Monday, May 2, 2011

Cashing In With Coupons

Last month as the price of gasoline reached close to $4 a gallon we realized that the extra money we'd be putting in our gas tanks had to come from somewhere else in our budget. The question was; where could we make a cut in our expenses most effectively and with the least amount of difficulty?

The answer was literally delivered to our door. It came in our mailbox and on our doorstep in the form of manufacturer's discount coupons.

Each week our Sunday newspaper has inserts with pages and pages of coupons. The newspaper is a bargain to begin with. Back in February I took advantage of a special offer that got me 30 weeks of 7-day newspaper delivery for only $30. The Sunday edition alone is $1.75 a week. That's a savings of $22.50 right there. 

Because we are a member of their shoppers club and have their special credit card, our local grocery store chain, Kroger, sends us exclusive coupons in the mail on a regular basis. But up until recently we had only occasionally been taking full advantage of the discounts those coupons.  

Last week all that changed. We spent about $200 on groceries but saved about $50 using coupons. This was done by using coupons for items that were already on sale. For instance a 4 ounce tube of Crest toothpaste was on sale for $1.00. I used a coupon for 50 cents. The Kroger store doubled the value of the coupons 50 cents or less. This made the cost of the toothpaste $0. It was free. A lot of the things we bought were "stock up" items. What I mean is that we bought multiples of items so we could use a coupon. Now we won't have to buy those items for a while.

An example of this is shaving cream and body wash. It may take us  a month or so to use a can or bottle of these product, respectively. Again with the use of a coupon we got them for less, saved money, and won't have to buy these items for at least 3 months or longer.

While I did do some of the shopping I can't take any credit for doing the work it took to get those type of savings. Clipping coupons, finding sale items, and calculating the savings has all been done by my wife.

Paula has discovered, The website is run by Stephanie Nelson, who is known as "the coupon mom". She's appeared on national TV shows such as Oprah, The Today Show, CNN and more. The banner on the website reads "Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half". By using this website my thrifty bride can find items that are on sale at the stores in our area. She can also search to find any unexpired manufacturer's coupons for those sale items. The website even identifies the specific date and flier in which the coupons were included in the newspaper.

From what Paula has explained taking advantage of the tools on this website and customizing them to help you takes some work and some focus. Over the past month I've seen her consistently look through and cut out coupons, create printouts with charts and tables about sale items, and make out shopping lists to make sure we buy the things that will save us money. She has done a great job at finding the best bargains.

Even if we only go grocery shopping twice a month saving $50 each time is the equivalent of the price of two tanks of gas (at least for now). If you're interested in finding more check out the website for yourself. If you want more specific advice in regard to what Paula does just contact her via Facebook.

It may not be easy but it's worth it. So start clipping coupons and search your grocery store fliers. You never know how much you can save until you try.

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