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Jan 8, 2010 12:00 PM

Clipping Coupons...saved me $3k last year!

I've been clipping coupons for years and I must say that I have saved literally thousands of dollars per year doing it....remember when they used to 'double' and ' triple' the coupons?
I shop the grocery store weekly ads for their specials and plan my meals around whats on sale... Love to eat and drink well but don't want to pay for it..
What's your biggest weekly savings...this week, saved over $83.00 in coupon savings!
Are you rushing for the Sunday paper..pissed when there is only 1 insert of coupons instead of the 2-3?

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  1. I used to save a lot using coupons when I shopped at the big chains and bought packaged/processed food there. Nowadays, it's mostly Trader Joe's, Costco, GO and farmer's market.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dump123456789

      I shop at TJ's, Costco and Farmers Markets too..
      I think the bulk of the savings is health and beauty supplies and detergent.
      I try not to buy too much processed food but I do stock up the pantry with what my DH calls
      my 'war food'..

      1. re: Beach Chick

        Health and beauty products - I'm totally promiscuous on those, so whoever has the best and easiest rebates, typically Rite Aid. I buy almost all the free-after-rebate items they have in those categories, and use them over time.

        Cleaning and detergent - GO, and the super loss leader sales at CVS and Walgreens and Rite Aid.

    2. Wow, congratulations to you, that is amazing. I used to clip coupons, but most of the brands I find are not within my budget in the first place and the coupon deals are not what they use to be. In the past I've used coupons for cleaning products, person hygiene items etc. but now rely on the dollar stores for those items. But kudos to you, that is quite the achievement.

      5 Replies
      1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

        I used to use coupons all the time "back in the day" when you were actually getting a good deal and now shop in the dollar stores as well...anyone remember when the manufacturer's used to give rebates all the time for using their products? I used to belong to a club that actually traded "qualifiers" i.e. upc codes or labels on products to get the rebates.

        Example, if needed 3 codes or front labels from smithfield bacon but only had two, I could trade someone else for something they needed & I had; I'd get what I needed. Then I'd send it in for, say a $5.00 rebate check. That was back a long time ago but it was a nice little racket and I guess the manufacturers saw that it was not benefiting them enough and phased it out. Oh sure, you'll see it every now and then on the shelves at the store but back then, every major company was doing it. How I miss the "old days"...

        1. re: Cherylptw

          I used to do quite well with rebates in the '80's.There were round-robin mailing groups to trade forms, since many were regional in distribution. Also participated in qualifier trade groups. The "coupon queen" was on many tv shows and had a how-to book. A friend brought her family of four on a two week San Francisco trip with the money she made in a year doing rebates back then! The opportunities seemed to fade away for good rebates.

          There is a whole coupon world out there - you can even purchase many (paying for the time/service) on e-bay. I purchased some $4 off coupons for the pet food we use and it saved me over $100 last year - I paid $12 for them. A columnist for my local newspaper puts a spreadsheet on line and updates it weekly. It lists the coupons, values, exp. date, when/where it was offered. She also summarizes the weekly sales and notes how you can get a sweeter deal with a recent coupon. Here is a link, there is a bit of good information which is not regional:

          1. re: meatn3

            Besides the rebates, which were sweet, I remember the 80s as tons of free merchandise just for sending in a few UPCs. No cash register receipts or shipping costs required either, it was very simple. I still have lots of things in my kitchen from those days.

            1. re: coll

              Yes, you are so right! I still use some one-serving sized Corningware casseroles. One of my favorites was a trio of Tupperware type container which were for baby food - but the size is just right for the little bits of prepped items you didn't need, but want to keep for the next meal. A butter company used to have some nice offerings, little copper butter warmers istr.

              Even further back I remember bath towels from laundry soap companies in the '60's. I think they enclosed them in the packaging. I remember my mother being very determined to complete a set in a specific color!

              LOL, I think I still have some green stamps and top value stamps floating around someplace. Whoever cleans up after me when I pass will have a field day on e-bay!

              1. re: meatn3

                I have those Corningware casseroles, can't remember where from. Also a nice Corningware soup bowl from Campbells that says "Mmm mmm good". Perdue sent me some beautiful plexiglass recipe boxes and a BBQ set. I got the first Spork or whatever you call it for pasta from Scott, everyone who saw it was in awe. I'm not even trying to think too hard, lots of Tshirts and glasses for sure......and I have dishes passed on from my aunt, they were from Ivory Soap, shallow bowls that I still use for breading, chips and all.

      2. I use them when I can, but I also find that the deals aren't what they used to be. Boy, do I sound old! Seriously, many of the newpaper coupons are for more expensive brands than I usually use, and a lot more seem to be money off 2 or 3 of the item, not just one. Most of the coupons I use are health/beauty products and cleaning items. And batteries.

        3 Replies
        1. re: elfcook

          Exactly, seems like 50 cents off when you buy 2 or 3...what is the point?

          1. re: elfcook

            yeah, those buy 2 and get .50 cents off totally blows..I don't waste my time..what I love is the $2.00 shampoo/detergent coupons..seems that most grocers know when that coupon is just about ready to expire and they put it on sale..thats when I go in for the kill.
            Totally agree elf that you have to work way more than the 'olden' days.

            1. re: Beach Chick

              Completely hate, loath , and despise any coupon that makes me buy >1 item. I have a small house--I don't WANT 2 gallons of Tide!

              But at least we still have double coupons (up to 50 cents) at most stores here.

          2. Yep, totally use coupons as well. Do you use online resources as well? I am nowhere close to the real professional couponers out there though (I don;t have near enough time)!

            13 Replies
            1. re: enbell

              Thanks enbell for your fab tips..
              I just started poking around other coupon sites..what's great is I can click the ones I want and then print them out in black and white vs. color which is a killer on the budget.
              I can double dip with the coupons that I print on-line and the ones I get from the Sunday paper.

     Dr.Hauschka products!

              1. re: Beach Chick

                All of the stores around here stopped taking the internet coupons, too much abuse apparently.

                1. re: coll

                  Wow..haven't seen that here in least the stores that I have been to.
                  How can they be abused with a bar code...photocopying and giving them to friends?

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Forging them; coupons not officially released by the manufacturer. Kids who know more about computers than we do printing up free or almost free coupons. (The store has to send in to the manufacturer to be reimbursed)

                    Out here(in SD) Target, WalMart, KMart, Michael's and JoAnn won't take internet printed coupons. I have stood behind people arguing with clerks at each store. I never bothered to try at any of the grocery stores.

                    Back to the subject-I use coupons only for what I would buy anyhow. It's rarer and rarer that I bother. The bottom of a receipt in front of me states I "saved" $43.82 and my total bill was $32.14. I never would have paid $75.96 for what I bought. In this case, all items were on sale with a Club card and also use of coupons from the in store flyer (minimum purchase of $10, get 18 eggs free, etc)

                    1. re: Cathy

                      Thanks Cathy and coll for your responses!
                      Haven't had that problem yet.
                      I mostly shop at TJ's, Costco (and I use their coupons) and Henry's.
                      Albertson's and Von's are the ones that I use the on-line coups but just started doing it in the last couple of months.
                      I do see the bottom line shrinking more and year's post will be..
                      'I saved $3 bucks all last year on my coupon savings' hee hee
                      I do use a 'club card' and can't imagine if one does not have one to get charged the full amount..if someone doesn't have one, I let them use mine.
                      What's the purpose of retailers going to on-line sources, only to be told that they can't use them at the stores they were intended for?

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Well. I am unsure if you mean retailer or manufacturer. The retailer carries the product and maybe you'll buy it anyhow without using the coupon. Then the retailer makes more money and doesn't have to do the paperwork involved in claiming m,oney backfromthe manufacturer.

                        The same could be said about the manufacturer...they get you interested enough to look for a product at the retail store. I do know that manufacturers don't get as many rebate claims as forms that are given out.

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          Costco does NOT accept manufacturers' coupons out here in CT. PITA

                          1. re: jfood

                            Only BJs does, that's their claim to fame.

                            1. re: jfood

                              hey jfood!
                              I use Costco coupons from Costco..sometimes they have some great deals..but I'll have the item till 2030!

                          2. re: Cathy

                            That's weird about Michael's and JoAnn's. They sell overpriced merchandise which isn't as badly overpriced with the frequent 40% and 50% off coupons. I would never buy from there without those coupons. The nearby Michael's has a new policy where they'll beat competitor's coupons by 10% (max of 60% off total).

                            Target's official website has coupons available for print.

                            I would write the corporate offices of all those stores to let them know that they are not complying with corporate policy.

                            1. re: Unraveled

                              They will take their own website coupons, not manufacturers coupons printed from a (supposed) website and will take physical manufacturers coupons cut from the newspaper. A lot of stuff can be falsified.

                              {As an obtuse example, I remember last year that a coupon was going around on email for a free Starbucks Vivano. Starbucks had mailed out a similar coupon/postcard to registered cardholders but nothing that could be downloaded and printed off your computer. There were disclaimers at all the stores for a while.}

                              1. re: Cathy

                                I've rarely had issues with using the internet-printed coupons that had invididual barcodes on them. (You have to download an applet for this to print correctly.) You get to print 2 coupons per computer. They do track you by IP and will probably ban you if you attempt to use a photocopied coupon.

                      , bricks, smartsource, etc all use this sort of technology.

                                Some of the supermarkets do not take coupons that offer something for free (buy 1, get 1 free).

                                I've used these coupons at all the major supermarkets and drugstores.

                          3. re: Beach Chick

                            You can print their coupons from their website, but not general ones from manufacturers. There's not one supermarket that takes them.

                    2. Since I shop at organic stores and only buy alternative and organic cleaning supplies and facial products, I don't get many coupon items. However I do buy a discount card and when that Dr. Haushka goes on sale I use the two together and I believe I've saved about two hundred on that line alone, more when you count the discount on vitamins.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Missmoo

                        Check manufacturer websites (horizon, organic valley, muir glen, nature valley, amy's organic, seventh generation, nature's way, method, white cloud, ect). also has some - as do the occasional in-store inserts; and even the Sunday papers every now and then.