Saturday, May 8, 2010

Couponing: How to Save BIG $$

Couponing isn't using ONE coupon here & there to save the amount of money you hear about.  Couponers do not shop the grocery store for the things they NEED for the week.  Couponing is watching the sale prices each week and determining  if an item is at it's rock bottom sale price, then pairing it with a coupon and STOCKING up on the item to last until the next sale.  Items typically go through a 6 to 12 week sale cycle, and the price of an item will vary each week, but ONE week will be at it's rock bottom price, and not go on sale for another 6 to 12 weeks at that price again.

Sales Cycle of Kellogg's 12.5oz Fruit Loops Cereal at Kroger:
Week 1: $3.25
Week 2: $3.15
Week 3: $2.75
Week 4: $1.99 <------- I will stock up 6 weeks worth of cereal at this price paired with a coupon and never pay more than $.99 for Fruit Loops!  It's my price point for cereal.
Week 5: $2.45
Week 6: $2.99

Some people use a price book to determine the lowest price of items, I just winged it my first year and was able to remember the stock up price over time.  I'll have a price book page up soon!  Keep your eyes peeled!

So is that REALLY worth your time, I mean a few bucks here and there?  Well yes, let me crunch those numbers for you!

My family eats a box a week of cereal.

6 Weeks Average paying full price for cereal @$2.99 = $17.94

6 Weeks of the lowest sale price + a coupon =  $5.94
54 Weeks in a year = $161.46
54 Weeks of couponing cereal = $53.46

That is a 66% saving JUST on cereal!

My price points for a few of my families favorite items (price includes coupon savings):
Toothpaste FREE
Shaving Items FREE or up to $1 for some razors & refills
Shampoo FREE or up to $1.50 for expensive brands (Aveeno, John Frieda)
Cold Medicines always FREE
Ragu Pasta Sauce $.67
Quaker Granola Bars $.50 or FREE!
Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna Pouches FREE!

<---I was stocking up on Bumble Bee Tuna with a raincheck for $1.00.  I bought 58 packs, and 7 newspapers.  I had 58 $.55 coupons which doubles at Kroger.  I bought all my tuna for the next 3-4 months for free! 

Now lets figure out what I get paid an hour to do all this coupon work.  It does take time, and you can go extreme with searching out the deals and shopping or you can do it minimal buy choosing to shop one grocery store and one drugstore.

These are my totals for March:
Total Shelf Cost:
 $ 1,306.23
Total Coupon Savings:  $    851.11
Total Savings:
 $    851.11
Amount Paid (after rebates):  $    455.12
Savings Rate: 65.16%

I spend an average of 7 hours a week couponing, and I shop 4 stores (Meijer, Kroger, CVS, and Walgreens).  I did not include the time it takes me at the store, we all have to go to the store anyway! 

*Note - You could shop one store, and still cut your bills in half with these couponing techniques.  Your savings will differ depending on the amount of time you take to find the deals, and the number of store you shop.  So don't feel like you have to spend as much time couponing!

So lets figure my savings (or my EARNINGS)per hour:  $851/28hours of work = $121/hour!

MSN Make $100/hour Couponing

Now what could you be doing with all the money you save?