Breezy and I have been on an extreme couponing kick these past few weeks, partly because we want to save money on groceries, and mainly because we want to see if it can really be done. And if you haven’t seen that show on TLC yet, I suggest watching a few episodes of it. It’s highly entertaining. The level of organization and attention to detail these guys put into their pre-grocery ritual is both awe-inspiring and insane. INSANE.
I’m definitely not advocating buying everything at the store. Seriously, if you don’t eat mustard then there really is no reason to clear the shelves of it because you can get it for free. If you must, then donate it to your local food bank. It’s fairly reasonable to stock up on a few months’ supply of things you know you will always need, like soap or toilet paper. But an 80-year supply??
Anyway, in light of this mission, I poked around the interwebs to find out how to get the most savings and here are the basic steps that we followed:
Step 1: Only buy items if they are on sale. (yields good savings)
Step 2: Combine that particular sale with an in-store coupon or a manufacturer’s coupon. (yields better savings)
Step 3: If you have an in-store coupon AND a manufacturer’s coupon for the sale item, use them both for maximum savings
Step 4: Use two coupons on a buy-one-get-one-free sale. (not sure if this applies to all grocery stores)
The key: Always look for multiple deals.
Sounds easy, eh? That’s what I thought. Below are the results of our first attempt at the grocery store. Not even close to what those people on tv ended up paying. But it’s a start.
Our Not-So-Extreme Couponing Attempt No. 1
Location: QFC on Broadway
Total amount spent before coupons: $117.02
Total after coupons and advantage card savings: $75.78
Total savings: 41.24 or 35%
Hunts tomato sauce, pasta sauce, or sloppy joe 14 oz (retail price: $1.69 ea)
$10 for 10 sale
e-coupon – free package of pasta for every 3 cans of hunts tomatoes
e-coupon – free bag of hamburger buns (8 ct) for every 3 cans of sloppy joe
3 cans tomato sauce = $1 ea
3 cans pasta sauce = $1 ea
3 cans sloppy joe = $1 ea
1 package of pasta = FREE
1 bag hamburger buns = FREE
Colgate toothpaste 6 oz (retail price: $3.66)
2 for $5 Colgate toothpaste
manufacturer’s coupon – $1 off 4.1 oz or larger
2 boxes toothpaste = $2 ea
Dairy Gold yogurt (89 cents ea)
On sale for 79 cents ea
store coupons for 50 cents off 2.
Final price: 54 cents each.
QFC brand orange juice 1/2 gallon jugs
On sale for 99 cents
Kroger brand ketchup 44 0z
On sale for 99 cents
All McCormick spices
50% off sale
75 cents off mfr coupon.
Original price for bay leaves was $4.28.
Final price: $1.40