This week was another successful trip to Walgreen's---6 rolls of Charmin toilet paper, 2 tubes Colgate Total Toothpaste, 2 tubes Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste, 1 12 oz. bottle Axe Shampoo, 2 rolls Scotch Tape, 1 box Old El Paso taco shells, & a bag of peanut M & M's for filler....
With my total of $9.74, I saved over $21.00!! There were several other great deals at Walgreens this week; however, I've already stocked up on most of the other stuff so I decided to leave it there for now & wait for the next sale. My weekly grocery bill was under $40 again this week which is my main goal for this entire couponing experiment. I'm really pleased with my success so far.
After this week, I will have been playing the coupon game for a little over a month and I've already learned some very valuable lessons.
1. If you decide to never play the coupon game, or pay attention to sales flyers, in my area the cheapest place to buy most anything is still Walmart. As much as I prefer to shop at local grocery stores & drug stores, Walmart still has the best prices when it comes to buying something without a coupon or a store sale. There have been a few times when I'll buy things simply because I don't want to visit Walmart for 2 or 3 easy items, convincing myself I'm not spending that much more. However, this is normally not the case...so off to Walmart I will go.
2. Once you've stocked up your essentials, it's really not necessary to keep stockpiling unless it's just an unbelievably, great deal. For Hubby's hygiene products (shaving cream, razors, body wash, deodorant, contact solution, etc.) he has at least 2 extra already stored away in his drawer. I'll probably be avoiding these items unless I can get them for free or close to it. Now, this idea might change if you were counting on donating these items to a local food pantry. I'm sure we'll also do that soon; because you only need so many tubes of toothpaste & bottles of body wash for yourself!
3. Don't use coupons just because their about to expire. I've already had a few coupons expire since I began cutting them out & I tend to have the desire to go out and buy an item simply because I have a coupon. However, I have refrained because I've become so conscious about my weekly grocery totals. If you use the coupon as justification for a purchase this will not save you money over all; you'll simply be buying things you don't need at a price that you don't need to pay if you'll simply wait for a coupon or better yet a coupon and a store sale.
4. Finally, contrary to #3 above, there will be some weeks when you simply have to buy things that are on sale and that's ok. Once you start coupining the likelihood of this happening with household goods is less likely than it might be with essential grocery items; but it will still happen. You might need frozen chicken tenders, or lunchmeat, or cereal, or ingredients for a meal that you hadn't planned on. I've realized that making these purchases is OK--even if you don't have a coupon.
I don't have the exact numbers, but I think that with my coupon shopping & ad searching, I've managed to save at least somewhere between $30-40 this month. I've been stockpiling some items which skews this number but I also won't have to buy those items for a long time. $30-40 may not seem like a huge amount of savings, but it's probably close to 10% of our monthly grocery bill. And you know what, $30 over the course of a year is $360...that's a pretty substantial addition to my fun money!