If you’re like most people, you’ve either heard or watched that cable show about extreme couponing. I for one groaned when I first saw it. I knew what was coming. The same thing that happened after those cable shows about buying storage units. People got caught up in the shows and forgot that they were on TV for entertainment purposes and not a “How to” show. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use these tips for using coupons to build your food stockpile.
I”m going to start off by saying that neither my Wife nor I are experts at couponing and I don’t consider ourselves even old Salts at it even though we’ve been doing it since we were married. We’ve used coupons to save money on our normal grocery shopping trips so it was only natural when we decided to start putting food back, we’d use coupons for the food and supplies we were putting back for a rainy day.
But as I see it, there was a silver lining to the extreme couponing show even if it meant that now many stores are cutting back on how many coupons they allow and ending their double and triple coupon programs. The one good thing I’ve seen is how many otherwise sane people look at those of us who stockpile for a rainy day. We’re considered “hoarders” or “kooks” because we believe in being prepared. I’ve been skimming some of my Wife’s coupon forums and I can’t believe how many people are complaining about those who are stockpiling all that product. Instead of “Hey, they’re smart, they’re stocking up”, you’re hearing “Why do they need 15 bottles of detergent” or “No one needs 50 boxes of toothpaste”. It’s these types of people who will be moaning the most if a day ever comes when they have none of that!
Anyway, on to the tips. I’ve ranted long enough. My Wife and I just got back from a somewhat normal shopping trip. We visited a Homeland that doubles coupons everyday. It’s about 15 miles away and we pass by several of our favorite stores because this one will double coupons and has some pretty good sales. Sadly, it’s a little store in a little town and it doesn’t have near the selection that some of the larger stores near us have. But we can’t hit homeruns all the time!
Anyway, our total before anything was $204. After our loyalty card, it was $165. After our coupons had been rung up, we owed $90.36. About 2/3rds of that product went to our food stockpile. Some of the things we bought were laundry detergent, condiments (many of which were free when the coupon was doubled), canned food and cleaning supplies. The price would have been lower, but I was weak and bought some stuff that we did not have a coupon for such as some Tony Chachere’s Fish Batter (never tried it and it was on sale for 4 boxes for $5, call me weak!) We do this once a month or so as well as pick up canned goods during our regular trips to the grocery store.
Tip #1 – Don’t buy something just because you have a coupon for it, unless… Many times people get suckered into buying something they normally wouldn’t because they have a coupon for it. They never stop to think if they can get it cheaper somewhere else. If we buy something just because we have a coupon, it’s because it’s a good deal and we can donate that item and take a write off on our taxes. Cat food is a good example. We get a lot of coupons for cat food and a lot of it winds up being free or low cost. I don’t have cats so I donate this to a rescue or our local dog (cat?) pound (well…what I don’t sneak out of the stockpile behind my Wife’s back to use on the trapline or fish bait).
Tip#2 – Not everything is a good deal, even if you have a coupon for it! My Wife and I pretty much know what are good deals and what isn’t. We know which stores in our area carry certain products for leass plus we look over all the sales flyers. The particular store mentioned above has some things that are higher than some of the stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Even though we won’t get out coupon doubled there, the prices the larger stores have on these products are still lower even with the coupon. Plus, Wal-Mart and Target may have smaller sizes that we can use our coupon on and end up getting it for much less, possibly even for free! And for the record, I like free food!
Make sure you’re not overpaying and that you’re actually getting a good deal before going out. We can never get the utmost best deals on food and supplies from one store. It usually takes a trip to several stores over the period of a month to max out savings.
Tip #3 – Couponing is hard work! When many people find out how much time and effort goes into obtaining coupons, they back way off. We spend many hours a week searching online for coupons as well as our sales papers and Sunday newspapers. We buy anywhere from 3 to 5 Sunday newspapers from several towns to get a good variety of coupons. We also have all our neighbors save their newspapers and sales papers that they don’t use. Then, we carefully go over the sales paper and try to match up coupons for the items on sale. This is just one way how you can leverage your savings! Yeah, it takes time and effort. More than some folks are willing to put into it. But when we’re saving over $100 per week on food and supplies, you better believe I’ll take an hour or two to save that kind of money!
Tip #4 – Join a coupon club to max out your coupons and learn little secrets that can really save you lots of money. My Wife belongs to a local coupon club and is a member of several online coupon websites such as theKrazyCouponLady.com, MoneySavingQueen.com and Coupons.com. There’ll probably others, but those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head that she talks about the most. Many of these sites will have people on them that will do the match up for each store and tell you which coupons to use to save the most. There’s some amazing deals going on those sites!
Tip#5 – Know exactly what the Coupon policy is of the store you’re shopping at and know what you’re buying. As I said above, with the swarm of people thinking they’re going to buy $1000 worth of groceries for $1 using coupons, many of the stores are changing their coupon policy to limit consumers. I’ve seen some change them from week to week. So either download it only or ask the Manager to email you their coupon policy before going. Also, you have to be really careful to read the coupon and match it up perfectly to what you’re buying. I hear of people “thinking” they got the right product only to find out that they don’t get to use the coupon because of some fine print on the coupon. Never go by what the picture is on the coupon, always read it and know exactly what you need to make the coupon ring up.
These are the major things we do to save a lot of money on our food and supplies. There are many ways to save a lot of money and you’ll find those coupon sites listed above as a great source of information about the different ways you can use coupons to build your food stockpile. If you haven’t started yet, what are you waiting on?