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Coupons? Yes or no?

Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2011, at 3:56 PM

There's been lots of talk about coupons lately. For me, I'm not sure I'm the couponing type (check out my column Sadie Says in this coming Sunday's Life & Leisure.

We have a new coupon expert, Ann Haney, of Bedford County, who is being featured each Sunday in Life & Leisure, also. For those of you into couponing, or those of you who want to be into couponing, she will be starting with the basics, giving several "how to" tips each Sunday.

My friend Angelica tried to get me into it. In fact, she is the one who dragged me to the store last week. She even cut the coupons out for me. I didn't do so well. She did. Here's her account of the day's events.

(By Angelica Wortham)

Okay, so I thought about all these coupon ladies doing their fantastic shopping. My youngest daughter is one of them. She clips and saves, and tells me about how she saved and how she did it. I'm a little slow on the uptake. I know we have a new coupon lady at the Times but the bottom line is -- "Show me the money!" Remember I'm a slow learner. I need a picture painted for me in color. With this being said I was on the phone with my YD-Angelica while I was shopping at Wal-Mart. She said, "Mom did you get several copies of the newspaper this Sunday?" My reply, "uh, NO." "Ok" she said and proceeded to let me know about the register rewards happening at Walgreens. So while she was telling me about the sales I asked her about the Herbal Essence that was in a two pack on sale and if she thought it was a good price. Of course her reply was "NO." She said, "I'm going to let you know step by step what you need to do in order to save money and get a good deal just pay attention....." yes my mind was wondering to the 50% off on Christmas. I told her I would call her when I got home and she could tell me what to do. So now I will tell you what she said to do. Just keep in mind that by the time you read this this sale may have already passed but the idea should take hold.

Step one: Register Rewards are the BOMB! Free money!!!!! Got it? Good.

Step two: You are going to buy a certain number of items but you are going to pay for your transactions in four parts or five or six, whatever it takes to keep getting FREE MONEY. Got it? Good.

This certain one that I did was in four parts.

Part one would have cost me $41.42 (tax not included) and I paid $21.16 and got two Register Rewards. One was for $10.00 and the other was $4.00. This was my first go around and I didn't pay one hundred percent attention to my YD (youngest daughter).

Buy 4 Vicks products. Use PG coupons from Dec 2011 found in Sundays paper. You will need more than one newspapers in order to take advantage of the savings. (I wasn't paying attention and overpaid in this transaction by $3.00, Oops). Dawn & Puffs are on sale so clip out store coupon and stack with MFG coupon. Buy Gillette Fusion Razor for men. On sale at store with coupon from PG + RR. I also bought one item not on sale cause hubby called while I was shopping and needed Chapstick.

Part two: Now I'm paying a little better attention. I must tell you I spent an hour getting my thoughts straight and talking to my daughter on the phone before I went into the store. Ok, maybe just an hour. I had coupons all over my car. Sadie even met me in the parking lot while I was tearing out my coupons. I tell you I was only semi prepared. A prepared coupon queen carries scissors! But I was ready to shop this time.

Same coupon as above. I bought Puffs, Dawn, Herbal Essence Shampoo and Conditioner, Gillette Razor and some filler products like marked down candy. Why you ask? Great question! You can't have more coupons than products or the computer system goes wacky. I handed the cashier my coupons, my previous $10.00 RR and held my breath for the total. Before tax it was $1.11! I saved 24.34. Of course when my daughter did this she only paid $.025. I still got back another $4.00 RR

Part three: Same coupons from PG insert. I bought 4 Vicks products, 2 Dawn Dish Soap, Herbal Essence Shampoo and Conditioner, filler on sale candy. I used my coupons plus two $4.00 RR from prior transactions and paid before tax $4.72 saving myself $36.70.

Part four: Same coupons from PG insert (this is why you need at least 4 -5 newspapers). I bought Gillette Razor, Puffs, Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner, 3 boxes of Bounce, and some filler items. I used all my coupons plus my $10.00 RR and $4.00 RR and paid $5.94, saving me $34.88. I also got back two $2.00 RR and a $4.00 RR.

Not bad for a newbe! I'm really excited about my savings but know now that you have to be prepared before you step into the store and stay focused on your savings list. This is your mission, now get saving!

Showing most recent comments first
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I love couponing, and for my family, it works. I feed a family of five, with one still in diapers.

Although I am not as good as only paying $1 for $100 worth of groceries, I do save at least $20 a week. At the end of the month, our savings from using the coupons, allows us to pay for a Parent's Day Out program for our youngest.

I can do one stop shopping (if I feel like it) at Walmart. They honor competetor ads, as long as it's not "bye one, get one free," or "percentages off." The comping comes in handy when Target, Kmart, or any other out of town stores have sales. I can save the gas, and get the same item right here in town.

Like I said, couponing works great for my family, but it's not for everyone. =)

-- Posted by Mary on Fri, Jan 21, 2011, at 8:26 AM

I noticed a lot of people posting that you shouldn't buy products you don't need. H-e-l-l-o. Did you ever stop and think someone else may need these items? there is a homeless shelter in town also numerous churches having mission trips as well as the people in ouR own community in need. If you can get these products dirt cheap and lend a friend a hand. there are also our families and friends in the military that could really go for a nice care package. JUST SAYING

-- Posted by llyoung on Sat, Jan 8, 2011, at 1:29 PM

Oh, man. sorry it was a little mixed up sounding. Guess I didn't read it as you were thinking it. Made me laugh anyways. That's all that counts.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Sat, Jan 8, 2011, at 1:05 PM

Monkey I did.Read again

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 6:22 PM


Mix toothpaste with cake mix, problem solved.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 4:45 PM

I used coupons years ago when we were first married but I had to go to several stores to get items that I needed. I soon became tired of having to scour for everything so now I rarely use coupons.

Calculate the time spent clipping and driving and the gas used and I don't see the big savings.

-- Posted by stardust on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 6:15 AM

Well- the donation places that I donate to call it generosity. I am glad so many people do not use coupons because that means I won't have any trouble finding the deals.

-- Posted by peach977 on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 4:49 AM

Well I tried the coupons.I got a box of cake mix and a tube of Crest toothpaste for under 42 cents.The mint toothpaste cake did not taste well,but I saved money.I wonder how many eat something they did'nt want or like? Would you buy,or use the product if you did'nt have a coupon? If the answer is no,then you should not buy it if you do.Thats GREED

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 3:35 PM

I must be slow. I didn't understand that at all.

-- Posted by justmytwocentsworth on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 2:51 PM

I have used coupons for several years and save a lot. When I get things for free such as toilet paper or medicine- I put it in my stockpile, donate, or give to family members. I wouldn't call it hoarding- I call it being smart.

I don't think it is that time consuming at all. There are so many websites that do all of the matching for you all you have to do is look and click what items you want and if you keep a stash of Sunday coupons you can go and pull it out.

On average I spend about an hour each week clipping and getting my coupons ready. For a family of 3 I usually spend about $25-40 and we eat breakfast at home, supper at home, my husband takes his lunch, and I eat lunch at home. Most of my friends have an average of $100-125 grocery bill each week- so do the math? Do you see how much I save for that hour?

-- Posted by peach977 on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 1:32 PM

I've never been one to go out of my way to use coupons. If I see one in Coupon Mint for a meal or for a service I use,, then I'll cut it out and use it. I don't cut coupons out of the Sunday Tennessean and I don't go to coupon websites. Too time consuming and too much trouble.

-- Posted by gottago on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 10:09 AM

I am with you, Jaxspike.

mytaxesaremine -- I can promise you I'll never become a hoarder lol. I can't stand clutter!

-- Posted by sfowler on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 8:15 AM

I have started using coupons in an attempt to save money but get so confused with all the reward programs and what is required to buy what and such. I know someone who saves a lot of money by doing the rewards program at Walgreens but I get so confused when she explains it to me because it involves buying this product at this time to get so much off something else and I am one of those who buy things as I need them.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 6:48 AM

I had a roommate when I lived in Memphis years ago that swore up and down that his dad cut (and organized) his coupons and never paid more than $5 for a basket full of groceries. I figured he was exaggerating...GREATLY! His mom and dad moved back to Memphis from New Jersey and Winston took me to the grocery store with him. I HAD to see this alleged wizard in action.

Ok, this actually started the night before when he would lay out the weekly sale papers and get out his coupon folders (the huge old accordion file folders), three of them, and a notepad. He then got three sheets of paper, one for each store (Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, and Seesel's). Then he went through the sale papers, marking each item that he used and finding coupons for each item. The only thing that he bought the next day that he didn't have a coupon for was a pack of cigarettes. When we left Kroger, the total was originally $85 or so and he paid about $1.50 (by the way, this was where he bought the cigarettes). When we left Piggly Wiggly they paid him $2.75 (I didn't even know that was possible) to take about $70 worth of groceries off their hands. Lastly we finished up at Seesel's and he left there dead even...with $50 in groceries. That was back in the day when there were double and sometimes triple coupon days (this was a triple coupon day). Sometimes even you would have a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon and they would honor them both. I was absolutely amazed by this man. One of the most frugal (some might even say cheap) men I have ever known even though he was a multi-millionaire who had sold his company in Jersey to move back to Memphis.

We don't usually use coupons since we rarely see them for items that we use regularly. We do, however, take advantage of the buy one get one free sales at Publix (no card required there).

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 10:54 PM

We started using coupons as well this past year and tend to save roughly $100+ a month. I don't do the Walgreens or the CVS deals, because Walgreens has a problem honoring coupons when you get the items for free.

But, an idea for you is that some of the products that you know that you will not be using, but can get free, you can donate to the food banks and homeless shelters. That is what we do a lot when I am able to get coupons and samples of items that we don't use, that way we can help out others.

There are lots of places online to get coupons and different blogs that will help you in scenarios when using coupons, rebates, Walgreens, and CVS deals.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 7:33 PM

Sadie,I was just wondering if you needed these items you bought? If you did not,you may be on the verge of becoming a hoarder.Stop while you can.Go to the store get what you need and go home.You will end up saving a ton of time,and most likely have more money in your pocket when you get there.Its not to late turn back now while you can !!!!

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 6:01 PM

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Sadie Fowler is lifestyles editor for the Times-Gazette.
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