Coupons on Steroids?

I have SO much that I’ve got building up that I want to share with you guys! When I don’t write regularly, I feel like I’m ready to explode with information and insight. So, you may be inundated this week with info if I can find enough time to write. For those of you who have inquired, my friend is definitely in a battle for her life, but I feel very, very confident that she will be victorious. Thank you all for your kind comments and prayers on her behalf.

I’m also busting at the seams because I have not one, but TWO great announcements to make this week! I’m so excited I’m definitely having trouble sleeping. Fortunately though, in spite of a lack of sleep, I’ve still been able to keep up with my schedule requirements, so I guess a little excitement won’t kill me.

So, one of the things that I really wanted to share with you all is my experience a few weeks ago that ended up being what I call Coupons on Steroids! Not to discourage anyone, but I spent about 2 ½ hours in one store. Why? Well, because there were SO many deals, and I was being very meticulous, that it simply took me that long to go from one aisle to the next. Yes, I went through EVERY aisle. Yes, that’s uncharacteristic of me, but I assure you there was a method to my madness. Unlike my normal store excursions, I didn’t take a master shopping list this time. The reason being is that the store was offering a special coupon promotion; they would double, triple, even quadruple any coupon you had up to $1 dollar.  So, if you had a .20 cent coupon off of Hunts Ketchup, then the store would increase it to $1 off of Hunts Ketchup. When you take such circumstances and combine them with the fact that every store has thousands of un-advertised sales and clearance prices, that no “coupon shopping service” can ever know about, then you can do several months worth of shopping all in one fail swoop. Everywhere I turned I was able to get something I wanted or needed for free or cheap! The real excitement comes when you realize that this was the SECOND time I was able to do this kind of shopping at this grocery store in a 4 week period of time! After doing this for years, I have to say that this was by far my best coupon adventure. (And I haven’t gone back to a store since then as I have satisfied my retail therapy need for at least 4 weeks. *grin*)

So, in an effort to help you guys literally SEE what I did, I want to go through a lot of this with you blow by blow—at least as it relates to this particular haul.  For those of you who still have not taken our Coupon Training Boot Camp, I strongly recommend that you do so this Saturday, August 21st.  There will be some significant changes coming about for our webinars effective after this Saturday, so I recommend you take advantage of this while you’ve got it. I won’t share more than that with you right now, but you won’t be able to say that I didn’t warn ya. Hee hee.

Most important to me about one of the coups I pulled off last month was that I took a girlfriend with me who had taken my class.  She actually did better than I did in the savings percentage—which is simply the result of her purchasing more “free” items in ratio to her total number of items purchased which increased her percentage of savings overall. Ok. So first of all, here are the pictures of my most recent endeavor—the one I did without my friend.  I like to go late at night when the kids aren’t around and the aisles are mostly empty. The one thing I do detest though is when the store turns off half of their lights at 10:00 p.m. with some nonsense about saving energy—forget the fact that they make their shoppers feel like they need to leave the store 2 hours before they actually close. Anyway, here’s a picture of that evenings haul. At first blush, it may seem uneventful to you. One of the items that’s not picture was the $20 worth of Ribeye steaks that I got for free. How did I get them for free? I’ll be happy to tell you.

First of all, the store was having a clearance on the meat because it was nearing expiration. So they had a special, buy one get one free.  Secondly, I had $10 worth of “store money” that I had received because of my purchases last month. In other words, I bought enough of some items that the coupon/catalina machine spit out two coupons worth “five dollars off of my next purchase.”  I had two of these and could combine them with any purchase. I selected exactly $20 worth of meat, minus my $10 off in coupons, plus the buy one, get one free, I ended up getting them for free. I used them specifically on a meat purchase earlier in the day so that we could have a yummy, carnivorous meal. After I was suitably nourished for some marathon couponing, I went back to the store later that night. The picture is what I came home with.

Do you see the bottles and bottles of Old Spice Body Wash as well as the 8 containers of Old Spice Deodorant?  These items are regularly priced between $4.99 to $5.29 at the grocery store. However, tonight, thanks to the perfect storm, I obtained ALL of them for FREE! Here’s how. First of all, as with all coupon purchases I make, the products were already marked down to a great sale. The body wash was on sale for $2.99 (The deodorant wasn't on sale, but I still got them for free. You’ll see how in a moment). I had a coupon for $3 off of two Old Spice Body Washes.  I also had another coupon for buy one body wash, get one free.  Remember, the rule of thumb is you can only have one manufacturer’s coupon per item. Ok. So I have a price of $2.99 and I have one coupon that gives me $3 off of two items, right? So I’m now at $2.98 for two body washes ($2.99 times 2 minus $3= $2.98) So then I also apply the other body wash coupon that is buy one, get one free.  The two coupons end up cancelling each other out and I end up getting both of the body washes for a negative two cents at the check out.  Are you with me so far? Next, I have yet another coupon for a FREE Old Spice deodorant when I buy 1 body wash. Well, am I buying one body wash? Yup. Lots of them.  If I had more of these free deodorant coupons, I could have purchased 20 FREE Old Spice deodorants. But alas, I only had 8 of the coupons left, since I used so many of them the month before. Ok. So I now have 28 coupons, and I have 28 items (20 body washes, and 8 deodorants). This is permissible couponing so long as I do not have more manufacture coupons than I have items, and it’s obviously highly beneficial to your bottom line. I purchased all of the Gillette Body Washes the same way—combination of buy one, get one free coupons PLUS $3 off coupons. When you purchase two items, the two coupons cancel each other out, combined with a sale price just below $3, and you’ve got FREE product.

Obviously, these body washes and deodorants went into their designated 4 gallon storage buckets in my basement and we have plenty for our own personal use, helping of others, and even some nice gift baskets for mens’ birthdays.

Ok; on to the next strategy. This may not be a big deal to those of you who aren’t fanatical about skin care like I am.  But you’ll learn something from the strategy nonetheless.  When you have a coupon, it’s not the picture on the coupon that determines what you use it on; rather it’s the WORDS on the coupon. For example, I had several $3-off coupons for any Olay Regenerist Product. Now, for those of you who don’t know, Regenerist is the hoity-toity line of Oil of Olay and the products usually cost anywhere from $15 to $30 each. That’s why that particular coupon was such a high value coupon. However, Oil of Olay also has facial wipe cloths as a part of that Regenerist brand. This particular item is not as expensive as the other Regenerist products at a regular retail price of $7-$10. However, as with all coupon strategies, the Regenerist Wipes were marked down to only $4.52.  Once you apply a $3 coupon, it makes a high value product irresistible, and even giddy in the purchase.

But wait, it gets better!  I also had coupons for a FREE Oil of Olay cleanser/Moisturizer product when I bought any Oil of Olay moisturizer or cleanser. Is the Regenerist Wipes Oil of Olay? Yes. Are the Regenerist Wipes a moisturizer or cleanser? Yes, indeed, they are, as stated right on the packaging. So, not only did I get the Regenerist Wipes for only $1.52 each, each one of the moisturizers I purchased gave me a FREE Oil of Olay moisturizing or cleansing product in their basic line.  Color me clean, happy, and independent even if there is a water shortage now, folks! Unfortunately, I had purchased a lot of the Regenerist Wipes a couple of weeks before and they were dwindling in supply at the store. So I did some mix and matches and ended up with what you see in the picture—mostly to the left. I ended up getting 24 high end cleansing and moisturizing products for only $18.24. But keep in mind that negative 2 cents I was on each dual body wash purchase previously.  The store didn’t give me back 2 cents. They applied it to my total purchase, thus making a dent in my Oil of Olay purchase as well. So did a few other items.

Obviously, items like this will be helpful in the event that there is a water shortage. I’ll still be able to feel human.  But they actually are products that I am already using and in love with since I can’t stand going to bed without washing my face, but sometimes, I am just too lazy to do a whole facial. Regenerist Wipes to the rescue.

Ok. You see the small packets of Tide?  I get these all the time at the end of the month. Proctor and Gamble puts out coupons for $1 off of any size Tide. These Tide packets are sample/travel sizes and are usually only .97 cents. Voila. You have free laundry detergent that you can take with you on a road trip, camping, or may be great for bartering in the future, rather than trying to measure out a cup or two from large bottles.

The same holds true on the Head and Shoulders, the Olay soap bars, and the Pert Shampoos. All of those items were free because the coupons permitted use on any size of that item. I always wait until the end of the month to use them though because you never know when a coupon like that can end up getting you a full sized item for free or cheap. So I wait until they are ready to expire before I use them to purchase sample sizes.

Next, see all of the Crest Toothpaste and Oral B toothbrushes?  They were ALL FREE—even the higher end Oral B toothbrushes with motors and the refills.  It all boils down to sale prices combined with manufacturer coupons. Crest Toothpaste is typically one of the more expensive brands, but Proctor and Gamble frequently sponsors store sales down to a dollar. That’s when you jump on it and use your $1 off coupons. When you have a buy one get one free coupon AND a $1 off kind of coupon, you can end up getting a lot of items for free or cheap that way as well. Again, you simply have to keep the rule that you can’t have more manufacturer coupons than you have items.

The Bounty Paper Towels were 9 cents each thanks to the store’s everyday low price of $1.09, combined with a .25 cent off coupon, which was quadrupled into $1 off.

Smart Balance Milk was negative .50 cents when combined with a high value coupon and a manager’s clearance sale. We’ll drink it fast enough, and besides, it’s like bending down to pick up two quarters to me.

The pretzels were free thanks to a sale price of .97 cents and a .50 off coupon which was doubled to $1.

All of the Soft Soap bottles were free thanks to a $1 clearance price and a .35 cent off coupon that was increased to $1.

The KY was negative $1 when combined with an unrestricted high dollar coupon of $2 off, and a $1 trial size price.

The Herbal Essence Shampoo was probably my hardest decision of the night. I was struggling because I knew I would actually have to pay for shampoo. But I actually like the Herbal Essences, and since there was a sale price when you purchased 10 of them, plus a .50 off coupon that would be increased to $1 each, I ended up paying .99 cents for each of them. Fortunately the KY and the milk would help eat into some of my out of pocket cost there.

All of the Mentos gum (one of the few I chew) were free thanks to a .55 cent off coupon that was increased to $1 combined with a sale price of $1 each.

Febreeze Noticables were only .35 each and they were a scent I really liked. I’m particularly grateful for them this past week as we have inherited a young kitten abandoned by its mom. Whew!

The Johnson First Aid kits were free thanks to an unrestricted $1 off coupon. The kits are considered travel size and were only .97 cents. The Miracle Whip ended up being only .75 each thanks to sale prices and coupons. The Huggies Wipes were only .40 each because I paid attention to what the WORDS said on the coupon, not the picture. It was a high dollar coupon for ANY Huggies Wipes, so that included the Winnie-the-Pooh travel series. The Kleenex were only .50 a box—and I was running out at home. And the storage bins were free because I received yet another $5 off coupon when I purchased the Miracle Whip. So I made a separate purchase and got some storage boxes that were on sale for only a dollar. Lastly, the pineapple was only .17 cents each thanks to the sale price and the doubling of coupons. So I bought as many as I had coupons.

In closing, I realize that there will be some of you who bemoan that you don’t have double coupons anywhere in your area. Or that you “only eat organic foods” or that “your store doesn’t do coupons.”  I can assure you that YOU are not the exception to coupon success. If you have a store, they take coupons. If you have a store near you, they also have sales. Even if you don’t have a newspaper that carries coupons, you still have no excuse not to save at least 70% regularly on your groceries and household supplies. And if you haven’t noticed it, what you eat has only about a 30 percent impact on most grocery budgets, as it’s the detergents and paper goods that suck up all of your money each month. No one; and I mean NO ONE has come to me that I couldn't help significantly—even those on food stamps and a fixed income! The girlfriend who went with me last month was just shopping for her and her husband. She was still able to save NINETY-FOUR percent on her grocery budget, and that’s even taking into account that she had to buy Bounce Dryer Sheets, a can of beans that was only slightly on sale, three gallons of milk and a couple of battery packs. In spite of all of this, her total out of pocket was only $41.22 for over $409 worth of groceries!  So, how about you let me help you too with what YOU want in your preparedness supplies?

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Comments

What a great post about couponing! We were on vacation during the second coupon sale at Smith's and I was so tempted to cut our vacation short do that I could grab all these deals. Thanks for helping us realize how far we can make our dollars go!

You ROCK MY WORLD!! I've got to get back to being serious about couponing! I LOVE the idea of shopping late at night too! Maybe if I have a little nap in the afternoon then I can stay up late.

Couponing is just a part of my frugal lifestyle but I've never had an experience as good as yours. One question - do you have to explain the coupon rule of one manufacturer's coupon per one item? I've found only one young cashier that had to ask about a BOGO deal and my FREE coupon, otherwise no problem - 8 bags of $4.99 coffee for free, made my month.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Any time you use a coupon you should be prepared to educate the cashier. Fortunately, the store I have been going to a lot lately has most of their cashiers well trained, and if there's a bugaboo, the managers are on top of things too. But that cannot be said for Wal-mart, most Targets, and most K-marts. *sigh*

Reading this made me dizzy. Usually I do not buy products that have coupons since I shop at Aldi. I will have to try this.

I have never been a Smith's shopper but maybe i'll have to change!!!!!! Is this all Smith's that have these sales. Love your blog...i've learned so much.

Renee

How exciting! I can hardly wait til I get to the 90% status with couponing...This is my new hobby.In these times every bit saved is good and who knew you could save so much with coupons.I love it!My best to you and your friend.

All I can say is "wow"!. Here in southern NJ, I have yet to find a store that will double a coupon much less quadruple it. Maybe I need to move to Utah.

You don't need a place to double or triple coupons to be successful--not by a long shot. We used to have a store that regularly doubled coupons, but they sold off most of their locations. Now, when I have access to a store that doubles etc. coupons, it's a special event--typically happening no more than 2 or 3 times a year.
Bottom line, everyone can coupon! :-)

Our area doesn't have a Sunday paper to receive coupon's and our stores in our area never ever double or triple any coupon. Where do you get your coupons? I've tried groupon and coupons.com but they never have items I use.
Any suggestions. Do you give personal lessons?
Thanks.

There are a few other articles on couponing on this blog which provide a litany of other places to get coupons. I don't have access to doubling and tripling coupons much here either, but there's still plenty that's possible. Also, our most popular class by far is the couponing one that's available on DVD along with a great resource guide. In it I've put every little tip and trick I could think of at the time of writing it and based on my experience. It's as close as you'll get to a "personal lesson." Anyone can coupon...anywhere regardless of newspaper availability or the absence of doubling and tripling.

All I can says is WOW wonder why I stopped couponing when the girls left home.....I should be punished, though I believe I have been. Guess my ways are a changing....Thanks again

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