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Is Anyone Food "Couponing"Anymore?

Many coupons don't apply to what I buy because there are a lot of highly processed foods in the Red Plum etc. offerings.
That said, I do cut coupons but find myself feeling like it's just not worth the effort anymore.
What I'm seeing is the value decreasing, and the amount you have to buy to qualify increasing.
More and more, coupons require you to buy 2 or more, and that's not how I want to roll with many items.

I wonder if the market in general is going away from coupons, dead tree version and otherwise.

I find the best strategy to save money is to look for sales, loss leaders and store brands, but I do have some brand loyalty, and any discount helps.

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  1. Like you, I find that coupons just aren't for food items I want to buy. In the other hand, I definitely coupon for shampoo, soap, paper towels, and that kind of thing. I'd love some produce coupons!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Hobbert

      Shampoo and paper products are about all I use coupons for, too. Sometimes I'll use one for cereal or yogurt, but I've started buying those things at TJ's lately, anyway.

      Produce coupons I could definitely get behind.

    2. I used to be a coupon queen but don't see much available that's exciting anymore. Sales are what I seek now. Might also be because I buy raw meat, produce, basic dairy more than prepared type foods? The really good coupons seem to be more online now and I'd rather spend my time here doing something more interactive.

      I liked the days where you saved the UPC codes and got great free (shipping included) kitchen gadgets. Those were the days, my friend!

      8 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Thanks. I almost feel guilty for wanting to just drop the coupons, but the time put in isn't paying off.

        I've never been the coupon queen, and have never figured out how to organize them very well, but I know I've done a lot better saving with coupons, say, 1-2 years ago and further back.

        1. re: monavano

          I had a little filing box I'd put in the shopping cart seat, with sections for certain categories. That's how many coupons you used to see back then, you needed an organizer. I sort of slowed down after someone actually stole my box from the cart while my back was turned!

          1. re: coll

            think of the thief as giving you a badly needed intervention.
            the theif gave you your life back

            1. re: westsidegal

              Oh I wasn't spending all my time, I was just joking about being extreme. Back in the '70s and '80 there were tons of GOOD coupons in the local papers and magazines, no internet then so it was just Weds and Sunday as I was reading the newspaper, clipping and sticking in my box. I did have a job and and life ;-)

              1. re: coll

                I agree about the coupons being good a few decades ago. I was a young, starving college student, paying my own way and trying to graduate without debt. That didn't happen, but still coupons, and yes they were mainly for convenience foods back then, too, were a godsend. You didn't have to buy multiple items and the coupons really made a difference. I no longer eat those processed foods, so I don't clip coupons much, but do so for some friends. They are not nearly as beneficial as they used to be. I wonder if those that "worked the system", i.e. extreme couponers, forced manufacturers to change the way they offer coupons. They don't want people to use coupons to the extent that the store owes the customer at the end of the transaction.

                1. re: gardencook

                  Getting a free cart of food or even money back seemed to be the goal for many.
                  The thing is, it's sort of like shoplifting- not a victimless crime when stealing, fraud or working the system results in higher prices for everyone.

                  Thanks for your feedback- I was curious if anyone else was noting the coupon value decreasing, and the number of items to qualify increasing.

                  Yesterday, I did a little shop and took advantage of a few coupons in the store's circular, stacked a couple coupons and took advantage of sale prices.
                  Got 40% savings, which is a near perfect storm that happens less and less frequently.

                  I'm generally hitting 25%-30% savings.

        2. re: coll

          <Those were the days, my friend!>

          If you're anything like the woman I knew, when my children were growing up, she'd spend more on the gas required to frequent her addiction than the money saved on the groceries she was buying compulsively that she didn't need.
          It was the thrill of the challenge that kept her going.

          1. re: latindancer

            Nope that's not me. I have a lazy streak a mile wide, and always way too busy to spend my time like that. I usually only have a couple of stores I frequent, for different items, and only go once a week at most. That hasn't changed for me since the '70s.

            I will admit I'm sort of obsessive about returning all my bottles for the deposit though, that hasn't changed since day one.

        3. I quit using coupons years ago, as I transitioned to less and less processed and packaged food. As you pointed out, both the fact that almost all coupons are for things I no longer buy, as well as for things that aren't really so much of a "value." Even shopping the sale flyers became irrelevant most places because so much of what they put on sale is junk I don't eat.

          I primarily do my grocery shopping at a now that focuses on GOOD national brands as much as possible, and offers a large variety of mostly organic produce - local when in season, and other local products from bread to honey to maple syrup to local jarred pasta sauce. Am I spending more on my groceres? Probably, yes, but am also saving as I quit buying things like boneless/skinless chicken breasts and went to alternative cuts, and my health is better as I quit buying processed stuff and, at this store, have organic meat, bison, wild-caught fish, food in BPA-free cans when possible, and am supporting a locally-owned grocery stocking locally-made products. I feel much happier shopping and eating this way than I did filling up my cart with a cereal I bought only because I had a coupon, and BOGO cheap, nasty steak.

          1. There is also the issue of loyalty programs that will get you the benefit of any coupon offer automatically if you enter your account number. I think that concept will eventually kill the dead-tree stuff. And there are reasons for stores to adapt that concept in that it makes it easier to track behavior for the purpose of predictive modeling.

            13 Replies
            1. re: nocharge

              Our Safeways have the ability to load coupons on your card, which is a pain.
              If I have my card, all discounts should apply without me spending the time on my computer.
              Also, the in-store weekly coupons in the circular are the size of your thumb.

              1. re: monavano

                I was at Safeway the other day. Checking out, the total came to $51. The guy at the register asked me if I had a Safeway Card. I said no. He then asked me if I wanted to get one. I declined. As I handed him three 20-dollar bills, he typed something into the POS system and gave one of the 20s back plus almost another ten dollars. I assume that realizing that I was paying cash, he could type in his own Safeway Card number and get some form of credit while saving me something like 20 bucks. Much appreciated.

                1. re: nocharge

                  Gas points would be the only benefit to him typing in his card number if that's what he did. That's the only thing based on the total sales amount.

                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                    I typed in my # for a person ahead of me who was visiting.
                    Thanked her for the gas points!

                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                      He probably got the gas points but no charge got the club card savings, which can be significant. That was really nice of the checker to do.

                    2. re: nocharge

                      Which reminds me to try once again to sign up for my Giant online.
                      The website is a disaster, but I really want to maximize my gas rewards.

                      1. re: nocharge

                        You might have appreciated him helping you out like that, but if in fact he did use his own account would Safeway appreciate it. I think not.

                        1. re: miss_belle

                          I doubt it was his own account. I think the cashiers have a generic store card that they can use for guests and people who just forgot their card, so that the customer can get the discount, but they won't get the gas points.

                          1. re: monavano

                            I thought of that too but you'd think he would have said something. Ah well.

                            1. re: miss_belle

                              Don't know with certainty what account was used, but the action was very much appreciated. And it did earn Safeway some goodwill in my mind.

                          2. re: miss_belle

                            in many stores, in order to use his own account, the checker would have been forced to completely forego any employee discount.

                            makes it VERY unlikely that he was using his own account.

                          3. re: nocharge

                            the grocery I frequent doesn't have a card, but the pharmacy does. All the clerks have a box of loyalty cards next to their register, and they just grab one out of the box and scan it when a customer comes through without a card.

                        2. re: nocharge

                          I agree, I get plenty of store discounts just buy typing in my number at checkout.

                        3. I still use coupons where I am brand specific-Heinz Catsup, KA flour and Hellmans mayo to name a few.

                          I also use coupons for basic pantry items I like to keep on hand-boxed pasta, jarred sauce, chicken broth, canned tuna, sugar, baking supplies like baking powder and soda

                          Now with a soon-to-be-teenage son I use them to buy the occasional snack foods. Potato chips, Doritos and the like are expensive and he and his friends can eat!

                          One thing I don't do is cut coupons any more since we no longer get the paper. I get most of them online.

                          1. I find generally that coupons cover brand-name items we don't buy, and offer too little of a discount to tempt us. We can get equal quality by buying generics. What's the point of 25c off a $3.99 item?

                            On the other hand, weekly sales often offer more significant discounts, and we do a little stocking up then. For instance, I have 6 jars of brand-name mayonnaise bought when it was $3.99 as opposed to the regular price of $5-something.

                            1. I'm also thinking, times have changed and people don't have time to really sit down and organize coupons the way you have to. Also wondering if the popularity of "extreme couponing" ruined it for everyone too. People were like pigs in a trough!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: coll

                                Agreed on the hoarder who clear the shelves!
                                Also, the bar coding has changed due to the extreme cheaters.

                                1. re: coll

                                  What you see on that show doesn't happen in real life. Most coupons have a limit of 4 per transaction (Unilever has a limit of 2.) The stores in the show look the other way so they can be on TV.

                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                    Coupons didn't used to have restrictions but it became necessary.

                                2. I save $500-$700 a month by couponing and don't buy processed/convenience foods. I buy as much organic/ grass fed/ pastured/ wild caught as possible. I use a combo of store rewards programs, ecoupons, store apps, mobile coupons, internet printable and traditional coupons. The best deals to be had are at stores that allow "stacking" the offers (Like Target where you can use a Target coupon, a manufacturer coupon and a Cartwheel offer all on the same item. Sprouts and Whole Foods also allow stacks.)

                                  I spend $40-50 a week on food and spend 60-90 minutes a week reading the couponing blogs and getting my deals and coupons together. The websites do all the work, really, I just have to read them to see what I want to do and get my stuff ready to do it.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                    I'll check out Cartwheel. What other sites do you use?

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      I use TotallyTarget all the time and a couple that are local and specific to the stores in my area.

                                    2. re: weezieduzzit

                                      Do you routinely find coupons for produce and meat? I rarely see them.

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                        Produce and meat are usually store ecoupons. Vons (Our local Safeway store,) has a program called Just4You that tracks what you buy and gives you ecoupons that you can load on your card based on that. I almost always have $1 or $2 off grass fed ground beef or lamb or organic chicken because it's what I buy. Same with produce even though I usually buy it somewhere else. Wild caught Keta salmon was a $5 Friday special a couple weeks ago and I had a $2 off any $10 seafood purchase. When Target has mobile coupons for produce and meat you can buy just over $1 of something and use the $1 off any fruit purchase of $1 off any veggie purchase or $1 off ground beef when the natural ground beef is on sale. There are Savingstar rebates for produce sometimes, too. I also frequently get threshold coupons, too. For instance, $5 off any $50 purchase, etc. This next week at Target there will be a $10 off $50 grocery purchase coupons so I'm seeing what I need that I can get there since you can use other coupons in conjunction with that.

                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                          I don't think any of the stupidmarkets at which I shop do that. Whole Foods sends a weekly Email that has what is on sale, and I think they've got a monthly "couponarama" type of thing, but it's mostly for stuff I don't buy.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I've never seen coupons for meat or vegetables. The only store I visit that does e-coupons for other items is Harris Teeter.

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                              Our store flyers have coupons for Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, on meat and vegetables and whatever else loss leaders they are featuring. Usually have to buy $25 more of other groceries.

                                        1. re: tcamp

                                          The websites that do the matchups do all the hard work.

                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                            It is impressive. Between planning, collecting and driving how much time do you spend a week? I tried that method a few years ago and hated the driving around.

                                            1. re: holypeaches

                                              60-90 minutes during the week reading the blogs (which is just 10-15 minutes here and there throughout the week to see if I need to print any coupons or add anything to my list,) and an hour to an hour and a half shopping if it's a big shopping week and I'm going 2 or 3 places. This weekend all we needed was milk so it took me 15 minutes to get to the store, shop, and drive home. Sometimes it takes me longer because I walk to get some sunshine and excercise.

                                              I have 2 major groceries, 3 drugstores and a Trader Joe's within a mile (in the same parking lot as a drugstore and grocery store so if I am going to those stores I drive once and only park once,) Target and the 99 Cents Only store are about 2 blocks from each other 4 miles from here. Sprouts is further but I go on Wednesdays which is double ad day so it's 2 weeks worth of sale items so it saves more money to go that day and pair coupons with the sale items (both store and manufacturer coupons.) If someone has to do more driving than that it will obviously take them longer.

                                              Being self employed, I do value my time. I can't be out shopping to save a dollar when I could be home making real money so I plan my trips so I'm not running around unnecessarily. I know some SAHM that chase deals while their older kids are at school and they save some amazing amounts of money but they have the time so its totally worth it for them. I don't have that time or have the same need they do since it's just the two of us, no kids. Its obviously not for everyone but it works for us, I downloaded a spreadsheet from one of the coupon sites so I could see if I was really saving money and we are. Lots of it. Its made a huge difference for us.

                                      2. Nope, I rarely find a coupon for something I buy other then toiletries and cleaning supplies.

                                        1. Paper coupons, almost never. We do use the online coupons at Safeway but I do most of my shopping at the Asian megamarts and mostly buy from the perimeters where coupons rarely apply.

                                          1. A great BOGO that my Giant has frequently is BOGO bag of potatoes and bag of onions. Mix and match, or buy 2 of the same.
                                            I get one of each, since they often go hand in hand.

                                            1. I can't be bothered... we don't get the paper and I don't have the time or energy to go hunting coupons online. I save money on groceries by looking for the BOGO and regular sales and stocking up when the things I want are cheap. I'd make my shopping lists according to the grocery fliers, but since we moved I'm not getting them any more. The only grocery flier that comes in the mail at our new residence is Winn Dixie. Publix apparantly doesn't bother to mail their fliers here... :(

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                Most all of the stores put their weekly ads online now. Google "Publix Weekly Ad" and find your store.

                                                1. re: Samalicious

                                                  Many of them will also email with the new flyer.

                                                  1. re: Samalicious

                                                    Publix also now has an app linked to the weekly add -- you just tap the item to add it to your grocery list. The list then shows up on a separate screen, sorted by the aisle layout in the store you've selected as your home store.

                                                    They also have a link to online coupons, but that requires some fiddling between 2 screens.

                                                2. I stopped using them when they stopped covering the cost of a Sunday paper delivery, which was right about when my stepson took his Hot Pocket habit to school in another state. Mostly what I buy is meat and vegetables, and now I get some of my name-brand staples at Costco. They're usually the same price or only a few cents more and I don't have to mess with the organization aspect.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ErnieD

                                                    That was my turning point as well. Plus gas prices and children. I utilize sales, with 15 minutes planning then maximum 1 hour in store shopping. I try to maintain the small pantry well which helps a lot.

                                                  2. Nope.
                                                    I am pretty particular about the items I buy. I don't have time to search for the perfect coupon to save a dollar.
                                                    I DO take advantage of sales if I am at the right place at the right time. I do my own "bulk processing" of foods. I also really enjoy shopping at weird stores (Big Lots, outlets) sometimes.

                                                    1. for whatever reason, the brands to which i have loyalty never offer coupons.
                                                      this makes the whole idea of coupon clipping a non-starter for me.

                                                      (i.e. never see lucini organic olive oil coupons)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        The code LUCVIP will get you 20% off their site.

                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                          you mean go on their website?
                                                          if i used a website discount, i couldn't use the 20% off grocer's discount which requires nothing of me and can be applied to everything in the store.

                                                          makes no sense.

                                                      2. I do costco. I find it's easier, and often cheaper, as I get good prices on bulk goods.
                                                        Then again, I used a database, and would routinely get 75% off my entire grocery bill.

                                                        When they switched to Gas Perks, I knew it was time to stop couponing (I don't have a car).

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                          Can you elaborate on the database where you get 75% off?
                                                          Thanks.

                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                            Yeah. it was a simple access database, with coupon name, amount off, whether it doubled, what the expiry data was. Just a few columns really.

                                                            Number all the coupons, use that as their unique identifier, and you're golden.

                                                            I got over 50% off because that was my arbitrary "should I buy this" metric, calculated by combining sale price and coupon.

                                                        2. Once in a while I find a coupon for tissues, laundry soap or a frozen product I purchase. Inevitably, I forget to take them to the store, or I forget I have them, so what's the point of cutting them out. I do much better buying products when they're on sale.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                            Sounds like me and my reusable grocery bags.
                                                            They've made it as far as my car, and I virtually always forget to take some in with me.
                                                            I've got to tie a string around my finger or something..

                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                              I still use a paper list so when I go to the car, I take out bags and rubber band them with the list on passenger seat. That's the only way I can reliably end up with bags in the store.

                                                              If I stop for a couple of items on the way home from work, I practically always forget the bags.

                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                Thanks. I need to find some routine that ensures I take bags in.
                                                                I'll try placing my folder with list and coupons in a bag, instead of the passenger seat.

                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                  I also still use a paper list (no smartphone) and my reusable bags are on the floor in the back seat. It's just become habit to reach back and grab one.

                                                                2. re: monavano

                                                                  I'm getting pretty good about the bags... i even have a couple for the wine store.

                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                    when they first started selling reusable bags,our local store had a sandwich board sitting outside the front door saying "did you remember your shopping bags?"

                                                                    It got pretty funny watching how many people did a 180 as they got close to the door....but it was a really helpful reminder (says one of the ones seeing doing a 180...)

                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                      I have left my cart full of groceries in the aisle, or "near" a check out, while I walk out to the car to get my bags/tote box/crate.

                                                                  2. Coupons, as others have said, are for crap 98% of the time. Once in a while, there will be a store coupon for butter, toilet paper, eggs, or produce. These are worth some effort, generally.

                                                                    The coupon stuff in the Sunday paper is just tree murder. And bad health for those who use them.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                      I did catch one stacked-out chain of discounts last summer on the Edy's Outshine bars...the local grocery had a BOGO, and then I had two different coupons, one for something like $2 off, and the other for an *extra* BOGO.

                                                                      I actually lost track of what I ended up spending, but I suspect the store actually paid me to take the juice bars.

                                                                    2. I'm not clipping coupons, but Rainbow (local Roundy's chain) will frequently have cereal on sale (right now its $2/box of cheerios) and will have check out coupons for your next purchase. So I have 1.50 off my next purchase of 3 boxes of cheerios. At 2 bucks a box (and having toddler) I've bought 6 boxes this week, and going back for more with my coupon tomorrow.

                                                                      1. I have to laugh. After joining this thread my 12 year old came home to tell me that he stopped at 7-11 after hockey because he had coupon on his phone. He bought a slurpee, 2 candy bars, a muffin and the cashier handed him .27 cents back! My husband said there must be something wrong. She checked again, got her manager and sure enough they owed my son money! Im sure corporate was not happy.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                          foodieX2, I think your son has a very bright future on Wall Street. :-)

                                                                        2. When there is a 1 dollar coupon in the fliers, I see a free 1 dollar bill (for the item I want to buy). How could I NOT cut that out and use it ? Some people see opportunity, others see to much effort and responsibility.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: 3MTA3

                                                                              Except that coupons nowadays are more often things like 'save 30c if you purchase half a dozen' which works out to a whopping 5c per item. High value coupons are extremely rare birds.

                                                                              1. re: 3MTA3

                                                                                And others see taking responsibility as recognizing that they have a finite number of free hours on this earth and don't want to spend them in pursuit of 50 cents off three boxes of Hamburger Helper.

                                                                                I'm actually a really thrifty food shopper and I'm willing to make some effort at it, but couponing has proven itself not worth my time. People who do find value in it are free to run their lives with zero judgment from me-I do plenty of things food-wise that I'm sure wouldn't work for everyone.

                                                                              2. I clip coupons from Sunday papers for items I know I'll use. Kroger loyalty coupons, both the paper ones that come in snail mail and the digital ones are geared to what I buy. I do use those a lot. They have coupons like $2-$4 off produce/meat/dairy if you buy $10-$20 worth in that department.

                                                                                Lozo.com has the Redplum coupons, but they also have digital coupons and manufacturer's coupons. I check those out and print a few when I'm planning a big shopping trip or when I'm bored.

                                                                                1. I don't coupon for groceries much unless I happen to come across a high value coupon. I'm allergic to a lot of things, so often I need a specific brand or type of product, and couponing isn't so adaptable to the allergies that I have.

                                                                                  I find that I do better shopping the sales, checking the meat and produce markdowns, and hitting aldi and the salvage grocery stores.

                                                                                  1. I mainly just use the digital coupons my store offers. They also send me paper coupons in the mail for items I buy often from them (like sour cream, Lactaid milk, $2 off $10 in the meat department, stuff like that). They also send me "personal price" digital coupons on things I buy often... so like right now, I get limes for 19 cents because they sent me the digital coupon before the lime shortage. I also get english muffins for $1.59 right now. They are unlimited use until they expire.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                      Leinenkugel's has an in-store $1 off special on Summer Shandy. No coupon required. They are actually paying you, juliejulez, $1 to drink Summer Shandy! How can you go wrong with that?

                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                        Too bad grocery stores here don't sell beer :( Well they do but it's "fake" beer... like 3% alcohol or something. But thanks anyway, I do love me some Summer Shandy!

                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                          You do not have access to a liquor store that sells Summer Shandy and offers the buck off deal?

                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                            Not that I've seen.... but then again SO usually does the liquor store runs.

                                                                                    2. Nope. They aren't generally for items I buy; they are designed to stimulate brand buying more than actual net saving, and I don't have the time to glean the very limited gold from the mounds of dross.

                                                                                      1. Today's paper netted 2- $4 coupons for Zyrtec (an everyday med for at least one of us) -- and $1 off a package of dog treats (we have 2 pooches, so it adds up)

                                                                                        $9 for a 75-cent paper sounds like a fair trade to me.

                                                                                        Last week Publix had a coupon in the paper for $10 off a $50 purchase. I'm going to be at the Publix at least once in any given week, as it's our primary food shop...so well worth 30 seconds to cut that one out.

                                                                                        That makes $19 over the last two weeks...I don't know about you guys, but I'm not going to look down my nose at $450 a year.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Our Shoppers Food Warehouse had $10 off $50.
                                                                                          My favorite is triple gas rewards which runs about once a month.

                                                                                        2. I think I am with some of the other posters here: food-not so much.

                                                                                          Coupons for health/beauty items, cleaning products and pet food are still useful.

                                                                                          I do like the "gift card" coupon. I get these most often at stores such as Target. I buy something I was planning to buy anyway (laundry supplies, pet food) and get a $1-$5 gift card at checkout---to be used on any future purchase. Those work for me...and if the store is trying to build consumer loyalty they are doing a good job.

                                                                                          1. we use them for what we call "chemiocals" (detergents, window cleaners, etc), some processed items (yogurt is AWLAYS on sale).

                                                                                            We also pay close attention to local supermarlets, like Fresh Market, when they run specials on meat. Bought a freezer so we can buy in bulk.

                                                                                            1. I've noticed the following:

                                                                                              Expiration date time frame is drastically shortened. A lot of times, I'll see something I often buy, but the expiration is less than a month away. Nope, won't need it that soon, and choose not to "buy and store" in my pantry.

                                                                                              Too many Buy Two for $1.00 off. I don't WANT two dozen Eggland eggs. I only want a dozen.

                                                                                              Like you - too many coupons for processed foods. I'm not going to buy a stew mix with everything already in it - "just add beef!". I'd rather make it myself.

                                                                                              I find if there are two or three coupon inserts, I'm only cutting out 3-5 coupons, if that. I used to cut out upwards of 10 or more. (Probably 10-15 years ago.)

                                                                                              I tend to buy things like Ziploc bags, foil, etc. in bulk at BJ's Wholesale Club, so I'm already getting a better price, and the $1.00 off, while great, doesn't matter a whole hill of beans in the long run.

                                                                                              I'm probably going to drop my Sunday Boston Globe subscription, as I don't really read the newspaper anymore. I'm mostly in it for the inserts, and just this morning, I removed 2 weeks worth of inserts from the last two Sunday Globe bags, and the rest went into the recycling bin. I kept the comics, Parade Magazine, coupons, this week's Target and CVS ads, and the Sunday Globe Magazine. Kind of stupid to be paying for delivery of something I no longer read.

                                                                                              23 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                We just stopped daily delivery and will buy a newspaper on the stand when we want to- probably the Food section day and the Sunday.
                                                                                                Too many papers were collecting.

                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                  I won't even say how many Sunday Boston Globe Magazines are sitting on my living room floor. :-P

                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                    Our paper used to have a choice of Weds and Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, besides 7 days. Don't know if they still do that, since the paper also owns our cable company so I get it free online now (no coupons though, but the subscription savings plus not having to throw it all out, much of it unread, is the best deal to me.

                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                      Or subscribe to Sunday only for $39.99/year and get unlimited online access. My solution after DH rejected my "scrounge through the neighbors' recycling bins" idea.

                                                                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                        We might go back to a limited subscription. For now, we're going to buy at news stands/stores 2-3 times a week.

                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                          The Sunday Boston Globe costs about $46.00 for 16 weeks delivery in my area. :-/

                                                                                                        2. re: monavano

                                                                                                          Our grocery stores keep free copies of their weekly ads near the doors.

                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                            Mine, too, but- sometimes there are gas rewards coupons (triple gas points) that only come with the circulars in the paper.
                                                                                                            The circulars are online, too.

                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                              We recently got a card for several cents off per gallon at a gas station chain.

                                                                                                              By our calculations, if we make the effort to go to this chain for every fill, we will save $25-35 dollars per year.

                                                                                                              We had similar results when calculating the savings with things like loyalty cards. These are much more valuable to the store issuing them than they are to the customer, as they provide customer/product tracking that is valuable for marketing purposes.

                                                                                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          I can't remember how, but we signed up for free delivery of just the inserts from the Globe.

                                                                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                            OMG - *please* remember! LOL

                                                                                                            ETA: Found it (maybe):

                                                                                                            https://services.bostonglobe.com/cs/s...

                                                                                                            And it seems to be available to my area. Says "Savings Central may not be available in all areas and is not available to current Boston Globe subscribers. Limit one product per household. Delivery will begin 30 days after sign up date."

                                                                                                            How are they delivered - in your mailbox or by drop-off?

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              Drop off on the front steps. Sometimes I get it, sometimes my neighbors take it.

                                                                                                              1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                Sometimes your neighbors take it? Wow. Is that an accident or intentional?

                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                  The bag doesn't have an address or name on it and we live in a multi family house. Weekly we get numerous bags of store circulars. It could also be one of the many people who dig through our recyclables for redeemables. Or someone walking pass. The joys of city living.

                                                                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                    Ahhh, one of those type of freebies. Got it.

                                                                                                                2. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                  Lazy-ass neighbors. Can't sign up for themselves? :-P

                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  Cancelled my Sunday Globe subscription yesterday, and signed up for the Savings Central flyers to be delivered. So hopefully mid-May I should start receiving them.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    Thanks for letting us know, Linda! That probably also saved some paper from being wasted.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                      Fowler, nice try, but it wasn't being wasted. I was using the papers for cat litter, covering the floors while painting, etc.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Thanks and that is good to know, Linda!

                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Linda-I'm sure you know this already but BJ's (giggle) accepts manufacturer coupons. If can be great deals when you get the $1 off things like plastic wrap, ziplock etc.

                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                  I do know that, foodie. Of course, when I go there, I always forget to see if I have coupons for what I need. I usually don't.

                                                                                                                  I'm going to go the viperlush route - let my Sunday paper subscription lapse and then "subscribe" to the free inserts. Hopefully they'll arrive on the doorstep in a timely manner.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    A lot of us that coupon regularly don't have subscriptions- you can look at the coupon previews and buy the paper on weeks where you know you will save money with it or just buy coupons through clipping services (for pennies,) when there are coupons you want.

                                                                                                              3. If they are $1 coupons - yes, I do.

                                                                                                                Just used those for Smart balance, and Bird's Eye Voila and felt very happy.

                                                                                                                I also use the hair color coupons (gasp!) as they will save me $2 - $5 off the price.

                                                                                                                  1. I'm not a coupon queen, but I do find that if I can keep track of what's on sale at the two megamarts and the drugstore that are close to me, I can use coupons on top of the sale price.
                                                                                                                    I don't cut coupons that I would never use, but I save an average of 1/4 to 1/3 of my bill.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                      If you find a good blog you don't even have to keep track- they do the work with the matchups. I highly recommend southerncalisaver dot com

                                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                        I'm going to look into this as well as sundaycouponinserts.com

                                                                                                                    2. I bought Ragu in the 90s, despite not being very fond of it, just so I could get their pasta bowls with UPCs. Still have them and they are really attractive and useful

                                                                                                                      Most supermarkets in my area routinely doubled coupons, but it's less common and they do expire too quickly IMO. So I gave up on it, even threw out my coupon file

                                                                                                                      1. Another peeve in this whole saving money thing- anyone else seeing ridiculously marginal sales?
                                                                                                                        I'm seeing $.18 off and $.23 off and really oddball lowball numbers like that.
                                                                                                                        Why even bother cutting down a tree and using labor to put a sticker on such low "savings"?

                                                                                                                        It's more of an insult than a savings!

                                                                                                                        1. Many stores have coupons that download to your customer card and reduce when you swipe it at check out. I don't usually remember to go online and see if my detergent etc is on the list this week though. And you are right, most of the food items are processed foods that I don't buy. I'm in love with Kroger currently, they send me coupons once a month or so that track my actual purchases and give me real discounts on what I actually buy, including vegetables and meats. They have my loyalty for that.

                                                                                                                          1. I've watched those TV shows that feature some very obsessive compulsive coupon shoppers.
                                                                                                                            Their garages are filled to capacity with the groceries they've bought…$500 worth of groceries for $5 etc….
                                                                                                                            They spend every waking hour thinking about how much money they'll save.
                                                                                                                            Addiction for which they need rehab.

                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                              I agree that they are hoarders, and jerks for driving up prices for the rest of us.

                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                Not to mention that by their own admission they often end up purchasing numerous things they will not use and do not even need just because they have coupons for them. That seems counter-productive to the goal of saving money.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                  I agree. Every time one shops one is not "saving" money---but spending it!

                                                                                                                                  This thread gave me an idea for a show mash-up. An "Extreme Hoarder" show might be in order. The couponer could show off her "bounty" and then a therapist could step in and help her divest of her stock. Heck, throw in a Food Network "star" too.
                                                                                                                                  They could help come up with recipes that call for 12 cans of tuna, three pints of "salad dressing" and two boxes of toasted oat cereal.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                    Back in the depths of the recession, I remember someone saying to me, you have to go to the outlets. Everything this weekend is 75% off! I just said, and if I don't go, everything is 100% off.

                                                                                                                                2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                  That's TV, not real life. Many of the things those "shoppers" do isn't even possible in reality (manufacturers and stores both have limits on the number of like coupons you can use in a transaction- it usually varies from 2 to 4.) It isn't even possible to clear a shelf by using 50 of some coupon. Most stores also have policies on overages that are very unlike that ridiculous TV show. There is always hoarder behavior out there but that show is entertainment programming and it wouldn't be nearly as exciting if the "shopper" stocked up on 4 bottles of detergent like happens in real life.

                                                                                                                                  Here's just one (of many,) examples of the fraud on that show: http://www.jillcataldo.com/extremecou...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                    back when I was couponing, the limits were rarely enforced, and even if they were, you could come back the next day.

                                                                                                                                    Also, progresso soup: $1.00 off 4. Four of those will clear a shelf nicely.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                      There have been $1/ 1 can of Progresso coupons since the beginning of the year so people have been buying them like mad but here the Progresso section is almost half of the soup aisle- no problem finding it at all. The most I've paid for it so far this year is 25 cents a can and we keep it in our emergency stash. It saved my ass this week since I was sick as a dog and couldn't manage anything else. I'll be restocking this weekend- I just checked one of the coupon blogs and I can get it for 9 cents after the coupon at one store, completely free at another or 25 cents at the one closest to me.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                        Can't say as I'm surprised. Progresso's current quality is about the same as Dinty Moore's. Ya should be able to get a decent price on it.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                          In the event of another cold like I've had this week or an emergency like a major earthquake I'll still be glad I have it.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                      That's wacked. I can't believe the show is still on. Since we haven't heard of the store owners suing, maybe the show pays the coupons. The show makes me cringe. Feeling accomplished because you have a lifetime of free toothpaste stored in your garage is not normal.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                        >>>That's TV, not real life<<<

                                                                                                                                        weezie, What about all of the bloggers that boast about their couponing/hoarding compulsion? Is that just TV? Of course not. They are being blatantly honest.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                          Its the exception, not the rule. If you look at coupon statistics, the percentage of distributed coupons that are redeemed is very small and that includes those who have blogs about it.

                                                                                                                                          "Winston-Salem, NC – January 15, 2014 – Inmar, a company that operates intelligent commerce networks, announced today that industry-wide coupon redemption remained steady in 2013 at 2.9 billion coupons redeemed while distribution grew 3.6 percent – compared to 2012. Some 329 billion coupons for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) – including both traditional, paper coupons and digital, paperless coupons – were distributed in the U.S. last year. Of the coupons distributed in 2013, roughly 40 percent were for food products and 60 percent for non-food products."

                                                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                            Hmmmm....I wonder why so many people are NOT using coupons (according to that story). Perhaps there is a good reason for that and lends credibility to what many people here are saying despite your opinion to the contrary.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                              Stats don't support that people aren't using coupons, it's actually quite the opposite (but most people aren't abusing them, which is the point I was addressing before.) If I had to guess, I would think that the huge number of available coupons skews the numbers. Lots of interesting coupon statistics, if you're interested: http://blog.accessdevelopment.com/ind...

                                                                                                                                    3. Ugh, example of my complaint about ludicrously small "sales"- I got the grocery and Rite Aid circulars today.
                                                                                                                                      Charmin TP, 16 or 20 count, you get a WHOPPING $.25 off.
                                                                                                                                      Wow, I'm bowled over.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                        Try a deal like this from TotallyTarget instead: (Check blogs for current deals)

                                                                                                                                        "Buy (3) Charmin Bath Tissue Double roll 24 pk ($12.99) = $38.97
                                                                                                                                        -$5 Off Bath Tissue and/or Paper Towels Purchase of $20+ Mobile TQ (text PAPER to 827438) x4/26
                                                                                                                                        -$3 (use three $1.00 off ONE Charmin Ultra Soft or Strong 12 ct+
                                                                                                                                        = $30.97 – $10 Gift Card Back for buying three thru 4/19
                                                                                                                                        = $20.97 for 3 or $6.99 each after coupon stack & gift card!
                                                                                                                                        That’s like paying around .29 per double roll or less than .15 per regular roll of Charmin!"

                                                                                                                                        On her site the text for the $1 off coupon is a live link. You can print 2 per computer.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                          Excellent example- thanks for walking me through it.
                                                                                                                                          In the Giant circular, TP, paper towels and detergent are on sale PLUS $6 off if you buy three.
                                                                                                                                          Now that's more like it.

                                                                                                                                      2. Update- since canceling my paper, it's interesting to note that I am now getting my local food circulars in the next day's mail (the day after the paper's Food section that had the circulars in it).
                                                                                                                                        I don't know if it's a coincidence, or what, but I'm getting 3/4 of the circulars, including my Giant that has the desired 3x gas point coupon every 4-6 weeks.

                                                                                                                                        1. I remember as a kid, my mom would get a monthly survey that my sister or I would fill out for her. Based on the results of each month's survey we'd get a bundle of coupons. She had an organizer, and would do her list based on sales, and coupons.