We did it again, and we seem to get better at it each time. Due to a little advance notice and the opportunity to order coupons from www.thecouponclippers.com ,yesterday David and I came away from a morning triple coupon spree at Pamida in Dyersville with two overflowing carts. The store opened at 9:00, and we were the first ones through the door. My list was a little more varied this time around, due to a preview of the sale ad. I knew Olay body washes were going to be 50-cents each after coupons and Puffs tissues, Colgate Total, Suave deodorant, Werthers caramels, Butter Kernel vegetables, Dasani water and Betty Crocker cookie mixes would be free. Tylenol would be 99-cents after coupons, Advil $1.79, Robitusson cough syrup $1.99, and Noiticeables 49-cents. The cans of Folgers coffee were a mere 79-cents. David and I each took a cart so we could
do the most damage maximize our savings, since the ad stated “three like coupons per product.” The cashier said we could do our orders together, however, so our morning trip netted us six of each free or cheap product and filled two carts. We paid $52 for $320 worth of products, and that included a $13 clock and a box of hot cocoa that I didn’t have a coupon for. I say our morning trip because after church and an afternoon spent with my siblings sorting at my mother’s house, we headed to Dyersville again after David and the kids came to pick me up. After all, we were halfway there, and I had more coupons to use. Unfortunately, they hadn’t restocked the shelves so there was no Olay body wash or Suave deodorant. In the afternoon, we paid $25 for over $90 of merchandise.
I am so tempted to go again today. The savings to be had with triple coupons are tremendous and well worth another trip to Dyersville, 28 miles away. November has been quite a month of savings for our family with these Pamida store triple coupon events.
I don’t need it pointed out to me that I didn’t actually save anything if I bought items I wouldn’t have bought without the triple coupons. I still paid something for the extra coupons (an average 10-cents each) and I still spent money. A great deal of money, if you add up the last three Sundays of shopping. Looking at the picture from yesterday’s trip, I can easily pick out those products I would have purchased anyway: Folgers coffee, Tylenol, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, cough syrup. I wouldn’t have gotten the Werthers, cookie mix, Noticeables, Covergirl make-up or the boxed potatoes without coupons. I have plenty of toothpaste and shampoo in my cupboard already so I wouldn’t have bought those items right now if I was a normal shopper. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, I am not a normal shopper, I am an extreme couponer, and have been ever since I got married in 1979. Thats a long time to change bad habits, or good habits, depending upon who you ask. I’ve been an at-home mother for almost 21 years, and have gotten creative about making money at home. Besides selling some of my writing, I’ve been holding at least one garage sale a year, and some of this stockpiled stuff goes out for my garage sale. Paying a dime for something that sells for $1.50 is an investment for me, one that results in a decent profit during my garage sales. Another thing I do with this extra stockpile is fill baskets for my adult children, and I’ve been informed that this is one of their favorite gifts. While my baskets full of health and beauty and cleaning products might not cost me a great deal in dollars, they know it did cost me time in planning and implementing my shopping trips. I know their favorite products, too, which is why I had hoped to get more Olay ribbons body wash this trip. Even my grandson is going to go cuckoo for the bottles of L’oreal Kids shampoo that have the Toy Story characters on the front! I have also donated excess stockpiled items to various charities and/or sent Priority mailers of items to those in need. I would have a difficult time doing this without my couponing. Through the strategic use of coupons, I can send a $10 medium flat rate mailer filled with $40 worth of products to someone in need for maybe $12 total (counting the cost of the coupons and the postage!), and whenever I hear that the food pantry is in dire need, I can easily pull out some of my free toothbrushes and toothpaste to help them out.
I feel like a genius after paying $50 for two cartloads of merchandise. According to coupon detractors, I am fooling myself. Factor in the time it took me to clip (and buy) the coupons, file them in my coupon box, read the ads, drive to the store, circle the aisles with my vulture-like stealth that hones in on good deals, and then stand in line while they are scanned and tripled…well, there are those that would say my valuable time was wasted, and that my use of coupons was directly responsible for rising prices. I am currently writing the chapter of my book that details these claims.
Despite some evidence to the contrary in a few of these studies, I still feel savvy regarding my couponing habits, and find the use of coupons to be rewarding, both emotionally and monetarily. I enjoy couponing, and I love getting things free.
But another trip today? As tempted as I am, I know it would not be a good idea. It would involve the gas to get there and back and taking the chance that the shelves were restocked from yesterday, and in my experience, they usually are not, so it could be a wasted trip, or one that barely paid for the gas to get there.
And that just wouldn’t be smart shopping.