Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Frugal Frustration

OK, so there are many people who swear by coupons and such. I hear stories of people who use so many coupons that the store owes THEM money at the end of check-out. How in the world? I can't tell you how many times I have tried to clip coupons and save money, only to save maybe a buck fifty, which really I didn't save anything since the Sunday paper cost me that much! So what am I doing wrong? Today I searched several sites recommended to me by a friend. These sites are dedicate to the coupon seekers, the freebie finders and the rebate queens. I even went to the sites they had linked, but ended up so frustrated. The site where you sign up for freebies was a waking nightmare. I had to accept or decline a slew of "offers" and I don't even think I ever got to the end, so I don't suppose I'll get any freebies. It reminded me of when I tried to win all four or five seasons of 24, but never finished the mountain of offers, and I somehow ended up being a member of a dumb DVD club that obligated me to buy a certain number of DVD's at a "discount" and I still didn't get 24 because I never got to the end of the survey or whatever you wanna call it (whew! how's that for a run-on sentence?). Another freebie site wanted me to give them the names and e-mails of four friends. I didn't want to do that, because I wouldn't want someone giving out my information that would lead to extra junk e-mail in my inbox. Alas, no freebies there either. Another thing, I always find the store brand even cheaper than the name brand item with the coupon. Also, most of the items that have coupons, we don't use. I guess it's hopeless in my case. The only way I'll be able to save money is when it's gardening time again. I already miss the fresh vegetables.


Caryn said...

I share your pain! Occasionally I get some good deals, but usually end up thinking it is more trouble than it is worth. My daughter is the queen of coupons, and since she is an avid reader of your blog, I am sure she will share some of her sites and secrets with you when she has a moment...right Mandie? I think a lot of it has to do with organization and consistency, not my strong suits!

Mandie said...

My mom is right. You have to be consistent with coupon clipping and watching sales. My favorite place to save big $$ is CVS. But I'll admit, I am not that dedicated to do it every week. For awhile there, I was going every week and was able to save a load on toiletries and such. I got enough free (or near free) that I sent my sister who is in college a care package of toiletries. She was thrilled.

The trick is to stockpile on items that are on sale and you have a coupon for. Ex: if Crest is on sale 2 for $5 and you have a coupon for $1. off, stockpile as much of that as you have coupons for when the sale comes out. Then, you're paying $1.50 for toothpaste instead of $3.50 or more for one tube.

It is really helpful if you have a friend who gets the paper but does not use the coupons in it to give you their coupons. That way you can have a billion coupons on reserve for when that item goes on sale.

You may find that subscribing to the paper is cheaper than purchasing the Sunday paper every Sunday.

This site tells you what coupons are out in the paper:

I recommend as a place to check out sales to plan for your shopping trips. They have forums for each of the major stores and lots of times coupon match-ups, too. You can trade for coupons here that you need, too.

CVS is definitely a place to start to get hooked on couponing! :)

Dog snob said...

Yeah, I'm with you, I never can get it right either, and, it's a lot of work. From my understanding, the way people do it is go from store to store, using their coupons to buy stuff when it's on sale. When you catch both at once, you save a lot of money. I don't have time or energy to go store hopping though so I just gave it up.

Mandie said...

Just wrote this post for you:

Anonymous said...

Well, I used and really started saving. It is basically what Mandie said in her first blog. But it puts everything on one site. You do have to subscribe, but I found that I totally made up for the out of pocket money at first to make up for the use of the site. Several people I know who use the site go to more stores than I did. I went to Kroger and Publix. I really found I saved money. And, after I got the hang of the process, it didn't take much time to cut and organize the coupons.

Using the grocery game site, I found that I was actually enjoying shopping for groceries. Imagine that! I was saving money and time because I knew exactly what to buy. I am coming home this week and can give you my organizing stuff if you want to try it. Now that I moved away, I can't use it any more. :(

It's definitely worth checking out and you can try it for one month for just $1. You mentioned that the store brand was cheaper with your coupons. Well, when you get into the grocery game, you'll find the name brands being cheaper... seriously. Just wait, you'll be hooked. At least, I was. :)


Southerner said...

You are buying the sale items with coupons. Kroger, Publix and Southern Market double coupons up to $.50. You do not have to buy two of the buy one get one free items. They ring each one at half price and if you buy two you can use two coupons.

I get all my toiletries and most cleaning products free. I just sold about 9 Crest and colgate toothpastes at my garage sale. I kept 24 and put one in each of our Christmas Child boxes- I got that many free in the past 6 months. I get free deoderant and body wash and shampoo and soap. I was paid $4 for ever 3 bottles of Robitussin and Dimetapp I bought at Walgreens. It was on sale for $3.99 each. The gave you $10 register rewards for each 3 you bought (that is a coupon at the end of order to use at their store on your next trip- you cannot use it on the same item again but can on other items) I had $2 coupons that I printed from the Robitussin site for each one I bought. This is the break down. 3 @ $3.99=$11.97- 3- $2 coupons=$6 brings your total to $5.97 that you pay. Then you get $10 in Register rewards = you just made $4.

I get all the free after rebate items at Rite Aid and Walgreens. CVS has products that you pay for then they give you the amount back in their store credit. You roll these so you have little out of pocket.

I can help you to understand it better if you want me to. Yes, it takes me the time to cut coupons and organize my list each week (about an hour) and I shop at all the stores. Rite Aid and CVS are across the street on the same corner as Kroger which is all within walking distance from me. Walgreens is near Publix and Southern Market and another CVS that is on my way to church. I just run in and quickly get the deals. Because I am stocked up I generally just buy the sale items each week. I run to Walmart once a month to get the sales items from there plus I buy their store brand tea and chips. Shopping takes me about an hour a week now that I am organized and know what I am doing. When I was learning I took longer.

I feed 7 of us for $500 a month. If you have been around us you know that I have 3 teens and always have a lot of extra people (teens and kids) that I feed a month on that. We almost always have someone extra here each day to eat. That amount includes all paper products, cleaning and toiletries and medicines.

Christy said...

Julie, that would be so cool! Better than having your stuff, I wanna see you when you're home. Do you have my phone number? I hesitate to post it here, so send me an e-mail when you get a chance. Thanks. I hope it works out that I can see you.

Christy said...

Mandie and Southerner,thanks for all of the tips and info. I guess I'll give it another try. Maybe Julie's stuff will give me a good start.

Mork said...

Christy I got some coupons here but I don't think you can redeam them in your state!!!

Brenda said...

I'm really bad at remembering to use coupons. Not sure if I'm as patient as mandie and southerner. I go through spurts where I decide to be diligent about it and then I fizzle out. But it is pretty funny when I do remember to use a coupon or two and save a whopping $1.50 on my total purchase. I walk out of the store pushing my basket with my head held high and a skip in my step feeling ridiculously proud of myself.

btw- I bought some Redken Guts and I'm liking it. Thanks!

Pam said...

I began trying to save money by using coupons and such about six months ago.
I have been doing the cvs & walgreens things and saved a ton of money. This week I went to Kroger and bought almost $128.00 for $29.95, so I know I am improving. lol
It is hard work at first and takes some time to figure out how to do it, but the savings have been worth it.
You got some great tips, not sure how much I can add. : )

Anonymous said...

To Mork... Usually a coupon is a coupon unless it is specific to some local store. So, you could send Christy your coupons and get her started on her savings journey. :)