Making Coupons Work...

When I first wrote this post I said "I'm not sure if I would call myself an avid coupon clipper because I don't clip coupons from the Sunday inserts and often buy store brand products that are cheaper than those with coupons. However, I do print coupons from home, use digital coupons linked to loyalty cards, and online rebate apps." Now, I can say I use coupons and love seeing how much I can save with each trip to the store. It has taken me time to get used to clipping the right coupons for our family and organizing my shopping list to maximize savings. With some creative couponing and some patience you may be able to score some free items.

FEBRUARY UPDATE on Sunday Inserts:

Last Sunday I made the trip to the Dollar Store to buy the Sunday papers that sells for $1.00 each. There is a limit of 3 and I picked up 2. It was certainly an adventure clipping the coupons and organizing them. It took some time to clip and sort them. For the personal care products, I compared the prices at our local Shoprite, Target, and CVS to find out which store had the best price. I found that Shoprite had the best savings this week. I saved over 50% on the personal care products shown below. My best deal was on the shampoo and conditioner. It was on sale for 2 for $7.00. I had a clipped coupon for $4.00 off and the store had a digital coupon for $2.00 off. The final cost was $1.00.
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I used a combination of sale prices, clipped coupons, and digital coupons to buy the food items below. Since our local Shoprite doubles coupons, the 2 Hershey Gold bars were free. They were on sale for $0.69 each. I had 2 $0.50 off coupons that were doubled, but only up to the remaining $0.19. The store does not give money back. My other great find was on the Newman's Own Pizza. It is normally $6.29 but was on-sale for $1.99. I had 2 coupons for $1.00 off and a digital for $1.00 off bringing the total I spent for 2 pizzas down to $0.98!! But wait, I was able to use the Ibotta app for a $1.00 credit for each pizza!!

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My Best Tip for Coupon Clipping...
  • Pair the manufacturer's coupon with a store's digital coupon when the item is on sale for maximum savings.
  • Check your favorite online rebate app for additional savings!
  • When printing coupons, save the document to a pdf so you can print them out later.

I love doing the math. So as I put cereal on my shopping list for the week, I wondered if I was really saving money buying them at Shoprite instead waiting a week to pick them up at Costco. Surprisingly, Costco's regular and sale price per ounce on Honey Nut Cheerios is more than my local Shoprite when I have coupons. General Mills cereal is often on sale but the price and size of box varies from week to week. Below is the unit price for Honey Nut Cheerios. I've listed two sizes from our Shoprite to compare to Costco and listed two prices based on the coupons available. Often, I can use a manufacturer's coupon and the store's digital coupon for the same item. Those savings are reflected below.

Breaking It Down:

Store Size Regular Price Regular Unit Price Sale Price Sale Unit Coupons Unit Price with Coupons
Costco 55 oz. total $7.99 $0.145/oz. $5.65 $0.103/oz. N/A N/A
Shoprite 17 oz. $5.39 $0.317/oz. $1.99 $0.117/oz. $1.00 off 2 boxes (1 coupon) $0.087/oz.
Shoprite 17 oz. $5.39 $0.317/oz. $1.99 $0.117/oz. $1.00 off 2 boxes (2 xs) $0.058/oz.
Shoprite 12.25 oz. $2.99 $0.244/oz. $1.99 $0.162/oz. $1.00 off 2 boxes (1 coupon) $0.122/oz.
Shoprite 12.25 oz. $2.99 $0.244/oz. $1.99 $0.162/oz. $1.00 off 2 boxes (2xs) $0.08/oz.

When the 17 oz. box of Honey Nut Cheerios is on sale for $1.99 and I have a printed and digital coupon for $1.00 off 2. So, I got 34 ounces of cereal for $2.98. The price per ounce is $.087. So, 55 ounces of cereal would be $4.82 at Shop. That is still cheaper than buying the 2 boxes with a total of 55 ounces at Costco for $7.99, even when it is on sale for $5.65.

List of Coupon and On-line Rebate Sites

Ibotta
Mambo Sprouts
Smart Source
SavingStars
Coupons.com
Red Plum
CheckOut51

If you don't have a weekly newsapaper delivered but would like to buy one occasionally, check out the websites below. They have a list of what inserts are available each week. Check the sites at the end of each week and some will have a list of what coupons may be available.

SundayCouponInsert
Sunday-Paper-Coupons
Southern Savers
Coupons in the News
Klip2save.com - this is coupon clipping service where you can buy coupons. This site shows a picture of the actual coupon that is available. While some of the other sites have a detailed list with no images.

In terms of online rebate apps, I have had the greatest success with Ibotta. Also, check company websites for coupons if there is a product you love and cannot find a coupon. My sons like Coleman hotdogs and kielbasa. You can find printable coupons on their website and on Coupons.com from time to time.

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