Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Crazy Coupon Lady...

So, when Dave and I still lived in our townhouse our next door neighbors used to lovingly poke fun at me (especially when Dave was out of town) for over taking our living room table and floor with flyers and coupons and making a master list for where I was getting what and what coupons I was using.  They made fun of me until they saw my receipts and saw how much money I was actually saving.  :)  Then, they started asking me to do the same for them.  I offered my help if they would sit down and clip too - but they didn't want to clip so it didn't go anywhere.

Back in those days I didn't have to worry about brands.  I was also blissfully ignorant of the harmful chemicals that most household cleaners contain.  As a result buying big name national brands on sale with a coupon was a breeze.  Dave and I ate what was on sale that week and it all worked out great.  It made me feel good, especially before I started working, to know that though I might not have been earning a monetary paycheck I was essentially earning us money by helping to preserve what we already had in a big way.  It was not unusual for me to save us upwards of 200.00 a month on groceries and household goods.  It wasn't even unusual for me to save more.

*Fast Forward 3-4 years*  Shopping for groceries over the past two years has been a challenge all together.  Every ingredient must be scrutinized.  The quality control of the manufacturers cleaning practices must be scrutinized.  Trust must be placed in manufacturers that they are being HONEST (some are sadly not - which comes as proof by allergic reaction in my child.)  And then of course there is the extended price point of needing to buy pure foods.  Convenience foods are usually not present in our cart but instead we are loaded down with fresh fruits and veggies, boxes of organic yeast free stock, rice milk, gluten free flours, organic cane sugar, honey, molasses and maple syrup, frozen fruits and veggies, canned beans, rice crackers, "squeezy food" i.e. Ella's/Plum Baby food and, of course, our handful of convenience foods that we can buy.

This is, no doubt, expensive.  We are paying financially now for food safety and better health as we are not consuming so many processed goods which is paying off now and will continue to always pay off.  I feel good about the fact that my child doesn't consume a bunch of chemicals even if our pocket book/wallet is sadly crying saying, "Give it back...Give it back."  :)  And oh boy is it ever crying after some trips to the store.

Being from Eastern NC one benefit is lower grocery prices.  This doesn't mean that groceries are cheap there.  But, what it means is that because general cost of living is less groceries are less too.  However, the cost of groceries still impacts people in the same way as it does up here.  It's just that after living up here going down there to buy groceries is amazing because it IS cheaper when you're 'used' to these prices. 

Ex: Whole Foods store brand spaghetti sauce is about 2.50 up here.  In Raleigh it was 1.39.  Right now Whole Foods has a 1.00 coupon our for their sauce.  So, you could walk away with GREAT sauce for .39 cents in you were in Raleigh. 

Another example is I spent about 120.00 between Trader Joe's and Whole Foods back home and it lasted for over a week and I still had food left over.  I returned back up here spent about 175.00 and only walked out of the store with 4 paper bags...   :( 

Now that Duncan is a lot more stable and can eat a wider variety of foods (and after returning back up here and being in total sticker shock again) I decided to coupon seriously.  Duncan also recently mastered scissors so we make cutting coupons a game.  I cut my pieces.  Then, I hand him the scraps and he goes to town cutting 'his' coupons.  

This past week we definitely spent a considerable amount on groceries.  It was time for a full restock (which happens every few months) and I'm not going to disclose the full amount that we spent on everything because quite frankly it's nauseating.  I don't want to think about it.  BUT, what I will tell you is about our coupon victory.

Last week I saw the Bloom Ad ( for NC people Bloom is owned by Food Lion) which advertised Double Coupon Sunday for coupons up to a face value of 1.99.  This was terrific because most organic coupons are for around 1.00.  Usually doubling is only for coupons under 0.99.  So, I shopped heavily online for coupons so much so that we had to replace our printer's ink!   

When all was said and done last Sunday between two different Bloom's and 3 check-outs we spent 100.00 but saved 107.00.  That's right - we saved 7 more dollars than we spent.  With that 100.00 we walked away with 20 cans of organic tomato products, 3 packages of Chobani Little Champions greek yogurt, 15 ish regular Chobani yogurts, several Pacific Organics broths and condensed cream soup products, several bags of gluten free flour, a tub of organic Palm Shortening, Allergen Friendly chocolate chips, ice cream, a frozen pizza, milk, OJ, Sargento Cheese & several other things.  All of these products are things that we eat and use.  We don't buy ice cream of frozen pizza on a regular basis.  The pizza is for a 'cooking emergency' and the ice cream was a treat.

We were SO stoked about our hard work, good fortune and savings!  I am hoping that I can make this a regular trend.  Though I don't foresee being a complete extreme couponer with needing the products that we use.  But one can dream I suppose?  

I used a lot of websites to get my coupons.  But, I also "liked" some places on Facebook and other companies just keep it simple by placing coupons on their webpages.  Harris Teeter is having Super Coupon Days until the 8th.  


I'm sure that there were more sites that I pulled from.  But, I just simply googled.  Good Luck!!!  

Oh, for NOVA people = Kitchen Basics stock has a lot of flavor is top 8, corn and yeast free & is 2 for 5 right now at Whole Foods and at Giant and Wellington.