Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Couponing was something I really enjoyed when we lived in Tennessee.

Wait what? Did you read that right?

Enjoyed. Yes. I enjoyed it. Tremendously. More than words can express.

Am I really that desperate and lonely as an individual? Probably. But that has very little to do with my couponing. Or at least I hope it does. No the joy I feel is more of a subversive one. Sticking it to the man. Taking something for less than they are making other people buy it.

I never said I was normal.

The problem is the healthier we try to eat the less coupons I seem to be able to find. Traditionally at least. Add that to a family with one member who can't have dairy, another who can't have gluten and a third who can't have sugar or white carbs and you get into a very niche market. Less Walmart, more Whole Foods. Only there isn't one of those up in the subarctic. (I kid I kid. Mostly. We're not quite that far north. But nearly.)

My frustration at couponing in Wisconsin has several factors beyond healthy eating. They include the limited number of couponable stores (is that a word?), the tricky nature of finding coupon inserts, and the difficulty in match-ups.

This far north there are few stores that allow for what makes couponing grand: double couponing. Where I shopped in TN the store would double any coupon as long as its face value was .50c or less. That was fantastic! So if the families favorite brand of shampoo is regularly a dollar a bottle but the store is having a B1G1 sale suddenly I can get the bottles for .50c each. If I have even a .25c off coupon for each bottle, the store doubles it and suddenly BAM I've got 2 bottles of shampoo for free. Better yet if I've got a .50c coupon the store ends up paying me a dollar to take my favorite shampoo home! The problem here is the only store that does allow doubling coupons only does it two days a week and only on 5 coupons after you've spent $25 on the order. Does that make anyone else a little nuts thinking about? Since it is only allowed 2 days a week you can imagine what the store looks like those days. Since I'm not dedicated to couponing to the point of desiring more crazy in my life I've decided to coupon two local stores that don't double but do seem to have ok prices.

On top of this complication is finding inserts. In TN I had friends and neighbors who knew that I couponed and were happy to give me inserts from their sunday papers. I'd also buy one or two papers to get the inserts if the friends pool was a little dried up. Every single time I've bought newspapers here I'd found them with at least one, sometimes all of the coupon inserts missing. It's incredibly frustrating. To try to get around this I ordered inserts yesterday from Sunday Coupon Inserts. I know great name right? You can order individual inserts and to get started I ordered 6 weeks back at one each per week. Double inserts is better, many stores have B1G1 sales and will allow you to use one coupon per item. But for me trying to get back into it one insert is better than no inserts. I'll do a better review on them once my inserts arrive.

The last bit that is slowing me down is match ups. My favorite websites are Hip2Save and Southern Savers.They provide match ups as well as other internet deals and freebies. Sadly, no one does match ups for the big grocery store in my area. They do for a smaller store but it's the one with the doubling coupons on certain days and honestly reading the match ups makes my head spin. There are two prices listed depending on which day you shop and how much total you are buying. It.... yeah. It's a little much for me with everything else I'm trying to do in my life.

So it's back to old school for me. Get the inserts, get the flyer for the week, figure out what the great sale items are (or what we need/are out of), search coupon databases to see if there are any coupons to match with sales items and then hit the store. Thankfully we do have a Walgreens here and I can use match ups provided by people anywhere in the US to get good deals.

So this week I used what limited coupons I could find online or in the one insert I had. Here's how I did at the grocery store:

And here is Walgreens:

The highlights include eggs for free, my favorite wine in the clearance section at the grocery store and husbands favorite brand of headphones marked down at Walgreens. 

My totals were still high but we have enough food for at least a week and a half. Since we eat very little processed, refined, grain foods you can imagine what my shopping cart looked like. Meat, produce, canned veggies for things like soup and chili and frozen pizzas. Cause we really can't eat out at restaurants very easily so our fast "we gotta eat now!" food is frozen pizza.

I hope to update weekly with any deals I find just so that others in this same boat might be able to use the hard work I'm putting in at their local grocery store. We'll see. I might just give up and start driving to Walmart.

That's a joke. I hate Walmart. Even more now that many shopping trips start with "Well if X is open we could try them, or Walmart". 

Small town living is hard!

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