Monday, April 25, 2011

My Thoughts about TLC's Extreme Couponing

I have watched all the episodes of TLC's new series "Extreme Couponing" and I have mixed feelings about it. First off, it should not be viewed as a 'how-to' coupon show. The people featured on these shows have been at this for a while and know how to work the system. In the real world, no one is allowed to make 18 individual transactions in one visit, or purchase sixty some mustards at one time. Every store I've been in sets limits and will not honor your coupons, which in my opinion is exactly how it should be.

However, as much as it rather disgusts me that the featured people are getting away with coupon abuse, I do enjoy the show in that it has given me some new ideas and tips. If not for the show, I would have not checked out the site which is a great site! They also showed one shoppers coupon categories list in her coupon binder, which inspired me to redo my coupon binder to be better organized.

So in the words of one of my favorite sitcom themes: "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have the Facts of Life!"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shopping with Coupons at the Drugstores (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid)

How I Got Started Shopping Drugstores

I started shopping drugstores with coupons when, just like you, I did a little research online, and discovered other couponers saving lots of money on everyday item. I started by doing just a deal or two a week until I became comfortable using coupons and "Rolling" my Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards, etc., and using them and coupons as if they were cash. It takes some planning but you too can get everyday items for free or really cheap.

I've learned the key is moderation

Once you get started couponing at the drugstores, trust me it can get a little intense. Unfortunately, I lived in a rather small town when I started couponing back before couponing was a national series on TLC, so there was just a few of us in town that couponed on a "more informed level" then others and I ran into a few snags along the way.

At first, since I was getting things for free, I would often get extra coupons and make several trips each week stocking up on something like free or cheap shampoo. I was stocking up to the point where I was not only running into town and making several trips, but also clearing shelves and taking 5 or 6, or more bottles at a time. I remember one time there was such a good deal, I purchased a shopping cart full of Herbal Essences shampoos and only paid a few dollars for all of them along with coupons and catalinas.

I've since set some priorities. I don't take more than I really need and I don't clear shelves anymore. I am considerate to my fellow deal shoppers. My only exception to the rule is if it on clearance or it is late in the day on the very last day of the sale.

I've also learned that cashiers and managers often misunderstand couponers. I have been asked to leave both a CVS and a Meijer because of big couponing trips. Both stores actually told me they would refuse to sell me anything more because I was getting too many things for free. I had to contact their corporate offices and received apologies from both companies. I never got in an argument or yelled, but it was an awkward situation to be put in when I was doing nothing wrong. I think with the increase in coupon users, cashiers and managers are becoming more coupon friendly then they were a few years ago.

Stayed tuned this week, when I walk you through how to start shopping the drugstores effectively and maximizing your savings.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Meijer Freebies

Sorry for no pictures. I put things away without even thinking about it. Meijer was sooo busy today. I picked up:

1 - Meijer Multi-Purpose Contact Solution ($4.99) <-- no bargain here - just needed this
2 - Lysol Cleaning Wipes Tubs (3 for $5)
1 - AirWick Freshmatic Starter Kit ($7.35)

2 - $1.50 off Lysol Cleaning Wipes (via facebook) coupon
1 - $4.00 AirWick Freshmatic coupon (adjusted to $3.35)
1 - mperks $4.00 off any AirWick Freshmatic
1 - $5.00 mperks bonus coupon (some people got $.50, or $2, but I got $5!)

Total came to $.80 oop!!

In a second transaction I stocked up on food for the Easter weekend. Some of the bargains I picked up were:

2 packs Orbits gum (2 free gum coupons from Seventeen magazines)
2 Duncan Hines Brownie mixes ($.10 each with 2 - $.50 coupons doubled to $1.00 off)
Free 2 liter Red Pop with coupon for buying 2 dozen eggs for coloring
2 - Birdseye Frozen Vegetables - ($.39 each after $1.00/2 coupon)

I type in my Mperks number EVERY time I go to Meijer, even if I don't have a coupon to use off of it. I'm wondering if this helped me get a $5 mperks coupon? I'll probably never know, but I have just turned it into a habit just like giving cashier's my CVS card or Kroger card.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Loving Meijer MPerks!

I went to Meijer today to try out the Mperks on my new cell phone. I got:

12 Meow Mix cups

minus 3 - $1 coupons

2 Franks Red Hot Sauce - $.99 each

minus 2 $.50 coupons doubled to $.99 each = FREE

25 lbs Fresh Step Cat Litter - $9.99

minus $3 Mperks

minus $1.50 coupon

1 Garnier Herbalshine Hair Color - $5.99

minus $3 mailer coupon

minus $3 Mperks = FREE

2 Powereade $.79 each (meant to grab Powerade Zero for BOGO Mperks)

Minus $5 Mperks new account coupon

Grand total plus tax for all pictured was: $6.68

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Extreme Couponing Week

Let me clarify, not one shelf was cleared in the making of this picture. :)

As most of you know, Meijer had Bisquick on sale for $1 a box this week. I purchased 20 coupons for $.50 off each Bisquick from online. Since my Meijer doubles up to $.50 this would make the Bisquick free. I then preceded to spend the week making several trips to a couple Meijer stores in my city. I would do several transaction at a time, because they only double two like coupons per transaction, but I would always leave boxes behind for others. Quite frankly, I would do that because not only would I feel guilty to be a shelf clearer (which I despise), but also embarassed to be getting so many at a time for free.

Total cost for all these boxes was $1.75 (the cost of the coupons). I already gave a box to my mom but needless to say I'm done buying Bisquick for quite a while. Waffles or shortcake anyone?