a happy customer. If this is something that intrigues you, it is certainly worth the $1 for a month trial. You get access to all the lists available for your area. If you do this, could you please use me as a referral by entering my e-mail address (scrappinpappyATverizonDOTnet - change the AT to "@" and the DOT to a ".") in the referral box on the sign-up page. If I get several referrals, I could get a month free. Woohoo!

I'll have to share my system for organizing my coupons in a later post. Good luck and Happy Savings!


Andrea said...

Trish -

Being a new CVS'er myself, I've found a few blogs that help you get even more savings at CVS. If you are interested in that, they are:

The last one does a weekly CVS Superstars where you can see how everyone stacked their own coupons with sales and what they got.

Thriftin and Craftin said...

You go girl! Now you've inspired ME!!!! Thanks for the mention.