Saturday, October 1, 2011

Life as a Not-So-Extreme Couponer

So Season 2 of Extreme Couponing is on again.  People buying hundreds if not thousands of dollars of merchandise for less than 10% of the retail value.

Hundreds of packages of soda, Ramen Noodles, etc. etc. etc.

So despite the over the top production, it has had an impact on our family.  In what started out as a way for the kids to make a few bucks a week has turned into a hobby/quest for us.

We've gone from clipping a few Sunday paper coupons and hitting up Walmart the same day, to buying coupons from clipping services, using CVS and Kroger cards to the max, to making multiple purchases during the same visit at the store. 

The impact for the Saathoff family has been about 35-45% savings at the checkout, if not more.  We now no longer shop at Walmart, instead choosing to shop at a collection of Meiers, Kroger, CVS (yes CVS), Walgreens, and occasionally Jewel. 

Many on the show have a "stockpile" of items, some in the hundred thousand dollar range.  We too have a stockpile, in the $100 range, but its there. 

When we have had great deals, we've shared the bounty with a local food pantry called the Clare House here in Bloomington, taking multiple bags of food and health and beauty products for delivery.

Probably the biggest change as mentioned before was the use of drugstores such as CVS.  CVS is heads and shoulders above Walgreens with its reward system, keeping track of your purchases, and overall customer friendliness. 

Our favorite websites are where you can see next weeks sales at stores and sort by the % of savings on an item.  We usually start with the FREE items to see if its something we need or can give to charity.

  I also use to buy clipped coupons for pennies on the dollar.  It allows you to focus on items you want, and buy bulk coupons.  It's key to watch for coupons with long expiration dates.

The other change for us is holding coupons to match with the best sale.  We've developed a pretty good level of patience on waiting to maximize the value of the coupon, looking to double coupons where we can or match with the best sale.

We've also got a keen idea on grocery prices.  We would have never blinked before to pay $3 or $4 for name brand cereal.  Now I get tremors when I spend $1.99 a box, its too much.

If you want to know more, feel free to drop me a line or make a comment on the blog.  We have a few people at work that share ideas and coupons, and if you want to make a dent on the bottom line, its a good way to start.

So get clipping!!

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