Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tawdra's Couponing Adventure: Part 4

My Couponing Adventure: Part 4: Putting It All Into Practice By Tawdra Kandle

You might recall that my goal was to actually get out there and use these lovely, valuable coupons this week. So. . .here’s my weekly log:

SUNDAY: I came home from church and grabbed the Sunday paper out from under my husband’s very nose. I spread out on the living room floor, first separating all the sections I needed (coupons, ads, comics. . .). Wow! Three coupon circulars this week—Red Plum, Smart Savers and one from General Mills. Cool. I pulled out my business envelopes and clipped my coupons, organizing them into the newly labeled envelopes. The next step was pulling up Tanya’s website. I scanned the CVS and Walgreens specials and copied/pasted the ones I liked onto a Word document. I glanced at the Publix sales, which had begun on Thursday and wondered if I might somehow make it in there before the sales ended. Just in case, I also copied and pasted some of those onto my list. The new Target specials weren’t up yet.

I was pretty excited too because I’d received two Target ad books in the mail last week. The coupons in there were awesome, and one of the books (not both. . .hmm, I wonder why??) had a $5 off any $50 order as well as a $5 off $25 of school supplies. So I’m pretty psyched to see the Target deals this week and figure out which ones I can maximize.

I had hoped to get to CVS today, but we’ve had some glitches. It’s not a normal week in my household, since we’re in the midst of sending two daughters off to visit family and friends in California, and we also spent the weekend outfitting a new pantry and moving everything into it. All that means that I didn’t get to CVS or Walgreens.

I was reminded of another obstacle we face in reaching total coupon bliss. My family has more than one shopper. My husband will run out to the grocery store, or my daughter will. . that doesn’t help our grocery budget. And then last night my daughter and I ended up making a late evening run to Publix. I wasn’t coupon ready—we only needed lemons—but it made me think that we need to come up with a plan for avoiding these quick runs to the store.

MONDAY: So this morning I’m glad I didn’t make it to CVS yesterday—in my email, I received a $5 off any purchase of $25 or more at CVS but only on Wednesday this week! Hoorah! Now I can plan to go that day and know I’m really going to clean up. Time to sit down and match my coupons to my list for this week. I know, I should’ve done it yesterday. . .but it didn’t happen. One of the things I’m determined is that I won’t fall prey to coupon guilt. I won’t feel bad if I don’t get it all done. Otherwise I’m afraid that I’ll end up ditching the whole thing.

TUESDAY: I had to go to Target today anyway, so I made a plan and used my coupons. It was fun! In some ways, it’s hard to tell how much I’m saving, since I’ve been buying some stuff that isn’t on the couponing plan. My daughters are going away for two weeks, and I had to buy them some necessities. Still, I noted that with my coupons and including a gift card I earned, I saved over $50.

WEDNESDAY: Today was my day to use the CVS coupon. I worried it wasn’t going to happen, since we had to take the girls to the airport, but we did manage to stop on the way home. I stuck carefully to my small list, and I bought a Revlon mousse foundation, a pack of Sharpie Highlighters and razor refills. I added quickly in my head and realized that I would be short the $25 needed to use my coupon. Going down the makeup aisle, I noticed that my daughter’s favorite makeup was on sale, 40% off. I chose some eyeshadow and headed for the register. Following Tanya’s advice, I held onto all the coupons until everything was rung up. I first submitted my $5 off coupon, then my other manufacturers’ coupons, and finally, my Extra Care Bucks earned a few weeks ago. I was thrilled beyond measure when the cashier announced that I only owed tax! My total went from over $30 to $1.56.

Okay, it’s not quite the $400 to $22 I’ve seen, but it’s a start! The only negative of this trip was that I didn’t earn any ECB’s (Extra Care Bucks) because the offer for one item had ended yesterday.

I also stopped by Publix and hit their sale last minute (their new sales begin tomorrow). I bought ice cream, salad dressing and water ice BOGO (buy one, get one free). I had coupons for the salad dressing and water ice, and I could use one coupon per item, even when it was free. I also took advantage of Publix’s “buy theirs, get ours free” offer (buy a name brand item and get the Publix brand free) and bought graham crackers, cereal bars and cashews. I had coupons for the graham crackers and nuts, too!

On the down side of the Publix trip, the muffin mixes that had been on the web site as being on sale and BOGO were not either at this Publix. I had coupons for them and so went ahead and bought them. Also, because I brought my husband, I ended up having more items in my order than I had planned! My total at Publix went from $57.51 to $41.37. Not great, but considering everything in my cart, not too bad either.

Lessons learned: Make sure of the dates for special sales and offers. Ask about items that aren’t marked according to the list (my muffin mixes!). Don’t take husbands or young children to the store.

I know tomorrow is supposed to be my Publix day again, with the new sales, but with two of my loyal babysitters out of the loop and in California, I think I’ll call it a week.

Next Week: Can This Really Be a Way of Life?
Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 8 years to almost 20 years. She and her husband of nearly 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel.
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F.T.M. on Wed Nov 04, 07:51:00 PM 2009 said...

Sounds like you had quite the week!! I'm definitely working on coupon cutting and saving money where I can now that I'm staying home. I think I need a course on the most efficient way to do it. On another note, I gave you an award on my page. Stop by to view it.



Tawdra's Couponing Adventure: Part 4

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