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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 products..cleaning 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:

          http://projects.newsobserver.com/taki...

          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.

              Missmoo..love 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 SD..at 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 more...next 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.

                                coupons.com, 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). Mambosprouts.com also has some - as do the occasional in-store inserts; and even the Sunday papers every now and then.

                      2. I quit using coupons awhile ago. The store brand is always cheaper than the name brand with the coupon, and I got tired of checking and checking, so I just buy the store brand when it's something innocuous like canned green beans or something.

                        I've gotten more particular and needy in my foods and don't buy much processed, so there's almost nothing for me in the coupons these days. We don't eat most of the "name brand" cereals for example, and we're getting old and need sensodyne toothpaste (which I've never seen a coupon for), so I quit spending money to buy the paper when all the coupons were for things we don't buy. We buy local coffee, local meats, local dairy products, make our own bread, etc. Just not enough there to bother with.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: rockandroller1

                          my Dentist in Bankers Hill just gave us a carton of sensodyne..guess we're getting older too.
                          On-line coupon sites have much better selection of higher end organic, non-processed foods.

                          BTW, love your name..I am a rock and roll drummer chick!

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            our local stores will not take online coupons, it is posted at all registers.

                          2. re: rockandroller1

                            I see Sensodyne coupons on occasion in my Boston Globe Sunday inserts. As soon as I do, I call my mother for her to save it for me as well. I then wait until CVS has them on sale and stock up. But Beach Chick, I'm very envious of your carton of Sensodyne! LOL

                            CVS is the only place I can use Internet coupons - but it's THEIR internet "Extra Bucks" savings coupons that they accept - I don't think they do it with manufacturer's internet-printed coupons.

                            I do still use coupons - certain personal products, toilet paper, paper towels, rice pilaf, etc. I've learned to start checking the sale flyers BEFORE I've completely run out of an item so I can purchase it on sale. Or I go through my coupons on a regular basis and see which are expiring and which stores might have that item on sale.

                            And as others have said, check the manufacturer's website and often they'll have coupons or a link to Email them and they'll send you coupons.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              All of the CVS's nearby me take internet-printed coupons, as long as they scan correctly.

                              1. re: Unraveled

                                Good to know - I usually get enough coupons in the Sunday paper, so I haven't felt the need to go surfing to find them online.

                            2. re: rockandroller1

                              Same for me. I just don't buy most of what coupons are offered for. However, I noticed that Whole Foods now has coupon booklets every month which are occasionally for basic things I buy, like yogurt, rice cakes, butter, baking needs etc...often they have coupons to save on their store brand items also (recently pasta). And for added savings, it seems they put some of these items on sale to coincide with when the coupons are offered. This way you can get some really good deals if it happens to be for something you buy anyway.

                              Problem with WF is that you have to go into the store to get their coupon books, they don't make them available in newspapers etc so that can be an inconvenience.

                            3. I would love to use coupons, the few times I come across one that's for something I actually buy, Im excited to save a dollar of, two for one, etc but the big problem for me is almost every coupon is for oreos or bisquick or voila frozen meals or stouffers, etc etc, There are very rarely any coupons for organic, whole, non-processed foods so...I lose.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mess

                                the on-line coupon sites have more organic/non-processed food items which are great to see since you rarely see them in the Sunday paper.

                              2. I look at the online websites/forums for deals and copy them. Sometimes stuff is out of stock. I'm picky and will not buy products I won't be using even if they're (nearly) free.

                                I shop at Harris Teeter when they have their super doubles/triples weeks. I just did the doubles this week. Not too much junk food, lots of shredded cheese, healthiesh chicken sausages..

                                I refill my own inkjet printer, so the printable coupons have been a godsend.

                                I just found out that the Washington Post upped their Sunday newspapers. It's now $2!

                                1. Am I the only one who ends up spending MORE when using coupons? It used to be you'd get something off the purchase of one item; now the coupons require you to buy 3, or maybe 4, or a huge multi-pack, or a gigundo size. Add to that the extra time it takes to clip the coupons, sort them, and shop for the right brand and size, and there's no savings in the end. As for "doubling" -- well, so many coupons are for $1 off, but in my neighborhood stores, only coupons up to 99 cents are doubled. No, I'm more likely to stock up on products I use regularly when they're on sale at really good prices than to use coupons.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    I rarely use coupons anymore either: loss leader sales are the way to go. Today I bought a few things I always use @$29 but the bill came to $6 (included a few bucks in bottle deposits), and I didn't even exert myself. I feel like a millionaire ;-)

                                  2. We don't use coupons too much in supermarket since we don't but any produced food and shops like WF, Jimbo's don't have good coupons and it is better to look for their seasonal offers. We use sometimes coupons for CVS stuff but we don't buy this much that it is a big saving.
                                    We are still buying regularly an Entertainment Book and even though there are a lot of mediocre restaurants in it there are many which we like to go to once a year for their a few good dishes. They also have good coupons for the wild animal park, birch, museums etc.. We sometimes track how much money we save form the EB and it normally around $300-400/year

                                    1. There a web services that "download" their coupons directly to your customer loyalty card so thatg when you swipe that card in the checkout line, the coupon savings are activated for any items in your cart.

                                      I, too, don't biuy much in the way of processed foods, and tend to buy paper products in bulk from warehouse stores. Not a whole lot left to use coupons for. I am, however, a big fan of the sertificates on restaurant.com.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                        www.shortcuts.com is one site where you can automatically download "coupons" onto your loyalty card. I use this at my Kroger store. Yes, there is still a lot of junkfood to wade through, but I've also had good deals on toilet paper and store brand organic foods.

                                        1. re: Anne

                                          Tip: you can also use a regular coupon in conjunction with the "internet loyalty" ones. The "ideal" way is to scan the items, scan the coupons, and THEN scan in your loyalty card.

                                          Shortcuts coupon: $.50 off
                                          Regular coupon: $.50 off

                                          Total amount is $1.00 off purchase (more if your stores doubles/triples the regular coupon).