Double Coupons?

ninosNovember 9, 2007

I often here on T.V. about what great coupon shoppers some people are. They shop at stores that offer double coupons days. However there are not any stores any where close to me that have double coupon days. Well actually Pick n Save does offer double coupons on Wednesdays if you spend over $50 or $75. I almost never buy that much food at one time. Also, i shop where the sales are. Do any stores in your area offer double coupon days? Do you take advantage of those days?

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I'm not a big coupon user, mostly because they are more often than not for things we just don't need or use.... like highly processed convenience food, puffed and extruded cereal products that are more air than food, expensive namebrand laundry detergent/softener, etc.

The ones I do use are for TP, toothpaste, and occasionally there will be frozen whole fruit, Tyson chicken or other meat products, 100% frozen concentrate juices, etc., and I try to use coupons along with a sale on that item to maximize savings. That means you plan ahead, and you buy ahead. Tyson chicken was buy one package, get one free this week, I just happen to have a coupon and saved an additional $1.

We have 3 stores where I can get groceries, Dillons (4 of them) - which have double coupons everyday, but only up to 50 cents, Wal-Mart - face value, and Aldi - no coupons.

I don't believe the "Coupon Queen" actually save money over all - but that it's more like a disease - or an addiction - similar to gambling. I believe they spend much more time, energy, and gas to get freebies, collect coupons, print coupons off the Internet, than I would using my simple system based on being frugal and reducing waste and expense to begin with. I'd like to see their complete expenses for food and non-food items for a year and compare bottom-lines. How much is wasted in storage; how much is tossed because it's out-of-date, spoiled, or unused; and how much is empty calories and void of nutrition; how much is really not needed at all?

Here's how I save money.

1. Have a set amount for food PERIOD (mine is $50 per week for 2 adults). You'll always save if you don't spend more than your budgeted amount with or without coupons, and keep your budget as low as possible. Use food dollars for food only. Budget another amount for non-food items. You'll soon see how much money is wasted on non-food items.

2. Purchase whole foods for better nutrition and learn to cook from scratch. Avoid buying junk food, snack items, and soft drinks. Snacks are whole foods like popcorn, peanuts, almonds, pecans, homemade granola, homemade yogurt or kefir, fruit and vegetables.

I have been getting 25# of wheat at Wal-Mart for $5, which is close to the same amount as ONE high-priced loaf of bread. I can make 90 1-pound loaves of whole wheat bread from a bushel (60#) of wheat. I make all our breads for around 25-50 cents a loaf - as well as all our other baked goods.

3. If something comes in a bag, box, or can, you pay for the packaging and processing, not just the food inside. Always keep track of unit pricing. I've found the smaller container of peanut butter is often cheaper when it's on sale than the larger one, when you figure unit price - per ounce price.

The price of frozen orange juice concentrate (add 3 cans of water) is much cheaper than ready-to-use in the refrigerator case (approximately twice as much), and the highest price is individual juice boxes. You don't need a coupon to save there, just make better choices when considering unit pricing.

4. Make your own "convenience foods". I make a wholegrain version of Bisquick, wholegrain pancake mix, "instant" refried beans from milled pinto beans, pudding mix from a powdered milk product, and occasionally I'll make up some "Gifts-in-a-Jar" mixes to keep in the pantry as convenience foods.

5. Plan meals/menus based on loss leaders from the meat and produce department from the grocery store. Plan meals so you don't waste food. If you have a head of leaf lettuce, how many meals do you plan on using it? Or do you randomly forage for food for a meal and the head of lettuce dies of loneliness in the crisper drawer? Wasted food, wasted money.

6. Laundry and cleaning supplies. I've made homemade laundry soap for many years for approximately 8 cents a load. I use inexpensive white vinegar (from Sam's Club) in the rinse instead of expensive and toxic softener. I can find Borax (part of the homemade laundry soap recipe) on sale, and I'll stock up on it for later use.

I clean the bathroom sink/counter with 1/2 water and 1/2 alcohol solution in a spritz bottle and a microfiber towel. The kitchen counters are sanitized with 1 qt. water and 1 t. bleach. Toilets are cleaned with Borax, then a spritz of alcohol/water. Floors mopped with vinegar/water.

7. Shampoo - I purchase a gallon of shampoo from a beauty supply outlet (for hair dressers and barbers) - usually on sale. I mix it with water and have enough shampoo for years. No coupons, but a fraction of the price. No other hair care products necessary.

8. Bath soap - a 14 oz. bar of ZOTE laundry soap costs 70 cents at Big Lots. I can use it to make homemade laundry detergent for pennies, or I can slice the bar into 3/4-inch slices and use it for body soap in the bath/shower. If I want liquid soap, I can make it with a bar of bath soap (or the slivers of soap that get tossed into the trash) and water.

I guess the difference between me and the "Coupon Queen" is I'm frugal in order to save money. I only use what's necessary to get the job done, not what's available with a coupon. I'm not impressed and influenced by commercial products and unnecessary items.

I've seen a "Coupon Queen" in action. She brings a truck load of food and non-food items to the neighbor's garage sale twice a year. She sells them for pennies on the dollar so that she can feed the habit all over again. You know she has to spend something getting this hoard of goods.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 3:09PM
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The store here have double coupon EVERY DAY up to 99 cents. (so $1 coupons do NOT double).

I save hundreds and hundreds of dollars every year... using 15 minutes of my time on Sunday (newspaper coupons only).

I do not buy something just because I see a coupon.
I do not use prepackaged foods.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 6:01PM
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I very seldom get enough coupons from the paper to even pay for the paper! Although now I'm getting the Sunday paper for 75 and if I'd waited another month could have gotten the subscription for 50¢ but it's far better than $2 to buy at the store.

We have one store, Rainbow Foods, who doubled coupons each Wednesday, up to five coupons, up to $1 ea, with a $25 purchase. They now made that once a month. I seldom went there, but did a few times. My cousin goes there often. I generally did well with coupons for cleaners that I liked. However, often the grocery store price was high so it took a doubled coupon to make it worthwhile.

I shop more like Grainlady. I have a few things I like, such as Dawn/Joy dish soap and Maxwell House coffee to which I'm brand loyal. Otherwise, I learn prices and buy by value. I also cut costs by cutting waste. Use things up before they spoil. Make smaller portions and freeze stuff. Money unspent is money saved. No coupon necessary!

I don't question that you believe you save hundreds each year in coupons, but I usually find that when it comes right down to the bottom dollar, coupons save very little. First, because you buy what you wouldn't otherwise buy, and; Second, the coupon items are usually higher priced. People look at the misleading comments on the receipt saying that I saved 39% or $50 or whatever. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. For example. I bought two cans of coffee on sale for $4.99. The receipt said I saved $4.55 ea. Wrong. I saved about $1 each in reality since I don't pay over $5 for a can of coffee! The added benefit was I got my preferred brand rather than an alternate. Dawn was on sale for $1 which it often is, and I had a 50¢ coupon. That was a good deal. Crest toothpaste was on sale for $2.69, and the store had a $1 store coupon. I coupled that with a mfgr coupon for an additional $1 off. 69¢ per tube? I stocked up. And actually I normally wouldn't have kept that coupon since it's too expensive normally, but it paid to be alert. And that did pay for the newspaper that week! :)

But often, coupons don't pay off. I see coupons for shampoo for up to $1 or $2 each. But I don't save that, since I buy the cheap stuff for 88¢ - $1 a bottle. No coupon, but less money spent in the end. Better value for me. And it's a brand I like and works well. I've found the more expensive brands require more to work comparably to the cheap stuff. I know people who buy TV dinners because of coupons and then can't eat them because they're so bad. No savings - just spending.

The last week or two I did use some coupons for various items. I decided to try a more expensive brand of laundry detergent since it was on sale, had a store coupon and I had a mfgr coupon to go with it. I normally buy detergent when it is a brand that works well for me and costs from 5¢-10¢ per load (or less of course!). I figured out the cost to try making it myself and I couldn't do it for that price and why spend the time? Had a coupon for some brown & serve sausage that I would buy anyway, so that was a true savings.

I don't buy many cleaners other than laundry. I have so many bottles of various cleaners from free after rebate sales that I'm supplied for years! Plus I bought a gallon jug of Simple Green concentrate years ago that I'm still working on. And I have stocked up now on dish soap so I'm well supplied there. I use dish soap for hand soap. Don't like bar soap. Have a bunch of body gel from a clearance sale years ago and use so little at a time that it lasts and lasts.

I do like to buy hamburger in bulk, cook it up, and freeze it. Sometimes I'll cook it with onions, sometimes not. I can then pull it from the freezer, make a hotdish, spaghetti, sloppy joes, some soup or chili or a myriad of other things. And no, I don't buy Hamburger Helper! Made that mistake once. I can put in my own pasta or rice and have better quality for less money!

Time is an interesting thing too. I have to spend a lot of time to save a little with coupons. People seldom factor in the time issue on couponing. Pulling them is just the start. Then you have to go through them each time you go to a store, sometimes go through them in the store if you see something you might have a coupon covering, and then go through them before you check out... That's a lot of time for not a lot of money.

It might be interesting to start a thread and post the receipts from some shopping trips to see and compare prices and savings.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 6:09PM
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While rereading (for the umpteenth time), The Tightwad Gazette, author, Amy Dacyczyn, had these comments on coupons:

"I never use a coupon to buy something I wouldn't buy anyway." ...

(Information from the book.)
Readers frequently send me sales slips to demonstarate how much they save using coupons. With bold sweeps of colored markers they circle the figure that shows how much the coupons used added up to. They're circling the wrong figure. The most important figure on your sales slip is how much you spend on groceries...not how much you save using coupons.

Sometimes, even with doubling your coupons you might be spending more money on items than if you had resorted to a different strategy. Always compare the price after coupons with alternative products, making the same item from scratch, or not buying the product at all.

[Ms. Dacyczyn goes on about "Coupon Queens Featured By The Media"...]

Example: $134.86 of groceries, but after all the coupons are subtracted pay only $54.73. This type of shopping trip requires months of planning, and is not typical of these shoppers' usual trips to the store. On average these shoppers claim their REAL savings is closer to 25 to 40%.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 7:37PM
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Not very many stores in my area have double coupon, the store that does every 3-4mo. is the highest end store in the area & I do not normally shop there.

I'm fairly new at the coupon game. But, as others already mentioned, I too only use coupons on products I would normally buy (which aren't very many). I go thru my Sunday coupons and only clip what I would buy....and sometimes I might only have a few.

AND I usually only use my coupon IF the item is on sale.

However, with the holiday season coming up, I've noticed a big surge in coupons (esp. baking products--and I do like certain brands for baking).

I do much better with a budget (for our family of 6 it's $150 per week), buying store brands, planning ahead, buying all my meat either on sale or marked down mid-week. Going to Krogers that has better prices for dairy and bread and then shopping at another store that that has better meat & canned/grocrey priced items.

It took a few months (I'm new to this area) to figure out where the best places to shop for prices, food choices, store brand quality, etc...but, now I have pretty much a routine. Always consider your local farmer market----wonderful quality, better prices & fun to walk around.

Both stores will always have something slashed way down (close to exp. date or discontinuing) & if it something I know we will use I'll scoop up a large amount---it usally happens at least once or twice a month.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 9:02PM
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"First, because you buy what you wouldn't otherwise buy, and; Second, the coupon items are usually higher priced. "

Regarding the first point---
As I stated, I do not buy things just because I have a coupon. I don't see the point of that...

Regarding the second point---
I don't find that to be true.

For example, we LIKE diet Pepsi. We don't drink much of it, but it is the brand we like.
It was on sale here for $5.50 per cube. They were also running an in-store promotion that when you bought three cubes, you got $3 off your order.
I also had three $.75 coupons, which were doubled.

So the three cubes, which were on sale for $16.50, I got for

$16.50(sale price) - $3(in-store promo) - $4.50(3 doubled coupons) = $9.00 -- or $3 per 24 cans.

I did not buy the pop when it was at regular price...
even though I had coupons.

And I do name brands like that all the time.... can be cheaper than generic.

And now I have loads of pop for holiday guests... or to donate and get a tax deduction!

Regarding time...
15 minutes cutting and filing, tops. I only cut what I will use so it goes fast.
I shop once a week... it takes 1 or 2 minutes to go through my minimal coupons when I draw up my shopping list.
I do not take the coupons to the store as I do not impulse buy.
(I do not know what you mean by "and then go through them before you check out"... I just had the stack to the cashier)

Over the years I have found that there are those who coupon and those who don't... and neither can convince the other that their way is best (kinda like the WalMart lovers and the WalMart haters!). And that's okay.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 10:50PM
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There's been several threads about coupons and I've given examples of recent coupon purchases that I've made that came out to be good deals. But they're few in reality. Yes coupons can be akin to abortion, politics and religion in controversy! LOL I think some think more of it as a religion and can occasionally get caught up in it like a cult.

I've made it clear that I'll use some coupons for things I'm going to get. You have to be careful and use common sense. I don't criticize (nay, I commend) people who make logical use of coupons like the pop example above. Where I have problems though is the guy in another thread who claimed he saved "thousands" of dollars a year in coupons! I just plain don't believe it. None of those radical couponers seem willing to put their purchases up to be seen so I'm skeptical. I believe much of that is a perceived savings, not an actual savings. I won't duplicate what I've said before on it.

I've found that the more you stay out of the stores, the more you save. I do not grocery shop weekly. Not often even every other week. I despise shopping of any kind. I make a "major" shopping trip once every month or two. When I see a number of things on sale that I can use, I'll go for it, but no way will I waste my time in stores weekly. Granted, I'm not feeding a family of ten, but many people could benefit from fewer trips. You save on gas, the inevitable impulse purchases and getting caught up in perceived savings. Milk, bread, eggs, can usually be purchased at the gas station for less money anyway so it seems to me many would benefit from cutting the grocery trips.

Again, though, it should be pointed out that coupons benefit on big name items that normally are more expensive. If you are careful, couple sales with store coupons and manufacturer coupons, and ideally top it with a rebate and a side bonus, and especially if the item is on clearance... yes, they work well. The fact is that those situations aren't overly common. So take advantage of them and enjoy them.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 5:36AM
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My local grocery store has double coupons all the time and triple about once a month. They don't announce it ahead of time, you just have to be there the right day. They won't have another triple day before Thanksgiving, but that's alright because I've finished shopping for this Thursday. They will have a triple coupon day before Christmas.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 2:13PM
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