Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let's Talk Coupons...

I've always couponed.  To a degree.  I like to do the "girl math" and think: "Well I saved $20, so now I can buy something fun for myself!" 

So, I haven't watched that show, Extreme Couponing.  I try to limit my intake of "reality" shows and right now I'm full up on Celebrity Apprentice..shhh...don't tell anyone!  I truly do not understand how someone can walk away with $600 worth of groceries for like $0.23.  When I save $40, I get really excited.  At Homeland, if you use too many coupons, a manager has to come over and push an "okay" key...I love that!  Of course, my husband complains that he has a "lifetime" supply of deodorant, but if that's the biggest problem he has, then so be it.  I mean, I paid practically nothing for it and I'm pretty sure it doesn't expire!

A few weeks ago in the grocery store, I was in line behind an extreme couponer.  She literally had 4 children hanging off her cart.  When her cart-load of groceries was totaled it was over $200.  When the coupons were totaled, it was $96.  That's over 50% savings people!  She had a binder and I just had to ask to see it.  I try to not get too "extreme" about anything, but the binder definitely seemed more logical than my wad of crumpled coupons in my pocket.  So, I've been on the lookout for baseball card sleeves (which is what those couponing mom use), but I haven't had much luck with it.  For now, I'll stick with the wadded up pieces of paper in my pocket.

If you are interested in getting into coupons or free deals, here are some places I like (besides the Sunday paper):

Magazines: Lots of magazines have great coupons.  For example, Everyday with Rachael Ray often has either a 20% or $5 off coupon for Merona clothing (a Target brand).

Groupon and LivingSocial:These are flash-sale type "deal a day" sites.  You have to be careful and not buy something just because it's cheap, but if you have some self-control you can get really good deals.

Couponmom.com: This is sort of a clearinghouse where you can print grocery store coupons and browse specials by store. 

Target.com: They have printable coupons on their website.  Again, you have to be careful because a lot of their coupons are for clothing, household goods and other things that maybe you weren't intending on buying.  But they also have great deals on food and drug/beauty items.  Plus, you can combine their coupons with manufacturer coupons.  Back to the deodorant as an example:  Men's Degree deodorant is $2.24/each.  I have a buy 1 get one free coupon, a $.75 manufacturer coupon, and a $2.00 Target coupon.  What this means is that I score two deodorants for $0.24.  Great deal but I'll warn you, if you do that too many times your  husband starts to think you're crazy! 

I've signed up for UPromise.com, which is where you register a store rewards card and instead of money off certain products, you get that money deposited into a 529 plan.  I'll admit, I haven't taken the time to do much with it yet, it still sounds a little complicated, but I'll let  you know if it works out.  I would love to be able to shop my kids to college!

So, coupons.  Great, handy tool but probably not something to get too carried away with.  I mean, I don't want to become one of those people who has turned their shower into storage for toilet paper and tuna cans! 

One last thing, it never fails when you are in line with $200 worth of groceries and a fistful of coupons, some tanned college girl is going to be in line behind you with her vitamin water and English cucumber, huffing noisily that it is taking you approximately 30 minutes to check out.  Just smile politely at her and know that in just a few more years, she will BE you!  Happy couponing!

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