When we noticed that a grocery store was having a double coupon day, we decided to try out extreme couponing.
While we do have a grocery store in town, it is more expensive that other ones and I don't generally do the bulk of our shopping there. For this trip, we drove the 20 miles to the store, and then 20 miles back. Usually I try to combine trips because, if you are spending more in gas than you would be saving, it's not really a good deal.
This is how our trip went. At Family Fresh, we used multiple coupons, but since the doubling only occurs if the coupon is less than $1, only one coupon was doubled, from $.40 to $.80. Otherwise, we did use one $3 off coupon and 3 $1 off coupons, saving $6.80 for a total bill of $52. With that, I bought 10 lbs of butter (I had to buy 10 items to use the $3 off coupon and didn't like the other products). Since the butter was on sale for $1.89 a lb, saving $3 (or $.30 per lb) took that down to $1.59 a lb. We have the freezer space and will most certainly use it up before it would go bad. Other than the butter, the only thing I thought was a good deal was yeast, because I got the $.80 off a sale price.
We had coupons for other things, but even with coupons and being on sale, most of the time it was still more expensive than buying it at Aldi. We bought flour on sale without a coupon, 5 lbs for $1.39, but we had a coupon for $1 off a 10 lb bag (priced at $4.08), so using the coupon would actually be more expensive than buying two 5 lb bags. If the 5 lb bag weren't on sale, I would have waited and bought it at Aldi, because I know that a 5 lb bag of flour there is $1.49. We also bought coffee creamer, but at $2.24 even after the $1 off coupon, it was about the same price as it is at Aldi. We did, however, get a $.05 off per gallon coupon for gas at the local station, and since I used my credit card, we got the points. Overall, based on the dollar amount, we saved only about 10%, not including sale prices, with coupons. However, I think that the trip wasn't too bad because of the deal on butter.
We then went to Target. Just the day before I got an additional 5% off coupon in the mail (that you can stack with your 5% off you get by using your Red Card). By signing up for their Rx Rewards program, you can sometimes get 5% off coupons with every 5 prescriptions filled, but we didn't have one of those coupons so it was nice to get the unexpected one in the mail. I have read articles where Target keeps track of what you are buying and then market to you. Well, they were keeping track because I also got some coupons for things I'd actually get! They even sent me a coupon where I would get $5 off a $50 purchase. Of course they believe that you will just keep buying stuff to get up to the $50, but we were going to get there anyway because we needed to buy diapers (my eldest is now potty trained but the younger one grew out of the cloth ones so we gave them away, but they were on sale and we had a coupon even for the Target brand).
I had stackable coupons (store coupon and manufacturer coupon) for some items like make-up and candy, but after looking at it and having the candy in my cart, I put it back because my rule was that I wasn't going to buy something just to save. Yes, getting two items would have been even cheaper than buying one, but I didn't need the one to start with, and it would still be money spent.
Our big "deals" were getting dry pasta for $.50 a box based on stacked coupons, and good prices on pasta sauce and a light bulb we needed. However, buying impulse purchases because of a strategically placed box of Cheez-Its where my daughter could see, and lime flavored tortilla chips for my husband, made for less of a savings. Plus, my husband, while he says that he likes shopping and wants to look around, does NOT like going through coupons to see what would offer the best price, so he was getting less patient and therefore I didn't take as long as I may have on my own. I still think we did an acceptable job saving. Altogether, we saved $16.65 in coupons and then used our Red Card. I saved over 40%, not including sale prices.
I still can't figure out how anyone can save like the Extreme Couponers do, unless you are eating crap food. While I'm glad I found the website for coupons for the store brand, and I use Target's coupons on occasion, I will still do the majority of my shopping at Aldi, because I can get things for less cost and with less hassle of having to hunt down coupons.
I think my biggest savings comes from buying direct from the grower/farmer. It's always disappointing with farmer's markets ending for the season, but there are still a few deals to be found. Just this week I went to a farm and a 50 lb bag of potatoes was priced at $12! (That's $.24 a lb for organic, local food versus about $1 a lb for the pesticide-laden stuff at the store). I bought three bags because we can store them in the cold room until next May or so. Last week, we met someone who was selling off baskets full of squash for only $.75 each, and they were much, much larger than the kind you'd get at the store. We bought 6, because they also can keep for many months.
Of course, the best deal is growing your own, so I'll keep planting. Happy growing and happy shopping!