Simple Thrift Column, Nashua Telegraph, November 17, 2009 Coupon Savings

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
If investing the time into them, coupons can be worth it
Wendy Thomas

I’ve never been much of a coupon user. I’ve always justified it by saying that I usually don’t buy the type of preprocessed foods that usually have coupons. Lately, though, I’ve started to rethink that. I’ve checked out a few Web sites and talked to a few people, and there is a lot to be said for using coupons.
There are lots of Internet coupon sites that teach you how to shop with coupons and help you match them up with what is on sale at different stores. A good one is afullcup.com, which tells you where to find the offers and coupons. On the site, you can also search for coupons using keywords or by a specific store.
Another good site is bigtent.com, where people post questions for other members to answer, post about successful shopping trips they have had with specific details on how to duplicate their success, and submit notifications of upcoming sales.
Carole Barker, of Nashua, introduced me to Big Tent. She told me, “At first, I was pretty overwhelmed. I stuck with it, though, and it began to make sense.”
Barker outlined the steps she takes to drastically reduce how much she pays out of pocket. She says you need to:
• Invest time to plan your shopping trips.
• Amass multiple copies of coupons (buy multiple copies of newspapers, have friends and family give you what they don’t use, search online sites for printable coupons, buy coupons for a fraction of their face value from coupon-clipping services and/or on eBay).
• Watch for sales.
• Take advantage of “buy x amount of these products, get y back to spend on your next purchase.”
• As much as possible, combine as many of these elements in each transaction as you can.
She explained how she now combines coupon offers: “I needed to get some Robitussin for my daughter. Before, I would have checked to see if I had a coupon for Robitussin, and maybe checked to see if it was on sale somewhere, and bought a bottle. It was, in fact, on sale at CVS that week, for $5.50 rather than $6.49, and I would have most likely had the $1 off coupon clipped from a Sunday coupon insert. So, $4.50 for one bottle. Good, right? Well, instead, I took the extra time to read the ad thoroughly. At CVS, if you spent $20 on a select group of cold remedies (of which Robitussin, both adult and child formulas, is a part), you got $10 back in Extra Care Bucks, i.e. $10 off on a future CVS purchase. I also went online and was able to print off two additional coupons for $2 off one Robitussin item.”
“So, off I went, got two bottles each of adult and child formula Robitussin, which came to $22 (and therefore, over the $20 threshold to get my $10 Extra Care Bucks). I also presented my three coupons, taking $5 off the $22 total. I also had a $10 Extra Care Bucks coupon from a deal last week, so I paid $22 minus $5 minus $10, equaling $7, and I left with $10 Extra Care Bucks, but even without that, to pay $17 for four bottles of Robitussin and then get the equivalent of $10 back – now, that is saving!”
Barker said it can take a lot of time at first to understand store policies and which stores to go to. “But when I tallied my numbers last night, I must say that I was pretty impressed.”
Barker admits that some of the products she buys she has no use for – such as blood glucose monitors, packaged food she doesn’t use – but when something is actually free or, in some cases, she makes money by buying it, she takes it and finds it a good home for it, such as food pantries, outreach agencies, etc.

1 Comment

Filed under Simple Thrift Nashua Telegraph column, Simple Thrift Tips

One response to “Simple Thrift Column, Nashua Telegraph, November 17, 2009 Coupon Savings

  1. nice info..
    thanks for share..

    Nice

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