In the NEK, Vermonters are used to extreme. At least when it comes to the weather, right? But what about extreme couponing? If you’ve ever been to Price Chopper during a midnight madness sale, you know that there are a TON of crazy, obsessive coupon-types right here in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
Despite what some think, people who use coupons aren’t necessarily penny pinchers, poor, dull, bored, or have too much free time on their hands. Couponing and hunting for deals is not only incredibly fun, it’s a practical way to make ends meet, build savings or free up extra cash to do cool stuff, like take fabulous vacations.
And guess what?? Even in the little ol’ rural part of Vermont, YOU can save oodles on your grocery and personal care bills. NEK Moms challenged NEK moms and dads to try a little extreme couponing…just to see how quickly the savings add up. Here are two real life examples from the NEK Moms Coupon Challenge.
“I wasn’t really a fan of Rite Aid until recently. I always thought I could find stuff for less elsewhere. But recently, I “learned” that by combining sales, store coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, Rite Aid’s Wellness Up+ Rewards and Video Values, I can get amazing deals!!! Here’s what I scored last week. Basically, after taking advantage of sales, coupons and Up+ Rewards, Rite Aid “paid” me in Up+ Rewards to buy this stuff.”
My name is Kathryn and I am an extreme couponer!! (an aspiring one at least!) I began using coupons after watching the new show on TLC. My husband works and I am currently a stay at home mom with our 16 month old daughter, Isabella, and our soon to be born son! Saving money is always something I have been interested in, so why not save on my grocery bill? So, I got together with a friend and we started clipping coupons a few weeks ago. We have been on two trips, one per week and we have already saved so much!!
Here’s our strategy:
We try to get as many sunday papers/coupon inserts as we can, whether by buying papers or our much preferred way of asking around for people’s inserts who don’t coupon! Then we get together for 3-4 hours and clip them all, organize them in a binder, and of course enjoy some good adult conversation while we’re at it! (any stay at home mom recognizes the value of adult conversation!) Then we look through the flyers for Price Chopper and Rite Aid to find what we need and what the best deals are. We then make a list of things we want that we don’t have coupons for and search the internet for coupons for those items. The Krazycouponlady.com is great because it has a coupon database where items are listed alphabetically. The internet searching can be frustrating because it takes a little more time to gather up specific coupons. Then we make plans to shop together that week to cash in on our deals! If you’re like us, who have become addicted to it, you often go back online when you have a free moment or after the babies are asleep to search a little more! We bring our binders into the store and shop around combining store sales with coupons to maximize the deals…this process has been known to take a few hours…the more organized you are the faster it goes. We are getting better at the organization, but our last trip still took us two hours. (Our first attempt was on a Saturday mid-day, and I wouldn’t recommend this time, it was very busy!) This is where those great NEK dads come in handy- watching the kids while we shop! Unfortunately my husband has worked both times I’ve been shopping, and Isabella has had a few meltdowns in the store…so if you bring kids make sure you bring toys/activities and snacks!
Here’s a list of my greatest accomplishments!:
Price Chopper, St Johnsbury, May 12, 2011
Total bill $177.89 (I gasped a bit when I saw this)
–advantage card savings, $42.63
–coupon savings, $41.94
–gift card my husband received from work, $20 (I know this isn’t normal but counted at savings for me that day!)
Total paid, $73.32!!!
Before the gift card that was 47% savings, with the gift card I saved 59%!!! I couldn’t wait to tell my husband how much money we saved!
Rite Aid, Lyndonville, May 6, 2011
Total bill $91.21
–savings combined with coupons, wellness card and +up rewards, $54.91
Total paid $36.30!! That’s 60%!!!
For this purchase I had to do two transactions in order to use the +up rewards in the same trip. Rite Aid can be a little confusing, but once you read about how their card works and see it in the store it is really very easy. In this purchase I got two new Born Free BPA free bottles (for the new guy), two bottles of Dawn dish detergent, two tubes of Crest toothpaste, four packages of Pampers, and a few other small items!! It was a great trip!
My personal goal is to do better every time! I would love to get hundreds of dollars of groceries for free as they do on the show, but I’ll certainly settle for 50-60%! I have recently talked to some women who seemed ashamed to use coupons. All I have to say is don’t let pride get in the way of saving you money!! I love couponing. It is fun for me, and having a friend to do it with makes it even more enjoyable. I have only been doing this for a few weeks, and it has been great to stock up on things like toilet paper and paper towels, especially considering the fact that I am having a baby in two weeks!! I will definitely continue, and if I get any more great deals I will be happy to share the info!!
Good luck & happy couponing!