Healthy Hair Care Blog From A Professional Hairstylist

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How To Save Money Using Coupons (Couponing 101)

I used to clip coupons a long time ago, before I had a kid and before I got married.  The only problem was that I didn't know how to use them correctly.  I would clip my coupon, take it to what I thought was the cheapest store (Walmart), get there and see that the off brand was cheaper even without using the coupon.  I would then proceed to buying the off brand and never use the coupon.  Eventually I stopped clipping them because I saw no point nor did I save any money.  It wasn't until I started watching the coupon show that came on tv that I realized I was doing it all wrong!  Since then I have started clipping and using coupons again and many times I don't even have to buy a newspaper.  Today I did a mini trip to the grocery store and am going to show you how to save at least 50% off of your grocery bill each time.

For this trip I did in fact buy two papers on Sunday just because it had so many inserts in it. Inserts are the coupon books that are inside the paper.  Most of the time it will have at least two although some Sundays they don't have any at all.  To avoid wasting money on a paper with no coupons, you can always check it before you buy it.  This past Sunday I had about 4 inserts so I bought two papers.  I went home and clipped my coupons and sorted them out.  I bought my coupon organizer from Dollar General and they happened to actually be on the clearance isle for $.75 each!

Also included in your Sunday paper are the ads for different grocery stores.  Your next step is to get your store of choice (mine is Publix) and see what is on sale for the week.  Compare the sale items to coupons you have for that item.  So everything that was on sale and I had a coupon for I put that coupon to the side to use for the shopping trip.  Before I go any further, here are a few things about Publix's coupon policy:

  • They double coupons up to $.50- This means that every coupon you clip that is $.50 and under, Publix automatically doubles it everyday!  This also includes competitor coupons (I'll explain this further shortly).  So make sure to look for $.50 coupons because that means you will actually be getting $1.00 off.
  • They take competitor's coupons- This is another great thing for couponers.  The coupon must be for the exact item though and they specify who their competitor is normally on the front door of the store.  Each store is different.  The Publix that I frequent only considers Target and Belle Foods as their competitor so those are the only competitor coupons they take. If you are not sure about who your local store's competitors are ask customer service what competitor coupons they take and they will gladly tell you.
  • You can sometimes use two coupons at one time for the same item- If you have a competitor coupon and a manufacturer coupon, Publix will honor both! Also if you have a Publix coupon and a manufacturer coupon, you can use both on one item. (I will show you an example later).
Now on to the shopping trip. 

The first item I picked up was cereal.  From the picture listed above you can see the Kellogg's cereal was buy one get one free (bogo).  My hubby loves chocolate so I got him the Coco Krispies which are normally $4.35 each.  Since they are bogo that really makes them 50% off or $2.17 each.  I had a coupon for $.50 off one Kellogg cereal item which doubled to $1 off making the total $1.17 for the cereal. Great deal!

I did the same thing with the Froot Loops. They were also bogo so that made them $2.09 instead of $4.19.  I had another $.50 coupon which made them $1.09 total.  This is the only way I buy my cereal.  I like the name brand but refuse to pay $4 for one box when I can get 4 boxes for the same price! Every time they put cereal on sale I stock up because we eat a lot of cereal in the Jones house.

Next up are pickles.  As you can see they are also bogo.  I had a coupon for $1 off 2.   That means I got two jars for $1.39 or $.70 each when they are normally $2.39 each!  This is another item I stock up on because whenever we grill out of have sandwiches pickles are a must. 

My hubby loves liquid soap and so do I so I always stock up on this as well.  These were not on bogo but I still got a good deal.  They are $3.99 each but if you use the Publix coupon you get $3 off when you buy two.  That means buying two will cost you about $8. Using the coupon brings it down to $5 for both.  But I also had (2) $.50 off coupons for this item as well which doubled to $1 making it $3 for two or $1.50 each! Using the Publix AND the manufacturer coupon made it possible to get two for less than what one would cost. Winning!

 Shave gel is normally $3.39 but was marked down to $2.99.  I had a (2) coupons for $2 off making them $.99 each! So you see it doesn't necessarily have to be bogo for you to get the item super cheap. And the more coupons you have the more you can buy.  I only bought two papers which is why I only bought two of everything. I've seen some ladies get 10 papers at one time. I in no way want to become a hoarder so buying two of the item each time allows me to keep a healthy stock or enough to last a while.  I do NOT have a bedroom which I have turned into a stockpile! Also I believe in leaving some on the shelf for the next person.

The Dove was bogo and I had a coupon for $1.50 off 2.  That means I bought 2 for $3, and using the coupon made it 2 for $1.50 or $.75 each.  I had two of these coupons so I got 4 deodorants total for $3!  So basically I bought one at regular price and got 3 FREE! If that isn't a deal I don't know what is!

I love the Simple facial wash cloths because all you do is take one out and wipe your face and you are done.  All the makeup and everything else comes right off.  They were 30% off of $5.49 which made them $3.84 each.  I had a $2 off coupon which brought the price down to $1.84. I bought two for less than what one would have cost me..

Last but not least are the waffles.  My little one LOVES waffles in the morning and we had just run out.  Luckily they were bogo and I had a coupon for $1 off 2, making them $1.99 for two or $1/each.  I bought 4 boxes for $4, when regular price would have been $12! That should last him at least until they go on sale again. 

I got to the register and here is my total before coupons:

Balance due was $43.41 but I only had $25 in my hand.  I handed the cashier my coupons and this is what my total ended up being..

$23.21!  With only the things being on sale I saved $24.73, but with coupons I saved another $20 making my total savings $44.73.  So bottom line I was supposed to pay $67.94 if none of the items were on sale and I didn't have any coupons.  Paying only $23.21 means I paid less than half!  Now you see how easy couponing is?  All you have to do is use your coupon for an item that is already on sale and voila! I will probably be going back tomorrow because they have a new sale starting and I already spotted items that are on sale that I have coupons for. 

Things to remember:
  • Know the coupon policy of the store of your choice before you go in.  This will save you from looking crazy when you get to the register.  Most stores list the policy on their website.
  • Pick one or two stores of your choice instead of several.  Going from store to store in my opinion means you spend more in gas than in your actual savings.
  • I also use a website called and they list each grocery store for you as well as what is on sale for each store and even give links to coupons for the items on sale.  I get a lot of my coupons here when I don't buy a paper. All you do is print them out and take to the store.
  • You can go to and have the coupons sent to you for free.  Do this if you don't want to have to buy multiple papers.
  • Pick your cashier's wisely! You will end up knowing the store's coupon policy better than some of the employees as you get more used to couponing.  Some cashier's will sit there and read each coupon then try to go in your bags to check each item and will argue you down that you are wrong about something.  I have learned to only go to certain cashier's that I know, know what they are doing. 
  • Beware-couponing is addictive and will make you not want to ever pay for anything regular price! If it's not on sale I most likely will not buy it, but some things like fresh produce and meat hardly ever go on sale fyi.
  • If you know of an item that you notice never goes on sale, you can write the company and request coupons.  They will send you multiples with no problem.
  • Stocking up on items that you don't necessarily need right now is perfectly fine! Once you keep doing this, you will notice that you dont have to buy much if any of it in the future.  I never run out of most condiments like ketchup, mustard, butter, pickles, bbq sauce, spaghetti sauce, hot sauce, and others just to name a few because I always get them when they go on sale.  Most of the time when I go grocery shopping, I only need meat and dairy products because I have everything else.  Once I didn't go to the grocery store for over 2 months and I still had plenty of food to cook!
  • Don't buy stuff that you will never use just because it is on sale.  Unless you plan on giving it to someone, that is a waste of money!

Happy Couponing! 

1 comment

  1. You are so awesome for posting this! With a family of six I definitely needed to read this. Thanks!


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