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11-04-2008, 06:28 AM #1
How To Get Free & Almost Free Stuff
Hi Everyone! I'm new here, so bear with me! I have become obsessed (literally) with coupons! The past few days when I get home from work/school all I do is coupons until I go to bed. I've been collecting for months now and finally its time to organize and clip them all. I'm using a binder method with baseball card sheets. What a chore!
Anyway, I've noticed how some of you find such GREAT deals, and I must say- I am very jealous. I keep trying and everytime I go to the store I end up getting discounts, but nothing like what you all are saying - nothing totally free really. My discounts so far are about at 40% savings.
So I have been giving this free stuff some thought and decided to make a list of the many different ways it can happen, and would love if you all could add your ideas and the ways you do it too.
Here is what I've come up with:
1-If the item is B1G1 and you have a B1G1 coupon.
2-If the item is on sale and the sale price matches your coupon (ex. on sale for $1 and the coupon is $1 off).
3-If the item is B1G1 and you have two coupons for the items that total to the price (ex: B1G1 for $2 and you have 2 $1 off coupons).
4-If you use a manufacturer's coupon AND a store coupon (this works best at drug stores, imo, for ex: a razor for $5 and you have a $3off manufacturer coupon and a $2 in-store coupon).
5-If your store does double coupons, triple coupons, or any sort of store promotion for this. (ex: Kmart did it last week in many places).
Any other ideas or tips to help out??
I went to Kmart and tried this out - I ended up goofing up with buying too much make up for not enough of a discount. And then I got other items that weren't totally free... and I got too many things, so the bill skyrocketed to $30. So that wasn't too good.
And last night I tried again, and the bill wasn't too bad for what I got $12 - but what a mission with the cashier. The coupon wasn't ringing up, she had to get the manager, we ended up stalling the entire line for about 15 minutes. And i found out you can't combine blinkies with manufacturer's coupons...atleast not at my Winn Dixie (is this the case with everyone else?). Not only that, the Crest toothpaste wasn't on sale for $1 like advertised!!
I have been going through the weekly sales catalogs, trying to memorize all the sales each week so that I can match them to my coupons, but I really don't notice much of a bargain. This is what is disappointing me, for example, if an item is $4 and the coupon is for $1 off, is it really worth paying $3 for (and sometimes the store brands are even cheaper). So is it only good to do if your item is going to be almost free and that's when you should stock up? How often do these chances come up?
I got started in all this coupon stuff when I went shopping with my friend. She was signed up for the grocery game site and paid for it but it would tell her all the deals without much hassle. It seemed like she got almost everything for free and we went to 5 different stores together. So I am wondering... if these deals are not as rare as I am thinking and I am just not being able to spot them. So that is why I created this - I hope some of you very experienced members can help add to my list of ways or tips to find free and almost free items! Thanks!!
11-04-2008, 07:56 AM #2
I am limited to the stores that I have in my area. I have one grocery store and a wal-mart. Coupons are good if you are going to buy the name brand products. However, the store brands usually are cheaper in cost but just as good in the product. It takes a lot of work to do the math to see if the item is on sale and you have a coupon is it really cheaper than the another brand. Remembering the days the stores do double coupons can be a hard but mark it on a calendar. For the grocery game site-what is the cost? If you can end up getting items so much cheaper it might be worth the money for someone else to plan what to buy at which store for you.
I don't know if this helps much.
11-04-2008, 08:00 AM #3
Thanks for your advice. I am noticing that store brand is usually cheaper... unless of course, a great deal comes by - but it doesnt seem like too many of them have for me.
The grocery game is at grocerygame dot com (i think) but it is only cheap for the first few months then it goes up in price. I think it was somewhere around $10 to $20 for a few months at a time. It can be a great deal but I don't know if I'd use it enough for it to be worth it and I'd rather just teach myself how to do it (which I'm trying but its tough!).
Another question I had, how many sets of coupons do you buy each Sunday? I usually just get one or two newspapers at a time... but my friend gets 10. I just dont know if it would be worth it...
11-04-2008, 08:17 AM #4
I usually end up with two sets of coupons. A friend gets the newspaper then gives me the coupons (fool ) and I gather the coupons from a newspaper at work. For the most part the coupons just are not worth the hassel for me unless it is a name brand product that I am convinced that I must purchase.
11-04-2008, 05:48 PM #5
I am a long time member of the grocery game, and the price isn't that high. The trial is 1.00 and then you are charged depending on the number of store lists you get. I have 3 stores and I pay 20.00 every 8 weeks, so it's 2.50 per week. I could sit with the ads and put a list together myself but for that price it's well worth it.
The key to using coupons is knowing WHEN to use them to buy your items at the lowest possible price. It also helps to shop at more than one store. I did the super doubles at Kmart also and it was really hard work. I did end up with a bunch of free cat food so it was worth it.
11-05-2008, 08:26 AM #6
Thanks for the info about the grocery game... i didn't think about it that way (per week). I might also split it with a friend and we'll share the password? I would have to get multiple stores too since I can't only shop at one around where I am.
I tried again last night at Winn-Dixie and I got my toothpaste - they didn't have it so i stepped up and spoke with the manager (waited about 20 minutes) and he ended up giving me the larger size since they didnt have it - and I used my 75 cents off coupon... so I got it for 25 cents! I got a $15 dollar bill for only $5 so I think I may be learning from trial and error.
Did you see the cat food coupon in the coupon thread? it's a $4 off coupon of Purina - so if you buy the small bag its free. I'm going to have to make another shopping trip again tonight.
11-05-2008, 08:38 AM #7
Becca-see you are learning. That is how any of us do it. Trial and error and keep watching and waiting
Way to go on the bargain with the toothpaste!!!
11-05-2008, 09:18 AM #8
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
- NW Missouri
- Blog Entries
My son saves the Sunday paper for me so once a month I get coupons. I got where I almost hate them though! I found I get where I buy things I wouldn't of otherwise. Now we go with shopping list in hand and only clip those coupons we actually need. We don't use processed foods so don't get a lot of coupons. I shop at a military commissary and they tend to put coupons out with the items so that helps a lot too! I am excited about the $4 pet coupons. I got my two coupons and can get 27 lb bag of Purina for $7.57 so getting it for over half price! My DH just tried our homemade mozzarella cheese and I think he's ready to buy us that milk cow next year! Hoping to be self sufficient in 2 or 3 years and then I can forget coupons all together!