Couponing...

I am slightly obsessed. I get giddy thinking about good deals. And on the days I plan to shop, I wake up thinking about it. Yes, I am one of "them".

Yesterday was shopping day. We have a very limited selection of stores to shop at that have great coupon policies here in Toccoa. Of course CVS and Rite Aid are here and the main grocery store I love is Ingles. But we are still very limited. I have been going out of town to get deals for over a year. It's only worth it (gas wise) to make 1 trip (of course if we're going out of town for something else I try to combine trips). I have chosen Publix and Target as my favorite stores. I've tried Kroger (ehh), and I've heard Bi-Lo has great deals too, but I'm a Publix girl- born and raised. And Target... ahhh it's just wonderful. 

So here are some deals that I got. I'll explain how it worked under the picture. The prices in the picture are the final price after sales and coupons at multiple different stores. Please excuse the quality- they are phone pictures. **And I boo-booed on the lemonade. It was actually $2.80 for 30 ($1.40 for 15) sorry. Also the ziploc bags were actually 64¢ after coupons! :) 
Rite Aid- 
Yardley Soap: 2 for $4 (-$1 Register Reward, -2/$1 coupons). Total for 2? $1!!

Ingles: 
Zyrtec: $2.98 each. 2/$4 coupons. They paid me $2 ($1 a piece which is why I put the + sign in the picture) to walk out with them. I scoured the internet and time and time again I came across websites saying the 5 ct. packs ARE NOT trial size (b/c the coupon excludes trial size). The store took it without question. 
Lemonade: 30 packs!! haha. I had a coupon that said "Buy 10 get 5 free". Ingles AD this week had them 7 for $1. So I really only paid for 20 (because I used 2 coupons which gave me 10 free). The price should say $2.80... I purchased these on different days so my totals in my head were confused. Sorry. I am going to try and donate these to Luke's daycare. If they won't take them, I'll give them to church for VBS.

Publix:
Hamburger Helper: BOGO plus a 75¢ coupon= $1.00 a piece. I have found these before for 75¢ each so not sure if this is the best deal. 
Deodorant: Original price- $2.78. BOGO price $1.39. Minus $1.00 coupon= 39¢!
KY: Rang up $9.99. Sale price said $4.99. -$2 coupon=$2.99! Sorry for the TMI. 
Cereal: $1.75 is a good price for cereal in my opinion. $1.35 is the cheapest I've bought it. This was $1.50! Still a great deal. Price was $3.99 BOGO. Had a -$1 coup on 2. So $3 for 2=$1.50 each
Endust: $2.00-$.55 coupon (this usually runs around $2.50-$2.99). 

Target: 
Coppertone:
This deal was just too good to pass up! Josh LOVES the spray on sport. I love the oil free lotion. 
Coupons I used:
-$3 on 2 (manufacturer coupon)
-$3 on 2 (manufacturer coupon)
-$1 on 1 (target coupon)
-$1 on 1 (target coupon)
-$1 on 1 (target coupon)
-$1 on 1 (target coupon)
I got 2 $5 gift cards back to apply to my other transactions. I did do this in separate transactions so it worked. 
Venus Embrace: It was on the clearance rack for $6.98. Had a $2 off coupon making it $4.98 (a great price for 2 cartridges). 
Softsoap: This was a trial size deal. The coupon did not exclude trial sizes. The bottle was $1. I had a 50¢ off coupon. 

Walmart:
Ziploc: I price matched the bags to the Ingles price this week. They have BOGO for $2.28. Plus I had 2 -$1 coupons. The actual price of EACH BOX was 64¢. The $1.14 price was before the coupons. 
Wet Ones: $1.99-75¢ coupon=$1.24!

Sorry for those couple of errors I made. I had already saved the text on the picture so it would have been a nightmare to go back and write it all again! :) 

I want to share a few tricks about how I coupon. I'm sure it's nothing that hasn't already been written before, but these are the things that I find the most useful:

1. You MUST match sale prices WITH coupons. Coupons won't save you $$ off the retail price alone. It needs to be matched with a sale. 

2. It takes time to get, cut, sort, and use coupons. It takes time in the store to check if the coupons are really getting you a good deal. I used to get so anxious about standing in the aisle with my calculator. I don't care anymore. People can pass me. I can take all the time I need. It's OK. Cashiers HATE coupons. I profile my cashiers. Sounds classy huh?? I make sure my cashier is smiling and in a good mood. The last thing someone in a bad mood needs is to deal with coupons. 

3. If a coupon doesn't ring up properly at the register, I speak up (nicely). I used to let it go and not worry about it, but not anymore. If they still won't honor it, I kindly ask them to void the item from my list. No deal, no sale. Be nice and make sure you follow the store's coupon policy. If you don't, you're in the wrong. If they are refusing to accept a coupon and you are following the policy, speak up and don't be afraid to walk away from a deal. Really, it's no big deal ;) 

4. Always check sale racks in grocery stores/drug stores.  Every store has them-somewhere. Sometimes it's in one centralized location. Sometimes its by department. 
I take pictures of sale racks... 

Ohhhh it just KILLED me that I didn't have a Burt's Bees coupon. There was conditioner for $1.99. I really don't NEED conditioner, but if a coupon would have made it around $1 I would have bought it!

and then come home to find/match my coupons (most are printable), 
(sorry, I haven't figured out how to rotate it on the Mac)

and then go back to get the deal. I wouldn't do this at an out of town store, but this is from a local drug store that is a close to home. It's worth it to get the deal!!

5. Watch EVERY item ring up. If I have a large order, I always put the sale stuff at the end- that way I make sure that I'm at the register when it's ringing up. A perfect example is from the neutrogena baby stick above. The cashier scanned it, and typed in something to override the original price ($9.99) and put it in the bag. The register never took off the $$ so it stayed $9.99. I immediately said something and she said it came off. She rang up the next thing and and the neutrogena stayed $9.99, so I spoke up again and said that the screen showed the sale price for the item before and the item after, but not for the neutrogena. She apologized, voided it, and scanned it again and did the override again- that time it worked.

6. There isn't a good deal every week. Sometimes I go weeks without using a coupon. It's just in how you hit the sales. Because of my "staples" list, I have a pretty good supply of things I need. So I don't force myself to use coupons if I don't need to. Also because I only do 1 major shopping trip a month, I do miss out on the out of town sales sometimes. It's ok. It'll go on sale again. And if I doesn't and I have to have it, then I'll deal with it. It's not the end of the world.

7. I ONLY buy things we use. Josh isn't picky at ALL about shampoo, sunblock, etc. So I know if I buy it, he'll use it. The only exception to this is if I can TRULY get it for free, and donate it to someone who needs it (example: depends underwear that I got for free a few weeks ago). I typically only clip the coupons for things we use too. The exception to this is toiletries since there is a huge variety of brands. I typically end up clipping all those (except for P&G- because I know I can put my finger on those coupons quickly). 

This is my very novice advice from personal experience. I do think I've finally crossed the coupon chasm, where I no longer get nervous at the register. It actually makes me really really happy to watch that $$ fall off my total!

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