Okay so after watching 2 weeks worth of Extreme Couponing on TLC I was inspired! The only problem is.. in Louisiana no stores double coupons. None. I've looked and looked. The way that the people on these shows do so well with couponing is that they wait for items to go on sale plus they already have a store coupon, a manufacturer's coupon, and the store doubles coupons. They are also hyper-organized with their coupon database- they spend upwards of 20 hours a week clipping coupons! Here are some of my random thoughts and tips that I have or have learned through all of this
1. I am not patient enough to do this- I spent over an hour searching online and through the papers clipping coupons for my trip. Also- if I need an item I don't want to wait for it to go on sale or for me to have multiple coupons for it- I guess that is the perks of having a stockpile, but I don't see any of these people buying any fresh produce on the shows so they must spend more than $6/week on groceries if they eat anything besides processed food or mustard (one person bought 63 bottles of mustard on the show) It took me way over an hour if not close to 2 hours in the store slowing walking the aisles and matching my coupons with the items
2. A tip I learned is that the coupons save you more if you buy the smallest option available- it makes perfect sense I had just never thought of it. I have a coupon for $1 off dry cat food- 3.5 lb bag or larger- this was a great deal! I printed 2 of the coupons and bought 2 3.5 lb bags of cat food for a lot cheaper than if I had used the coupon for a bigger bag
3. It is hard to have the discipline to only buy items that you use/need when you have a great coupon or see a great sale- I ended up spending $125 at the store which is a little bit over my usual grocery bill (for 2 weeks), but I saved $26. I think that is a great savings for my first time plus the fact my store doesn't double coupons, but I still spent more than I usually do.
4. I don't have a system in place where I know what expires when.. often times I will find great coupons stuck in my purse that expired months before- right now I have a large ziploc bag with coupons and scissors in my purse. It is very cumbersome, but it helps me remember that I do have coupons and that I need to check those first.
5. I like the idea of couponing, and I will probably continue to do it. I like the whole idea of using a coupon if I have one, but not stressing or obsessing over it. I have always been a sale shopper, although I do not only buy things if they are on sale. I am not one of those people who vows to never pay retail value for anything. I plan on using my new knowledge to make wiser shopping decisions.