Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is Couponing Really Worth It?

A few weeks back I had a post about my shopping excursion at the local super market.  When people talked about coupons, I thought they weren't for me.  It seemed that just as quickly as I started couponing, I would throw in the towel.  The reality is, it's not easy.  You have to attempt be organized, remember to buy a Sunday paper, scour the ads and thinking about what your plan of attack will become.  One of the things I just heard is that it's recommended to purchase one Sunday paper for each of the people in your household, if you're working on building a stockpile.  I buy 2 papers for a total of $3.50 and it definitely pays back in coupons.  What I have noticed is that in my FREE Wednesday Chronicles (or whatever it's called) seems to have at least one of the two sets of coupons that were in the paper.  At times I might have 3 coupons versus  2.  It is true, that when you start out it can be frustrating and confusing, however, there are a great many people who have taken it upon themselves to do some of the work for us.  I am putting in link to the sites that I consult with to prepare my weekly shopping list. 

The Green Bay consumer
Pocket Your Dollars
Saving Green Mom

There are many other sites out there, these 3 are just the ones I have been using.  Look around for your area, I am pretty sure their are people who will do most of the leg work for you.

This week I focused on Walgreen's.  Here is the hard part about Walgreen's, you often have to pay out money to make money...make sense?  I'm not going to explain everything to you since it's complicated and I don't even fully understand it.  Even if you have a plan sometimes you have to rethink your approach when an item is not in stock or it's cheaper than you expected.  The things that the couponers might refer to as "fillers" help with some of this confusion.  Refer to the links above from some ladies who have been working very hard at figuring this all out and as their way of "Paying It Forward" give back to their communities through donations and their free websites.  If you are one of my local friends, a little birdie told me that there will be a FREE couponing class in August and I am totally pumped to attend, although no specific details are set at this time.

So here is my list of products that I purchased today.  The only thing on my list that will not be used by my family will be the "teething gel", it was a FREE after Register Rewards products.  It will be given away to someone who can use it.  I would've taken a picture, however, my hubby and kids have it with them.  My current goal is to spend most of the summer building a stockpile, in my ideal world I'd like to get about 1 year's worth of products available at our finger tips.  With that being said, I am not sure how much stuff we go through in a year.  I do intend on making some donations to a local shelter from my stockpile as it continues to grow. 

2 Walgreen's woman's 6 blade razor system
2 Hot Wheels Car Playsets (will be used as birthday gifts for birthday parties-clearance item)
1 7 oz bag of combos
2 GUM fine floss
2 2 packs of GUM toothbrushes
2 Hyland teething gel (to be given away)
1 16 oz Infusium Shampoo
1 16 oz Infusium Conditioner
3 12 oz Men's SUAVE body wash
3 12oz SUAVE body wash
3 4.6 oz Colgate Toothpaste
2 V-8 Fusions juices
3 78oz XCEL laundry detergent (somone from another site did the math but it comes out to $.04 per load-I'm thinking that's a pretty good deal)

3 100 count index cards
16 pocket folders with prongs
1 4 pack thin EXPO markers
1 3M double sided tape
1 Wooden ruler (old school)

According to my calculations I purchased 49 items, individually including the 16 pocket folders.  I still actually have $4 in register rewards to use but I think I'm going to hold them until my next Walgreen's shopping trip.  Anyone going to try to guess how much money I spent?  I'll tell you that I saved 67% (not including my additional $4 rewards).  It took me about 1 hour to shop and 1 hour to prepare by searching the web, sorting coupons and making a plan (which of course got slightly foiled-but I recouped).  I completed 7 transactions during this process and the checkout woman was wonderful.  If saving money were my job then I made about just under $48.00 per hour.  Let's just say, I would not hesitate to get out of bed for that kind of money.  Although I got amazing savings, I did make some mistakes and probably could've saved some more if I had more practice (not that I am complaining about my deals).   

Some things to think about...when I went to the grocery store in my first post I saved about 65%.  Last week when I went with my coupons and ads I saved about 45%.  Just like shopping ads, I suppose there will be some weeks where the savings are crazy and others when they are more typical.  Couponing does take time, strategy, and can be frustrating but I will tell you that it has been worth it for me in the short time that I have been doing it.  You will have to decide, if it's worth it for you and your family. 


  1. I guess... $8.50. I've never been brave enough to do multiple transactions in one trip. I drive past two walgreens everyday so I do quick little trips rather than one big one.

  2. I wish it was $8.50...I hope to be that good someday...If I saved 67% and if I worked 2 hours for just under $48.00 per hour (this equates to my savings-not spending)...And the woman in at the cosmetic counter was amazing, I assume she deals with this all the time. Keep guessing...if you want...

  3. My friend Catie was close, she put out a guess on my Facebook page of $47.00...it was actually $46.62.